Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart

Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart

It took me a few chapters to get into Jade Dragon Mountain. The setting is amazing, but very different from most books I read. The pace at the beginning was slow, or at least the audio made it feel that way. However, once Li Du was settled in to his cousin the magistrate's home and we met all the others there, both the household and the foreigners, the story became engrossing. People have gathered in Dayan because the Emperor is coming and there will be a celebration of the eclipse. One of the visitors, a Jesuit astronomer, is killed in his room, poisoned. Li Du is not content with the official story and the magistrate allows him to investigate the crime. There were many people with access to the room and the tea that was poisoned, but, it's difficult to see who gained from the older man's murder. The author does a wonderful job at making us feel like we're in eighteenth-century...
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Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson

Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson

I was looking for an audiobook and Murder on Astor Place was available to "read now" through the library. I know people who really enjoy the series and since it was the first, I thought I'd give it a go. I read the blurb and it sounded right up my alley. The book takes place in the 1890s in New York City, which is a good setting. We see the tenements and the grand houses, meet good, and bad, people from all walks of life. Sarah is a intelligent, resourceful, and able to deal with people from a variety of classes. Sergeant Frank Malloy has asked for her help on this case, which seems a bit out of character, but we have to have the pair to make the book work. The story was suspenseful. The clues were well-planted. I liked both Frank and Sarah and they do make a good team. I think, maybe if I had read it at a...
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The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

Generally, I don't read emotionally heavy books, and I don't know if I would have picked up The Radium Girls if I had known that it would have me in tears on almost every page. That being said, it was an excellent book, one I would definitely recommend. At the beginning of the 20th century, dozens of healthy, young, working-class women (some as young as 14) were employed in a newly-born business: painting watch, clock, and other instrument dials with a luminescent paint containing radium, both for consumers and the military. At the time, this fluorescent wonder was believed so beneficial for the body, that medications, aesthetic treatments, and even toiletry items had started to employ it. Everyone who came in contact with this miracle of science was amazed by its property to make everything it touched glow, even the skin, teeth and clothes of the girls who worked with it. Painting with radium was a highly desired job, as it offered...
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Doctored Evidence by Donna Leon

Doctored Evidence by Donna Leon

I finished Doctored Evidence about a week ago- I'm a little behind on posting. The thing is, when I sat down to think about it, I remembered how unlikeable the victim was and really how good it was for the neighbor to come forward with her evidence that the maid, now dead too, was not guilty. What is took me a while to remember though was the killer's identity. I liked the basic plot - Brunetti sets out to clear the Romanian maid's name and find the real killer. It's the kind of thing he would do. I like Venice, the food and the characters as usual. I didn't care for the seven deadly sins conversations and obviously the mystery itself was not memorable. It had a lot to do with money and blackmail. Eh, maybe I've just read too many of hers lately. ...
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By Its Cover by Donna Leon

By Its Cover by Donna Leon

It's probably not a surprise to anyone that I'm a book lover, and I love the setting of the original crime here, a library in Venice. The descriptions of antique and rare books are fabulous. The original crime is that someone is stealing pages, mostly illustrations, from rare books as well as stealing whole books.  I really found the whole topic of book theft pretty interesting. Of course, the thefts are followed by a murder, but it takes a little while to get there. The investigation was not particularly interesting, but I do like Brunetti. He and Venice are what keep me returning to these books. This one wasn't as rich as some of the others, but it's an enjoyable, quick read. Once again, we have an abrupt ending, something I realize I should just expect from Leon. We learn who the killer was and the why, but there's no wrap up that's become traditional with mysteries. ...
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They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall

They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall

I am a huge Agatha Christie fan, so when I was They All Fall Down is an adaptation of And Then There Were None, I was of course interested. Seven people are lured to an island in Mexico and if you've read/seen And Then There Were None, you have a basic idea of what's going to happen. In this case, I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say they all end up dead. The setting is great, an isolated private island in Mexico with a gorgeous house. The premise is obviously good, it worked for Christie, it works here. The people gathered each have their own secrets that have now caught up with them. The characters are mostly memorable if a bit caricature-ish. I didn't like any of them, but I wasn't supposed to either. The story is told in the first person by Miriam, a dance mom who has some definition. She is not a nice person...
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