What’s Next? #5 | Murder Squad

What’s Next is a weekly book blogging meme originally created by IceyBooks; where bloggers ask their readers to vote on which one they should read next.

Today on Words of Mystery, I need to decide which of the two mystery novels I should read and review for an upcoming #MysteryMonday.

Rose Gallagher might dream of bigger things, but she’s content enough with her life as a housemaid. After all, it’s not every girl from Five Points who gets to spend her days in a posh Fifth Avenue brownstone, even if only to sweep its floors. But all that changes on the day her boss, Mr. Thomas Wiltshire, disappears. Rose is certain Mr. Wiltshire is in trouble, but the police treat his disappearance as nothing more than the whims of a rich young man behaving badly. Meanwhile, the friend who reported him missing is suspiciously unhelpful. With nowhere left to turn, Rose takes it upon herself to find her handsome young employer.

The investigation takes her from the marble palaces of Fifth Avenue to the sordid streets of Five Points. When a ghostly apparition accosts her on the street, Rose begins to realize that the world around her isn’t at all as it seems―and her place in it is about to change forever.

Suspended from her job as a promising police officer for firing “one bullet too many”, Anne Capestan is expecting the worst when she is summoned to H.Q. to learn her fate. Instead, she is surprised to be told that she is to head up a new police squad, working on solving old cold cases.

Though relived to still have a job, Capestan is not overjoyed by the prospect of her new role. Even less so when she meets her new team: a crowd of misfits, troublemakers and problem cases, none of whom are fit for purpose and yet none of whom can be fired.

But from this inauspicious start, investigating the cold cases throws up a number a number of strange mysteries for Capestan and her team: was the old lady murdered seven years ago really just the victim of a botched robbery? Who was behind the dead sailor discovered in the Seine with three gunshot wounds? And why does there seem to be a curious link with a ferry that was shipwrecked off the Florida coast many years previously?

So, which book do you think I should read and review on the blog? Cast your vote in the Twitter poll below!

https://twitter.com/WordsofMystery/status/1067764185805795328

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Mystery Monday | Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

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, Kingdom of the Blind is her 14th book in the Inspector Gamache series. She currently lives in a small village south of Montreal with her dog, Bishop.

What is it about? The Chief Inspector Gamache novel has Gamache, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovering he was named as one of the executors of an old lady’s will. However, he has no idea who she is. Furthermore, Gamache is forced to deal with the consequences of a decision he made 6 months ago. A decision which lead to him being suspended but seemed like a small price to to pay at the time to prevent a bigger epidemic. Only now is he realizing perhaps a bit too late just how blind he had been…

Where does it take place? Once again the mysteries takes readers to the village of Three Pines as well as the streets of Montréal.

Why did I like it? After I finish every Inspector Gamache book, I’m always left wanting to know what will happen next with all the characters! Glass Houses was no exception, and while I had to wait a bit longer for Kingdom of the Blind it was well worth the wait! I loved revisiting my favourite characters again, especially after the dramatic conclusion of the last book. Kingdom of the Blind in my opinion is Penny’s strongest book so far. I loved seeing Beauvoir taking a bigger role in the investigation. This makes sense since Gamache is technically suspended due to his actions in Glass Houses. It’s made clear that Beauvoir operates differently than Gamache despite being trained by him, however he is still excellent at what he does. I also loved how everything was connected in the end with the central mystery as well as how the side plot with Amelia was resolved. A great novel to cozy up to in the fall, I hope this isn’t the last we see of Gamache, Beauvoir and the rest of the Three Pines and Sûreté characters. Highly recommended if you are a fan of the series!

 When does it come out? November 27, 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 | Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

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. Dark Sacred Night  is the second book in his Renée Ballard series, which features a fierce female detective.

What is it about? The second book featuring Connelly’s female detective, Renée Ballard sees her teaming up with veteran Bosch to try and solve the old cold case of the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton. Told from both Ballard and Bosch’s story, this is the team up that fans of these two Connelly series didn’t know they wanted but they definitely need.

Where does it take place? Like many of Connelly’s other books, this one is set in California with the case taking to them the Hills in Hollywood and San Fernando.

Why did I like it? I love a good team up, especially if they feature two of my favourite mystery novel protagonists. I’m already familiar with Bosch having read a few of the books in his series, and I loved Ballard after being introduced to her in The Late Show. The two form an unlikely but interesting duo as one is more experienced, working outside of the police force while the other is still inside, but has been ostracized by most of her peers after filing a report against one of her fellow officers for sexual harassment. I also loved the abundance of female law enforcement officers who play a central role in this book as it’s always great to see the women kick butt and be badasses. That being said, Bosch being the character that he is, ended up dominating the majority of this book despite it being a team up with him and Ballard. And while, the novel does alternate between sections from both Ballard and Bosch’s perspective, Ballard unfortunately is eclipsed by Bosch’ every time he appears or is mentioned. Nevertheless, Dark Sacred Night is another gripping novel from Michael Connelly. Ballard and Bosch work well as a team, and I wouldn’t object to seeing them team up more often in future books.

When does it come out? October 30th 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 | The Frangipani Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu

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? Ovidia Yu is a Singaporean writer best known for her Aunty Lee books. The Frangipani Tree Mystery is the first book in her new Crown Colony series. The second book in the series, The Betel Nut Tree Mystery will be out later this month.

What is it about? Su Lin is a mission school-educated local girl who dreams of becoming a “lady reporter”. Instead she finds herself employed to look after the Acting Governor’s daughter while doing her own reconnaissance work to help Chief Inspector Thomas LeFroy solve the murder of the Irish nanny she was hired to replace.


Where does it take place? Singapore during it’s colonial period

Why did I like it? The Frangipani Tree Mystery served as a nice breather from heavier reads I brought with me for my Vietnam trip. Having a traditional whodunit set in Singapore during the early 1900s when Singapore was British colony made for a more interesting and unique story. While the mystery and reveal weren’t surprising or compelling, I did find the cast of characters to be charming as was the authour’s decision to tell the story using first and third person narrator. Su Lin was a plucky protagonist and it was refreshing to see a heroine who had a physical disability but didn’t let it get in the way of being kind and patient with others all while taking the initiative when it comes to solving mysteries. I also loved that Su Lin had dreams and ambitions of being free and was determined to take the risks that would put her on this path. The Frangipani Tree Mystery is the first book in Ovidia Yu’s Crown Colony series and while it had its charms I’m not sure I’m hooked enough to continue with this series. However, it was a solid and quick read making it perfect for those who want a historical mystery set in a foreign locale.

When did it come out? September 4, 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 | The Golden Hairpin by Qinghan CeCe

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? Cece Qinghan is a Chinese writer who lives in Hangzhou, China. The Golden Hairpin is her first book to be translated into English.

What is it about? Huang Zixia is a young investigative prodigy who is forced to flee after she is framed for the murder of her family. Seeking help from Li Shubai, the Prince of Kui, she is forced into going undercover in order to stop a serial killer and to undo a curse that threatens to destroy the Prince’s life with only an unusual but exquisite golden hairpin as a clue.

Where does it take place? Ancient China

Why did I like it? Those of you who enjoy watching historical Chinese dramas will definitely appreciate the setting of The Golden Hairpin. I found it refreshing to have a Sherlock style mystery story involving the imperial courts in ancient China. In addition, I also loved the protagonist who was a young woman because not only was she incredibly clever and resourceful, but also extremely determined to get to the truth and get justice. And while I still cannot get on board with the “romance” aspect of the book, thankfully it was only hinted at and not developed. The Golden Hairpin is an interesting blend of cultural history with a traditional whodunit story, and while simple in its writing, it features a case that has countless twists and turns that made it all the more intriguing. However, if you are not a fan of cliff-hangers I wouldn’t recommend this one as there are definitely a lot of loose threads and unanswered questions after the story’s conclusion.

When did it come out? February 20th, 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 | 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.

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 series, 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.