Sunday, October 31, 2010

Solomon's Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson

Glory Solomon is grieving over her husband Dan's death and trying to stay afloat debtwise by catering and holding weddings at her farm. Formerly a foster mother with Dan, Glory decides to take in a teenager, Juniper, on her own. Juniper was abandoned by her father and still suffers from her older sister Casey's disappearance years ago. Her sister's dog, Cadillac, was adopted from Glory and has been back with her since Casey left. Glory struggles to help Juniper, but with the aid of Joseph Vigil, an injured retired cop, she seems to be succeeding. Will these three souls, with their respective problems, be able to heal? I always enjoy Jo-Ann Mapson's books and while writing this annotation was surprised to discover that her last novel was published in 2006--way too long ago. Her books are similar to Judith Ryan Hendricks and Katrina Kittle's The Blessings of the Animals, in that they focus on women's lives and have descriptive senses of place.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Keeping Time by Stacey McGlynn

Widow Daisy Phillips is being pushed by her son, Dennis, to sell her home and move to a retirement community. Refusing to do so, she decides to travel from her hometown of Liverpool to New York to try and locate a lost love named Michael Baker. Daisy and Michael had fallen in love in 1945 and had planned to marry, but Michael never came back to England to retrieve Daisy and bring her to the U.S. Daisy ends up staying with her American cousin, Elisabeth, and her family. Elisabeth, overworked and tired, finds her life changed by Daisy's presence. Her family, especially her sons, are charmed too. Will Daisy also find her trip worthwhile? While Keeping Time has a delightful story and heroine in the character of Daisy, it deviates to other characters, who, at times, are not that likeable. Their stories unfold kind of awkwardly, making the book not as solid a read as it could have been.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Busy Body by M.C. Beaton

John Sunday of the Mircester Health and Safety Board is ruining everyone's lives with his nitpicking rules and regulations, so it's no surprise to anyone that he's found murdered. The prime suspect, millionairess Miriam Courtney, hires Agatha Raisin's detective agency to find Sunday's killer. But soon, Miriam is found dead too. Did the same person murder both victims or are Agatha and her team looking for two different killers? Busy Body is another enjoyable entry in the long-running Agatha Raisin series.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Skating Around the Law by Joelle Charbonneau

Rebecca Robbins has come home to Indian Falls, a small town in west central Illinois, to sell the roller rink she inherited from her mother. But before she can put it on the market, a local handyman named Mack is found dead in the bathroom. Knowing that she can't return home to Chicago until the sale is complete and that all the potential buyers have been scared away because of the crime, Rebecca decides to find Mack's murderer herself. With help from her grandfather (who's always looking for romance) and leaning on the shoulder of the handsome local veterinarian, she just might succeed. Skating Around the Law is a humorous debut that readers of Joanne Fluke and other cozy mysteries will enjoy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Shadow Woman by Ake Edwardson

It's summertime in Gothenburg and a woman's body is discovered in a park. With no identification on her, Inspector Erik Winter and his team spend considerable time trying to find who she was. When forensics reveals that she has given birth and that a child might be missing, the search becomes even more important for Winter. On a personal level, Winter is being pressed by his girlfriend, Angela, for more of a commitment to their relationship and is fielding numerous calls from his mother in Spain. Will Winter and his colleagues unearth more about the mysterious mother and child that will lead to some sort of justice? The Shadow Woman is the second book in the Erik Winter series. For readers who enjoy the individual police procedurals series by Peter Robinson, Ruth Rendell and Arnaldur Indridason.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

In 1916, Nurse Bess Crawford is drawn into the secrets of the Graham family when she promises to deliver a message from a dying solider, Arthur, to his younger brother, Jonathan. After speaking with Jonathan, Bess becomes concerned that Arthur's last wishes won't be followed. She also learns that the family's eldest son, Peregrine, has been in a mental institution for murder since he was a teen. Wondering if Arthur's words had something to do with Peregrine causes Bess even more unease and she realizes that she must find out what happened all those years ago. A Duty to the Dead is the first book in the Bess Crawford series. Last month, I read the second, An Impartial Witness. I enjoyed this mystery just as much.