Dear Fellow Reader,
I read on vacation. There really isn’t any other way to say it. We recently were on vacation and in the 12 days that we were away, I read 10 books. This is a little below my average – I generally like to keep it at a book a day but I read a nonfiction book that was HEAVY and I listened to an audiobook. (For some reason, I am pushing myself to try audiobooks. So far, I am not sold. I understand that some people find them great and can listen all the time but I just have not found that spot for me. But I am trying to give them a fair shake.)
You would be right if you assumed that I was not reading War and Peace in a day. I generally have a selection of fiction that I need to read on my iPad. Some of the books come as ARC (Advanced Reader Copies) from publishers because they want a review. Some of the books come from Amazon. Did you know that if you have Amazon Prime and a Kindle (not the app but the actual Kindle) that each month they send you an email with several new titles of which you can pick one book to read free? To be honest, it can be worth buying a basic Kindle to get the books. I am on my second or third year of getting a free book a month. I also get the daily email from Book Bub with the eBook deals of the day. While I am trying not to buy books, sometimes I can’t resist the deal. Yes, my Kindle library overflows. On vacation, I try and cut that back.
I also like to have an easy-to-read cozy mystery for the plane ride. I like to get through a flight as fast as possible and reading helps that.
Before I left on my trip, I selected several (what I thought were) about to be published ARC cozy mysteries to read. Today, I will tell you a bit about three of them.
Southern Harm by Caroline Fardig was the first book I read. I was able to get this book as an ARC copy, but it was already published. I picked it because I had read other books by Caroline Fardig before and enjoyed them. (She wrote the Java Jive series) I also have a soft spot for books that take place in the South. There usually is an entirely different set of rules for those Southern ladies. Generally, they are portrayed as very polite and a bit nutty. This book did have its share of characters. The main plot revolves around the body that Tucker and Quinn find when they are digging a new firepit for Tucker’s Aunt Lela. The body turns out to be Esther Sinclair, who was Aunt Lela’s neighbor. She was thought to have run off years before to escape her rather religious parents. Aunt Lela is a bit outspoken and has a penchant for drinking. While Tucker’s “proper” relatives don’t want anything to do with Lela, Tucker has a soft spot for her. Quinn doesn’t want Tucker (her new love interest) upset about his Aunt nor does she think that Aunt Lela killed the girl. (Even though Lela had set the girl’s car on fire years before…) So Quin and her sister Delilah set out to discover who killed Esther Sinclair.
This book was the second in the Southern B&B Mystery series. I did not read the first in the series and while it was referred to in the book, it did not put me at a disadvantage. The book was okay. It was certainly not a “WOW, you need to read this book!” but it was fine to take my mind off the plane ride.
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver. In this cozy mystery, Amory Ames, is a wealthy young woman with what appears to be a philandering husband, Milo. Milo is frequently traveling, and stories circulate about his exploits. Amory is tired of it. She desperately loves her husband but is tired of him traveling and not paying attention to her. As the book opens, Milo has just returned home but Amory is not feeling very welcoming. Then a surprise guest comes to the door. It is Gil, the man Amory was engaged to when she met the dashing Milo. She feels bad about how she treated Gil. Gil has come to see her to ask if she would go to the Brightwell Hotel with him to join a group of friends. Part of the group is his sister, Emmeline and the man she is crazy about, Rupert Howe. Gil thinks that Amory can convince Emmeline that she should dump Rupert because of her experience with Milo. While there are some warning bells that this is not a good idea, Amory decides to go not as much to be of help and to get away from Milo. She finds that when she gets to the hotel that perhaps this was not a good idea because everyone thinks that she is back with Gil. She does try and talk to Emmeline but she can see that Emmeline is so taken with Rupert that she doesn’t think that she will be able to dissuade her.
And then there is a murder. And Milo arrives at the hotel. Why? And who committed murder?
Overall, it was not a bad story. This book is the first in a series of 5 Amory Ames mysteries. I would read the rest. Here is the part that I don’t understand – this book was given to me as an ARC (advanced reader copy) but it came out in 2014. Not exactly an advanced reader copy when the book has been out for 5-6 years and there are 4 books in the series that came out after this one. So, I am a bit befuddled by this and slightly irritated that I didn’t notice this. BUT overall, I think that if you are looking for an English mystery, this would be a good choice.
Murder She Encountered by Peg Cochran is the third cozy that I read via an ARC. In this story, our main protagonist, Elizabeth Adams, is a Manhattan socialite who works for the Daily Trumpet as a photographer. The 1939 World’s Fair is the location for the murder of a woman who had been working at the Fair demonstrating the newest thing, nylon stockings. Elizabeth Adams and her partner, Ralph Kaminski are hot after the story and think that the police have made a mistake with the quick arrest that they made to close the case. It is a slightly tricky situation since Elizabeth has been dating the handsome police detective, Sal Marino.
Not only is Elizabeth out on a limb working in general but also working for a newspaper. Her family is not exactly supportive of her work. She also knows that they would not be in favor of her dating the handsome policeman. Add to that her wanting to get the story and find out “who done it” and there is a plot with several twists and turns.
I felt that the book had good descriptions and interesting characters. This book is also part of a series – it is the third book in the series. You would never know that there are other books in the series. This book absolutely stands alone.
I would recommend this book as a cozy mystery. It is a fairly quick read and it has a good plot.
There you go – three books reviewed in one post. All three are available now. As I said before, I was given these books by the publisher to give an unbiased review.
Thanks for reading!