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review 2019-01-07 14:23
A Murder by Any Name
A Murder by Any Name: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery - Suzanne M. Wolf

One of Queen Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting has been murdered and set on display.  With the murderer throwing the palace into chaos, Queen Elizabeth brings in one of her famous spies, Nicholas Holt to quickly find the killer.  However, the public feels that the Jews are to blame and when another murder follows, suspicions and fear quickly arise.

As a lover of all things Tudor, I couldn't resist a murder mystery set in Queen Elizabeth's court. I immediately enjoyed the way that Queen Elizabeth is portrayed by Suzanne M. Wolfe.  This Elizabeth is authentic, using salty speech and acute intelligence, glamorous in style, but still very wary of threats surrounding her.  Nicholas Holt and his companion,  Hector the wolfhound are an amazing spy duo.  Nick's skill set allows the reader into the many different sections of England.  Nick is friends with Eli and Rivkah, Jewish doctors, setting the tone for the religious turmoil at the time and interviews many servants in Whitehall, exposing the many people and tasks they do to keep the castle running.  Overall, this mystery kept me on my toes and included in-depth historical detail of the later parts of Queen Elizabeth's reign.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

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review 2018-12-27 22:58
24 Festive Tasks: Door 18 - Winter Solstice / Yuletide, Task 2 (Neverending Book)
Murder at the Old Vicarage: A Christmas Mystery - Jill McGown

I'm going with the book I read yesterday for this: Mind you, this is by no means a bad book (I gave it 3 1/2 stars); the characters are well-developed, the story gets going fairly quickly, and while it does, it's an engaging read -- even if I didn't like all the characters I was supposed to like quite as much as the author probably hoped.  Also, if you haven't made up your mind early on about the "who" (and the probable "why"), and if you like an author twisting your tail round and round until you get to the solution, you'll certainly get your fill here.  Alas, the latter wasn't true for me in this instance, though; and as a result, from a certain point onwards the story's twists and turns felt a bit like the manipulations of one of those "three caps and a pea" shell game operators, but one where you've twigged the main sleight of hand early on and are just half-heartedly following the motions and waiting for the big reveal.  As a result, the final 100 or so pages of the book took me about twice as long as they would have if I had still been fully engaged at that point -- and in a 230 page book, that equates to almost half the contents.


Side note: While PanMacmillan's (and it always seems to be them) insistence on republishing mysteries set during or even only in the vicinity of Christmas with a new title (and matching cover) shouting "Christmas mystery", "cozy", and "Golden Age tradition" is seriously getting on my nerves at this point, here they've actually hit the bull's eye in a sense -- which will become clear very fast to any reader who's also read the book after which this mystery's title is obviously fashioned, and to which it pays hommage to a certain extent; i.e., Agatha Christie's first Miss Marple mystery.  Unfortunately, the new title indirectly also shines a light on precisely those clues and constructive elements of the book that, to me, made it clear fairly early on where we were headed ... and of course now I'll never know whether, if I had read the book under its original title (Redemption), those clues would have stood out to me quite as much as they actually did.

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review 2018-12-20 00:00
Star Spangled Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery #11)
Star Spangled Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery #11) - Leslie Meier Please see all of my reviews on my blog at https://www.robinlovesreading.com.

Mrs. Prudence Pratt is Lucy Stone’s nemesis. More accurately put, Mrs. Pratt is Kudo’s, the family’s dog, nemesis. Kudos keeps escaping and killing her blue-ribbon chickens. Before the Stone family can correct the matter, Mrs. Pratt will go to any means necessary to have the dog destroyed. As if enough isn’t going on in Tinker’s Cove, there are some trying to cancel the upcoming fireworks display and a colony of nudists, or more accurately referred to, naturists, have descended upon the local pond.

Oh, and let’s not forget the serious concern that the lobster trade might be affected by poachers. As a part-time reporter, Lucy is trying to cover at least one of these stories...well, she would rather leave the naturists to her boss.

Sort of a spoiler here...but each story in this cozy mystery series contains a murder...

Mrs. Pratt is dead. Her manner of death is beyond all doubt a murder. Since Lucy is concerned that the police are looking at her for it, she decides to check into it for herself. Will she be able to locate the murderer without bringing danger to herself?

For a relatively short book, the story is quite busy. There is the requisite family drama, the aforementioned murder, Lucy’s hectic job, and a bit more. This is a nice addition to the series that I have been enjoying thus far. This is a quick read, and despite some serious issues, it is rather light-hearted.

There are twenty-five books in the series thus far, and book twelve is New Year’s Eve Murder.
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review 2018-12-20 00:00
Father's Day Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery)
Father's Day Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery) - Leslie Meier Please see all of my reviews on my blog at https://www.robinlovesreading.com.

Part-time reporter Lucy Stone is about to get a break from her family to attend a newspaper conference. Unfortunately, it is just before Father’s Day, so Lucy has some juggling to do. It’s not as fun as she imagines. She misses her family more than she thought she would, the panels are rather boring, and some of the other attendees really get on her nerves.

Shockingly, Luther Read, owner of a virtually bankrupt newspaper suddenly dies, and the circumstances are quite suspicious, despite being first ruled an asthma attack. As a matter of fact, Luther had enemies, so there is more than one suspect.

Luther Read is no stranger to Lucy. His family has a second home in Lucy’s hometown of Tinker’s Cove. So, per usual, Lucy decides to investigate. All the while, Lucy gets to enjoy parts of Boston and even has time to shop for her family. Meanwhile, husband Bill works hard at running their household.

As Lucy goes further in seeking out Luther’s murderer, she again places herself in harm’s way. This cozy mystery is fast-paced with Lucy being out of her element, while she excels at being an amateur detective. Father’s Day Murder is book ten in the series. The next book is Star Spangled Murder with twenty-five to-date. These are all delightful reads and I look forward to continuing.
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review 2018-12-11 11:59
Murder On Cue by Jane Dentinger (1983)
Murder on Cue (Jocelyn O'Roarke Mystery #1) - Jane Dentinger

Everyone around Harriet — from Harriet’s family down to the stage manager — has a motive to murder, if given the right opportunity.

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