I'm going to diving into these two books soon - is anyone interested in an impromptu Detection Club buddy read?
I haven't been keeping up with my "Detection Club Bingo," an oversight which I definitely plan to rectify! I've been perusing the booklists and plan to start on category 11 (Education, Education, Education) with Death on the Cherwell (in addition, Edwards missed Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie, which is an unconscionable oversight) and Chapter 4 (Play Up! Play Up! And Play the Game!) with The Hogsback Murder.
As promised, I put together a bingo card for The Detective Club, based on the chapter headings in Martin Edward's The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.
Each number refers to the relevant chapter in The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books. The images are either a detail from the cover image of a book mentioned in the chapter, with the exception of #3, and I couldn't resist an image of Hercule Poirot for a chapter called The Great Detectives!
Shelby Nichols is an average woman who is married to the only guy she ever fell for. Her life is organized and predictable, revolving around her husband and two children. All that changes the day she stops at the grocery store for some carrots. As the cashier rings up her purchases, a gunman is busy robbing the bank inside the store. When a customer grabs the robber's mask, he is shot and everyone runs for cover. Everyone except Shelby, who finds herself face to face with the killer.
The next thing she knows, she's lying on the floor with a bullet wound to her head. Luckily, the bullet only grazes her scalp, and she doesn't suspect any lasting affects until later, when she suddenly 'hears' what people are thinking. With this uncanny ability, her life takes on a whole new dimension. Her kids think she's bossy and too old to understand them, but that's nothing compared to her husband. He says he loves her, but what is it about the redhead at work that he doesn't want her to know?
As if that isn't enough, the gunman knows she can identify him, and he's out to silence her forever. In her fight to stay alive, she is saved from certain death by a handsome hit-man with ties to organized crime. This pulls Shelby even deeper into danger, where knowing someone's thoughts can not only hurt her feelings, but get her killed.
The Shelby Nichols series is one that I’ve had my eye on since I featured one of the books on my blog. I was lucky enough to get the eBook Carrots, the first book in the series, for free when it was offered and then I was even more lucky to log onto my Audible app one day and be offered any free audiobook I wanted, so I grabbed Carrots for that offer.
There is a little bit of everything going on in the plot of Carrots, with the mafia, police investigations, and more. It’s humorous and silly, but also predictable. And, the covers for all ten books in the series are very appealing and attractive and the blurb for Carrots explains what happens in the story.
I found that the concept of our heroine getting a paranormal ability, of reading minds, to be cool and I liked that she had gumption and wanted to do something useful and legal with her gift, but then by the time I finished I was frustrated and not sure on how I felt about the story.
I had issues with Shelby: I thought I’d relate to her well, since she’s a stay at home mother and in her mid-thirty’s, but I ended up having a love / hate relationship with her. She seams smart, but she’s actually brainless, transpart, and couldn’t keep her mouth shut, which gets her in more trouble then she’s already in. I kept shacking my head at some of the things she did through out the story and was thinking; “really” and “keep your mouth shut”.
Then theirs her relationships: I couldn’t understand them. We have her family, which those where barely scratched on. Then theirs her husband, which it seams like she clearly loves him and he loves her, but we learn some things and this new ability that puts strain on their relationship. I was also irritated by her anger at her husband over another women who is clearly trying to steal him even though he didn’t reciprocate those advances. While this was happening Shelby’s being all swoony over a police officer she calls “dimples” and Ramos “the hit man” who clearly will kill her if the head bad guy gives the orders.
Audio Narration: This is my first experience with narrator Wendy Tremont King. I have to say I enjoyed her narration. Liked her voices, though I will say some of the men weren’t different enough and I thought they sounded alike instead of individuals.
To sum things up I’m done with this series and won’t be trying anymore out. I wanted to be swept away on a cozy fun mystery, but ended up feeling perturbed and frustrated.
Rated: 2.5/3 Stars
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Can anyone recommend some mommy mysteries with a paranormal or unique element that I might like to try?
The premise of the Mystery content turned out to be very familiar me, thanks to other books I've read. In other words, I figured this one out, simply because the author was resorting to tricks and slight-of-writing that have been done to death--well, done to murder.
I went back to look at my updates at the Booklikes website, and did notice that I was still stumped as of page 153, but it wasn't long after that when a major penny dropped in my brain, and once a major revelation opened up before me--again, one that authors use repeatedly--almost everything formerly hidden fell into place. This disappointment--just about any whodunit I figure out is not going to get top marks from me--combined with rather cardboard characterizations, including the comic-relief ones, as the author focused on the puzzle and not the psychology of the people or the drama of the situation, brought the book down a bit, in my estimation.
Overall, not a bad effort. Was it Thomas Berger's catch-all quote, or someone else: "there was nothing really wrong with it, except that it was kind of lousy.". I can't even use that quote here, because the book was not lousy, just very, very familiar in its premise. I'm actually kicking myself for not noticing a rather routine bit of skullduggery (hah!) early on. The book is too short to really ever get dull, and the author sets a peppy pace, while running a handy formula with bits jiggled around. I would agree with Martin Edwards who, in his Intro to my edition of this novel, makes note of the fact that this reads a lot like a Freeman Wills Crofts novel, up to including the fact that Bude's detective, Meredith, is not much different than Crofts' (once-)famous Inspector French. That leads me to recommend the following Crofts novels, ahead of The Sussex Downs Murder:
Inspector French and the Sea Mystery
Inspector French and the Starvel Hollow Tragedy
The Mystery in the Channel
In particular, Sea Mystery shines best, if you want my two cents accumulated from any pennies that keep dropping in my head, from books that try and use Crofts' tricks to try and outdo him; and heck, they probably weren't even Crofts' tricks originally, were they?--a Conan Doyle novel comes to mind, and that's going way back, plus I think of a Michael Connelly Mystery that I loved, but that jiggles bits of a familiar premise.
I would say Sussex Downs Murder beats out Inspector French and the Box Office Murders which, to me, feels dated and quaint--though there's some nasty crap going on in that one thanks to ruthless villains--but other than that, I've given you my version of a reading order that supports the notion that Crofts jiggles familiar bits and pieces around more masterfully than perhaps Bude does. Still, I've read much more of Crofts, and should probably give Bude more chances to impress me. I certainly wouldn't be adverse to another John Bude outing...but he will need to stay away from that...that...um, that...that specific, um, thing writers do.