Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: A Play of Isaac by Margaret Frazer

A band of traveling players make an arrangement to play for a local landowner in exchange for board until their upcoming Celebration they are playing.  When a man is murdered and dumped outside the barn they are staying in, Joliffe investigates.  

I love the historical detail of Margaret Frazer's works and this is no different.  I like Joliffe and the players and enjoyed the  dynamics.  It is also interesting to see "The Crowner" and how death was investigated in the 15th century.

This was the first in a new series and the mystery part was pretty weak (the murder was wayyyy in for those who that bothers) but I will give it another shot.  So, basically - it was just ok overall.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Review: Buried in a Bog by Sheila Connolly

Before her grandmother dies, Maura promises her that she will go to Ireland where she was from. She goes to see a woman that was friends with her Grandmother with no set plan or idea of what she wants. Soon after she arrives, a body is found in a bog near the small town of Leap where she is staying. Then things start happening and she is threatened.

I enjoyed the mystery, but what I enjoyed even more was the descriptions of that area of Ireland and the people there. I have been to Cork and it gave me that nice cozy feeling that a cozy should.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review: The Dinosaur Battle of New Orleans by Dane HAtchell

A scientist creates an experiment to cure him of his cancer. Only, there were side effects...

Besides spending a few months in prehistoric times before returning to the present, he brings dinosaurs back with him. All unintentional but creating chaos and death in New Orleans.

From an airplane downed by pteradactyls to a dinosaur battle in Jackson Square where Left and Right protesters have to battle for their lives, the insanity that already is NOLA explodes with violence, fear and heroism.

I bought this book because the premise intrigued me and I stayed with it because it was just plain fun!


Monday, July 9, 2018

Review: Beaches, Bungalows and Burglaries by Tonya Kappes

Mae West's (not THAT Mae West) goes to jail for running a Ponzi scheme.  All she has to her name is a campground in Normal KY.  She goes there hoping to find a buyer - only it is run down and in pretty bad shape.  

After the body of her dead husband (escaped from jail) is found, there is also a murder to solve.

She befriends some of the town members and hosts a fundraiser to restore the park to its former glory.  Finding a new home in the process

I did like the book a lot, but things with the campground moved way too fast to be believable.  From a dump to full up for a season in one event?  The townspeople going from hating her to loving her quickly - also - nope.  But it was a still a fun ride.  I read it in one day.

Additionally - the title doesn't fit the story.  


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: Crimes of the Levee by John Sturgeon

Early twentieth century Chicago was a crime ridden place, and working to get justice could be a very difficult thing without ruffling those in power.  Patrick is fresh off the conviction and execution of a killer they caught (called a Serial Killer on the cover newsprint - which I don't really care for because that term was used 1970s onward).  Anyway, he is tasked with finding a missing young woman thought to be kidnapped into white slavery.  So he and his partner, investigate the brothels (of which the Levee District has tons) while also privately investigating a supposed suicide.  

A good book, steeped in a city full of graft and crimes.  Interesting characters.  Would like more.

And on another unrelated note -- I now have the song American Pie in my head since the Levees were dry...


Monday, July 2, 2018

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

Happy Independence Day!

Okay, so it’s a little early to be wishing everyone a happy Fourth of July. I’m having carpal-tunnel surgery on my left wrist on June 27, so I’m catching up ahead of time. If that makes any sense.

Regarding June’s give-away, Bam-Bam, my winner-picking wiener dog, has selected the winners of June’s contest, in which I’m giving away copies of some Mercy Allcutt books. They are:

LOST AMONG THE ANGELS, which goes to Carol Goerz;
ANGELS OF MERCY, which goes to Lisa Brooks;
FALLEN ANGELS (winner of the Arizona/New Mexico Book of the Year award in 2012. I’m not a contest-enterer as a rule, but this one cracked me up. New Mexico & literacy don’t normally end up in sentences together. That’s not very nice, is it? Oh, well), which goes to Donna Durnell; and
THANKSGIVING ANGELS, which goes to Mary Ann Hopper.

At the end of July, I’ll give away … I dunno. Let me see here. Okay, the book will be SPIRITS UNITED. I’ll give away four copies of that one, in which a librarian is murdered! By, needless to say, a dastardly fiend. But Sam Rotondo and Daisy save the day. Well, not for the murdered librarian, but for other would-be victims of the villain.

When I recover from having my left wrist operated on, the surgeon will fix the right wrist. I’m actually looking forward to this, because I’ve had trouble with carpal-tunnel syndrome for … oh, I don’t know. Twenty or thirty years or thereabouts. It’s past time to get my wrists un-crimped. Maybe my handwriting will improve! It used to be kind of pretty, but now, what with arthritis and carpal tunnel, my writing looks rather like that of a spider on meth.

On to the good stuff. Last month I told everyone Peter Brandvold (Mean Pete, as he prefers to be called) gave me one of his characters, Lou Prophet, former bounty hunter, to play with in SHAKEN SPIRITS, my next Daisy Gumm Majesty book. This is probably the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me, writerishly speaking. Of course, when Mean Pete writes about Lou in his books set the 1880s, Lou is a young man in his late twenties or early thirties. When Daisy gets hold of him, he’s in his seventies, has lost a leg in an accident involving (naturally) wimmin and booze, and is living in the Odd Fellows Home of Christian Charity in Pasadena, CA. He’s craggy, slightly grumpy, still good-looking for an old guy, and I absolutely love him!

Mean Pete’s next Lou Prophet book, BLOOD AT SUNDOWN, will be released by Kensington in August of this year. I hope everyone goes out and buys a copy or three. Here’s a picture of Lou Prophet as a young, womanizing, and incredibly handsome man. I’m including a link so you can buy Mean Pete’s book. I didn’t get to edit this book, but I trust Mean Pete’s Kensington editor. A little:

Feel free to pre-order SHAKEN SPIRITS, too:

If you’d like to enter July’s contest, just send me an email ( and give me your name and home address. If you’d like to be added to my mailing list, you may do so on my web site ( or email me (you won’t be smothered in e-mails, because I only write one newsletter a month, and that’s an effort). If you’d like to be friends on Facebook, visit my page at

Thank you!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: Ice Blonde by Elaine Viets

Angela gets a desperate plea from worried parents to help find their missing daughter: a teen that vanished after a party during frigid temperatures and snow.  

Secrets come to light, the rich vs. working class turn on each other and when Angela gets to the bottom of it, a twist comes that I didn't foresee which I LOVED!

Another excellent addition to this series!


Review: A Play of Isaac by Margaret Frazer

A band of traveling players make an arrangement to play for a local landowner in exchange for board until their upcoming Celebration they ...