The Crossing Places

Elly Griffith

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I like to read several books at once, reading a chapter then moving on. Occasionally, a book so grips my imagination that I stop all other reading and give it all my attention. This is one such book. I put all my other reading aside and concentrated on this book until I finished it. Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t go to buying books for my Kindle, unless they are cut price, so I have to wait until my name comes to the top of the waiting list.

I can’t quite put my finger on what I like about this book. One thing that I enjoyed was spotting the bad guy from the start. I never can tell who the murderer is until the big reveal, but this I fingered him from the start. In a more remarkable circumstance, I remember who it was. I like to read mysteries more for the characters of the main characters, which means I forget the murderer immediately and can reread the mystery for the pleasure of the interaction of the main characters. This one has both—the puzzle and the joy of the main characters. I’m including the salt marsh as one of the characters. I love her descriptions of the land.

I usually am very critical of the writing, but in this case, I was so roped into the story, that I was willing to overlook the occasional clunky sentence and awkward use of present tense. It is a debut novel, after all. I’m sure her writing will improve as she settles into the series.

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Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1)

Louise Penny

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This author shows promise in this, the first of a series. I’ll have to read more before I give it my stamp of approval. I have friends whose opinion I respect who think highly of Inspector Gamache, so I will give him another chance.

I think the biggest complaint I have is that almost everybody is forgettable. I finished the book  a couple of weeks ago, and I have already forgotten most of what I read. I don’t remember who the murderer was and why the murder was committed. Bits and pieces of the story stick in my head, but not enough to keep me wanting more.

The Paid Companion

Amanda Quick

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Elenora Lodge is in a fix. She is suddenly penniless and friendless. Her gentle upbringing has made her unsuited for work other than that of a paid companion. Unfortunately her intelligence and independence also make her unsuitable for that.

The Earl of St Merryn needs a woman. A woman to pose as his fiancee to draw off the mother/daughter pairs in society that will interfere with his determination to find his father’s killer.

The two were made for each other.

Cool in Tucson

Elizabeth Gunn

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Tucson is fortunate to have Elizabeth Gunn as an active member of its writing community. She is very generous in sharing her experience as a writer and her fabulous personal history as well.

This is the first book of a series set in Tucson. Sarah is a newly minted homicide detective trying to prove herself in a tough environment. It doesn’t help that there’s something wrong with her boss. She just keeps her head down and does her job, but when her niece is kidnapped, it becomes personal.

A fast moving, murder mystery/police procedural, COOL IN TUCSON is entertaining and amusing. No matter how serious things get, Gunn is able to inject enough humor to keep the reader amused.

 

Death in a Strange Country

Donna Leon

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I love Donna Leon and love Det. Brunetti. He is so human, and the glimpses we get of his family life serve to make him a well-rounded character. These glimpses grow as the series continues. If I were rich, I’d buy all the books at the $9.99 price the publishers charge. As it is, I have to wait for a copy to show up for $1.99 and snap it up. As a result I’ve read the books wildly out of order, but that has done nothing to lessen my enjoyment. Reading the earlier books serves to make clear how much the character has grown over time. What has not lessened is my love of  Venice and the views of it I have through these books. They just get better and better with time.

Cards on the Table

Agatha Christie

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I must be lacking the murder mystery gene, because I didn’t care for this book. When I read a murder mystery, the characters are so much more important to me than the person killed and who killed him and why. In this book, no character was very appealing and I couldn’t find anyone to care about. The murdered man was nasty, everyone had the means, motive, and opportunity to kill him and even 15 minutes after finishing the book, I don’t remember which one M. Poirot fingered as the killer. I don’t care for bridge, either, so that leaves out any interest in the game, which is at the center of the mystery.

If you like reading mysteries for the puzzle, you might like this book. Unfortunately it left me cold.