An English Murder by Cyril Hare

An English Murder by Cyril Hare

An English Murder is a typical, country house, murder mystery common in Golden Age mysteries, with a slightly different feel. Although the set-up is one of my favorites – a group of guests snowed in at a country house over the holidays – the modern world is beginning to impinge. Domestic staff is harder to get hold of and Briggs, the butler, valiantly does his best to keep up standards with far less help than he previously had. Meanwhile, the house is suffering from a lack of staff and money. It looks impressive, but maintenance is expensive and the present Lord Warbeck’s son, Robert, is unlikely to be able to afford his inheritance. Lord Warbeck is old, and ill, and wants to have his family with him at Christmas. His guests include his son, Robert, who is the President of the League of Liberty and Justice, a an antisemitic and anti-socialist organization; Sir Julius Warbeck, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Mrs. Carstairs,...
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The Diva Wraps It Up by Krista Davis

The Diva Wraps It Up by Krista Davis

It's Christmas time in Old Town, usually a wonderful time of year for Sophie and her neighbors, but this season we have a sprinkling of murder and mayhem. Horace Scroggins falls from a balcony during his office Christmas party. Baxter Babineaux, Sophie's neighbor falls off of his ladder decorating his house for the Annual Christmas lighting Contest. And then, at the annual Christmas Cookie Swap hosted by Gwen Babineaux, tempers flare when Gwen snaps unflattering pictures of Natasha, Sophie's rival domestic diva and girl friend of Sophie's ex-husband Mars. After the cookie Swap, Gwen is found murdered, wrapped up like a Christmas present complete with a bow in Natasha's garage. Obviously, Natasha comes under suspicion, but it turns out that there is more than one person who may have had a motive. Apparently Gwen has several secrets and what if the other accidents were not actually accidents. Sophie and her friends need to find out who in their neighborhood is...
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Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson

Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson

I was looking for an audiobook and Murder on Astor Place was available to "read now" through the library. I know people who really enjoy the series and since it was the first, I thought I'd give it a go. I read the blurb and it sounded right up my alley. The book takes place in the 1890s in New York City, which is a good setting. We see the tenements and the grand houses, meet good, and bad, people from all walks of life. Sarah is a intelligent, resourceful, and able to deal with people from a variety of classes. Sergeant Frank Malloy has asked for her help on this case, which seems a bit out of character, but we have to have the pair to make the book work. The story was suspenseful. The clues were well-planted. I liked both Frank and Sarah and they do make a good team. I think, maybe if I had read it at a...
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Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert

Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert

Reviews for Death in the Family both drew me to the book and made me wary. "A Christie-inspired mystery." "This is an Agathe Christieesque murder mystery." "If you loved Agatha Christie you are going to have a new author to fill that void." I love Christie and that era of mystery in general, but rarely do modern novels actually pull off that feel. While Death in the Family has some of those classic elements, a rich family, an isolated manor, but I feel like "Christie-esque" has come to mean that it's a good puzzle type mystery, but the comparison isn't really fair to Christie or Wegert. I really enjoyed it. It's a good mystery, tense, atmospheric, but our sleuth especially would not fit in a Christie novel; which is neither good or bad. Detective Shana Merchant has relocated to upstate New York after being kidnapped by a serial killer. She is still dealing with her PTSD and flashbacks but has been...
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Apple Cider Slaying by Julie Anne Lindsey

Apple Cider Slaying by Julie Anne Lindsey

Apple Cider Slaying is the first book in a new series. I've read a couple books by this author (under her pseudonym) before and enjoyed them well enough, but what drew me to this one was the Christmassy setting. Winnie has returned to her hometown, Blossom Valley, West Virginia to help Granny turn around the family business. She has plans to open a cider shop, allowing Granny's orchard to make money year-round, but she needs a loan. While leading the banker on a tour of the property, she finds the neighbor dead in the cider press, the neighbor who was in a decades-long feud with Granny. Winnie decides she has to do some investigating because she can't bear the thought of her grandmother being accused. She and the sheriff butt heads a bit, but he's the potential love interest, so of course he's mostly concerned with her safety. In the meantime, she decides to go ahead with a Christmas...
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A Murderous Affair by Leighann Dobbs and Harmony Williams

A Murderous Affair by Leighann Dobbs and Harmony Williams

Lady Katherine is a non-traditional woman for her time. Her passion is solving murder mysteries, and only a few people know that's what she does. Most people believe she's a matchmaker.  A Murderous Affair is the first I've read in the series. It works fine as a stand-alone, but I would probably know the characters better if I had started at the beginning. It's the Christmas season, but Katherine, along with a set of I presume recurring characters, is asked to investigate a more or less cold case. A maid was murdered six months ago, the same night as a terrible thunderstorm and a fire at the Hound and Ale Pub. Bow Street has dismissed is a random case of violence, and in all honesty, they're not terribly concerned about the death of a servant anyway. Two teams form, the men, Captain Dorian Wayland, Lord Annondale and Annondale's valet, Mctavish on one side with Lady Katherine, Prudence Burwick (Lord...
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