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All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco

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All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco

All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco All Signs Point to Murder by Connie Di Marco
Series: Zodiac Mystery #2
Published by Midnight Ink on August 8, 2017
Source: Partners in Crime Tours
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
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Julia Bonatti is alarmed by the astrological signs looming over Geneva Leary's wedding day, but nobody asked Julia's opinion and being a bridesmaid means supporting the bride no matter what. Even with the foreboding Moon-Mars-Pluto lineup in the heavens, no one's prepared for the catastrophes that strike: a no-show sister, a passed-out wedding planner, and a lethal shooting in the dead of night.

With anger and grief threatening to tear the Leary family apart, Julia is determined to understand how such a terrible tragedy could have occurred. As she digs deeper into the family's secrets, her astrological insights lead her to some rather unexpected conclusions.

First off, I did not read the first in the series, but I’m pretty sure I know what happened in it based on some of the conversations Julia has in this one. Second, I’m not a believer in astrology, but you really don’t have to be to enjoy this book. Yes, Julia’s an astrologer, and yes that plays into how she goes about solving the mystery, but she would have found the same solution eventually even without consulting her charts. I like Julia. She cares about people, she’s smart, and she’s definitely persistent. She has some great friends too. I’d like to hang out with them. And maybe have her read my chart.

As far as the mystery goes, I though overall it was well-done. I thought I knew who the killer was, then I wasn’t sure, then I thought I knew. It turned out that I was right but hadn’t guessed the whole motive. There were plenty of suspects and clues and well-done red herring or two.

Overall, it was a fun mystery and a quick read.

Read an excerpt:

The building on Guerrero was a once proud Victorian with bow front windows. It had since been broken up into six small units and fallen into disrepair. I drove around the block several times before I managed to find a parking spot a few doors down. The shops on the main street were long closed and the streets deserted. I shivered and let the car heater run another minute to warm up before I left the comfort of my little metal box. There was something about this chore that made my stomach go into knots. Rummaging through a dead woman’s possessions was bad enough, but what if I found something that implicated Moira in a crime? Should I remove it and risk the police finding out?

I climbed out of the car, careful to lock it and approached the long stairway leading to the front door. The wind had died down and now fog danced around the streetlights. It was eerily quiet. No lights shone from any of the windows. I hoped all the residents were safely tucked up in their beds by now. I climbed the cracked granite stairs to the entrance. The weathered door stood ajar, listing slightly on its hinges. I grasped the handle and twisted it, but the lock mechanism was out of commission. Inside, a bare overhead light bulb hung from a chain. It cast a meager glow down the long corridor, cannibalized from a once grand entryway. The hallway smelled of dirty cat litter, moldy vegetables and cigarette smoke. I followed the corridor to the end, and stopped at the last door on the right.

I slipped the key into the lock. It offered no resistance. The door opened immediately. Had it not been locked? I caught a slight scuffling sound and cringed. I hoped no furry long-tailed creatures were waiting inside for me. I reached around the doorway and felt along the wall. My fingers hit the switch. A rusting chandelier with two bulbs missing illuminated the one large room that was both Moira’s living room and bedroom. I tested the key with the door open, locking and then unlocking it. Now I felt the resistance. The door had definitely been unlocked. I stepped inside and shut it behind me, making sure the lock was secure. Was it possible someone had been here before me and left without locking the door? Or had Moira simply been careless?

I had to make sure I was alone in the apartment. There were no hiding places in this sparsely furnished room. I checked under the bed just to be sure and opened the closet, terrified that someone or something might jump out at me. The closet was narrow, filled with a jumble of clothing, half on the floor. I walked into the kitchenette and spotted a doorway that led to the back stairs and the yard. I tested the handle on the door. Locked. I checked the space between the refrigerator and the wall, and then the shower stall in the bathroom. I was alone. I had been holding my breath and finally let it out in a great sigh.

I started with the drawers in the kitchen and checked the counter, looking for any notes with names or phone numbers. There was nothing. The kitchen was surprisingly clean, as if Moira had never used the room. Inside the refrigerator were a few condiments, a half-eaten unwrapped apple and a loaf of whole wheat bread. I quickly rummaged through the drawers and the freezer to make sure there were no bundles of cash disguised as frozen meat.

The main room housed a collection of hand-me-downs and broken furniture, ripped curtains and piles of clothing in various spots around the floor. Had she really lived like this? I heaved up the mattress, first on one side and then the other, making sure nothing was hidden between it and the box spring. Under the bed, I spotted only dust bunnies. I pulled open each of the bureau drawers, checked their contents and pulled them all the way out to make sure nothing was behind them. I opened a small drawer in the bedside stand. Amid a loose pile of clutter was a dark blue velvet box embossed with the letter “R” in cursive gold script. Could this be from Rochecault? I was fairly certain it was. Rochecault is an infamously expensive jeweler on Maiden Lane downtown. How could Moira have shopped there? Was this what Geneva had meant when she said her sister seemed to have a lot of money to spend?

I opened the box and gasped. An amazing bracelet heavy with blue stones in varying colors rested inside. The setting had the slightly matte industrial sheen of platinum. Moira couldn’t possibly have afforded this. Shoving the box into a side pocket of my purse, I decided I was definitely not leaving this for the police to find, and slid the drawer shut.

I scanned the room. Moira hadn’t been much of a housekeeper and it didn’t appear as if there were many hiding spots. I headed for the desk, a rickety affair with two drawers and a monitor on top. I clicked on the hard drive and waited a moment. The monitor came to life and asked for a password. It would take someone much more talented than I to unearth its secrets. Under a jumble of papers and unopened bills, my eye caught a small black notebook. This looked promising. Perhaps it was an address book that would give us all of Moira’s contacts. I dropped my purse on the floor and reached for the book. A searing pain shot through my skull. Blinded, I fell to the floor.

***

Excerpt from All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco. Copyright © 2017 by Connie di Marco. Reproduced with permission from Connie di Marco. All rights reserved.

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Connie di Marco. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card AND 2 winners of one (1) eBook copy of All Signs Point to Murder. The giveaway begins on July 21 and runs through August 24, 2017.

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About Connie Di Marco

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink, featuring San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti. The first in the series, The Madness of Mercury, was released in June 2016 and the second, All Signs Point to Murder was released on August 8, 2017.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. Some of her favorite recipes can be found in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

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Thursday’s Tale: Disney Manga: Tangled

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Thursday’s Tale: Disney Manga: Tangled Tangled by Shiori Kanaki
Series: Disney Manga
Published by TokyoPop on August 15th 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Fairy tale, Manga, Middle School
Pages: 176
Format: eARC
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Inspired by the hit Disney movie, Tangled. Rapunzel has lived inside an isolated tower all her life, able to see the world outside her window but forbidden to leave. When the notorious thief Flynn Rider shows up, she makes a deal with him to finally break free and experience the world outside her prison. Is the world as scary as Mother Gothel promised it would be? Or will she find the answers behind her magical, flowing hair and the truth about her childhood? This magical adaptation retells the hit Disney movie using beautiful manga artwork.

The story is the same as the Tangled movie from 2010. It’s a re-imagining of Rapunzel, but the only thing it really has in common with the original fairy tale is the girl with long hair kept in a tower.

The princess, Rapunzel, is stolen from her crib by Mother Gothel, because her can magically heal people.  Mother Gothel hides Rapunzel in the tower, forbidding her to ever leave it, keeping the precious hair safe. While Gothel is away getting a present for Rapunzel’s 18th birthday, Flynn Ryder ends up in the tower as he’s on the run from the palace guards. Rapunzel recognizes her chance and convinces Ryder, with the help of a frying pan, to take her to see the annual lights festival. Adventure, danger, love and the requisite happy ever after ending all follow.

The story is what it is, it’s Tangled re-done as a manga. I thought the manga art was well-done and I’m sure middle schoolers would like it.  I personally appreciated the “how to read a manga” at the beginning. I don’t read many, although Amber does, so it never hurts to be reminded the differences between reading a manga versus a graphic novel.

The stories cute and fun. In all honesty though, I miss the colors, the glowing of the lanterns especially.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

Thursday’s Tale: Cinderella and the Furry Slippers by Davide Cali

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Thursday’s Tale: Cinderella and the Furry Slippers by Davide Cali Cinderella and the Furry Slippers by Davide Cali
Illustrator: Raphaelle Barbanegre
Published by Tundra Books (NY) on October 10, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Picture Book, Fairy tale
Pages: 32
Format: eARC
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Cinderella is dying to go to the ball. She's seen pictures of the fancy castle and the handsome prince, she's heard the fairy tales about true love, she's found the perfect dress in Princess magazine and she's even found an ad for a Fairy Godmother. She's all set.

Except the fairy godmother doesn't look like the one in the ad. And the castle doesn't look like the picture. And the prince . . . well, Cinderella decides her fairy-tale ending is going to look different--and be a whole lot more fun.

This is a modern twist on the classic Cinderella fairy tale. Cinderella, per usual, spends her days cleaning and doing her stepmother’s and sisters’ hair. She sees the prince in a magazine and dreams coming to save her. When she finds out he’s having a ball, she calls up a fairy godmother and makes an appointment. That’s when it all starts to go awry. The godmother is not what she expects – and neither are the clothes. Even the ball is disappointing, and the prince – well, let’s just say he was more attractive in the magazine. So she makes her own happy ending.

I like the girl-power feel of this one, and the illustrations are bright and funny. I think this would make a good book to read aloud to any little girl, reinforcing that a girl can be whatever she wants to. And that pictures in magazines aren’t always realistic.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

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