Category Archives: mystery

A classic mystery

Let me start by saying that I adore Agatha Christie….I have adored her books since I was in junior high school.  I started with And Then There Were None and devoured many of her mysteries soon after.   I became obsessed and would read the books and watch all the Agatha Christie movies….my favorites were with Peter Usinov  as Hercule Poirot.  So when I was offered to review Murder on the Orient Express, I quickly jumped at the chance.

The movie will be out this week (November 9, and I cannot wait to see this version directed by Kenneth Branagh.  Though I recommend everyone read the book first before seeing the film.)   The book is addicting!  The whole mystery takes place on the Orient Express which is stuck on the tracks in a snowdrift.   It is during this time that Samuel Ratchett is murdered.  He is found in a locked compartment stabbed 12 times….no murder weapon is found.   The murderer is among one of passengers or employees of the train.  Hercule Poirot is on the case before the murderer can strike again.  Trust me…this is one fantastic read for any mystery lover.  I love Hercule Poirot and the characters are so well developed, and I felt like I was on the train with them all watching everything unfold in front of me.  Go out and read this…now….and then see the movie!

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A new favorite mystery series!

 

This is my first encounter with  Stewart Hoag (Hoagy) and his sidekick….an anchovy-eating Bassett Hound named Lulu. And I loved it! This is number 9 in the series!   Number 9!   This means I have 8 more books that I need to read in order to complete the mysterious adventures Hoagy and Lulu.  Here is a rundown of who Hoagy is:

In the past, Hoagy wrote one best-seller and was the talk of the town…he had it all.  However, this was followed by an extreme case of writer’s block and a second novel has not come to be.   He lost his fancy home, the fancy life, and his marriage to movie star Merilee.   He now lives in small apartment in New York with Lulu and spends his time ghostwriting.  His new career has provided him not only with the opportunity to write fascinating and interesting stories, but to use another of his skills…amateur sleuthing.  He natural ability to deduce and reason helps him solve some fairly scary and dangerous cases…all that start with a new ghostwriting assignment.   Who knew writing could be so dangerous?

The Girl with the Kaleidoscope Eyes reunites Hoagy with Reggie….a beautiful, yet wounded poet who he spent three passionate and wild years with. Reggie’s father is a famous author who has become a recluse (think a bit J.D. Salinger).   No one has heard from him in years….not since his wife committed suicide.  That is no one has heard from him until now — twenty years later.   Reggie and her sister Monette (who have not spoken in 20 years) receive letters from their father….or someone pretending to be their father. He wants something from his daughters.   The public is intrigued.

Enter Stewart Hoagy.  He has been hired to author the story of the reunion of Richard Aintree (recluse author) and his two daughters. Hoagy flies out to Monette’s home in LA and discovers that Monette’s empire is crumbling away after a Hollywood scandal.  Hoagy gets thrown into the scandal when bodies begin to pileup in Monette’s LA mansion.  Hoagy immediately tunes into the detective part of himself and starts to uncover the truth.

Fun, witty, fast-paced….I recommend this for an rainy weekend read…make sure you have some coffee and pastries to keep you fueled through the read.

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History and Mystery coming soon!

This is Historical Fiction novel that reads as more of a mystery than history.  It is by Beatriz Williams, and apparently she has written previous novels about some of the characters in this story.  I have not read any of them which could be why I am confused by the epilogue.   It was recommended that I read A Certain Age by her before this one….well…I did not do that.

I will tell you that I did enjoy this book…the beginning was a bit slow, but it eventually picked up and I read the last 200 pages in one afternoon.  It is about a strong woman named Virginia who is an ambulance driver in WWI in France, and it is there that she meets mysterious and handsome Captain Simon Fitzwilliams.  The two fall in love and have a passionate affair.  Yet they both have secrets from their past….some serious secrets that create tragedy to their eventual marriage and birth of their daughter.

Five years later, and they are living in America.  Virginia and her daughter are in NYC while Simon is in Florida running several businesses.   The pair become estranged for 3 years when Simon is  suddenly killed in a fire.  Virginia travel south to deal with the details of the death and the businesses she will inherit.  Enter Samuel and Clara Fitzwilliams…Simon’s siblings.  They welcome her with open arms, and yet Virginia senses something is off….something is not quite right.  The more she questions, the more dangerous her situation becomes.

 

 

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Suspenseful

Hallie Ephron writes stories that command your attention until the end.  I picked this up and read until I had to put it down…I had to find out what happened to Janey.  Lis was a 7 year-old little girl when she was playing in the yard with her 4 year-old sister, Janey.  Lis sees a little dog and chases it into the woods, and her sister is left alone and ultimately disappears.   Lis is now in her 40s with her own daughter, and she has been living with her mother for quite a while.  Janey’s disappearances has effected them for decades.

Here is the creepy part, Miss Sorrel, Lis and Janey’s mother, is a doll maker.  She makes porcelain dolls in the likeness of a child who keeps the daughter….made with that child’s hair.  One day, a woman appears to Miss Sorrel with an old doll that looks just like Janey…..could this has been the doll that Janey had when she disappeared?  If it is the doll, where is Janey and what happened to her?

The story unfolds quickly, and Miss Sorrel and Lis realize they are in danger as they get closer to discovering what has happened to Janey.

Quick, easy read.   A few flaws with the characters, but nothing that gets in the way with the story.  Well-worth the read!

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Deep Family Secrets

  The setting is Birchville, Alabama which is named after Leia’s great grandfather, and the town and her family is filled with secrets.  Secrets which Leia is about to uncover as she finds herself back to help care for her aging grandmother along with Wattie, her grandmother’s life-long friend.

Leia has lead a lonely, yet successful life as a writer and graphic artist with her bestselling graphic novel V is Violence.  Now Leia is back in her small hometown, and she is not only dealing with her 90-year-old grandma’s affairs, but she is also newly pregnant.  The pregnancy is result of a night at a comic convention and some tequila and a man dressed as Batman.  To add to the craziness, her seemingly perfect stepsister, Rachel, has kicked her seemingly perfect husband out of their house and sends her teenage daughter down to Leia while she sorts everything out.

Things get even crazier when Birchie (grandma) tries to take a trunk from the attic and load it into her car….she crashes the car and out comes a decomposed human skeleton that has been hidden in her attic for decades.  The story goes for a wild ride of emotions, mystery, and secrets.  This is one you do not want to miss!  Well-written with excellent character development.  The only negative is the book will not be released until July, so put it on your summer reading list now!

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Disturbing, fast-pace, and addicting crime novel

  Karin Slaughter has crafted a mind-blowing novel of unspeakable violence and murder.  The story spans decades and focuses on a family with three sisters:  Julia, Lydia, and Claire.   Julia goes missing when she is 19 years-old and has not been found.   Her family is splintered.  Her dad becomes obsessed with finding her and he begins to fall apart which leads to a break in his once picture perfect marriage,  Lydia starts down a path of self-destructive while Claire is left behind to figure things out as a 13 year-old.

Forward 20 year,  another 19 year-old girl has vanished, and the community is desperate for answers.  Lydia and Claire have not spoken in these 20 years, and their father is dead and their mom is remarried.  Claire is married to a millionaire architect, Paul Scott.  While Lydia has cleaned herself up and owns her business.  She has a 17 year-old daughter and is in a good relationship with a man named Rick.   Lydia and Claire are “reunited” and begin to piece together the events of the past that tore their family apart years before.  What they discover is horrifying and beyond their worst nightmares.   They both find themselves in danger with no way of knowing who they can trust.  Will they discover the truth and make things right?  Are they able to repair the damage done to their family those 20 years ago and move on?

This book is full of action and suspense and really, really creepy and disturbing violence…truly unspeakable.  If a scene became too much for me….I would skim through it and move on.  This is reason #42 that I love books over watching movies….I can control the images in my head.  I get to decide what I see and how much I see….though I do admit there are many times that my mind takes over and I see more than I thought and these images stay with me far longer than I had anticipated.  Karin Slaughter knows how to weave a story of not only psychologically chilling scenes and emotions, but she knows how to target the worst and the best of human beings and put it down on paper.

 

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Psychological thriller

img_0584   Grace and Charlie have been friends since they were 9 years old.  They are polar opposites and found comfort in their friendship.   Both of these girls have experienced tragedy in their young lives and have felt abandoned by a parent….it explains their closeness.

Suddenly, at the age of 24, Charlie dies.  Grace blames herself and cannot get over her death.  Charlie’s last words to her were I did something terrible, Grace, I hope that you can forgive me.  Grace is left wondering what Charlie did and why she died so suddenly…was it truly her fault?

Grace has been living with her high school boyfriend for a few years, and their relationship becomes quite unstable after Charlie’s death.  Grace begins to hide-away from everyone and everything while Dan copes in other negative ways.  Grace tries to make sense of everything and in the process befriends Anna.  Immediately, the two begin a friendship….yet there is something odd about Anna…something dangerous.  Can Grace put the pieces together of what has been happening in her small circle of friends before it is too late?

This is the debut novel of Louise Jensen, and it is definitely a page-turner.  I read it in a few hours.  Do yourself a favor and pick it up.

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