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review 2020-05-18 03:36
Love and Death Among the Cheetahs (Royal Spyness, #13)
Love and Death Among the Cheetahs - Rhys Bowen

The author starts this instalment with an apology in advance; the book is set in Africa - Kenya - during the late 20's/early 30's, a time when race relations and the views of the British Empire (as were the rest of the world) were shameful.

 

This had me braced for difficult reading, but I have to say, that was not the disclaimer I needed.  In true cozy style, Bowen acknowledged the dichotomy and inequality between white and black without really verbalising it.  What caught me unawares (and shouldn't have; I can only wonder if the pre-apology diverted me), was the casual references to hunting big game.  Of course it was a thing back then, and of course I should have seen it coming.  

 

The other unexpected part of the story was the behaviour of the upper class in Kenya; a risqué path for a cozy, but done well by the author, and based on actual events and a real person: Lady Idina Sackville.  Bowen closes with a short bibliography of texts she used in an effort to write about the times accurately.

 

All in all, another enjoyable instalment in a long-running series that has remained fairly strong throughout, balancing cheeky naiveté and interesting murder plots.

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review 2020-05-09 01:13
Penny for Your Secrets (Verity Kent, #3)
Penny for Your Secrets - Anna Lee Huber

Each time after reading the first two books, I told myself I wasn't going to read the next one, because I really dislike the way she setup the characters.  To explain more would be a plot spoiler for book 1, sorry.  But yet, I keep on picking up the next book and reading it.  

 

Characters' lives aside, Anna Lee Huber writes a good mystery.  The plots are generally intricate and mostly avoid the trite or well-worn paths of the genre.  This one was no different, except that it's setting up a multi book arc with a nemesis, and I'm pretty wishy-washy about nemeses.  I also got a little bit tired of the constant references to Verity's spy career during the war.  I suspect this is a Kensington editorial thing as it's the type of over-reference I find a lot in their books, making me wonder if they underestimate their readers' abilities to reading comprehension.

 

Generally an enjoyable read, but once again, I find myself thinking I might not buy the next one, though of course, I probably will anyway.

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review 2019-12-26 10:27
Murder at Kensington Palace (Wrexford and Sloane, #3)
Murder At Kensington Palace - Andrea Penrose

I enjoy this series so far, but this plot setup stretched the boundaries of plausibility a bit thin.  It was still good, and the outing of Charlotte Sloane was inevitable and handled well, but the murder setup involving her cousin was played too strongly for nail biting suspense, in my opinion (as was the denouement).  The rest was good though, and while I can't remember whodunnit, I do remember not guessing it too early in the book.

 

Overall a good read and I'll be on the lookout for #4.

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review 2019-12-26 10:22
The Burry Man's Day (Dandy Gilver, #2)
The Burry Man's Day - Catriona McPherson

The quirky from book 1 doesn't hold so much in book 2, but boy howdy is the dark still there.  I'm not going to lie, while I was intrigued by the Burryman Festival, the description of the Burryman's ... costume? creeped me right out.  McPherson's detailed description made me feel claustrophobic and I could totally understand why children would cry upon seeing him.  

 

Dandy continues her unorthodox (for the times) partnership and I'm curious how the author is going to shape this investigative duo in future books.  I nailed the whodunnit part, but the ending... ugh, I did not see the ending coming and I was more than a little surprised and impressed that McPherson went there in what is ostensibly a cozy historical.

 

Will definitely read more of the series - and not just because I have the books.  ;)

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review 2019-12-26 10:15
After the Armistice Ball (Dandy Gilver, #1)
After the Armistice Ball - Catriona McPherson

Quirky, and a little bit dark.  It's been long enough now since I read it that I'm very fuzzy on most of the details, but I enjoyed it enough to immediately pick up book #2.  Dandy is a little odd at the start, and her partnership with a male character that's not her husband is innocent yet intriguing and challenging to my sense of what one could get away with during the time (the interval between WW1 and WW2).  

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