The Case of the Glamorous Ghost by Erle Stanley Gardner

Sunday evening I had a bit of a cold and when I'm not quite feeling up to par, I tend to pick up vintage mysteries. The Case of the Glamorous Ghost was the first I saw sitting on my shelf and since it's been a while since I've read a Perry Mason story, I picked it up. My daughter saw it and said something along the lines of "isn't that a tv show?" She watches that retro channel sometimes. I told her that yes, but the books actually came first. I'm not sure if I ever watched a full episode of the show. The Glamorous Ghost was what I expected - an interesting court case, some good dialogue, a slightly convoluted mystery. I think part of the reason I like mysteries from that era because they tend not to be overly violent. In general, they're also short, coming in at under 300 pages and while the characters are fun and well-drawn, they're not too depressed, they...
Read More

Dead Wrong by Leighann Dobbs

This is a really light mystery with a bit of PG romance. I enjoyed it but there wasn't much to it. I like the sisters and how they all support each other, but I kind of felt like we didn't really know much about them or the other characters. On the one hand, that's good, we're not bogged own with a bunch or back story, but it left me with a few too many questions. I love the house and the shop and can see why the girls will do anything can not to lose it. Oh, and there's a magical cat. There's a bit of a rumor around town that Balckmores may be witches, which they're not, at least they don't seem to be, but they do have this cat that has an uncanny way of being in just the right spot or finding just the thing they need. It's just a hint of paranormal. The mystery is okay. We get...
Read More

The Shell Game by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Short stories are always tough to talk about - I want people to know why I did/didn't enjoy it, but I don't want to give away too much. It's even tougher when it's a prequel to a series that I've read all the rest of, like this one. The Shell Game details Nick Fox and Kate O'Hare's first meeting. Nick's a con-man/thief and Kate's FBI. HE's charming, she's dedicated. They're both intelligent and good-looking, although I'm not sure you get a feel for how attracted they are to each other in this mini-episode. Nick gets to show off his cleverness, Kate gets to show off her ability to see through him, but I missed their interactions with each other that are so much of the fun in the series. Scott Brick does a good job as always as the narrator. His tone of voice fits the story, not melodramatic, but not straight either. Does that make sense. He knows the type of story...
Read More

The Ice Queen by Nele Neuhaus

First off, a minor complaint. Neuhaus' series is being translated from German, but out of order. So the first I read was Snow White Must Die #4, then Bad Wolf #6, and now The Ice Queen#3. Each is a self-contained mystery, but Pia and Oliver's personal lives come into play a fair amount and it's a little odd going back in time to see where their relationships were, knowing how they change over time. It doesn't bother me too much, but I feel like it would be a stronger series read in order. The story is absorbing, a mystery involving an influential family and secrets that go back to WW2. The blurb above gives the basic plotline, but it gives you no idea of how inter-connected theses people's lives are, how horrible their secrets are. It's a large cast, and the narrator, Robert Fass, does a reasonable job. I found a few of his voices jarring, but I do understand that it can...
Read More

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

I kinda wished I hadn't wasted an Audible credit on Simply Irresistable. It was okay, but I could have just put a hold on it at the library and waited. It wasn't worth "I need it"-ness of a credit. I was in the mood for a Christmas romance and it did fit the bill. I haven't read anything by Shalvis before, but her name comes up often enough that I felt pretty safe. Really the book had a lot of things I like, besides the nice coastal town setting and the Christmas season. Maddie and Jax are both good, nice people. Yes, she has trouble trusting, which is understandable, but she' trying to reinvent herself. Yes, Jax keeps some crucial information from her, but he doesn't have a choice, really. Maddie's sisters are great characters, both of whom I'm assuming will get their own love stories later in the series. I enjoyed the dynamics between the three of them. I like how everyone in the...
Read More

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

I have been a Poirot fan for as long as I can remember, so of course I had to pick up The Monogram Murders. I have to admit I was disappointed. As a mystery, it was okay, if you can overlook the horrible  Scotland Yard detective Poirot has paired himself with, Catchpool. He's incompetent and spends way too much time dwelling on events in his childhood, on his weaknesses. The mystery, the way the murders are committed and how the bodies are laid out is interesting enough. There's even a nice little bit that confuses the time of death and the clues fit together well. The mystery itself could have been good, but it relied on the Poirot hook and in that it failed. Maybe give me an original character, or even a better sidekick and I would have felt differently. Poirot is just not Poirot. He's too Poirot, if that makes sense. It's like he's overly conscious of his own mannerisms and...
Read More