Posts filed under 'Mystery'
Chloe Ledet is a renowned international etiquette expert, who is living in the Windy City far from her New Orleans family. Her father, Chef Julian is world famous and his French Quarter restaurant is known for its elegance. When Julian is shot, Chloe is called home to take care of some legal matters and before she has time to even visit her father in the hospital, she’s framed for the murder of his attorney.
Fortunately, a former boyfriend comes to Chloe’s rescue and helps her sort out who may have shot her father, who has framed her, and to help her get some insight at to why she’s run so far from her roots. There’s Louisiana history, a hidden treasure, and a riddle to sort out. This is a mystery tinged with romance, suspense, inspiration, and wonderful Louisiana flavor.
Find Under the Cajun Moon in our catalog.
December 4th, 2010
Sir Maurice Newbury is not the mild-mannered academic he seems. Or, rather, he IS…but he is also a highly-trained secret agent in the employ of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. He uses his special expertise in anthropological studies—with a concentration in mythology, magic, and the supernatural—to solve the otherwise unsolvable mysteries plaguing London and the environs. While investigating a series of deaths that onlookers have laid at the feet of a blue-glowing policeman, Newbury is called away by royal decree to focus his attentions on the mysterious crash of an airship that resulted in the deaths of all aboard. When Newbury and his assistant, the plucky young Miss Veronica Hobbes, arrive at the scene, they discover that the pilot of the airship is missing! Further investigation reveals that the ship had been piloted by a new breed of automaton, supposedly infallible and failure-proof. Newbury is not so certain about that, and infallible or not, no one has a reasonable explanation for the automaton’s disappearance. The pair’s investigations begin to reveal strange connections between the glowing policeman murders, the missing automaton, and the plague of undeath ravaging the city’s slums.
Exciting and original, if somewhat marred by slightly clunky expositions and a tendency toward anachronistic slang, “The Affinity Bridge” is a worthy first in a new series of steampunk Victorian mysteries.
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October 9th, 2010
Slightly neurotic and self-concious biography author Erica Falck has returned to her childhood home of Fjallbacka to sort through her deceased parents’ belongings and work on her current book. When her childhood best friend, the glamorous Alex, is found dead in her bathtub—an apparent suicide—Erica is second on the scene. One of the policemen called in to investigate the death, which turns out to be a murder made to look like suicide, is another of Erica’s childhood friends, Patrik Hedstrom. Patrik has always had a bit of a “thing” for Erica, who never personally found Patrik interesting until now. Their developing relationship complicates the investigation, as Erica finds herself increasingly obsessed with discovering how Alex lived after their friendship ended, why the friendship ended at all, and who would have wanted to kill her. A local alchoholic artist whom Alex has sponsored at her gallery is originally suspected of the crime, but the true story turns out to be a lot darker and more complicated than anyone believed.
Some clunky writing—which may be the fault of the translation—takes away from the otherwise suspenseful story. The setting, a tourist town nearly abandoned in the off-season, helps create further chill. Those looking for another Swedish mystery to read after finishing the third Stieg Larsson may find this mystery of interest.
Find The Ice Princess in our catalog.
August 11th, 2010
I don’t know what it is about the Southern Vampire series, but I eagerly await the next installment and then stay up all night reading it. It’s partly Harris’ sense of humor, her outlandish characters, and the small town setting of Bon Temps, Louisnana, where I feel right at home. Her latest is no disappointment.
With the fairy war over (or is it?), Sookie is taking some down time to recover from her recent injuries and to decide whether she wants to get used to the idea of her sudden and secret (even from Sookie) marriage to vampire Eric. When fairies are discovered on Sookie’s land, and Eric’s maker shows up, supernatural politics heat up and Sookie, once again, finds herself in the middle of a maelstrom.
Fans of the series have been looking forward to this latest. For those who have not read the series, it’s best to start at the beginning with Dead Until Dark.
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July 4th, 2010
Elderly retired schoolteacher and amateur artist Jane Neal was well-liked by everyone in her small Quebecois village of Three Pines. Well, almost everyone. Early one fall morning, Jane Neal’s body was discovered in the woods, shot through the heart by an arrow. Most people assumed it was a horrible hunting accident, but Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec suspects murder. He, and his loyal team, move their base of operations to the small village to investigate, eventually uncovering many dark secrets under the seemingly idyllic façade of Three Pines…including the shocking truth about Jane Neal’s murder.
A wonderfully rich small-town setting and deftly painted characterizations enliven this mystery, giving it appeal beyond the whodunit aspect. Cerebral and insightful, Chief Inspector Gamache is an engaging and winning character whom readers will be pleased to be reacquainted in later volumes of Penny’s well-written mystery series. Recommended for fans of both literary fiction and mysteries.
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June 8th, 2010
Mayle’s latest takes us to from Los Angeles to Marseille in search of some very rare, and unfortunately missing, wine. Danny Roth has a wine collection that is much envied, and when, following a newspaper article about his collection, the most valuable bottles go missing, Danny is hot on his insurance company for a fat reimbursement check.
Danny’s insurance company is not the most trusting, and hires an investigator to find out what happened to the wine. Sam Levitt is the man for the job. Former thief turned good guy, Sam puts out feelers and travels to France in order to locate the wine and solve the crime.
Mayle’s light touch, interesting locations, and humor make for great beach reading. His novels are standalones, so you can easily start with this one if you haven’t read him before.
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June 4th, 2010
We talk frequently enough about literary classics, but I wonder why we often exclude mysteries from these discussions. It’s not as if the mystery genre is a recent phenomenon. In fact, the early forerunners of the contemporary mystery were written around 1800. Authors such as Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville wrote mysteries. In honor of our classic mystery authors, I’m presenting you with a list of mystery classics for your enjoyment:
Dickens, Charles. Bleak House (1852)
Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White (1859)
Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. Lady Audley’s Secret (1861)
Doyle, Arthur Conan. A Study in Scarlet (1887)
Rhinehart, Mary Roberts. The Circular Staircase (1907)
Christie, Agatha. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
Sayers, Dorothy. Whose Body? (1923)
Hammett, Dashiell. Red Harvest (1927)
Queen, Ellery. The Tragedy of X (1932)
Marsh, Ngaio. Died in the Wool (1935)
Stout, Rex. Too Many Cooks (1938)
May 21st, 2010
Detective Sam Spade has become an archetypal character in American popular culture…the hard-bitten private eye beating the gritty streets of the city in search of a justice he isn’t even sure exists, a fool for the femme fatale. But have you ever wondered how Sam Spade became Sam Spade? Well, even if you haven’t, this well-written prequel to Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon is a definite pleaser. The author, Joe Gores, is a former private eye himself, and it shows in the finely tuned series of steps his Spade takes to solve the cases presented to him. Over the course of seven years, we see Sam leave the Continental Detective Agency to start on his own, meet innocent young secretary Effie Perine, match wits again and again with a master criminal who always seems to escape at the last minute, and take on dim-witted Miles Archer as a partner in his agency and Archer’s wife Iva as a partner in his bed.
Extremely well-written with pitch-perfect hard-boiled style, Spade and Archer is a delight for fans of Hammett old and new.
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March 17th, 2010
When Polly Farmer was just 15, she escaped her alcoholic mother and a future that seemed to lead straight from one trailer park into another by running away to New Orleans. There, she was able to put together a life for herself, ending up many years later as a successful English professor, divorced with two daughters. One day in Jackson Square, she is approached by the handsome and charming Marshall Marchand, and there is an instant connection between the two. Neither has been in love before, really, and now both are head over heels. When Polly’s two daughters find themselves taken with Marshall as well, and when Marshall tops everything off by heroically saving the three from a house-fire, Polly takes the plunge and marries him, despite the small amount of time they’ve known each other.
But Marshall is hiding some dark secrets of his own. He’s really Dylan Raines, who, as an 11-year-old, brutally ax-murdered his parents and baby sister–though he doesn’t have any memory of having done so. Released early due to the tireless efforts of his older brother Richard, Dylan has moved to New Orleans, changed his name, and tried to put together a life for himself under the careful eye of Richard, now known as Danny.
When Polly receives an ominous tarot card reading predicting that she will kill her own husband, the idyllic life she’s imagined begins to fall apart. She finds the tarot reader murdered mere days later, and then discovers a cache of letters, journal entries, and newspaper clippings that seem to indicate Marshall is completely unbalanced and considering committing more brutal murders. Now Polly must fight to discover the truth about her new husband while protecting herself and her two girls against the evil that’s entered their lives.
Enjoyable, fast-paced, and quite intense, 13 1/2 is not a book you’ll want to put down!
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February 3rd, 2010
The man who calls himself David Loogan enjoys murder mysteries. He writes one, he edits several others for a literary magazine, and soon he’s involved in a real one—one that requires him to get a shovel that meets “certain requirements.”
Loogan, the main character of Harry Dolan’s Bad Things Happen, is himself a mystery. Is his name really David Loogan? And other than his penchant for juggling and his slippery morals, what do we really know about this attractive, work-at-home editor? Early on, we learn more about many of the book’s other characters than we do about him. For example, we find out quite a bit about Tom Kristoll, who is Loogan’s boss and friend, and about Laura, Kristoll’s beautiful wife and Loogan’s new lover. Soon after a dead man shows up in Kristoll’s study, it is Kristoll himself who becomes a corpse. And more dead bodies follow in rapid succession when mistakes are made, people lie, and bad things happen in this noirish novel. This is a fun and suspenseful book from a first-time author.
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January 29th, 2010
Webster (Web) Goodhue was once a pretty cool guy, according to his best friend Chev. Web was also once a grade-school teacher. Now, however, Web has embarked on a new career as a world-class jerk (though the word actually used repeatedly to describe Web is a bit longer than jerk and ends in “-hole”) and professional lay-about and slacker. He’s suffering from PTSD left over from a traumatic experience suffered while taking his students on a field trip. Ever since that day, he has existed in a perpetual state of slumber punctuated by sharp bursts of cruel sarcasm. Now, he’s pretty much down to one friend—Chev, who is also his roommate—and even Chev is starting to get sick of it all. So Web gets an ultimatum—get a job and start pulling his weight, or be out on the street.
Figuring work has to be better than homelessness, Web hooks up with Po Sin, the owner and manager of Clean Team, a crime-scene clean-up crew. His first day on the job involves hauling away bags of human excrement and scrubbing the floor to remove a decomposition stain. Fun, huh? But the job has its perks, as Web soon finds out—perks in the form of Soledad, the sexy and intelligent daughter of a suicide victim whom Clean Team is hired to clean up after. Pretty soon Web finds himself at Soledad’s hotel in the middle of the night, having been begged to come over and clean up a mess her idiotic half-brother made—nothing too major, just a lot of blood—before the police find it. And from there, things just get better and better for poor Web as he gets caught up in the doings of some not-so-bright criminals and a turf war staged between competing crime-scene clean-up crews.
Raunchy, fast-paced, sarcastic, and somewhat on the gooey side (crime scenes do get messy, after all) this novel is definitely not for everyone. But for those who like their humor on the salty side and their adventures wild and messy, “The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death” is a treat. If you like Chuck Palahniuk, you’re going to love Charlie Huston!
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October 30th, 2009
Disgraced Swedish journalist Mikael Blomkvist has been convicted of libel for publishing an unfounded exposé of crooked financier Wennerstrom. Distancing himself from Millenium, the left-leaning magazine which he co-founded with sometime-lover Erica Berger, Blomkvist takes on a commission from retired industrialist Henrik Vanger. Ostensibly writing a biography of the Vanger family, Blomkvist’s true assignment is to solve the 40-year-old locked-room mystery of the disappearance of Henrik’s niece Harriet from the island the Vangers inhabit.
At first skeptical that he will uncover anything, Blomkvist soon begins to piece together bits of new evidence in the case. He enlists the aid of Lisbeth Salander, the true stand-out star of the novel. Salander is a 24-year-old antisocial computer hacker genius with a photographic memory, a collection of tattoos, a chip on her shoulder, and a pervert for a state-appointed guardian. Using her hacking skills, she is able to assist Blomkvist in putting together the strange and twisted story of what happened 40 years ago…and what may still be happening today! There is more to this story than a simple disappearance, and Larsson is expert at ratcheting up the tension while keeping the story moving and the characters believably flawed and realistically motivated.
Find The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in our Catalog.
October 9th, 2009