Deadly Summer Nights by Vicki Delany

Deadly Summer Nights by Vicki Delany

Deadly Summer Nights is set in 1953 in the Catskills. Elizabeth Grady, a bookkeeper in New York City, was convinced by her mother, Olivia, to manage Haggerman's Resort, which Olivia recently inherited. Elizabeth has her work cut out for her dealing with guests and staff, then, to top it all off, one of the guests ends up dead, murdered and left floating in the lake. The local police find a copy of The Communist Manifesto in the man's cottage and the rumors that the resort is harboring communists start flying. Elizabeth is anxious to solve this mystery as soon as possible and save the resort's reputation. The setting is so fun. I love the resort with all its activities and entertainment. The clothes and drinks and slang were perfect, too. Elizabeth is a good protagonist, smart and level-headed, but not unemotional. Her mom, Olivia, a former actress, is a blast. She knows how to exude charm and when to offer free...
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Agatha Christie’s Poirot by Mark Aldridge

Agatha Christie’s Poirot by Mark Aldridge

I loved this book. But I adore Poirot and I do think you need to be a fan to want to read it. The book is broken down in decades, from Poirot's first appearance in 1920 in The Mysterious Affair at Styles through Kenneth Branagh's movies. Aldridge discusses the books, plays, films, television & radio stories in a straightforward way that can be a little dry at times. He summarizes each story, but but without giving away any spoilers. He includes excerpts from Christie’s journals and correspondence, and talks about the interactions between Christie and her publishers, which weren't always positive. He also shares reviews from newspapers regarding the stories. There are a lot of illustrations, including book covers, movie posters, and photos of actors, but all in black and white. For me, this was an absolutely fun book. It's thorough and well-researched and was a joy to read. ...
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Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino

Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino

Journey Under the Midnight Sun is compelling and clever and not a typical mystery. A pawnbroker is found murdered in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973. Detective Sasagaki is assigned to the case. He uncovers a lot of clues and possible suspects but is never able to charge anyone with the crime. The case reaches a dead end and Sasagaki is forced to give up his investigation. However, he continues to keep tabs on the two pre-teens involved in the case the daughter of Fumiyo Nishimoto: Yukiho, the daughter of a woman suspected of having an affair with the pawnbroker, and Ryo Kirihara, the dead man's son. We see how the crime affects their lives through the next 20 years. The story is told from multiple points of view, mostly minor characters', letting us learn about the events and Yukiho and Ryo from various perspectives, but never from their viewpoint. A lot of characters get introduced, some of...
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A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany

A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany

Gemma Doyle owns a Sherlock Holmes-themed bookshop, which I loved. As with most cozy mysteries, she often stumbles across the crimes in her small town, in this case West London on Cape Cod. She's also dating a police detective, Ryan Ashburn, which of cour leads to some tension. This time around, Gemma decides to help a young girl, Lauren, clear her mother of murder charges. The dead body of Anna, a well-known gardener, is found in the darkest part of the park. There were no witnesses and little evidence, but Anna and Sheila, Lauren's mom, had a major fight the morning of the murder. A Curious Incident is fun and the mystery is put together well. We have several suspects and Gemma does a good job putting the clues together. Gemma is a good character, observant, smart, and nice. Her friends add charm to the story and they all make me smile. ...
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An English Garden Murder by Katie Gayle

An English Garden Murder by Katie Gayle

Newly-retired and newly-divorced London social worker Julia Bird has just moved to a village in the Cotswolds. Julia is working on making it her home - meeting new people, having a chicken coop built, getting a dog. No sooner has Julia hired local handyman Johnny Blunt and his grandson to tear down an old shed and build the chicken coop, than human remains are discovered under the shed's foundation. Julia is of course curious about the identity of the body and is pretty good at reading people's behaviors so starts asking questions. And then she discovers a second body, and she knows there's a killer still living in the town. The village is full of appropriately quirky people but there's a lot going on under the surface. Julia is a good lead character. She's kind of reinventing herself and finding her feet in her new situation. She even has a possible love interest. D.I. Hayley Gibson is in charge of...
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The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado

The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado

I don't read a lot of graphic novels. I get more caught up in the words and tend to ignore the images, which means I lose half of the experience. However, the art in The Low, Low Woods was definitely eye-catching, integral to the story, and kept me engaged. In a small, Pennsylvania mining town, the women lose chunks of their memory. Two teenage girls (one Latina, one Black, both queer) are on a quest to figure out what's going on. The reasons for the memory losses are at least partially predictable and horrifying. The Low, Low Woods deals with tough topics and doesn't shy away from the fact that survivors deal with trauma differently. It dealt with several themes which could have been explored more, but I truly liked Vee and El, who have been best friends since they were kids. The town is a hard place to live and a hard place to leave. ...
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