The Man in the Queue

maninthequeue

The Man in the Queue (Inspector Alan Grant #1) by Josephine Tey

Thoughts Before Reading:

This book was published in 1929 and is the first of Britain’s Inspector Alan Grant mysteries by Elizabeth MacKintosh, aka Josephine Tey. This was the first book Tey ever wrote, doing so to enter a competition.

wow

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Plot Synopsis:

Everyone is in line to see the amazing Ray Marcable in her last show in Britain. After tonight she will be heading to America to Hollywood.

hollywood

One man decides to help a man who has fallen, and it turns out that the guy has been murdered.

StarTrekTheOriginalSeriesHesDeadJim

Everyone freaks out and wants to leave, but the police come round and take people on for questioning.

1944: Dana Andrews puts the spotlight on Gene Tierney during the interrogation scene of the film noir, 'Laura', directed by Otto Preminger.

Supposedly no one saw anything, so it is up to Inspector Grant to find out who killed this man, and why Ray Marcable seems to be in the middle of it.

theGamesAfoot-680x383

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like this book at all.

I don't think this really added to the story.

I thought the style it was written in was horrible and made it hard to connect to.

Idon'tthinkso Idontseeit

I thought Inspector Grant was good, but the rest of the characters not so much. The mystery was boring and easily solvable.

IDon'tlikeit

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more mysteries about police solving crimes, go to Ashes to Ashes

For more English mysteries, go to Death Comes to Pemberley

For more mystery reviews, go to B is for Burglar

Advertisements

Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

So today marks the 126th birthday of Agatha Christie:

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

Yay!

Yay!

You may not know this because I haven’t had an opportunity to review one of her books just yet, but Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters.

HerculePoirot HerculePoirot

Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing, although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter.

article-2042834-0E2178C800000578-621_306x423

Christie also does not shy away from doing extremely radical ideas, such as having a child be the killer

cyborg

Or having a part of the narration be through the killer’s eyes (although at the time you don’t realize that person is the killer.)

phonecall

Her work is so great that every time I am in a bookstore I hunt down her books as I hope to one day own them all.

bookcollectingo-stack-of-books-facebook

I strongly recommend reading any of her novels. When you start one, you just can’t stop.

ReadTimeandPlaceforBooksMyhandnow

So to celebrate, instead of a mystery, I thought I would review a biography.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

agathachristie

Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries by Gillian Gill

Plot Synopsis:

Unlike how most  authors are today, Agatha Christie was a very private person. In fact at one point in her life she disappeared for ten days. She has never released a statement about what really happened and it remains an unsolved mystery to this day.

This book is supposed to be an in depth look into her professional and private life. It’s plan is to look at the works as a way of determining her “inner self”.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

I only gave this book two stars.

IDon'tlikeit

I loved the factual material, but it was written too dry that it was hard to read.

It's been done TOO many times

It’s been done TOO many times

In fact her biographical fiction book Unfinished Portrait, written under her pseudonym Mary Westmacott, was a much more interesting and in depth look into who Christie was.

Very fishy

Also I hated how Gill would reveal the endings or important pieces of the mysteries.

cyborg

I know most people who will read this are fans of Christie but some might not have had the chance to read all just yet. I think it is incredibly unfair that she would do that, Christie’s books should not be ruined, but enjoyed. Everybody should have a chance to try their hand at figuring it out.

seriously

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more Non-fiction, go to Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night

For more on Agatha Christie, go to This Business of the Clocks was Curious

For mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty

Decked

decked

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.

tumblr_ng4wawgxLN1s2wio8o1_500

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!

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

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.

1920sparty

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.

whatsthatsupposedtomean

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.

Its-Not-Going-to-Happen-Mean-Girls

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.

Blog-Child-Support-Oh-No

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

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

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.

You_know_thats_right

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

ReadTimeandPlaceforBooksMyhandnow

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

wantyouyes

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

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 Midwife’s Tale

midwife'stale

The Midwife’s Tale (A Midwife Mystery #1) by Sam Thomas

Thoughts Before Reading:

I actually read this for a history class…

YayHappy-Success-GIF

I know, sweet right! It was a history of the novel class so we read novels and historical fiction novels throughout time.

ReadTimeandPlaceforBooksMyhandnow

It was a fantastic class. Anyways, the professor knew the author of this book, so not only did we get to read a mystery, my favorite, but we were able to skype him and ask him questions about the book and make suggestions. Such as two characters getting together.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Book Synopsis:

Lady Bridget Hodgson, lives in 17th century. She married her true love, but when he died; she remarried a wealthy man, got a title, and also an okay marriage as her husband believed himself to be smarter than he is.

Icannotstandmorons_Laura

She has had a lot of tragedy in her life as her son was a stillborn baby, her daughter became ill and died; and her husband followed them.

poutsad

When she lost her daughter, her mother-in-law taught her midwifery; something she continues to do as a widow; earning additional money, respect, and power in her city of York.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

So currently in time the country is facing a Civil War between Parliament and the King. York is in the middle of it all, with Parliament laying siege to the city.

Stop this stupid love triangle!

However, a young maid, Martha, has managed to slip through the lines. She has come from Lady Bridget’s deceased cousin to see about a job. Lady Bridget hires her and finds her to be extremely gifted in dealing with purchases from stalls to assisting her clients giving birth.

fantastic

However, Lady Bridget’s life changes when two mysteries are thrust upon her. The first being the killing of a young baby. Lady Bridget setting out to discover which mother or father did the dead.

justice

And the more shocking crime, her friend Esther Cooper has been arrested for the murder of her husband.

thenannygasp

Lady Bridget is shocked that they would ever think the demure Esther capable of killing. She sets off to prove her innocence, aided by Martha who contain skills needed in this service that go beyond simple maidly duties.

suspicious Hmm

As they set out for the truth they find themselves setting out on a path riddled with danger: from soldiers, the Parliament’s artillery, a villain from Martha’s past, Lady Bridget’s nemesis, etc.

urkelgif interesting hmm

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

Lately there has been an increase in historical fiction mysteries, especially those in which the main character accidentally finds themselves involved a case and uses their amateur sleuthing skills to solve the puzzle that was presented to them. Unlike many authors who’s reasoning’s for how their character manages to maneuver through all parts of society, Sam Thomas is able to realistically portray his character as a successful private investigator through the combination of her station and employment.

gotthis

As Lady Bridget Hodgson is a member of nobility, it gives her certain protections that others would not have; namely it is harder to kill her, she has to be treated with respect by those below her (and on the same plane), she cannot be as easily ignored or thrust aside, etc. These benefits enable her to not only approach those in the upper class regarding her investigation, but also protect her when she ventures into the lower regions.

You_know_thats_right

Her midwifery duties also give her credibility as an investigator as she is able to question and gossip with women of all classes; which all her to be privy to all types of scandalous (and helpful) information that would not be shared with just anyone. Information gathered this way creates a realistic pathway for the author to express key clues without having his main character appear too all knowing or unbelievable. This occupation also grants Lady Hodgson the talent to read people; therefore being a more effective detective as her midwifery enables her to distinguish a lie from the truth.

“Esther was telling the truth.’

‘How do you know?’

‘Unmarried mothers will often lie to me about the father of their bastards, so I know a lie when I hear one.” pg. 96

youcan'thandlethiscarygranttocatchathief

Being a midwife does not only grant her many friends, but also give her the leverage she needs to blackmail people into granting her requests. Her knowledge of extra-marital affairs, allows her to get her way.

don'tmesswithme

However, even though these qualities allow Lady Hodgson to be able to be an extremely effective detective; Thomas does not gloss over the fact that being a woman in 17th Century England, even a noblewoman, does have limitations. As most women were not educated the same way as men; Thomas uses Lady Hodgson’s first marriage as way that she could be able to live on her own and take care of her accounts. Her first husband had taught her how to run the land and how to treat the tenants; allowing her to be able to understand and know how to take care of his and her second’s husband’s land after they both pass on. However, she is still treated with disdain by many because she is a woman trying to do more than her sex allows. This opinion is expressed by many characters throughout the novel; all seeing her as weak, fragile, simple, or meddlesome.

Sorry but I don't think so.

Sorry but I don’t think so.

The mystery was also extremely well written as it has quite a few twists and turns, leading you on onto you come to the conclusion.

fantastic

The characters were all written extremely well that are all enjoyable; whether you love them or love to hate them.

this is going to be good

I loved it and give it five out of five stars!

Read it today!

Read it today!

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more historical fiction, go to A Change of Fortune

For more murdered husbands, go to A is for Alibi

 

Jenna’s Journey

jennajourney

Jenna’s Journey (A Greek Island Mystery #1), by Julie Ryan

Jenna is a middle-aged woman who has just realized that after all her years of marriage she and her husband the two want very different things, that she hates her job, and that she wants to live her dreams.

thisistoomuch

She decides to flee from foggy England, to sunny Greece, taking the ultimate vacation.

goodtogetout

As she enjoys her vacation tour, she is accidentally mistaken as a mule for an antiquity smuggling ring, and finds herself at the top of the ruthless leader’s hit list.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

As Jenna unknowingly walks down a path of danger she becomes the object of two men’s attention: the handsome, Greek, Nikos and the attractive, British Tom. While both men seem nice and interesting, Jenna is not sure whom she can trust; is Nikos really as nice as he seems or just looking for another tourist to add to his accomplishments? Tom seems to have picked Jenna out from the beginning of the tour, but while seeming like a great guy there is definitely something he is hiding. But what? Is anything in Greece really as it seems?

Very fishy

Twenty years later, Jenna’s daughter Allie visits Greece to put to rest the ghosts of her mother’s past, but is she prepared for what she will find out?

Interesting

Pair that with a cold case crime, and a detective that is intent of solving the murder.

plotthickens

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

Unfortunately, this book was not quite all it promised to be.

Thats-a-Lie-how-i-met-your-mother-barney-gif

While it does involve a mystery and international smuggling scheme, that is actually a rather small plot point in the scheme of the novel. The smuggling is brought in, and deeply captures the reader’s attention as they wonder about what will happen next; but it is quickly stalled, forgotten, and sewn up with a bow in the end.

Come on, Mack

Come on.

What the novel really turns out to be is a story of a women going to a foreign place, finding a foreign lover, and learning “about herself and what she what she wants to do with her life”, ending up with said lover and living in that foreign country. Now that type of story isn’t bad, but I was sorely disappointed as from the summary I expected something quite different.

It's not what was promised.

It’s not what was promised.

The character of Jenna was interesting and enjoyable as I thought the author presented a realistic character in a woman disappointed with life and making a change, yet still doubting herself and leaving the familiar. I also thought the way the she fought with herself over whether to leave her husband or return to work things out was also done well.

likeit

Jenna has serious problems with her husband, and his emotional abuse, but at the same time still remembers the good they had together and wonders if she may be reacting too quickly.

Interesting

The only thing that I could not stand was the way the author wrote the Jenna and Nikos’ romance. In the book, Tom is a sweet, nice, handsome guy from England with a great job in antiquities. It seems as if he isn’t being one hundred percent honest about his job, but maybe he is just trying to sound more interesting.

you'recute

However, Jenna finds him so questionable and wants to avoid him as he is “too interested” in her, meaning there must be something wrong with him. But the equally enigmatic Nikos is viewed “more honest” by Jenna and the man she decides to go away with.

Come on, Mack

Author if you want your heroine with the sexy, Greek guy; just be honest and say that is why. Don’t try and convince your reader it is about his “personality” or something, when we can see right through that, you want the “exciting” one.

seriously

The Allie part of the story doesn’t have that much of an impact on the novel, being more of a footnote than anything else.

im_bored_himym

The same goes for the detective, who is given a great build up of character, but the author lacked in the follow through, having hardly doing any detecting but having the answer just given to him.

horrible

I didn’t really enjoy this story and would give it two out of five stars.

IDon'tlikeit

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more book reviews, go to Where Are You Now?

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

In other news, this is my 100th post! Yay!

100_birthday_party

YayHappy-Success-GIF