The Missing Housewife

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The Missing Housewife (Steven Wade Mystery #2) by Iris Wynne

When a women long believed dead is spotted in China by an old friend on holiday, it opens a real can of worms. If she is indeed the woman believed murdered, than her drug dealer has been falsely imprisoned and there is a dead body who’s identity still needs to be discovered.

With the sister of the accused pushing for involvement to free her brother, and the family of the “deceased” wanting the dead to remain dead, it turns out to be a real muddle.

With such uncertainty there is only one thing to do, hire someone who can look into the matter: a private investigator Steve Wade.

On the case!

Since Wade solved the case of “the missing mah jongg player”, he has become a hot commodity and is asked to check out the case. But is the deceased, Patricia, really alive, or is it just a look-a-like in China? And if she isn’t dead, who died in her place? Did the drug dealer murder this Jane Doe, or was it someone else?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series, The Missing Mah Jongg Player, which gave me high expectations for the sequel. Wynne didn’t disappoint with a cleverly crafted mystery that takes murder into mistaken identity and even further into assassins and a cover up.

We also have a return of the characters we enjoyed from the first novel; such as the intelligent, imaginative, analytical, and methodical Steve Wade; Candy the stripper turned private investigator, who is still coming to terms with her insecurities and the shadow of the past; and sweet Sarah, Steve’s secretary, who finally gains confidence and the ability to assert herself.

The only problem I had with this novel was that the secondary characters were not as well done as in the first book. In The Missing Mah Jongg Player, the other mah jongg players created a more personal connection to our missing person causing the viewer to see her as a person rather than a “victim”. Their different personalities also balanced well with Wade’s logical approach.

All of you

In this book our new cast of characters were interesting and developed, but not as fun or colorful as in the first.

On a whole I enjoyed this novel and give it a four out of five stars.

For more Steven Wade Mysteries, go to The Missing Mah Jongg Player

For more novels centering around a disappearance, go to The Sign of the Four

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to C is for Corpse

For more mystery reviews, go to Triple Six

Gingerbread Cookie Murder

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Gingerbread Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen #13.5) by Joanne Fluke

So I hate these Hannah Swenson holiday specials.

They are boring, predictable, and just avenues to include a ton of Christmas type recipes. But I started something, and now I am going to finish it. The review must go on.

Plot Synopsis:

It is Christmas time once again in Lake Eden. Ernie Kusak, driver, chauffeur, etc; has recently won the lottery, moved into Hannah’s condo, and started playing Christmas music incredibly loud and ALL THE TIME.

I don’t like it.

He told Hannah he would turn it down tonight, so hopefully he does.

Yay!

That night Hannah goes out with Norman, his mother Carrie, her new husband Earl, Hannah’s mother Delores, and her new boyfriend Gary Jenkins. He just moved into town, and bought Ernie’s old house.

When Hannah gets home she discovers that Ernie negated on his promise and that all the music is on and full blast.

Luckily someone has called the police, so Mike is there. Ernie’s ex-wife loans Mike her spare key to get into the house and they find Ernie’s dead body.

Who killed him? And why?

Thoughts After Reading:

So what did I think?

So what are my issues with this book?

1)Helpful Hannah

Mike questions Lorna, as we all know the wife/ex-wife usually has good motive for murder. Hannah tries to help by telling her she didn’t do it and it’s horrible to have her be accused. HELLO Hannah if you interfere with Mike’s questioning he is never going to let you in on anything. And two, you don’t know that she didn’t do it. She could be the killer.

Seriously Hannah!

2)Mike Questions Hannah as the killer

Really Mike? You think that she could be a killer. My goodness that is the dumbest thing I ever heard. Why are the deputies so stupid!

3)How does Hannah run her business?

How does Hannah make any money selling her goods at 50¢?

4)The Cops are Idiots

Now it hurts me to write this as I like police officers. My family has had them throughout and I respect them. But man they are so stupid in this book series.

The cops seem to get dumber in each book. In this one they think one man killed Ernie, but only wiped half of his fingerprints, leaving the crucial ones. Really? Smells like a frame-up

5)Fluke Knows Nothing of Cell Phones.

So Hannah discovers that Gary’s phone number was the same on the winning ticket. You know you don’t pick your number when you get a cell phone, you have one assigned. So it is pretty strange to choose “these” influential numbers that mean something, when he couldn’t do that.

6) It is All Circumstansial Evidence

And the dumbest thing to this book? How Hannah discovers the reason for murder and the guy admits it. So all the numbers on Gary’s phone number all have a certain special meaning to him. These are also the ones he chooses for the lottery ticket, the one Ernie claims is his. He has it framed and hanging on the wall, Gary spots it and kills him. Hannah figures it out and when she questions him, all Ernie has to do is deny it. There is no proof he was in there, just because they use the same numbers doesn’t mean anything. It all is circumstantial. All he has to do is say he doesn’t know anything, let them prosecute the other guy and go on his way. Why would he give himself up? It’s just dumb, dumb, dumb.

For more Hannah Swensen mysteries, go to Apple Turnover Murder

For more Hannah Swenson Christmas mysteries, go to Plum Pudding Murder

For more Christmas mysteries, go to A Most Peculiar Circumstance

For book reviews, go to A Duty to the Dead

The Harlot’s Tale

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The Harlot’s Tale (A Midwife Mystery #2) by Sam Thomas

This is the sequel to the novel The Midwife’s Tale. I LOVED the first book. I thought it was absolutely fantastic and quickly devoured it. And I eagerly awaited the sequel…

Please!

This book takes place one year after the previous one. It is August of 1645, the civil war is over but not all is well. York is suffering tremendously from a horrible summer heat, one that threatens to destroy the crops and causes tempers to rise.

It's not fair.

Meanwhile, the city’s council have decided that with one war completed, another is to be waged, the war of men’s souls. They have allowed all types of “ministers” into the city, of which are eager to whip the sinful into godly. One area they seem the most focused on? Prostitution.

Gold Digger and Grave Digger

One such group  that has soldiered in to the area is Hezikiah Ward, his wife Deborah, daughter Silence, and son Praise God.

gotthis

Lady Bridget continues with her midwifery, with Martha her trusted friend and deputy assisting. Will, however, has found much sorrow at the War’s end. With his brother Joseph, the war hero, returned; their father has once again ignored and mistreated Will, because of his club foot, and instead turned over quite a number of his affairs to Joseph. This extremely disheartened Will and causes him to drink to excess.

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Including these, Joseph has become a crusader “for God”, as he has taken the duty of constable and delights in bringing in people to face charges of slander, prostitution, etc. Joseph is altogether rather unpleasant as his ruthlessness in battle has changed him to become even more ambitious and unempathetic.

you're evil

One  morning Bridget is awaken by her servant Hannah. Joseph has come for her as something has happened and she is needed right away by Edward.

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Bridget awakens Martha, much to Joseph’s chagrin and they all take off to answer the summons. They come to a small apartment, one of which the prostitutes would use for business.

suspicious Hmm

Edward brings Bridget in to look at the room and the bloodshed is enormous. Someone had killed and mutilated the bodies, rearranging the man and woman in a parody of copulation.

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Edward’s mission for them is to question the prostitutes in town. As a midwife, Bridget has had her dealings with them before, and they most certainly would not trust Edward, Joseph, or any other constable or official.

Bridget and Martha go over the crime scene and find two pieces of papers with scripture on them,  Numbers 25:8:

“And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.”

And Revelations 2:14

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Upon even further examination, the two were killed similar to first bible verse. And to their horror, they discover that the prostitute killed was done so by the cutting of the femoral artery, and afterwards her privities were slashed and disfigured.

Horrible!!!!

Horrible!!!!

Bridget and Martha are on the case again…or are they? As a pamphlet with similar themes is passed around the city, Joseph concludes the author is the murderer and has him arrested.

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This doesn’t sit well with Bridget or Martha who find it strange that it would be so simple.

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When the murderer claims his innocence and is released from prison, Bridget, Martha, and Will decide to continue searching for the truth.

On the case!

On the case!

They see Helen Wright, owner of the tenement the dead bodies were found in, and while the exchange does not go as well as planned, they are given a lead to see Isabelle Dalton. She refers them to Barbara Rearsby, telling them she will send her their way if she finds her first.

As the three investigate more and more, it appears that in every spot the Wards and Joseph seem to be turning up again and again. Could one be a murderer?

Interesting

Interesting

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Thoughts After Reading:

**Spoiler Alert**

So I didn’t like this book as much as the first one. It wasn’t just the content of the hypocritical Christians, which have been done over and over again ; but it just seemed to be missing something.

Not-Good

I didn’t like the killing of Edward, although it was his own fault. For someone who reads the bible so much he clearly didn’t learn from the stories of Cain & Abel, Jacob & Esau, or Joseph & his 10 Brothers. Brotherly strife will not end well.

bigmistake

I also didn’t like how obviously evil Joseph was in this. From the first time he was introduced you knew he was the bad guy.

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But let me say what a twist with the Wards. I never suspected the mother, props to you Sam, props to you.

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I also didn’t care for the ending with Joseph getting everything and Will nothing.

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Although I liked that he put Will & Martha together, glad he listened to my class’ suggestion.

Thank you, thank you!

Thank you, thank you!

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For more Midwife Mysteries, go to The Midwife’s Tale

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to The Book of Madness and Cures

For more bible verses, go to Good, Clean, Murder

For more mystery reviews, go to Decked

Decked

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Decked (Regan Reilly Mystery #1) by Carol Higgins Clark

Thoughts Before Reading:

So the first book I read in this series, Laced, I had picked up for free and thought I would try it out. I loved the characters and the buildup, but was a bit disappointed with the ending wrap up. It was just too neat for me.

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As I enjoyed Laced, I picked up another free book from the series, Iced. As I read this I felt the same way. The character and build up were good, but the end was just too neatly tied up. And the end conclusion…wait I’ll stop there. After all I am saving it for my countdown to Christmas.

to be continued

So when I checked out the book Decked from the library, I have to admit I was blown away.

wow

First I loved the cover with it’s Art Deco style, just beautiful; loved the characters, the build up, conclusion…I could go on, but let’s get back on track.

Read it today!

Read it today!

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Plot Synopsis:

Regan Reilly is the only daughter of Luke Reilly, wealthy mortician, and Nora Reilly, famous mystery novelist. Regan decided to embark on a career path unlike her parents, private investigating, and choosing to live on the west coast in California, rather than her home state of New Jersey.

Private Investigating!

Private Investigating!

As Carol Higgins Clark’s mother, Mary Higgins Clark, is also a writer, I have always wondered how much of the characteristics of the characters are autobiographical and how much is fiction?

suspicious Hmm

Anyways, Regan is returning to Oxford for the 10th reunion of her Junior year abroad. As she goes back to the campus it reminds her of her old roommate Athena, from Greece. Before the year ended, she came into her trust fund and ran off without saying good-bye or even writing them a note.

How rude

At the reunion Regan asks after her, but it is not just Regan who has lost contact; apparently Athena had run away from home and never contacted anyone else again.

Very suspicious

Very suspicious

Other shocking news is that Professor Phillip Whitcomb is to be married.

What?

Often sought after by the female students; Professor Whitcomb always seemed more interested in his flora and fauna, rather than females. However, to celebrate, Lady Veronica Exner, Phillip’s wealthy aunt, has invited the whole reunion over to her home, like she used to, to celebrate.

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Regan and her best friend Kit agree, as the two have always liked the eccentric woman. Now she is even more so, as she has ditched her bun for permed locks, and neutral colors for bright ones; and taking all kinds of trips. It appears she had a heart attack not long ago and has a whole new lease on life.

While the party is in full swing, they are interrupted with the news that a body was found. Athena’s.

Murder

As Regan and Kit head to bed they discover a note by Phillip Whitcomb for Regan. It urgently requests her to call.

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When she does she discovers that Lady Veronica’s traveling companion has had food poisoning. They tried to dissuade Lady Veronica from going on her cruise to New York from England, but she won’t listen saying she will be perfectly safe. Phillip’s fiancé came up with a solution of asking Regan to join her and take care of her.

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At first Regan is not willing, but then Phillip offers to pay her double. Double pay and five nights on a luxury cruise ship?

thiswillbeeasy

Unfortunately, it just so happens that this cruise ship is the same one that her parents are taking a trip on. And they are trying their hardest to avoid Lady Veronica as she insists Nora is the perfect person to write her autobiography.

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As the two set off on their journey they sail right in the middle of a murder plot. The person who killed Athena wants Lady Veronica dead as well, and doesn’t care if Regan gets caught in the wake.

thenannygasp

As Regan is busy with Lady Veronica and all her activities she wants to try out, she always keeps a fraction of her mind on Athena’s case. Who killed her and why? Regan won’t stop until she discovers the truth.

calledcuriosity

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Thoughts After Reading:

As always, the Clark books are filled to the brim with a multitude of characters, changing narration throughout. While with some books this can be messy or too extravagant; I enjoyed every single one in this novel.

loveitSupernatural

I thought the book was very well written, and the mystery, while not a brain numbing mind bender, had quite a few well done twists.

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I enjoyed the character of Regan a lot and eagerly await to read the next book in the series.

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In fact, this is one book I wouldn’t mind adding to my collection.

wantyouyes

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For more mysteries with a female private investigator, go to A is for Alibi

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to Grave Peril

For more mysteries involving a person who has gone missing, go to Where Are You Now?

For more reviews, go to The Book of Madness and Cures

The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars

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The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars by Paul Collins

I first became aware of this book through a contest. You entered to win the book, the only thing required of you was to write an honest review.

I entered and couldn’t wait for my email saying they were sending the book to my kindle!

Please!

I checked my email, and I saw that they decided to not send me the book.

What?

As they felt I wasn’t suited to it, that I wasn’t the “right choice” of reader.

whatsthatsupposedtomean

I was so mad.

IDon'tlikeit

But I still really wanted to read it. So I put it on my Goodreads’ list, and decided to wait until my library bought a copy, to borrow and read it.

So lo and behold, I got my hands on a copy and I LOVED IT!

cluelesstravistwothumbsup!

The book chronicles the discovery of chopped up body found in different sections of New York City, in 1897. All the great newspapers were sparring at the time and competing as to who could find the man’s identity and figure out the killer first. The book is divided into seven parts.

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I: The Victim

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The pieces of the body are found scattered throughout the city and surrounding, minus a head. From boys discovering the chest while taking a dip off a pier; a family going cherry picking and finding a leg; to a farmer looking at a red duck pond and realizing that not only has blood tainted the water but there is also a body part.

Which such an astounding discovery, reporters are sent out everywhere, investigating before the police even decided it was a murder case.

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II: The Suspects

Are you lying to me?

After figuring out who the mutilated corpse was, reporters discover his lover Mrs. Nack, her estranged husband, and new love interest. Which one did the killing? Who is innocent?

Each newspaper backs up a seperate person as innocent and persecutes who they believe to be a villian. It is up to the police to do actual work in investigating who has the motive, means, and of course: who actually did it not who makes the best news.

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III: The Indictment

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The police settle on who they believe the killer is, the D.A is building a case and defense attorneys are fighting for their chance to represent the case of a lifetime.

Now just because the police are preparing to prosecute someone, doesn’t mean it is all over fpor the newspapers. They are still contending with each other, and making sure everyone knows the facts and fiction.

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IV: The Trial

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Jury selection begins, a truly difficult matter as with the newspapers how they are, as practically every person is aware of what the case entails.

As the accused await trial, the newspapers continue to cover and predict what will happen next. Men and women travel from all over to watch the trial, enduring a rotten stench, extreme heat, and other issues arising from the poor construction of a courthouse.

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V: The Verdict

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The jury and judge decide whom the guilty parties are and distribute sentence. Appeals are made to the government and the newspapers.

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VI: Epilogue

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Collins concludes with not only a summarization of what happened next in our main character’s lives; but also gives a brief lesson on the newspapers rises, falls, and buyouts.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book.

fantastic

I thought it was supremely perfect. It was informative, historical, and told everything in an amazing and interesting way. I know many historians fall victim to being dry and dull, but not this work. In fact I had the hardest time putting it down.

from janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

from janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

Everything about it was just amazing! I am dying to buy a copy. And I am looking forward to reading more of Collins’ work.

startatponcestartrek

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For more Goodreads recommendations, go to The Dollhouse Murders

For more book reviews, go to Good, Clean, Murder

A Dark and Stormy Knit

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A Dark and Stormy Knit (A Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #6) by Anne Canadeo

Since Silence of the Llamas, there have been a few changes with the Black Sheep Knitting Group. Valentine’s Day is looming and Maggie is deciding on what classes to teach. Phoebe has finally left Josh, as he hasn’t been treating her right for a while. And even though every citizen voted against it, the mayor has instituted meters in the downtown business area. All the merchants hate it, but are just as stuck as the tourists and shoppers.

Hate this.

Hate this.

But Maggie gets a surprise that morning when she finds all the meters covered in knitted kitty covers.  Yep the Knit Kat Graffiti Artists, (knitting protest artwork group) has struck again.

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Charlotte, Phoebe’s new artist friend from college, starts hanging out. Let’s hope this friendship doesn’t go south like Crystal in Knit, Purl, Die

HMMM

In fact Phoebe has become such great friends, they all go to the art gallery to see Charlotte’s work.

Double double yay

The group also decide to knit things for a homeless shelter to honor Valentine’s Day.

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The day of the art show, the whole gang head out to the college. They meet some professors, but then Charlotte gets a text from Quentin, her ex who won’t take no for an answer.

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She tries to flee, when Quentin comes crashing in. The girls try to help her, but Quentin comes through, knocking Phoebe out of the way.

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After that, no one knows where Charlotte is. They talk to the security guards, give statements; but then as they search everywhere they can’t find her.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

The next day Phoebe goes to Charlotte’s apartment to check on her and see if she is there. But then, finds a dead body.

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They call the police and start thinking that mybe it was the Knit Kat group. Charlotte was a member and Phoebe found her dead body covered in yarn, almost like some kind of a statement.

suspicious Hmm

After the cops look more into the murder, they discover that Phoebe was wrong. That isn’t Charlotte’s dead body but Beth Shelton, some one who looks like Charlotte from behind.

What?

So who killed her? Someone after Charlotte? Or Charlotte herself?

suspense

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So I didn’t really like this one as much as the other books.

horrible

Charlotte and the other characters were too new and didn’t have enough background as to who they were.

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Plus this mystery was extremely easy to solve.

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I think out of all the books in the series this one and A Stitch Before Dying are the weakest and the least interesting. Hopefully the next book will be better, I’m looking forward to it.

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For more Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, go to The Silence of the Llamas

For more books with mistaken identity, go to Grime and Punishment

For more mystery reviews, go to Fool Moon

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.

creepyew

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.

HMMM

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.

likeit

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

gotthis

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.

duh

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

 

One for the Money

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One for the Money (Cat Caliban Mystery #1) by D.B. Borton

So I found this book and thought it sounded good.

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After Cat Caliban’s husband died, she decided to change her life.

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She became a P.I, and bought an apartment house. Everything seems great.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

But then a dead body is found in her building.

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Looks like Cat has a case!

this is going to be good

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Thoughts after reading:

wrong

You guessed it, I was wrong.

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Cat Caliban is the worst character I have ever read.

Hate her that's so raven

She is rude, cruel, and HATES everyone and everything.

What?

She hates her kids, her friends, her husband, her tenants, gays, every ethnicity, EVERYTHING. Now if she was a cat, she’d be adorable.

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But in this case, only her name is cat SO IT DOESN’T WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Having a character that hates everybody doesn’t make you like them, it just makes you hate them back.

Hate her that's so raven

She’s also THE WORST P.I. EVER. She doesn’t know how to shoot a gun, she doesn’t know how to solve crimes, she can’t do anything!

IDon'tlikeit

And I just couldn’t finish this horrid book.

Icannotstandmorons_Laura

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For more books starring private investigators, go to The Missing Mah Jong Player

For more featuring a female P.I., go to Lane Changes

For more reviews, go to The Unsolvable Mystery: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Fudge Cupcake Murder

Fudge Cupcake Murder

Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swenson #5)

So I know you guy think I just like to hate on Joanne Fluke.

Hate her that's so raven

But that’s not true.

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I just don’t like subpar writing. When it’s bad, I’m going to call you out on it. When it’s good, I will also point that out. And while I haven’t liked the first four mysteries, I actually enjoyed this.

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So back in Blueberry Muffin Murder, Hannah Swensen discussed having a Lake Eden cookbook full of recipes only known to them. Well in this book, the Lake Eden Cookbook is in the middle of becoming a reality.

Besides The Cookie Jar, Hannah has taken on a temporary side job teaching cooking at the community college. As Lake Eden is getting ready to create a cookbook of family recipes, Hannah feels that there is no better opportunity than to have the class prepare the submitted recipes.

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And there is no time like the present. It is days from Halloween, but all recipes must be typed, tested, photographed, etc.; in time for the cookbook to be completed and ready to be sold at Christmas.

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Hannah is enjoying her new jobs as cooking teacher and head of the cookbook, when she is approached by her friend Beatrice. Beatrice asks her to include the Fudge Cupcakes that her mother-in-law was famous for. Only one problem, there is a secret ingredient, and with the mother-in-law dead, no one knows what it could possibly be.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

Well, Hannah likes solving mysteries, and at least this one doesn’t have a dead body in it, so she begins working on trying to find the missing piece to the puzzle.

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In other news, Hannah’s sister Andrea is pregnant and her husband Bill is running for Sheriff. Sheriff Grant has been running the town for years, and when polls come out with him in the low numbers, he starts to pick up his game to get more support.  He approaches Hannah outside the center, and she gives him a cupcake, along with a promise that Bill will win.

Smirkity smirk smirk

Smirkity smirk smirk

Hannah then goes on to a productive day in class. The group cooks up a whole mess of recipes and solve some elusive handwriting. Hannah still doesn’t know the ingredient for the cupcakes, but hasn’t given up yet.

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That night, Mike picks her up for dinner, helping her clean up the kitchen first. She goes out to the dumpster to throw away the garbage and discovers a body. And not just any body, but Sheriff Grant.

AAAAHHHHH

Now Bill is suspended as he is the prime suspect and Hannah finds herself on the case.

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This proves to be difficult, as Sheriff Grant was a hated man, hated almost by EVERYONE. Could he have been killed by a deputy for having stolen their “prime cases” in election years? Could he have been killed by someone he wrote up for absolutely nothing? Could it have been connected to the death of his son? Or could be for some other reason? And most importantly, what is the secret ingredient in the fudge cupcakes?!

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Thought After Reading:

So let’s start with the cupcake mystery. I first thought it was going to be annoying and distracting. Not to mention cruel to have Fluke make us wait so long to find out the answer, but it actually added to the story. It made you read more as you wanted to know what the ingredient is. And the cupcake sounds so good, I will be making them in the future.

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Now I do hate the Mike storyline. Mike is the worst detective ever. He actually thinks that Bill, Bill who couldn’t plan his way out of a paper bag could murder Sheriff Grant? Bill is stupid, but honest. The only way he would murder anyone was on accident, turning himself in. Come on Mike, get your head out of your butt.

seriously

I mean they act like Mike is such a great detective, but he’s as dumb as rocks.

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And it is clear that Hannah and Mike would not work long term as in every book she gets incredibly angry at him. Just break up already and get with Norman.

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Shawna Lee Quinn comes to town, a recent plant and old friend of Mike. She is eager to be a new friend and is further proof that Mike is not right for Hannah. Dump that chump!

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Once again they also make Tracey act way too old.  And there is not enough Norman in here.

But on a whole I enjoyed the book. The mystery was easily solvable, once you were given all the clues, but it was a pretty good story.

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For more Hannah Swensen mysteries, go to Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

For more mysteries, go to The Princess Plot

Strawberry Shortcake Murder

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Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Hannah Swenson Mystery #2) by Joanne Fluke

So as I have mentioned before, I didn’t read this series from book one, but came in the middle and am backtracking my way to the beginning. I’m glad I didn’t start at the beginning as these early books are bad.

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Like really bad. If I started at the very beginning I would have passed this series on by.

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So the first clue that this book would stink was the dedication.

For my kids.

You asked for your favorite recipes.

Here they are in novel form.

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NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

You never, ever, ever, write a book based around recipes. That’s extremely stupid.

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So Lake Eden has been chosen for the first ever Hartland Flour Bake-Off. Hannah isn’t competing, but in between deliberations creating concoctions for the judges and how to do it for the viewers.

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One of the judges is Coach Boyd Watson, the wife beater from Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, is especially cruel and harsh in his criticisms, upsetting many promising cooks.

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One night Hannah comes upon Coach Boyd Watson’s dead body, and facedown in her Strawberry Shortcake!

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The police think his wife is the killer, but Hannah believes in her innocence. She then sets out to discover the real murderer.

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Thoughts After reading:

I did not like this. I know I said before, but it bears repeating.

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So let’s start off with the first problem of the novel. It begins with Hannah hearing a crash  in her condo and “going after that person.”

really?

She decides that she isn’t a “Miss Priss” and would rather go after them with a bat instead of being a “sissy girl” calling the sheriff.

really?

Of course it turns out to her cat, (saw that one a mile away), but what if it wasn’t her cat? What if that was really a burgler or murderer. They could have a gun! It’s nice to think you can handle things, but much better to actually call the cops to have them do their job.

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And then we have the same old same old complaining about mom.

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I guess as the second book it is for the “new readers”, but it still bothers me. It’s like when The Baby-sitters Club would always review the same thing in the second chapter. It gets old, fast.

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And then there is Hannah’s niece Tracey. Once again Joanne Fluke has never been around small children, or at least doesn’t remember what it’s like. I know precocious children, but none of them speak as well as Tracey. Fluke just made her waaaay too advanced for a four-year old.

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So Boyd’s a jerk, but honest in his review of the bake off. So what? We are already hate him for being a wife beater, isn’t that a little overkill?

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Then we get the Hannah’s commentary. Ugh I hate this as it is always BORING!

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She wishes that they still made Big Chief notebooks. But they can’t because they aren’t P.C. to have Indian notebooks. Well Hannah now you will get my commentary.

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They aren’t Indians Hannah. I know you want to be ignorant and call them that, but they aren’t from India. And while you are right, most don’t wish to be called Native American, it’s not because their “family walked over the land bridge from somewhere else,” which by the way:

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But because they prefer to be called by their tribe name.

Okay, so this book was published in 2001 and is supposed to be set in modern times, but a lot of times she acts like she is from the past. A girl kicked out of college for being too “wild” [sexually]. They don’t kick you out for being “wild”, they kick you out for not doing your work, paying rent, or causes issues because of alcohol, drugs, etc.

seriously

Plus Hannah is really rude and judgmental. She realizes that having a good relationship with her sister Andrea is fun and that she shouldn’t have said all those horrible things when she was younger, “even though she deserved it.” She called Andrea an idiot for flunking her math test, when she should have helped her study. Uh, no! No one deserves that. Just because she isn’t that good in math you shouldn’t call her stupid. Rude Hannah, rude.

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Then there is when Hannah is all high and mighty about her crime solving skills. She’s all ” yeah Mike and Bill are good cops and would have eventually figured everything out, but what I did actually helped.” Well, let’s see why your way helped? Hmm? YOU BROKE INTO AN APARTMENT. The police can’t just do that stuff. They have to follow certain rules because of the rights our forefathers wanted to protect. What you are doing is EXTREMELY WRONG!

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The book was horrible, and Hannah was horrible.

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For more Hannah Swenson mysteries, go to Candy for Christmas

For more Midwestern mysteries, go to Fatally Frosted

For more book reviews, go to The Black Echo

The Missing Mah Jongg Player

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The Missing Mah Jong Player (Steven Wade Mystery #1) by Iris Wynne

In The Missing Mah Jong Player, by Iris Wynne, divorced Marilou is looking for love in online chat rooms. She has been very busy with her dates and other commitments, that she hasn’t really had a lot of time for her mah jong group. So when she misses a day after confirming she would be there, Harriet (friend and fellow mah jong player) begins to grow worried.

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She goes to her house and discovers that Marilou is missing. When the police make no headway into solving the crime and are giving up, Harriet decides to hire a private investigator.

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Their investigator, Steve Wade is an ex-policeman who at first doesn’t want to take the case. After much arm twisting and free cupcakes from Harriet’s bakery, he complies. But Marilou’s disapperance raises a lot of hard questions. Was she killed? Did she willingly leave? Was one of the guys she was dating responsible for her disappereance? Or was the criminal someone much closer to her? Not only is Wade investigating a hard case, he also has the five remaining mah jong players intent on helping him discover the truth. From staging a speed dating dinner, to questioning family and friends; these ladies and Wade are hot on the trail.

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Thoughts After Reading:

When you read the synopsis of the book it is very centered on Steve Wade and sounds like a modern Philip Marlow or Sam Spade type of detective fiction.

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I am not sure if the author changed her direction while writing, or is hoping for a Steve Wade series, but that is not the case. Instead of being solely focused on the private investigator the story is shown through the eyes of Wade, Harriet, Sarah (mah jong player and Wade’s new secretary), and Candy Kane (stripper turned private investigator). I believe this actually improves the story as it transforms it into being more than just a mystery, but also how a loss affects people and what they do to deal with their grief.

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Everyone’s reactions to Marilou’s disappearance range across the board. You have some of her friends in denial, believing she just ran away; some who don’t want to think on the issue and are intent on forgetting it as it is a matter for the police; Sarah who won’t stop crying as Marilou was a mother figure to her, and Harriet who needs closure and answers so she hires a detective. Not only does this more personal approach make a stronger story, but it really helps you connect to the characters. This also causes you to really care for Marilou, as all these personal reactions make her into an actual person instead of a “body” or “victim #1”.

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Steve Wade was a great character as well. He was intelligent, imaginative, analytical, and able to solve the mystery after a series of time. I liked that it wasn’t instantaneous but methodical, and that at times Steve would sometimes miss what was right in front of his face as he was too heavily concentrated on another aspect. He is also a perfect compliment to his surrounding characters. I hope that this will be turned into a series and that we may see more Steve Wade in the future.

Please!

As for the mystery it was pretty compelling. We at first have the question of whether or not there is an actual crime or if Marilou just left of her own accord. Then when it is established as a murder we have a long list of motives and suspects; everyone from Marilou’s cousins, friends, men she was dating, to even her children. It progresses realistically and the only complaint I have was that the end seemed a bit rushed as they present the resolution.

I thought this book is fantastic and the perfect addition to any mystery lover’s bookcase or kindle. I give the story a five out five.

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There is one thing that bothers me. It isn’t really about mah jong, in fact mah jong is mentioned maybe one or twice. It makes a great title, but that and the cover don’t really match the story.

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For more Private Investigators, go to Lane Changes

For the previous mystery, go to Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

Glazed Murder

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Glazed Murder (Donut Shop Mystery #1) by Jessica Beck

This is the first book in the Donut Shop Mystery novels. In this we are introduced to Suzanne Hart. Suzanne lives in the small town of April Springs. She was married to an actor, Max, who was a huge jerk and pretender. He cheated on her, and that was the end for Suzanne. Good-bye Max.

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As soon as the divorce was final, Suzanne bought the old railroad depot and changed it into a donut shop. She doesn’t even know why she picked donuts, but that’s what she wanted to do.

Life is very different as she had to move in with her mom, she has to get up at one in the morning in order to make all the donuts, and is trying to get her business off the ground. It doesn’t leave her much time for socializing, :(.

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She is helped out by a college student, and friend Emily. And she has her best friend Grace, who makes due with Suzanne’s alternate hours.

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One day as Suzanne is heading into work, she finds a dead body.

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Making her donut shop a crime scene and her the main suspect in his murder!!

Crap

The Chief hates Suzanne and won’t look at any other person as the killer but her. This puts Suzanne on the case as she needs to find out who killed her customer and clear her name.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

Luckily the Chief isn’t the only one investigating. Hot, North Carolinian, State, Detective, Jake Bishop has been called in and it looks like he is interested in Suzanne for more than just her alibi. 😉

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t really like this book. I thought it was alright, but the mystery was too easy to solve. It was pretty obvious who the killer was from the moment they were introduced.

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I also thought the characters were two one-dimensional. On a whole I didn’t enjoy it, BUT, BUT it is the first novel and it wasn’t as horrible as Lane Changes. It has the potential to be better, which means that I am going to give the second novel a try.

This book includes lots of recipes for donuts, but I never gave them a try. The main reason because I don’t want to prepare them and see how horrible they are for me. I want to be able to continue to eat and enjoy them.

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For more mystery reviews, go to The Dollhouse Murders