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Bitter Bones by Karen Radford Treanor
Publisher: Fido Publishing
Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader
Linnet Halliday and Geneva Bradford are digging in the rock garden of Linnet’s home. Some box has been shoved into a hole and Linnet wants it out as she is getting work done on the garden. Imagine their shock when they pull out the box and open it to find the skeleton of a baby.
The police, once the immediate investigation is over, give solving the case a low priority so Geneva decides to try to find who did this terrible thing to the child. She is a mother and her heart aches for the baby.
She takes on the daunting task of finding a solution between her cattery and shop work. Her investigation takes her to several interesting places that you will enjoy visiting as well as meeting the fun and well drawn characters who will step off the page to shake your hand.
The story is enhanced by the old friends of Geneva’s who contribute in some way to her search for information or to the flavor of the story. You will love them all.
I’m pleased to highly recommend Bitter Bones by talented author Karen Radford Treanor as a read well worth the time, one guaranteed to provide lots of reading pleasure. You’ll want to read other books by this author. Enjoy. I sure did.
The Devil’s Advocate by Graham Lord
Publishers: Orion, ISBN:0752877801
Reviewed by Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader
I love reading good thrillers and mysteries….and I even love reading about the authors who wrote these thrillers. Thus I am the proud owner of the biographies written about bestselling authors like Jeffrey Archer [ Michael Crick’s Stranger Than Fiction and Jonathan Mantle’s In for a Penny], Ken Follett [Carlos Ramet’s Transformation of a Writer], Arthur Hailey [Sheila Hailey’s I Married a Bestseller] etc.
And when Orion announced the publication of the biography of John Mortimer….rather Sir John Mortimer, the famed English barrister, novelist, playwright and of course the creator of Rumpole- I definitely had to get that book. And after a long, long wait, I finally got my hand on the book last week. Its not often an Indian edition of biographies come into print- and when Universal Law Publishers- one of the leading law publishers in India decided to release a special Indian edition, I believed that there was something special about the book.
Eagerly I began reading the book…but I was shocked. I always imagined or pictured John Mortimer as a real life Rumpole, a lovable, down to earth, simple, humorous old man who never minces words when he speaks. And of course actor Leo McKern who portrayed Rumpole in the famed television series looked like Rumpole and John Mortimer himself. And the biography which reached my hands was the story of another man- a man ‘plagued by depression, doubt, insecurity and an irresistible urge to commit adultery’. I doubly checked to see whether it was indeed THE legendary Mortimer author Lord was describing. …yup it was.
The work traces the life of Mortimer from his childhood days right upto to 2005. The biography starts with a jolt. In the very first page itself, Lord denounces Mortimer for claiming that he had been born in Central London, while in truth he had been born in Hampstead. What follows will be a rude shock for the lover of Rumpole works- and for those who always though that Rumpole was always an alter- ego of the author might feel disappointed. The best part of the book is of course the description of the famed obscenity trial which had Mortimer successfully defending the OZ magazine on charges of obscenity. Likewise there are some great photographs in the work, including a caricature of Leo McKern as Rumpole and Mortimer side by side. I was also impressed by the cover jacket- a grand picture of Mortimer in a pensive mood in a black background…
The narrative style reminded me a lot about the style followed by Michael Crick in his biography on Jeffrey Archer STRANGE THAN FICTION. Like that book, this book also started as an official biography …before becoming an unauthorized biography. Lord Archer had remarked that he absolutely HATED that biography and I think Lord Mortimer would have nothing much different to comment on this biography. All in all a well researched study…..and I am now waiting for the OFFICIAL Mortimer biography by Valerie Grove to hit the stands. Watch this space.
STEALING THE DRAGON (A Cape Weathers Investigation) - by Tim Maleeny
Reviewed by Glen Clooney, New Mystery Reader
A container vessel with a hold full of frightened Chinese refugees runs aground on Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay. The vessel's crew have been slaughtered in a manner that suggests Private Investigator Cape Weathers' friend, Sally, may somehow be involved. However Sally, a trained assassin, is missing and Cape must infiltrate the seedy, deadly underworld of Chinatown triads to find Sally, and to seek answers to a series of mysteries that unfold one atop another with each step he takes. Sally has a dark,
secretive past about which Cape knows very little. When he finds a dead body in the trunk of his car and a bomb planted conspicuously underneath, he becomes much more directly involved than he'd care to be.
As this is not normally my preferred genre I started reading this book with an open mind, not really knowing what to expect. Most of the main players are introduced rapidly in half a dozen short chapters. Though the characters must weave their way through a few dodgy metaphors, I found myself enjoying the pace. Initially the jumps back and forth in time were a little irritating but once I'd progressed further into the story it became much more gripping. San Francisco and Chinatown came alive for me, and I enjoyed the spotlights of wit and humor that lightened the mood here and there throughout. Maleeny has come up with a great set of characters who move smoothly through the story, interacting wonderfully with each other. The outcome is perhaps a little predictable and there were no real surprises in the ending, but overall a nicely written and colorfully set tale. A very good debut.
A new Cape Weathers Investigation, entitled "Beating the Babushka", is due for release in October 2007.
Protector by Laurel Dewey
Publisher: Safe Goods ISBN-10: 1884820859
Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader
When Denver homicide detective Jane Perry is asked to help in the investigation of the brutal murder of a young girl's parents, she is more than wary, especially when after meeting Emily she begins to experience odd visions and an incomprehensible connection to the precocious child. Still suffering from a recent case in which she watched an entire family blown away by a car bomb, including a young girl she failed to save, she's more interested in drowning her sorrows in Jack Daniels and a constant infusion of nicotine.
But when Emily, a survivor and possible witness of her parent's brutal slaying, refuses to deal with anyone but Jane about what she might have seen, Jane is forced into the role of interrogator and protector; a role she knows all too well having survived a brutal past of abuse and terror. But is this a second chance, or will the unlocking of the memories trapped in Emily's mind reveal an even darker secret that could destroy Jane once and for all?
As a reviewer who is accustomed to reading the big, bold and commercialized offerings, it always comes as an amazing and sweet delight to run across a new author from a small publishing house who can knock these bad boys/girls off the shelves. Dewey, holding no punches in this raw and heartbreakingly realistic portrayal of a woman on the brink of self-destruction, does this and more. Whether you feel empathy or repulsion towards this heroine, the last thing you will feel is indifference, which, either way, is really what characterization should ultimately accomplish. But, that's not the only thing that makes this novel stand out; Dewey also offers up a tale of a connection between woman and child that will break your heart, a mystery that will challenge your intellect, and the promise of redemption that will remind you to hope. A beautiful and deeply satisfying novel, here's to hoping Dewey has plans for another.
A Corpse in the Soup by Morgan St. James and Phyllice Bradner
Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc. ISBN: 1-59705-216-7
Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader
Two sisters have a knack for solving crimes and this one is a doozy. One sister, Godiva Dubois, is wealthy and an advice columnist under the name G. O. D. while the other sister, Goldie, lives in Alaska and has an antiques shop.
Godiva lures her niece to Los Angeles with a promise of helping her get a position on a cooking show with a famous chef that she, Godiva, has taken a fancy too. Her sister soon follows and they are plunged into the world of cookery and contests and murder when one of the chefs is found face down in some bouillabaisse with a knife in his back.
With their mother and uncle's aid, the sisters gather clues to the identity of the killer. Talented authors Morgan St. James and Phyllice Bradner introduce us to the egotistic contestants of this cooking contest and names of dishes we don't make in our kitchens. Lots of fun and action to carry the tale along without a hitch.
I'm pleased to highly recommend this tale to any mystery buff who enjoys a tongue-in-cheek style of story telling with lots of fun characters who take you by the hand and lead you a merry chase after a killer. Guaranteed to provide many smiles and even provoke some laughter as you read.
Enjoy. I sure did.