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review 2017-07-23 03:10
Murder in the Rue Dumas (Verlaque and Bonnet, #2)
Murder in the Rue Dumas - M.L. Longworth

The second in a (so far) 6 book series, this one started off much more slowly for me, as the author takes the time to set the murder scene, introduce the suspects, and hint at motivations before we ever hear from our two MCs.  I recognise the value of this, but I mostly find it tedious.


Once the body drops, the pace starts to pick up, albeit slowly, and Bonnet makes very few appearances until the last half of the book.  From this point on, I once again fell into Aix-en-Provence - and Umbria Italy! - and lost myself in the mystery, the setting and the characters.


The mystery plotting was very good, although I think Longworth could be accused of over-complicating it.  But I totally didn't see that ending coming and when it came it was tense.


Murder in the Rue Dumas wasn't quite as good as the first one, but it was still better than most cozies available now - it's got a much more 'traditional mystery' feel and I can't wait for book three to arrive in the post.


This was my Free Friday Read #5 and was 296 pages long. 

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review 2017-07-22 00:43
Death, Taxes, and a Chocolate Cannoli
Death, Taxes, and a Chocolate Cannoli - Diane Kelly

Not my favourite of the series, but not bad.  It had fewer mini-plots running concurrently, in fact, there was only one, and I missed them.  Kelly is really good at those multiple mini-plots and they keep the story moving and lively.  Without them, this one dragged a bit.


Tara is undercover here, working directly for the mobster's wife in her restaurant and the scenes with the wife were probably the best in the book.  I liked the dynamic between her and Tara.  Unfortunately, the rest of the storyline failed to catch my complete interest.  Tara didn't do much in the way of investigating at all and that's some of my favourite parts of past stories.


It was still a solid read and hopefully in the next book the author will have Tara back to juggling her usual caseload.






Total pages:  325  

$$: $9.00 (location multiplier)


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review 2017-07-18 23:47
Kale to the Queen
Kale to the Queen - Nell Hampton

I really enjoyed this!


This was a light read, and a good start to the series. The main character was likeable and the writing moved along at a good pace. I wouldn't mind reading the next in the series. It's not the White House Mysteries by Julie Hyzy  but it does remind you of it being it takes place in Kensington Palace. The mystery was good and the culprit caught me off guard, so well done. 


Overall, recommend. 


I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. 



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review 2017-07-16 01:41
A Ghostly Light (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #7)
A Ghostly Light - Juliet Blackwell

Not sure what it was, but something was missing from this one.  I still enjoyed it, still found it a fun read, but, I don't know, it just wasn't as good as so many others in the series.


I'd sort of forgotten about the romantic shakeup that happened in the last book, so I had some catching up to do, but overall, I think the change is for the better; it added a tiny bit of zest to the character development, and it needed it.


This book brings back a couple of characters from Keeper of the Castle (coincidentally the book in the series I found to be the weakest), but this time Mel's working on restoring a lighthouse off the coast of San Francisco, and before she can even get started she finds the client's ex-husband dead at the bottom of the lighthouse stairs, and a ghost whose hobbies include pushing men down stairs.


A big theme in this book is Mel's acquired acrophobia and how she's struggling to deal with it.  This didn't interest me all that much, to be honest, and maybe it was a contributing factor to my slight ennui about the book overall.  There were too many scattered themes that just didn't weave together very tightly.  The book, taken as a whole, felt unfocused.


But the mystery was pretty good; I enjoyed the story about the light keepers and the tie-in to Treasure Island was the highlight of the whole thing.  The murder mystery was...not bad, but given the lack of focus, I'm not sure I can recall any actual investigating that Mel did, so that the big reveal at the end depended on last second deductions and the cooperation of the killer.  It worked, but it failed to have much of an impact.


I'm far from being soured on the series, but this isn't the strongest of the lot.






Total pages:  314

$$:  $9.00  (location multiplier)

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review 2017-07-13 09:24
Death at the Chateau Bremont (Verleque and Bonnet Mystery, #1)
Death at the Chateau Bremont - M.L. Longworth

Let me get the most egregious bit out of the way:  the editing was bad.  I'd go so far as to say no human being copy-edited this book.  Missing words, wrong words (it instead of is or to instead of so), words in the wrong order, and my favourite:


"She lingered under the shower, watching the hot water roll over her tummy, which was beginning to protrude a bit, down to her toes."


If your stomach is protruding down to your toes, it's probably protruding more than a bit.


And finally, I hate the word 'tummy' the same way so many hate 'moist', and it's used a lot in this book.  


But it was a delightfully great mystery in a more traditional, rather than cozy, style.  I had my doubts because frankly, I'd never heard of it or the others in the series and since it was a Penguin publication, I had to wonder why it didn't seem to receive much in the way of marketing love.


Verleque is an ass; he comes from great wealth and has grand ideas about food and wine and cigars, while his ex, Bonnet is cheerful and kind and universally loved.  The death of Bonnet's old childhood friend brings them back into each others' orbits as Verleque investigates the death and relies on Bonnet's connections and memories to sort out what happened.


This is not a book for anyone with a low tolerance of character building; a lot of the book (third person pov) is spent getting to know Verleque and Bonnet as individuals before seeing them work together.  What would feel like extraneous filler in other books seems necessary here to make Verleque sympathetic; he's still a bit of an ass, but by the end it seems more understandable, and a great personal secret lurks in the background, presumably to be revealed in a later book.


The mystery was really well plotted; so many possible avenues, a killer I didn't see coming and a not entirely neat and tidy ending.  And the atmosphere:  Aix-en-Provence - what is it about French countryside settings?  


If you want a good, traditional mystery that spends time creating rich, complex characters, I definitely recommend this - but if you read digitally, maybe check out the ebook version in hopes that the editing debacle has since been corrected.






Page count:  311

$$:  $9.00  (location multiplier applied)

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