Mystery Memo # 104 2010

Mystery Memo
# 104
Alexander, Tasha: Poisoned Season (2007) Historical, set in Victorian London.
Book # 2 with Lady Emily Ashton, a young widow. A jewel thief is breaking
into houses, intent on stealing items once owned by Marie Antoinette. Lady
Ashton works within the constraints of her time and gender to investigate
who the thief might be and who murdered one of the thief’s victims. Light
historical romance type. First book: And Only to Deceive (2005) ****
Bazell, Josh: Beat the Reaper (2009) Not series. Manhattan physician Dr.
Peter Brown is in the witness protection program. When he is recognized by a
Mafia member who is being prepared for surgery, the action begins. A nice
fast read, but not recommended while you are in the hospital…. ****
Benn, James R.: The First Wave: a World War II mystery (2007)
Historical, set in 1942 in Algeria. Book # 2 with Boston cop Billy Boyle.
Strings have been pulled so Billy’s war service is spent working for his Uncle
Ike, Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower dispatches Billy to help arrange the
surrender of Vichy French forces in Algeria. Lots of politics, double dealing,
theft of supplies, etc. The situation grows more complex when Billy sees his
true love Diane working undercover with some French students and realizes
she could be in serious danger. First book: Billy Boyle (2006) *** ½
Castillo, Linda: Sworn to Silence (2009) American police procedural. Book # 1
with Sheriff Kate Burkholder in the Amish town of Painters Mill, Ohio. The
case: several vicious murders are very similar to some murders in the area 20
years before, when Kate was just a teenager. I’ll seek out the next one: Pray
for Silence, coming June 2010 ****
Connor, Beverly: Dead Past (2007) Forensic science. Book # 4 with Diane
Fallon, forensic anthropologist and director of a small museum in Georgia. In
this book Diane is also head of the forensic crime lab. The case: a deadly
explosion in student housing keeps Diane’s crime lab staff busy even as they
mourn the loss of many college students from their small community. First
book: One Grave Too Many (2003) ****
Delany, Vicki: Winter of Secrets (2009) Canadian police procedural. Book # 3
with Constable Molly Smith in Trafalgar, B.C. An SUV pulled from the river
contains the bodies of two young men, one apparently dead long before the
vehicle went in the water. First two books: In the Shadow of the Glacier
(2007), Valley of the Lost (2009) *** ½
Disher, Garry: Blood Moon (2009) Australian police procedural. Book # 5 with
Inspector Hal Challis and Sergeant Ellen Destry in an urban area near
Melbourne. The serious beating of a school chaplain has police puzzled. A
British police procedural feel. First book: Dragon Man (1999) **** ½
Grabien, Deborah: While My Guitar Gently Weeps (2009) Book # 2 with, J.P.
Kinkaid, a guitar player in a famous British band. J.P. has multiple sclerosis.
When the lead vocalist of a local band is found murdered with an expensive
guitar as the weapon, J.P. and his friends get right in the thick of the
investigation. Oddly compelling writing. You would enjoy this more if you read
the first book with these characters: Rock and Roll Never Forgets (2008).
Grabien also writes the Haunted Ballads series with Ringan Laine, British folk
musician and history expert [e.g. The Weaver and the Factory Maid (2003)]
*** ½
Harris, C.S.: What Remains of Heaven (2009) Historical, set in 1812 England.
Book # 5 with Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, recently back from the
Napoleonic Wars in France. Two recent corpses are discovered in an ancient
crypt. Author C.S. Harris handles the mystery well and I enjoy the tangled
muddle of the characters’ personal lives. First book: What Angels Fear
(2005) **** ½
Hurley, Graham: Turnstone (2000) British police procedural. Book # 1 with DI
Joe Faraday, Portsmouth, England. When a young child reports her father
missing, Faraday starts an investigation, even though there is no evidence of
a crime. The more he pokes into it, the more suspicious the disappearance
looks. I’ve read the rest of the series, but didn’t get my hands on the first
book in the series until now. Book # 2: The Take (2001) ****
Jakeman, Jane: The Egyptian Coffin (1997) Historical, set in England in 1830.
Book # 2 with Lord Ambrose Malfine, back from fighting the Greek War of
Independence, now living a solitary life. Malfine thinks that the orphaned
teenaged daughter of his childhood friend is being taken advantage of by her
uncle. The man sends her to Egypt, supposedly for her health, but Malfine
fears for the girl’s life, so he goes to Egypt to protect her. First book: Let
There Be Blood (1997) ****
Johnson, Craig: Dark Horse (2009) American police procedural. Book # 5 with
Sheriff Walt Longmire in the Bighorn mountains in Wyoming. Even after a
woman confesses to shooting her husband, Walt doesn’t believe she’s guilty.
To find out the truth, he goes undercover in the small ranching community
where the couple lived. First book: The Cold Dish (2004) *****
Quinn, Spencer: Thereby Hangs a Tail (2010) Private investigator. Book # 2
with Bernie, a divorced ex-cop private investigator and his dog Chet. The
book is from Chet’s point-of-view. Bernie is hired to investigate a threat
made against a dog show contestant. When the dog and the dog’s owner are
snatched at gunpoint, Bernie and Chet are on the trail. First book: Dog On It
(2009) ****
Roberts, David: Something Wicked (2007) Historical, set in England in 1938.
Book # 8 with Lord Edward Corinth and journalist Verity Browne. Edward is
asked by his dentist to look into three murders that the dentist believes are
linked. Within hours of this conversation, the dentist is murdered also. Very
“who done it”, but fun, with a sub-plot of spies and blackmail, all on the verge
of a world war. First book: Sweet Poison (2000) ****
Robotham, Michael: The Night Ferry (2007) British police procedural. This
book features Alisha Barba, a police officer recovering from a serious injury.
At her high school reunion, Alisha briefly connects with one of her friends
just minutes before the friend and her husband are run down and killed in
what looks like an accident. As Alisha looks into the accident, she realizes
something is seriously wrong. Loosely connected to Robotham’s previous
mysteries: The Suspect (2004) and Lost (2005). **** ½
Rosenfelt, David: New Tricks (2009) Book # 7 with independently wealthy
lawyer Andy Carpenter. Andy is asked to determine who should have custody
of a dog after the owner was murdered. Then a house blows up just after
Andy picks up the dog, the explosion killing the owner’s wife. This series
usually features dogs in some way. First book: Open and Shut (2002) *** ½
Slaughter, Karin: Blindsighted (2001) Book # 1 with Sara Linton, pediatrician
and coroner, and her ex-husband, now police chief of small town Georgia.
Sara discovers a local blind woman murdered in a restaurant bathroom. Next
book: Kisscut (2002) *** ½
Webb, Betty: Desert Lost (2009), Private investigator. Book # 6 with Lena
Jones, an investigator in Scottsdale, Arizona. A murdered woman seems
linked to the polygamists Lena has had run-ins with before. First book:
Desert Noir (2001) ****
The rating system: five stars ***** is the highest.
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