Parts of a young woman, five-years dead, are found strewn about the town of Cyncoed in Wales, and efforts to gather her up uncover parts of another corpse, recently dead. DC Fiona Griffiths, using unconventional skills, connections and a willingness to go off the grid, investigates the two victims, a pole dancer and a university lecturer. Fiona's icy boss, DI Rhiannon Watkins, her boyfriend, Buzz, her underworld boss dad, and her lethal friend, Lev, add a richness to a narrative stew already complex and multi-layered.
Nethercott's characters, Connecticut PI Lee Plunkett and his erudite associate, Mr. O'Nelligan, remind me a bit of Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe, in that Mr. O'Nelligan is wise and Lee Plunkett is a wise ass. The year is 1956 and Plunkett is called in to look further into the supposedly accidental death of a wealthy inventor who is electrocuted by the machine he invented to communicate with the dead. Lots of odd-duck characters and a nice narrative pace.
When is he 11, Fin becomes an orphan, and his black sheep half-sister Lady becomes his guardian. They set up house in Greenwich Village in 1964, with everything that entails in terms of politics, new age education, drugs, and nontraditional romantic relationships. The African American maid, Mabel, is the family's rock and Lady's three suitors its buffeting wind. Schine's own experiences and recollections of being a child of the sixties and her love of the Italian island of Capri are firm underpinnings of the story.
I thought the title was clever, and I hoped the bridal shop setting would be fun in a "Say Yes to the Dress" sort of way, but the humor was very "I Love Lucy" embarrass oneself as much as possible and the bridal design insights were few and far between. There were some entertaining moments, but mostly the book made me squirm uncomfortably for the 30-something protagonist, facing the two most important men from her past after a 10 year separation.
John Straley's Alaska is an odd place, and Cold Storage is one of the oddest of them all. Apparently, this is where Ellie Hobbes and Slip Wilson, from The Big Both Ways, ended up and where Ellie's niece Annabelle raised her sons. When the book begins older son Miles, a physician's assistant, is providing the closest thing to health care available in Cold Storage, and younger son Clive is just completing seven years in prison. Clive's return to Cold Storage brings trouble galore in its wake. I love Straley's writing, characters, and heart, and am beyond pleased that there is another book in this trilogy.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency stories are always a pleasure in spite of how sidelined the mysteries may become. Mma Makutsi has a new baby before being able to make plans for her maternity leave, and in her absence, Mma Ramotswe realizes how very much she depends on Mma Makutsi. Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni takes Mma Ramotswe's melancholy to heart and, at the advice of Mma Motokwani, seeks to become a modern husband. In particular, Mma Ramotswe needs Mma Makutsi's help with her two most recent cases: A lawyer thinks that the heir to a large estate is an impostor in spite of all evidence, and there is a nasty rumor campaign to put a new beauty salon out of business.
This book was recommended all over the mystery websites I frequent, but it's more horror and ghost story than mystery. There are multiple characters -- mostly mothers, fathers, and their children -- in 1908 and present day and a few years in between who converge on a place in rural Vermont called the Devil's Hand. Eventually we find out why. Creepy creepy creepy.