The Man With a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes

The Man With a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes

The Man with a Load of Mischief is the first in the Richard Jury series. The only reason I picked it up was that it takes place at Christmas, but I'm glad I did. I'm not sure how I missed this series before. I will definitely read more - I might actually be listening to the 2nd as I'm typing this. The book takes place around 1981 - no cell phones, no internet, no tiny cameras. This is the type of mystery where our detective has to watch for clues, talk to people, not rely on technology. Our detective from Scotland Yard is Richard Jury, intelligent, patient, kind. Our sidekick is Melrose Plant, rich, clever, sparkling green eyes. We see the story from their alternating points of view. We only know what they know, we only hear what they hear. The writing style is descriptive and full, without being overly detailed. The book certainly has serious moments, but Plant...
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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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The Bounty by Janet Evanovich and Steve Hamilton

The Bounty by Janet Evanovich and Steve Hamilton

I thoroughly enjoyed The Bounty. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a good book, but for me, it was a lot of fun. Yes, it's over the top. No, it's not realistic. Don't expect character growth or believable scenes. There's non-stop action, decent chemistry between Nick and Kate, practically unstoppable bad guys, and a whirlwind tour of Europe. I will say the blurb is misleading in a couple of things. First, Quentin did not teach Nick everything he knows, Nick wasn't actually aware of much of what his dad was up to. They are very similar though. Second, Kate and Jake get along just fine. They recognize each other's skills and stubbornness and work well together. The story's a treasure hunt, with iconic places and dangerous obstacles. Even though it's not a scam, Nick's talents definitely have their uses. The bad guys are off course always right on Kate and Nick's trail and, for various reasons, Kate can't count on any official...
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Flourish by Martin E.P. Seligman

Flourish by Martin E.P. Seligman

In the last couple of months, I've been reading and learning about positive psychology and happiness in general. I did not get much out of Flourish. I sincerely doubt that on its own it helps many people flourish. The base idea is good, I think. The PERMA concept is what brought me to the book. Well-being, happiness, flourishing, whatever you want to call it, consists of 5 pieces: Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement. But we learn very little about how to achieve flourishing. Mostly, Flourish is an over-view of what Dr. Seligman has achieved to date and what he hopes to achieve in the future. We learn about his work with the army, with a private school in Australia, with the people who pay a lot to join his Masters program. We learn that he thinks very highly of himself and his theories. We learn about the important people he's met and major positions he's held. What we don't get is...
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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sara Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sara Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal is a very timely courtroom drama. Just a warning, there is going to be a minor spoiler here. I don't think I can help it. Handsome, charming James, a Junior Home Office Minister, is accused of rape by an ex-lover. Sophie is his wife who believes, at least at first,  that he could never have done such a heinous thing. Kate is the lawyer determined to prove him guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt- and she doesn't have any doubt. The story flowed well. It's not a nail-biting thriller, but it's tense and emotion-filled. We see James and Sophie in their college days, along with their friends. We know what they were like then and who they became. We learn that some things change, and others don't. It's a story that sucks you in, but I'm not sure I really enjoyed it. First, there's never any doubt for the reader about James guilt, just whether the jury will believe...
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Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan

I admit it - I picked up Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore based mostly on the title and cover. I have trouble passing up mysteries centered in bookstores. While it was not really what I expected, I enjoyed it. I expected a lighter mystery, more cozy. While not gory or violent, this one is disturbing at times. Lydia is the only survivor of the night the Hammerman killed her friend and her friend's parents, but she hides this fact from everyone. She was a child at the time, but the Hammerman was never caught. Fast forward and now she's an adult, working at a bookstore, living with her boyfriend, who she has not told about her past. As the story opens, Lydia discovers one of the bookfrogs, Joey, has committed suicide in the book store. That would be devastating enough, but in his pocket he has a picture of Lydia as a child, with two of her friends, which is odd...
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