Wednesday, June 15, 2011


One of my persistent vices/pleasures is reading. I am prone to curl up with a book and not notice laundry or dirty dishes piling up. Each member of my family is a voracious reader and each of us always has a stack of books waiting to be read--except Hero, who reads so fast that he can’t keep reading material. Father’s Day is coming up, and the Darling Daughters and I will replenish Hero’s book supply. We are all such habitual readers that we read ads, cereal labels, etc. if we don’t have a book handy.
And don’t you just love a bargain? I just downloaded a lot of 99 cent books for my Kindle. I mentioned previously that ALL of Alice Duncan’s cozy mysteries and romance novels are at that bargain price for the month of June. Terry Odell’s WHEN DANGER CALLS (A Blackthorne, Inc. novel) is on sale now. For slightly more at $2.99, I bought DEAD AS A SCONE, book one of the Royal Tunbridge Wells mysteries set in Tunbridge Wells, England near where a friend lives. The friend took us to Tunbridge Wells when we stayed with her, so I look forward to reading this series.

Coughing up full price for a hardback is onerous for me, but I forked over the cash for Amanda Quick’s latest, QUICKSILVER, and can hardly wait to dig in. Her books are keepers for me. Even though I cringe at the price, I buy hardback. I love her quirky, eccentric heroines.

But here’s what I’ve been reading:

I’VE HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE, by Mary Higgins Clark, is a well-paced mystery set in New England. I enjoy Ms Clark’s books because they’re well written and she doesn’t sprinkle them with curse words. This one had only one slightly off-color word spoken by the villain. I’VE HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE is written in first person for the main character, and third person for other points of view. Changing back and forth didn’t bother me at all and was done seamlessly by a master storyteller. In the book, Kay Lansing meets and falls instantly in love with Peter Carrington. Events lead Peter to be accused and jailed in three murders and Kay must prove he is innocent. I did suspect the killer early on, but Ms Clark threw up enough red herrings to keep me in doubt.

A much older book (2003) I enjoyed is MAGGIE BY THE BOOK, the sequel to MAGGIE NEEDS AN ALIBI, by Kasey Michaels. These books are fun, but you need to read the first one to get the most from the second. In the first, mystery writer Maggie’s two fictional Regency sleuths appear in her apartment in the flesh. Ms Michaels adds a lot of humor to these books, especially the second, when she parodies Romance Writers of America’s national convention and the Romantic Times conference with her combination WAR conference and Rose Knows Romance cover model competition and costume ball.

A LESSON IN SECRETS, Jacqueline Winspear's latest, is set in the early 1930’s England. I can’t get enough English mysteries, and also adore the 1920-1930 era. Maisie Dobbs is the sleuth who gets a lesson in national secrets. If you haven’t read this series, start with the first and go forward. They are stand alone, but are so much more interesting if you follow Maisie through her career development.

THE SWEETHEARTS’ KNITTING CLUB, by Lori Wilde, is another book several years old (2008). I loved this book so much I reread it to study Lori’s writing. It is a perfect example of hero, villain, and heroine. The pacing is good, and I loved the story. Lori is a master storyteller, and also a very nice person.

THE COLD LIGHT OF MORNING and A BRUSH WITH DEATH, by Elizabeth J. Duncan, are contemporary cozies set in England. I enjoyed both the culture and the plots. I have to admit I knew who the killer was in the first book early on, but couldn’t figure out how he managed the murder. I thought I had it figured out. Hero came to the same conclusion as I had and we were wrong. I love when a writer is able to honestly misdirect and surprise me.

Now, please tell me what you’ve been reading.

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