A Harvest Murder by Frances Evesham

A Harvest Murder by Frances Evesham

A Harvest Murder is the third of the Ham Hill mysteries. It can be read as a stand-alone, but I think, like most series, you get a fuller feel for the characters if you read them in order. We have two mysteries here. The first is the missing farmer. It's no surprise he ends up dead - the title is A Harvest Murder - but who killed him is unclear. The second mystery is who is harassing Dan, the local artist. First, one of his donkeys is kidnapped and brought back, then one of his paintings in a gallery is destroyed. Our sleuths are Imogen, who owns the local hotel, and former detective, Adam, who owns a local bar. A lot of the scenes take place in those locations, where people gather and talk and air their suspicions. The mysteries are well done, with several clues and enough suspects to keep you guessing. The townsfolk are a typically mixed...
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Diamond Geezer by Gillian Godden

Diamond Geezer by Gillian Godden

It took me several chapters to become invested in Diamond Geezer. It's a gangland novel and there are no characters to really like, which makes sense, they're almost all up to their necks in drugs and the crime world. That being said, it turned out to be an engrossing story. Nick is living a double life. He's a successful lawyer with all the privileges and tokens of upper-class life. At the same time, he's deeply involved in the Glasgow crime world. The book is mostly set on an estate in Glasgow, where Nick's grandma lives. The estate is more or less ruled by a mysterious character known as “The Undertaker,” who provides drugs, food, jobs. The people of the estate, most of whom are living in poverty and addicted to one thing or another, rely on him, even if they don't know who he is. It's interesting, though. They have to look out for themselves, but there is also a...
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Christmas at Snowflake Lodge by C.P. Ward

Christmas at Snowflake Lodge by C.P. Ward

Can I please go to Snowflake Lodge for Christmas? It's a magical place with decorations and hot chocolate and the nicest staff. There's skiing and ice skating and sleigh rides pulled by real reindeer. Jessica is there to work - she's a plumber, and to keep an eye on her grandfather. She's also escaping from her terrible renter/roommate. Honestly, I wanted to escape from Doreen too. I didn't enjoy the scenes with Doreen and her friends. She was a really awful person and I don't understand why Jessica put up with any of it. Once Jessica decides to take the job at Snowflake Lodge, the book becomes a fun read. Grandpa is a great character, funny and adventurous, and maybe a bit of a skirt chaser. Jessica's love interest, James, is sexy and sweet. Christmas at Snowflake Lodge is part romance and part family reunion, and almost everyone gets a happy ending. ...
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The Corfe Castle Murders by Rachel McLean

The Corfe Castle Murders by Rachel McLean

DCI Lesley Clarke has been transferred to Dorset for six months to slow down and recuperate after a recent case. Of course, the day before she officially starts her new position, an archaeologist is found murdered at a dig site and Lesley jumps right into the investigation. Lesley is a bit of a fish out of water. Several of her new team are not thrilled with having her in charge - she's a woman, she cusses, she's a bit prickly, but I think they are starting to gel by the end of the book. She may not be what they're used to, but she's intelligent, competent, and able to make compromises to benefit the team. The mystery itself was well-done. The clues are there, but so are the red herrings. There are plenty of suspects, a mistress, the wife, the wife's boyfriend, fellow archaeologists, and they all feel like real people, not cardboard cutouts. Every character in the case, whether they...
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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...
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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...
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