A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

There are several short stories set in the same world as A Master of Djinn and I do wish I had read them first. A Master of Djinn does a fabulous showing us this Cairo and introducing the character, but the events from at least two of the stories are mentioned and I think reading them would have given me a better background. I may actually go back and read them now - I did love the world. A Master of Djinn is more or less a murder mystery set in a steampunk alternate 1912 Cairo where djinn live and work among mortals. Our investigator is Fatma from the Egyptian Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities. The dead men and woman are members of an Al-Jahiz Secret Brotherhood, all found murdered, their bodies, but not their clothes, burned to a crisp. Turns out an imposter claimant to be Al-Jahiz returned is running around town causing all kinds of havoc. Clark...
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Putin’s People by Catherine Belton

Putin’s People by Catherine Belton

Putin's People is a clearly well-researched, possibly slightly biased, history of Putin, the KGB, and Russia from the fall of the Soviet Union to a couple of years ago. This was obviously published before the current war, but you can still see it coming. Honestly, the war is why I picked it up. I don't read much history or politics or economics, but then something happens and I wish I had more background to draw on. I am probably not the best audience for this book. There are tons and tons of people, places, companies, very few of which I'm familiar with. It's a dense book and I won't remember many of the details, but it's also well laid out and at times almost reads like a thriller. The Russia of today isn’t much different from the Russia before 1991 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Not only are the viewpoints, world views, and goals for the most part...
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The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by David Rosenfelt

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by David Rosenfelt

Isn't that cover adorable? If you read the blurb above, you know Andy's client, Pups. is clearly not guilty. Then it turns our the gun used to kill the neighbor was used a year and a half ago to kill Pups' husband. Someone is framing her, but who and why? The mystery is good. As Andy starts digging, he finds a prodigal son, a real estate broker, gang members, and a lawyer. I like Andy, especially as narrated by Gardner. He's smart and sarcastic and funny. The plot gets a little rambly for me and sports trivia is never going to be a clue I'll catch, but overall I enjoyed it. Really, how could I not enjoy it with dogs and humor, murder and Christmas? ...
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Best in Snow by David Rosenfelt

Best in Snow by David Rosenfelt

Best in Snow is the first Andy Carpenter mystery I've picked up. I couldn't resist the adorable cover and Grover Gardner as narrator. It worked fine as a stand-alone for me, although I'm sure I would have known more about Andy and the other recurring characters had I read the series from the beginning. At 24 books, that's not going to happen. This time around, Andy finds a dead body while walking his dogs. A former reporter for Andy Carpenter is an almost retired defense attorney with more than enough money, so he can pick and choose his clients- unless his friend and newspaper editor asks him to help out a former reporter charged with the mayor's murder. Then he doesn't get much of a choice. Andy is clever and sarcastic and downright funny, all of which Gardner pulls off perfectly. The dialogue is entertaining and the dogs are all adorable. The plot was well-done, with plenty of twists and turns,...
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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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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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