The Couple Next Door

28815474  I have seen this book on several blogs and finally picked it up at the library.  The story concerns a young couple who attend a dinner party at a next door neighbor’s house leaving their baby in the crib asleep.  They use a baby monitor and run back and forth checking on the baby.  The baby disappears and the couple’s life is upended in the ensuing chaos of police investigation, ransom, and media speculation.  An engaging read with some interesting twists and turns.

The Night Women & Of Books and Bagpipes


The Night Women by Sara Blaedel is the third in the Louise Rick series.  In this installment, Louise is investigating the brutal death of a woman, who not many others are concerned with because she was a prostitute.  At the same time Camilla, Louise’s reporter friend, becomes involved with the story of an abandoned baby.  As both women investigate and discuss their cases, the stories of the dead woman and the baby intertwine.  This was in some ways a very depressing read, the inescapable fate of the sex trafficked women and their lives lingered with me after the book was finished.  Well written mystery with an intelligent female protagonist at the helm.

Of Books and Bagpipes by Paige Shelton is the second book in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series.  Delaney is dropped into a mystery  at the very beginning as a pickup for a new item for the shop goes awry when her connection is found dead.  The young man has a personal connection to Edwin, Delaney’s boss and owner of the shop, and to a circle of Edwin’s friends.  Delaney investigates with the help of her landlord Elias and her romantic interest Tom.  Exceptionally good sense of place developed here, with lots of intrigue, even among those Delaney thinks of as friends and associates.  I am enjoying this cozy mystery series set in Edinburgh.

Gently Does It by Alan Hunter

10708111  I just read my first Alan Hunter book from the George Gently series.  I loved the TV show, in which Martin Shaw, played Gently.  iggently_bobby_t800

The book had a lot of differences, as far as location and back story, however the character of George Gently himself shines through.  Martin Shaw did a superb job bringing this character to life.  In Gently Does It, a wealthy timber dealer is murdered at the same time his errant son happens to be in town.  All fingers point to the son, but Gently doesn’t believe it.  Calmly and methodically, Gently uncovers the truth leading to a climactic resolution to the case.  Along the way are some very telling quotes that stick with me like,  “Justice belongs to the courts. It’s nothing to do with the police.”

Definitely a series I will read more of.

When the Flood Falls & Made a Killing

These are the latest two mysteries that I have read.  Both were firsts in new series.  When the Flood Falls is set in Canada, with a female protagonist.  Lacey has recently left the force due to personal issues and some blatant sexism that she could no longer deal with.  She gets a security job offer and takes it while helping an old uni friend.  The friend Dee lives in a creepy isolated house and has been having strange occurrences that are interfering with her sleep and life in general.  The mystery encompasses ideas about art, independence, drug addiction and chronic illness, power in sexual relationships, stalking, and sexism.  I felt that the characters didn’t really grab me and I had a hard time getting immersed in the story.  An okay mystery read.

Made a Killing by Zack Abrams is a UK based mystery.  The case is centered on a thoroughly despicable victim who is involved in blackmail with a side line of elder fraud.  Alex Warren, a divorced police officer is in charge of the case and is somewhat concerned about his own personal connection to the victim.  The case proceeds along gathering other murders and break ins after the fact.  Alex sifts through the possible blackmail victims to catch a clue to the murderer’s identity before more bodies pile up.  There is a side plot involving Alex’s personal life, the relationship with his ex-wife and children, and his new romantic interest.  Again , I had difficulty getting immersed in the story and felt the characters were somewhat shallowly drawn.  Another okay mystery read.

Death of a Ghost & Exit West



Death of a Ghost, number 32 in the Hamish MacBeth series, is an exciting installment in the MacBeth series.  Hamish is called to investigate a haunting at the castle home of a retired police officer, he stumbles across a body instead.  This leads to domestic abuse, smugglers and romantic rivalries.  Hamish has to be on his toes in his personal life as well because of matchmaking attempts gone wild in the village.  Well plotted mystery, with precise insight into MacBeth’s working methods and particular talent for investigating.  Great read in an excellent ongoing series.

Exit West is a book club read for me.  It is a “love” story set in an unspecified war-torn land.  The story leaves reality with the introduction of doors.  Doors which hopefully lead to safety in far way places, like Greece or London, where everyone can be free.  This didn’t work that well for me.  I’m not a huge magical realism fan anyway and the door just seemed to serve the purpose of moving along the story of the characters.  There is no real journey here, the couple’s only commonality seems to be doing drugs while their neighborhoods shatter.  Into the Beautiful North tackles many of the same subjects and IMO was better at it.  Themes of immigration, loss and culture, I am told that this was very much like the author’s first book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist.



We That Are Left & The Moth Catcher


We That Are Left by Clare Clark is a historical fiction, which is not my usual genre, however I quite enjoyed it.  This is the story of the Melville family, sisters Jessica and Phyllis, their mother and father, Theo the brother, and Oskar Grunewald, the son of a friend of the family.  The setting is the Melville family estate during WWI and the time directly afterwards,  when the fortunes of many aristocratic families suffered upheaval in the changing world.  Interesting family drama with themes of secrets, love, and home. Well written historical fiction.

The Moth Catcher is another in the Ann Cleeves, Vera series. Fascinating case with significant red herrings and a wealth of suspicious characters.  Holly features prominently in this installment, as she works on the cases while dealing with a crisis of faith.  The murders stack up pretty rapidly and the mystery keeps on until the last couple pages.  Vera is her usual self as she holds a “masterclass in witness interrogation”, getting the objects of her attention to reveal more than they intend. Great book in a great series.

The Chalk Pit, Truth and Lies, and Murder at the Book Club

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths is book 9 in the Ruth Galloway Series.  In this series, Ruth is involved in a case of bones that turned up in a restaurant construction.  Meanwhile Nelson gets involved in the case of a missing homeless woman.  One missing women leads to more cases and Nelson and his team have their hands full.  This installment was more of a Nelson-centric story than Ruth.  The Chalk Pit explores issues of homelessness and in particular the invisibility of the homeless population. This was an intriguing and well written installment in the series.

Truth and Lies is one of this month’s reads at the Kindle English Mystery Club.  I was drawn into this story of a DI who is trying to fill her father’s footsteps.  A letter arrives revealing her birth parents are notorious serial killers.  Her mother is still alive in prison and offers to make a deal with Amy, information for a visit.  Amy finds herself doubting everything she believed about herself and having to reexamine who she is and her relationships with her adopted parents.  While all this is going on in her personal life, another young girl has gone missing and Amy is desperate to find her. The plot was well done and certainly full of twists. I did find the twist at the end regarding Ellen a bit hard to take, but overall a good read.

Murder at the Book Club is the second read for the Kindle English Mystery Club this month.  In some ways, this was almost a cozy mystery, but it doesn’t feel cozy with  almost no redeeming characters or humor really involved.  A group of women in a book club are held together to weekly meetings even though it becomes readily apparent they don’t really like each other very much.  Lots of petty squabbling and back stabbing go on until finally one member ends up dead and some of the women find themselves suspects.  This was a quick read and an okay mystery.



Harbour Street by Ann Cleeves

18743339  Another excellent installment in the Vera Stanhope series.  Harbour Street is the main setting of the book and it comes through strongly as the voices of the long-term inhabitants and the descriptions of the place immerse the reader.  A woman is murdered on a train, a train which Joe and his daughter were on returning from a day out.  Her death leads Vera, Joe, and the rest of the investigative team back to Harbour Street.  It’s Christmas time and it seems to have made Vera particularly ill at ease, especially combined with memories of Hector, her father, which keep popping up in this area that he had taken Vera to as a child.   An absorbing read with great characters and atmosphere.

Blackout & Death of a Nurse

Blackout is the third in the Dark Iceland series.  In this installment, a visitor finds a worker from the tunnel building project beaten to death near a local pool.  Initially, the investigation paints the victim Elias as a “nice guy” character, but with the addition of a reporter, Isrun, working on the case this image begins to fall apart.  There are quite a few plot lines occurring here, the murder of Elias, Ari Thor’s love life with Kristin, Isrun’s flashbacks to the area before the murder, Elias’s past, the young immigrant woman waiting to be saved, and the dark secret from a fellow officer, Hlynur’s, past.  The book resolves the murder but ends on a bit of cliff hanger as far as Ari Thor’s romantic life is concerned.  Well written mystery with dark themes of human trafficking and abuse.

Death of a Nurse is number 31 in the Hamish Macbeth series.  In this case, Hamish sees the tarty new nurse in the village and is quite taken by her.  Taken enough to ask her out to dinner, when she stands him up, it is not long before her body is found.  Hamish investigates with the help of Charlie and the hinderance of Blair.  Most of the regular cast make at least passing appearances, the Currie sisters, Dick and Anka, Priscilla, Jimmie, Blair, and Daviot.  The first murder leads to others as Hamish investigates in this well-written mystery.