The Devil’s Flute Murders by Seishi Yokomizo

The Devil’s Flute Murders by Seishi Yokomizo

The Devil’s Flute Murders is set in 1947, as Japan continues its slow recovery from WWII. A young woman, Mineko, asks Kindaichi for help. Mineko's father, Viscount Tsubaki, was found dead, apparently of suicide, but it seems that his ghost is haunting their family, especially her mother Akiko. It turns into a complex case with multiple murders, questions of ghostly visitation, a family history that must be explored, and many family members, friends, and servants living on the estate grounds. It's an atmospheric mystery, with the potential ghost, spooky music, even bad weather all playing into the feeling. The book is also full of period detail. Following the war, Japan is dealing with a lot, including planned blackouts, crowded trains with hard to obtain tickets, food shortages, and bombed and lost homes, some of which contribute to the plot. I listened to the audio. The narrator did a good job with the pronunciations and accents, as far as I could tell, and...
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Sounds Like a Plan by Pamela Samuels Young and Dwayne Alexander Smith

Sounds Like a Plan by Pamela Samuels Young and Dwayne Alexander Smith

Mackenzie and Jackson are private investigators hired to investigate a missing person case. The first person to find the missing woman gets the reward. The two end up working together, a partnership with tension and plenty of sparks. The book alternates between Jackson's and Mackenzie's point of view, allowing us to know how each is thinking and feeling about the case and about each other. Jackson is determined and can be charming, but is a bit sexist. He also makes at least one offensive joke, if nor more. A joke that could have been left out without any harming the plot or character development at all. Mackenzie is smart and headstrong. They make a good team. The plot is a little over the top. We've got top-notch hackers, hired killers and a kidnapper, but it's fun in an action movie kind of way. The wrap-up to the mystery is a bit quick, but I honestly didn't see it coming. ...
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The Bell in the Fog by Lev A.C. Rosen

The Bell in the Fog by Lev A.C. Rosen

The Bell in the Fog is the second in the Andy Mills series and I do think it's best to read Lavender House first. It gives a good introduction to Andy and his world, along with a couple of characters who reappear here. Andy is set up as a private detective now, but because he used to be a cop the community doesn't trust him, so he's not getting much business. He lives above Elsie's bar, the Ruby, and he's costing it business too, so she's not making enough to pay the bribes that prevent raids. He needs the money, so when someone from his past wants to hire him to find out who is behind blackmail photos that could threaten his military career, Andy takes the case. The mystery itself is of course more complicated than it seems at first, and more dangerous. It's also so connected to Andy's past that maybe he's not seeing things as clearly as he should....
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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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The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco

The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco

YA Horror - not my usual genre, which is why I love reading challenges, they get me out of the mystery aisle occasionally. Tales of a cursed island in the Philippines bring a television crew hoping to gather footage to produce a new reality show starring a famous ghost investigator who needs to rehabilitate his image. No one lives on the island, but the film crew needs a guide and they find a teenager, Alon. Alon is the only one willing to help them, but even they tell the crew that it would be best for everyone to leave. Most of the legends are true and people could end up hurt. Alon stays and helps, though, as they believe that's the best way for the most people to survive. Within minutes of their arrival, a giant sinkhole appears, revealing a giant balete tree with a mummified corpse entwined in its gnarled branches. And the crew start seeing strange visions. The island...
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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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