The Highgate Cemetery Murder by Irina Shapiro

The Highgate Cemetery Murder by Irina Shapiro

The Highgate Cemetery Murder opens with the discovery of the gruesome murder a young woman on the morning of All Saints’ Day, 1858, who is displayed on a cross in Highgate Cemetery with a pig’s heart around her neck. A journalist who may have witnessed the crime falls under the wheels of an omnibus and is killed. Gemma Tate, a nurse recently returned from the Crimea, is the sister of the journalist and doesn’t believe his death was an accident. Sebastian Bell is the police officer assigned to investigate the murder of the young woman victim in the cemetery. Soon the two begin working together against Bell's better judgement to solve the two suspicious deaths. This book is a little darker than what I usually read. The details around the murder really are horrific. And this is not a romanticized Victorian London; it's dirty, grim, and harsh for many that live there. The author shows us the prejudices, class distinctions, and...
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Once Upon a Murder by Samantha Larsen

Once Upon a Murder by Samantha Larsen

I enjoyed the first of the Lady Librarian mysteries, A Novel Disguise. Tiffany was interesting and bold and determined. Her relationship with Samir was fun. I wasn't quite as enamored by Once Upon a Murder. Tiffany is fairly happily employed as the librarian for the Duchess of Beaufort. It all goes awry when she finds the frozen dead body of former footman Mr. Bernard Coram just outside her cottage. Tiffany is quickly cleared as a suspect, but Samir, Tiffany's friend and love interest, is arrested. The mystery was well-done, with several suspects and enough clues to lead Tiffany in the right direction. The characters are great, whether they're likable or not. But, I don't need to hear about Tiffany's cramps or her longing for children. I'd rather not have children or baby's in my mysteries and in this one, I found them a distraction rather than adding value to the book. Yes, the kids added some humor, but I'd rather have the...
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The Plaza by Julie Satow

The Plaza by Julie Satow

The Plaza was a fascinating look at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, its history, its owners, and some of the people who lived here over its history. The original hotel opened in 1890 and then reopened as the luxurious hotel we know in 1907. We follow its story from the Gilded Age, through the Jazz Age and Prohibition, two World Wars, to 2018. I loved the people's stories, from the construction workers to the rich and famous, even the fictional little girl, Eloise. It's a little bit like reading the society papers over the years. I didn't care quite as much about the real estate deals in more recent years. I listened to the audio though and the narrator, Jefferson Mays, kept me engaged throughout. The book is well-researched and I enjoyed it. I do think it might have been a bit tedious in print for me, but mostly because I cared more about the anecdotes and less about the...
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Dream Town by Lee Goldberg

Dream Town by Lee Goldberg

Dream Town, the fifth in the Eve Ronin series, is largely set in Hidden Hills in Los Angeles County, and a gated community with wealthy residents and plenty of horse trails. When reality show star Kitty Winslow is killed in her home there and bones are found in the state park adjacent to the community, homicide detective Eve Ronin and her partner Duncan Pavone get both cases. At the same time, the television show about a fictional version of Eve is filming in the area which is creating a bit of havoc and conflict. I do think this is a series best read from the beginning. Eve is not well-liked around the department due to events covered in the earlier books and you'll have a better understanding of her family tensions. Duncan and Eve make a good team. Eve is focused and ambitious. She's hard-working and has good instincts that often drive the plot. Dunc, who has delayed his retirement, knows...
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A Killer Romance by Maggie Blackburn

A Killer Romance by Maggie Blackburn

A Killer Romance is the third book in the Beach Read series, but the first I've read. Summer Merriweather owns the Beach Reads bookstore which she inherited along with her cottage from her mother, Hildy. A Killer Romance begins with Summer tripping and twisting her ankle. Because of this, she does not even get to meet the guest speaker for the Valentine's Day Festival before the woman is murdered. The mystery, the characters, and the dialogue are all good. Summer's parrot is adorable. For me though, there was just too much talk about the covid pandemic and how life on the island was changed. Also, I understand that Summer was in pain from her ankle, but there was too much emphasis on pain relief pills for me. I just got annoyed. And there were several characters' reactions that just didn't feel realistic. And I felt like the whodunnit relied too much on stereotypes. Overall, I was disappointed. I listened to the audio....
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A Midnight Puzzle by Gigi Pandian

A Midnight Puzzle by Gigi Pandian

A Midnight Puzzle is the third in the Secret Staircase series, and I do think they are best read in order. Tempest, a former stage magician, is enjoying her work with her father's Secret Staircase Construction company. So, when a customer who is filing a lawsuit against the company is murdered, Tempest decides she has to investigate to save the family business. This time around the connection to Tempest's family is clear. The man is murdered by a booby trap at the theater Tempest is renting for one final show, the theater where Tempest's mom disappeared. I'll be honest, this overarching mystery about the family curse has not been my favorite part of the first two books. I'm glad we get a solution here, but for me, this book just wasn't as fun as the last one. And I did guess the killer before it was revealed, although there were a couple of decent twists before we got there. I listened to...
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