Secret Santa by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

Secret Santa by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

I had to go to a Christmas luncheon out of town for work and was trying to pick something to start listening to for my ride back home. (Lunch, by the way was at The Twisted Olive in Green, OH - delicious!) Around town I've been listening to holiday music, but on trips over say 15 minutes when I'm by myself, I prefer listening to books. I always enjoy the Cherringham novellas, and Secret Santa has been on my to-read list since last Christmas. Santa is missing. Bill Vokes always plays Santa, but this year, after donning his costume, he steps outside for a cigarette and just disappears. Sarah's dad is worried, so she and Jack start looking around. Sarah and Jack make a formidable team. He's former NYPD and she's smart, curious, and good on a computer. And there are a lot of deaths/crimes in Cherringham for them to solve. For a small town in the Cotswalds, it's a dangerous place,...
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Cherringham #4-6 by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

Cherringham #4-6 by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

I enjoyed this second collection of Cherringham novellas. Cherringham itself is a good setting, a typical small English town with its bar and bakery, its quirky townsfolk and always a murder or theft or something going on. Jack and Sarah make a good team. They are both smart and talented in their own ways. Jack is a former police detective and knows the ins and out of solving crimes. Questioning people comes naturally to Sarah and as at least a semi-local she knows a lot of people, she's also the one who does the computer research and occasional hacking. In "Thick as Thieves," a potentially valuable artifact is found on a farm. It is put in a retired professor's safe but is stolen over night. Sarah had been covering the story of the artifact for the town's paper and is of course curious. Her computer skills definitely come in helpful here, as do Jack's stake out abilities. I can't say I...
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Cherringham #1-3 by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

Cherringham #1-3 by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

I was looking for a short, light read and remembered Scared to Death, #27 in this series, which I read around this time last year. I remembered enjoying it and thinking I should read more in the series, so I picked up this first compilation. It was a good choice. Each of the episodes is self-contained, although they all star Jack and Sarah. They work well together and I like that, at least so far, they're friends, nothing more. We also get to meet Sarah's family and of course each episode introduces more of the townspeople. "Murder on the Thames" is our introduction to the pair. How they meet and end up working together actually makes sense. Sarah's old friend is found dead on the edge of the river just downstream from Jack's barge. When she stops by to ask him a couple of questions, she mentions that the police are considering it a suicide. Jack, former NYPD, knows that it can't...
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Scared to Death by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

Scared to Death was my first visit to Cherringham, but I'm sure it won't be my last. It's a novella, as are most of this series and I really enjoyed it. Sarah and Jack are well-known for solving local mysteries, so when someone is "playing pranks" on Basil Coates, an elderly man who was once the horror film star, his still enchanting wife, a former star herself, calls on the duo to find out what's going on. It's a quick story, but self-contained. We get a good feel for who Sarah and Jack are, although I'm not sure if they're just friends or if there's a potential for more there. I'm hoping the former. The authors also do a good job at fully developing the secondary characters, the Coates househould. There are a couple plausible suspects and Sarah and Jack do a good job at following upon the clues. There was one choice Sarah made that I wish she hadn't, but women amateur...
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