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Monday, November 30, 2020

Review - The Cat of the Baskervilles

I have read the first in this series, but hadn't gotten to writing the review before I picked up this one (the third in the series) to read.  I am reviewing this one before I end up reading any more in the series!

Author: Vicki Delany

Copyright: Feb 2018 (Crooked Lane) 299 pgs

Series: 3rd in Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy mystery

Main Characters: Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, manages her Great Uncle Arthur's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium.

Setting: Modern day, West London on Cape Cod

Obtained Through: Library

Book blurb:  "Legendary stage and movie star Sir Nigel Bellingham arrives on Cape Cod to star in a stage production of The Hound of the Baskervilles put on by the West London Theater Festival. When Sir Nigel, some of the cast, and the director visit the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop at 222 Baker Street, Gemma Doyle realizes that Sir Nigel is not at all suited to the role. He is long past his prime and an old drunk to boot. The cast, in particular the much younger actor who previously had the role, are not happy, but the show must go on.

Before the play opens, Leslie Wilson, mother of Gemma’s best friend Jayne, arranges a fundraising afternoon tea to be catered by Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. The tea is a huge success, but when it’s time to leave, Sir Nigel has gone missing—only to be found at the bottom of the rocky cliff, dead. Along with the dead body, Gemma finds evidence incriminating Leslie Wilson. When the police, in the presence of handsome detective Ryan Ashburton and suspicious detective Louise Estrada, focus their attention on Leslie despite the numerous other suspects, the game is once again afoot and it’s again up to the highly perceptive Gemma and the ever-confused but loyal Jayne to clear Jayne’s mother’s name."

Gemma is very observant, as befits a Sherlock themed book. Ironically, she isn't a big Sherlock fan, that would be the uncle who gave her the shop.  Jayne runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room and is Gemma's BFF.  She makes a good sidekick.  

Jayne's mother gets more of a role in this book - but she is keeping a secret that complicates matters.  Police detective Ryan Ashburton is the standard potential love interest who keeps his distance because of issues with her sleuthing.  Ryan's partner, Louise Estrada, doesn't trust nor like Gemma, at all, and makes it clear at every opportunity.

The setting of West London on Cape Cod is quaint.  Much of this book takes place at the mansion where the fundraising tea takes place, giving a great backdrop for the murder.  

The plot is driven by the concept of never knowing what a person's history is, what has happened in ones past.  This concept is highlighted well in this story.  The plot takes that and gives us a tangled web of secrets.

The climax was a classic rounding up of all the suspects and revealing the killer.  Not the nail biting confrontations I love, but it is a standard mystery reveal.  The wrap up answers all questions.

For those days when I want a good  contemporary cozy mystery this is an excellent choice.  I like Gemma, the mysteries are well developed, and have a good cast of characters in an interesting town.  If you haven't given this series a try, I heartily recommend you begin.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list 

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Monday, November 16, 2020

New Covers and Writing New Book

Just to let you know what I have been doing.  I am redoing all of my existing cozy mystery book covers.  I have two covers completed from the illustrator and one in process.  Of course getting them switched out on all the various outlets is quite the chore, so if your online book selling outlet doesn't reflect the new covers, it will happen soon.  You get to see them here first.

Below are book 1 and 2 of the Resort to Murder Mystery series.  Book 3 cover is in the works.  I am loving these new covers.  What do you think?

A celebrity pastor is murdered and Julienne is the prime suspect.

     Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime.       She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who knows what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice.  
     Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?
 Amazon || B&N || Kobo || Apple || IndieBound

Julienne is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will.

     Julienne LaMere gets to attend a Resort Management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado Mountains. What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard.
     In addition to attending the conference, dodging a smitten teen boy, and seeking clues among the gossiping - and increasingly tense - guests, her best friend’s heart has warmed to an unlikely man and may get broken. As if her mind isn’t already fully occupied, Julienne and her new boyfriend Mason are skiing down troubled slopes in their relationship. Will Julienne put the scant clues together and unveil the culprit before a murderer gets away?

I will post the new cover for Spiked as soon as it is finalized as well.  

I am finally writing the 4th in the Resort to Murder mystery series, ARROWED.  It takes place at a health and wellness resort just outside Santa Fe.  I'm loving the southwest environment for this story.  

I hope to have it completed and through edits and beta readers to be published in the Jan or Feb of 2021.  Be looking for that cover reveal in about a month, when I will set it up for pre-orders.  

It feels so good to get back into writing again, and with Covid I've finally focused on getting it written.  It gives me a great escape writing it, and I hope you will have a fun escape reading it.

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Friday, November 6, 2020

Review - Murder at the Opera

I have been following the historical mystery series since its debut.  Here are my previous reviews:
#1 Murder in Mayfair (click here)
#2 Murder in Bloomsbury (click here)
Today I am reviewing the newest in the series.  Let's see if it stays as good as the previous books.

Author: D.M. Quincy

Copyright: December 2019 (Crooked Lane Books) 336 pgs

Series: 3rd in  Atlas Catesby Mysteries

Sensuality:  mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth

Main Characters:  Atlas Catesby, youngest son of a Baron

Setting: 1815 (Regency Era), London, England

Obtained Through: Library

Book Blurb:  "When a nobleman's mistress is gunned down on the steps of the Covent Garden opera house, brilliant adventurer Atlas Catesby discovers a sinister family connection that compels him to investigate.

London, 1815. Amateur sleuth Atlas Catesby is about to discover the dark side of the bright lights. His long-awaited night at the opera with Lady Lilliana ends abruptly when a notorious courtesan is shot to death in Covent Garden.

The infamous victim was the mistress of the powerful Marquess of Vessey. Atlas believes that the marquess--his former brother in law--is responsible for the long-ago death of Atlas's sister, Phoebe. Atlas seizes the opportunity to potentially avenge his sister's death. But his inquiry is complicated when Phoebe's grown son implores Atlas to help prove Vessey's innocence.

Plunging into the cutthroat backstage life of the theatre community, the adventurer and the noblewoman soon discover that ruthless professional rivalries can escalate into violence, setting the stage for death in Murder at the Opera, D. M. Quincy's third riveting Atlas Catesby mystery set in Regency England."

Atlas Catesby finally gets past the belief that society's rules make it impossible for he and Lilliana to ever be more than good friends, and proposes. He doesn't have time to enjoy because he is plunged into investigating the innocence of the man that he knows killed his sister years ago.   

Lilliana's character is a favorite of mine and I wish to see more of her in the investigations, even is she is the sister of a Duke. She is good for Atlas and smart.  Gabriel Young, the Earl of Charlton, is Atlas' good friend and quite smitten with Atlas's married sister has a small role in this but is always a delight.  Thea Palmer is Atlas' sister and an avid mathematician who lives in town while her husband does the lordly farmer life.  The Bow Street Runner, Endicott, is a becoming a regular and adds to the story.  Juliet Jennings is an old flame of Atlas' who is also an opera singer who knew the murder victim.  This adds a twist as Atlas has just become engaged.

London's theater district and the homes of nobility are the primary settings.  The hypocritical treatment of mistresses is on display without being vulgar.  The plot seems simple but there are several twists along the path to a resolution. I found this a page turner and devoured it.

This killer reveal is sedate but still satisfying and shows Atlas making a very powerful enemy.  Which is saying a lot since I love harrowing climatic reveals.  Very well done.  A future book will likely continue the plot of the enemy's revenge later.  The wrap-up is charming and a positive note.  I long for the next book already.

This story was loosely inspired by the real murder of Martha Ray in 1779 who was the long time mistress of the fourth Earl of Sandwich.  I enjoy everything about this series and each book is a well constructed joy to read.  If you enjoy historical mysteries, this is a series not to be missed.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 

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Monday, November 2, 2020

Revolutionary Online Indie Bookshop

Earlier this year a new idea whose time had come quietly established.  An online bookstore like no other.  It is called and it can save the Indie Bookstores around the country.  It is more than a coalition.  It is billed as a "socially conscious alternative to Amazon" that allows readers to purchase books online while still supporting your local bookstore!  And it set up and went live just before COVID 19 hit and made millions within a few weeks. 

Here is how it works, local bookstores sign up to be part of this.  When you buy a book, you select which local store in the system you want your purchases to credit.  If the book is listed with Ingram, then it is in their system, it is that simple.  

This can save all our wonderful indie bookstores across the nation.  Andy Hunter, the co-founder of Literary Hub, is the mind behind the idea.  And I must say it is brilliant!  Now you may be able to order from your local bookstore and have it shipped, which is the best case.  But if your local independent bookstore doesn't have that capability, this is the next best thing.  Or, if your little bookstore doesn't have the particular book on the shelves and you can't wait for that special order, you can credit the store and get it through and they will still get some money for your purchase.

JUST in time for the holidays.  If you give books for presents (oh, I so hope you do!) then this combines the convenience and safety of purchasing online and having everything shipped to your doorstep while still supporting your favorite local independently run bookstore.  Even if there is another shut down because of Covid, your store can make money.  

It made such a big hit in such a short time, they are opening up one for the United Kingdom shortly too. 

I love this idea and can't shout it from the rooftops enough.  Had you already heard about this and I am late to the party? 

Please check them out at, bookmark them, use them for the greater good!  

In the news:

Here is a Youtube video review of

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