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, July 23, 2010

Organize your Corpses by Mary Jane Maffini

This was an absolutely perfect beach or curl up in a lounge chair book. It was fun and without a terribly difficult plot. The heroine has real life problems and two adorable yet loyal little dogs. I was drawn to the idea of an organizer solving crimes since organization would seem to be a prime quality for a sleuth. In theory, I understand the importance of being organized but it is certainly not my most dominant quality. The setting is the upper Hudson River Valley which was also a draw for me since I am familiar with the area. Charlotte Adams, just starting a business of professional organizing in her home town, runs into all kinds of situations trying to solve the murder of a former and quite unpopular teacher. Suspects and helpers for Charlotte are certainly not lacking and, in fact, some overlap. Red herrings are numerous but even when it seems obvious who the culprit is, more surprises await. "Organize Your Corpses" was an enjoyable read. I would definitely try another. Perfect for stashing in a suitcase, the book is available in easy travel paperback. Maffini is a Canadian native with three crime series with heroines including Charlotte Adams, as well as Camilla McPhee, a detective, and Fiona Silk, a failed romance writer.Both sound lie fun. Maffini is a former president of Crime Fighters of Canada. Her books have been nominated for a number of mystery awards.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson

It's been a while since I have reached for a book and read continuously until I finished. This book is one of them. I purchased last summer when it came out in paperback and it sat on the TBR pile until a bookgroup decided to tackle it. The character of Blomkvist as the disgraced journalist and Salander as the edgy troubled genius was just a dynamic combination for an explosive story. The underground story with international finance, a trip back in time with White Supremacy and Nazism was riveting. It's a fast-paced story that I found easy to follow and could imagine as a movie. What I liked the most was the character development of Salander. She was so hard edged and reflected the terrible experiences such as her guardians who always took physical, emotional, and financial advantage of her. But while you wanted to feel sorry for her lot in life, you saw that those experiences made her who she had become and you found yourself wanting to cheer for her successes when she has them. When I saw that a movie had been made of the book, I was fortunate with timing that I was able to see at an art cinema. Filmed by a Swedish film company and shown in America with subtitles, I was unsure if I would enjoy the film, but I wholeheartedly did. The film was extraordinary and because of the pace of the film, the subtitles were not a problem. The casting of Salander was genius and now I cannot imagine an American version of this story. While the movie couldn;t possible include everything in the book, most was told in impecible detail. I have saved reading the other two books in the series for a treat for later in the summer. This book is still in high demand at area libraries so either get yourself on a waiting list or go to an area bookseller and buy a copy. This is a book worth your time.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Wed and Buried" by Toni L. P. Kelner

This book is the 8th in the Laura Fleming mystery series. I have not read any in the series and picked this one up at a library "friends" sale earlier this year. I am sure there is a back story that I did not know jumping into the middle of the series, but it didn't hinder me from enjoying the novel. This is a cozy type mystery and one of many that portray a super mommy with not only amazing mothering skills, an attentive and supportive husband, and the ability to be super sleuth all rolled into one. This isn't exactly great literature compared to some that I have read so far. Laura arrives with hubbie and baby in tow to visit an older relative who has recently gotten married. The new groom claims someone is trying to kill him. Laura sets out to find out what is happening and of course finds out that the man had a past that would make many people in the town likely to want him dead. Predictable of course not long after arriving in town for the visit a body is found. Laura is able to solve the crime with pretty much one arm tied behind her back and with the help of many neighbors and aunties that help with the baby just at the most important times. This is a cute series and I would probably read more. I wanted something light to read and this book delivered. So if you are a fan of the cozy, mommy super sleuth this is your book.
*Note the post from the author.
I wanted to clarify a point that Toni Kelner graciously made to my posting. I jumped into a series and made a sweeping generality about the series that was incorrect. I am thrilled Toni posted and I hope now to go back to my 'roots' and read the beginning of the series to see how the characters are developed and see where the plots twists take the character.
Thanks for setting us straight and please read Toni's series!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Under Suspicion by Rachel Lee

In this quest to read 26 novels in a year, in alpha order by author, I am also trying to include a number of different types of mysteries. "Under Suspicion" by Rachel Lee falls in the romantic fiction category. In spite of the "romantic" description it is far from the stereotypical bodice burner one usually associates with that category. The setting is a university museum, the antagonist an anonymous and difficult to locate person, the police involved have lives and characteristics that are quite human. The protagonist is also well drawn. I did not figure out who the villain was before the chase was on. The technical details were realistic and up to date. Of course, there was a "curse". Who really knows if the curse came true? Rachel Lee has written an unbelievable total of over 50 books in various themes. I did enjoy this one being something of a sap for museum stories. I got the book in paperback at the Thompson Public Library and it is available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.