The Inspector of Strange and Unexplained Deaths by Olivier Barde-Cabuçon

The Inspector of Strange and Unexplained Deaths by Olivier Barde-Cabuçon

The Inspector of Strange and Unexplained Deaths is the first in a series by Barde-Cabuçon, but it's the only one currently translated to English. Hopefully, they'll get around to the rest soon because I really enjoyed it. The story takes place in 1759 Paris, somewhere between the shiny halls of Versailles ruled by debauched Louis XV and his cohorts, and the dirty, dangerous hovels of Parisian suburbs inhabited by the desperately poor. The general population of Paris is seething with resentment, misery, and anger, on the brink of revolution, while the elites seem oblivious to both the inequity and the risks.On the streets of Paris, a horribly mutilated body of a young woman is discovered; the inquiry into her death quickly leads into dangerous territory – to the boudoirs of Versailles, where terminally bored Louis XV is mostly preoccupied with his newest sexual conquests. The detective who has taken on the case is Chevalier de Volnay, named the Inspector of...
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A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer

A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer

A British country house Christmas party may be my favorite setting for a murder. Joseph and his wife, Maud, live at Nathaniel's grand home. Joseph has organized a Christmas party, even though he seems to be the only one in a festive mood. Like any good Christmas party, we've got a ill-matched bunch of relatives, significant others, a family friend, and a business partner. Nathaniel is a difficult and argumentative man, who has fights with just about everyone at the house. When he is killed, there are a plethora of suspects and plenty of motives, mostly revolving around who inherits Nathanial’s fortune. The murder obviously puts a damper on the Christmas celebrations. This was a good read, clever and funny. We've got a locked room mystery that makes for a good puzzle for the investigator. I adored Maud, placid, unruffled, unwilling to play hostess. She just wants to find her missing book. And how can you not enjoy a mystery that...
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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....
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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...
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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...
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Who Killed Patrick? by Syl Waters

Who Killed Patrick? by Syl Waters

I will admit, I don't pay a lot of attention to authors' websites. I include links at the bottom of my posts, but really don't spend much time looking at them. I stopped by Syl Waters' as I was getting this post ready and her blog caught my attention. Who Killed Patrick? takes place on the island of Fuerteventura, a place I had never hear of but that Waters clearly loves. On her blog, she has several posts talking about the island, but she also has a funny one about a discussion she had with her mom. The sidekick in the book is a guinea pig, which her mom seemed to think made it a children's book until Waters told her about how many bones a guinea pig has. Apparently her mom decided that the guinea pig was not actually much smaller than a chihuahua, the critter companion in a mystery her mom had read recently so maybe it was...
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