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.

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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 | 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.

Top Ten Tuesdays | Top Ten Best Books of 2016

TTT Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesdays | Top Ten Best Books of 2016”

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 | The Nature of the Beast 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, The Nature of the Beast is her 11th book in the Inspector Gamache series. She currently lives with her husband, Michael in a small village south of Montreal.

What is it about? Nine-year-old Laurent is a boy known for his wild imaginations and outlandish tales. So, when he starts telling the people living in Three Pines of a giant gun with a monster in the woods, no one believes him….until he disappears. As they continue to search for Laurent, Inspector Gamache starts to wonder if Laurent really was telling the truth after all?

naturebeast

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.

Why did I like it? With one of the major story arcs in the series wrapped up a few books ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect in The Nature of the Beast. In fact, to be honest, I wasn’t that fond of her last book The Long Way Home. Thankfully, The Nature of the Beast proves that Louise Penny and Inspector Gamache are both not yet over and that Louise Penny is still at the top of her game.

It may sound a bit clichéd to say this, however reading the Inspector Gamache books provide me with a feeling similar to that of one coming home, including both the comfort and joy from that. I loved that we getting to dig deeper into the past of Three Pines and some of the older residents who live there including Ruth. Additionally, I loved seeing how the characters’ relationships have grown and evolved and several of them have come a long way. As always, Louise Penny showcases that her strengths lie in showcasing the complex emotions and relationships between her characters. There are numerous beautifully written scenes throughout that are also emotionally powerful.

I take comfort in how Louise Penny’s books show that where there is darkness, there is light and vice versa. I’m glad that the series isn’t over yet, as this book brings forth additional questions and new mysteries that I will eagerly anticipate in the next few books and I’m excited to see where Gamache will end up next.

When did it come out? August 25, 2015

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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 Long Way Home by Louise Penny

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly 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.

Authour: longway
Louise Penny
Format:
Hardcover, 373 pages
Publication date:
August 26th 2014
Publisher:
Minotaur Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“Armand Gamache considered himself more an explorer than a hunter. The goal was to discover. And what he discovered could still surprise him. How often had he questioned a murderer expecting to find curdled emotions, a soul gone sour? And instesd he found goodness that had gone astray.” (p. 3)

In her last book, How the Light Gets In it appeared that Louise Penny had written a satisfying conclusion to her series. The conclusion of that book felt sort of like the conclusion of her series therefore I was surprised to find out she had further books coming out in her Inspector Gamache series and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The Long Way Home occurs shortly after the events of How the Light Gets In. Gamache is now no longer “Inspector” Gamache has retired in the village of Three Pines with his wife, Reine-Marie. Though content, Gamache is still somewhat restless and I liked how this book explores the concept of trying to find peace and how can we move forward in life after experiencing something incredibly life changing. After all it’s not just the character of Clara, who seeks Gamache’s assistance to find her husband that is in search of something although Gamache also appears to be in search of something.

What I loved with reference to The Long Way Home was that we get to travel back and visit the characters of Three Pines again. Penny has created such a wonderful, unique and even magical set of characters that live in the village and it is always a pleasure to check in again with characters such as Myrna, a former psychologist turned bookstore owner in addition to Ruth, an award winning poet and her pet duck, Rosa. Furthermore I liked seeing a confident Clara in this book, after all that has happened to her I like how she now takes charge of things even if it veers on the edge of being a little bossy at times.

However, while it was lovely revisiting the characters of Three Pines, my favourite thing regarding this book without a doubt was seeing Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir working together again. Having been on opposing sides in the previous book, it was wonderful to see the old team together. The two of them settled back nicely into their old dynamics despite the fact that Gamache is retired and their relationship is slightly different than it was.

Like all of her other books, The Long Way Home is an extremely emotional and powerful read. I recently had a conversation with an elderly woman on why we both love the books in the Inspector Gamache series. And I came to the conclusion that it’s probably for the reason that the books focus on the human psychology of the characters which in itself is a truly fascinating thing. This is why I appreciated the fact that in the, The Long Way Home, we gain more insight into the character through the glimpses into his past and his parents.

The Long Way Home is an excellent book for those who are unfamiliar with the series to start with, although if you start with this book don’t be surprised if it causes you to go back and read all of the previous books in the series. In addition, I will continue to stick with this series as I am extremely curious as to where Louise will take her characters next.

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 Mondays | The Red Queen Dies by Frankie Y. Bailey

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly 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.

Authour:redqueen
Frankie Y. Bailey
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 294 pages
Publication date:
Published September 10th 2013
Publisher:
Minotaur Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The year is 2019, and a drug used to treat soldiers for post-traumatic stress disorder, nicknamed “Lullaby,” has hit the streets. Swallowing a little pill erases traumatic memories, but what happens to a criminal trial when the star witness takes a pill and can’t remember the crime? When two women are murdered in quick succession, biracial police detective Hannah McCabe is charged with solving the case. In spite of the advanced technology, including a city-wide surveillance program, a third woman is soon killed, and the police begin to suspect that a serial killer is on the loose. But the third victim, a Broadway actress known as “The Red Queen,” doesn’t fit the pattern set by the first two murders. With the late September heat sizzling, Detective Hannah McCabe and her colleagues on the police force have to race to find the killer in a tangled web of clues that involve Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Review:

I love when an authour puts a new twist on a popular genre. This is what Frankie Y. Bailey does with her book, The Red Queen Dies. The Red Queen Dies is a good example of a fresh take on a mystery. Set in a futuristic setting, The Red Queen Dies still has the backbones of your typical police procedural although with some science fiction elements.

The protagonist is Hannah McCabe, a female detective in the year 2019 who is investigating the death of a famous actress. What’s special about this case and the later deaths that follow it in the book are the references and nods to the classic tales of the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. I really enjoyed seeing the nods to made to different adaptations of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz through the connections the victims have as I’m a fan of both books.

As a female reader I appreciated the fact that Hannah was a strong, independent and highly capable detective who just happens to also be a biracial woman. In addition to the main focus being on the procedural elements of the mystery I was impressed with the fact that there was not a lot of romance in the book. This is because often when there is a female protagonist or even when in many cases when the main character is a male there is often some romance that is usually forced into the plot. So it was refreshing to find that there was barely a mentioned of Detective Hannah McCabe’s personal life which was pretty refreshing.

Overall The Red Queen Dies is a thrilling mix of science fiction and mystery though I felt the conclusion and reveal fell a little bit flat I did enjoy the ride this book took me on. The dialogue throughout the book was very engaging and I loved the focus on the case rather than the characters in this book. The ending of this book definitely left a few questions unanswered and I hope there will be more books so I can get to know the characters and the world better.

If you like this book, you’ll love: The Red Pole of Macau by Ian Hamilton

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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 Mondays | Something Borrowed, Someone Dead by M.C. Beaton

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly 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.

Authour:something
M.C. Beaton
Series:
Agatha Raisin #24
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 291 pages
Publication date:
September 17th 2013
Publisher:
Minotaur Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Gloria French was a jolly widow with dyed blonde hair, a raucous laugh and rosy cheeks. When she first moved from London to the charming Cotswolds hills, she was heartily welcomed. She seemed a do-gooder par excellence, raising funds for the church and caring for the elderly. But she had a nasty habit of borrowing things and not giving them back, just small things, a teapot here, a set of silverware there. So it’s quite the shock when she is found dead, murdered by a poisoned bottle of elderberry wine. Afraid the murder will be a blight on the small town, Parish councillor, Jerry Tarrant, hires private detective Agatha Raisin to track down the murderer.

But the village is secretive and the residents resent Agatha’s investigation. Of course that doesn’t stop the ever-persistent Agatha from investigating and sticking her nose where no one wants it—especially as the suspect list grows. And, as if it isn’t enough that Agatha’s ex has reentered the picture, the murderer is now targeting Agatha!

Review:

Despite the cheery nature of the cover, this book was actually pretty creepy and spooky for a cozy mystery especially near the end. Of course it didn’t help that I read this book well into the night and that on that night there was a major power outage. Still it definitely wasn’t what I thought it would be though in a good way for the most part.

Agatha Raisin the heroine is a private detective with her own agency and in this book she is called in to investigate the death of Gloria, a widow. Although unusual I found myself feeling pretty bad for the main victim, Gloria. Even though she was pretty obnoxious and kind of rude, I don’t think she deserved to die. Agatha herself was also quite the character, with her drinking habits and love of smoking despite many attempts to quit as well as her man lust, she reminded me of Bridget Jones if Bridget Jones was a detective. She was such an entertaining character that I loved seeing her interact with the other characters. It was awesome how she was pretty much the boss of everyone even when she really wasn’t. Additionally Agatha was a very relatable protagonist what with the way she tended to obsess over the little things.

The writing in this book was clean and clear and the pacing was pretty fast for a cozy mystery which made Something Borrowed, Someone Dead a quick read. All in all Something Borrowed, Someone Dead by M.C. Beaton was a very amusing but equally creepy read given what happens near the end. As well all the reveals and discoveries that are made about the residents of the small village where all the deaths and accidents occur just adds to the slightly creepy factor. This was my first foray into the Agatha Raisin mysteries and I liked that I could easily pick up this book as a standalone. If you like books that are cozy mysteries with women detectives set in small somewhat creepy villages that still have some humor in then try picking up one of the Agatha Raisin books by M.C. Beaton.

If you like this book, you’ll love: No One Else can Have You by Kathleen Hale

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

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 Mondays | Heirs Of The Body by Carola Dunn

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly 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.

Authour:heirsbody
Carola Dunn
Series:
Daisy Dalrymple #21
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 292 pages
Publication date:
December 10th 2013
Publisher:
Minotaur Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The Daisy Dalrymple series continues in Heirs of the Body—when one of four potential claimants to the title of Lord Dalrymple dies a sudden, nasty death, the question on everyone’s mind is, “was it murder”?

In the late 1920’s in England, The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher is recruited to help her cousin Edgar—i.e. the Lord Dalrymple. About to turn fifty, Lord Dalrymple decides it is time to find out who would be the heir to the viscountcy. With the help of the family lawyer, who advertises Empire-wide, they have come up with four potential claimants. For his fiftieth birthday, Edgar invites those would-be heirs—along with Daisy and the rest of the family—to Fairacres, the family estate.

In the meantime, Daisy is asked to be the family’s representative at the lawyer’s interviews with the claimants. Those four are a hotelier from Scarborough, a diamond merchant from South Africa, a young mixed-raced boy from Trinidad, and a sailor from Jamaica. However, according to his very pregnant wife, the sailor has gone missing.

Daisy and Alec must uncover a conspiracy if they are going to stop the killing in the latest from the accomplished master of the genre, Carola Dunn.

Review:

When it comes to mysteries I like to mix in some lighter fare with the dark stuff, and for that I usually turn to either cozies or historical mysteries. One of my favourite historical mysteries released in 2013 is Heirs of the Body. Heirs of the Body is the 21st book in the Daisy Dalrymple mystery series and it’s a good one. I love that it’s set in the 1920s (one of my favourite decades) and in England because we get to see a bit of what it was like for an English woman back then. Though I think Daisy was probably more of the exception rather than the norm being a working woman in addition to being a wife and mother.

Daisy Dalrymple is the kind of protagonist that you love to root for in a mystery. I love that she sticks up for herself and her family especially in the face of her always disapproving mother. And despite not being a trained detective and having many naysayers who intentionally dismiss her ideas and leave her out, Daisy still loves and doesn’t hesitate to get involved in the investigations. I also love how naturally curious Daisy was when it comes to other people, it’s something I can really relate to and something that helps her help solve the case. The other characters that are all in some way connected to Daisy are all pretty interesting and quirky. Like most family reunions things tend to get kind of crazy but in this case as they are coming together to find out who is the next heir to the Dalrymple estate the craziest is brought up another notch. Each of the potential heirs have their own interesting back stories. From the sailor who’s missing to the hotel manager to the mixed race boy who has come with his guardian each have their own reasons for wanting to be the heir. The identity of the culprit though not obvious does make the most sense as all the clues are there.

Heirs of the Body by Carola Dunn is a great traditional cozy British mystery as well as a good winter holiday read as it is all about family and not just your biological family. This is particularly  illustrated in how daisy treats her stepdaughter Belinda the same as she treats her twins and how many of the characters are more than willing to “adopt” children that are not their own. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest installment in the Daisy Dalrymple Mystery series and will definitely be checking out the older books in this series as well as looking forward to more of daisy’s adventures.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

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