Thursday, December 12, 2013

City of Darkness-A Victorian mystery that kept me interested to the last page

City of Darkness by Kim Wright is the first in a series of mysteries featuring prominent European cities from the Victorian era. This first one is set in London.  It features many of the staples you would expect in a Victorian era mystery, crime, family scandal, romance and Jack the Ripper. It evokes the atmosphere that I expect from a book of this location and time period.  I'm very susceptible to atmosphere so I was pleased with that. 

Jack the Ripper is causing panic in London and the police are doing everything they can think of to track him down.  The fledgling science of forensics is just barely being used and many think it is a lot of baloney.  Seeing the beginnings of scientific investigation was very interesting. The officers involved were fighting very hard to make it acceptable and reliable. Even though this is fiction, this is a probably a fairly realistic look at how forensics was treated in the beginning of the science.

I really enjoyed this book.  It is a very character-driven story and the personalities of the people are developed throughout the book.  The action is driven by the characters' reaction to events rather than plot-driven and I find that very satisfying. I'm glad this is a series so that I can revisit these people again.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Affair Next Door-Intriguing fun from an old master

Anna Katherine Green is an author that I didn't discover until I received my Kindle and was looking for freebies to read.  She began writing in 1878 and died in 1935.  I don't know how I had missed her books before but I'm so glad I found them!  I find her referred to as "The mother of the detective novel" so I'm thrilled that so many of her books are available as Kindle freebies.  If I ever see them in hardback, they'll be going on my shelves!

That Affair Next Door features a spinster sleuth long before Miss Marple ever came on the scene.  Amelia Butterworth is unashamedly interested in her neighbor's affairs.  The house next door is supposed to be empty but one night she sees the son of the owner return with a woman.  The gentleman leaves but without the woman.  The next day the woman is found dead in the house.  Miss Butterworth can't help but investigate, especially when it appears that the police believe she, as an older woman, is just in the way in their investigation.

The story has twists and turns and surprises. It has unwanted wives, costume changes, timing issues, all things that become standard in later detective novels.  The clues, such as hats and pincushions, are very satisfying as the meanings come to light.  Miss Butterworth is a no-nonsense woman with a strong sense of right and wrong, compassion toward those that deserve it and a keen eye.  She is the original spinster sleuth on which many pale imitations are based in later years.  She feels original, the book feels original and it was a delight to read.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Artful Dodger-A fun, quick romantic mystery by Nageeba Davis

Artful Dodger (Maggie Kean Mis-Adventures) - Nageeba DavisArtful Dodger is a quick fun read that introduces an interesting new heroine.  Maggie Kean is an aspiring sculptor living next door to a rich and influential woman who wants to help her with her art.  Finding that same woman floating in her septic system turns Maggie’s world upside down.  Meeting the handsome Italian detective running the case throws even more kinks into Maggie’s life.  This is a cozy romantic mystery that makes you want to curl up on the couch with a favorite beverage and hope no one interrupts you.

I think this is the beginning of what could be a great series.  These characters, Maggie, her best friend Lisa, Sam Vallari and his very Italian mom and dad, all seem like characters that could have excellent development.  I love the setting in the Colorado Rockies.

This book is fun, light reading.   I was fortunate enough to get this book while it was free on Amazon but it would definitely be worth the regular price of $3.99 and I’m sure I’ll be happy to pay for the others in the series.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

In the Blood-Genealogy and Mysteries, my two favorite hobbies!

I saw this book on a Kindle Freebie site one day and I knew I would be hooked!  Genealogy and mysteries!  What could be better?  These are my two favorite hobbies!

Jefferson Tayte is a professional genealogist who has been hired to provide a family history for his client's wife as a birthday present.  However, the family seems to disappear right after the Revolutionary War. They were Loyalists who went back to England but once they sail, the only one who ever reappears is the father.  What happened to the wife and children?  Tate, who hates flying, is forced to go to Cornwall where it's very clear that there are plenty of people who don't want the answers uncovered.

This story was interesting from start to finish.  There is a lot of history of the area brought into play.  There is a wealthy and ancient family that depend on not having their secrets revealed. There is an amateur sleuth and a damsel in distress. There is a well-constructed mystery that isn't easy to solve.  There is digging up old graveyards.  This is the debut of an extremely competent mystery writer who uses all the elements a mystery reader wants. The start of a solid series and I will be buying the next two books.  This was one of those occasions when a Kindle Freebie is destined to become a lifelong favorite!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The price is right?

Kindle Freebie Reviews

I received my Kindle last year as a Christmas present and like everyone else who gets one, I wanted to fill it up with good books right away.  I started with some classic stuff that is public domain and is free to everyone and then I bought a few books that were in mystery series that I was already interested in.  And then...I discovered the world of Kindle freebies. A lot of authors will put their books out there for free for a few days to develop an audience.  What??  Free books?? How could a bibliophile like me resist?  I started "buying" just about every free book I could find (as long as it wasn't porn or erotica.  Absolutely no interest in those!)  Then I started realizing how many books that was!  There are thousands of free books on Amazon at any time.    The problem is, of course, that the quality of these freebies varies from really wonderful to complete trash.  So now I've decided it's time to start going through the literally thousands of freebies I've acquired and separating the garbage from the gems.

There are a million websites and email lists that want to tell you what's free today.  I'm not interested in duplicating that.  I'm going to actually read those freebies and let you know what I think of them.  Most will not still be free by the time I review them but some might be and some might be already in your Amazon account but you just haven't gotten around to reading them yet.  The authors put them out there to get feedback and stir up attention for their work so I'm going to work my way through my Kindle and give each author a hearing and a review. Should be fun!