Death in Disguise by Caroline Graham

  This is another book that the series Midsomer Murders is based on.  In this series, Barnaby is investigating a murder that occurs in a new age commune.  The contrast between the supposed mission of the new age center and the back stabbing and open arguments that occur among the varied guests and staff is quite amusing.  The book begins with establishing the community and all the players, Barnaby does not even appear in the first hundred pages or so.  Those hundred pages require attentive reading to keep all the players straight for later on.

There are secrets upon secrets leading to many twists and turns in the plot and numerous red herrings.  This kept me turning the pages right to the very end.  Very engaging mystery, even though I have watched the TV episode, I still enjoyed the book immensely.

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Insomniac Reading

Could not sleep tonight, probably due to meds from ankle surgery that I had today. I put my insomnia to good use by finishing the books pictured above.

The Outsmarting of Criminals was a great read when I needed cheering up so much.  Funny satirical take on the typical “village” mystery.  The character, Miss Prim, is anachronistic for her time, the book is set currently..but she is a perfect old time cozy mystery sleuth eschewing computers and CSI-type testing or forensics.  The author has set up the characters to fulfill all the standard mystery tropes.  Miss Prim even has a checklist to fulfill her requirements as an “outsmarter of criminals”.  The book might be a smidge too long but it was nevertheless a quick read and a page turner.

I always enjoy Jill Mansell’s books.  The characters are always easy for me to relate to and I love the way the relationships among them develop and show growth along the way. In Take a Chance on Me, Cleo is the protagonist.  A single woman in her thirties, she lives in the village she grew up in with her married sister close by.  She works as a chauffer and quite enjoys it.  In the beginning, she has a “perfect” boyfriend, who turns out to be not quite so perfect.  Rounding out the cast is her sister and her sister’s husband, her best friend and neighbor, Ash, and her childhood nemesis, Johnny La Venture.  There are other character’s as well and lot’s of “action” to keep the pace clipping along.  Death, divorce, almost affairs, car accidents, and minor celebrities make for an entertaining fast read. Anyone who likes women fiction or romance would enjoy this (or any of the other Jill Mansell books).

The Spinster Sisters was my third read and definitely my least favorite.  The story idea was interesting, what happens to sisters who have an entire self-help business devoted to spinsterhood, and one of them decides to get married.  The aunt characters were more interesting than the spinster sisters themselves.  I found the dialogue awkward and unnatural and the main characters, Jodi and Jill, were just really not all that likable.  They seemed shallow and always seemed to be looking down on others.  This one just didn’t work for me.  Also, they excerpts from their self help manuals were …irritating and overly long.