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...
Read More
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...
Read More
Death’s End by Cixin Liu

Death’s End by Cixin Liu

Death's End is the conclusion to the fabulous Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy. The Trisolarans and Earth are basically at a stand-off, thanks to events in book #2. The "peace" is working well, but of course can't last. Enter Cheng Xin, our main character for this installment. She's a regular, intelligent woman who hops through time, thanks to hibernation, making bad decisions. Maybe that's harsh. She makes decision consistent with her character, but she was more or less put in charge of humanity's fate twice, which seems a little unlikely. it works within the plot, but the story works hard to get you there. Death's End is a tough book to talk about. On the one hand, it's amazing. The scale in time and space that the author is working with is enormous and he makes it believable without making it too easy. There's a lot of science here, I feel like it was explained well enough for me...
Read More
Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver

Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver

We know the facts in Anatomy of a Murder from early in the book. The defendant's wife, Laura, was raped by the local innkeeper and the defendant, army lieutenant Frederic Manion, took a gun, went to the bar, and shot and killed the rapist. He reported that he had done so and was taken into custody. It becomes Biegler's duty to try to get him off. The defense? Irresistable impulse, a type of temporary insanity. The story was broken into two parts: the investigation and the trial. The investigation is not a whodunnit , obviously, it was looking at all the players in the story, finding out all the ins and outs, who knew what when, what the people involved were like. The trial was fascinating. The back and forth between the lawyers, the interjections from the judge, the witnesses' statements, and jury reactions all kept me involved in the story. Our defense attorney and the narrator of the story,...
Read More
The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The Lost Village is trying to be both a ghost story and a mystery, and it left me a disappointed overall. Sixty years ago everyone in the village of Silvertjarn disappeared, leaving behind only a newborn baby and the body of a woman who was stoned to death in the square. Alice grew up with the story, her grandmother's parents and sister disappeared that day. Alice is determined to make a documentary based on the events in the town, hoping to find some answers in the process. Alice is not very likable- I'm not sure any of the characters are actually- well maybe one, mostly because we know the least about him. Things go badly for Alice and her friends/crew pretty quickly. We've got creepy abandoned houses, strange noises, "accidents." The Lost Village really does provide great atmosphere. Something out there is scary, but we can't see it clearly. Alice and her crew catch glimpses, but maybe it's just imagination, maybe the...
Read More
Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March

Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March

I have a soft sport for historical mysteries, which is what drew me to Murder in Old Bombay. Overall it was an enjoyable novel, but at the same time I felt like it just kept dragging on. Strengths: Captain Jim Agnihotri is a good character. He's part-English/part-Indian, has left the army for medical reasons, and loves Sherlock Holmes stories. He is intent on discovering the truth, regardless of the danger involved.India in the 1890s is brought to life. The descriptions are vivid. The cultural, religious, and political tensions can be felt.The characters are believable and you care about them. Weaknesses: The mystery is a bit convoluted and Jim always seems to guess right. It may not be easy to find or talk to who he wants to, but he never seems to just be wrong. Way too much emphasis on the romance. And too much melodrama.It seemed longer than it was. The middle section especially was slow. If I had run into it as...
Read More