Wednesday 25 January 2023

A Fashionable Fatality (A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery #8) by Alyssa Maxwell

A house party attended by fashion royalty becomes the backdrop for a murder that only Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady's maid, Eva Huntford, can untangle . . .

Amid the aftermath of the Great War and its hardships, it's no wonder that many wish to rediscover life's pleasures--parties, fashion, dancing. Still, Lady Phoebe and Eva are disconcerted when a small gathering at the home of Phoebe's sister, Julia, becomes a far larger and more glamorous affair . . .

Julia has invited her favorite French fashion designer, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, and Coco's current beau, the Earl of Chesterhaven. Coco has brought an entourage of her own, including two models, and intends to use the gardens as a photographic setting for her latest creations.

Madame Chanel is as outspoken as she is talented, offering a scathing critique of Phoebe's fashion sense. There is tense competition between the models as well. When one of the guests is found dead of smoke inhalation, it appears to be a tragic accident. But was a footman really to blame for mistakenly closing the fireplace flue, or is there a more sinister explanation?

Phoebe is determined to find out, despite the protestations of her sweetheart, Owen Seabright. Both above and below stairs, Phoebe and Eva uncover myriad motives--career ambition, romantic rivalries, and even deeper betrayals. For despite the surface beauty, there are ugly secrets in the world of Maison Chanel, ones that a killer will risk anything to protect.  (Summaty via Goodreads)

Fans of the Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery series by Alyssa Maxwell are going to LOVE A Fashionable Fatality  !!

A Fashionable Fatality is the eighth book in this series and if you've read the previous seven, this one will become your favorite.  In A Fashionable Fatality main characters Phoebe and her maid Eva will be leaving Foxwood Hall where they live and traveling to Allerton Place. Allerton Place is the home of Phoebe's older sister, Julia, and her new husband Theo, Marquess of Allerton.

Phoebe is very excited to be visiting her sister but soon learns that there are others visiting as well.  Mademoiselle Gabrielle Chanel, "Coco" to friends is a clothing designer and she is there with her current boyfriend but she invites members of her group to come so that she can use the gardens and surrounding areas to use as photoshoots.  Included in the group are two mannequins which in today's time are called models.  And to Phoebe's surprise Julia has invited her beau, Owen Seabright.

Phoebe is caught up in the dynamics of the whole modeling aspect and cannot get enough of the group of people...some she likes, others not so much.  And Eva is roped into working with the group to help prepare the clothing for the models.

Unfortunately one night eveyone is woken up thinking there is a fire which turns out to be just smoke and it was confined in one room....Suzette's, one of the models and she dies from smoke inhalation.  Of course Phoebe and Eva do not believe it was an accident and insist that the chimney and fireplace be inspected.  After inspection it is deemed that it was highly unlikely to have been a faulty part but the situation is still declared an accident.

This "accident" puts the two on high alert and they decide to find out everything they can about the people staying uninvited at Allerton Place.  They also soon learn that Julia will have no talk of murder and wrongdoings so they have to act fast and quietly.

Readers will be drawn into this story immediately !! You cannot help but love that fact that the story takes readers to somewhere outside of Foxwood Hall allowing you to get to know Julia and her life better.  Seeing as in previous books Julia has been a handful and unhappy, to see her now more relaxed, happy and in love is such a treat !!   

And I will tell you to forget about trying to solve the murder before Phoebe and Eva do, it is pointless.  Maxwell provides a crafty group of individuals and any one of them could be capable of murder and the reasons why will be astonishing.  Best advice I can give you is to open the book, sit back and get comfortable because you will be there for a while.  You will not want to stop reading.  And if you haven't read the previous books in this series, I highly recommend doing so......this is a series and group of people you will want to escape with !!!!

Friday 13 January 2023

The Game Is a Footnote (Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #8) by Vicki Delany

Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson are back on the case when a body is discovered in a haunted museum in bestselling author Vicki Delany's eighth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.

Scarlet House, now a historical re-enactment museum, is the oldest building in West London, Massachusetts. When things start moving around on their own, board members suggest that Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, might be able to get to the bottom of it. Gemma doesn’t believe in ghosts, but she agrees to ‘eliminate the impossible’. But when Gemma and Jayne stumble across a dead body on the property, they’re forced to consider an all too physical threat.

Gemma and Jayne suspect foul play as they start to uncover more secrets about the museum. With the museum being a revolving door for potential killers, they have plenty of options for who might be the actual culprit.

Despite Gemma's determination not to get further involved, it would appear that once again, and much to the displeasure of Detective Ryan Ashburton, the game is afoot.

Will Gemma and Jayne be able to solve the mystery behind the haunted museum, or will they be the next to haunt it?  (Summary via Goodreads)

You cannot help but get lost in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series by Vicki Delany.  The storyline and the characters and the town and the jobs and the murders are all things that will have you watching for the next book in the series so you can return to West London, Massachusetts whenever you can.

Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson are best friends and co-business owners.  Gemma and her Uncle Arthur own the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium and they co-own Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room with Jayne.  Jayne and her fiance, Andy, are planning their wedding with the help of Gemma unfortunately Gemma is not being very helpful when Jayne's mother, Leslie, asks for help in the latest book in this series.

The Game is a Footnote is the eighth book in the series and Leslie is on the board for the Scarlet House, a historical re-enactment museum, and asks Gemma to meet with the board members when some mysterious things occur that make members uncomfortable.  After Gemma and Jayne meet with the board members, Gemma believes there is an different explanation for why things are moved around and not "ghosts" like the members believe.  So Gemma, Jayne, and Andy decide to spend the night to see what they can find out.  Unfortunately Gemma cannot explain things when a volunteer who takes care of the animals in the barn is found dead on another occasion.

Gemma knows that her boyfriend Detective Ryan Ashburton and his assistant and team can come to a conclusion regarding Dave Chase's death but Gemma knows that there is more going on under the surface and she is determined to bring it to light.

Readers cannot get enough of this series.  Even without the murders and mystery, you will love reading about the town, the people, and the relationships.  You cannot help but wonder what Gemma's assistant, Ashley, is going to dress up as when she comes to work and you will love the storyline that Delany takes with Ashley in this book.  And now that Jayne and Andy are engaged, you will be longing to see where Gemma takes the plans....if she can ever get around to focusing on them.  And Delany brings Gemma's sister, Pippa, into town for a surpise visit and you know something is behind that.  No matter what is going on readers will be on the edge of their seats loving every word !!!

Sunday 8 January 2023

Brain Storm (Angela Richman, Death Investigator #1) by Elaine Viets

The ultrawealthy families of Chouteau Forest may look down on a woman like death investigator Angela Richman, but they also rely on her. When a horrific car crash kills a Forest teenager, Angela is among the first on the scene. Her investigation is hardly underway, however, when she suffers a series of crippling strokes. Misdiagnosed by the resident neurologist, Dr. Gravois, and mended by gauche yet brilliant neurosurgeon Dr. Jeb Travis Tritt, Angela faces a harrowing recovery.

It’s a drug-addled, hallucinating Angela who learns that Dr. Gravois has been murdered…and the chief suspect is the surgeon who saved her life. Angela doesn’t believe it, but can she trust her instincts? Her brain trauma brings doubts that she’ll ever recover her investigative skills. But she’s determined to save Dr. Tritt from a death-row sentence—even if her progress is thwarted at every turn by a powerful and insular community poised to protect its own.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I am a HUGE fan of Elaine Viets as I have read all her books in her Dead-End Job Mystery series and her Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series.  Those series were full of excitement and lovable characters and you cannot help but enjoy getting lost in the stories.  Brain Storm is the first book in her Angela Richman, Death Investigator series and it is also an exciting start to another amazing series however it is a little bit darker and one main character who you will fall in love with has a slight potty mouth to put it mildly.  I am sharing my thoughts on this blog only because of the fact that I shared the other two series here and feel you should read this series as well.

In Brain Storm readers are introduced to Angela Richman who is a death investigator in a wealthy area in Missouri called the Forest.  Angela is fortunate to live there due to her parents having worked for a wealthy family and her mother gave her the house upon her death.  Angela is on the case of a fatal accident involving teens who live in the Forest when she begins to get very bad migraines.  She goes to bed with a migraine and wakes up in the hospital nineteen days later and learns that she had six strokes and underwent brain surgery.  While Angela is in the hospital getting her strength back and learning to think, walk and everything else, the doctor that misdiagnosed her is murdered in the cafeteria and the neurosurgeon who saved her life is arrested for the murder.  Angela knows that Dr. Tritt did not kill Dr. Gravois but her brain is not working right and she can't be 100% sure she is doing and saying the right things.

Once you start reading Brain Storm, you will be pulled in and unable to stop reading.  Viets will have you so engrossd that you may forget to eat, drink, sleep and do other normal daily activities while you read.  I highly recommend that you set aside time to focus on this amazing tale and I highly encourage you to read the Acknowledgments at the end of the book so that you will really appreciate Viets story.  I was gobsmacked when I read it !!!

Thursday 5 January 2023

Of Mushrooms and Matrimony (A Tish Tarragon Mystery Book 6) by Amy Patricia Meade

"A charming cozy with plenty of suspects for the romantically inclined sleuths to winnow out'" Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

Tish Tarragon is catering for a wedding, but the weekend goes from sweet to sour when a guest at the venue is poisoned.

Literary caterer and owner of Cookin' the Books café Tish Tarragon is pushing thoughts of her impending eviction aside to prepare an appetising welcome buffet for a wedding weekend at Abbingdon Green Bed and Breakfast. While there, Tish witnesses one of the guests, controversial TV chef and restaurant critic, Gunner Randall, threatening staff after missing breakfast and making do with a mushroom omelet.

When Randall is found dead the following day, it soon becomes clear that poisoned mushrooms were behind his demise. With no shortage of potential suspects and motives, can Tish and her new beau, Sheriff Clemson Reade, uncover who was enraged enough with the unsavoury star to silence him for good?  (Summary via Goodreads)

If you are a fan of Amy Patricia Meade and/or her books especially the Tish Tarragon Mystery series then you are beyond excited that the sixth book in this series is here !!!  Of Mushrooms and Matrimony picks up pretty much where From Ladle to Grave left off.....with Tish having broken up with her boyfriend and landlord Schuyler so that she can follow her heart and start dating Sheriff Clemson Reade only to have Schuyler evict Tish.  Not only is Tish running Cookin'the Books cafe in the building but she is living there.  And her one best friend Mary Jo and her two children are living in the apartment above the cafe.

Mary Jo and her daughter move in with their friend Celestine and Mary Jo's son just started college so they are taken care in the living situation.  That leaves Tish trying to figure out where she is going to live and she is also trying to find another location for the cafe.

Luckily they are all still kind of working as Tish is still doing some catering and luckily they have a weekend long wedding event that they are supplying most of the food for at the Abbingdon Green Bed and Breakfast and it is a book related event which Tish specializes in.

Tish is also a consultant for the Sheriff's department and she is put to work when Gunner Randall dies from mushroom poisoning.  Gunner is the only non-wedding guest staying at the B & B because he is in town visiting a handful of restaurants for his television show Taste of America.  Gunner is not a very nice guy and Tish witnesses that first hand when she is at the B & B getting some things ready for the wedding and he has a loud argument with Glory the owner.

Tish and her new boyfriend Reade have their hands full interviewing people that did not like Gunner and the establishments that he visited for his show.  Unfortunately they cannot eliminate anyone from the suspect list and it seems everyone prepared something with mushrooms in it so they could have easily added the poisonous mushroom.

If you are a fan of this series you know that Tish always has a lot on her plate and no matter how much is there, she always finishes it.  So it goes to reason that this case will be like all the others that she has consulted on.....sadly she, herself, will be shocked when the killer is revealed.  

And, of course, the way that Meade ends this book will have readers wanting more and you will be on the lookout for the seventh book.....

And one final note.....Tish's other best friend Jules may be your favorite character and I cannot believe I didn't say anything about him in my review.  He is probably a fan favorite as he is the perfect best friend for Tish and Mary Jo.  The three of them have a great relationship and Jules is his amazing self and comes to Tish's rescue with something and readers will LOVE it !!!!!