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review 2020-09-10 00:05
Locked Heart - Eden Finley

Cash has finally achieved a lifelong dream.  One thing he notices now, is that the one person he wanted to be with him there when he experiences it, is not a part of his life anymore.  Should he reach out?


Sherlock AKA "Locke" is not sure if he should open a door that has been closed for a decade.  Will he survive if he spends time with Cash again?  He took a lot to get where he is in his life.  If only he could stop himself from feeling attracted........


This book has a strong character base.  I found myself wanting to know more about all of them.  Such a solid story and the pace was pleasantly fast but not too much.  I really liked it and could not put it down and then I was done. Would love to see these characters again.  I give this a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!



***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2019-12-12 05:23
Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada, translated by Louise Heal Kawai
Murder in the Crooked House (御手洗潔 #2) - Soji Shimada,Louise Heal Kawai

Kozaburo Hamamoto, a rich businessman, invites several guests to stay at the Ice Floe Mansion, his eccentric creation, during the Christmas of 1983. The mansion consists of a main building with a confusing layout and very slightly sloping floors, as well as a tower modeled after the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Kozaburo's room is at the very top of the tower, reachable by a drawbridge. A couple of his family members, his staff, and his guests are all in various rooms in the main house.

Things are a little awkward and tense right from the start. Eiko, Kozaburo's daughter, flubs a few of the introductions: she completely forgets Ueda, Mr. Kikuoka's chauffeur, and manages to embarrass both Kumi Aikura (Mr. Kikuoka's "secretary," who everyone knows is also his mistress) and Hatsue Kanai (the wife of Michio Kanai, an executive at Mr. Kikuoka's company). Among the guests are also two rivals for Eiko's hand in marriage, Shun Sasaki and Masaki Togai. After one of the guests is murdered in a locked room, the police begin investigating. As in The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, readers are invited to follow the clues, look at various crime scene and building illustrations, and potentially solve the mystery themselves.

This took me ages to read, because I kept flipping back to earlier parts of the book to reread them. There were so many strange little crime scene details and architectural oddities that I felt like I could somehow manage to solve the mystery if I just thought about it carefully enough. In some ways it seemed more solvable than The Tokyo Zodiac Murders. Even with hints from another reader, I couldn't quite get there, though, and now that I've read the end and know what really happened, I'm not sure I'd ever have figured it out. I spent too much time focusing on the wrong details. Also, as clever as the solution turned out to be, the way Shimada opted to muddy the water irked me.

I didn't feel like it fit the character, and even the character couldn't really satisfactorily explain why they'd done that particular thing, since it was technically unnecessary.

(spoiler show)

Although I enjoyed getting to see Kiyoshi Mitarai again, when he finally appeared in the last third of the book, overall this is the kind of story you read more for the puzzle than for the characters. Even with all of the just-under-the-surface drama, most of the characters didn't make much of an impression on me, and for a while I kept having to flip back to the character list to remind myself who everyone was. Of the bunch, Eiko, Kumi, and Mr. Kikuoka probably stood out the most. The cops, meanwhile, completely blended together.

Shimada's Kiyoshi Mitarai books are like the literary equivalent of the puzzle games I like to play, right down to that moment of frustration when I give up and look at the solution, because clearly I'm not going to manage to figure it out on my own. I see on Wikipedia that there are many more books in this series that could potentially be translated into English one day. Even though I didn't quite enjoy Murder in the Crooked House as much as The Tokyo Zodiac Murders (the latter had a better overall atmosphere), I still very much hope that I eventually get the chance to read the next book in this series.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-10-06 14:51
Locked Doors - Mary Roberts Rinehart for Terrifying Women
Locked Doors - Mary Roberts Rinehart

Woo hoo. I love getting lost in a doorstopper, but it takes a skilled writer to squeeze the right emotions out in a shorter work. Roberts Rinehart got mad skills. And a truly modern feel. Hard to believe this was first published more than 100 years ago.


We get a quick and dirty set up: Miss Adams is a trained nurse who investgates for the cops from the inside. She packs her gun and a suitcase and is on the scene in a big family home trying to find out what the family is hiding, what happened to the nanny, and what freaked out the last nurse so badly. 


I am delighted to say I never predicted that solution. Happily there are plenty of stories available in the public domain. Collect them all.


Personal copy from Gutenberg

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review 2018-09-30 07:04
Locked Doors
Locked Doors - Mary Roberts Rinehart

I'm so glad I've 'discovered' Mary Roberts Rinehart.  I've only read a very few of her works so far, but the ones I've read have been well worth it.


Locked Doors is a short story, but published on its own by Dell back in 1941 (though first copyrighted in 1914).  A nurse and undercover agent for the police, Miss Adams takes on a queer assignment watching over two perfectly healthy boys, who are never allowed to leave their nursery.  She and the boys are locked in at all hours, with windows nailed shut, and parents who stay up all night watching the stairs with abject terror.


Short the story may be in pages, but long in suspense, and fast in pace.  If you can find this story anywhere, I highly recommend it; I promise you, you'll never see that ending coming.  


I read this for the Genre: Suspense square of Halloween Bingo.

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review 2018-09-25 16:47
The Girl in the Locked Room
The Girl in the Locked Room - Mary Downing Hahn
How long do you keep your promise? To Lily….you keep it forever. Massie and Jules needed to convince Lily that there was another alternative to keeping that promise before it was too late.
This is another great ghost story that is threaded with compassion. I liked how Massie and Jules solved the mystery and then, went about proving to Lily that she mattered to them.


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