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Saturday, April 30, 2022

Spotlight - First Bite

A new clean cozy mystery featuring a quirky vampire.  Here is the debut novel of the Accidental Vampire PI mystery series.

What's a positive thought girl to do when she finds herself one of the undead? Recite plenty of affirmations and use those new toothy skills to assist her PI boss, of course.

In 24 hours, Misty Summers had the worst date of her life, was bit by a vampire, and her PI boss may close his business as he goes through a divorce. Looking on the sunny side, she decides to use her new vampire assets and become the investigator to keep her job and income. She doesn’t know what her future holds, but it can’t be any worse! When she starts following up on a missing woman’s case, she finds herself in the middle of murder. Even with her positive thinking and affirmations, she is finding her new reality daunting. But she vows to take a bite out of crime in her small lake resort town.

If you like Duffy Brown, Nancy Warren, Nova Nelson, Dionne Lister, Trixie Silvertale, and Leighann Dobbs, then you'll love this series with a quirky intelligent sleuth, small town lake setting, and tantalizing mysteries. Misty Indigo Summers is a positive thinking kind of gal and a most unlikely vampire and PI. Buy these fun and clean cozy mysteries and start enjoying Misty's adventures today!
It is available now, so get your copy of this most unlikely of vampires who is cleaning up her lake resort small town.

Here is the book trailer:

Two advance reviews are in!

"First Bite (Accidental Vampire PI #1) by Avery Daniels is a very well-written book with an enticing cover image that hints at the alluring vampire mystery story within. I have to say that I found this book to be a very enjoyable read. Normally vampire tales end up being either gory or teen-oriented, but this book avoided both of those stereotypes perfectly. I enjoyed the way the author kept the book clean while still having a suspenseful murder mystery case for Misty Summers to solve. I enjoyed the way Misty developed as both a character and a vampire throughout the plot and I can’t wait to see how she will continue to grow as a character in the next book!" Sefina Hawk-Reader's Favorite

"Author Avery Daniels spins an intricate murder mystery tale full of vampires, witches, and talking cats that keeps you entertained from start to finish. Moving at a brisk pace, the plot takes wild twists and turns, keeping you guessing until the end. The characters are vibrant and colorful, with spirited personalities you can't help but find yourself attached to. The narrative follows Misty, an immensely likable young woman who wants to help others even at the cost of her own convenience. Her bubbly and optimistic personality is incredibly infectious and makes you root for her. I thoroughly enjoyed First Bite and heartily recommend it to vampire fans or readers who love paranormal sleuth stories." Pikasho Deka-Reader's Favorite

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Review - The Impossible Imposter

I began with the first book in this series and it quickly became one of my favorite historical mysteries.  We are up to the seventh in the series now and Veronica never has a dull moment.

1. A Curious Beginning (click here)

3. A Treacherous Curse (click here)

4. A Dangerous Collaboration (click here)

5. A Murderous Relation (click here)

6. An Unexpected Peril (click here

Deanna Raybourn

Copyright: Feb 2022 (Berkley) 334 pgs

Series: 7th in Veronica Speedwell Mysteries

Sensuality: Innuendo, mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth

Main Character: Veronica Speedwell is an amateur entomologist 

Setting: 1889, London England

Obtained Through: Netgalley, publisher for honest review

Book Blurb: "London, 1889. Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian beau Stoker are summoned by Sir Hugo Montgomerie, head of Special Branch. He has a personal request on behalf of his goddaughter, Euphemia Hathaway. After years of traveling the world, her eldest brother, Jonathan, heir to Hathaway Hall, was believed to have been killed in the catastrophic eruption of Krakatoa a few years before.

But now a man matching Jonathan’s description and carrying his possessions has arrived at Hathaway Hall with no memory of his identity or where he has been. Could this man truly be Jonathan, back from the dead? Or is he a devious impostor, determined to gain ownership over the family's most valuable possessions—a legendary parure of priceless Rajasthani jewels? It's a delicate situation, and Veronica is Sir Hugo's only hope.

 Veronica and Stoker agree to go to Hathaway Hall to covertly investigate the mysterious amnesiac. Veronica is soon shocked to find herself face-to-face with a ghost from her past. To help Sir Hugo discover the truth, she must open doors to her own history that she long believed to be shut for good."

Veronica is highly intelligent with a sharp tongue and wit that is put to the test in this book.  Stoker (Mr. Ravelstoke Templeton-Vane) is her sleuthing partner.  He is cranky and reclusive but perfect for her.  This outing will test both Veronica and Stoker.  

My Thoughts:  Hathaway Hall is the location for part of the mystery, the rest of the story is in and around London.  The man who reappears as Jonathan is definitely hiding something and Veronica is caught in the thick of things.  When they return to London danger follows them.  Veronica's past comes back to bite her and we learn more of her back story which disrupts the domesticity she has found with Stoker.  The plot moves quickly with complications and twists.  The climax is perilous with suprises.  The wrapup drops another surprise that will reverberate into the next book.  This is a book has significant events occur impacting Veronica and Stoker!

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

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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

My Musings - Favorite Historical Mystery Series Pt 2

I am continuing my series on historical mysteries loosely divided by era in today's and the next few week's posts.  I love historical mysteries and if you've been looking for a new series, or wanted to jump into this subcategory of mystery perhaps this will help.  This is in no way a comprehensive listing, that would be quite an undertaking.

In part one I covered up to the Regency era mysteries (click here). Now I am sharing the Victorian era mysteries.  

Victorian 1837-1901

Rosalind Thorne Mystery series by Darcie Wilde 
    Rosalind is the daughter of a baronet and minor heiress, but she was nearly ruined after her father abandoned the family. To survive in the only world she knew, high society and the nobility, she began to manage the affairs of some of London society’s most influential women, who have come to rely on her wit and discretion.  Now it's murder and her discretion and investigations skills are needed.

1)  A Useful Woman  (click here)
2)  A Purely Private Matter (click here)
3)  And Dangerous to Know (click here)
4)  A Lady Compromised
5)  A Counterfiet Suitor

Mayfair 100 Mystery series by Lynn Brittney 
With the blessing of London’s Chief Commissioner, Chief Inspector Beech, a young man invalided out of the war, assembles a crew of sharp, intrepid, and well-educated women to investigate.
1)  Murder in Belgravia (click here)
2)  A Death in Chelsea (click here)
3)  The Body in Berkley Square

Lady Darby mystery series by Anna Lee Huber 
young society woman, who is a brilliant artist, is married off to a doctor who forces her to draw his disections for a medical book. The husband dies and she is an outcast, considered "unnatural." But when murder happens, she can use what she has learned to assist the investigator.
1)  The Anatomist's Wife (click here)
2)  Mortal Arts (click here)
3)  A Grave Matter (click here)
4)  A Study in Death (click here)
5)  As Death Draws Near (click here)
6)  A Brush with Shadows (click here)
7)  An Artless Demise (click here)
8)  A Stroke of Malice (click here)
9)  A Wicked Conceit
10)  A Periless Perspective

The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas 
With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society.  Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, challenges society’s expectations and matchs wits against an unseen mastermind. This turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down.
1)  A Study In Scarlet Women (click here)
2)  A Conspiracy in Belgravia (click here)
3)  The Hollow of Fear (click here)
4)  The Art of Theft  (click here)
5)  Murder on Cold Street (click here)
6)  Miss Moriarity, I Presume? (click here)

Madam of Espionage series by Carol Carr
When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.  An unconventional sleuth who has a knack for investigating.
1)  India Black
2)  India Black and the Widow of Windsor (click here)
2.5) India Black and the Rajah's Ruby-Novella
3)  India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy (click here)
3.5) India Black in the City of Light-Novella 
4)  India Black and the Gentleman Thief (click here)

The Agency Mysteries by Y.S. Lee (grade 7 and up)
Mary Quinn, a scrappy 12-year-old orphan and accomplished thief in Victorian London, is saved from the gallows by a stranger and taken to Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls.  At 17, she is recruited by the mistresses of the school to join a covert group of female spies known as The Agency. 

1) A Spy in the House (click here)
2) A Body at the Tower
3) The Traitor in the Tunnel
4) Rivals in the City

Countess of Harleigh Mysteries by Dianne Freeman
Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, enjoys more freedom as a widow than she did as a wife.  But no sooner has Frances begun her new life than the Metropolitan police receive an anonymous letter implicating Frances in her husband’s death. This is a lighter historical cozy and very enjoyable. 

1)  A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder (click here)
2)  A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder (click here)
3)  A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder (click here)
4)  A FiancĂ©e's Guide to First Wives and Murder
5)  A Bride's Guide to Marriage and Murder

Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery by Maia Chance
Miss Ophelia Flax is a Victorian actress who knows all about making quick changes and even quicker exits. After being fired from her latest variety hall engagement, Ophelia acts her way into a lady’s maid position. But when her new job whisks her off to a foreboding castle straight out of a Grimm tale, with the suspected remains of Snow White’s cottage, along with a disturbing dwarf skeleton. Then her millionaire boss turns up dead—poisoned by an apple—the fantastic setting turns into a once upon a crime scene.  This gives historical setting for the fairtyales and has a cunning heroine.

1) Snow White Red-Handed (click here)
2) Cinderella Six Feet Under
3) Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna (click here)

Victorian Bookshop mysteries by Kate Parker 
Antiquarian bookseller Georgia Fenchurch, who doubles as a private investigator for the secret Archivist Society.  Georgia owns her own business in a time when women, even working class, weren't so priviledged.  The Archivist Society is a network of people who solve crimes.  This is a delightful series but hard to find all the books since the publisher discontinued and only two have been self-published. 

1) The Vanishing Thief (click here)
2) The Counterfeit Lady (click here)
3) The Royal Assassin (click here)
4) The Detecting Duchess
5) The Conspiring Woman (click here)

Inspector Faro Mysteries by Alanna Knight
Edinburgh, Scotland 1870. Because of a promise to a dying woman and his own misgivings, Inspector Faro decides to privately look into a closed case murder. A man has been hanged for two murders. He readily admitted to one but vehemently denied the second. That is the one that Inspector Faro looks into.   Author also write the Rose McQuinn historical mystery series.

1) Enter Second Murderer
2) Blood Line
3) Deadly Beloved
4) Killing Cousins
5) A Quiet Death
6) To Kill a Queen
7) The Missing Duchess
8) The Coffin Lane Murders
9) The Bull Slayers
10) Murder by Appointment
11) The Evil that Men Do
12) The Final Enemy
13) Death at Carasheen
14) Murder in Paradise (click here)

Please share your favorite Victorian era mysteries in the comments.

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Sunday, April 3, 2022

Review - Silence in the Library

This is the second outing for the new Lily Adler Mystery series.  I read the first in the series, A Body in the Garden (click here) and fell in love with the characters.  Let's see how the crucial second book held up.

Author: Katharine Schellman

Copyright: July 2021 (Crooked Lane Books) 349 pgs

Series: 2nd in Lily Adler Mysteries

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical cozy, historical amateur sleuth

Main Characters: Lily Adler, still grieving society widow

Setting: 1815 London, England

Obtained Through: Library

Book Blurb: "Regency widow Lily Adler didn't expect to find a corpse when visiting a family friend. Now it's up to her to discover the killer in the charming second installment in the Lily Adler mysteries.

Regency widow Lily Adler has finally settled into her new London life when her semi-estranged father arrives unexpectedly, intending to stay with her while he recovers from an illness. Hounded by his disapproval, Lily is drawn into spending time with Lady Wyatt, the new wife of an old family friend. Lily barely knows Lady Wyatt. But she and her husband, Sir Charles, seem as happy as any newly married couple until the morning Lily arrives to find the house in an uproar and Sir Charles dead.

All signs indicate that he tripped and struck his head late at night. But when Bow Street constable Simon Page is called to the scene, he suspects foul play. And it isn't long before Lily stumbles on evidence that Sir Charles was, indeed, murdered.

Mr. Page was there when Lily caught her first murderer, and he trusts her insight into the world of London's upper class. With the help of Captain Jack Hartley, they piece together the reasons that Sir Charles's family might have wanted him dead. But anyone who might have profited from the old man's death seems to have an alibi... until Lily receives a mysterious summons to speak with one of the Wyatts' maids, only to find the young woman dead when she arrives.

Mr. Page believes the surviving family members are hiding the key to the death of both Sir Charles and the maid. To uncover the truth, Lily must convince the father who doesn't trust or respect her to help catch his friend's killer before anyone else in the Wyatt household dies."

My thoughts:   Lily Adler is a delightfully intelligent, witty, and independent young widow taking her life into her own hands. In this addition to the series, she faces a few emotional issues head-on.

Lily's father, George Pierce is a male chauvenist and has always been critical of Lily.  He moves in as if the house is his to command and instantly attempts to reorder her life.  He sends her to represent him in a congratulatory call to an old friend who has remarried, which he disagrees with so he refuses to meet the bride. I usually don't like such family characters because the heroine typically acts too submissive, but in this case Lily stands up for herself often with her horrible father.  

Captain John (Jack) Hartley challenges prejudices as he is half Indian from New Delhi, which furthers angers Lily's father.  Jack is growing fonder of Lily with each day, but is conflicted since she is the widow of his dear friend.  

Lily's friend Ofelia is back from her honeymoon to an influential society man.  She presents herself as the quintessential era well bred lady.  Therfore, Lily's father likes her better than his own daughter.  

The Bow Street Runner, Mr. Page, would rather keep Lily out of the investigation but admits she gets information from society members when he can't.  

I have to give particular kudos for including a character who is on the autistic spectrum and demonstrate how misunderstood the condition was and how families were ashamed of such an afflicted.  

Jem, an industrious messenger boy who Jack pays to be his eyes and ears, is a favorite and makes several appearances.  

The mystery can be read as a standalone, but it does continue with character threads from the first book like any good series.  It is a well plotted mystery with some twists that kept me up reading.  The characters are well rounded and their thoughts, actions, and dialogue are natural and entertaining.  This is a slow-burn and developing romance, which I particularly like.  The setting is primarily the homes of the wealthy and influential, which works for this outing.  This is on the lighter side of the historical mysteries which I especially enjoy.  I highly recommend.

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

Here is the virtual book launch for your viewing pleasure: 

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