Quote of the Week

"The key is to commit crimes so confusing that police feel too stupid to even write a crime report about them."
Randy K. Milholland, Something Positive Comic
10-30-03. Web Comic Pioneer

Friday, May 28, 2010

Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner

Picture Paris in 1889 and the opening of the Eiffel Tower as part of the Universal Exposition that happened there that year. That is the setting of "Murder on the Eiffel Tower" by Claude Izner. A vistor to the tower on opeing day falls ill and dies of an apparent bee sting, but others around aren't so sure. As more random people seem to be stung by killer bees, the news media of the day begin to look into what is happening and why . This is a first book from two second-hand bookstore owners from Paris who collaborated to create this emerging mystery series with the lead character Victor Legris. Victor himself is a bookseller and mingles with people who are investigating what happened to all these people and feels that the media aren't doing a very good job. Books with historical setting don't tend to be a favorite, but I enjoyed this one. The authors who are considered to be experts on the period of Paris in the late 1880's created an atmosphere that made me feel like I was strolling the various streets and could almost smell the food on the street carts. You find interesting facts along the way such as the cost to go on the Tower was 4 francs which would have been a whole weeks pay for most people of that time. So even in the era of the fair, going up the Tower would have been a luxury. The twists among characters include Kenji who is a part owner of the bookstore and also a surrogate father, and Tanya a Russian illustrator who develops as a love interest but also a suspect. The twists and turns are well written and the attention to detail of the times impeccable. The next book is "Disappearance at PereLachaise"which incorporates the artist community of Paris in this time period. I highly recommend this book. It wasn't bad for a random pick from a bookstore.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Third Degree" by Greg Iles

Finding mysteries by authors whose names started with "I" was a little difficult so I ventured off to the Library Book sale in Thompson in search of a book by Greg Iles. I knew Iles to be popular and I was successful. This story was more a thriller than a mystery and followed a fairly common plot line of romantic triangle, thwarted husband, noble lover, and endangered children, not to mention nosy neighbor. Even so, it was engaging and used modern technology to heighten the atmosphere. Who would have thought of using a second cellphone for secret call? I read right through it in prompt time and would certainly read another. This was a stand alone book and not part of series.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"Ghostland" by Jean Hager

I really have no specific reason for choosing this book. I headed into the stacks at the Thompson Public Library and took the first mystery with an author whose name started with "H". I have always been interested in American Indian stories and this one did not disappoint. Once I got past the fact that the Police Chief's name was Mitch Bushyhead, I was off and running trying to figure out who killed the 8-year-old girl who was reported missing. There were plenty of red herrings and suspects to think about. A subplot about Mitch's love life really didn't interfere with the story. Character development was not significant however this was not the first book in the series. Set in Cherokee country in Oklahome, the story was realistic in its portrayal of life on a reservation and also of the reactions of various parents to murder, loss, and even some interesting plot twists that I will not reveal here. I would define this as an easy read mystery and definitely recommend it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Jelly's Gold" by David Housewright

Jelly's Gold is the 6th book in the series about PI Rushmore (Mac) McKenzie by David Housewright. When a graduate student (Ivy) comes to Mac and tells a story about lost gold from a bank robbery from 1933, Mac finds the story plausible and sets off to investigate and quickly finds out that the loot now worth $8 million is also being sought by others. Ivy's boyfriend is murdered outside her apartment just after making the decision to search for the money. Based loosely on a real crime of Frank "Jelly" Nash who robbed a bank in Huron, South Dakota in 1933, the money really was never found. This story is a mixture of real life stories and exploits with a fictional gold chase. The character does a lot of research and finds out a rich and colorful history of the city's infamous past, including that the nickname Jelly came from Nash's use of nytroglycerin to blow up safes. I had no idea that St. Paul Minnesota had been a haven of gangsters in the day. The only downside for me in this book which was a great story and a fairly easy read was the history behind the characters which came from previous novels on this main character. Many authors fill you in on the connections and this one left out a few details. I would love to read more in this series. I enjoyed the blend of history and fact with fiction. Everyone loves a treasure hunt and this one will not dissappoint. I chose this book because it was the Thompson Public Library Mystery Club choice for May. These books are available at many libraries in the area.