The President’s Daughter

The President’s Daughter by Mariah Stewart

Washington, D.C.

December 14, 1971

A beautiful woman walks down the street, prepared to meet someone, but instead of the meeting she is hit by a car and killed.

February 2002

Simon Keller is an investigative journalist who has been hired to write a memoir about the former President Graham Hayward; a great man with a stellar record. But as he starts digging he discovers the golden egg-the President had an affair that ended in tragedy and a baby.

Dina McDermott is an attractive and independent woman who owns her own landscaping business. She has lived a quiet life, one that is interrupted when Keller’s path leads him straight to her.

But with the revelation of Dina being the president’s secret daughter comes along a killer-one who is intent on finishing the job.

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought everything with Simon was great. He was interesting, his tenacity in research, etc was fantastic. It all fell apart when the main character finds out about her true heritage. There it seemed that all the characters lost common sense and the end was too quickly sewn up.

I mean Dina was always portrayed as being smart, clever, etc but she acts SO DUMB! Her life is in DANGER and does she do anything to protect it? No she continues to “live her life the same way.”

I don’t recommend it.

For more investigative reporters, go to A Match of Wits

For more secret children, go to Death by Honeymoon

For more not in a series mysteries, go to Wuthering Heights

In other news, this is our 400th post!

For the 300th post, go to Candy from a Stranger

A Taste of Fame

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A Taste of Fame (Potluck Catering Club #2) by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson

So some of you might be wondering where is the review for book one? Well there is no review for book one.

What?

The first book isn’t a mystery but a Christian novel that chronicles the lives of six women who change from a potluck prayer group to a catering group. Each member has different issues in their lives, as they grow in friendship and through trials. I wanted to skip it, but as I can’t completely do that without confusing you, I’ll give you a bite.

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The potluck group was started by Evangeline and grew to have five other members; Vonnie, Goldie, Lizzie, Donna, and Lisa Leann. The women go through trials, tribulations, prayer, and delicious food.

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Synopsis:

So since the hiccups of the first novel, the women have had a successful time with their catering business in their hometown. But things are about to change.

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Lisa Leann’s son came to visit, and decided to film them for his media class. It turns out that he also used the footage to enter them in the reality show, The Great Party Showdown.

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Even though most don’t want to participate, they signed a contract and have to, besides that the church could really use the money they win.

We are so happy for you

We are so happy for you

They win their first challenge of catering a special event in the community, creating a 1930s Animal Crackers themed party.

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And now the ladies are off to New York.

Yay!

Yay!

Evangeline has adapted to married life with her long time crush, Sheriff Vernon Vesey. She has even developed a better relationship with her stepdaughter, Donna, who has previously hated her. Her biggest issue, she and Lisa Leann are going into the city to do preliminary research, will she survive spending time with the Texan she can’t stand?

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Lisa Leann’s old affair came back to bite her in the last book. She admitted everything to her husband, but while he agreed to work on their marriage; he has been cold and silent. When Lisa Leann has to leave, Henry gives her an ultimatum: stay with him and they will stay together or leave and that will be the end.

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Vonnie is a little unsure about being in the city, but happy that her son David will be joining her. Vonnie was married when she moved to California to a Latina man. He died in Vietnam and Vonnie went into labor. Knocked out by grief and drugs; her mother told her that her son died and Vonnie signed the release papers, unknowingly signing her son’s adoption papers. When David surprised her by knocking on her door and revealing everything, Vonnie felt blessed to have her child back and loves every moment she has with him.

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As they prepare for their next challenges, continuing the movie theme they find a few things they did not expect. They are doing very well, but a few things seem to be going wrong. Almost as if someone is sabotaging them.

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But which team?

HMMM

Lizzie is enjoying the break and opportunity to visit New York as she has had a lot on her plate. In the last book she had her mother’s Alzheimer growing worse, her youngest daughter’s wedding to plan, her son and his family moving in with her when he lost his job, and her husband being injured. But when she helps a deaf couple find their lost handbag, she discovers one of the production assistants for the show on a date with a contestant. She reads their lips and sees that the assistant has “everything arranged.” Is the contest rigged from on high? And if so, what can Lizzie do to stop it?

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Donna is feeling pressure from all sides. In high school Donna and Wade dated, and she became pregnant. She lost the baby and Wade began drinking. Now 12 years later, Donna is a deputy and Wade is sober and taking care of his nephew Peter, the boy being the same age as their boy would have been. Donna is considering getting back with him, but then there is David who is crazy about her and wants to start a new relationship.

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But now there are the paparazzo hounding her, a Cajun cook trying to start a relationship; all the while Donna being on two cases. First looking to see if her tip about Pete’s mom fleeing her abusive husband for New York to be true, and second who the saboteur is.

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Goldie and her husband Jack have had a rocky relationship. Jack had been cheating on Goldie since they first got together, due to his compulsion for sex. They’ve been in counseling, and with the help, Jack has been able to master his compulsion. However, Jack’s health has been bothering him, and when he has to have surgery Goldie leaves the competition to fly out to be by his side. Will she make it in time? Will Jack survive?

Aw...

Aw…

How will the potluckers be able to win this whole thing down a player and with a saboteur on the loose? Time to pray.

dearlordhelpme

 

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was pretty good. The story was fun and interesting and I thought the development of the characters was great.

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I loved the idea of the movie themed parties from An Affair to Remember, King Kong, and Guys and Dolls; defintely the theme direction I would have gone in.

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The only thing I thought was dumb was that Deputy Sheriff Donna was kind of dim about a few things. She starts investigating Bubba, the Cajun chef, as the potential saboteur and when he tells her she probably mistook his cousin Bordeaux who looks just like him.

really?

What a joke. Come on how could you not see through that.

seriously

There were a few other times when it would have been easy to see through things but she didn’t.

Idon'tthinkso Idontseeit

But otherwise, I thought it was a good read and think it is worth a read. 🙂

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For more caterer mysteries, go to Catering to Nobody

For more Christian novels, go to A Change of Fortune

For more sabotage mysteries, go to The Silence of the Llamas

For more mystery reviews, go to The October Game

The Murder at the Vicarage

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The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1) by Agatha Christie

So I’m sure you all have been wondering when I was going to do an Agatha Christie novel. Well, I have been planning to do one, I just hadn’t gotten around to it quite yet.

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So here we are finally, our first Agatha Christie review and the first of the Miss Marple series:

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Leonard Clement is the Vicar in the village of Saint Mary Mead. His wife, Griselda, is twenty years younger than him, very pretty, and incompetent as a Vicar’s wife. She has no idea what she is doing or how to run the house.

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The Vicar’s nephew, Dennis, also lives with them.

This day the Vicar has said something very unchristian, but he is being driven crazy by Colonel Lucius Protheroe the local magistrate.

“…anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe would be doing the world at large a service.”

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Never say that in a murder mystery.

The Vicar’s schedule is interrupted by Lettice Protheroe, the Colonel’s daughter. She goes on about how her father is in horror about the artist in town, Lawrence Redding, painting her. She also goes on about how Anne, her stepmother, hates her. She then leaves as she is late for an appointment .

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After that the Vicar sees that the clock on his table shows it is a quarter to four. He decides to help out his wife and go to one of her dreaded tea parties. Gossip flows, even though the Vicar preaches against it, as we hear about Colonel Protheroe’s many disputes; whether Miss Cram is really a secretary; Laurence and Lettice are probably having an affair; who the new mysterious woman Mrs. Lestrange might be that has recently joined the community, etc.

The Vicar later accidentally comes upon Anne Protheroe, and sees that she is cheating on her husband with the artist not Lettice.

“When she had gone, I felt very uneasy. I felt that hitherto I had misjudged Anne Protheroe’s character. She impressed me now as a very desperate woman, the kind of woman who would stick at nothing, once her emotions were aroused. And she was desperately, wildly, madly in love with Lawrence Redding…”

Later Lawrence comes over for a dinner party and pleads with the Vicar to not say anything. The Vicar tells Lawrence the same thing that he told Anne, they shouldn’t be acting in such a way. She is a married woman. Lawrence wishes that the Colonel was gone as that would solve everything.

“If this were only a book,” he said gloomily,” the old man would die–and a good riddance to everybody.”

Not-Good

The next day is an unpleasant one, and to make things worse the Vicar runs into the Colonel who wants to have a private appointment to meet with the Vicar, and the Vicar is not looking forward to it. The Colonel is annoying, mean, and pretty much despised by all for good reason.

Hate him.

Hate him.

Later he runs into Curate Hawes, who looks extremely ill. He sends him home to bed.

Griselda is gone for the day in London, and the Vicar returns home at four to work on his sermon, but that is stopped when Mr. Redding  comes to tell him he is right, he needs to leave Anne or else he will ruin everything for her.

The Vicar then is given a call that Mr. Abbott of Lower Farm is dying. It is two miles away and there is no way he’ll be back in time for his appointment with the Colonel. He tries to phone him, but the Colonel is out and not expected to return for quite some time. The Vicar does the only thing he can do, leave a message with his maid and then go out to comfort the bereaved.

Hopefully that will be fine.

Hopefully that will be fine.

When the Vicar comes home, he finds out that Redding is there as well. Mr. Redding seems ill and is talking strangely.

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The Vicar finds that odd but continues into the vicarage where he finds the Colonel, dead.

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So who killed this hated man? The area is teaming with suspects, and the number ones are none other than Anne and Redding.

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The Vicar, Griselda, and Dennis; decide to investigate as the latter two love mysteries. But as they start, they discover there are a lot more questions and a whole can of worms are opened.

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The clock is revealed to have been tampered with, the actual time of death being unknown. Anne and Redding have tried to take the blame for each other. Do they really believe the other a murderer and trying to protect them or just hiding their own guilt?

HMMM

Then it is revealed that the Colonel’s first wife returned to the village even though the Colonel promised her horrible things would happen if she did. Did she kill him to be with her daughter? Did her daughter kill him to be with her mother? To get her inheritance.

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What’s with all these anonymous phone calls?

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Dennis came home earlier from his tennis party than he had said, could he have done it? Griselda took an earlier train than she said, did she even go to London? Was it the Vicar?

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One thing can be sure, the mystery will be solved with Miss Marple on the case.

MissMarple

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Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this book.

cluelesstravistwothumbsup!

Christie is a master at creating twists and turns and making you suspect, then doubt, and always not quite sure who did it until all is revealed at the end.

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Fantastic book, and we will be reviewing more as time goes on.

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For more Agatha Christie, go to Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

For more classic mystery, go to A Study in Scarlet

For more reviews, go to The Witch Hunter’s Tale

The Girl on the Train

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Thoughts Before Reading:

Goodreads has been pushing this book on me non-stop since it was published. It kept recommending it, had all these ads I would accidentally click on (I think Goodreads did it on purpose), I think they might have even run a contest for it.

I mean they wouldn’t leave me alone.

hughappy

So I added it to my to-read list, but we all know what that is like; am I right?

Agatha Christie, surrounded by some of her 80-plus crime novels.

Times a million

But then I saw the movie is coming out Friday and decided I should read it before I watch it. Here goes, but don’t worry I won’t reveal any spoilers.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book is told by three different female narrators, through a series of flashbacks and present time. It can get rather confusing, but that’s the tool Hawkin’s chooses to fog over the book and leave you guessing.

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1) Rachel

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Rachel Watson was married to her husband Tom for five years. He had an affair with a younger woman, Anna, got her pregnant and divorced Rachel. Rachel is still incredibly in love with him and hasn’t gotten over him, wishing they were together still.

Every day she rides the train from the house she is renting a room from to her work in a public relations firm in London. As she looks out the window she watches this couple she thinks is absolutely perfect; one she calls Jack and Jessie.

I wish I had that.

I wish I had that.

It reminds her of how she and her ex-husband Tom used to be.

Aw...

Aw…

Speaking of Tom, every day she passes their house, her old house! Tom moved his new wife in there, and they have a little girl. Everything about it upsets her and makes her so furious how he left her.

It's not fair.

It’s not fair.

Rachel is also an alcoholic, and when she drinks she completely black out losing that time and never recovering it or knowing exactly what took place.

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She continues to drink and ends up losing her job. She tries going into London to the library to find another, but instead spends more of her time just riding the train back and forth and watching “Jack and Jessie”. Wanting that life.

Aw, how cute.

Aw, how cute.

But on one Friday she looks out and Jessie isn’t with her husband. Instead she is kissing another man.

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Already thick with drink, Rachel continues on and becomes more and more angry. So furious at Jessie’s betrayal as it is so:

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It reminds her of her own betrayal and she starts thinking about how she would like to go over there and hit her or tell her to stop, like she should have done to Anna at the time. Instead of continuing on to her destination, she gets off on that stop and…

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The next day Rachel wakes up bloody and vomiting. She has a giant bump on her head and some of the blood on her is not her own. And she can’t remember anything.

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It turns out that late that night Jessie, who is really Megan, has vanished. No one knows where she went. Of course the police are looking at her husband (the one Rachel named Jack but is really Scott). Rachel can’t believe Scott would do such a thing and injects herself into the investigation and Scott’s life.

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She tries to tell them about the affair and what she saw, but soon she is thrust out, her alcoholism labeling her unstable and her obsession with the couple making her a person of interest. Maybe she killed Megan because of her anger? Maybe she thought she was Anna, they do look similar, especially at night and in a drunken state?

I wonder...

I wonder…

Rachel realizes that she doesn’t really know Scott or Megan, just the people she made them up to be; and that she has nothing helpful about that night. She starts going to therapy to help her figure out her life and maybe shed light on what happened. But does she really want to know?

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

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2) Anna

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Anna Watson was a real estate agent when she meet Tom Watson. She instantly liked him and decided he was the one for her, not caring that he was married.

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She loved being the other woman and never cared about Rachel’s feelings. Rachel was a real witch anyway. She was abusive; always getting drunk and embarrassing, manipulating, or trying to hurt Tom. And man he was such a saint, taking care of her that long. Thank goodness they had a baby and Tom was finally able to free himself from her.

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So everything is blissful in the new Watson home; except they are living in her (Rachel) old house with all her things, the baby is driving her crazy with all it crying, and Rachel won’t leave them alone. She calls all the time, she comes by, and even at one point she got in the house and took the baby out; probably trying to kidnap her!!

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Anna wants the police involved, a restraining order, something! Anything! But no, Tom always goes and talks to Rachel promising that it will be the last time. But it never is.

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In fact, it has gotten so bad that Anna is feeling completely paranoid and unsafe. In fact she saw Rachel the night that Megan disappeared and is completely sure that she is involved, why else would she be hanging around Megan’s husband Scott.

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Anna knew Megan as she just lived down the street and used to nanny for her. Megan quit suddenly one day, saying she got another job; but where in their tiny suburban town?

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And then as people search more into Megan’s life a lot of skeletons come out of the closet. Megan wasn’t the person Anna thought she was, maybe she was lucky she quit.

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3) Megan

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Megan is a beautiful, vivacious, blonde. She looks perfect, her husband looks perfect, her life looks perfect…but this woman has an intense past.

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Megan was traumatized over the death of her brother Ben and ran away from home. She was picked up by an older boy and lived with him; drinking and getting high. Eventually she left that and moved on working at a gallery, and later managing that. She meet Scott and married him, ever since feeling lost in Suburbia. Especially after the gallery she opened closed.

Aw...

Aw…

She can’t sleep, and all she does is spend her life in her head. After her husband’s nudging, she begins to see a therapist, Dr. Kamal Abdic.

After seeing him, she becomes attracted to him. The two pushing the boundaries of the doctor-patient relationship.

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This hasn’t been Megan’s first affair, (whether emotional or physical). She loves her husband but at the same time doesn’t feel as if it is enough. She has been with lots of men, always covering her tracks as to what she is doing behind her husband’s back.

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She has many, many secrets hidden inside her; but which one is the reason she has been killed? And who did the act? Rachel? Scott? Dr. Kamal Abdic? One of her lovers?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was very well written although it reminded me a lot of Gone Girl.

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In Gone Girl you had a hard time figuring out fact from fiction, because the first narrator, the husband, introduces himself  having a face that makes himself always look as if he is lying. As you read you start wondering if he is a liar, otherwise why is he so defensive? On the other hand, the second narrator, his wife, tells her story through writing a journal. But is it the truth? After all a journal is where you release your emotions. It is just a moment and selective in memory.

I wonder...

I wonder…

Hawkins does a similar thing with her narrators. First we have Rachel, who is unreliable. She drinks far too much, and a lot of her memory is broken, uncertain, fuzzy, or unknown. Besides that she has an overactive imagination and the things she has seen might not have even occurred. They could just be in her mind.

HMMM

Anna is biased against Rachel, discussing how she does feel her a threat (to her body and marriage) and is planning on doing anything necessary to hold on to Tom. Could she lie or make things up to try and get Rachel out of their life? Will she lie or hurt others to ensure Tom stays with her and her only?

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And then there is Megan. She talks a lot, but most of it is shallow things. The deep she keeps tucked away with us not knowing the whole story. Or if she does allow the reader to glimpse her innermost parts, she still keeps key things buried. How will we ever know if her account is correct or whole?

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I thought it captured your attention, kept you going, and was very enjoyable.

I did figure it out:

I'm that good

I’m that good.

But was still enjoyable and recommend trying it out. The end was really good. I promised no spoilers so I’m only going to say this one thing and try to be very vague.

With each of the characters, especially Rachel, there is a label of untruthfulness or liar; due the lies they tell, giving half-truths, or withholding by keeping secrets. While I figured out which character was the killer early on, I never thought the author would take those themes of lying/liar as far as she did; giving us an interesting twist. Plus that very last part with how the killer is stopped was completely unexpected.

cluelesstravistwothumbsup!

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For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Winter People

For more mysteries that involve a disappearance, go to Cookie Dough or Die

For more mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty