The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny

My mom and I both read Penny's Gamache series. She loves all of them; I like the "smaller" mysteries, the ones that don't involve institutional corruption or cross-country drug trafficking. The Madness of Crowds is one of those smaller, more personal mysteries. We're back in Three Pines, which is always nice, and Gamache and his whole family are there for the holidays. Gamache is asked to provide security for a professor's lecture, but, of course, it's not quite as simple as it sounds. The professor's visit and talk lead to moral dilemmas, violence, and ultimately a death.  The mystery itself was fine. We have several suspects, even if I question why a couple of them would make the list- the motives seem rather weak. The clues are revealed slowly, allowing us to discover them along with Gamache as he and his team pull back the layers of people's lives, discovering their secrets and past choices. Penny does touch on COVID, or the...
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The Family Plot by Megan Collins

The Family Plot by Megan Collins

Dahlia Lighthouse and her siblings had an unconventional childhood, to say the least. They were homeschooled and along with geography, they were taught about famous serial killers and their victims by their obsessed parents. The way they grew up, sheltered, surrounded by historical murders, has obviously affected how they live in the world off the island and how they relate to other people. And now three of the siblings, now adults, are back home. Dad's dead, but someone else's body is found in his grave - Andy, who they all thought ran away years ago. So the mystery is who killed Andy. Dahlia is desperate to find out what happened to her twin. I don't know if mystery is really the right word. Yes, we have some clues and an investigation, but the book is more about the oppressive atmosphere of the Lighthouse home, of the suspicion of the other islanders, of secrets and obsession and coping. The tone is dark and...
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Death at High Tide by Hannah Dennison

Death at High Tide by Hannah Dennison

I loved the setting in Death at High Tide. We have a 1920s hotel that was updated a bit too much in the 70s on a remote island in the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall. The island can only be reached at low tide and it's off season, so very few people are staying there. Like any good isolated setting, we have a limited number of people. Evie and her sister, Margot, are our main characters. Evie's husband has recently died, leaving Evie on pretty shaky financial ground. But, there were papers that suggested she may be the owner of the hotel, so Evie and Margot head off, to see the hotel and to get away for a weekend. The sisters are a good pair, opposites who nevertheless support each other when push comes to shove. We've got the husband and wife who own the hotel, a couple of staff, and an older, nosy woman who lives there...
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Deadly Cargo by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

Deadly Cargo by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

American Kat Reilly and Brit Sir Harry Mortimer are settling into married life together in Mydworth. Kat no longer works in interesting ways for the American government, but Harry still works and has connections in Whitehall. Together, they have investigated some interesting cases, which they love doing. This time around, a local companies delivery trucks are being stopped and their contents, radios, stolen with some regularity. Kat and Harry use their training and intelligence to get to the bottom of the mystery. We've got some twists, turns, red herrings, and a glimpse at how technology was changing at the time. The story moves quickly, without any dull moments, and I was surprised by the whodunnit. It's always fun to spend time with Kat and Harry. ...
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A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones

A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones

First off, A Good Day for Chardonnay is the second in the series, and it really is better to read #1 first. It will give you a much fuller picture of our main characters and their backstories. I really enjoyed A Good Day for Chardonnay. Sunshine is a fabulous character, sarcastic, funny, loyal. She is surrounded by quirky but incredibly helpful and supportive friends, some of who are on her staff, and parents who are caring but have a bad habit of meddling in her life. She's got a smart 16-year old daughter, who has a boyfriend that is way cooler and competent than any kid I knew at that age. There's a lot going on in the book. Sunshine Vicram is still looking into a case from her past. Auri, her daughter, thinks she's on the trail of a serial killer who was active in the 50s and 60s. And then there's a stabbing in town that leads to a...
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Sinners and Saints by Helena Marchmont

Sinners and Saints by Helena Marchmont

Sinners and Saints was a fun addition to the series. And do read them in order. They are short and you get to know the colorful cast better that way. Here we get to know a bit more about the vicar, Philip, who has been a good friend to Alfie, but has a pretty big secret. This time around the crime is a theft and vandalism, and while Philip is a suspect, Alfie and the crew can't quite believe it. I don't understand why Harold Wilson is still a police sergeant, he's worse than incompetent. Yes, cozies often need bumbling police, but Wilson is a little over the edge. Thankfully, this series relies more on characters than plot. I was disappointed that the culprit didn't show up at all until the very end. He walks into the scene, admits he did it, and Emma takes care of the situation. Sorry for the spoiler, but you knew the vicar didn't do it....
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