The Poisoned Chalice Murder A 1920s English mystery
by Diane Janes
Pub Date 01 Nov 2018
Diane James’s second 1920s mystery, The Poisoned Chalice Murder, is even more enjoyable than her debut - a stunning accomplishment. Frances Black and Tom Dod are a charming pair of amateur detectives, working well together despite a frisson of attraction they dare not act upon. Frances is the more perceptive of the duo, and the novel focuses on her perspective. Diane James skillfully portrays the social dilemmas Frances is faced with. Being separated from her husband is scandalous, despite the fact that he ran off with another woman. Accepting a divorce, even more so. As a woman on her own, being respectable is of central importance. Tom is also constrained, as he married his dead brother’s fiancée so their children would be legitimate.
Tom’s aunt has asked them to look into a trio of deaths. Superficially they don’t appear suspicious,...
In Cold Chocolate A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
by Dorothy St. James
Crooked Lane Books
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 21 Sep 2018
Chocolate- check. Sea turtles- check. Murder- check. In Cold Chocolate is a cozy with bite. Charity Penn loves her chocolate shop and the town of Camellia Beach, despite the relatives of the woman who left her the shop causing problems, and her boyfriend’s crazy ex making wild threats and accusations. When Charity accompanies Althea to observe the hatching of a nest of sea turtles, Jody arrives waving a gun. After shots are fired and Cassidy Jones, the local Lothario is found dead, everyone assumes Jody killed him. But Penn, Jody’s son begs Charity to find proof that his mom is innocent.
The mystery is almost too easy for the reader to solve, but there is still plenty of tension arising from Jody’s venom and the challenge to Charity’s ownership of the shop. In Cold Chocolate is a bit melodramatic for my taste, but it still...
by Ellie Alexander
St. Martin's Press
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 02 Jan 2018
Ellie Alexander’s newest cozy, Another One Bites the Crust is entertaining and has a likable cast of central characters that is easy to cheer for and care about. While these items are essential to a well written cozy, Another One Bites the Crust has one weakness - the plot. For the most part, the story flows smoothly. The end, however is haphazard and the motive for the crime comes out of thin air. While readers might make a guess who, there is no way they can figure out why. Even Jules is in the dark until the last moment where the culprit is revealed and the trap is sprung - and she is the lead. Still, Another One Bite the Crust is a cute, fun read.
In Another One Bites the Crust, Lance, the town’s artistic director, is at wits end, frustrated and angry with the young actor playing Anthony in Anthony and Cleopatra. When Anthony is found dead, La...
The Magic Chair Murder is a thrilling and well plotted mystery set at the end of the 1920s. Women were beginning to play a greater role in commerce and academia. Frances Black is a capable woman long separated from her husband. As part of the board for the Robert Barnaby society, she recommended Linda Dexter as a speaker. Surprisingly Linda Dexter doesn’t show up, and her car is found burned out a ways away. Along a little traveled railway, Linda’s body is found. Was her murder related to her talk, which promised to challenge some much beloved beliefs? Or was it related to her past?
Between dealing with egos and avoiding a stalker, Frances Black, assisted by her friend Tom Dod, delves into the mystery of Linda Dexter’s death.
The Magic Chair Murder is a well plotted mystery, and Frances Black is a lead who is easy to identify with. All in all, it is a solid s...