The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

The Secret of Chimneys is one of Christie's earlier works and she tends to not be at her best when her books wander off into international politics and intrigue. However, I found this one surprisingly funny and enjoyable, even if a little far-fetched. Anthony Cade agrees to take on two jobs for his friend James McGrath. Anthony heads for London to deliver the draft of a memoir to a publisher, and to return letters to the woman who wrote them. In England, politician George Lomax persuades Lord Caterham to host a house party at Chimneys. George's cousin Virginia Revel is invited, as is Hiram Fish, a collector of first edition books, along with the principals in a political scheme to restore the monarchy in Herzoslovakia – while assuring that newly discovered oil there will be handled by a British syndicate. Then, a member of the house party is killed. House party mysteries are probably my favorites. I like the...
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Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi

Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi

First, go back and listen to The Dispatcher if you haven't already. Murder by Other Means is the sequel and I don't think it would be best as a stand-alone. The world is pretty much like our world except 99.9% of murder victims come back to life, transported from the murder scene to someplace they feel safe, usually their home. Tony Valdez is a dispatcher, someone who steps in and kills you when you’re at risk of an unintentional death, like a car accident or unsuccessful surgery, letting you live 99.9% of the time. This time around, Tony is taking some jobs that are maybe not as legal as he would like, but money is getting tight all around. It starts going awry when he is hired to help a businessman make it to China quicker than he could by plane. Then he's a witness to a bank robbery that goes bad. When people start dying and Tony needs...
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The Hour of Death by Jane Willan

The Hour of Death by Jane Willan

I picked up The Hour of Death because of its Christmas-time setting. It's the second in the series, but the first I've read and it worked fine. I felt like I got to know the characters well. I got enough background but not too much. I enjoyed Sister Agatha for the most part. She's smart and tenacious, if a bit overly suspicious. Amateur sleuths pretty much have to be though. I could have done without her constant reference to other fictional detectives. Don't get me wrong, I adore Gamache and Jessica Fletcher, but she referred to them way too often. She stands on her own well, she doesn't constantly need to refer to other detectives. The nuns are an interesting group of women. While they do pray and sing and worship, they also make cheese and text each other and have an artist as a tenant. I think the Advent touches were some of my favorites: the hymns, the idea...
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The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

The Man in the Brown Suit has been on my list to read for a while. I've read a lot of Agatha Christie's, but this is a Colonel Race book, and he has never been my favorite of her characters. Honestly, I should have read it earlier. Anne Beddingfield, our amateur sleuth, is awesome. She's practical, but full of grit and she doesn't frighten easily. She's also a hopeless romantic. Anne was raised by her anthropologist father, a well-known academic but a poor man more wrapped up in the dead than the living. After he dies, Anne refuses a more "suitable" arrangement and determines to find adventure. Then it happens - a man on the train platform near her falls to his death after seeing something that frightens him. The doctor who tends to the man wears a brown suit, and after he leaves hurriedly, Anne has her suspicions as to whether or not he is actually a doctor. She...
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Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case by Kristen Painter

Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case by Kristen Painter

I'm not quite ready for winter/Christmas reads yet, but maybe I am. Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case hit just the right note for this time of year for me. Jayne Frost, winter elf and niece of Santa Claus, is sent from the North Pole to Nocturne Falls, where supernaturals can live as they are because Halloween is celebrated every day of the year. She is there to investigate a series of disappearances in one of the Santa's toy stores. Several elf employees have left, supposedly quit, but with no trace of them afterward. A little bit of Halloween, a little bit of Christmas, some magic a good mystery - it's a cute book. The mystery is not terrible complicated but the clues are well-done and there are a couple possible suspects. The characters are fun. Jayne loved Dr. Pepper and all things sweet, which I can definitely relate to. She's nice and friendly and determined. She makes a few...
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Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Told by an unknown narrator, the story is focused on a "secret" of a woman named Lady Audley and the ultimate revelation of what that secret is. While you may think relatively soon into the book that you know Lady Audley's Secret, that the author has told us, you'd be wrong. The secret remains closely guarded right u to the time it is confessed by Lady Audley. I will be honest, though, the secret is not the strong part of the book. She lays down clues and throws hints here and there without giving way too much and keeping the secret well-guarded until the time is right for a confession by Lady Audley. I enjoyed the writing. The descriptions of the settings and characters put you there with them. I listened to Lady Audley's Secret just after The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. They were written around the same time and both "sensational" novels, but this one felt tighter to...
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