Jove Brand Is Near Death by J.A. Crawford

Jove Brand Is Near Death by J.A. Crawford

Jove Brand Is Near Death is tons of fun. Ken Allen, is a personal trainer and martial arts expert in LA. His 15 minutes of fame came years ago when he played fictional spy, Jove Brand, in a single film in the blockbuster franchise. He had the looks and the action hero moves, but his acting was awful and the script was not much better. It was the worst Brand movie, but Ken has moved on, more or less. Until a new Brand is announced, and people connected to the series start turning up dead, killed with one of Ken's signature movie moves. Now Ken has to prove he's innocent - and figure out who the killer is. This was a perfect summer read, with plenty of action and gadgets galore. The characters are a varied lot, from Hollywood royalty to the cop who is sure Ken must have something to do with the murders to the special effects guy who...
Read More
Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr

Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr

John Dickson Carr is considered a master of the locked room mystery and Till Death Do Us Part is a good example of that. This is the first Gideon Fell book I think I've read, but it worked fine as a standalone. Dick Markham with his fiancee, Lesley Grant, arrive late to the village fair. Events lead to Lesley accidentally shooting the fortune teller, renowned criminologist Sir Harvey Gilman. Later Markham hears from Gilman the story of Lesley's life as a serial poisoner. Soon Superintendent Hadley and Dr. Gideon Fell become involved when a murder occurs in the village. It's an enjoyable mystery. The characters are the usual odd lot that lives in fictional small towns, with assorted secrets and jealousies. There is plenty of misdirection, lots of red herrings, and several people who aren't who we think. I did not guess who the killer was or how they managed to pull it off. It's a quick read, but I think...
Read More
A Plus One for Murder by Laura Bradford

A Plus One for Murder by Laura Bradford

I love Emma's idea for a business - well actually her friend's idea, but it's Emma's business. She's a friend for hire, someone to go to the gym with or take to a party. When one of her clients dies at an open mic night, Emma takes on the role of (very reluctant) amateur sleuth. Thankfully, she has some help - an elderly woman she has tea with once a week and a nurse who has paid her to be a gym buddy. I like how the three women work together and combine sleuthing with real life activities. We are immediately given a list of 4 suspects, a list put together by the dead man himself. Each of the four had a good reason for hating the dead man - a writer who was determined to bring all the town's corruption to light. The clues and red herrings were placed well. I liked the three main characters. Emma is sweet and honestly...
Read More
Murder at the Mansions by Sara Rosett

Murder at the Mansions by Sara Rosett

It appears that there has been a murder in Olive's building and it seems highly likely that someone on her floor is dead. The trouble is that there is no body and no one seems to be missing. Olive's friend, Minerva, is not one to imagine things though. She's practical and intelligent and she saw a foot sticking out of the end of a wrapped rug, so Olive takes the case and together they are determined to get to the truth. Murder at the Mansions is a fun little mystery. Olive is smart and clever as always. I liked that it was set in her building which has a nice variety of people and their pets living in it. We get to meet some new characters, but Jasper is still around and I like their relationship. He helps her out, but she is definitely the one solving the case and the romance doesn't take over the book. I really like this series....
Read More
Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman

Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman

For Vivian, dancing at the Nightingale, and the occasional free drink, is a way to escape the dullness and monotony of her life. She and her sister, Florence, barely make enough to live on as seamstresses. They live in a crowded tenement building and life is tough. This is not a glitzy, sparkling 1920s setting. The bobbed hair, bootleg liquor, and dance halls are there, but so are the poverty, racial oppression, and police raids. We see Vivian's squalid building, but also the opulent homes of the rich. Vivian and her best friend, Bea, a waitress at the club, find a dead man in the alley outside the back door. Vivian becomes our amateur sleuth, with a gentle nudge from Honor Huxley, the club's owner. Honor knows how important, and deadly, information can be. The mystery has several twists and turns and the ending surprised me. I liked the diversity in the characters and that the Nightingale was a place that allowed...
Read More
Peril at the Exposition by Nev March

Peril at the Exposition by Nev March

One of the strengths of Murder in Old Bombay, the first in the series, was the setting, 1890s India. In Peril at the Exposition, Chicago and the World's Fair are richly drawn and vividly described, but didn't have quite the same draw for me. It made sense for Diana and Jim to emigrate to America, but it lost some of the charm of the first. This book, told mostly from Diana's point of view, does give us her memories of places and people in India, but at times they feel forced. Jim, now working as a private investigator, is missing in Chicago. Diana heads off to find him. Diana is determined and strong in her own way, but definitely in over her head. She can be melodramatic and puts herself and others in dangerous situations. As Diana digs deeper into the case Jim was working on, she realizes there's a plot involving anarchists, labor union disputes, and maybe a bomb. There...
Read More