Tag Archives: cozy mystery

Sam Clair: Snarky Editor and Sleuth

cast_of_vulturesSam Clair is a mild-mannered book editor, girlfriend, daughter, friend, and reluctant sleuth. She has a wickedly sarcastic sense of humor that she doesn’t always express out loud, but we are privy to it in her thoughts as the story progresses.“(It is, tragically, still illegal to force people to buy books at gunpoint. I don’t know why this kind of restriction is allowed to remain on the statute books.)” – location 31 on my Kindle

Viv is one of Sam’s neighborhood friends. Viv’s friend and neighbor Dennis has gone missing. Logically this means that Sam and she must break into his apartment to see if this is a planned absence or perhaps something more sinister. After yet another in a series of neighborhood fires, Dennis is found, but there are many questions still.

Much goes into trying to solve the mystery of Dennis’s disappearance from her making phone calls to shadowing one shady character at the market for clues. And it would appear that someone isn’t that happy about her interference. Things escalate and Sam’s life is at stake.

I enjoyed reading this book. The characters were mostly well drawn and interesting. I read this as a stand-alone but probably would have gained something by reading it as part of the series. I loved Sam’s snark. And the mystery was well done. It builds slowly from the disappearance of Dennis to Sam’s life being in danger from all of her snooping. As the mystery deepens, it gains momentum. By the end, I was reading fast to find out what would happen next.

Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It’s well written with interesting characters. The mystery itself is well done. Don’t be put off by this being the third book in the series. This can be read as a stand-alone and enjoyed. Some depth to some of the characters could probably be gained though by reading earlier books in the series.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Killer Clown

send_in_clownsSpending an evening or even a few hours at a haunted house venue is not Ellison Russell’s idea of fun. But, her daughter has broken curfew and in the 1970s neither one has a cell phone for tracking her down. Her last known whereabouts were at the haunted house. So, Ellison goes in and gets the surprise of her life when a clown collapses dead on her and another one seems to be fleeing the murder scene. Ellison muses, “I’m not sure what it says about me that I have a homicide detective’s home number memorized…”as she calls Anarchy Jones for assistance.Who killed the clown? What was the motive? Ellison finds herself drawn into the case further and further in spite of her best attempts not to do so.

Ellison has a good sense of humor that is evident in her thoughts and conversations with other characters in the mystery. She feels that Mr. Coffee and her father are the only two men who haven’t let her down. And still, she finds herself in a little bit of a love triangle. At one point her date is hauled off for questioning in the case by the Detective Anarchy Jones. Both men would like to see her stay out of the mess, but she keeps getting drawn back in.

Romance is more of a subplot to the murder. Ellison’s best friend is also dating someone new. And there is a further subplot of someone stealing and selling antiques.

It might sound like there is a lot going on. Honestly, though, it’s really the right amount. The author pulls it all together seamlessly. I really enjoyed the book and all of its parts. I especially enjoyed Ellison’s sense of humor and independence.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. The mystery is well written and well paced. You can guess along with the rest of them who did it before the revealing. There is just the right amount of romance and subplot. And Ellison has a good relationship with her daughter that reminds me a little of the relationship Claire Malloy has with her daughter in the Joan Hess books. This novel can be read and enjoyed as a standalone, even though it is the fourth book in the series. I did go out and buy the first book when I finished this one. Send in the Clowns became available October 25, 2016 from Henery Press.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Skanks, Peaches, and Southern Hospitality

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Teeny Templeton catches her fiance, Bing, butt naked playing badminton with 2 beautiful yet skanky women. Her reaction is to climb a tree and throw peaches at the lot of them. Bing presses charges against her and gets a restraining order, he says to avoid a repeat of the assault. Now someone has texted Teeny in Bing’s name and summoned her to their former home with the  lure of mending their relationship. The reality is different though. Teeny finds Bing dead just before someone knocks her cold. Who texted her? And who knocked her out? And who is framing Teeny for murder?

Add onto Teeny’s troubles that she needs bail, a place to live, and a job. And she needs the help of her first love who is now a lawyer. But just who all can Teeny trust as she navigates the legal system and life in Charleston, SC?

It’s a pretty good book. It reads some like chick lit and some like a mystery. It has its funny points(throwing peaches) and not so funny(funerals and restraining orders). Some of the characters are more developed than others which is to be expected since not all of them have a large role to play. The tempo of the book picks up the closer you get to the end. I liked that I couldn’t tell who the murderer was going to be pretty much up until the end.

I had a couple of minor complaints. It’s a little slow in places, but that’s to be expected, for example, as we have a flashback to when Teeny and Coop were an item 10 yrs ago. And Teeny falls into bed kinda quickly with Coop after losing her fiance. Her relationship with Bing would have had to have been already rocky before he died, I would have thought, in order for her to go to bed with Coop that quickly. Michael Lee West uses Teeny’s past relationship with Coop to help explain that.

Overall I give the book 4 out of 5 stars. It’s  best for people who don’t mind a little chick lit with their mysteries. As a bonus there are recipes at the end of the book for some of the Teeny’s creations like Lavender Short Bread. I listened to the book on CD. The narrator reads with a pleasant southern accent. This audiobook was released in 2011 from Tantor Media. I borrowed my copy from my local library.

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