Pretend You Don’t See Her

Pretend You Don’t See Her by Mary Higgins Clark

Lacey Farrell is a real estate agent in New York City who is given a prime apartment to sell. It belongs to Isabelle Warring, but prior to her it belonged to her daughter Heather Landis, Broadway singer. Heather died about a year ago and Isabelle’s ex husband Jimmy Landis has been telling her she needs to sell the apartment and move on. Isabelle however is convinced that Heather’s death was not a car accident but that someone murdered her and she has been trying with all her might to get answers.

As Lacey tried to find a buyer she spends a lot of time with Isabelle. One day Isabelle calls and leaves a message saying that she has been reading through Heather’s old diary and discovers a clue, one that she will talk to Lacey about next time she sees her.

Hmmm…

The next day her bosses son, Rick Parker, gives her the name and number of a potential buyer, Curtis Caldwell. Lacey shows him the house but Isabelle is against selling it and doesn’t want to talk about what she has discovered. Lacey is discouraged but goes back to speak to Isabelle that night and walks right in on her being murdered by Caldwell, her earlier apartment appointment.

WHAT!

He runs out and with Isabelle’s dying breath she tells Lacey she discovered a clue and wants her to give the diary to he ex-husband as he will find the murderer, there is something in it he needs to read.

Lacey calls the police who are really bad investigators as they meet trying to pin the murder on her. The next day she stays late at work and makes two copies of the journal, giving one to Heather’s father and keeping the other for herself. She returns home and find her apartment burgled. She decides they must be after the diary and gives the police the original copy that she hid at work, not letting them know about her secret copy.

The next day she is fired from her job (they say “suspended” I say FIRED) and goes to have dinner with her family when someone tries to shoot her, grazing her and hurting her niece.

The murderer turns out to be no average person as the fingerprint found at Lacey’s apartment turns out to belong to a serious hitman for the mafia who was thought to have died two years ago!

The Marshals swoop in and Lacey is carted off into the witness protection program, now known as Alice Carroll.

New me!

Meanwhile, the diary disappears from the police precinct and when Jimmy turns his copy over to the police, it goes missing as well. With a mole in the police department and a hitman after her-will Lacey be able to unravel this mess or wind up the next victim?

Thoughts After Reading:

This was a good mystery, although it made no sense that the marshals didn’t give Lacey/Alice a job but expected her to figure it out and find work with no references. From what I know is that they always place you somewhere.

Lacey also made several BIG mistake when it came to investigating and staying hidden. Like serious screw ups.

No thank you.

The mystery was good though, as I had no clue who the murder was, and when I read who it turned out to be, I was stunned.

For more by Mary Higgins Clark, go to Second Time Around

For more murders disguised as car accidents, go to Snagged

For more Not in a Series Mysteries, go to A Simple Favor

Little Archie: Man of the House

This comes from an Archie comic, but I don’t know which one as it was an old one that the cover had fallen off.

For more Archie Comics, go to Little Betty & Veronica: The Buried Treasure Mystery

For more Archie Andrews, go to Archie Andrews: A Real Foul Ball

For more burglery, go to Patterns in the Sand

The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

So I thought it was time for another Cat Who… mystery. I thought, I could write this myself, or once again borrow from an older family member. As you can see I am borrowing my sister blog’s review of the second book in the Cat Who… series.

CatWhoWroteABlog

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“We want you to publish a weekly magazine on interior design.’ ‘On what?‘ Qwilleran said in an unintended falsetto…Qwilleran’s throat felt as if he swallowed his moustache. ‘Gracious Abodes? Is that the name of the thing?” (pg. 10)

In this book I always feel bad for Qwill, as nothing seems to go right for him.

In book two, we pick up a little time after The Cat Who Could Read Backwards,  where we find Qwill eager for a new assignment. While he had some enjoyment on the art beat, art is not where he really wants to be. He wants to do something more exciting like crime, government issues, etc. However, his boss Percy (called that because of his excessive use of the phrase per se) doesn’t really go for that type of “disunity” and “abandonment” of your post.

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In other news, Koko is now a proud member…

View original post 2,860 more words

The Man in the Queue

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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

Ashes to Ashes

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Ashes to Ashes (A Kovac and Liska Mystery #1) by Tami Hoag

This wasn’t the first I read in the series, that being The Bitter Season, but as I have to review them in order I’m starting with Ashes to Ashes.

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Plot Synopsis:

Minneapolis has a firebug, that is a an arsonist, nicknamed The Cremator. He has been killing prostitutes, destroying all witnesses so the police had nothing: but now things have changed. He’s been witnessed by prostitute and teenage runaway, Angie DiMarco.

Looks like we just caught a break.

Looks like we just caught a break.

But Angie isn’t talking.

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Ar first they hope to rattle her by threatening jail, but when that does no good Kate Conlan, ex-FBI, gets called in to handle their victim/witness.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

To up the  ante even further, the Cremator has chosen to abduct the daughter of billionaire Peter Bondurant.

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Now not only are the police being pushed to solve this crime, but Bondurant has used his connections to bring in FBI whiz and looker, Special Agent John Quinn. Who wouldn’t you know it, has a past with Kate that she’d rather keep silent.

urkelgif interesting hmm

As Sam Kovac and his partner Nikki Liska are on the case, aided by Quinn and Kate. But as they start investigating they find a lot of strange and suspicious things.

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Peter Bondurant isn’t acting like the normal bereaved father, hardly being involved but instead sending his lawyer to ask/answer questions? What’s the story on that?

HMMM

Why would the cremator break habit? Why stray from his routine?

I wonder...

I wonder…

Something about the missing girl’s best friend seems off as well. They didn’t seem to be the type to run in the same circles, why are they together?

weird

The house they send Angie to to protect her also has an odd couple running it. And it happens that they are connected to the three previous dead girls. Could they possibly be involved?

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

Through the frenzy, hysteria, dead ends, a can of worms, and politics; Kate discovers that this Cremator is set out for one big finish, with Kate as his star player.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was a fantastic mystery; gripping, incredible, and just mind blowing.

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I thought I had it all figured out…was completely wrong.

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However, while this book was good, I liked The Bitter Season better. I liked that the characters that were already established, and as much as I like Kate; I enjoy the Kovac/Liska partnership better. They just complete each other so well.

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And while I did enjoy this book, let me warn you it is not for the faint of heart. It can be graphic at times in descriptions and language.

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But otherwise it was very enjoyable.

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For more mystery reviews, go to A Taste of Fame

Where Are You Now?

Mothers-Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

So I wasn’t originally planning on posting anything today, but then I came across a book that just fit the theme and decided:

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So first thank you to all the moms out there. It is hard job and you are not honored enough.

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Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clark

Charles “Mack” MacKenzie Jr. was your average college student. He came from a rich family, had a loving mother and father; a great little sister, good friends, a nice apartment; everyone who meet him liked him, he was studying to be a lawyer–i.e he has it all.

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Then one day he walks out of his apartment and is never seen again.

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For the past ten years he hasn’t come back, the only contact the family has had is Mother’s Day. Between 12:00 a.m and 11:59 p.m. every Mother’s Day he calls, says a few words, and then hangs up.

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His parents have tried going to the police (they weren’t very helpful); have hired private investigators (who netted nothing); and questioned friends (they had nothing to add); but it all ends up with a big zero-nothing.

Not-Good

Even when his father is killed during 9/11, Mack refuses to change his procedure.

Come on, Mack

Come on, Mack

But now his younger sister, Carolyn, has decided she has had enough of this. She is tired of feeling hurt and betrayed. She is tired of always wondering why he left. And she is tired of seeing how destroyed her mother looks.

Stop this stupid love triangle!

She is going to search for Mack.

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When Carolyn tells Mack that she is on the case and is determined to find him; she is surprised to find a note from Mack placed in the collection plate of her uncle’s church.

Interesting

Interesting

This note tells her not to look for him, but besides the warning Caroline is intrigued with its delivery. Is Mack still in New York? Had he never left?

Smirkity smirk smirk

Hmmm. Maybe she is on to something.

Carolyn decides to devote the next three weeks to searching; if she doesn’t find Mack then she will finally move on with her life, but if she does then she will finally have the mystery solved.

gotthis

She begins requestioning people from her brother’s past and happens upon some strange things. His old landlords are cagey, their statements contradictory, and they are all around reluctant to talk about that time. Could they possibly be involved with Mack’s disappearance?

suspicious Hmm

One of Mack’s old roommates, who is married to Mack’s old girlfriend; also doesn’t want to speak to Carolyn at all. And when he heard that Carolyn was asking questions he whisked his wife and kids out of the city. Very suspicious.

I've got my eye on you

I’ve got my eye on you

As Carolyn continues to investigate, she discovers that Mack was taking drama lessons and would record himself. When she tries to reach out to his former teacher she is told that the woman was killed while being mugged and that her house was broken into.

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The only items stolen being Mack’s tapes.

Very fishy

Very fishy

Meanwhile, the police are swamped with a disappearance of a girl, Leesey, who lives right next door to Carolyn. She is the third in a series of such disappearances, the girls or their bodies never being found. As the cops are racing against the clock to find her, one detective looks through older evidence and discovers that Mack was at the same club the first girl disappeared from. Could he be involved with this vanishing? Or did he know who was and then disappeared because he was afraid.

urkelgif interesting hmm

With the press and police out to hang her brother for the crimes; and Carolyn starting to doubt his innocence as well; she knows more now than ever she must find him. But where is he?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I’ve only read a few Mary Higgins Clark: this book, Daddy’s Gone A Hunting, and Let Me Call You Sweetheart. For me I’ve noticed that her books are either a hit;

loveitSupernatural

Or a miss:

stupidestthingever

No in-between.

You_know_thats_right

This book was definitely a miss for me.

IDon'tlikeit

At first I loved the book, it had a very strong premise; the characters were interesting, and was written so well I had a hard time keeping my hands and mind off of it.

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Mary Higgins Clark likes doing multiple narrations, and I really liked how she incorporated the killers mind. It was only a few times it really added to the book.

fantastic

However, the ending to this book just fell flat. The person they choose and the reasons behind it were kind of boring. You know same old same old.

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In fact the villain was so much something you have seen countless times I had no  trouble figuring out who he was.

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The end was a bit of a letdown after all the action.

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I also didn’t like the way she portrayed the police officers. They were mean and a bit stupid. They concentrated more on making the facts suit their theories rather than the facts speak for themselves.

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All in all I thought it was only okay. Good for maybe one read, but not worthy to add to your permanent collection.

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For more mysteries revolving around a disappearance, go to The Unsolvable Mystery: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

For more mysteries not in a series, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

For more holiday posts, go to Wookie Cookies

Blueberry Muffin Murder

BlueberryMuffinMurder

Blueberry Muffin Murder (Hannah Swenson Mystery #3) by Joanne Fluke

This is the third book in the series following Hannah Swenson, ex-English Literature major and now owner of cookie shop, The Cookie Jar, in Lake Eden, Minnesota. She accidentally runs into dead bodies, or people ask her to investigate, causing her to solve crimes before the police even have a smidgen of a clue.

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It’s late February and things are pretty slow. Christmas and News Years? Parties galore and business is booming. With Valentine’s Day, another flurry of activity. But once that’s over it’s dead. Snow, cold, and nothing until Easter.

im_bored_himym

So this year, the city decided to do something different to bring in tourist and boost the economy. This year marked the first annual Lake Eden Winter Carnival.

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The Jordan High School shop class redid old sleighs to give sleigh rides. Hannah’s mother Delores helped the Historical Society create a full-scale replica of the first mayor’s house, Ezekiel Jordan. And of course Hannah, is one of the many people who has a booth for her business.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

As she is heading out to her shop, a guy attacks her from behind warning her to get against the wall or else she will be killed!!!!

Ahh-1

It turns out to be an old friend, Greg Canfield. Greg had moved back a few years ago and opened an import store at the Tri-County Mall. His store closed down recently, and after he sold his house he moved in with his grandmother (who lives in the same condo building as Hannah). He was out that morning and thought he’d pull a prank on his old pal. Greg leaves to get back to his stock trading, he’s making a bundle on the company Redlines and Hannah heads over to her shop.

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Hannah’s friend Lisa, has recently become her partner, and has been busy at work baking and dressing the window for the Winter Carnival.

It turns out that the Winter Carnival is going to bring much more to town. Connie MacIntyre, the star of the hit cooking show Cooking With Connie Mac, has come to town. She has numerous books, a string of kitchen boutique stores, a monthly magazine, etc.

With Connie Mac, comes Janie Burkholtz, Connie’s personal assistant, and Hannah’s sister Andrea’s very best friend. Looks like the Winter Carnival is going to be loads of fun.

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The Mayor asks Hannah to drive Connie Mac around town and Hannah agrees as she figures it will be fun.

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Andrea comes over to speak to Hannah and when she hears all about Hannah giving the tour, and of course invites herself along. Hannah agrees as she thinks it will make a boring situation more interesting.

The girls reach the inn where Connie Mac is staying and meet a grade-A jerk.

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She is rude, cruel and picky about how everything has to be. From her salad to pressing of her clothes, nothing is ever quite right and must have a thousand details done to it.

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The first stop is the library, where Connie will be signing her cookbooks, along with raising awareness for the library and the programs offered there. However, Connie doesn’t care about the library, all she wants is the money and publicity and she sure doesn’t want to be at the back of the building, but in the lobby.

Then she decides the best sleigh shouldn’t be used for the Winter Royalty, but what she should ride in on.

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

I guess that is correct, as she is a royal pain.

Sorry, had to do it.

Sorry, had to do it.

After they iron out that detail they go on to the school kitchen to talk about the big banquet they are going to have. Connie manipulates people to get what she wants, and succeeds every time. She wants her cake to be on the pedestals reserved for the crown of the Winter Prince & Princess. Edna, the school cook, is very against it, until Connie promises to gift them a dinner set for 200, including glassware, silver, and tablecloths.

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Hannah can see right through everything and thinks Connie is just plan rude. She also thinks that her show is nothing special, as it seems presentation heavy over tasty.

Hannah leaves Andrea with Connie and heads back to the The Cookie Jar. There she makes some blueberry muffins, using frozen berries instead of real ones as Minnesota in February, there is no way she is getting fresh. That’s one great thing about living on the West Coast, fresh fruit all year long.

That afternoon Hannah receives a frantic call from Janie. It turns out that the van carrying Connie Mac’s Winter Carnival Cake was ruined when the car went into a ditch. And she needs a place to to cook a replacement. They want to use The Cookie Jar.

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Hannah does not want Connie Mac in her kitchen, and suggests other places; but it turns out none are available, the only place it can happen in is Hannah’s.

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Against her better judgement, Hannah agrees.

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Besides cooking there, Norman will be taking Connie Mac’s picture as well. So it can be immortalized forever that Connie Mac cooked at the Cookie Jar.

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That night as everyone is bringing stuff in for Connie Mac, Hannah tells Lisa to take the morning off. Before Hannah leaves, she lets Janie know that there are blueberry muffins in the pantry. Janie wants some, but Connie Mac has forbidden her to have sweets as she “needs to lose 20 pounds”. She doesn’t really need to, but Connie is rude and a jerk.

Norman and Hannah both leave and Norman is just as angry at Connie as Hannah. Connie is clearly super at making enemies. You all know what that means.

Murder

Norman invites Hannah to dinner, but she refuses, wanting to rest. Unfortunately, Bill is working late, and since Janie can no longer meet her and with Andrea all alone; Hannah is convinced to go out. It turns out Bill does come and brings Mike. The perfect set-up.

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The next day Hannah goes to her shop and finds it a huge mess.

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The door is open. Flour is everywhere! Mixing bowls are filled with dry batter. Sticky spoons, beaters, and other utensils spatter the kitchen. Burning cake in the oven!

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Her shop is a total mess and could have burnt to the ground!!!! What is Connie Mac’s deal? How could she have done this?!!!

As Hannah begins cleaning, she spots Connie’s handbag. Along with her coat. Janie was gone, her car, coat, etc. So….

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Connie must never have left. As Hannah looks in the store she finds her. Dead by a blow to the head, mid muffin bite.

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And a blow on the back of a head means only one thing:

Murder

Mike and Bill come and close off Hannah’s shop. Indefinitely, until the murderer is caught. This becomes a huge part of the storyline as Hannah is angry with Mike for being so stubborn and not letting her come back. Now this really bothers me, as can the police really do that? It seems in shows that they don’t keep a place of business or residence forever.

So I looked it up, and it turns out that the police can keep a place as long as they want, however they choose to revert it back to the owner as soon as possible. So there you go, Mike is just a big ol’ jerk and I hate him.

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Moving on. Not only is Hannah locked out from her own kitchen, but she is forbidden to speak to any Connie Mac employee as Mike doesn’t want her meddling. They suspect Janie as being the murderer, but Mike knows that Hannah will refuse to accept that and try to find who she believes the “real murderer is.”

And of course Hannah does not listen.

See ya Mike

See ya Mike

She goes to the Inn and talks to Sally. There she finds out that EVERYONE hated Connie and all have reasons to kill her. All the maids at the Inn hate her; Connie fired the delivery truck driver;  she threatened to fire her long-time lawyer, Alan Carpenter; Paul, her husband, was cheating on her; he keeps postponing her book, and Kurt Howe, her publisher, is looking at getting fired if he can get her to commit; etc. Plus there is always money, the Connie Mac empire is enormous, and whoever inherits will be getting a lot of moolah.

WhoDoneIt?

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Thoughts after reading:

This was an okay book. I thought the mystery was so-so and the investigation kind of blah.

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At one point Mike is convinced Norman killed Connie because she made a difficult photo shoot. Really? Really?

stupidestthingever

This was dumb. Come on, Mike. Get your head out of your butt. Dumb. Why are the two cops so stupid in this series? I mean really. Come on son.

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And they spend a long time talking about ice fishing. Really? Really?

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And it turns out the reason Paul, Connie’s husband, was trying to get close to Janie is that he is secretly her biological father. It was pretty obvious and overdramatic.

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So not horrible, but not fantastic. Just okay.

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For more Hannah Swenson Mysteries, go to Strawberry Shortcake Murder

For more Midwestern Mysteries, go to Thorns of Rosewood

For more reviews, go to The Barter

The Missing Mah Jongg Player

the Missing Mah jong player

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.

Whoa

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