Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

When Ruth's friend, Cathbad, is house-sitting for a friend, he sees what he believes is a vision in the graveyard next door. It turns out to be a young woman named Chloe Jenkins, who disappeared from a drug rehabilitation clinic nearby and is later found murdered in a ditch. DCI Harry Nelson and his team wonder who could have wanted Chloe dead, since she since wasn't a local resident. Then, Hilary Smithson, a female priest who is an old college friend of Ruth's, reveals that she's been getting threatening letters. Could there be some connection between the crimes?  In The Woman in Blue, Griffiths brings back Ruth, her friends, Nelson and his colleagues in another satisfying mystery.

Monday, April 25, 2016

My Mrs. Brown by William Norwich

Widow Mrs. Brown has lived in Ashville, Rhode Island her whole life. She leads a very simple existence, working at a beauty salon and spending evenings at home, but her life changes when she sees a Oscar de la Renta black dress and decides she must have one just like it, even though buying one is beyond her means. Starting a plan of taking on extra work and economizing, she's joined in her quest by Alice (her twenty-something neighbor) and a few new female friends who become like fairy godmothers.  My Mrs. Brown is cozy, gentle read similar to Emily Alone by Stewart O'Nan and Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Murder on the Hour by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Spa owner Penny Brannigan is drawn to investigate a murder once again when Catrin Bellis is found murdered in her house. Single, never married, Catrin lived in her childhood home after her parents' death and was looking for a lodger to help with the bills. In addition, Catrin had recently brought a family quilt to be appraised at an antiques television show that was filming in town. Could that have had something to do with her death? Penny assists her friend (soon-to-be-retired DCI Gareth Davies) in working on the case. Murder on the Hour is another entertaining book in this long-running cozy mystery series.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Friday on My Mind by Nicci French

When an unidentified body is found with a hospital wrist band with her name on it, Frieda Klein becomes a murder suspect, since she knew the victim very well. Frieda is innocent, but it becomes clear that someone is trying to frame her for murder. Going on the run instead of being arrested, Frieda relies on the help on her family, friends, and her clever nature to evade the police and hopefully clear her name. While I enjoyed this fifth book of the Frieda Klein series, it seemed more of a book to push the ongoing story of Frieda along rather than a compelling read on its own. I read the U.K. edition of the book, it will be published in the United States this fall.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thursday's Children by Nicci French

London psychotherapist Frieda Klein finds herself thrown into her past when childhood acquaintance, Maddie, asks her to talk to Maddie's fifteen-year-old daughter, Becky, who's not been acting like herself lately. Becky confesses to Frieda that she was raped in her bedroom and as Becky relates the details of the incident, Frieda realizes that Becky's assailant is the same person who raped her when she was young. Stunned that the criminal has been around Braxton all these years and probably committed more crimes, Frieda goes back to the hometown that she hasn't visited in over twenty years to try and get the authorities to look into the cases, but gets nowhere. Soon, Frieda has to face the past and the people she ran away from all those years ago, even as she hunts down a killer. In this fourth mystery featuring Frieda Klein, the author duo gives the reader an engaging tale that's hard to put down.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Bitter Poison by Margaret Mayhew

Marjorie Cuthbertson has decided that the villagers of Frog End will be performing "The Snow Queen" for this year's Christmas play.  New resident and former model, Joan Dryden, will be playing the lead and even the Colonel has been roped into helping. He will be showing off his woodworking skills by making a sleigh for the performances. When one of the cast members dies at a party, everyone wonders if it was an accident or murder. In this fifth book of the village mystery series featuring the Colonel, Mayhew writes a light, enjoyable tale.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Midsummer's Equation by Keigo Higashino

When a retired Tokyo police detective, Masatsugu Tsukahara, is found dead in Hari Cove, the police wonder who would have murdered him in the small ocean town. Tsukahara was attending a hearing about a corporation seeking approval to mine precious metals off the coast of Hari Cove. Local resident Narumi Kawahata, whose parents own the Green Rock Inn that Tsukahara was staying at, is very involved in the campaign to stop the mining operation. Another guest at the inn is physicist Manabu Yukawa, who is consulting for the corporation. Yukawa, also known as "Detective Galileo," has assisted on Tokyo murder cases before. Soon, both the local police and the Tokyo authorities (with help from Yukawa) are delving into Tsukahara's past and the goings-on in Hari Cove to try and uncover the culprit. In this leisurely-paced third book in the Detective Galileo series, Higashino presents an interesting mystery, but at times I found it hard to keep all the characters straight.