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review 2020-01-25 17:54
The Singer from Memphis (Athenian Mysteries #6) - Gary Colby
The Singer from Memphis (An Athenian Mystery) - Gary Corby

While I don't necessarily find the mysteries in this series to be anything mind blowing, I adore the banter that takes place between characters. The subtle wit is brilliant. I'm a little disappointed the next book in this series will be my last.


Read 1/21/2020 - 1/24/2020


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review 2020-01-22 18:40
Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen / Vicki Delany
Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery) - Vicki Delany

In Rudolph, New York, it’s Christmastime all year long. But this December, while the snow-lined streets seem merry and bright, a murder is about to ruin everyone’s holiday cheer…

As the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, Merry Wilkinson knows how to decorate homes for the holidays. That’s why she thinks her float in the semi-annual Santa Claus parade is a shoo-in for best in show. But when the tractor pulling Merry’s float is sabotaged, she has to face facts: there’s a Scrooge in Christmas Town.

Merry isn’t ready to point fingers, especially with a journalist in town writing a puff piece about Rudolph’s Christmas spirit. But when she stumbles upon the reporter’s body on a late night dog walk—and police suspect he was poisoned by a gingerbread cookie crafted by her best friend, Vicky—Merry will have to put down the jingle bells and figure out who’s really been grinching about town, before Vicky ends up on Santa’s naughty list…


I tried to get ahold of this book for the Christmas season, but was way too late! But, since this author will be attending a conference that I will attend in August, I decided that I would read it anyway. I have previously read her Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries, so I thought it would stand me in good stead to see what else she had to offer.

Imagine my surprise then, when I felt like I was re-read the Bookshop Mysteries! There are so many details in common. The protagonists are both young women who moved away from small communities and returned, both of them have set up speciality shops, both have best friends who run bake shops, both re-encounter a man they used to date, both have dogs that they barely have time for, both meet an attractive man who has newly moved to the community, both of them discover dead bodies, both have a member of the police force that they don’t get along with, and neither of these women trust the police to fully investigate the deaths. That’s a lot of overlap.

Don’t get me wrong--I finished the book. It was good enough to hold my attention to the end, although I was pretty sure of the destination. There were details that were delightful. This one is set in Rudolph, N.Y., billing itself as Christmastown USA. The main character is called Merry of course and her father (born on Dec. 25) is Noel and he is a dead ringer for Santa Claus. Merry’s dog, a young Saint Bernard, is called Matterhorn (though she calls him Mattie most often). Delany shows talent in naming her characters although I raised an eyebrow when the BFF in this one was named Vicky!

I realize that if you enjoy a particular pattern, you will enjoy a repeat of it. Witness myself and my obsessive reading of Ilona Andrews’ writing. Those novels too repeat a formula over and over and I shamelessly enjoy them. So, if you enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries, I have absolutely no doubt that you will enjoy the Year-Round Christmas Mysteries and vice-versa.

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review 2020-01-21 13:23
Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher #7) - Kerry Greenwood
Ruddy Gore - Kerry Greenwood

These books never disappoint. Not only was this book delightful, it was also a quick enough read that it allowed me to finish the long weekend having read more books than my 11 year old. 


If you ask her, she'll say my lack of enforced bedtime allowed me to win. That might be true. I still won. 


Dates read 1/19/2020-1/20/2020

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review 2020-01-20 23:25
The Remains of an Altar (Merrily Watkins Mysteries Book 8) - Phil Rickman

Not the best of the series. There is something a bit off, maybe because Lol and Gomer aren't as present. But Rickman does tap into the fear of development and tourism as well as how ghost stories are seen by different people in the same area. That's what makes it a good read. And it's always nice to spend time with Merrily who is one of the best written characters in the world.

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review 2020-01-20 22:59
Bloody January / Alan Parks
Bloody January - Alan J. Parks

When a teenage boy shoots a young woman dead in the middle of a busy Glasgow street and then commits suicide, Detective Harry McCoy is sure of one thing. It wasn't a random act of violence.

With his new partner in tow, McCoy uses his underworld network to lead the investigation but soon runs up against a secret society led by Glasgow's wealthiest family, the Dunlops.

McCoy's boss doesn't want him to investigate. The Dunlops seem untouchable. But McCoy has other ideas . . .

In a helter-skelter tale - winding from moneyed elite to hipster music groupies to the brutal gangs of the urban wasteland - Bloody January brings to life the dark underbelly of 1970s Glasgow and establishes Alan Parks as a new and exciting voice in Scottish noir.


Wow, this is down and dirty Tartan noir! Harry McCoy is not your typical main character detective. Harry grew up in care, in a church run institution and his best buddy from those days is now one of the major crime bosses in Glasgow. This, obviously, is going to cause some issues for McCoy. Talk about conflict of interest!

I generally prefer noir mysteries to the cozies. And I did like this one, but I found some of the over-the-top violence and a lot of the language off-putting. It’s not like I have never sworn in my life, but I do try to moderate it (my mother taught me that people pay more attention when you swear if you don’t do it very often). Probably the amount of profanity is accurate for 1970’s Glasgow, but it was a little much for 2020 me. There’s a lid for every pot, but this one doesn’t fit me.

I was excited to recognize Irn Bru when one character was guzzling a bottle of it. I’d just heard a radio program about small brands that stood up to huge ones and Irn Bru in Scotland outsells CocaCola! Recognizing the brand gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling in an otherwise cold and gray book.

If you love dark and gritty crime fiction, this is the book for you.

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