A Most Peculiar Circumstance

Ready for the last Christmas mystery of this holiday season?

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Here we go!

A Most Peculiar Circumstance

A Most Peculiar Circumstance (Ladies of Distinction #2) by Jen Turano

In the last book we followed Lady Eliza Sumner as she disguised herself and tried to track down the people who stole her fortune. She ended up getting help where she least expected it from Agatha Watson, Zayne Beckett and his brother Hamilton.

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In this book we focus on Miss Arabella Beckett, Hamilton and Zayne’s sister. Arabella is a suffragette and travels all over America speaking and attending rallies, trying to bring awareness and change.

 She was on her way to such a rally when she splits ways from her traveling companion and heads off on her own. She comes upon a woman who is distraught over her daughter, Alice James, who ran away to be a mail order bride and Arabella promises to track her down.

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Unwittingly, Arabella stumbles into a sex slavery ring as Miss James’ letter was just a ploy. Arabella saves Miss James, but also finds herself causing the two to be jailed in a serious misunderstanding.

Crap

A strange, but tall, dark, and handsome man comes for her.

It turns out to be private investigator, Theodore Wilder.

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Theodore was sent by Hamilton as he wanted his sister at the wedding and their mother, Gloria, was extremely worried about her.

After conferring with the police, Theodore manages to release the ladies, returning Alice to her home in Chicago and taking Arabella to New York.gotthis

The travel and bicker the whole way: Arabella trying to convince Theodore women’s suffrage is the way to go and Theodore trying to get Arabella to talk about anything else.

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When they returns home, Mrs. Beckett sets her sights on setting the two up, but then Theodore opens his mouth about his views on what women should do and they realize that this will not be a perfect match.

Theodore goes back to do some investigating into the situation and discovers that not only have all the suspects fled, but the law as well.

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Convinced  that the slavery people are after Arabella, and that it goes deeper into law enforcement Theodore sends people to watch and help, even though she doesn’t like it. He too, starts spending a lot of time with her to try and keep her safe, and in the process starts falling for her, and she him. But will their way of thinking keep them apart? Or can they compromise?

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Arabella is not one to stand on the sidelines and just let life happen, so she decides to do some research on her own and she desires to help women, especially prostitutes as she just had a glimpse into that world.

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Agatha hears about something going down on the docks, with ten prostitutes disappearing in a week. She decides this is perfect for a story, as she now works for the newspaper, although under an assumed name.

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She goes to her friend in the theater for costumes as she, Arabella, and Katherine Gibson (Theodore’s sister); as they prepare to out to the docks to pretend to be “women of the night” and get the scoop. Unfortunately, this ends with them jailed again, well for Katherine it is a first time.

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Meanwhile, it grows closer to Christmas and Theodore is more and more worried about the slavery ring and Arabella. He takes her to his grandfather’s place in the country to keep her and the other girls, the prostitutes, safe.

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But even there they aren’t safe. It turns out that not only are the slavery people after Arabella, there is even a more worse psychopath who wants her for his truly terrible Christmas Eve plans. Will they be able to save her in time? Or will this be a very unmerry Christmas?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was pretty good. There were definite romantic fiction clichés, but the story was fun and so were the characters.

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It had some great twists and turns,

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But the end did copy Psycho a bit to much.

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I thought it wasn’t as good as the first book in the series. but is still a great companion piece and something I don’t mind reading again and again.

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For more on Ladies of Distinction novels, go to A Change of Fortune

For more Christmas mysteries, go to Murder Well Done

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to The Witch Hunter’s Tale

For more undercover reporters, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more reviews, go to Plum Pudding Murder

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A Pinch of Poison

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A Pinch of Poison (A Hemlock Falls Mystery #3) by Claudia Bishop

So we haven’t talked about the Quilliam sisters since I started the blog, so let me do a quick review.

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In the first book, A Taste for Murder, we are introduced to the Quilliam sisters. Sarah “Quill” Quilliam is an artist in New York City, known as the next Georgia O’Keefe. She is starting to hit the big time, when she is stalled and has a block on what to paint next. Her younger sister, Meg, is an amazing chef who is also living in NYC. Around the time that Quill starts having trouble with her paintings, Meg’s husband is killed in an automobile accident. Both women need a change of scene and travel up north to rural New York. While visiting the cute, country town; the two discover a historic inn for sale. They decide to buy it, run it, and take on this new path of life. But things are far from ideal, as the sisters find themselves having to battle unruly guests, deal with the town’s Historic Days festival, and complexities of trying to fit in in a small town. To make matters worse: someone is sabotaging the inn, a murder occurs, Quill’s friend flees and is accused, Meg is poisoned, and much more.

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Now in book two, A Dash of Death. the sisters have cemented themselves a bit more into country life. Both have recovered from near misses in their last adventure, and are looking forward to the future. Unfortunately, the inn has not quite recovered as they are in need of a boost in guests and money. The group thinks they have found their salvation in TV sensation Helena Houndswood, star and creator of the show, It’s a Beautiful Life. Sadly for them, she turns out to have a major ego and becomes a huge headache for all parties. She comes to present the prize to the winner of the contest she ran, only to discover that instead of one winner, there are five. All are blue-collar women and workers at the local paint factory. And all five are nowhere near what Helena views as classy. In fact she would rather they decline and remain anonymous than set foot on being her show. When the winners start disappearing and having “accidental” deaths, Quill starts investigating as to who could be behind it all. Is it the jealous and abusive husband of one of the women? Could one of the women be getting rid of the others in order to increase her share? Could Helena be getting rid of them so they won’t “taint” her “beautiful” show? Or is someone else behind all this? Quill starts searching for the truth, but finds herself joining the ranks of the hunted.

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So now for A Pinch of Poison.

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Hedrick Conway has just moved to Hemlock Falls and has really started “something.”

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He and his family bought the newspaper in which Conway turned into a yellow tabloid, full of half truths, rumors, and what Conway feels is “news”.

Not-Good

Conway starts looking into the local mini mall that is about to sprout, the same one that the Quillam sisters and their employees sunk a bunch of their capital in.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

As Hedrick starts investigating both his sister and mother end up dead.

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Who would want to kill them?

Very fishy

Once again the Quilliam sisters are on the case.

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I was very disappointed in this book.

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It started out promising but became very boring.

NO emotion = BORING!

I mean there is a whole chapter on sewage!

What?

Who wants to read about that?

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I also didn’t like that the characters seemed to not learn from their past investigations and they made the same mistakes again.

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I say two out of five stars.

horrible

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For more Hemlock Falls Mysteries, go to A Dash of Death

For more books on tabloids, go to The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars

For more mystery reviews, go to Cream Puff Murder

The Silence of the Llamas

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The Silence of the Llamas (Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #5) by Anne Canadeo

The Black Sheep Knitting group has headed out to the countryside, doing some good farm stand shopping.

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The crew is on their way to visit friend’s of Dana’s. Her old college friend Ellie; married Ben Kruegar, sold her successful business, bought a property in Plum Harbor, and created a Llama farm.

Aw, how cute.

Aw, how cute.

This weekend is Ellie ad Ben’s big grand opening of their farm, the Laughing Llama. While the event is fun, full of food and farm animals; somebody isn’t interested in it. In fact, the llamas are attacked by someone with a paint gun, severely injuring them.

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AAAAHHHHH

It turns out that, that isn’t the only bad thing that has been happening. There have been a series of “pranks” as the couple calls them, ranging from missing items, the animals being released, etc.

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It turns out that the idyllic countryside is not that idyllic after all. There is a development company that wants to buy up all the farms, and a group of people are trying to protect the lands. They believe that the Kruegars bought the land, only to turn it over to developers, but Ellie and Ben claim they are here long term.

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Their hired hand Dot, is a great help, but not really close to them.

Then one night they find the dead body of the man who was most interested in stopping them from “selling”, Jason Ridley. Now the police are looking at Ben for the murder, and the Black Sheep Knitting group are on the case.

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Thoughts After Reading:

So there are two mysteries in this novel. One is the sabotager, and the other is the murderer. This mystery was half good, with the murder being done excellent.

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while the sabotage part wasn’t that good. I mean I figured it out immediately.

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It wasn’t as bad as Stitch Before Dying , but not as good as Till Death Do Us Purl or While My Pretty One Knits.

***Spoiler Alert***

So as soon as I read this on page 43:

“Oh, Ellie, what’s the difference? We know who it is. Justin Ridley. He’s the only one who could have done this. The only one who has any reason to harass us. Who believes he has a reason,’ he [Ben] corrected himself.”

I knew it was Ben.

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I knew Ben was like the husband in Gaslight and Dangerous Crossing, just after the money and behind the scheme to sabotage so he could get it.

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For more Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, go to Till Death Do Us Purl

For more cases of sabotage, go to A Taste for Murder

For more mystery reviews, go to Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean a Demon’s Not After You: Storm Front