Mystery Monday | A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Mariah Fredericks is an American author who lives in New York. She has written many YA novels, A Death of No Importance is her foray into the mystery genre.

What is it about? Jane Prescott, is a ladies’ maid in an upper-class 1910 household in New York City. Being a servant means that she has mastered the ability of being “unseen” unless called upon. This skill along with her sharp, observant mind comes in handy when the fiancé of the lady she serves is murdered followed by the lady herself!

Where does it take place? A Death of No Importance is set in New York City during the Gilded Age.

Why did I pick it?  I’ve been trying to get back into mysteries and Mariah Fredericks’ A Death of No Importance sounded like an intriguing read due to its protagonist being a lady’s maid to a predominant family in 1910. These kinds of stories told from the servants’ perspectives are always interesting as due to the nature of their jobs, they are usually the ones privy to family secrets and have access to these families that no one else has. Immediately upon reading this book I was drawn in. The author does an excellent job of setting up the scene and a great amount of attention is paid to even the tiniest details which truly enhances the storytelling. The case itself is an interesting one, although I wished that we got more insight into the playboy Norrie as well as his “relationships” with Charlotte Benchley (who the protagonist, Jane works for) and Beatrice Tyler, the woman whom Norrie was supposed to be engaged. It felt like this juicy aspect of the murder mystery was quickly brushed under the rug in favour of the reveal of the murderer’s identity which I found a bit disappointing. Even so, A Death of No Importance was an excellent read that fan of historical fiction and cozy mysteries would enjoy. If there are more books featuring Jane Prescott solving mysteries, I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to picking them up.

When is it out? April 10th 2018

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

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Mystery Monday | Sleeping in the Ground (Inspector Banks #24) by Peter Robinson

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Peter Robinson was born in Yorkshire, but later came to Canada to do his Masters in English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor followed by a Ph.D. in English at York University. He’s won the Arthur Ellis Award for excellence in Canadian crime writing among a few other awards. Currently, he divides his time between Toronto and Richmond, North Yorkshire. Sleeping in the Ground is the 24th book in his Inspector Banks series.

What is it about? After a mass murder occurs at a small country church in the Yorkshire Dales, the culprit is captured shortly after. However, this is case is one that’s far from closed. Teaming up once again with profiler Jenny Fuller who is also a former flame, Banks will have to find the truth before it’s too late.


Where does it take place? Just as the author himself is from Yorkshire, England the book is set in the gorgeous Yorkshire Dales which is an upland area located in Northern England.

Why did I like it? Sleeping in the Ground was my first ever Inspector Banks novel, and it definitely won’t be my last! Like any good police procedural, the writing here flows effortlessly. I loved getting acquainted with all the characters of Banks’ world and seeing them interact with one another. In fact, one of the strongest points in Sleeping in the Ground was the descriptions of character dynamics and relationships. It was fascinating getting a glimpse into the personal histories and minds of Banks’ and the members of his team since knowing who each of them are outside of their job ensures that the readers view them as more “real” and thus is able to understand them better. The mystery itself was well-done, despite a few of the elements that made the lead up to the reveal a bit too “convenient” and slightly predictable, it was nevertheless a thrilling ride. As a former psychology major, I could definitely appreciate how the Robinson takes the time to slowly peel back the layers and motivations of the killer. Like the majority of mystery books, one does not need to have read the earlier books in the series to enjoy this one. In fact, fans of Michael Connelly or Ian Rankin or even Louise Penny will probably enjoy Sleeping in the Ground because of the similar writing style and themes of music and poetry. And while I probably won’t go back and pick up any of the earlier books in the Inspector Banks, I will without doubt continue with this series by adding it onto my growing list of mystery series that I intend to continue reading.

When was is it out? October 24th, 2017

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | The Imam of Tawi-Tawi (Ava Lee #10) by Ian Hamilton

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Ian Hamilton, a Canadian authour of the now 10 novels in the Ava Lee series. His Ava Lee series has recently been green lit to be adapted into a TV series by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).

What is it about? As a favour to her late mentor’s friend, Ave finds herself headed to the Philippines to assist “Uncle” Chang with a problem one of his business partner is facing. What she discovers will force her to pull her skills and connections to limits greater than she’s ever had to be before.

Where does it take place? As the title suggests this book is set mainly in Tawi-Tawi, an island province in the Philippines, that borders both Malaysia and Indonesia. It is known for its majority Muslism population which plays a central role in the novel.

Why did I like it? I love the Ava Lee series, and always anticipate the next book in the series every year. What I particularly enjoyed about this book was the fact that similar to the other books in the series, The Imam of Tawi-Tawi addresses topics and issues that are current and therefore relevant. The book poses an interesting question to both Ava and the reader as to what is the “right” course of action and whether extreme (and twisted) means are ever justified to achieve an end goal. Before going into this book I was not quite familiar with the political climate in the Philippines, therefore I found it fascinating that it plays a prominent role in this book. While The Imam of Tawi-Tawi has less action than the earlier books in the series, there were several twists and turns that helped to get me hooked. I also did enjoy the investigation aspect of the novel in addition to all the travel that Ava gets to do. The Imam of Tawi-Tawi is another strong addition to what is becoming one of my go to mystery series, and based on the excerpt provided I cannot wait for the next book in the series!

When is it out? January 6, 2018

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Glass Houses by Louise Penny

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Louise Penny is a former journalist and radio host with the CBC. The authour of the best selling Chief Inspector Gamache series, Glass Houses is her 13th book in the Inspector Gamache series. She currently lives with in a small village south of Montreal with her dog, Bishop.

What is it about? A mysterious figure is haunting the village of Three Pines, and Armand Gamache, now the Chief Superintendent and Head of the Sûreté du Québec can’t help but feel uneasy. This is confirmed when a body is found leading to a court case with Ganache as a key witness. As the court proceedings continue, it’s clear that there is more to this homicide case than its initially seems. With the Crown prosecutor and Gamache almost at each other’s throats, regardless of the decision the outcome and revelations from this trial will have a much greater effect than anyone could have anticipated.

Where does it take place? While the mysterious figure and murder occurs in Three Pines, the trial in this book seems to take place in Montreal which is where the head office of the Sûreté and Palais de Justice are located.

Why did I like it? Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series has become somewhat of a tradition for me. As every year I look forward to the next book in the series. Once again, Louise Penny does not disappoint with her latest book. Glass Houses starts off differently compared to the other Gamache books that I’ve read. Beginning in the present with Gamache as a witness in a trial in Montreal before moving back to some time back when mysterious and silently threatening figure first appeared in Three Pines, Glass Houses manages to move back and forth in time without too much confusion for the reader. With its unexpected twists and turns throughout, I loved how the trial was only a minor piece of a more exciting and clever plot.

Like all of her books, Glass Houses excels at being thrilling and shocking yet also uplifting and (subtlety) hilarious when you least expect it. Perhaps it was partly a result of the authour’s personal loss during the writing of this book, but I found Glass Houses to be incredibly heartbreaking yet so full of love and warmth at the same time. And getting to visit Three Pines and be right there with all the characters that I’ve come to love like Gamache, Jean Guy, Isabelle Lacoste and even Ruth has made it even more sad to have to say goodbye to them once more. However, I’m hoping we’ll get see them soon in a year and hopefully in a new book as I’m intrigued as to where the story with go next after the ending in Glass Houses.

When did it come out? August 29th 2017

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Righteous by Joe Ide

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by?  Joe Ide is a writer who is of Japanese American descent. His debut novel, IQ was inspired by his love of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories in addition his early life experiences of growing up in South Central Los Angeles, an economically depressed area with a largely black population and an area where gangs and street crime were far from uncommon. Ide currently lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife and their Golden Retriever, Gusto.

What is it about? Isaiah Quintabe’s aka “IQ” has always felt that there was more to his brother, Marcus’ death than what was found. Even with his newfound “fame” and success as a PI, this is one thing that continues to haunt him. Now ten years later, he finds himself forced to confront his past when his late brother’s girlfriend reaches out to him asking for his help in finding her sister, a compulsive gambler.

Where does it take place? IQ’s latest case takes him from his Los Angeles neighbourhood of East Long Beach to Las Vegas, Nevada a city that has the potential to be both gambler’s paradise as well as hell.

Why did I like it? As always the writing and world of Isaiah Quintabe aka “IQ” is a gritty one, and nothing is held back in the writing and the details of the story and characters. Though it took a bit of time, I ended up enjoying Righteous more than the previous book in the series. I liked that some time has passed and that characters like Dobson and Deronda were given more compelling character development and backstories that made them more sympathetic and “human”. My favourite thing about Righteous though, would be seeing how IQ’s brain works to “connect the dots” and put all the tiny clues and details together to finally solve the mystery behind his brother’s death. Now that that part of his past has been settled, it will be interesting to see how he goes about moving forward in his life and what direction this series heads to next. Fast paced and action packed, Righteous will be enjoyed by those who loved IQ and even those who haven’t read the first book but are looking for a different kind of mystery series.

When did it come out? October 17th 2017

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | The Late Show by Michael Connelly

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Michael Connelly has written around 27 books, and he is best known for his known for Bosch and Haller series. Before becoming a best-selling crime writer, he was formerly a newspaper reporter. The Late Show is the first book in his Renée Ballard, which features a fierce female detective.

What is it about? Renée Ballard is a former homicide detective who now works the “late night” shift in Hollywood as “punishment” for daring to file a sexual harassment complaint against her supervisor. This book focuses on two cases that she can’t let go of, one being the assault of a prostitute who is left for dead and the other being a bar shooting. Despite neither being in her jurisdiction, Ballard becomes relentless in her pursuit for justice especially when those close to her get dragged into the cases even if its to come at the expense of her career.

Where does it take place? Hollywood, LA the city of angels aka “Tinseltown”.

Why did I like it? I was both wary and excited when it was announced that Michael Connelly would be coming out with a new series, this one featuring a female detective. Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about as once again Connelly brings it! His writing is sharp as always and the story is excellently plotted. I loved that Renée Ballard is a fierce, complex and unrelenting character and that right from her introduction, we see how she truly cares about helping others. She even goes out of her way to help those she knows who have cases that would otherwise get lost in the pile of other police cases. Furthermore, I enjoyed the portrayal of Renée’s employment situation as it highlights how difficult it can be for women working in a male dominated field and how unfortunate it is that those in a position of power can abuse their authority. That being said, I appreciated the fact that while she may be continuously dismissed and mocked, at the end of the day, even her superiors can’t help but acknowledge just how talented Renée is at her job. I’m definitely looking forward to more Renée Ballard books, as I’m intrigued to see where her character goes next.

When did it come out? July 18th, 2017

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Heart of the City by Robert Rotenberg

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Robert Rotenberg is a Canadian, Toronto based criminal lawyer and writer. Best known for legal thriller series, and for using real life Toronto locations in his book, Heart of the City is the fifth book in his Detective Greene series.

What is it about? It’s been some time since Ari Greene was falsely accused of murdering his lover, and although he was cleared of the charges he ended up fleeing Toronto. Now he’s back, but no longer as a homicide detective. Instead he finds himself in two new roles, one with his new job in construction and the other as a father to his newly discovered daughter. However, try as he might to avoid his past life, it seems like he can’t escape the call of murder and crime. This time however, the murder victim is condo developer Livingston Fox, who is technically his boss’s boss. As Greene once again finds himself at another crime scene, he is reunited with his former protégé, Daniel Kennicott and ends up becoming a part of the investigation.

Where does it take place? Ari Greene is back home in Toronto! And Heart of the City takes place in the Kensington Market neighbourhood.

Why did I like it? It’s been awhile since I’ve read any of Robert Rotenberg’s books. That being said, however, it was relatively easy to jump back into Ari Greene’s world and the characters of Rotenberg’s Toronto. Heart of the City was an incredibly well-written and fast paced mystery, especially as the chapters are all short in length. I also love that like all the other books, this one is set in Toronto as it was interesting to see real life places that I’ve been to or seen featured in a work of fiction. Furthermore, I like how Heart of the City focused on the real estate market and urbanization which are actually very real issues in Toronto at the moment.

Unlike the earlier books in this series, in Heart of the City there are less characters and perspectives which helped make the story more focused and less confusing to the reader. I also found the introduction of the character of Allison, Greene’s daughter to be a welcomed addition to the cast of characters. I like that she had her own storyline, but still was connected to the case. And while I was slightly disappointed by the ending and the identity and motive for the murders, overall Heart of the City was a solid read that left me curious to see what will come next.

When did it come out? August 1st, 2017

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Victoria aka “Plum” Sykes is a fashion-writer, and socialite in addition to being a novelist. Though, not her first novel Party Girls Die in Pearls is the first book in her new Oxford Girl Mysteries series. She currently resides with her family in the English countryside. Sykes is also a Worcester College, Oxford alumni.

What is it about? Ursula Flowerbutton, a country girl is excited to start her first year at Oxford University. She is looking forward to joining the famous student newspaper Cherwell and perhaps even attending a ball or two? What she wasn’t expecting was to be embroiled in a major murder investigation at her new university which is unfortunately what happens when the school’s “IT” girl, India Brattenbury is found dead, and Ursula is the first to find her. As a result, Ursula is assigned the murder as her first story for the Cherwell however, as she gets deeper into her investigations into India’s death she may also find that she too could be in danger…

Where does it take place? Oxford University during the 1980s.

Why did I like it?If you are looking for a fun, light-hearted mystery look no further than Plum Sykes’ Party Girls Die in Pearls. Pitched as “Clueless meets Agatha Christie”, this book is pure escapism at its best. I loved the English university setting and as the main characters are just “Freshers” aka freshman in university, Party Girls Die in Pearls is definitely a novel that has crossover appeal to the YA audience in addition to all (cozy) mystery lovers.

In addition to being a murder mystery, Party Girls Die in Pearls is filled with several 80s cultural references which in addition to the all the delicious drama happening among the privileged set of students at Oxford made the book all the more delightful.

Furthermore, I adored the friendship between the protagonist Ursula Flowerbutton and her new friend, Nancy Feingold for the reason that while the two girls couldn’t be any more different, they form a charming and fun mystery solving duo when they’re together.

Finally I appreciated the fact that Ursula didn’t become too romantically involved with any of the guys she meets, especially the one who could have been the most obvious suitor as none of the guys were actually good enough for her in my opinion. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the Oxford Girl Mysteries series and continuing the adventure with both Ursula and Nancy.

When did it come out? May 9, 2017

Publisher Social Media: Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | IQ by Joe Ide

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Joe Ide is a writer who is of Japanese American descent. His debut novel, IQ was inspired by his love of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories in addition his early life experiences of growing up in South Central Los Angeles, an economically depressed area with a largely black population and an area where gangs and street crime were far from uncommon. Ide currently lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife and their Golden Retriever, Gusto.

What is it about? Loner and high school drop out, “IQ” aka Isaiah Quintabe is the man they call when the LAPD needs extra assistance on their cases especially in the neighbourhood East Long Beach with its high crime rate.

Unafraid to get his hands dirty, in this first book Isaiah finds himself investigating various dangerous suspects when rap mogul’s life is in danger and he hires IQ to find out who’s threatening him.

iq

Where does it take place? In a rough area of Los Angeles, California a setting that was inspired by the neighbourhood that the authour grew up in.

Why did I like it? For those who are looking for a mystery novel with a more diverse cast, IQ definitely fits the bill. With its unique, urban setting and characters it definitely made for an intriguing read. The authour does not hold anything back whether it’s the language used by some of the characters, or the somewhat graphic descriptions of violence, abuse and crime, it was refreshing to read a mystery where even when the case is closed it’s not quite closed. After all, in reality just because you solve a case it doesn’t mean that all is well, and sometimes justice may or not be served in a fitting and fair way. Still the ending was satisfying and manages to be somewhat uplifting. Overall, IQ was an interesting modern take on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories. And while I didn’t love this book I am curious enough to want to pick up the next book in the series if only to see “IQ” face more of the demons of his past including trying to solve the mystery of his brother’s death. Finally, for those who are interested in book to TV adaptations, the IQ series is being developed as a TV series which I’m actually looking forward to seeing as I think the story would translate well onto the small screen.

When did it come out? October 18th 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Escape to Havana by Nick Wilkshire

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Nick Wilkshire is a lawyer in addition to being a writer. Escape to Havana is the first book in his Foreign Affairs Mystery series. He currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

What is it about?After a very public scandal involving his wife, and a divorce that followed soon after the last thing Charlie Hillier wants is to remain in Ottawa where his ex-wife is. So when a posting in Cuba opens up, he’s more than willing to go. What he wasn’t expecting to find in his new position are the drugs under his bedroom floor…

eh

Where does it take place? Havana, the capital city of Cuba where Charlie has his first foreign posting.

Why did I like it? Escape to Havana was a title that wasn’t actually picked by myself but rather it won a twitter poll to be the next title to be featured on “Mystery Monday”. To be honest, it felt like it took an eternity for something to actually happen and for a mystery there was not much sleuthing going on. That being said, the protagonist, Charlie is quite likeable and a character that us regular folks can generally relate to. And things do really pick up in the last few chapters before the book ends. Escape to Havana was a fairly light read with a satisfying conclusion however I’m not sure if I’m be picking up Book 2 in this series.

When is it out? November 12, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | The Couturier of Milan (Ava Lee #9) by Ian Hamilton

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Ian Hamilton, a Canadian authour of the 7 novels in the Ava Lee series. His Ava Lee series has recently been green lit to be adapted into a TV series by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).

What is it about?After a successful show to introduce PÖ to western audiences, Ava and her partners from Three Sisters were expected to see the orders come in and gain more new accounts. However what they were not expecting was mogul Dominic Ventola to take a sudden interest in Clark and PÖ. And when The Three Sisters turn down his corporation’s offer to buy them out, things turn ugly as Clark finds his reputation under attack and The Three Sisters find their investment at risk as they start losing clients right and left. Fortunately Ava Lee doesn’t back down from a fight, with her connection and wits she’s determined to make Dominic regret ever attacking PÖ and Clark

milan

Where does it take place? From London to Milan to Shanghai, once again Ian Hamilton takes us around the world. This time to some of the major fashion centres of the wild.

Why did I like it? Even after nine books, Ian Hamilton still manages to keep the series momentum continuing strong. And despite a few major changes that are taking place in this book, I remain intrigued and still have the desire to continue with this series, which I have grown to love increasingly with every book.

As always, Ava Lee is a total badass and even when she is up against challenging and intimidating opponents resembling members of the Italian mafia, she doesn’t back down. It’s also admirable how she is also able to command the respect and loyalty from such powerful men, Additionally, I also love the bonds and loyalty that the “Three Sisters” have for each other on top of the pride and protectiveness they have over PÖ and its founders, Clark and Gillian.

Once again, Ian Hamilton has crafted another incredibly skilful page turner that gets you from the start. He definitely excels at descriptions of fashion, and body language and has a gift for setting the scene which are all factors that have made the Ava Lee books consistently incredible in the last few installments that showcase Ava Lee embarking on a new chapter of her work life. As with the previous Ave Lee books, I flew through this The Couturier of Milan loving every second of it.

When is it out? January 16, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness by David Casarett

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? David Casarett, is a physician, researcher, and tenured associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness is his first work of fiction, and the first novel in the Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency series. He currently lives in Philadelphia.

What is it about? Ladarat Patalung is a nurse-ethicist (someone who “guides” her fellow nurses and physicians on matters of clinical ethics), and not a detective nor did she ever want to be one. However, when a series of murder victims are patients at her hospital she must act fast with the help of her assistant and a kind detective and figure out what is happening or her hospital’s excellent reputation with be ruined.

rooster

Where does it take place? Set in Northern Thailand, this book is filled various details about the culture and lifestyle of the people living in Thailand. And while it was fascinating learning about a country I only vaguely heard about before, I did find that having a lot of details tin the book was somewhat distracting as I would often put down the book to google various dishes and plants mentioned throughout the book.

Why did I like it? Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness stars a nurse Ethicist, Ladarat who find herself playing the role of detective. Before reading this book I had no idea what a nurse ethicist did.  Thus, it was interesting to have a protagonist whose day job was a nurse ethicist at a major hospital.

What I liked about Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness was the fact that Ladarat did not have any superhuman like special skills, instead she was just a very observant person. This was something that I could relate to, as I often people watch when I’m out in public. Another thing that was done well were the various descriptions of Thai food and culture. I never gave much thought to Thai culture, but reading about it has made me interested in learning more about the country and perhaps visiting it one day. Through his writing, it is obvious that the author has a deep love and respect for the people and culture of Thailand. Although he does tend to compare Thailand to America quite a bit in the book.

While Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness does take some time before it picks up, it was overall a decent read. The author does a good job at capturing the voice of the female protagonist, and it’s definitely evident that he has a medical background which he brings to the novel making the story come alive more.

When did it come out? September 13, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Louise Penny is a former journalist and radio host with the CBC. The authour of the best selling Chief Inspector Gamache series, A Great Reckoning is her 12th book in the Inspector Gamache series. She currently lives with her husband, Michael in a small village south of Montreal.

What is it about? Armand Gamache has finally decided his next steps after retiring as Chief of Homicide division…cleaning up the Sûreté academy known as “the last shit pit in the Sûreté.” However, when the one professor that posed a threat to his mission to “clean up” the academy is found dead, he finds himself the main suspect. Not to mention, with the dead body, a copy of an old, odd map is found the exact same one that Gamache was gifted with on the first day of his new job by his friends in Three Pines. Enlisting the aid of the four young cadets who happen to also be suspects in the professor’s murder may be a risky but necessary move when it comes to this investigation. Along the way more secrets will be revealed including the one involving Gamache and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, one of the cadets and a protégée of the murdered professor.

recokening

Where does it take place? Those familiar with the Inspector Gamache books, will definitely remember Three Pines. Three Pines is a fictional, idyllic village located somewhere in Quebec that has the constant, unfortunate luck of attracting murders. In addition the book is also set in the Sûreté academy.

Why did I like it? It seems like every time I find myself in a summer slump and there’s a new Louise Penny to help me get out of said slump. With the exception of A Long Way Home, Penny manages to surpass her earlier book with each new one being better than the last. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but with every new Louise Penny book I open it fills me with a warm feeling akin to coming home after some time away. I adore the village of Three Pines and all the characters who live there and I relish every opportunity I get to check in and see how they are all doing.

One unique thing about A Great Reckoning is how it explores what comes after for a character who has already held a position of immense power and prestige and has since left that place. It was refreshing to see the author explore this stage of life as we rarely get to see this in books. Another thing I enjoyed was that this book shone a light on the complicated relationship between Gamache and Brebeuf. Since I didn’t start this series from book one thus it was fascinating to see how deep their relationship ran and how Brebeuf’s betrayal affected both men. One of the themes that always rings true in these books are how we are all human, flawed and prone to making mistakes and no one not even Gamache is immune to this. All that being said, my favourite element of this book is the reunion of the “dream team” and I’ll admit that I let out a squeal when it turned out that Gamache and Beauvoir would once again be working together.

Overall, A Great Reckoning featured exquisite writing as always coupled with compelling characters, both new and old in addition to an intriguing setting and case. A Great Reckoning is a definite must read for mystery lovers and fans of Louise Penny.

When did it come out? August 30, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Cold Girl by R.M. Greenaway

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? R.M. Greenaway has worked all over and at various jobs. She is the author of the B.C. BLUES crime series, featuring RCMP detectives Leith and Dion. Cold Girl, her debut won the 2014 Arthur Ellis Unhanged award.RM has three books set to come out through Dundurn Press (Cold Girl  being the first). She currently lives in Nelson B.C

What is it about? Popular rockabilly singer, (name) has disappeared in the snowbound Hazeltons of northern B.C. It’s suspected that she may be the latest victim of the “Pickup Killer”, and it’s up to the Lead RCMP investigator David Leith and his team to solve the mystery behind her disappearance. Complicating matters is the arrival of a constable by the name of Dion who is also assigned to the case. Much to Leith’s displeasure, Dion is unable to do even the simplest of tasks assigned to him.

coldgirl

Where does it take place? As stated in the name of the series, Cold Girl takes place in the cold, northern parts of British Columbia, Canada

Why did I like it? Cold Girl drew me in with its intriguing premise, however it was slow in getting the “meat” of the story and mystery. Nevertheless, I found it entertaining that Leith and Dion were trying to size each other up and consciously coming to the wrong conclusions about each other. Greenaway’s greatest strength in Cold Girl lies with her writing, in particular how she is able to describe the setting that her characters are in. Her writing was so descriptive, that at times I found myself transported to the cold ruggedness of Northern B.C. On the other hand, it felt like there were too many characters including all the suspects. With everybody telling so many different stories at various times it often became confusing to follow. Overall, Cold Girl was fine as a mystery and the good thing about the book’s conclusion is that it leaves room for more stories to be told.

When is it out? March 26, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Brittany Cavallaro is a poet and fiction writer. A Study in Charlotte is her debut novel, and the first in a new trilogy. The rights for its publication have been sold in Brazil, Portuguese, Germany, Japan, and France and Taiwan. Currently, she lives in Wisconsin with her husband, cat, and cat. You can follow her on Twitter at @skippingstones.

What is it about? Jamie Watson is a descendant of the Dr. John H. Watson, so it seems that he was fated to meet Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great grand daughter famous Sherlock Holmes. And since both are related to the original crime-solving duo, they were bound to get themselves caught up in a few mysteries themselves. Despite, an unpleasant introduction to each other, the two are forced to work together when it appears that someone is trying to frame them for the murder of one of their classmates.

charlotte

Where does it take place? A Study in Charlotte is set in Sherringford, a fictional Connecticut prep school. Like most boarding schools, many of the students come from well-to-do families while others like Jamie attend the school on a scholarship.

Why did I like it? I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I not usually a fan of retellings of my favourite classics however A Study in Charlotte had me intrigued at its synopsis. From the beginning, I loved the boarding school setting which was perfect for this modern, YA spin on the crime solving duo of Holmes and Watson.

Also while it is a retelling of sorts, A Study in Charlotte is about the original Holmes and Watson duo, instead it focuses on two of their teenaged descendants. Jamie and Charlotte’s dynamic is very reminiscent of their ancestors, although both are also able to stand on their own as original characters. And while there is an inkling of romance between the two, it does not eclipse the mystery and investigation aspect of the plot. For those of you who are fellow Sherlockians, I think you will appreciate the numerous allusions and nods to the original duo. These include the relationship between Charlotte and her brother as well the tension that continues to exist between the Holmes’ and Moriarty family. One of my favourite things about this book, is all the lamp shading that occurs, for instance many of the original Holmes’ cases are referenced, as well as what happened to the Watsons’ rights to the Holmes’ stories. Additionally the guide to dealing with the Holmeses that Jamie’s dad has is hilarious in that many of the things mentioned are pretty much spot on which makes sense after all its all the information that has been collected by the previous Watsons who’ve worked with and/or interacted with a Holmes.

There are many adaptations and spin offs of the Sherlock stories, however A Study in Charlotte featuring some descendants of the original Holmes and Watson is one that fellow Sherlockians should definitely check out especially if they enjoy YA fiction. Thus, I know I will definitely be looking forward to the next installment in this trilogy.

When is it out? March 1st 2016

Publisher Social Media: Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.