Iced

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Iced (Regan Reilly Mysteries #3) by Carol Higgins Clark

So I read Laced and thought it was okay, but then I read this one and thought it was bad.

I didn’t want to keep reading the series, but knew I had to before I could post this one. I read Decked and Snagged; and loved them.

So what went wrong?

Plot Synopsis:

P.I. Regan Reilly is invited to join her family and their friends on an Aspen vacation. But when they arrive things are not as they expected.

The place is a total mess and Eben Bean, the caretaker is missing!

He’s not the only thing missing, the family’s priceless artwork have been stolen.

Eben has a record, could he have decided the straight and narrow is too boring and returned to his life of crime.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was boring.

They give the whole mystery away in the beginning when they show that Eben is kidnapped by art thieves.

That’s it?

Eben and the maid Bessie interactions were dumb as well.

And they turn out to be long lost twins. Really? Where you running out of ideas?

Boring, boring, boring, Not worth your time-I’d skip it.

For more Regan Reilly Mysteries, go to Snagged

For more by Carol Higgins Clark, go to Decked

For more mysteries with private detectives, go to This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

For more mysteries with female private investigators, go to Secrets Can Kill

For more kidnapping mysteries, go to Run Run As Fast As You Can

For more mysteries that take place in Aspen, go to Catering to Nobody

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This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

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This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies (Reed Ferguson Mystery #1) by Renée Pawlish

Thoughts Before Reading:

I belong to a site called BookBub in which you can be redirected to get  Kindle books cheaply or for free. This was one that was on the free section of the site.

I picked this book because every facet of it intrigued me. The cover was interesting in its 1940s noir feel, the title with it instantly bringing to mind a character who loves film (especially noir) as much as me; and the synopsis sounded great. Now did it live up to its expectations?

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Reed Ferguson loves old film noir. He’s favorite is The Big Sleep starring his hero, Humphrey Bogart.

On the case!

In fact, Reed wants to be just like his hero that he has decided to start his own detective agency.

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As he lives in Colorado, he doesn’t have to be licensed. Now Reed may dream of being the next Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe; but hasn’t hit it big on a case really. He spends most of his time watching old movies or sitting around reading detective novels.

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Unfortunately, Reed’s dad doesn’t view things the same way.

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He thinks of Reed as playacting and wants him to concentrate on a “real” job.

What?!

So Reed is hoping that he will get a “real” case to prove that it is a “real job”.

One day a beautiful blonde walks into his office. She is straight up a femme fatale out of his movies. Her name is Amanda Ghering and she wants Reed to find her dead husband. She’s willing to pay anything.

Right off Reed smells something fishy, but agrees to investigate. As he has his first case, he is raring to go.

Amanda Ghering’s husband, Peter, traveled a lot and was quite the wanderer. However, that lead dries up quickly as none of those women appear to be involved.

Hmm…

Reed also hears conflicting information and begins to follow Amanda, knowing that there is a whole lot more to the tale than what she is saying.

When Reed gets his life threatened, that seals the deal for him. He’s in this to the final stretch.

He follows Amanda to a restaurant where she passes a comic book to a waiter, who passes it along to another woman.

Hmm…

After a bit more investigating, and pressure on Amanda, Reed discovers that he’s been made a patsy. Amanda was behind the disappearance/murder of her husband. She hired this group of avengers of women’s rights and injustice, the X Women, by lying and saying her husband is abusive and controlling. When they discovered the lie, they let her husband go, and he has been missing ever since.

Seriously?

Reed tries to help aid Amanda, but she has pissed off the wrong people. These women will not be treated as such without a fight.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I did not like this mystery which made me sad as I thought it was going to be a winner. I mean I love classic noir, ’80s music, comics; etc. But this was just boring and badly written. And don’t be using Spider-man if you don’t even know who he is or how he acts.

I really didn’t care for Reed as he was boring and lazy, I mean we read more about him eating  than his actual investigating.

Ugh

The side characters were too numerous and annoying. The goofball brothers, ugh please no more.

Pretty much a fail for me. 0 out of 0 stars.

I hate it.

For more on private investigators, go to The Red Headed League

For more BookBub books, go to The Itsy Bitsy Spider

For more book reviews, go to Psycho

Psycho

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Psycho (Psycho #1) by Robert Bloch

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and one of my favorite films is Psycho (1960).

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I could go on and on about it, but my sister blog, janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com, already reviewed it.

 So as I had become obsessed with Psycho, when I spotted the book Psycho II at a book sale I bought it.

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I had never read Psycho, but if the movie was that fantastic, then I thought the book must be and the sequel.

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I did not like the sequel. To me it was not a good book at all. And ten years later I decided it was time to try and actually read the first novel that the film is based on. Now this won’t be a comparison, as that is a job for my sister blog fromprinttoscreen.wordpress.com

So here we are with Psycho.

The book was written in 1959 and is based on the Ed Gein serial killer (although Bloch claims to have written it without knowing anything about the case). The point of the novel was that an insane serial killer could live next door, and be overlooked even in a small-town.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book starts off with Norman Bates, a 40-year old man who lives with his mother.

Yeah something’s not right with this situation.

Their property is massive and includes a huge farmhouse for the two of them, and then a motel lower down the hill.

Norman has an unhappy life with his mother, being the one to take care of her, while she is sick, abusive, and not fun to be around. The only bright spot for Norman is his books, through them he is able to escape his everyday existence.

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So Norman is having a regular day, when he hears a sound that means someone is there to check in.

We then switch to Mary Crane (Marion in the film). Mary Crane has not lived the life she wished for. She was planning to go to college but canceled that when her father died in a car accident and she decided to help at home. Her boyfriend left her when he was sent by the army to Hawaii, where he met another girl. Then her mom became sick and Mary paid for Lila’s, her sister, education. She works at Lowery’s real estate office as a secretary but that is not what she wants. She wants to be married with children.

After her mother’s death and the sale of the house, they had some extra money and Lilia convinced Mary to go on a cruise. There she met Sam Loomis, a divorced hardware store owner who inherited his father’s business and his debt. The two fell in love, but Sam doesn’t want to be married now. He wants to wait a few years until the fiances are better. Mary doesn’t like it, but decides to wait.

How she feels inside.

When a buyer walked in and bought his daughter her dream house for $40,000 in cash; Mary just snapped and stole it instead of depositing it like she was supposed to.

She travels to Sam, but decides to stop for the night instead of coming right over. Her stop? The Bates Motel.

Norman seems sweet and tells Mary that he will make them a snack. They do and talk about their issues.

Now here is what I thought was slightly weird. Norman in the film was adorable, kind-hearted looking, and like a cute little boy. I could see talking to him as he seemed safe, and in need of a friend. In this he is a bit creepy. 40-year old man with his mom, I don’t think so.

Mary decides that her plan is a horrible one and is planning to return to Fort Worth, TX. Before she leaves, she decides to take a shower, to wash off her sins.

While in the shower she is attacked and killed.

Norman has been drinking, and is depressed at their conversation as he knows that Mary is right. His life is hard and unpleasant and he should do something about it. He also has a thing for Marion and wants to be with her.

I hate my life!

Norman discovers Mary’s dead body and figures that his mother is the one behind the attack. He then cleans up the mess, tossing everything in Mary’s car; and all that into the swamp.

Sam is writing a letter to Mary, when Lila shows up on his doorstep! She comes to him looking for Mary, relating what happened and how Mary is missing. She is followed by Lowery’s private investigator Arbogast.

Hearing this news about Mary, Sam starts having second thoughts about the marriage wondering how he fell for such a woman. And does he know her as well as he thought he did?

Arbogast traces the steps of where Mary could have gone and discovers the forgotten drive that leads to the Bates Motel.

He questions Norman and asks to talk to his mother. He lets Sam and Lila know, asking them to wait for his next call. Norman reluctantly agrees to Arbogast meeting the mother,but when Norman’s mother meets Arbogast she slices his throat. Another body for the swamp.

Norman knows more will be coming, and against his nother’s wishes, he hides her in the fruit cellar.

Sam and Lila have been waiting for Arbogast but no call comes. Lila becomes worried and impatient and the two go to the Sheriff to ask for his help. There they find out that Norman’s mother is dead and buried.

If she is dead then who is in the house?

What?

The Sheriff complies with their request and heads out to question Norman. When he returns he lets the two know that Arbogast isn’t there, the mother isn’t there, and Mary isn’t there. he believes that Arbogast took off for Chicago and just forgot to call.

Lilia doesn’t believe in that and tells Sam she is heading out to the motel.

Lila and Sam pretend to be a couple traveling, but Norman knows something is up; especially with Lila looking so much like Mary.

The Sam and Lila split up and start investigating. Mary heads to the house while Sam decides to distract Norman. It works for a while but Norman knocks Sam out and heads to the house after Lila.

Sam wakes up when the Sheriff finds him. He received a call about Arbogast that made him suspicious and he came out here to look for Sam and Lila. They both hear Lila screaming and head up to the house.

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like it.

Well first of all, I didn’t like Sam. He was much better in the film. Book Sam doesn’t defend her or think about helping her; but wonder if he was just taken in by a cold stone criminal. To me, I don’t think he really loves her as he continues to talk himself out of the relationship.

Marion isn’t as endearing as all she wants is to find a handsome, rich man to marry and improver her life. She meets Sam, who later she is upset to discover is not wealthy but won this cruise, and just as on hold as she. She wants to marry anyhow, but Sam refuses and asks her to wait.Mary seemed fueled by money rather than her love in trying to catch a husband and escape out of her life.

Ugh

Norman wasn’t as good as in the film. Book Norman is a 40 year old man who lives with his mother. He has been controlled by her (and abused in every way). He is overweight, impotent, intellectual on his own (but falls apart in front of mother or others), passive, and dreams of a better life (living the lives of the books he reads.) Even though he is an adult he still acts like a child, being controlled and dictated by his Mother.

To me I thought Norman in the book was good, but to be honest if I stayed at a hotel with this guy I wouldn’t spend time having sandwiches with him. I don’t know of I would even want to rent a room from him as he just sets off my creepo meter. The way he acts and talks I would keep my distance.

While the book was good it can not compare to the visuals of the film. I mean the way it was shot, the actor’s performances, they just brought the text to life in an astounding way. It was just amazing, all the right actors and director at just the right time. There is a reason why this movie became so iconic and why directors, writers, and actors are constantly trying to copy it.

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

For more serial killers, go to Dying for a Date

For more private investigators, go to The Red Headed League

Ghost of the Hardy Boys

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Ghost of the Hardy Boys: An Autobiography by Leslie McFarlane, (the first Franklin W. Dixon)

I have never really been a fan of the Hardy Boys, except when they intersected with Nancy Drew. The Nancy Drew Casefiles had a cross over The Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys: Super Mysteries; along with the TV show The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. The books, the few I read, never captured my attention. However, when I found this book, I decided to check it out and learn more about the creation of the Hardy Boys.

But first:

Happy 115th Birthday Leslie McFarlane!

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McFarlane started as a Canadian writer, trying to strike it in the publishing world. He works at a newspaper during the day, and at night putts away at the keyboard trying to write stories and have them published.

He works at a midwestern newspaper, while still trying to get his work published. One day he came upon an advertisement by Stratemeyer looking for a writer. It promised good money, so McFarlane decides to answer it.

He receives an outline for a book about two boys, Dave Fearless and his best pal as they go on all kinds of adventures, but the book was to be written not by McFarlane but a Roy Rockwood.

Yes, Stratemeyer has an amazing idea in that he will have all these series written, but not by real people but pseudonyms. If an “author” leaves, they can always be replaced with no one noticing.

MacFarlane gets paid enough that he leaves his job at the paper and heads back to his hometown. But even though Dave Fearless is paying the bills, MacFarlane hates the character with a passion.

However, one day he is given an outline without the snippet for the next book. He doesn’t think much about it, but it turns out that Fearless is toast. Instead, Stratemeyer has a new idea, a crime-solving duo The Hardy Boys.

From here begins MacFarlane’s career as Franklin W. Dixon. With him he breathes his own life and ideas into the characters, creating pieces that would remain with them throughout the years and their many rebranding for new generations.

Thoughts After Reading:

I Lobed it. MacFarlane is hilarious and so genuine in his writing. It feels as if he is taking directly to you and he holds nothing back. Loved it!

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

For more biographies, go to Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

The Red Headed League

“The Red Headed League” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

One day Sherlock is approached by a man with red hair who has a very unusual problem. A Mr. Jabez Wilson is the owner of a pawn shop. It used to be prospering but since then has fallen on hard times. He now only has one assistant, a bright young man named Vincent Spaulding, who is willing to work for the low wage even though he deserves much more. Spaulding loves photography and has his own developing room in the cellar.

Hmm…

Two months earlier, on April 27th, his assistant bemoans his lack of red hair and shows Wilson an advertisement he found in the newspaper.

TO THE RED HEADED LEAGUE:

On account of the bequest of the late Ezekiah Hopkins, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., there is another vacancy open which entitles a member of the League to a salary of £4 a week for purely nominal services. All red-headed men who are sound in body and mind, and above the age of twenty-one years, are eligible. Apply in person on Monday, at eleven o’clock, to Duncan Ross, at the offices of the League, 7 Pope’s Court, Fleet Street.

Wilson was not one to got out and had never heard of anything like the red headed league, but his assistant had. It was founded by a millionaire who was red headed and has created a fund to give money and assist other red heads.

Apparently the league is only confined to London, as this American first started his business there, and they only accept those with real red hair, bright and blazing not auburn or any dark shades. The work is light and it means an extra £100 a year.

Wilson decides to try out, but is disheartened at seeing all the other red-headed men. He wants to back out, but his assistant won’t let him and on he goes. He gets picked to continue and gets his hair practically ripped out as they must test that it is really red.

He is chosen and given £4 a week for just copying out the Encyclopedia Britannica.

He gets going all the way to Attica, but then it all ends.

He goes to the league and finds a notice upon the door.

THE RED HEADED LEAGUE IS DISSOLVED

Wilson tries to track down the people, but the landlord says they were just renting it until his offices were redecorated. When Wilson goes to the address provided for the offices he finds a factory and that no one had even heard of the league or the people involved.

Sherlock Holmes believes he has figured the case out. Will he catch the Red Headed League Red Handed?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this story.

It was fantastic, thought provoking, and altogether a great story. And the conclusion,

You should defintely check it out.

Read it today!

For more by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to The Sign of the Four

For more short stories, go to The Utterly Perfect Murder

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to Secrets Can Kill

Secrets Can Kill

Where I live, school starts tomorrow, so I thought what better way to get “back to school” than with a school centered mystery.

Secrets Can Kill (The Nancy Drew Files #1) by Carolyn Keene

So I know most people started with the original Nancy Drew books, but I never grew up reading those. My first introduction to Nancy Drew was The Nancy Drew Files. And of course, the TV show.

In fact, I was first introduced to Nancy Drew by accident. I was looking for a Sweet Valley High book to read and someone had mis-shelved a Nancy Drew Files. 

I first was interested in Nancy Drew when I picked up a copy on accident, as it was mis-shelved with Sweet Valley High. 

Why not try it out?

I read it and loved it and immediately wanted to read the whole series.

Unfortunately, when I started reading them, they were out of print and the library only had a few books in the series. It then became a treasure hunt as I tried to find copies in thrift stores and library book sales.

Background Information:

So this series began in the ’80s and have some updates from the original series. Nancy Drew originally was a 16 year-old, high school, amateur detective, but in this version she has been aged up to 18, and a high school graduate.

She still lives in River Heights, IL and is in a long distance relationship with Ned Nickerson, who is a student at Emerson College.

Yes that is Rick Springfield. He played Ned in the Christmas episode which you can check out on Netflix or youtube.

Her friends are still cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne; Bess being the beautiful blonde shopaholic who is always eating and George the super athlete in every way. Instead of a blue roadster, in this book she gets a blue mustang convertible.

One of the best things I love in this series are the clothes, the author (as Carolyn Keene is a pseudonym), always gives great detail to what she wears. I’m totally going to add a special section at the end.

One other thing that this series does a little differently is that every book cover has a handsome guy on it, someone who appears in the book. Some people hate that, but I always think of it as a fun guessing game as we try and figure out which of the characters it is.

Hmm…

Another thing this book series does, is that since it is a “case file” there is a little information sheet at the very beginning. Sometimes the suspects mentioned turn out to be who did it, while other times the person whodoneit is someone Nancy never saw coming.

ASSIGNMENT:To pose as a student, go undercover, and investigate a series of thefts at Bedford High.

CONTACT: Daryl Gray, a gorgeous senior with sexy, blueberry colored eyes and an instant attraction to Nancy.

 SUSPECTS: 

  • Jake Webb, a genuine creep who seems to have something on half the kids at school.
  • Walt “Hunk” Hogan, the tough football captain who’s acting strangely paranoid.
  • Carla Dalton, who hates Nancy on sight. Mere jealousy–or something more sinister?
  • Hal Morgan, the class “brain” who Nancy catches cheating on a test.

COMPLICATIONS: There’s more going on at this school than meets the eye. Much more. If Nancy isn’t careful, she could get herself into serious trouble…She could get herself killed.

Nancy thinks this will be a simple job, a few rooms at the school have been broken into, one or two things were stolen. The police can’t do anything as the fingerprints don’t match any of the adults, and the offenses are so minor.

The principal turned to Nancy to pretend to be a student and search who did it, as it is most likely a student. She bought new clothes, will take some easy classes, etc. However, things take a dark turn quickly.

After her shopping trip with Bess she discovers a VHS on her porch. When she puts it in to watch, she sees HERSELF!

What?!

Someone videotaped her, which means whoever she is out to investigate, knows who she is.

The next day, Nancy gets into a race with a handsome guy. When she goes to see the principal and report for her job, it turns out that her contact to know who she really is, is the guy she was racing!

He’s cute!

Daryl Gray is cool, handsome, rich the student body president, and drives a porsche. He and Nancy spend a LOT of time together, and things start heating up between them…

Smirkity smirk smirk

Nancy starts investigating and discovers that they call the strange happenings in the school “the ghost”.

As she searches further she discovers this case involves a kleptomaniac, hidden injuries, false test scores, blackmail, cut brake lines, and espionage!

Nancy figures out who the is responsible for the break ins, but when she goes to confront them the next day-they turn out to be dead! Will Nancy solve the mystery or turn out to be next?

Outfits-

This book doesn’t have as many as later ones do. There is one that caught my eye, when Nancy goes to the dance near the end of the novel. I always imagine her in something like this:

And let’s not forget the cover, I love the purple leather jacket and would totally wear that of I could find one.

Thoughts After Reading:

Loved it! From beginning to end. It had a great twist I didn’t see coming as well.

Nancy’s next case:

Another thing I loved about these mysteries is that they were designed like radio shows and TV episodes. They always made sure to leave you with a little preview of what will come next:

Nancy’s next case:

When she investigates a rock star’s mysterious disappearance, Nancy once again finds herself probing perilous secrets! Her only lead takes her straight to Bess’ new boyfriend. What is he hiding? Finding out my kill her friendship with Bess. But not finding out may kill the kidnapped rock star–with Nancy and her friends next on the hit list.

Can Nancy survive the dark side of the rock scene? Find out in DEADLY INTENT–Case #2 in The Nancy Drew Files,™ available now!

For more Nancy Drew, go to Betty and Veronica: Stranger Than Fiction

For more private investigators, go to Sam the Cat: Detective

For more female private investigators, go to B is for Burglar

For more ’80s mysteries, go to C is for Corpse

For more undercover mysteries, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more espionage, go to The Manchurian Candidate

Sam the Cat: Detective

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Sam the Cat: Detective (Sam the Cat Mysteries #1) by Linda Stewart

Sam is a cat, but not just any cat, he’s a private investigator. He takes on cases in the animal kingdom, trying to emulate the great fictional bests.

On the case!

Everything changes when a cute blonde, cute blonde cat that is, walks in one day asking for his help in discovering who is robbing the building her master lives in.

The case seems problematic and full of trouble, but Sam can’t resist a pretty face. Sam is on the case and will have to use all his contacts to figure out who this thief is. Is it human or animal?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this book! I thought it was fantastic how the author took the noir drama and made it a kids book.

Sam was a great character, a Sam Spade Phillip Marlowe type of detective.

I love that the main character is a cat as well. Mysteries and Cats just seem to go together.

For more mysteries centering on cats, go to How to Wash a Cat

For more children’s books, go to The Secret of the Three Teardrops

For more books with a private investigator, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more mysteries featuring burglaries, go to The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

A Scandal in Bohemia

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“A Scandal in Bohemia” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

Thoughts Before Reviewing:

Now that we have done the first two novels of Sherlock Holmes, we have moved into his short stories. As with all short stories, I’ll be posting them on Sunday instead of during the week (except for a few special cases).

I grew up reading the short stories or cases of Sherlock Holmes, and I think my favorite collection growing up was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It just has so many good and memorable tales.

So “A Scandal in Bohemia” is probably a story you are familiar with.  I’m sure many of you have probably read this story or seen the Sherlock version (which I hated)

They didn’t do it right!

It is one of my favorites and I am glad to share it with you all.

Plot Synopsis:

The Bohemian King comes to Sherlock for help, first in disguise but of course Sherlock sees through that, to ask for his help. He is to be married, but before the engagement he had had a relationship with the beautiful Irene Adler. He has tried to get it back a very incriminating photograph through begging, payment, bribery, theft, etc; but nothing has netted it.

Nothing is working!

Sherlock does some reconnaissance on her and ends up being the witness at her wedding!

Seriously?

Sherlock continues on his plan to get the photograph by dressing up as a minister and having Watson create a fuss about fire in order to determine the secret hiding place of the photograph. When Irene goes to retrieve it and protect it, Sherlock spies on her and leaves planning on returning the next day for it before she leaves on her honeymoon.

On the way home he is greeted by a young boy, one he does not know but that isn’t very odd, after all he is a known figure. The next day the three men set out to retrieve the photograph but find Irene gone.

What?!

Irene has left a note explaining that she thought there was something suspicious about the “fire”, dressed up as a boy to research it, and figured out the plan of Sherlock Holmes; besting him by leaving that night.

She leaves the picture behind, as she is married she no longer needs it; forever going down in history as the one who bested the greatest detective, and becoming the woman.

Thoughts After Reading:

One of my favorites as Irene just kicks butt.

She’s everything we want to be: intelligent, cunning, beautiful, witty, etc. And she is the only one to outsmart the Sherlock Holmes.

For more by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, go to The Sign of the Four

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to A Study in Scarlet

For more short stories, go to The Murders in Rue Morgue

For more mysteries with private detectives, go to The Missing Housewife

For more mysteries that involve a wedding, go to Murder Well Done

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

Binky Brothers, Detectives

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Binky Brothers, Detectives by James Lawrence

Norbert “Dinky” Binky and his older brother, Albert “Pinky” Binky have started their own detective agency.

On the case!

Dinky thinks that as partners they should be equal, but big brother Pinky decides that being older means he gets more benefits and more of the money gained from their detecting.

While in between cases, the two brothers are selling cups of lemonade for 2¢. While selling, Chub Doolin, catcher, comes along. He hires the brothers as his mitt was stolen, and the team will be unable to beat the Wildcats without it.

Chub hands over the ransom note he was given:

Ha Ha! I have your mitt. Now the wildcats will beat you. Guess who? [Skull & crossbones]

Soon Wildcat players, Spike Brown and Joe Parker stop by. They have information they shouldn’t about the missing glove.

When Spike gets his money to pay, a pink note comes falling out. It is the same type as the one that Chub was given. It has a different message.

Tell the team we can win easy now. I hid you-know-what in the house. Those dopes will never look high enough to find it unless one of them is a monkey. Mel. [Skull & Crossbones]

Pinky figures out that Mel must be Melvin Krantz, the wildcat shortstop. Pinky thinks on the note and decides that the house in the note must be the team treehouse.

When he gets to the house it is too easy. And good reason to be, as it was all a trap to get rid of the Cubs best pitcher, Pinky. Pinky doesn’t know what to do.

Dinky comes along as he has found the glove, having figured out that the second note was a trap. He blackmails his brother into letting him be in the game and get equal share in the detective agency.

Thoughts After Readig:

This was not a good mystery.

I mean it didn’t even explain how Dinky figured everything out, he just did.

For more children’s books, go to The Chocolate Chip Mystery

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

For more mystery reviews, go to Emilie & the Hollow World

C is for Corpse

c is for corpse

C is for Corpse (Kinsey Millhone #3) by Sue Grafton

Thoughts Before Reading:

I love my mysteries to challenge me, I love it when an author has completely bamboozled me. The truth being there the whole time, but I was too busy following a red herring to figure it out.

yougotme

Now if a book cannot surprise me, they must bring my admiration instead through their amazing characters.

ilikeyou

This book falls into the second category.

murdershewrotecharactermostimportant

In this book I figured out very quickly who the murderer was, but I didn’t care. I liked Kinsey Millhone and I so enjoyed these writings of Grafton that I continued reading all the way to X.

Cantstopreadingupallnight

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Plot Synopsis:

So in this book, Kinsey is still recovering from the events that occurred in B is for Burglar. Part of her physical therapy and improvement is going to gym and working on her arm.

One day she meets a young man in his ’20s, Bobby Callahan. Bobby was in a horrible accident; being covered in scars, and his face and body misshaped. He tells Kinsey that he doesn’t remember anything that happened in that time period. However, he does have this feeling of urgency that he knew something and someone was after him. He believes the car accident was an attempt on his life.

plotthickens

He and Kinsey become friends and he hires her to investigate, doing a retrograde crime with very little to go on.

lets-do-this-ucas-gif

Kinsey begins and meets his family; a stepsister who is a drug addict, anorexic, and probably has a ton of other issues;

Idon'tthinkso Idontseeit

a stepfather that doesn’t know how to father and is bland;

im_bored_himym

and his mother, a real powerhouse but also control freak.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

Three days later Bobby is dead.

luke-noooo-o

Split on whether accident or suicide, Kinsey becomes even more intent on searching for the murderer and to bring justice to Bobby.

avenged

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Thoughts After Reading

*Contains Spoilers*

So I thought this was well written, but was really sad.

poutsad

I loved Bobby. I hate when authors introduce such great characters but then kill them off. Lillian Jackson Braun is another writer that always seems to do that. They just love breaking our hearts.

peanutbutter-fills-heart

I also thought that Kinsey was a little slow on the ball here. If we know the woman who was having an affair with Bobby’s secret, it being that she and her lover killed her previous husband; hid it to look like a burglary, and he is now threatening to expose the gun used with her fingerprints: well then, I think it is safe to assume that as she remarried, she probably married her lover of the time.

duh

And as that lover is her husband, then you shouldn’t trust the husband.

alwaysthedoctor_mrs-mcgintysdead

I still enjoyed the book though and think it is a great read.

fellintoabookcan'ygetup

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For more Kinsey Millhone mysteries, go to B is for Burglar

For more mysteries with female private investigators, go to Snagged

For more mysteries with female private investigators, go to  A Study in Scarlet

For more mysteries involving mysterious car accidents, go to Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night

B is for Burglar

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B is for Burglar (Kinsey Millhone Mystery #2) by Sue Grafton

Kinsey has recovered from her shooting experience in the previous novel and is back in business. Never knowing what adventure the next client will take her on.

gotthis

Beverly Danziger is looking for her sister, Elaine Boldt, in order to have a document signed so they can get their inheritance. It is only a few thousand dollars, but until they can get the signature no one is getting anything. Beverly wishes for Kinsey to track down the sister, one no one has seen in months.

On the case!

On the case!

Yes, it is very strange as she typically heads off to Florida, but no one has seen or heard of her.

She just disappeared.

She just disappeared.

Supposedly, Elaine is renting her apartment out to her friend Pat Usher, but Kinsey senses something is fishy about her.

somethingisnotright0

As Kinsey continues to investigate it turns out that a neighbor was murdered and that no one actually saw Elaine leave. They saw her $12000 mink go into a taxi, but was she wearing it?

Something is not right!

It is looking more and more to Kinsey that someone killed Elaine and pretended to be her? But who?

HMMM

Kinsey also meets Detective Jonah Robb, who works Missing Persons. She’s attracted to him, but he’s in a complicated relationship with his estranged wife. Will things work out for them? Or should she stay far away?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

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Thoughts After Reading:

The end was fantastic.

fantastic

The killer was a real psycho!

psychocrazy

I loved it.

Cantstopreadingupallnight

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For more Kinsey Millhone mysteries, go to A is for Alibi

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to Snagged

For more mysteries featuring a female private investigator, go to Decked

For more mysteries on disappearences, go to The Girl on the Train

Snagged

snagged

Snagged (Regan Reilly Mysteries #2)

Thoughts Before Reading:

So before I started reading this in order I read #10 Laced and #3 Iced. Both books started off with a strong beginning, but had a weak ending.

However, Decked blew me away as I just LOVED it and Snagged did the same thing. Now it has me wondering, were those just fantastic and the rest of the series so-so? Or was Laced and Iced just two duds in a wonderful series? I don’t know, but let’s move on to the review!

lets-do-this-ucas-gif

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Plot Synopsis:

Miami Beach has become the hot spot in which many threads will tangle together to create one intense knot.

plotthickens

Richie Blossom has been trying for years to invent the perfect invention, the big one, something that will help mankind. And he might have just done that. Richie Blossom has created the most indestructible, form-fitting, one-size fit all, panty hose.

wow

I know, I wish that were real it would be fantastic.

Aw+man+i+missed+the+porn+raid+again+i+am+_9614058b2062adb4c677dd212977b011

And of course for any of you millennials who have grown up in the techie world of casual, women used to not be bare-legged at work as it was unprofessional, instead wearing tights or panty hose.

Nowadays it just seems like you don’t see it unless it is winter.

Anyways, his run-proof, snag-proof, callus-proof, always form-fitting panty hose; was created for his deceased wife who’s thin legs always had baggy stockings.

Aw...that sucks

Aw…that sucks

And he made it just in time. Land developers are after the South Beach to create a new hotspot, and his retirement home sits on the primest location. When the owner was killed last year in an accident, they had luckily signed a lease before her demise or else they would have been kicked out. Now that year is ending, and unless they can get enough money to purchase it from the deceased landlord’s sister; they will all lose their homes.

Blog-Child-Support-Oh-No

Not only has Richard finished this multi-million dollar invention before the deadline to purchase, this weekend Miami is holding the National Panty Hose Convention, the perfect plan to get his stuff out there.

wantyouyes

Meanwhile, Regan has also traveled from Los Angeles to Miami to be in her friend, Maura Durkin’s, wedding.

Wedding

Maura’s father worked for Regan’s father Luke, until he decided to move from New Jersey to start his own funeral parlor business in Miami. The families remained close through the years, even with the distance.

Besides a Panty Hose Convention and a wedding, the hotel is also hosting a Funeral Convention. As most of the family friends are in the death business, the Durkins decided it made the most sense to have them at the same time.

Read it today!

After Regan checks in and spends some time with Maura, she is sent by the bride to check on her uncle, Richie Blossom, and make sure he’s okay and doesn’t forget to come to the rehearsal dinner and other family events.

When Regan goes to bring Richie back, they find themselves almost killed by a car. And this was no accident, the car tried to hit and kill them. But why?

HMMM

Regan begins to investigate and discovers this is no isolated incident. Someone is after Richie to kill him. But is it for his panty hose formula or the retirement community?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

As Regan continues to investigate she also discovers that the landlady didn’t die in an accident, but was murdered.

Murder

Now Regan has put herself up to quite a job; find out who killed the landlady, who is trying to kill Richie, and doing her best to protect him from any future harm; all the while doing her normal duties of maid of honor.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

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Thoughts After Reading:

First I really enjoyed this book a lot. I thought the mystery was well done and all the characters were a lot of fun.

loveitSupernatural

While most mystery novelists believe that a mystery = murder, I like how Clark’s work, while involving a previous murder and attempted murder, focuses more on fashion espionage.

this is going to be good

I really liked this book and am looking to the next books in the series that I haven’t read yet. I also want to add this book to my collection of mysteries.

wearegoingtoneedabiggebookshelf

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For more Regan Reilly mysteries, go to Decked

For more private investigators, go to A Study in Scarlet

For more female private investigators, go to A is for Alibi

For more espionage, go to The Princess Plot

For more mysteries taking place during a wedding, go to Bloom and Doom

Cookie Dough or Die

cookiedoughordie

Cookie Dough or Die (Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery #1) by Virginia Lowell

After Olivia Greyson’s divorce to a renowned surgeon, she moved home to Chatterley Heights, Maryland. While she was trying to figure out what to do next with her life Olivia was befriended by Clarisse Chamberlain, entrepreneur and businesswoman, who encourages her to buy the historic Gingerbread House and follow her dream to open a cookie shop.

cookies

Since then she and her best friend Maddie have been running the shop together. Olivia runs the numbers and planning; while Maddie is the creative one who is in charge of the baking and making fantastical creations.

cookiessabrinatheteenagewiitch

Olivia is catching up on her beauty rest when she hears something downstairs. It’s not a robber, but Maddie coming over to create something fun and wonderful for Spring. After her, the hunky Sheriff Del comes with a a sad message for Olivia; Clarisse was found dead, and it looks like suicide.

luke-noooo-o

Olivia knows that Clarisse would never kill herself and sets off to discover who murdered her.

KeepCalmSleuthOn

The suspect list is long and complicated. There are her two dueling sons; Hugh and Edward; that have always wanted to inherit the full power of the business. Could they have killed her for the inheritance? Before one was written out of the will?

HMMM

Tammy, Olivia’s old best friend from elementary school, also has a strong motive. She has been in love with Hugh for as long as she can remember. They dated at one time, but Hugh was distracted by another, Jasmine, and Clarisse was set against Tammy from that day on. Even when Jasmine left the picture, Clarisse hated any girl that wanted Hugh. Could Tammy have killed Clarisse in order to marry Hugh?

Very fishy

Hmmmmmm?

And what of Jasmine who just mysteriously disappeared? Is she somehow involved with this?

I wonder...

I wonder…

When a local postman hints that he knew Clarisse received some information from a private detective; he ends up on the hit list.

coincidenceithinknot

It turns out he was poisoned by one of Olivia and Maddie’s cookies.

You know what that means...something is about to happen

Now it is clear that they are the next target. Can Olivia solve the murder before she is killed too?

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t really care for this book. I was a bit disappointed too, as I waited three months for the book to come in from a sister library to read but it wasn’t as good.

IDon'tlikeit

The mystery itself was good, but the way it was carried out was seriously lacking.

Not-Good

The story was okay except there is a lot of information about the characters that we aren’t given which make it a bit confusing. For a first book, it is best to not confuse the reader.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

I didn’t like the mom character as  felt she was far too cliché and boring.

A character like this again?!

A character like this again?!

The end wasn’t all that good either. The mystery was intriguing, but the resolution was too quickly wrapped up. It was very murky mysterious, and then all of a sudden crystal clear. I felt they need more leeway time, steps leading it up to the resolution.

seriously

It was also weird to have a mystery book that features dogs instead of cats. I’m not against dogs or anything, I like them too. But cats and mysteries just seem to go hand in hand. Having a mystery book without one and a dog instead is just so unusual. After all, cats are just so amazing.

loveofacat

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For more mysteries involving a cookie shop, go to Cream Puff Murder

For more Southern mysteries, go to Bloom and Doom

For more suicides as a cover for murder, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

For more death by poison food, go to A Pinch of Poison 

For more Charles Dickens quotes, go to Gorgonzola Cream Cheese Log

For more mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty

A Study in Scarlet

studyinscarlet

A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Thoughts Before Reading:

For those of you who don’t know, this month marks the 128th anniversary of this book. Published in July of 1888, these characters have found a way into all our hearts.

So Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite literary detectives.

sherlock

I’ve read almost all his stories, seen countless films and TV shows, and just all around enjoy his character. His massive intellect and keen observational skills are just so admirable, I can’t resist him.

So A Study in Scarlet is the first novel to have this brilliant detective. Many assume it is based on Edgar Allen Poe’s detective character that came out year’s before, Charles Dupin, but Doyle insisted that it was based on one of his professors.

So while the novel is split into two parts, in my opinion it is actually divided into three.

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Part I: Mr. Sherlock Holmes

Paget_holmes

In this we are introduced to Dr. Watson. Shortly after he received his medical degree he was attached to the military as their assistant surgeon. He was sent off to India, where he was wounded and sent to a hospital. There he had even worse luck, catching a fever and becoming severely ill.

BigBangTheoryMyliferightnow

After that he was sent home, honorable discharge, where he decided to move to London. Staying in a hotel he quickly burned through his money and found himself in need of cheaper lodgings.

oopsmybad

He runs into an old friend who tells him of an acquaintance that is also looking for a roommate, a Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

Paget_holmes

We are first introduced to Sherlock Holmes doing an experiment in which he has found a way to prove how old blood is and whether a stain is blood or not. He also knows that Dr. Watson has recently returned from Afghanistan.

wow

Sherlock tells him about the rooms and when Dr. Watson and he look over the place and hear the rent price they find it most agreeable.

wantyouyes

Sherlock Holmes is not a difficult way to live with.  He is quiet, had his own habits he stays firmly by, has extensive energy when interested in something, but would have moments when he was hit by a “mood” and wouldn’t get up for months. Watson notices at times he looks like he is under a drug (opium) but Watson cannot believe such a man devoted to cleanliness could do such a thing.

notbelievingyouyeahright

Sherlock knows nothing of contemporary events or anything that he feels does not relate to his studies. In fact Watson lists of everything he does and doesn’t know:

  1. Knowledge of Literature — Nil.
  2. Knowledge of Philosophy — Nil.
  3. Knowledge of Astronomy — Nil.
  4. Knowledge of Politics — Feeble
  5. Knowledge of Botany — Variable. Mostly poisons, nothing of practical gardening.
  6. Knowledge of Geology — Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance the different soils from each other.
  7. Knowledge of Chemistry — Profound.
  8. Knowledge of Anatomy — Accurate, but unsystematic.
  9. Knowledge of Sensation Literature — Immense. Knows every detail of ever horror perpetuated in the century.
  10. Plays the violin well.
  11. Is an excellent singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman.
  12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.

Sherlock is also a keen observer and tells Watson how he knew of his time in Afghanistan. He also shares about how he often helps the police solve crimes. And at that very moment, a Marine comes with a note that Sherlock is wanted.

Interesting

Interesting

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Part II: The Lauriston Garden Mystery

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Sherlock receives a note from Detective Gregson to come to Lauriston Gardens as they are at a loss to how the crime was committed and by who?

WhoDoneIt?

Sherlock invites Watson to come along, and the duo are off. When they arrive on the scene, Sherlock surprises Watson as he doesn’t rush inside the house to search it, but spends a long time looking at everything, from the ground, to the sky, to the house’s outside, etc.  He notices that a cab has been there. but neither Gregson or Detective Lestrade or their men know anything about that.

suspicious Hmm

The victim is about 43 or 44. He is dressed well in a heavy broadcloth frock coat and waistcoat. . His hands were clenched and arms thrown abroad while his lower limbs were interlocked as though he went through a struggling death. A look of hatred on his face and blood everywhere, but no wound on the corpse. A woman’s wedding ring is also found, along with the word “RACHE” painted on the wall.

holmes

The detectives believe the word to have been Rachel but cut off. Sherlock points out that the murderer was male, over six feet high, smoked a trichinopoly cigar, had a florid face, long fingernails on the right hand, killed the man by poison, and that rache is German for revenge.

Whoa

The two them head down to the first officer on the scene, John Rance. They learn from him that there was a drunk there that night, but they just sent him off. Sherlock berates the man as this drunk was clearly the murderer, a cabdriver which explains the cab marks left behind.

You let him get away!

You let him get away!

Sherlock sends out advertisements in the newspapers about a found wedding ring knowing that by using it, it will be the perfect bait for the trap.

Meanwhile, the detectives have discovered that their victim was acting ungentlemanly toward his landlady’s daughter. Her brother was on shore leave, and is known for a temper. They know the two got into it and to make it worse, just like in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, they discovered the brother with a bloody walking stick.

Not-Good

Sherlock of course doesn’t believe that and is set on his way. To his surprise, he is approached by a woman saying it belongs to her daughter. Sherlock follows her, but looses her in the crowd. Is Sherlock wrong?

thenannygasp

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Part III: The Country of Saints

A_study_in_scarlet,_Plate_1

Here we get our killer’s backstory and reasons for poisoning these people. Back in Utah, John Ferriar’s wagons traveling west have been destroyed and everyone is dead except for him and a young girl, Lucy. With all gone, John adopts the young girl.

feelspain

As they are dying of thirst, they come upon some Mormons who allow them to join their group and save them from death. Over ten years layer, John’s farm has prospered and Lucy has grown into a fine, beautiful woman. All the young Mormon men want to add her to their families and John’s land to their own. But both John and Lucy don’t want to become ingrained with the Mormons, in fact Lucy falls for Jefferson Hope, silver miner and son of John Ferriar’s old friend.

love

With the Mormons threatening the group, Hope and Ferriars hatch a plan to escape.

gotthis

However, the plain is foiled and Hope is left stranded in the desert. When he gets back to the area he discovers that both Ferriar and Lucy have died.

luke-noooo-o

He decides to avenge their death and tracks them down all the way to England to kill them.

avenged

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Thoughts After Reading:

I really loved the first two parts of the novel when we are introduced to Sherlock and his investigation.

loveitSupernatural

Amazingly well written and a definite winner.

fantastic

However, I didn’t really care for the Utah backstory. It was boring.

NO emotion = BORING!

The book would be better without it, but even with it it is still good.

likeit

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

For more private investigators, go to Decked