A Racing Murder by Frances Evesham

A Racing Murder by Frances Evesham

This is the second of the Ham Hill mysteries and, while it works as a stand-alone, you will definitely get to know the characters better by reading them in order. Adam is a pub owner and retired police officer and Imogene owns the local hotel. They are the main investigators, although this time around they have the help of a couple of friends, Steph, a reporter, and Dan, a painter. All four are competent and intelligent and each adds their own skills. Belinda is the main suspect in the death, and her desperate mother asks for Adam's help. The local authorities deem the death an accident due to lack of evidence, but the local chief inspector asks Adam to continue looking into the case, not convinced it wasn't murder. It turns out there are actually plenty of suspects, although no one has a really good motive. There are the investors who own the horse that Belinda rode. There are the grooms and...
Read More
After the Storm by Isabella Muir

After the Storm by Isabella Muir

After the Storm is the second mystery starring Giuseppe Bianchi and his niece, Christina Rossi. Giuseppe has been in England visiting his cousin for several months now. He has been in England for several months, when a new friend, Edward Swain, dies during a storm. Edward owned a large rambling house. He lived in part and rented parts to two young adults. The lodging house is in poor condition, and the storm strikes down a tree that lands on and destroys a summer house in the back yard that lands on his Edward, killing him. Locals believe the death to be the result of a tragic accident, but Giuseppe thinks his friend was lured to the summer house, leading to his death. Giuseppe and Christina, a reporter, talk to Edward's tenants and look into their backgrounds. look into the backgrounds of Edward’s house guests. The mystery itself was fine, but the characters carried the book. We also get...
Read More
Crossing the Line by Isabella Muir

Crossing the Line by Isabella Muir

Retired detective Guiseppe Bianchi is visiting with family on the Southern coast of England, when a local child is found dead, probably not an accident. Guiseppe can't stop himself from thinking about the case. He teams up with his niece, reporter Christina Rossi, to do their own investigating, sharing information with the police as they go. It's the 1960s, at a time when ‘stranger danger’ was becoming part of the national consciousness, and that fear is woven into the story. Guiseppe is charming, but sad. This open-ended vacation may be good for him. Christina is smart, but has a lot on her plate and lacks confidence in her own skills. They make a good team. I listened to the audio and thought the narrator did a fine job. The characters were well-distinguished and his tone fit the seriousness of the crime. The plot was put together well. It's not a quick moving mystery, but I enjoyed the pace. The characters...
Read More
Christmas at the Cornish Confetti Agency by Daisy James

Christmas at the Cornish Confetti Agency by Daisy James

Christmas at the Cornish Confetti Agency, was a sweet, fun book to read with a cup of hot chocolate or my favorite coffee, cinnamon sugar cookie, which just returned to store shelves for the season. I love a good holiday romance and this one hit all the right notes. We have a lovely, snowy setting, happy couples, Christmas trees, cookies, and mulled wine. This is the third in the series and starts right in with the lead-up to Phoebe and Sam’s Christmas wedding. This is first I've read and it did take me a little while to feel comfortable with who the characters are and their relationships to each other. Once I got to know them, though, it's a fabulous group, fun to spend time with. Lexie is, temporarily, a wedding planner, and she wants this wedding to be perfect. I loved all of the activities leading up to the wedding party, like decorating Christmas trees and making gingerbread creations....
Read More
The Forger and the Thief by Kirsten McKenzie

The Forger and the Thief by Kirsten McKenzie

The setting of The Forger and the Thief is fascinating in and of itself. In 1966 Florence was hit with the most devastating flood in centuries, and as a result 101people died and countless works of art and literature were destroyed. Five strangers are in Florence, each for their own reasons: an abused wife fleeing her husband, an aspiring artist looking for a family heirloom stolen during WWII, a disgraced man in town for the wedding of the woman he loves to another man, an easily overlooked museum cleaner warped by family tragedy, and a cop on the way out. Each is introduced in short chapters at the beginning of the book and it's a bit much all at one, lots of characters, lots of motivations. It was a bit confusing, especially when none of them were interacting with each other yet. And the river is a character too, vengeful and strong. The characters, for the most part, are not...
Read More
Killing the Story by Joan Livingston

Killing the Story by Joan Livingston

Isabel Long is a former journalist who now works as a private investigator. Both jobs play to her strengths; she's curious, tenacious, tough, and determined. This is the first of the series that I've read, but it worked fine as a stand alone. Isabel is hired to investigate the death of a local newspaper editor whose death was originally ruled an accident. I liked Isabel. She's older than most of the main characters in mysteries I read, especially the women. She's probably in her late 60s, has silver hair, but she's smart and funny and attractive. Her mom is her sidekick and the interactions between the two are well-done. They have a close relationship but they both realize the other is strong and smart and capable. Isabel doesn't have to hide anything from her. Isabel has a boyfriend who manages to worry about her without being over-protective. There are several reasons to believe that Estelle's death was not an accident...
Read More