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

Monday, March 28, 2011

High Heels are Murder by Elaine Viets

This is the second in the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series by the popular mystery writer ELaine Viets. This is a cute series which is light and fast reading. I've always wondered if someone really makes a living as a mystery shopper when you see ads in the newspaper. But this sleuth gets to shop and check out department store policies and service, spend money(not her own) and then write a report on how it goes. As an idea for a series, this is a cute one. Certainly Josie will come across her share of murders with this formula. In this book, Josie shops at a high-end shoe store to find the saleman a little too charming and lingering a little too long on her feet. When the saleman is found dead and part of a foot fetish group, you can only image the trails that Josie is sent looking for a murderer. This is a charming series with a lot of potential. I jumped into the series in the seco9nd book and found that the author provided enough back story to help you along with the characters. If you need a quick read, this is your series and author. Viets is one of my current favorites and I look forward to reading the rest of these books which are perfect for vacation.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Carreta de la Muerte (cart of Death) by Mari Ulmer

This is the second novel in the mystery series featuring Christina Garcia y Grant as a retired lawyer and sleuth set in the Taos Mexico area. The theft of a priceless piece of church funeral art is the event that sets Christina on the beginning of the mystery. Finding bodies including an acquaintance of her friend Ignacio turns the friends to seek not only the historical crimes of precious church icons, but to solve the murder. This was an interesting choice as I had the opportunity to learn about the importance and reverance of death within the church of native cultures. The iconology of the different pieces that represent the past but are honored for their artistic value as well as important to a family whose loved one has passed away. This was a good book published by Poison Pen Press as part of Ulmer's Taos Festival Series and are available through area public libraries.

Final Witness by Simon Tolkien

In this British mystery by the grandson of the great J.R.R. Tolkien of the famed "Lord of the Rings" series, the surname alone means tall shoes to fill. I found this book online and decided to try this novel and see if Simon Tolkien also had some writing chops. Set in England, Thomas is the teenage son of a prominent politician and a socialite. Right in the beginning Thomas witnesses his mother being murdered but not exactly by seeing it. Thomas is thrust into a hidden cabinet by his mother in the middle of a break-in in the home. Thomas hears and sees bits of the crime and begins to put all together in order to catch the killer of his beloved Mom. Thomas's father previously had taken up with a social climbing woman who became his personal assistant. Thomas half falls in love with her as her charm to insinuate herself into the family falls on the teen as well. His father begins an affair with her and Thomas's mother only tolerates her and tends to see her as the conniving person that she is. Thomas then sets out to prove that Greta the love interest and soon to become step mom is the killer. Greta is arrested for the murder but his father is in complete denial and forsakes his son's attempts to solve the crime which later destroys their relationship. This reminded me a little bit of "Curious incident of the dog" in tone but ultimately, it is a great story that stands on it's own and left me guessing to the end. Not only is this a great mystery, but a well written character study. I can picture this as a PBS or BBC mystery. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more by this brilliant and clever author.