Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

Things in Jars, by Jess Kidd

August 22, 2020


After going through an obsessive Agatha Christie and Ellery Queen phase in high school, I gave up on mysteries. The police procedural just didn’t work for me. Even the amateur (or non-) sleuth characters didn’t grab me.

Somehow recently I have rediscovered some off-the-beaten path mysteries. They are definitely “I’m not an actual detective, but I am a busybody or amateur/under the radar investigator” books but at the same time they include some magical realism and/or very quirky characters and/or a setting that is compelling.

This book by Jess Kidd is an amazing part of this genre!!! I loved it from start to finish. You can read summaries in other reviews or in the description here on Goodreads so I won’t go into that. I will just say that a few of the things that made this book a favorite are:
–> The characters of Ruby (tattooed former boxer ghost), Cora (seven-foot tall, former circus star housekeeper), Christabel (mysterious, freak of nature – or supernature), and more;
–> The details about investigator Bridie Devine (her ugly bonnet, her strange childhood, her medical and pharmacological knowledge, her smoking);
–> And, the city: Victorian London – disgusting, dangerous, exciting. And the countryside – disgusting (behavior), dangerous, exciting.

I immediately read Jess Kidd’s other novel, “Himself,” when I finished “Things in Jars.” I can’t wait to read her next book!

Find “Things in Jars” in our catalog

Staff Picks Hall of Fame Author: Alafair Burke!

April 24, 2020

Did you know that suspense author Alafair Burke has been recommended by 3 different staff members on this blog? Back in 2016 Cindy recommended The Ex, saying “A great courtroom thriller/mystery.  I read a review of this book and was intrigued and plunged in.  This book is inhabited by some very interesting characters and not many of them are that likable!  Even so,  the story is so well told and fast paced, you just can’t put it down.  This was the first novel I read by this author and will definitely be back for more.”

Mary-Ellen recommended The Better Sister as one of the best books she’s read in the past few months, and Karen included The Wife as one of her favorites this year.

You can find The Ex on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Ex by Alafair Burke - Wait list

Find The Better Sister on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

The Better Sister

Find The Wife on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Wife by Alafair Burke - Wait list

Did you know that Alafair Burke is the daughter of suspense author James Lee Burke? You can find James Lee Burke’s on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive too!

Staff Favorites -Lightning Round

April 16, 2020


What are the best books you’ve read in the last few months?

Long Bright River by Liz Moore Available on Libby/Overdrive

Long Bright River: A Novel by [Liz Moore]

Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg Available on Hoopla

Girl in the Rearview Mirror

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid Available on Libby/Overdrive

Such a Fun Age - ebook

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton Available on Libby/Overdrive

The Clockmaker's Daughter - ebook

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton Available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive

Title details for The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton - Wait list

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke Available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive

Title details for The Better Sister by Alafair Burke - Wait list

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

April 13, 2020


This book has been on my To Be Read list for a very long time, but I’m so glad I waited until now to read it. During this strange COVID 19 stay-at-home time, when focusing has been a bit of a struggle, I needed a book that would completely capture my imagination, and hoo boy, was this that book. This is a dark, gothic, complex, sometimes funny, often tragic, mystery set in Barcelona in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. In many ways it is about the love, and the power, of books. It is also about resilience, in the wake of the devastation of the Spanish Civil War – making it an especially powerful read right now. The plot is way too complicated to attempt to explain here, but if you want a book that will take you far out of the here and now, this is a very good one to try.

You can find the ebook here and the audiobook here on Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - Wait list

Author Spotlight – Jacqueline Winspear

April 6, 2020


Growing up as a mystery lover (think: every Nancy Drew title—-I almost ordered a 1000-piece puzzle of Nancy Drew book cover recently), Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs character blends this love of mystery with my interest in both WWI and WWII. Set in England, Maisie is introduced as a teenaged maid (part of an in-service family) who is “taken under the wing” of Lady Rowan who arranges tutoring, leading to schooling at Cambridge, interrupted by her desire to “do one’s part” to fill the nursing shortage in WWI and then becomes a private investigator (yes, there’s lots going on for Maisie).

I have read 16 of the 17 books Jacqueline Winspear has written; 15 of which are the Maisie Dobbs series. I also read her stand-alone title, The Care and Management of Lies, (also Maisie Dobbs) a novel about the Great War, published in 2014 to coincide with the centennial of WWI (1914). I wonder if there are to be more adventures for Maisie as book#15 was set during the Blitz!

Many of these titles are available on Libby/Overdrive and Hoopla (both e-book and audiobook versions).

Imagine, I signed up for and explored Hoopla!

– Pam

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries Series Book 1) by [Jacqueline Winspear]

Cindy’s Favorite audiobook narrator!

April 1, 2020


Hi there!

Cindy from the library.  As some of you know I’m a big fan of John Sandford’s novels, especially the “Prey” series.  I really like the audiobook versions of these novels because of the narrator Richard Ferrone.  Did you know in Libby/Overdrive you can search for a book by the narrators name?  I did just that and found a number of other authors that Mr. Ferrone read for!  I listened to “The Good Guy” by Dean Koontz…and it was fantastic. There are also some Stuart Woods, Faye Kellerman, and others in the list.  I’m definitely going to give them a try!

You can find audiobooks narrated by Richard Ferrone on Libby/Overdrive, and on Hoopla.

Neon Prey - Audiobook
The Good Guy - Audiobook
Bone Box - Audiobook

Staff Favorites – Lightning Round

March 27, 2020


What are the last 5 books you’ve read?

Lock every door by Riley Sager

Nothing to see here by  Kevin Wilson 

The husband’s secret by  Liane Moriarty 

Before she knew him by Peter Swanson

The Wife by Alafair Burke 

What did you think of them?

They were so good!! They are also all available on Libby/Overdrive. 

Staff Favorites – Lightning Round

March 25, 2020


Favorite Mystery Authors (Women)?

These are some of my “old favorites” female mystery authors:

Marcia Muller (Hoopla), Sara Paretsky (Hoopla), Carol O’Connell (Hoopla), Linda Barnes (Hoopla), Katherine Hall Page (Hoopla), Patricia Cornwell (Hoopla), Kathy Reichs (Hoopla), Linda Fairstein (Hoopla), Janet Evanovich (Hoopla), Linda Castillo (Hoopla), Sue Henry (Hoopla), Dana Stabenow (Hoopla), Iris Johansen (Libby/Overdrive), J.A. Jance (Hoopla), Mary Higgins Clark (Hoopla), Susan Wittig Albert (Hoopla), Earlene Fowler (mystery series with quilts), Sue Grafton (Libby/Overdrive)- to name a few.

Favorite British TV series?

I subscribe to Acorn and Britbox TV (but many of these are also available on Hoopla with your library card: British TV on Hoopla)

Agatha Raisin series (Hoopla), Janet King (Hoopla), Foyle’s War (Hoopla), Heart Guy (Hoopla), Vera (Hoopla), 800 Words (Hoopla), Miss Fisher’s Murder Series (Hoopla), Death in Paradise (Hoopla), Grantchester, Rosemary and Thyme, Midsommer Murders, Shetland, Murder in Suburbia, Father Brown (Hoopla), and of course Downton Abbey.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

February 19, 2020


This is Alex Michaelides first novel and hopefully will not be his last. It’s a murder mystery, told from the point of view of a psychotherapist who switches jobs so he can try to help Alicia, the Silent Patient of the title. Alicia is accused of shooting her husband in the face 6 years ago and hasn’t spoken since. I thought I had this story figured out many times…and in the end it offered a surprise ending that is clever and believable.

The Silent Patient can be found on Libby/Overdrive.

The Silent Patient - ebook

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton

June 12, 2019


I loved this book. I am rarely a reader of mysteries but so many people recommended this to me – and a messed-up time loop – I had to move it up to the top of my to-read list.

“So many memories and secrets, so many burdens. Every life has such weight. I don’t know how anybody carries even one.”

There is definitely a tip of the hat to Agatha Christie as we discover different characters, where they fit in with the others, and where each person was when. But, Agatha Christie never had a narrator inhabit each character’s body as the same day repeats over and over, always ending with the death of Evelyn Hardcastle. SO GOOD! (the book, not necessarily the death)

Not only are the plot twists great — the whodunit part — there are twists that I never saw coming. The mystery also introduces non-Christie figures: The Plague Doctor and an assassin who aren’t part of the Christie character-group, and of course the narrator who is body hopping. We pick up clues as the narrator does and the whole thing – day after day – is lightning-fast and so tricky.

Seriously, just read it. Just. Read. It.

The 7/12 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle on Hoopla