Love in Amsterdam by Nicolas Freeling

Love in Amsterdam by Nicolas Freeling

Love in Amsterdam was not what I expected. I have not watched the tv series, the cover just grabbed my attention when I was browsing at a bookstore a few weeks ago. From the blurb, I expected a typical, maybe dated, police procedural, and we get a little of that, but more about the relationship between the dead woman and the number one suspect. The mystery revolves around a woman named Elsa who is shot one evening in her apartment. The murder occurs about the same time that Martin, a former lover, happens to be walking on the same street where Elsa's apartment is located, seen by a policeman. Van Der Valk, our Dutch detective, decides to bring Martin in and question him. The first section is Van Der Valk's questioning Martin. The second section is the backstory of Martin and Elsa's relationship. The third section is Van Der Valk solving the murder with help from Martin of course. It's a strange...
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Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

I don't read a lot of YA, but Queen of the Tiles combines murder and Scrabble and how could I pass that up? The Queen of the Tiles, Trina Low, is dead. She died a year ago during a championship Scrabble game, but someone has resurrected her Instagram account and is implying that she was murdered. This was just such an entertaining book. It was well-thought-out and just full of wonderful words. The characters were diverse and, while they had the typical teenage jealousies and overreactions, they weren't annoying. I was surprised by who the "bad guy" was and happy with the solution, especially because it wasn't the typical direction a murder mystery heads. I listened to the audio, which was a good choice. The narrator did a good job with the voices and the teenage emotions. I'm also not sure I could have pronounced some of the Scrabble words without help. Those kids had a massive vocabulary. Complicated female friendshipsScrabble and wordplayExploration...
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On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes by Stephen Browning

On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes by Stephen Browning

I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan which is why On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes caught my eye. The author sets out a series of walks around London, incorporating locations that feature in stories from the canon and incidents in Conan Doyle's life. There are even tidbits about family, friends, and literary contemporaries to Doyle along with the mention of real life individuals and their stories that likely influenced his writing of Sherlock Holmes. It made me want to go to London and follow the walks and suggested side excursions. It also made me want to go back and read some of the stories again and maybe watch some of the adaptations I haven't seen. The appendices were fun too, giving a chronological timeline of the Conan Doyle stories, notable actors to have played Holmes over the years, and an alphabetical Holmes miscellany. My one complaint is that I wish there were more and better photos. I'd love full...
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Poison Ivy by Helena Marchmont

Poison Ivy by Helena Marchmont

Poison Ivy is the 12th in the Bunburry mysteries and I don't think it would be as good as a standalone - half of the fun is knowing the characters and how their relationships work. I was quite happy that Oscar is in town for most of this one, along with the rest of the usual cast. Emma and Alfie are planning a surprise party for Marg and Liz. At the hotel, Alfie meets a beautiful interesting woman. It turns out she's an old acquaintance of Oscar's and he's sure she's a murderer. This was another good entry in the series. The mystery had a twist or two. The characters are their delightful selves and I like how some of the newer ones have settled into recurring roles. It was a nice way to spend a few hours. ...
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What the Cat Knew by P.D. Workman

What the Cat Knew by P.D. Workman

What the Cat Knew is a paranormal cozy mystery that totally hooked me. Reg is tough, smart, and can run a good con, but is caring and loyal underneath it. She's setting up as a medium "for entertainment purposes only" in Black Sands, Florida. She has a couple of problems. First, turns out she actually is a medium and can contact the dead. Second, the man she contacts isn't actually dead. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. We've got our eccentric characters, this time witches and probably other magical creatures. Our amateur sleuth has a legitimate reason for investigating, apparently she's the only one who knows the man is still alive, but since he's in a coma she can still make contact. We've got a touch of romance, maybe, but I'm hoping that fades away. And there's Reg's cat, who I loved. The plot moves along quickly and it was a lot of fun. I'm not quite clear on what kind...
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The Study of Secrets by Cynthia Kuhn

The Study of Secrets by Cynthia Kuhn

Lila Maclean has been taking a fall semester sabbatical, staying with family friend Bibi Callahan while finishing up her book on mystery author Isabella Dare. Bibi is actually Isabella, but no one aside Lila knows that. Lila, Bibi, and a few of Bibi's friends meet one evening for a book discussion. By the end of the evening, one of the women is murdered and an unpublished manuscript is missing. Bibi asks Lila to help figure out who the killer is, but the murder has ties to secrets in Bibi and her friends' pasts, secrets they don't necessarily want brought to light. The new characters are an eclectic bunch, with complicated relationships dating back to when they were children. Lila is her usually smart, suspicious self and we get to see some of the recurring characters too. The Callahan House isn't far from Stonedale after all. This is a fun mystery with a great heroine and a well-crafted plot. There were...
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