The Taste of Datura by Lorenzo Petruzziell

The Taste of Datura by Lorenzo Petruzziell

The Taste of Datura is set in Naples and does a fabulous job of bringing the city to life - the place, food, people, and some of the mythology. Nick is in Naples when he is contacted by a black market dealer about a bracelet he has in his possession. Turns out there are several people interested in the bracelet, which makes Nick curious about its history and meaning. I was not in love with Nick. I didn't quite understand what his profession was, if he had one. He's resourceful and stubborn but has little common sense when pretty women are involved. The book is fast-paced with plenty of action, violence, and tension. We've also got a touch of the paranormal, too, with Laura who is a medium. Her visions center around the bracelet and the people touched by it. She's nice but a little too trusting for my taste. The mystery here is why the bracelet is so important and...
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Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies by Catherine Mack

Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies by Catherine Mack

Every time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies is a great title and the setting is fabulous. Bestselling author Eleanor Dash is on a book tour in Italy with several other authors, her ex-lover, and about 20 contest-winning fans. A fictionalized version of the ex-, Connor, is one of the main characters in Eleanor's mystery series, and he has been using that to his advantage for years. Now, however, Connor is convinced someone is trying to kill him. Of course, Eleanor does want him dead, but only the fictional version of course. This book was fun enough. We've got murder, lies, gorgeous scenery, and even a touch of romance. Eleanor is a good character. She's writing the story that we're hearing. (I listened to the audiobook.) She breaks the fourth on a regular basis, either pointing something out to the reader or reassuring us. She also includes a lot of footnotes, but on the audio, they just blended in to the...
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Off the Air by Christina Estes

Off the Air by Christina Estes

Off the Air features Phoenix television reporter, Jolene Garcia, who is covering the murder of a local conservative radio talk show host. Jolene is always on the lookout for the next big story, so she jumps right into this one, trying to get exclusive interviews, information on the air before any of the competitors, and the best leads. I will say I didn't always like Jolene. She is determined, but totally willing to hurt people along the way, but I could feel her frustration when she had info she couldn't share or when someone "stole" her interview. I'm also a little tired of backstories lately. Jolene was in the foster system for years before being adopted by her grandmother more out of responsibility than love. She was attacked by a dog when she was a child, causing a fear of dogs that of course comes into play. She also made an inaccurate report at her previous job that affects how...
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The Clock Struck Murder by Betty Webb

The Clock Struck Murder by Betty Webb

Paris during the 1924 Olympics is a wonderful setting. Zoe, an artist, has been living in the city for 6 years, since she was exiled from Alabama. She has a lot of backstory, almost too much for one character. Anyway, she stumbles across a stolen Chagall painting and then the body of a murdered woman. She takes it upon herself to try to track down more of the paintings and also starts asking questions of people who knew Laurette. The plot was fine even if the killer was a bit obvious. It's also a who's who among the expats in Paris at the time. We either meet or hear gossip about Marc Chagall and his family, poet Blaise Cendrars, Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and Pablo Picasso and his first wife. We're also introduced to several members of the American swim team. The author shoves a lot in to this book. I actually liked Zoe. She's...
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The Murder of Mr. Ma by John Shen Yen Nee and S.J. Rozan

The Murder of Mr. Ma by John Shen Yen Nee and S.J. Rozan

Lao She is an unassuming, respectable young scholar from China who has emigrated to London and now teaches Chinese language at Oxford and wants to write a novel. Then he is called to the home of philosopher Bertrand Russell who needs his assistance - in breaking a friend out of jail. It's during this errand that Lao meets Judge Dee Ren Jie. I do have to say it's an interesting meeting and sets the tone for the rest of the book. Judge Dee is in London to investigate the death of Mr. Ma, a fellow member of the Chinese Labor Corps who served in France during the First World War and was allowed to come to London afterward. Lao, who is more familiar with the city, offers to help Dee, but soon another Chinese man is found dead and the whole situation becomes more complicated. Lao is our Watson to Dee's Sherlock. I listened to the audiobook, which worked well....
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A Rather Dastardly Death by Anthony Slayton

A Rather Dastardly Death by Anthony Slayton

A Rather Dastardly Death is the second of the Mr. Quayle Mysteries and the Lord Unsworth and his family are on vacation in the French Riviera, trying to get some distance from the events of A Quite Deadly Affair. Of course, it's not long until someone is murdered, a woman Lord Unsworth knew decades earlier, and the family gets caught up in another investigation. Mr. Quayle, at Lord Unsworth's request, agrees to assist in solving the mystery and protecting the family's reputation if possible. This is a fun old-fashioned murder mystery with plenty of suspects and possible motives. The dead woman, Lady Rosaline Barrett De Marchi, Widow of Treville-Sur-Mer, was surrounded by "admirers" and hangers-on, any of whom could have killed her. We also have a side plot regarding a jewel thief who may be in the Riviera and a statuette from Lady Rosaline's collection is missing. All of the characters are notable, but Quayle is what makes this series work...
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