Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Miss Fortune by Sara Mills

Miss Fortune, follows Allie Fortune on her adventures as New York’s only female P.I. It is 1947 and the war is over, but not the battle in Allie’s heart. It has been seven years since she has seen David Rubeneski, the only man she ever loved, and she doesn’t even know if he’s dead or alive.

What starts as a fairly routine job turns ugly when she finds that the client lied to her. The case is terminated and Allie thinks little more about it, until a handsome FBI agent comes looking for answers.

The plot thickens when Allie realizes that her last, best hope for discovering what happened to David, may lie in helping the FBI catch her former client, and the ancient treasure she is hiding.

First-timer Sara Mills, does a terrific job with characterization in her debut novel. Allie Fortune has a unique voice. I also enjoyed the plot, and was left in a quandary, should I root for her to become involved with the incredible FBI agent, or for her to find David. The best kind of dilemma, and one that makes me eager to get the second in the series as soon as it is available.

My one slight criticism is that I have no idea how she came to be a PI in the first place. Despite a very upper crust background, we are told that she worked as secretary to a PI for a time. I don’t know how that switch in roles came in to being though and I hope that this is one of the plot threads that will be tied up in the next story.

I do recommend Miss Fortune, so if you haven’t gotten it yet, run out and get a copy while they are still available.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Suspicion of Strawberries by Lynette Sowell

Lynette Sowell’s A Suspicion of Strawberries was my first foray into Barbour’s new line of cozy mysteries. It was a pleasant trip. In a Suspicion of Strawberries, our heroine, Andromeda Clark is the proprietress of a small specialty soap shop in her hometown of Greenburg. Things are looking up for her and her business, when Charla Thacker, one of Greenburg’s leading citizens dies at Andi’s shop of an allergic reaction.

Andi knows full well that the mixture she concocted especially for Charla and her bridesmaids should not have contained any thing harmful. She had worked diligently with the young bride to make sure of that very thing. To save her shop’s reputation she begins nosing around.

To complicate matters, her long-time trucker boyfriend decides it is time to settle down. Andi loves him, but can she live with him? The summer heats up as Andi searches for clues about life, and a death, no one else considers murder.

I enjoyed this book and found it well paced. The highlight is definitely the characterization of the main character. I found her well rounded and very likeable. In particular, I appreciated that Andi’s Christianity was a huge part of her life, it motivated her and made her who she was, rather than being tacked on as an afterthought. In addition I also enjoyed the setting, which was an integral part of the overall story. The plot was a bit predictable and the ending was no surprise, but I would still recommend this story to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dorothy and Agatha by Gaylord Larsen

First copyrighted in 1990, Dorothy and Agatha is hardly a new release. Even so, if you can scrounge up a copy I recommend it. Author, Gaylord Larsen crafted a cozy mystery, involving well-loved mystery writers Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie.

When a dead body turns up in Dorothy’s dining room and no one can say who he is, she needs help. But being Dorothy she would never ask for it. Never fear, her friends of the Detection Club step in. Unfortunately, Dorothy has secrets she would prefer to remain hidden. Agatha Christie, the puzzle maker, is the only one who dares Dorothy’s wrath and continues to investigate.

The result is a puzzle reminiscent of the great Christie herself. I thoroughly enjoyed the tale, and the “twist” ending. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Shadow of Colossus by T. L. Higley

Tessa of Delos is Rhodes' premier heteara. To all appearances she has everything a woman could desire—luxury, prominence, the appreciation of men and a powerful patron. Only she truly understands her reality—that the trappings of an enslaved courtesan are simply gilding to the cage. Her deepest desire is to be free, even if the only means is her death.

When her patron, Glaucus is killed by a falling roof tile Tessa knows she will be accused of murder, and so she attempts to hide the body in the hopes that she can finally escape her bondage.

At the same time, conspiracies are fermenting to undermine Rhodian democracy. Tessa must act as mouthpiece for the dead Glaucus and prevent anyone from learning her terrible secret.

Nikos will do anything to make his father proud. After all the man rescued him from the life of a peasant, and brought him into his home, naming him a son. The desire to prove himself is a fire in Nikos’ belly. His first chance comes when he is commissioned by his father to infiltrate the Glaucus home, and learn the man’s position on joining the Achean League.

Instead of the information he seeks, Nikos discovers a dead body and a woman who takes his breath away.

T.L. Higley has a master’s grasp of storytelling. She draws the reader in from the first page and won’t let go with her blend of great characters, gripping suspense and period detail. Shadow of Colossus is one of those rare novels that stay with you long after you read the last word, and leaves you wanting more. I cannot wait to see what she offers in the next book of her Seven Wonders series.

Must Reads

  • All the Tea in China-Jane Orcutt
  • In the Shadow of the Sun King-Golden Keyes Parsons
  • Wings of a Dream-Anne Mateer