Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Murder of Magpies, by Judith Flanders

Samantha Clair is a London book editor.  One of her authors has gone missing, and some pretty nasty people seem to not want his latest book to be published.  Loved the book -- funny, smart and unexpected.

The World Before Us, by Aislinn Hunter

What an odd book.  Archivist Jane Standen decides to unravel the mystery of the century-old disappearance of an anonymous young woman from the Whitmore Hospital for Convalescent Lunatics as her last act before her much loved Chester Museum closes its doors. Observing and commenting upon her efforts are a quarrelsome group of ghosts whose observations are often lyrical but not always intelligible.

Shotgun Moon, by K. C. McCrae

Merry McCoy returns to the family ranch in Hazel, Montana, having served her time for murdering the man who raped her.  Against her will and better judgment, Merry is roped by her Aunt Shirlene into helping discover the killer of her cousin Lauri's ex-boyfriend so that Lauri doesn't find herself on trial for the crime. With help from her former flame, Officer Jamie Guttierez and her parole officer, a surprising ally, Merry tries to get the truth out of a number of people who would rather their secrets stayed secret.

The Strangler Vine, by M. J. Carter

In 1837, William Avery, a young idealistic officer in the East India Company, is charged with locating a famous, but somewhat scandalous writer who has disappeared into a remote part of India ostensibly to research and write about the Thugs.  Avery is accompanied on his journey across India by Jeremiah Blake, a former and fully disillusioned agent of the East India Company, who knows the languages, power-brokers, and politics of the country.  Carter's Victorian India is well researched and painstakingly described, though she presents a theory of Thugee that isn't universally accepted.

The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton

In 1961, 16-year old Laurel Nicolson witnesses her mother stab an ominous stranger to death.  The death is determined to be a case of self-defense, and the family puts it quickly and definitively behind them.  In 2011, as her mother's cancer takes its final toll, Laurel takes a break from her acting career to discover why.  A box of secrets begins the quest, but journals, letters, and interviews with people with connections to her mother and her friends help Laurel piece together the story. Much of the book takes place in 1941 during the London Blitz, which Morton seems to have had quite a good time researching.

Dry Bones, by Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson can be funny, and he can be heart-breaking.  The light and funny books provide a leavening that the series needs even though they may not represent the absolute best of his work.  Dry Bones is crafted around the discovery of the skeleton of an adult t-rex on property of the Lone Elk family. Everyone has interest in this multi-million dollar find, and Walt's efforts to find the killer of patriarch Danny Lone Elk are hampered by politics, greed, and love.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

An Unwilling Accomplice, by Charles Todd

The authors exert more of an effort to make battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's mid-war jaunts around England and back and forth to France make sense.  She is drafted to accompany a wounded war hero to a royal ceremony, and is bamboozled into leaving him alone for the evening.  When he decamps, apparently less frail than he pretended, Bess's reputation is damaged and her career put in jeopardy. With help from Simon, an old family friend, she tracks him down and unravels the mystery surrounding his disappearance and the death that followed.