Speakeasy is far removed from the standard WWII era thriller. It is a novel that alternates between past and present and between voices. Lena, the central lead, is a code breaker with a shady past and an unfortunate history of choosing the wrong man. Byron, known as “By God” is a mild accountant seduced into the adventurous high speed life of being a gangster. Both Lena and Byron were drawn into the charismatic web of Bill Bagley, a brilliant but tragically flawed bank robber. Lena thought she escaped, but the threads of the past are long, and as she struggles with the impact of her tasks as codebreaker and the human cost of both success and failure, it begins to look like she has not run far enough or fast enough.
On the whole, Speakeasy is well done. The development of the characters and the changes that take place in them over time is utterly believable...
Are you mad for mod? If not, Diane Vallere’s newest cozy will have you taking a fresh look at retro fashion. Vallere’s heroine, Madison Night, is a 40 something decorator with a flair for all that is vintage modern - from her unique taste in clothing to her interior design. While many would label her quirky for her Doris Day aesthetic, it would be a mistake to underestimate her investigative abilities.
In The Pajama Frame, Madison Night is drawn into a complex web of long hidden secrets, lies, and murder when she inherits a long closed pajama factory linked to the mysterious death of a young woman. It swiftly becomes clear that something odd is going on when Madison discovers a body, and receives keys to a storage unit filled with files and a gun. The plot is complex, but definitely believable, as are the interactions between the...
St. Martin's Press
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 13 Mar 2018
In 1916 little was understood of the nature of ptsd or “shell shock” as it was called. In Death of an Unsung Hero, the plot centers around a group of young officers being treated at a hospital sponsored by the energetic Lady Montfort and administered by her capable friend, Mrs. Jackson. As you might expect, trouble comes in the form of the murder of an amnesiac Captain Bray. It’s all too easy for the police to wish to lay blame on a fellow patient closing the class quickly. Lady Montfort doesn’t believe the situation is so straightforward, and enlists the assistance of Mrs. Jackson to find the real killer. The women have solved crimes before, and this time they have the hospital to protect.
Death of an Unsung Hero is an excellent period mystery, adroitly describing life in Britain during World War I. Both Lady Montfort and Mrs Jack...
Catching a Man (Valeriel Investigations Book 1)
by Elizabeth Corrigan
Mystery & Thrillers , Sci Fi & Fantasy
Pub Date 12 Nov 2014
The 1950s are reimagined in Elizabeth Corrigan’s debut mystery - Catching a Man. I wasn't sure what to expect at first, but I was quickly swept up into the story. Kadin Stone became an investigator’s aid in order to find a husband - a necessity because in Valerial unmarried women must be virgins to have a career, and women who are not married or virgins have no legal income opportunities. Valerial is a harsh world for a woman, but Kadin isn’t bitter. She is determined to do a good job. Her first case is the murder of Queen Callista. The detectives see her as little other than a pretty accessory to make java. What they don’t realize is that she has a sharp mind and just may be the key to finding a surprising killer.
Catching a Man is a great book, serious and funny in the right combinatio...
Wagging through the Snow by Laurien Berenson
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 26 Sep 2017
If you love dogs and mysteries, you should take the time to read Laurien Berenson’s novels. She does a wonderful job portraying the unique personalities of dogs, in particular standard poodles. Wagging Through the Snow is a light mystery that s perfect for an evening relaxing with a cup of cocoa. The mystery isn't much of a puzzle, but that doesn't mean it isn't easy to enjoy. Melanie Travis and her family are fun to observe and easy to like. But if you are looking for a serious hard bitten mystery this will not be your cup of tea. This is simply a light holiday cozy.
When Melanie’s brother buys a dilapidated Christmas tree farm, it comes with an unexpected addition - a dead body accompanied by a small Maltese. At first it looks like the homeless man died accidentally while drunk. But a friend of his is adamant that he stopped drinking several mo...
The Ghost of Christmas Past A Molly Murphy Mystery
by Rhys Bowen
St. Martin's Press
Pub Date 14 Nov 2017
Rhys Bowen’s newest Molly Murphy novel is an entertaining holiday mystery, offering a taste of early 20th century celebrations as well as an interesting plot. Unfortunately it isn't without problems.
In The Ghost of Christmas Past, Molly Murphy Sullivan and her family accept an invitation to celebrate the holidays with the family of an old friend of Captain Sullivan’s mother. While the estate is sumptuous, there is tension in the house. Winnie is clearly afraid of her husband Cedric, and is still in mourning for the daughter who disappeared 10 years earlier. Cedric continually claims Winnie is unstable - and appears to be seeking any excuse to have her committed. Naturally Molly wants to help, but is there anything that can be discovered after so long a time?
For most of the novel, Molly attempts to uncover the closel...
Gin and Panic A Mystery
by Maia Chance
St. Martin's Press
Pub Date 24 Oct 2017
The prohibition may be in full swing, but it doesn't put a damper on former socialite Lola Woodby’s pursuit of a good time and the objects she and her partner Berta are hired to retrieve. This time Berta and Lola are hired to retrieve a rhinoceros trophy from the mansion of big game hunter Rudy Montgomery. The situation is complicated by the discovery of raw diamonds and a suicide that looks suspiciously like murder. Lola and Berta look to be in over their heads, particularly after one of New York’s leading gangsters gets involved. Fortunately they have backup in the form of Lola’s leading man, also a private detective who has been hired to keep an eye on Lola and Berta. Armed with cake, gin and an appetite for adventure Lola and Berta can take on just about anything.
Maia Chance serves readers a heady cocktail of madcap adventure, comic coincidences...
I’ve encountered few historicals as cleverly plotted as RJ Koreto’s Death at the Emerald. Lady France's Ffolkes is an innovator, a feminist who uses her position to challenge convention, just as her lady’s maid Mallow is the perfect servant - a supporter and confidant who pairs acceptable behavior with acting as Lady Frances’s “Watson”. Koreto skillfully paints a picture of a society in the midst of change, a society where class means everything.
Lady France's Ffolkes is asked to investigate the disappearance of a young woman 30 years previous. Her family assumes she is dead, but one family friend wants Lady Frances to uncover the truth behind the young beauty’s disappearance. The trail begins at the Emerald Theater and leads them on a merry chase that begins and ends with murder. Expect to meet a few historical figures and see how a motion...
Where Dorothy Martin goes, intrigue follows even on vacation in France. As Alan is incapacitated by a broken ankle, Dorothy ends up alone on her holiday. By chance, she meets a young volunteer who claims to be in search of music by Abelard. Coincidences happen, but it quickly becomes clear he isn't the only one searching for missing manuscripts. And what does it have to do with an unknown tourist who almost drowned in quicksand and a man who was attacked at the Abbey and left for dead. And does any of this have anything to do with the forged illuminated pages comin forth from unscrupulous dealers? Everyone lies, as Dorothy and her husband (once he arrives) discover, but is someone a murderer?
Once you get past the improbability of Dorothy getting involved, it’s a good story, quite different from than the average mystery. It makes for a nice change...
She Be Damned A Heloise Chancey Mystery
by M.J. Tjia Legend Press
Historical Fiction , Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 01 Aug 2017
She Be Damned is a difficult book to read, not because of the writing which is excellent, but the troubling topics it addresses. Prostitutes are being killed, but more than that their sexual organs are mutilated and removed. The victims are pregnant young women and their victimization is horrifying. Mrs. Heloise Chancey is similar to the girls in that as a courtesan, she too is dependent upon the goodwill of men, but differs in her status and treatment. She is also an accomplished actress, and has acted as a detective on previous occasions. This case is different, both because she is blackmailed into it and because it hits close to home. Heloise is to find a young pregnant who may have become a victim since she was banished from her home. It’s a difficult case both because it forces Heloise to visit places and people from her past, and puts her at...