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Button holed by Kylie Logan

Button Holed (Button Box Mystery, #1)Button Holed by Kylie Logan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The mystery was not too bad (even though some solutions were really far-fetched). For example, if you were an actress who was more than eager to marry a prince and who even lied to get to that point, would you postpone your wedding simply because you did not find the right buttons? Not very likely!

The heroine must be the most boring conversation partner ever. To give you an idea here are a few quotes:

“I was a button dealer. Buttons were, are, and will always be the only thing I know how to talk about.”

“I didn’t want to come across as a boring nerd, so I refused to talk about buttons, and that was the only subject I was comfortable talking about.”

“You forget, buttons are my business. I think they are the most interesting things in all the world.”

Give me a break! This is even worse than the cookie cutter series where life and death revolves around cookie cutters – and that is bad enough already.

As far as buttons go, however, this is all you will be getting. Even though the heroine is the country’s top button experts she astonishingly shares very little of her knowledge. She sells them, she organizes them, she picks them up, that’s about it.

Disappointing!

View all my reviews

Article

Oscar Wilde and the dead man’s smile by Gyles Brandreth

inanutshell 

I read it in:  English

I liked it:    Yes


Oscar Wilde And The Dead Man's SmileOscar Wilde And The Dead Man’s Smile by Gyles Brandreth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another very entertaining book in the series. I loved the theater atmosphere in Paris and Oscar’s excursion to the US.

There are several great scenes which allude to Oscar Wilde’s later life (or death) like his visit to Reading gaol, his statement that he hopes his children will never feel the need to change their family name or the talk about Molière’s grave.

Favourite quote:

“Isn’t Molière buried at Père Lachaise?” I said.

“Oh, now he is, yes, beneath a mighty monument. Now, pilgrims come to kiss his tomb.” My friend chuckled softly and took a sip of wine. “There is no logic to hypocrisy.”

This is a delightful mystery with interesting characters and an intriguing plot.

View all my reviews


Product info and buy link :

Title Oscar Wilde and the dead man’s smile
Author Gyles Brandreth
Publisher John Murray Publishers
ISBN 9780719569906
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Oscar Wilde and the dead man’s smile
More Info The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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In my mailbox

 

This week I was surprised by the speedy delivery of a parcel from Austria. The generous Birgit sent me tons of cozies, together with my prize from one of her Etsy giveaways from her blog The Picture Garden. All I can say is if you want to get spoilt go and befriend Birgit!

I got as gift

  • All the cozies in the picture
  • 3 hairclips
  • a small clutch bag
  • a lovely necklace with a reading chair on the pendant
  • a small mirror for my purse (not shown)
  • and some prints (not shown either)

Thank you so much, Birgit!

In my mailbox collage

Now, if you would like to know how to make a collage as the one above in no time at all, check out my blog post about basic photo editing where –among other things – I introduce you to Pic Monkey!

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

Article

Oscar Wilde and the ring of death by Gyles Brandreth

 inanutshell 

I read it in: English

I liked it: Yes

Oscar Wilde and the Ring of DeathOscar Wilde and the Ring of Death by Gyles Brandreth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good sequel to the candlelight murders. I particularly enjoyed that there are more “celebrities” turning up in this one, for example Bram Stoker and Walter Sickert, who at one point was a suspect for being Jack the Ripper (Particia Cornwell maintains that theory still today).

Again the book is full of quotes and bonmots either by Oscar Wilde or by the author who did a great job “faking” them.

A very enjoyable read.

View all my reviews


Product info and buy link :

Title Oscar Wilde and the ring of death
Author Gyles Brandreth
Publisher John Murray Publishers
ISBN 9780719569609
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Oscar Wilde and the ring of death
More info The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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Spackled and spooked by Jennie Bentley

Cover Spackled and spooked by Jennie Bentley In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Renovating a haunted house can be dangerous.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes, quite.

For people who: like cozy mysteries, renovating, lovely settings


My thoughts: 

I don’t know what exactly is going on but in all the cozies I read lately there seem to be long lost kids involved. Kids given up for adoption or kids that lost their whole family in a killing disappear for 20 years and then turn up again incognito. Must be some sort of trend maybe?

Anyway, this mystery is pretty good. I liked the DIY theme and I learned a lot about US houses. Never knew what a ranch house was or a crawlspace. John tells me that a crawlspace is the perfect hiding spot for bodies (and in fact has been used by many serial killers). This book takes advantage of that comfortable disposal location.

The main characters are all quite interesting and/or likeable; there is the usual chief of police, the bitchy ex, the successful entrepreneur, the nerd, everyone you expect in a small town. On top of that there is a ghost haunting the house, always a plus.  Somehow that “spooked” part was rather small, as the ghost seemed to have disappeared after the discovery of the body (maybe scared of the dead?) and only re-appeared at the end in a rather weak explanation.

Speaking of the ghost, the book title as well as the synopsis on the cover totally exaggerated the whole haunting issue. It says for example that the ghost “is not happy with the alterations” implying it acts like some sort of poltergeist toppling over projects and what not, when in reality it does nothing of the sort.   I don’t know why publishers feel the necessity to make the books sound more dramatic than they are. I am not reading a cozy for the drama anyway.

All that being said, this is a nice and comfy cozy with a satisfying resolution; I would like to read more of that series.

Oh, one more thing: All those themed cozies  have an appendix with a few recipes, tips, patterns, whatever is related to the theme. OK, in the case of a coffeehouse mystery I see why a coffee recipe might be of interest for the reader to do next time s/he goes into the kitchen. I might even use a knitting pattern (if I am really desperate). However, nobody, really nobody would look for home renovating inspiration or instructions in a cozy mystery! So why bother? Sometimes those publishers take it a bit too far.


Product info and buy link :

Title Spackled and spooked
Author Jennie Bentley
Publisher Berkley
ISBN 9780425229132
I got this book from Birgit from The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Spackled and spooked

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Knit one, kill two by Maggie Sefton

Cover Knit one, kill two by Maggie Sefton

 

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Niece inherits murdered aunt’s cottage and learns how to knit in the yarn shop next door. As a side activity she tracks down her aunt’s killer.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: love very cozy mysteries, rather uneventful plots and nice people.


My thoughts: 

This is another really lovely start to a themed mystery series that won’t get your heart rate up at all, but will rather entertain you pleasantly.

Kelly finds her aunt’s killer while at the same time gets her work done via home office, learns how to knit, socializes with tons of new people. The reader wonders how any of the people in the shop get their (house-)work done. They seem to hang out around a big table and knit all day, in between working a little at a cafè, as a realtor or a programmer. Rather unrealistic, but what the heck!

The snooping around is done in a rather moderate way. A confrontation with the murderer that in other books often occurs with no precautions taken and then results in the impending death of the sleuth who is rescued only by a whisker happens here very reasonably with backup and no danger whatsoever. This book won’t have you at the edge of your seat, but leave you happily satisfied and content – and isn’t that the purpose of a cozy? Loved it!


Product info and buy link :

Title Knit one, kill two
Author Maggie Sefton
Publisher Penguin USA
ISBN 9780425203590
I got this book from Birgit from The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Knit one, kill two

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

A crafty killing by Lorraine Bartlett

 Cover A crafty killing by Lorraine Bartlett

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Young widow gets thrown into the artsy business world and needs to find her way around. Snooping around included.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: like cozies with moderate sleuthing, crafts, antique malls and the like


My thoughts: 

I got this book from Birgit without knowing anything about this series. The crafty/artsy theme appealed to me and I quite liked the atmosphere and the setting. Even though some things didn’t add up or made sense to me, for example, why would a run down artisans’ alley which was completely neglected be crucial for the survival of a Victorian square with lovely specialty shops is a mystery to me. Why shoppers would head for the dark, uninviting artists’ place and then – as a second thought – visit the pretty shops was never explained.

The sleuth, even though not 100% my kind of girl (how often can you say “swell” in one paragraph?), was bearable and not too nosy. Her sleuthing and snooping was also quite moderate, she had her work cut out already with getting that shack back up to par. Quite nice after being around all those uber busybodies who put their noses into everybody else’s business 24/7.

I am definitely curious about what is going to happen to Artisans’ Alley now that Katie is in charge. My remodeling/remaking nature is coming through and I want to see it transformed into a place where I would like to shop as well. The sequels are a must read for me for that reason alone.


Product info and buy link :

Title A crafty killing
Author Lorraine Bartlett
Publisher Penguin USA
ISBN 9780425239858
I got this book from Birgit from The Book Garden
Buy link Buy A crafty killing

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle

inanutshell 

I read it in:  English

I liked it:       No

Through the Grinder (Coffeehouse Mystery, #2)Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Didn’t like this one. The constant thoughts of the killer got on my nerves. "Genius", give me a break!
Quinn comes in for some reason or other looking like hell, swamped with cases and Clare has nothing better to do than to educate him on the fabulous blend of coffee she is going to offer him once she has ground the beans to perfection. Please! You can take the theme a bit too far!

View all my reviews

 


Product info and buy link :

Title Through the Grinder
Author Cleo Coyle
Publisher Penguin USA
ISBN 9780425197141
I got this book from Birgit from The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Through the Grinder

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Espresso Shot by Cleo Coyle

 Cover Espresso Shot by Cleo Coyle

Very short synopsis:

Finally Matt is getting married and will soon be out of the house. However, someone seems to be on the warpath and wants to kill bridezilla.


inanutshell 

I read it in: English

I liked it:    Rather

For people who like: cozy mysteries, coffee

I must admit that I am jumping around a bit in this series. The last book that I read was no. 2 (Through the Grinder) and it was extremely disappointing. I got so annoyed with it in fact that I dnf’ed it. This one was much better again.

I am happy to say that Cleo Coyle has finally gotten the name of Jackson Pollock right. This was a huge bugbear for me, but eventually the man got his proper name.

Then again there is always room for more error…listen to this:

“…Saloma Sunrise.”

“Saloma?” Nunzio smiled. “My little hometown?”

“And Ovid’s, too, right?”

He nodded, clearly happy that I’d done my research.

I am afraid, not. Ovid’s birthplace is called Sulmona nowadays, and was then called Sulmo. Saloma is – according to my research which took me all of 30 seconds-  a community in Kentucky. A bit out of the way as far as Ovid is concerned. I don’t know why this author never gets the facts straight. Research, yeah, right.

Back to the story. It was quite nice, with tons of suspects, not too many corpses and a Clare as meddling as ever. In the end Breanna turned out to be human after all and with Matt  out of the house Clare finally has the flat to herself and Mike. All is well.


Product info and buy link :

Title Espresso Shot
Author Cleo Coyle
Publisher Berkley
ISBN 9780425230763
I got this book from Birgit at the Book Garden
Buy link Buy Espresso Shot

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders by Gyles Brandreth

Cover Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders by Gyles Brandreth

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis: Oscar Wilde as Sherlock Holmes.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: like cozy/historical mysteries, Oscar Wilde


My thoughts: 

I like Oscar Wilde and I like historical mysteries, so “Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders” was an obvious choice for me. I was not disappointed.

The story is told from Robert Sherard’s first person point of view. He was a close friend of Oscar Wilde’s and his first biographer, but a rather dull Watson to Wilde’s Sherlock Holmes. The comparison to the Sherlock Holmes suggests itself naturally because Wilde displays extraordinary powers of deduction, a bit too extraordinary for my taste, he might give Holmes a run for his money. On top of that Arthur Conan Doyle is a key figure as a friend of Oscar Wilde and – according to this book – based the character of Mycroft Holmes on him. Be that as it may, Wilde and Sherard are the typical sleuth/sidekick pair with Wilde being quite in the know while Sherard has no clue as to what is going on.

Oscar Wilde is shown as a character with a lot of facets, amiable, the perfect gentleman with impeccable manners, a bit of sloth like, but at the same time extremely moody and unpredictable. His homosexuality is only hinted at by making him "worship" pretty young boys a bit too much to be just a lover of aesthetics. Sherard seems oblivious to this or chooses to ignore it. Strange, because towards the end he becomes outraged when he witnesses some "musical" activities ("musical" being the euphemism used at the time).

The mystery is quite puzzling, even though the reader gets an inkling rather early of who might be involved. It develops very slowly, the investigations are taking place over a long period of time and are not really the main focus of the book. The book lives from the atmosphere and the characters, most of all Oscar Wilde himself. You will find a lot of very familiar quotes interspersed throughout the book and and some that COULD be by Wilde but are Gyles Brandreth’s own.

The end is in the nice and cozy Poirot manner. Everybody is gathered in a room and the sleuth presents the solution, gives his reasoning to a stunned audience and presents the murderer.

This is a lovely, super quick and entertaining read and I am looking forward to the next books in the series already. If you are not familiar with Oscar Wilde at all it might be helpful if you read a little about and/or by him first, but even without this knowledge, cozy mystery lovers will enjoy this book a lot.


Product info and buy link :

Title Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders
Author Gyles Brandreth
Publisher John Murray Publishers
ISBN 9780719569302
I got this book from a friend
Buy link Buy Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders
More info The Oscar Wilde murder mysteries

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

On what grounds by Cleo Coyle

Cover On what grounds by Cleo Coyle

Very short synopsis:

First mystery at the Village Blend. With the police discarding the case as an accident, Clare sets out to find the killer.


inanutshell 

I read it in: English

I liked it: Yes. I have already read a few later books in the series so I knew what to expect. It is a nice start to the series that clears up a few situations that were not explained later on anymore. Cozy atmosphere and likeable main characters. If you don’t mind the usual overload of the “theme” (i.e. “There is a bludgeoned body in the basement? Nothing a gourmet latte couldn’t fix.”), this is a very pleasant mystery.

For people who like: cozy mysteries & coffee.


Product info and buy link :

Title On what grounds
Author Cleo Coyle
Publisher Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN 9780425192139
I got this book from Birgit from The Book Garden
Buy link Buy On what grounds

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

In my mailbox

 
My mailbox was super full this week, all thanks to Birgit from The Book Garden who sent me a package with books and other goodies. She sent me a whole stack of cozy mysteries, some of one of our favourite series and some new to me. On top of that she sent me some other things that I won’t show here otherwise you will all come knocking at her door, begging for gifts, Smiley

I got as a gift

They all are going to make for some wonderfully cozy reading under the blanket. Thanks, Birgit, for sending them to me!

Cover On what grounds by Cleo CoyleCover Through the grinder by Cleo Coyle

Cover Espresso Shot by Cleo CoyleCover Knit one, kill two by Maggie Sefton

Cover A crafty killing by Lorraine BartlettCover Spackled and spooked by Jennie Bentley

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

Article

Chapter & Hearse by Lorna Barrett

Cover Chapter & Hearse by Lorna Barrett

Tricia is meddling again.  

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

After killing a book seller a murderer seems to be after Bob and Angelica.

Language I read the book in:  English

Did I like it? Yes,  but the heroine is annoying, as almost always with cozies.

For people who:  like lovely settings, aggravating heroines


My thoughts: 

This second book that I read in the Booktown Mystery series is quite a nice cozy mystery again. It is the fourth in the series, my prediction after book one regarding a relationship between Tricia and Russ has come and gone, meanwhile she has had another thing going with a police officer and her love life is non existent once more. On the mystery side it is a run of the mill cozy where the Booktown is yet another token theme that has no bearing on the actual story. Those people could be selling anything from books to jam to second hand clothes and it would be just the same.

What I realize more and more is that I have a real problem with the cozy mystery heroines. Why do they always have to be either idiots, have attitude problems or both? Tricia is no exception. I find her aggravating and insufferable. Sorry!

Tricia meddles in business that is not her own. She is condescending and prejudiced. She does idiotic things even though she knows better (I suppose you have to be grateful for that). The number of times I shook my head and thoroughly disliked her I can’t count. I don’t know what is wrong with cozy writers. Can’t they create women that are sensible, reasonable people who deal with things in a respectful and cautious manner?

  • Agatha Raisin is a natural cheater and liar. (Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton)
  • Theodosia is nosy and –again- meddlesome to the extreme. (Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs)
  • That woman from Murder Unleashed (DNF for me) doesn’t want to deal with the police because she is wanted for attempted murder in another state!

Maybe is should stop reading cozies for a while and turn to something else.


Product info and buy link :

Title Chapter and Hearse
Author Lorna Barrett
Publisher Penguin
ISBN 9780425236017
I got this book from Birgit at The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Chapter & Hearse

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Murder is binding by Lorna Barrett

Cover Murder is binding by Lorna Barrett

Who knew book lovers lived so dangerously?

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:
A cook book shop owner is murdered and the next door neighbour, mystery book seller Tricia, is the only suspect for the police sheriff who holds a grudge against her.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes, rather

For people who: like books about book lovers and cozy mysteries


My thoughts: 

I got this book from Birgit and as it sounded nice and entertaining I read it right away.

Once I started reading it drew me right into the atmosphere of this little New Hampshire town with a whole street full of antiquarian books stores. Sounds like a reader’s dream come true.

There was budding romance (don’t recoil, it was ok for a mystery book), quite interesting characters, a sisters’ conflict, an intriguing murder and a dislikeable sheriff. A few of the plot items will definitely carry on into following sequels and I find it quite inconsiderate of Birgit that she didn’t send me the next book, but the fourth. Just kidding, I love Birgit, but now I somehow have to get the two mysteries in between in order to be in the picture. I am predicting a relationship between Tricia and the publisher of the local newspaper in the future, but we will see.

Anyway, a nice mystery, the series is definitely worth reading on.

One thing that I would like to mention that totally rubbed me the wrong way was the fact that the characters (and thus the author) talked about a child with Down Syndrome as being "retarded" which I find offensive. I have a child with Down Syndrome and I find that word hurtful. Obviously the author knows that the word is debatable to say the least, because in one scene she has one character say something along the lines of "you can call her [the child] retarded, it won’t offend me". Well, it did offend me as a reader and that little detail (as unimportant as it may seem – the story doesn’t revolve around the DS issue) was in the back of my mind during the whole book and bothered me.


Product info and buy link :

Title Murder is binding
Author Lorna Barrett
Publisher Berkley Mystery
ISBN 9780425219584
I got this book from Birgit at The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Murder is binding
More info The Booktown mystery series

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

In my mailbox

 

Birgit from The Book Garden sent me a parcel with tons of lovely goodies, books and souvenirs from her recent trip to the US. I enjoyed every single one of them (and carry around a couple in my purse) – thank you, Birgit!

I got as a gift

It is cozy time again! Birgit sent me two books in the Booktown Mystery series

Cover Murder is binding by Lorna BarrettCover Chapter & Hearse by Lorna Barrett

and there is more…

I have never heard of those before, but they sound quite nice and entertaining.

Cover Dying in style by Elaine VietsCover Murder Unleashed by Elaine Viets

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

Article

Shades of Earl Grey by Laura Childs

Very short synopsis:

A cat burglar is causing trouble in Charleston and, of course, Theodosia feels compelled to investigate.


inanutshell 

I read it in:  English

I liked it:   So so. I was not too impressed. 

For people who like:  cosy mysteries, tea.

This was my second book in the Tea Shop Mystery series after Death by Darjeeling and I was not too thrilled with it. Theodosia is again way too nosy for her own good and towards the end downright stupid, which gets her into a situation that could have ended very badly for her. No idea where she gets the idea that she has an obligation to help out her friends by finding the culprit when moral support would be more than enough (reminds me a lot of Isabel Dalhousie; at least, Isabel uses obscure philosophical reasons as an excuse though). Also she has not learned anything from previous experience and is just as ready to suspect everybody for no reason whatsoever as she was before.

However, the very cosy atmosphere with Charleston as scenic background and the lovely tea shop as immediate location is very agreeable. I might read more of these books just for that alone – and take the meddlesome sleuth as a necessary evil.


Product info and buy link :

Title Shades of Earl Grey
Author Laura Childs
Publisher Berkley Publishing
ISBN 9780425188217
I got this book from Birgit at The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Shades of Earl Grey

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs

Cover Death by Darjeeling by Laura ChildsTea can be deadly, and so can amateur sleuthing.

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Local developer gets murdered. Tea shop owner Theodosia Browning feels obliged to investigate.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes, sort of, but I had some misgivings. 

For people who: like cozy mysteries, tea, nosy amateur sleuths

 


My thoughts: 

At the start I thought I would love this book. I posted its beginning last week and the whole atmosphere of Charleston, the tea shop, the people, it spoke to me.

However, after a while, I started to seriously dislike our heroine (from now on I call her TB, her name is just too long). Frankly, she is a nosy bitch with preconceived opinions who lies through her teeth to find out things. Not that those things help her much, mind, at the end she is as clueless as she was in the beginning, just that her snooping almost kills her.

Just a few examples what I didn’t like about the whole story/character:

  • One of TB’s employees, Bethany, is a suspect and is being questioned by the police. Nothing wrong about that. Nothing in the book indicates that the police is unfair, they do not abuse her, they are only doing their job. However, at a meeting with the detective TB says to him: “The more you continue to harass her, the more you look like a rank amateur.” No wonder the guy is flabbergasted, the police did nothing of the sort.
  • At the funeral TB gives the impression to the deceased’s sister that she was “very close” to him. She actually says that to her when the sister asks her whether she knew her brother. Just on the next page, however, TB muses that the sister “had obviously mistaken her for a female friend of Hugh Barron”. Um, no, she has not mistaken her, TB has TOLD her that she was a “very close” female friend.
  • Bethany was sacked from the Heritage Society after the murder, a fact that was never properly explained. In fact it is treated in the book as if the president was this unfair old man who fired her unfairly. Well, let me tell you, if I was the board president and I got into an argument with a new board member (who later gets killed), the last thing I’d expect was an INTERN to interfere and give her two cents. And, what is more, to see her address the new board member later and apologize for the unfair treatment by the rest of the board.
  • TB lies to about everyone to get information. She goes as far as going to the local morgue and acting as an undertaker who comes to pick up the corpse! Needless to say the morgue employee hands out freely all info about the lab results of a murder case to an undertaker who is unknown to him and who comes from a funeral home he has never heard of before. Standard procedure, that!
  • TB finds out that another suspect (of hers) has worked in the jungle and knows about frogs whose poison  is used for arrows. From that little nugget she presumes that the man “knows all about toxins”. Of course, if you have ever heard of a rattlesnake it makes you an expert on poisons of all kinds and at the same time a potential suspect in ANY poison case ever.

So, as far as the investigation goes, I was thoroughly disappointed. The assumptions and conclusions were just too weird and illogical to make any sense to me. On top of that the reader was misled on purpose by some strange internal thoughts from one of the suspects that were put in a way to make him sound extremely odd, stalker-ish and suspicious, when in fact he is only a harmless man smitten with TB. No doubt this was done to obfuscate the whole story and I did not appreciate that.

That being said, I liked it for the atmosphere and general feeling which was just right for a cozy mystery. We will see what the other book in the series that I have will be like.


Location: Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Broad Street, CharlestonCharleston

Images from wikipedia.


Product info and buy link :

Title Death by Darjeeling
Author Laura Childs
Publisher Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN 9780425179451
I got this book from Birgit from The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Death by Darjeeling

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

French Pressed by Cleo Coyle

Cover French pressed by Cleo CoyleChefs are an arrogant and insufferable bunch. But do they deserve to die?

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Clare’s daughter is the main suspect in a couple of murder cases and now she has all hands full to find the real killer.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: like cozy mysteries, feisty heroines, the restaurant scene.


My thoughts: 

So far I liked this one best, I think. Birgit did say that the series gets better and she is definitely right. I start to really like Clare even though she is a terrible busybody who thinks everybody and everything is her business.

Her daughter, however, is a different matter.
The first time you stumble on a corpse and then get to be the main suspect it is a tragedy, if it happens again it becomes a farce. How stupid can you get, for Christ’s sake? Her boss and lover humiliates her in front of the whole staff and dumps her like an old rag, so she flees from the scene. And what does she do next? Goes back to retrieve her knives at midnight when she can be certain the guy will be there and most probably alone! Isn’t humiliation enough? Well, she paid for her idiocy.

This story takes place in the restaurant scene and chefs and cooks play a huge part. As I have experience with cooks myself I can vouch for the realism in most of the book. Even though I find it totally unbelievable that a four star restaurant – no matter how avantgarde or extraordinary – does not have a coffee machine and the maitre d’ allows the waiters to serve clients staff coffee from some dirty old coffee maker. This is unheard of.

S P O I L E R !

Clare’s assumption that the man she suspects to be the killer has knife skills is ridiculous. He is not a butcher, he is the SON of a butcher. Why would the son of a butcher have knife skills? That would be the same as saying the son of an accountant is an excellent bookkeeper.

On another note I am glad to say that no artists made an appearance in this story and so Jackson Pollock can rest in peace today.

In spite of all these little things that bothered me I very much enjoyed reading this cozy and am looking forward to the next one already. I particularly like how every book puts a spotlight on a certain “scene”, the high society in the Hamptons, the fashion people, the coffee business and now the top restaurants. Highly entertaining!


Location: Greenwich Village, New York City, NY, USA

Washington Square ParkMacDougal street

Images from wikipedia


Product info and buy link :

Title French Pressed
Author Cleo Coyle
Publisher Berkley Publishing Group
ISBN 9780425220498
I got this book from I won it from Birgit at The Book Garden
Buy link Buy French pressed
More info The Coffeehouse mysteries series
and more info Cleo Coyle’s Internet coffeehouse

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Book beginnings on Friday

Boog beginnings on FridayCover Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs

After finishing the four books in the coffeehouse mystery series by Cleo Coyle I have moved on to the Tea Shop Mystery series by Laura Childs.

Death by Darjeeling is the first book in the series. The beginning sounds cosy enough:

Theodosia Browning leaned back from the clutter of her antique wooden desk, balanced a bone china cup and saucer on one knee, and took a much-needed sip of Lung Ching tea.

 

What is YOUR book beginning today? To see more book beginnings go to Rose City Reader!

Article

Decaffeinated Corpse by Cleo Coyle

Cover Decaffeinated corpse by Cleo CoyleDecaf is not for the faint of heart.

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

An old friend of Matt and Clare comes up with a decaf coffee plant. Are others after it and stick at nothing to get it?

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: like cosy mysteries, a down to earth heroine, a slowly developing love affair.


My thoughts: 

Birgit was right when she said the books get better, as opposed to a lot of other cosy mystery series. I am slowly coming to like Matt, Clare’s ex husband, as well as her ex-mother in law who plays quote a bit part in this story again. I particularly liked her drug deal and how cool-headed she is.

Clare is the typical busybody amateur sleuth. Always suspecting something, always sniffing around in people’s lives and asking indiscrete questions. I don’t know how people put up with that. Also she is so persistent when questioning people (with no right to do so, mind) she doesn’t seem to have any sense of shame or embarrassment inside her.

The obsession with coffee in this series is still slightly over the top. OK, people work in a coffee shop but that doesn’t necessarily mean they HAVE to be fanatical coffee aficionados who place a well made coffee above everything else. Sometimes I get the feeling that, as long as the coffee is perfect, life is as well. If it was just that easy.

All in all, another nice, cosy read. I still have one book to go from Birgit’s batch, after that, I will have to look around for some more.


Location: Mostly Greenwich Village, NYC, NY, USA. Around Halloween

Halloween Parade Greenwich VillageHalloween Parade Greenwich Village

Images from wikipedia. Image links go to source.  


Product info and buy link :

Title Decaffeinated Corpse
Author Cleo Coyle
Publisher Berkley Publishing Group
ISBN 9780425216385
I got this book from I won it from Birgit at The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Decoffeinated Corpse
More info The Coffeehouse mysteries series
Even more info Cleo Coyle’s Internet coffeehouse

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Latte trouble by Cleo Coyle

Cober Latte trouble by Cleo Coyle

Java Jewelry, Lattes and Murder in the fashion world

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

When Clare suspects a murder victim was not the intended one she starts to investigate during New York Fashion Week.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes, quite. It’s an easy and quick read.

For people who: like cosy mysteries, coffee, fashion labels, first person POV


My thoughts: 

Right at the start I realized that the book I read before this one “Murder most frothy” is actually the one after “Latte Trouble”. Ah, I hate reading out of order, but that couldn’t be helped now.

Clare Cosi is a rather likeable character and in this book we get to know her a bit better as far as her relationship with her ex-husband is concerned. Matteo is in this book for most of the time, so there is a lot of interaction between them. Somehow it seems he always turns up at the right time and always in the company of an influential, rich, trendsetter he can make use of. Not a bad connection to have for Clare, even though her feelings about these relationships are ambivalent.

The murder story is rather uneventful and even a kidnapping and visit to a hellhole of a club turns out to be not as bad as anticipated. Does anybody else find it remarkable that Clare knows off the top of her head that the fourth circle of hell is the circle of the greedy (she calls the hoarders)? Wow, this woman is literate, indeed! On the other hand she has no clue that the artist is called Jackson Pollock, not Pollack, for Christ’s sake! (see my review of Murder most frothy)

The solution to the mystery was –I wouldn’t call it far-fetched, but rather unexpected. The murderer turned out to be someone totally unrelated until then, something I am not a big fan of.

Brand labels play a big part in the book, not as hints to the mystery solution but rather as continuous name dropping. Bloody Hell, ok, it is fashion week, but I couldn’t care less whether witnesses wore a Prada dress, a Chanel costume or whatever. Got on my nerves, that.

All in all:

The whole plot is rather straightforward and easy to follow. A comfort read without much brain engagement involved.


Location: New York, New York, USA, during fashion week

Fashion showBackstage

Images from wikipedia users mangostar and mandiberg.


Product info and buy link :

Title Latte trouble
Author Cleo Coyle
Publisher Berkley Publishing Group
ISBN 9780425204450
I got this book from I won it from Birgit at The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Latte Trouble
More info The Coffeehouse mysteries series
Even more info Cleo Coyle’s Internet coffeehouse

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Death of a macho man by M. C. Beaton

Very short synopsis:

Unpleasant guy gets killed, but is he really who he says he is? Hamish investigates independently once more.


Cover Death of a Macho Man by M. C. Beaton

I read it in: English

I liked it:    no

For people who like: cozy mysteries, the Scottish Highlands, who are hardcore Hamish fans

 

This is definitely the weakest of all Hamish Macbeth books so far. No reader can possibly be interested in finding out who killed the victim. Not because he is an unpleasant lout (most victims are), but because we don’t really get to know him. Then the little that we do know turns out to be a complete lie, the victim has taken on a false identity, so in the end it seems like we never knew the victim at all.

The solution to the problem is so disconnected to the story that it is impossible to guess why the victim was killed, so reading the mystery was no fun at all. Just like a Deus ex machina the solution is there. Yes, we have met the murderer before (so it was not as bad as it could have been, I guess), but still the end was extremely unsatisfying.

Not to speak of the “Gentleman Jim” gangster character appearing! How trite can you get? Gentleman Jim! I was surprised that Gentleman Jim didn’t wear spats!

This felt like a book that needed to be cranked out at an even quicker pace than usual and the story was made up as the author went along.

And just really quick on the “relationship” between our hero and the Belle of the village…

It is obvious why Hamish and Priscilla had to split up and can never be a couple. More than once Priscilla used her social position to get Hamish out of trouble, either by just being who she is and at the same time being a friend of Hamish’s (obviously being friends with the rich and noble is enough for Hamish to be above suspicion or reproach) or by using her status deliberately to pull strings with Hamish’s superior’s wife. That woman’s social aspirations would all fall to pieces if Priscilla wasn’t friends with her anymore, so she does everything (including dissuading her husband from firing Hamish) to stay on Priscilla’s good side. What sort of light this throws on her husband I don’t even want to think about.

If Priscilla was married to Hamish, she would be reduced to being a constable’s wife, living in a cottage, and where would that leave her social influence? No superintendent’s wife would beg for an invitation to a Bobby’s cottage! So for Hamish’s sake he and Priscilla need to stay apart under any circumstances.


Product info and buy link :

Title Death of a macho man
Author M. C. Beaton
Publisher Robinson Publishing
ISBN 9781845299071
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Death of a Macho Man, though I advise against it

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

What I like…besides books: TV – Hamish Macbeth

I really like the Hamish Macbeth books by M.C. Beaton, so I thought it might be nice to watch the TV series which is based on the books.

There are three seasons and so far I am in the middle of season two and can compare books and TV series. Nothing could be further apart. As far as I can see, only the name of Hamish and the village Lochdubh, a few aspects of the plots and a very loose resemblance of some of the other characters remind us of the books.

Hamish Macbeth Title Screen

Most of the names have been changed, there are many characters who never turn up in the books and the personality of Hamish is quite different. However, the series is quite good and cozy in its own right, just do not expect to find the books in it. And, oh, the Scottish accent is to die for.

Hamish himself.

Hamish’s looks are not at all like in the book. No tall, lanky and red-haired Hamish here. But this is not the only difference. Yes, he is rather indulgent when it comes to not abiding by the law, but on the other hand he shows some traits that are definitely not nice, not to say disturbing.

Like in the books he is jealous, but here his jealousy manifests itself in deliberately damaging other potential suitors’ cars and generally harassing the guys in a petty way.

Then there is one episode where his dog (Wee Jock, not Towser) gets killed in a car accident. A dog, by the way, that is so used to being fed by John McIver that he won’t even take food from Hamish. What does Hamish do? He goes out, follows the two convicts who ran Wee Jock over, befriends them, lies to them and lures them to a certain spot to kill them. Only the arrival of his Lochdubh friends stop him. Now, don’t tell me that he would not have been able to shoot them! It doesn’t change a thing.
Apart from the fact that at the time of their rescue the two men were only holding on to a rope and could have easily allen into an abyss, resulting in their death with Hamish not even shooting them, the idea that he planned to go after them with a gun in his pocket, becoming their friend and leader through the rough Scottish landscape, pretending to wanting to help them only to take them to a safe spot to kill them shows a rather nasty and evil disposition. The fact that that man is a police officer makes it only worse. And to top this all, the two men only killed his DOG by accident! I find this side of his personality rather disturbing and from that episode on I am not sympathizing with him anymore.

The women

Priscilla is now called Alex and is not the beauty she is supposed to be. Also she is extremely jealous and behaves rather idiotic. Hamish and Alex are engaged by now (different situation but also rather awkward), but already one can see that this is not a match made in heaven.

Isobel is a new character that loves Hamish and that Hamish fancies in spite of his engagement with Alex. Tension everywhere.

Villagers

There are many new characters that do not appear in the book.

  • TV John McIver is Hamish’s “housekeeper”, part Hamish’s counsellor, part helper, part stand in for the seer Angus MacDonald with his premonitions.
  • Rory, the shopkeeper, stand in for the Indian Patel. Obviously an Indian wouldn’t fit into the Scottish setting. Rory has an affair with
  • Esme, the teacher. They are quite an interesting couple, those two.
  • Barney and his wife Agnes are the pub/hotel owners.
  • My favourite characters: Father and son McCrae. Lachlan and Lachie jr., the local entrepreneurs. Those two are so funny and make sure the necessary comic relief is there.
  • Doc Brown, a young doctor instead of the old fellow, who is Hamish’s pot smoking buddie (yeah, really!)

I would recommend the series to everyone who likes cozy mysteries (not necessarily with murder) in an interesting setting. You don’t have to know the books, on the contrary, knowing the “real” characters you might even be disappointed a bit. But it is entertaining nevertheless. Do not forget to put on the subtitles on your DVD player, though!