North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

 

North by Northanger (Or the Shades of Pemberley) [Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery #3] by Carrie Bebris

Thoughts Before Reviewing:

So this post is brought to you by JaneAustenRunsMyLife, my sister blog. I just took it and reworked it to focus on the mystery over Jane Austen. I’m not lazy, but as she has already done it, why not borrow it?

So it has been a while since we reviewed a Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mystery so quick review-

So in Pride and Prescience Mr. & Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy are roped into a paranormal mystery when Caroline Bingley gets married and starts acting strangely. Is she being possessed? Or is she being gaslighted?

Hmm…

Then in book two, Suspense and Sensibility, the Darcys are roped into another mystery when the young man, Henry Dashwood (Elinor and Marianne’s nephew), engaged to Elizabeth’s sister Kitty starts acting weird. Is he possessed by his great-grandfather’s spirit or just a rake?

Hmm…

In that book Elizabeth also discovers she is pregnant, which brings us to…

Plot Summary:

 

The Darcys are pleased at the news of their upcoming child, but at the same time Mr. Darcy is scared out of his mind as his mother died in childbirth. But childbirth isn’t what is foremost on Elizabeth’s mind. You see Elizabeth is sensitive to the supernatural and is convinced that Pemberley has a ghost, and not just any ghost…Lady Anne Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s mother.

Elizabeth doesn’t feel as if Anne is vindictive or angry, but feels her presence nonetheless. She has lived the year with everything exactly how it was, but has decided that the time has come to start doing things how she wants it. She decides to shift the writing desk from its corner so that she can look out the window. When she does a letter from Anne Darcy to Elizabeth falls out!

{An excerpt]

Pemberley

20 January 1796

Dear Mrs. Darcy,

Should this letter reach your eyes, it is because I no longer live to deliver its message in person. I know not who you are-what name you bore before taking that of Darcy. I know only that by addressing this letter to you, I write the woman who has wed my son. For that reason alone I entrust to you the stewardship of something most precious…I had at Fitzwilliam’s birth a…an heirloom from my own mother-I want it now, but it has become lost. If only I could find it, I would trust that I will be safely delivered. But I hid it too well, beyond my own reach. You-you must look if I cannot, for I want you to have it when…If you are my niece, my namesake Anne, know that I guarded myself from my sister, not from you-…Search for me…My daughter, the only one I may ever have, start with the knowledge that love conquers all. I am-

Your mother, 

Anne Darcy

This baits Elizabeth’s curiosity. What was the object? Why couldn’t Lady Anne find it? Where is it?

Treasure?

They visit Mr. Bingley and Jane and are headed home by way of Bath, to meet the famous Dr. Severn, the man Darcy wants to have assist Elizabeth in her birth. He supposedly is the best in the nation, and very hard to get. They also unfortunately run into Lady Catherine in Bath.

They also receive a note from a Captain Frederick Tilney:

Edgar’s Buildings

Bath, 6 October

Dear Mr. Darcy,

My discovery of your name in the Pump Room book prompts me to write. Though we are strangers to each other, I believe our families are acquainted. My late mother, Mrs. Victor Tilney, enjoyed the friendship of one Lady Ann Darcy, whom I believe to be your mother.

Though I understand Lady Anne has also passed away, I would take great pleasure in meeting her son. Unfortunately, my military duties obligate me to depart Bath this very day. However, I plan to return to my country home in Gloucestershire by 18 October, and shall remain there for some time. I would consider myself honored to receive you and Mrs. Darcy at Northanger Abbey as my guests for a se’nnight whenever you make your return to Derbyshire.

I hope your response names the date upon which I will enjoy the pleasure of your company. I am

Yours most sincerely,

Captain Fredrick Tilney

The Darcys are also intrigued and decide to go visit on their way home. They head to Gloucestershire but find it  and Northanger Abbey not as impressive as Catherine Morland did.

Bleh…

The weather is cold, gray, dismal, and stormy. The servants are strange and act like no servant they have ever known. They are given the late Mrs. Tilney’s rooms which haven’t been used in ages and there is jewelry and all her stuff in it. Their servants have disappeared and the housekeeper has no knowledge where they are, the food gross, their host never appears, the halls are cold and drafty, and the Darcys want to leave but are forced to stay the night.

After dinner, the housekeeper takes them to their host and the Darcy’s see a very bandaged, fat man, with only one eye and his mouth are exposed. Captain Tilney apologizes for not being able to greet them or sit at dinner. He has no qualms that the rooms are full of things and thoroughly questions grills them about Lady Anne, her friendship with Mrs. Tilney, and if they have any correspondence.

 

The Darcy’s are completely flummoxed as they didn’t even know of the friendship let alone bring anything with them.

Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves feeling extremely weirded out by everything and they decide to leave ASAP.

The next morning they leave, carefully maneuvering themselves out of any faux pas. They find their servants-who had taken ill (sounds like were slipped a Regency mickey). They stop for the night and then are come upon by a constable, as they were sent an anonymous note that the Darcy’s stole jewelry and riches from the Tilneys. They then are both arrested for theft.

WHAT!

What???!!!!!!!! But he’s Mr. Darcy??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know, right?

The constable searches Mr. Darcy’s cane and finds it opens up and reveals that it has the Tilney jewels in it.

Darcy tries to convince them it isn’t his cane but one that looks like it as his cane has an imperfection in the grain-this one does’t it is a replica, but they don’t believe him.

They then return to Northanger Abbey to speak to Captain Tilney about everything and when they reach the Abbey they see that Captain Tilney is not there but Mr. Henry Tilney. The Darcy’s want Captain Tilney to share what happened that night, but he can’t. He’s dead.

WHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT?????!!!!!!!!!

And that’s not all. Fredrick’s been dead for a while.

And that housekeeper they met? She doesn’t exist. She matches no description of any housekeeper that has ever been employed there and the most recent housekeeper was fired six weeks ago.

WHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT?????

And the house has been shut up for a while.

Mr. Darcy

WHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!!?????

What is going on???

Is it ghosts? Or is there a human trying to frame the Darcys?

The local magistrate is being a bit of a jerk, enjoying the power he has over someone like Darcy and won’t release him. Darcy sends word to his solicitor, who unfortunately has been sent to France to take care of his cousin, but Elizabeth does the only thing they can do to free Darcy, call Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine comes, throws her weight around, and this guy is no match for her. She gets Darcy released and he’ll be back later for the trial. But unfortunately, Darcy isn’t just released he is released into Lady Catherine’s care and she is coming to Pemberley with them.

This is going to be hard.

Mr. Tilney comes to speak to Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy shows them the letter they received from Captain Tilney and it is dated the day before he died in his own hand. However, when Tilney questions the Darcy’s the man could not be Fredrick (as he was dead on that date) but also the eye was the wrong color.

Hmm…

So who did this and why? What was their scheme? If they wanted the jewels why hide them in the walking stick? What could they have gained from delaying the Darcy’s and getting them caught up in this? Just trying to ruin their good name?

Tilney tried to get the lawsuit dropped, but the magistrate is just salivating over this and he will not do so. Ugh. The Darcys leave for Pemberley, while Mr. Tilney plans on remaining at Northanger and continuing the investigation there and getting the estate handled. So that is mystery number two, you guys are keeping track right?

Mysteries:

  1. What is Lady Anne Darcy’s treasure and where is it hidden?
  2. Who was the man pretending to be Captain Tilney and why did he and the housekeeper frame the Darcys?

 

So Lizzy, Darcy, and Lady Catherine return to Pemberley and find it polluted. Yes a pest infestation has taken root since they have been away. A giant rat called Wickham.

I’m so disappointed.

Lydia immediately accosts Elizabeth for money, and Darcy catches Wickham with a servant girl, Jenny.  Not the welcome home they had wished for. Elizabeth finds living with Lady Catherine to be extremely difficult, no surprise there, and tries to find ways of coping. Elizabeth has been curious over the correspondence with Mrs. Tilney and thought maybe there would be a clue to help find the missing heirloom. She asks for the correspondence to come downstairs from the attic, and discovers that there are NINE trunks!

They have the yearly Harvest Feast, and Elizabeth develops a slight nosebleed. The local midwife helps her, and talks to her about Lady’s Anne’s last pregnancy. She reveals that the object Elizabeth is looking for is a small Madonna and Child ivory statuette.

A CLUE!!!!

Darcy finds her and becomes so worried about the blood, calling for the horrible doctor. Dr. Severn’s arrival makes Elizabeth have to clean up her room, and all the trunks are removed without her being able to finish going through them.

This is going to be hard.

Later Elizabeth has even more fun talking to Lady Catherine and finds out that the statuette was from back in the day when the family was Catholic. Lady Catherine wants it back, but Elizabeth refuses to give it to her if she finds it, intending to keep it. It is a battle of wits as both are searching high and low, in and out, and all over Pemberley.

Treasure?

Elizabeth wants to read Lady Anne’s letter again but it has disappeared. Only later to reappear. That isn’t he only thing that is strange-is Elizabeth just having the pregnancy forgetfulness, is someone sabotaging her, or is there a spirit at play here?

So we have three mysteries:

  1. What is Lady Anne Darcy’s treasure and where is it hidden?
  2. Who was the man pretending to be Captain Tilney and why did he and the housekeeper frame the Darcys?
  3. Why is Elizabeth’s items disappearing a reappearing? Is it a ghost? Pregnancy brain? Or a malicious person?

Hmmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

This was extremely enjoyable and a very good mystery. I loved it.

For more Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Carrie Bebris, go to Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged)

For more things borrowed from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Skinny Chai Tea Latte

For more Northanger Abbey, go to The Strength of Their Attachment

For more paranormal elements, go to Paper Valentine

For more treasure hunts, go to High Sea Adventure

Rosemary’s Baby

Rosemary’s Baby (Rosemary’s Baby #1) by Ira Levin

So I have seen this film and loved it. When the book was donated to the library and added to the collection-I couldn’t help it. I needed to read it. I had to see if it was as good.

It blew me away! The movie was great-but Ira Levin is on par with Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-no matter how many times have seen the film or read the book every time feels like the first time.

This book was AMAZING. I mean the film really was fantastic in staying close to the book but the writings was so amazing.

I mean-read it. I loved it. I couldn’t put it down. The emotion-Rosemary is so sweet and young and caring. She loves Guy even though he is a narcissistic prig.  All she wants is a nice home with her handsome husband and to have a baby.

You feel for her as she works on her home-her hopes and dreams and they are all dashed because of her horrible husband who trades his wife’s love to get a better career.

I can’t do this book justice. It was so good. Read it is all I can say. You will love it. You will love it so much you won’t be able to stop. Trust me. If you like any mystery, horror, thrills, suspense, etc-you will LOVE this as much as me.

And just in time for Halloween, Ihope you all have a happy-safe-holiday.

For more witches, go to High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

Highroad to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft by Michael Kunze

Thoughts Before Reading:

I had to read this for my class on Early Modern Europe, but didn’t.

I know. Since I couldn’t return it I decided to just hold on to it and read it later.

Plot Synopsis:

This book is the account of the Pappenheimers family. This unit of five-father Paulus; mother Anna; sons Jacob (sometimes called Michel), Gumpprecht, and Hoel (sometimes called Hansel). They were a lower class family that moved around like gypsies.

An arrested thief named them as his conspirators in murdering pregnant women and called them witches. They were arrested and taken to Munich.

There they were tortured and accused of committing over hundreds of thefts and murders, basically any unsolved crime.

Michael Kunze gives a deatailed account of life in the 17th century, and a detailed account of the horror of the witch hunts and trials.

Thoughts After Reading:

I have tried to read this book five times and barely make it out of the first few chapters.

Ugh

It is so dense and I just can’t connect to the work. I’m not sure if it is his style or maybe the translation, but after the fifth time trying to read it; I just kissed it goodbye.

For more nonfiction, go to The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

For more books featuring witches, go to The Witch Hunter’s Tale

For more books I read for class, go to The Midwife’s Tale

For more book reviews, go to Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

itsybitsyspider

The Itsy Bitsy Spider (An Emma Frost Mystery #1) by Willow Rose

So I was first introduced to Willow Rose when I was checking out the site BookBub, and saw the book Miss Polly Had a Dolly (An Emma Frost Mystery #2) was on sale for free.

FREE!

It sounded good, although I have to admit when I read Emma Frost the first thing that popped in my head was the X-Men character. Even though this is not how Emma is described I am unable to get this image out of my head when reading.

So Willow Rose is a Danish writer, and not to rude or mean or anything (I’m part Danish myself), but I’ve noticed that Scandinavian writers tend to go real, real, dark in their writing. Something that won’t be for everyone.

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Synopsis:

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again

So the book begins with a flashback. A women, Astrid, is stuck in a bunker. She’s not mentally all there, emotionally abused by her mother, and all around disliked by everyone and herself. This makes her the perfect mark with a guy who pushes for more than just hanging out. Astrid is sixteen and has fallen for Christian, but is now pregnant and trapped underground.

Flash-forward to present day. So Emma Frost is a journalist, divorced, and mother of two. Her grandmother (father’s mother), who she has only met once has just died and left Emma her house on Fanø Island. Emma decides the change of pace will be good for them and three move, at the great displeasure of Emma’s father.

It is a cute little island that depends on tourism. A sweet and nice place to live. Emma picks up the keys to the house from the police officer Dan Toft and remarks how nice it will be to leave in a small-town place.

“You must not have much crime here on the island. Must be kind of nice, right?.”

200_s

Famous last words

You notice that always happens. It is a nice quiet community; someone moves there or moves back and the next thing you know bodies are dropping and they are investigating.

Her daughter Maya feels the same as her grandfather, but Victor is pleased. Victor is Emma’s youngest and suffers from the doctors don’t quite know what. Some say aspergers, some autism, some say he just needs attention; all she knows is that he has some mental issues and she needs to do all she can to try to keep him on a schedule. He doesn’t like touching, not being in his room, likes trees, etc.

Meanwhile, a woman down the way has just been murdered. Attracted by the sirens, Emma tries to look into it, not receiving much; turns to a trick taught by an old boyfriend; hacking.

When she looks into the police reports, she discovers that the woman just wasn’t murdered; her heart and liver were also cut out. We are dealing with a cannibal.

Back in 1977, Astrid is pregnant but living okay in the bunker. Every so many months she runs out of the supplies and her captor delivers more. She also gives her magazines and information on being pregnant. Astrid goes through the whole 9 months and deliverers on her own. She gives birth to a boy she names Sebastian.

I have a baby!

Back in the present, Emma meets some neighbors, Sophia and Jack. She gets the lowdown on the island and discovers there is a church that controls the society on the island; once you are in you never can leave. Only a few manage to get out.

I’m scared.

Irene Justesen is the Danish Jane Fonda, known as the Queen of Fitness throughout the country. She is thought of as a success story as she started out poor but built a powerful company. However, she has lost most to her drinking; and can’t enjoy the wealth and success as she traded it for her daughter.

One night after she has been leading an exercise class, the killer comes for her. She tries to bribe the killer, but nothing works. He kills her, harvests her organs, and shoves a sweatband into her mouth after her death.

Victor is crying out in his sleep about spiders. Emma tries to calm him down, but all he will say is :

“Spider,’ he said. ‘Watch for the spider!”

Now I read up to book six in this series, before I started this blog and circled back to review. One thing I’ve noticed that they haven’t explained is that whatever Victor’s condition is, it gives him some type of ESP. He is able to give warnings and everything he says helps Emma and the police in solving this crimes.

Victor wants to sleep in Emma’s room; something strange and unlike him. When Emma asks him why, he tells her someone died in his room.

WHAT!

Meanwhile, Emma and Sophia have grown to be very good friends. They visit every week and it turns out that Sophia has a new boyfriend and is pregnant with her sixth child (all have different fathers.)

Emma continues to do research and discovers that the people who were all killed belonged to the same church.

Then something odd happens, Victor becomes really sick as it turns out he has been attacked by spiders when he was out in the backyard.

Back in the ’70s, Astrid is celebrating Sebastian’s birthday. Astrid has been careful, but it appears she went either ate too much, calculated wrong, or that the captor forgot to bring them food. They are running out, and even with Astrid giving up her meals and giving them to Sebastian there will soon be nothing. Something needs to happen or else they will be dead.

As Astrid grows weaker and weirded out by her son’s fascination with spiders, she makes Sebastian promise that if the bunker was opened at anytime; for him to run and escape.

Pastor Gotredsen, the minster of the church that controls the island, is very unhappy with the news of Irene’s death. Not because he liked her, but because he knows what this means. They are killing all involved and the minister is next. However, his ego chooses to ignore this and continues believing that he is going to only come out on top.

We also discover that this minister does not truly believe in what he is supposed to be preaching, as he is practicing every sin he is supposed to be against, and the leader of a human trafficking group.

The killer of course comes for the minister, adding one more to his nightly meals.

Emma does some more hacking and discovers that once again the organs were removed and a number two was marked on a wall. They all had numbers on the wall. Counting down to what? Or who?

Emma goes into Victor’s room and removes everything from the walls. As she looks closer at sites of the repainting, she can see that there was a five painted there. Her grandma was killed by this psychopath.

Back in the ’80s, Astrid continues to grow weaker, wondering when the food is coming. Up above she hears the sound of a siren…

Back in the present Emma’s dad is coming to visit. He has been lonely without his family, as after his wife took off for Spain with her lover, all he had was Emma and the kids.

Flashback to the ’80s, and Astrid dies from starvation. Sebastian is the only one left and has only one option left to survive. His mom.

In the present, Emma goes to dinner with Sophia and her chef boyfriend. They are having a great night until they discover what the meal is. Organs. Very fancy-schmancy; but could they possibly be the minister’s organs?

Back in the ’80s, Sebastian  has been alone and scared; his only comfort his pet spiders. One day he hears a sound from the doorway, creak. It opens up and in walks a beautiful blonde girl. She says hello and asks him to play. Sebastian refuses, remembering his mother’s words and taking off in a run. Meanwhile the little girl’s father calls to her, “Emma, where are you?”

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Thoughts After Reading

I thought this was a pretty good mystery. It was suspenseful, kept you guessing and had an intense resolution.

***Spoilers***

So a couple of things, how did Officer Dan pass his psych evaluation? He’s totally a psychopath.

Emma does one stupid thing over and over; she just goes off without telling anyone where she is going.

And how creepy that ending. Your half-brother was trying to rape his nephew, kill his sister, and kill his father. I would be utterly creeped out to see that I has an insane brother like that.

I felt so bad for the father. Impregnated a much younger girl knowing you took advantage of her age ad mental state; but then trying to do the right thing but it turns out your mom and her cronies locked her up in a bunker and lied saying she left. And then your sons tries to rape your grandson, kill his sister, and murder you! He’s gonna need a lot of therapy. That whole family will.

For more mysteries with investigative reporters, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more mysteries with psychics, go to The Final Seven

For more BookBub books, go to The Saint Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre

For more mysteries, go to Apple Turnover Murder

Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night

capemaycourthouse

Cape Night Court House: A Death in the Night by Lawrence Schiller

This story is based on the true story and case started by Dr. Eric Thomas against Ford Vehicles, but then took a strange twist down adultery, and possible murder.

thenannygasp

This case took place back in the ’90s. Dr. Thomas, his wife Tracy Rose Thomas, and 18 month old daughter Alex all got into the car to take sick Alex to the hospital. For some reason, Tracey was driving the car while being pregnant, and she was the only one killed and injured.

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The autopsy should she died from blunt force trauma, consistent with smacking her head in a car accident, however there were some suspicious marks on Tracey’s neck that brought up questions.

suspicious Hmm

Her family was shocked at the death, and also thought it was a bit strange. Why would Tracey drive, she never drove when pregnant. And right before she died, Tracey had called in the middle of the night and made her parents promise to make sure, that if anything happened to her to take her daughter.

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Things got stranger still, right after Tracey died. Dr. Thomas asked Tracey’s family, the Roses, to remove every image of Tracey or else they wouldn’t be able to see Alex again.

What?

Even more suspicious Dr. Thomas remarries his old sweetheart Stephanie, very quickly and without even mentioning it to Tracey’s family. As the Roses become more and more skeptical, they discuss their views with the cops, bringing to light the strange way in which Dr. Thomas had answered questions after the accident, even switching and mistakenly answering things.

Sad but true.

Meanwhile, Dr. Thomas decides to open a case against Ford, blaming the car company’s faulty airbags on her death.

bigmistake

Of course, Ford would never wish to payout and they start investigating, discovering that Dr. Thomas had been having an affair with Stephanie long before Tracey died. And a lot of debts, debts that were paid for by her life insurance.

Interesting

Interesting

Was Tracy Thomas killed in a car accident, or was the accident a cover up for murder?

urkelgif interesting hmm

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Thoughts after Reading:

I thought it was good, the only thing I didn’t care was the endless facts on cars, car safety, etc.

im_bored_himym

Yes, it was very dry and I just wanted to skip it all.

Ijustwantittostop

But the rest of the story was very interesting, but inconclusive. As it is real life, we don’t get a nice tidy ending; in fact all we get are more questions.

questionsspeculatingwaiting

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For more non-fiction, go to The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars

For more book reviews, go to A is for Alibi

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.

likeit

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.

cookingfood

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.

gotthis

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?!

urkelgif interesting hmm

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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.

chocolate-cupcake

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.

Icannotstandmorons_Laura

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.

seriously

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.

likeit

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

For more mysteries, go to The Princess Plot

At the Corner of King Street

At the Corner of King Street

At the Corner of King Street by Mary Ellen Taylor

At the Corner of King Street, by Mary Ellen Taylor, follows two threads: Sarah Shire-Goodwin, Scottish immigrant settling in the new colony of Virginia; and Addie Morgan, a women trying to distance herself from her family and the disease that destroyed it.

Addie Morgan’s family is cursed.

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

 

The women in her family tend to carry traits for mental diseases, or “carry the curse” as it has been called for centuries. Addie was lucky enough to be passed over, but both her mother and older sister suffer from being bipolar. Addie has always taken care of everybody, but when her sister causes her to crash her car and nearly kills the two of them, Addie has had enough. She leaves Alexandria, Virginia; the Shire Family Salvage Company; and heads off to anywhere else.

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She finds herself working as a picker in a vineyard, later becoming the bookkeeper, and ultimately second-in-command. Here she feels she finally has a normal life with her job and her boyfriend, the vineyard owner. Everything is going perfect, until she receives a call from her sister Janet, and is sent back into the cyclone of her former life.

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After the car accident, Janet took off leaving her husband and son. Since then she has been doing drugs, drinking, and not taking her medication. She also is pregnant, and when Addie arrives on the scene, Janet has just given birth to a baby girl. Addie hopes that the baby can quickly be found a foster home so that she can return to her new life, but soon discovers that nothing in life is ever that simple.

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While Janet is committed to thirty days of a doctor’s care, Addie stays in Alexandria taking care of the new baby, and the family business. Here she meets up with an old friend, Margaret and the two stumble onto a mystery strife with superstition. In the homes they are salvaging, Addie and Margaret discover three witch bottles, a protective charm from the 18th century made to ward off a supposed witch named Faith. As they look deeper into this, they discover that this mystery is connected to Addie’s distant relative Sarah Goodwin along with the problems in the present. Addie soon finds out that the past is never far behind.

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Thoughts after reading:

I really enjoyed this novel. I liked the way that Mary Ellen Taylor made all of her characters multi-dimensional, just as complicated and interesting as they would be if they existed in real life. First we have the character of Addie who has had to grow up fast, being the one to care for her mother and sister because of their illness. After her mother’s death and her sister nearly killing her, Addie has had enough and wants to get far away in the hopes of having a normal life. When she is called back to the chaos of it all, she at first doesn’t want to help her sister or care for her sister’s baby. Addie is selfish for wanting to live her own life and not care for her family members, but it is a selfishness that has evolved from years of trying to make things better, to only have things fall even more apart. I appreciated that the author was willing to make the character not so saintly or eager to pitch in, but showing the reality of how much of a burden this disease is to the people who have it and for their family members.

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Eventually, Addie does decide to care for her niece and her reintegration into her Aunt Grace’s home, as well as trying to mend the broken relationship between her ex-brother-in-law Zeb and nephew Eric, were extremely well done. While some novels would have quickly had everyone pull together for “the good of the child”, the author had this repairing of familial bonds done slowly. Addie still has feelings of betrayal from her Aunt Grace not rescuing her from her mother’s care and the chaotic life they had lead. She also has a lot of guilt from choosing not to be a part of her nephew’s life and not fully preparing Zeb for the reality of what living with Janet is like. Aunt Grace is angry with Addie for having left her alone to work on the family, but is also angry with herself for not having the courage to mother the girls and remove them from her sister’s care. Zeb has spent many years angry with his ex-wife, but has lived a contented life raising their son. Now he has to deal with his resentment and bitterness at Janet for abandoning their family and once again throwing his world off kilter. Not only does the author make these slow transitions, but not all of these issues are resolved by the end of the book, the family still taking it one step at a time.

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I also loved the secondary character, Margaret, the sassy, free-spirited, historian. She has been working in the family bakery while trying to find another job, and becomes Addie’s partner in salvaging and unraveling the mystery of the witch’s bottles. As a fellow historian, Magaret’s excitement and wit made her extremely endearing and relatable. I hope to see more of her in the future; maybe even her own book or series? Here’s hoping!

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The mystery was done very well. At first I disliked the journal entries from Sarah Goodwin that are placed in front of every chapter, but as the book went on and the lives of Sarah and Faith tied closer and closer to Addie and her family, they became extremely enjoyable. The final conclusion to the mystery and the novel was powerful and led to a perfect ending.

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All in all I really enjoyed this novel, giving it a five out of five star rating.

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I look forward to reading past and future novels of Mary Ellen Taylor and her tales of Alexandria.

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For the previous mystery book review, go to Fatally Frosted 

For more stand-alone mysteries, go to The Dollhouse Murders