City of Silver
by Annamaria Alfieri
I bumped into this book browsing the new books at the main library and loved the cover so much I had to check it out. Well, let me tell you, it was fascinating. So who knew anything about the silver mines in Peru in the 17th century? Certainly not I—I must have been asleep when we went over Peruvian history in high school.
This is a very nice little mystery featuring Mother Maria Santa Hilda, abbess of a convent in the booming town of Potosi (upper Peru, part of Bolivia now). Mother Maria must prove that a wealthy townsman’s daughter did not commit suicide under her care at the convent in order to save herself from the fires of the Inquisition, brought all the way from Spain to the New World. The mystery is pleasant enough, but it’s almost a side story to the class and color wars, the horror of the silver mines, and the stories of the Spaniards who found themselves trying to recreate their former social system in the thin air of the Andes. The sidelines about the Church and Inquisition are worthy, as well. For those who love clerical mysteries (here’s a huge list of literary priests, pastors, rabbis, monks & nuns), this fits the bill.
By Greenlaw, Linda
Greenlaw, one of my favorite “nautical authors” – writer of the excellent nonfiction The Hungry Ocean and The Lobster Chronicles, turns to the mystery novel genre here. But don’t fret – she sets it in Maine with many familiar trappings and terms.
This is a breezy, funny book filled with colorful characters and her trademark witty and droll observations. You’ll get to work alongside Jane Bunker, the frugal transplanted Miami detective now employed as a marine inspector in the usually quiet town of Green Haven. Her clashes and encounters spiral into a real convoluted mystery. Go Jane!
Promising debut fiction work which may become a series of sorts. I enjoyed it.
By Parker, T. Jefferson
I first discovered T. Jefferson Parker because he had won more than one Edgar Award for his mysteries. So far, all I’ve read have been utterly satisfying. He creates a strong sense of place, usually somewhere in California, and he delves into his characters’ psyches and emotions, which naturally enriches the storyline. L.A. Outlaws (2008) features a female masked bandit who adores stealing cars and robbing fast food joints, and whose alter-ego is a public school history teacher and mother, Suzanne Jones. Her bandit persona (she also donates generously to charities) intrigues the public, the media, and also a young L.A.P.D. cop who gets more involved with her than he should while trying to simultaneously unmask her and protect her. If you like well-written mysteries, try this author!
Million Dollar Baby
by Amy Patricia Meade
Let’s welcome another mystery writer who takes us back to 1935, the time of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. You can visualize the movie version of this book with the dapper millionaire Creighton Ashcroft III coming to this small Connecticut village in his Rolls Royce impressing all the women except published mystery writer Miss Marjorie McClelland. Add one suicide of the past owner of Kensington House, the bones of the gardener, Park Avenue society plus a drop-dead gorgeous detective (pardon the term) and you have a rollicking tale that keeps you enthralled wondering who “done them in” and who gets the girl. You will be eagerly awaiting the next Marjorie McClelland mystery.
The Mayor of Lexington Avenue
by James Sheehan
This is a first novel for the author but you would never guess it. Sheehan offers a legal thriller with nostalgia, values, and the spice of a little romance. The mayor of Lexington Ave. is attorney Jack Tobin who, years later, repays his childhood best friend Mikey for protecting him when they were young. Mikey’s son is on death row, framed for murdering a woman 10 years before. While there is some predictability in the outcome of this novel, there are still a few surprises. It will keep you reading and guessing.
The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield
The author is obviously well-read in Victorian literature. This may first seem to be a booklover’s book but its gothic feel would also appeal to adventure readers.
Margaret Lea, the daughter of a book dealer, is invited to visit the well-known elderly author Vida Winter in order to write Miss Winter’s final “true” biography. This is odd that Margaret was chosen over existing authors or journalists, as Margaret has never read any of her books. Prior to her interview, Margaret decides to read The Thirteenth Tale which her father has in the safe with other rare books. The original book only had twelve tales when first published resulting in a corrected reissue as The Twelfth Tale.
The unfolding story of Margaret’s stay with Miss Winters has a taste of the writing of Bronte, Eyre, The Arabian Nights with a little DuMaurier as well. There is a continuing puzzle that is always missing a piece and this reader just knew what the missing piece was and yet… it is the twist at the end that gives this tale its mastery.
The Spellman Files
by Lisa Lutz
Lisa Lutz obviously has loved mysteries since childhood. This debut novel from a screenwriter has glimpses of Chandler’s noir, Nancy Drew’s female intuition, Janet Evanovich’s family dynamics and boyfriend woes, and last but not least, TV’s Get Smart.
Isabel Spellman’s family runs a detective agency out of their home. The oldest child, David, is the perfect child so he is the only one who is not in the family business. He is a lawyer. However, the rest of the family does not know how to socialize without interrogating.There is the boozing and gambling Uncle Ray who saw the light once he earlier survived cancer after having lived a pure life. There is the youngest preteen, Rae (yes, named after Uncle Ray) who started snooping almost as soon as she could walk. Izzy was not an ace student in high school, can’t keep a boyfriend even though her mother keeps trying with lawyer first dates supplied by David, the perfect brother, and is not very athletic. Yet, she is a natural for the family business with her investigative skills. When she meets Mr. Right, a dentist, she can’t tell him what her family does. (It’s not the Mafia!) However, the family spies on her and soon her scam (ruse) is revealed. Izzy realizes that she must give up the business to keep the man.
Couldn’t help but be a PI = environment & genetics.