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Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers (Santa Clarita, CA United States)
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Club Deception
Club Deception
Offered by Audible Ltd

3.0 out of 5 stars Pay Attention to the Woman Behind the Magician, 17 Aug. 2017
This review is from: Club Deception (Audio Download)
Every year, my local library puts on a local author day, and this last January, I met author Sarah Skilton there. She had her first adult novel coming out in July, and since it involved magic, I thought it sounded like fun. Unfortunately, Club Deception didn’t live up to my expectations.

The book follows four characters as their lives begin to intertwine in the world of Club Deception, an exclusive club for magicians in Los Angeles. There’s Claire, the wife of club president Jonathan. Jonathan has long cheated on Claire even though she is the mind behind his act and the real person who keeps the club running smoothly. Then there’s Jessica, the new wife of traveling magician Cal. Now that they are married, Cal is ready to return to Los Angeles after a three-year absence. Meanwhile, Kaimi has been hired to sell some pages from a rare manuscript by the master of card tricks. Finally, there’s Felix, a former baseball player interning with Jonathan in hopes of becoming a world class magician.

Now, this book touts itself as a mystery. Despite the fact that was are told in the prologue (before we back up six weeks for chapter one) that one of the characters has been poisoned, it really doesn’t fit my definition of a mystery. Heck, that portion feels like sub-plot because even when we do catch up to the point of the murder, the book focuses on how it impacts the characters and less on the who done it.

And that’s okay because this book is more of a character study than anything else. I quickly realized that and adjusted my expectations accordingly. Now this isn’t to say that the book didn’t have an interesting story going on. There are some secrets from the past, betrayals, and complications for the characters to deal with, and I found myself getting caught up in their stories. It helps that the inner politics of the club is fascinating, and it features into the story quite a bit.

And this was despite the fact that the characters weren’t always likable. Mainly, it was Claire I had a problem with. She is manipulative at times, but at others we see a human who is hurting. The rest of the cast make some choices I would disagree with at various times, but for the most part I liked them the entire way through. All four of the characters I mentioned earlier take their turns as our third person point of view narrator, and that gives us amble opportunity to get to know them. It also gives us different takes on some of the other characters, which is always interesting.

Still, when I got to the end, I felt like it was missing something. Maybe it’s because I am used to the tropes of the mystery genre instead of general fiction, but I felt like a couple of the storylines didn’t go anywhere. And I get what the author was trying to do with the ending, but I felt like the characters hadn’t really learned anything from what had happened before and there was more to the story as a result. Again, maybe that is me.

This is definitely a departure in another way from the mysteries I normally read – the amount of sex on the page. But it is in keeping with the harder mysteries I listen to, however.

Am I sorry I picked up Club Deception? No. There were certainly parts I enjoyed. I think a little more focus on what the novel wanted to say would have made it stronger, however.

Hollywood Homicide (Detective by Day Mystery)
Hollywood Homicide (Detective by Day Mystery)
by Kellye Garrett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Hit and Run Murder, 15 Aug. 2017
Earlier this year, I started reading the Chicks on the Case blog, and through that I decided I wanted to read at least one book by all of the Chicks. (And yes, I’ve still got one I need to get to plus more books by the authors I’ve already read.) Kellye Garrett is the last of these ladies to have her debut novel published. Hollywood Homicide came out about a week ago, and it is wonderful.

Dayna Anderson, Day to her friends, has retired from acting after a successful career of one commercial campaign for a fast food company. As you can imagine, that didn’t line the pocketbooks forever, and she is hard up for money now. Making matters worse, her parents are going to lose their house unless Day can find a way to give them the cash they need.

Which is why the billboard catches her eye. The LAPD is offering a $15K reward for information leading to the arrest of the driver of a hit and run. The young woman who had been hit died at the scene. Day realizes she and her friends had actually driven by the scene not too long after it happened, so maybe they know something. This isn’t the worst things an actress in Hollywood has done for money, and it should be easy money, right?

Spoiler alert – it isn’t easy money. If it were, this would be a short story and not a novel. Of course, Day’s lack of experience as an investigator plays into her lack of ability to solve the crime quickly, but her stumbles and dead ends were completely realistic. Not that I would be much better about solving the crime than Day. In fact, at one point, I thought I had the killer pegged only to know I was wrong half a chapter later when Day decided that person was the killer as well. The ultimate solution is surprising and satisfying, and we get some fun twists along the way.

Meanwhile, the characters are wonderful. They are quite an assortment, yet they all come to believable life. I know there is more to some of them than we see here, and I can’t wait to get to know them better as the series unfolds.

My biggest complaint was with the romantic sub-plot. It all felt very Jr. High to me. Yes, it does play into the plot of the mystery, so I see the need for it. This is a very minor complaint overall, and I’d probably behave more like Day does than I care to admit, so I can’t criticize too loudly.

Do note that the content is pushing the edges of the cozy sub-genre in a couple of scenes. It’s nothing too graphic, and the scenes are played for laughs.

These aren’t the only scenes that are played for laughs. There are plenty throughout the entire book. As much as I am a Southern California Hollywood loving guy, I had to laugh at many of the correct observations made about my part of the country. The light tone made the book that much more enjoyable.

Hollywood Homicide is not only my favorite debut so far this year, but one of my favorite reads of the year period. Do yourself a favor and get this book today. You’ll be very glad you did.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Cat About Town: A Cat Cafe Mystery
Cat About Town: A Cat Cafe Mystery
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Cats, Clues, and Killings, 11 Aug. 2017
The instant I heard about the Cat Café mysteries, I was on board. After all, a mystery set on a summer resort island off the coast of Massachusetts? How could the book go wrong? Cat About Town is that series debut, and it lived up to my high hopes.

Maddie James is back on Daybreak Island for her grandmother’s funeral. Thanks to an understanding business partner and owning her own business, she has taken extended time to be with her family, especially her grandfather, who is understandably taking the loss hard. She’s even staying with him, and she’s picked up a stray cat she found at the cemetery.

However, Maddie’s grandfather is facing more than just his beloved wife’s death. Frank O’Malley wants to buy his house, tear it down, and turn the location into a centralized rental location. Frank happens to be the president of the local chamber of commerce, and is used to being able to throw his weight around to get what he wants. However, the house has been in the family for generations, and Maddie is immediately as upset as her grandfather at the thought of selling.

So, Maddie goes to confront Frank. When he repeats his veiled threats, Maddie begins plotting ways to stop him. However, that becomes unnecessary when Maddie’s new cat leads her to Frank’s body during the start of summer food stroll. With the police considering Maddie and her grandfather as prime suspects, Maddie feels the need to find some new suspects. It seemed that many people didn’t like Frank, so there is no shortage of them. But who killed him?

You might be wondering how the cat café comes into play. Heck, you might even be wondering what it is. That unfolds as the book progresses, so I’m not going to spoil anything for you here. I will say it isn’t what I expected, but I’m okay with that.

The book starts out strongly with Maddie getting hints of the trouble brewing. There are several explosive scenes before Frank is killed, and once Maddie finds the body, we are really off and running. The clues and twists kept me guessing until the very end. I didn’t know who the killer was until Maddie figured it out, but once she did it made perfect sense.

Maddie is a warm and friendly main character, and it’s hard not to fall in love with her right away. Her grandfather is charming, and their relationship is wonderful. There is the beginning of a love triangle here. I have a feeling I know which way things will go, and fairly quickly, too, but I’m anxious to see if I am right.

Then there’s JJ, the cat that Maddie rescues. If he doesn’t completely melt your heart, there is something seriously wrong with you.

I also loved the island setting as much as I thought I would. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy a vacation for free. This is the kind of town you visit and wish you could stay. Thanks to the series, now you can, getting an insider’s eye to what life is really like on an island dependent on tourists.

Cat About Town is a fun book that will leave you anxious to find out what happens next to Maddie and the rest of your new friends. Snuggle in with your favorite cat and get lost in a wonderful debut.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book

On Her Majesty'S Frightfully Secret Service (Royal Spyness Mystery)
On Her Majesty'S Frightfully Secret Service (Royal Spyness Mystery)
by Rhys Bowen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £21.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Royal Favor in Italy, 9 Aug. 2017
I always look forward to my yearly visit with Lady Georgiana, a minor royal in 1930’s England. She seems to find herself in a new location for each book, and the opportunity to travel a historical Europe is wonderful. Plus, the books are just so much fun! On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service is no exception.

This book takes place in spring of 1935. After several delightful months with Darcy, her fiancé, at his family’s castle in Ireland, he’s set out on another mission. Georgie finds herself growing restless, so when she gets two letters, she’s thrilled. The first is from the Queen, asking for a meeting about the roadblock to Georgie and Darcy’s wedding – he’s Catholic, so Georgie would have to renounce her claim to the throne. Since she is currently thirty-fifth in line, she is very willing to give it up to marry Darcy. The second is from Georgie’s unmarried friend Belinda, who is hiding out in Italy so she can have a baby in secret. Georgie decides to visit Belinda to keep her company after her meeting with the Queen.

When Queen Mary finds out about Georgie’s travel plans, she’s delighted. It seems that the Prince of Wales and his friend Mrs. Simpson are going to be attending a house party in that area of Italy, and she wants Georgie to go find out if the two have married in secret. The house party is being thrown by someone Georgie went to school with, but didn’t really get along with. Still, how does one say no to Her Majesty?

After a quick visit with Belinda, Georgie arrives at the party only to find a strange assortment of guests, including her mother, who has a mission of her own for Georgie. Can Georgie pull off what seems to be impossible?

As usual, this book gives us time to get updates on many of the people in Georgie’s life as she is traveling from one location to another. I love these characters so much that I enjoy the updates. There’s one development in this book that I’ve seen coming for a while now, but I’m very curious to see how it will play out in future books. This part might not be as interesting if you are starting the series here, but if you’ve been reading these books since the beginning like I have, you won’t mind in the least.

Once Georgie arrives at her destination, we are quickly drawn into a story that has multiple threads. I love how author Rhys Bowen gives us a glimpse of the politics of the time in a way that fits into the story. While the coming events of history are starting to creep into the book, they don’t overshadow the overall tone of the book. There is still some humor and a mystery to keep us entertained.

The mystery may start a little late, but when it does, it is strong. I had a piece or two of it figured out, but there were quite a few pieces I had missed until Georgie put it all together.

All of these experiences are causing Georgie to really grow. I love some of her early scenes in the book for that very reason. Some of the other series regulars are continuing to develop as well, and the new characters we meet here are quite intriguing as suspects.

Fans of this series will enjoy Georgie’s latest adventure. And if you have yet to start the Royal Spyness series, you need to start these wonderful trips back in time today. You’ll be enjoying On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service before you know it.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.

House on the Cliff #2, The (Hardy Boys)
House on the Cliff #2, The (Hardy Boys)
by W., Franklin Dixon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Hunting for Smugglers, 8 Aug. 2017
Just about every lover of mysteries as an adult started by reading teen detectives when they were a kid. While Trixie Belden is my first love, I actually started the genre by reading the Hardy Boys. They are still fun to revisit, which is what I did recently via The House on the Cliff.

Frank and Joe Hardy are anxious to help their father, famous detective Fenton Hardy, on another case. It just so happens that he is working on a case involving smugglers in the Hardy’s home town of Bayport. His assignment to his sons is simple, take his telescope and see what they can observe in the bay. He even recommends an abandoned house on a cliff that will give them a great view.

Frank and Joe grab their friends Chet and Biff and head out. They observe something strange happening in the bay, but before the can get back to report to Mr. Hardy, they hear a cry from inside the house, someone steals part of the telescope, and they witness an attempted murder. Is any of this related to the smuggling?

I’m sure I read this book as a kid, but it’s been years, and I didn’t really remember much of what happened. I found myself enjoying the story as it unfolded. Yes, it has some of the typical Hardy Boys weaknesses, like the characters always making the right deduction right away, but it’s fun. What really struck me with this book is how long the climax is. We pretty much have everything figured out by three quarters of the way through the book; it’s just a matter of seeing if the Hardys can bring the criminals to justice.

Another weakness of the series is the cardboard characters. There are attempts to give each character some personality, but it’s mostly superficial. Yet, I had probably read over 30 of them as a kid before this started to bother me, so obviously, it’s a minor issue. We actually see quite a few of Frank and Joe’s other friends in this book, at least for a scene or two. I was also struck by the fact that we get a couple of chapters from these friends’ point of view. This is the only time I can remember it not just being Frank and Joe we followed.

I’m mostly familiar with the edited versions of the story from the late 50’s and 60’s. The most dated thing in these version is the pictures. I can’t imagine any kids these days wearing ties on a regular basis. I doubt that any of the kids picking up the book today will care. They’ll get caught up in the action.

While these books will never be confused with great literature, they are still fun to revisit, and today’s kids will enjoy reading them as well. The House on the Cliff is another example of that.

Dressed to Confess (Costume Shop Mystery)
Dressed to Confess (Costume Shop Mystery)
by Diane Vallere
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.20

4.0 out of 5 stars Conspiracy Disguises the Killer, 8 Aug. 2017
While characters I love are one thing that bring me back to a series I enjoy, setting can play a part as well. I have come to love the town of Proper City, Nevada, the setting for Dressed to Confess, the third Costume Shop Mystery. You see, Proper City loves to throw big parties and community events – costumed events. How much fun is that?

As this book opens, the city is getting ready for the Sagebrush Festival, something the city holds each year in the spring. This year, the theme for the event is board games, and Margo Tamblyn has been busy coming up with costumes to match. The headlining event is a reunion of the Domino Divas, a singing and dance group that broke up 50 years ago when a scandal erupted just as they were about to truly make it big.

Not that the reunion is going all that well, either. Margo has been providing costumes for the group, so her friend Ebony, the party planner for the event, asks Margo to help when a rehearsal goes wrong. But a bad rehearsal doesn’t mean a strong performance, in this case. Opening night, group member Ronnie Cass can’t be found. Called on again to intervene, Margo finds Ronnie dead in her trailer.

Margo vows to stay out of the investigation, but she keeps finding clues. Then her father’s friend, Earl, becomes the police’s prime suspect. As more information from the past comes to light, Margo feels like she’s stumbled into a conspiracy. But who is truly involved? What happened all those years ago? How does it impact the present?

With conspiracies and the past impacting the present, this mystery is filled with surprises and twists. I was proud of myself for figuring out things out, but the rest of the plot surprised me. The climax wraps up the big picture, although as I think about it more, one or two things seems to have been left opened. Still, it’s a minor complaint; you’ll be satisfied overall. And don’t let the word conspiracy scare you away. While there is definitely more of a conspiracy feel to this book than others in the series, it’s still a light, fun read. This element adds a nice twice to the mystery, but it doesn’t overwhelm it.

As I hinted at earlier, I do love the characters in this series. They are a fun lot, although there is one that falls into the fun to hate category. I do feel that a couple of the regulars don’t get as much page time as I would have liked, although they do have their own sub-plot. The new characters are strong, which is important to keep us guessing until the end.

And, really, it’s hard not to love a town that takes throwing events to a whole never level. City wide costume events? With a great shop like Disguise DeLimit to supply great costumes? Sounds like so much fun! It’s the kind of place I’d love to visit – between murders, of course.

This series has included a recipe or two in each book, and this one is no exception. We get recipes for Spicy Acorn Treats and Spice Acorn Salsa. We also get some suggestions and tips for pulling together costumes for a conspiracy themed party.

In case, I’ve disguised my feelings about the book, let me be clear – you will enjoy it. Dressed to Confess is another fun book in this creative series.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.

Chime and Punishment (Clock Shop Mystery)
Chime and Punishment (Clock Shop Mystery)
by Julianne Holmes
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Chiming in with My Thoughts on the Third Clock Shop Mystery, 2 Aug. 2017
Usually, by the second book in a cozy mystery series, the characters are set, with the victim being introduced in the pages of each book book. So I was shocked when I discovered who the victim was in Chime and Punishment. After all, this is the third book in the clock shop series, so I didn’t expect the victim to be anyone we had met before.

The book itself opens six months after the previous book in the series. During the time, Cog and Sprocket owner Ruth Clagen has been leading the charge to get the clock tower in Orchard, Massachusetts, running again. Of course, a project like this costs money. With a couple of weeks to go before the big unveiling, Ruth and her friends and employees are putting on a fund raiser to help with the expenses.

As part of the fund raiser, Kim Gray, the town’s manager, is supposed to give a short speech. Only she never shows up for the pre-event press photos or to give her speech. As the event is winding down, Ruth’s friend Pat finds Kim’s dead body under the bell that is supposed to go up in the tower. Someone was making a statement about how much they hated Kim. But who?

Kim has been a presence in the first two books in the series, and I must admit that I was kind of hoping she’d be bumped off earlier, so I was thrilled when I found out I was going to get my wish in this book. She is the perfect murder victim, well hated by everyone who knows her. However, Ruth doesn’t know just how nasty Kim truly is, and she learns about other things Kim has been doing as the book progresses. I did feel the pacing was uneven and one aspect of the mystery wasn’t resolved, but it is a minor aspect. I was satisfied with who the killer was and the motive, and I appreciated the creative climax.

The characters in this series are definitely a draw, and they entertained me again. While some of the relationships we’ve explored in the past aren’t in the forefront in this book, we still got to see those characters. Some of the other supporting players get time in the spotlight in this book, and it is nice to get to know them better.

Fans of this series will definitely enjoy Chime and Punishment. And if you aren’t a fan of the series, isn’t it time you fixed that?

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.

Meet Your Baker (Bakeshop Mysteries)
Meet Your Baker (Bakeshop Mysteries)
by Ellie Alexander
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Journey to Ashford to Meet a New Baker Sleuth, 1 Aug. 2017
Obviously, I love puns. I honestly think it would be hard to be a cozy mystery reader without loving them. But when I saw the title of the first Bakeshop Mystery, it grabbed me more than many of them. I mean, with a last name of Baker, how could I pass up a book entitled Meet Your Baker?

This book introduces us to Jules Capshaw. After years at sea as a pastry chef, she’s returned to her hometown of Ashford, Oregon. She’s trying to figure out what to do next with her life, but in the meantime, she’s working with her mother at Torte, the family’s bakeshop.

Jules is hoping for some peace and quiet in order to figure out her life, but that’s not what she gets. Ashford is a small town, with a heavy reliance on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the politics of that festival carry over into town life. Recently, the festival has added a new board member, Nancy Hudson, and Nancy has decided that this is her serfdom to run as she sees fit. Not that she’s too pleasant when dealing with anyone, as Jules sees first hand. However, when Jules goes to open the shop one morning, she finds Nancy’s dead body on the floor of Torte’s kitchen. With the police questioning Jules’s friends and Torte’s employees, she starts trying to figure out what really happened. Can she do it?

I think I was in love with this setting before I started reading the book. I love live theater, after all, and I’ve long heard of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that is Ashford’s claim to fame. I’d love to go sometime, but until that happens, getting to be a tourist via this book is a wonderful alternative.

The mystery starts out quickly, giving us a taste of Nancy’s nastiness before she is murdered. She has some interesting secrets about herself and others that come out as the book progresses. There are some strong sub-plots that take center stage at times, pushing the mystery to the background. I did feel the climax was a little weak, but it does perfectly explain everything.

I already like this cast of characters. Jules and her friends old and new already feel like friends, and I’m looking forward to visiting them again soon to find out what happens next to them. I did think that Jules’s reason for returning to Ashford was a little weak, but maybe that’s just me, and if I’d been in her shoes, I’d fully understand.

And we get delicious sounding recipes. There are eight of them in the back of the book, including recipes for things Raspberry Danish, Brazilian Cheese Muffins, and Sweet Heat Espresso.

If you are hungry for another culinary cozy series, the Bakeshop series is certainly one to consider. With the friendly characters and fun setting, it’s easy to see why it is so popular. Come Meet Your Baker, and you’ll quickly find yourself moving on to the next in the series.

Dangerous to Know (Lillian Frost & Edith Head)
Dangerous to Know (Lillian Frost & Edith Head)
by Renee Patrick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Who is Dangerous to Know in 1938 Hollywood?, 27 July 2017
Earlier this year, I made the charming acquaintance of Lillian Frost and Edith Head while I watched them solve their first mystery. I didn’t waste any time picking up Dangerous to Know, their second adventure, and I might have liked it even more.

If you aren’t an aficionado of old Hollywood, Edith Head was a costume designer during the golden age of movies. (Don’t worry, I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of her either.) Lillian Frost is the completely fictional young woman who came to Hollywood because she won a screen test and stayed. No, she isn’t an actress and doesn’t even want to be an actress. As a result of the first book, she’s found a wonderful position as the social secretary for millionaire Addison Rice, a man who gives some pretty creative parties.

This book takes place in December of 1938. A couple of months before, Lillian and Addison had been in New York, and they had attended a dinner party that was going downhill before a maid accuses one of the guests, Albert Chaperau, of smuggling. As this book opens, the FBI’s investigation of the charges has led to the doors of Paramount, where Edith is now the head of the costume department. Edith wants every last detail from Lillian in hopes of helping the studio and some of their famous stars as the FBI keeps circling.

Meanwhile, Edith has another favor to ask of her friend. She wants Lillian to ask around about Jens Lahse, a pianist who is friends with actress and singer Marlene Dietrich. Jens has fled from Austria ahead of the German takeover of his country. No one has seen him in a week, and Dietrich is concerned. Lillian readily agrees, but just as her investigation appears to have reached a dead end, she makes a shocking discovery. Just what has happened?

This book spends little time rehashing how Lillian and Edith met or their unlikely friendship. If you want the full story, you’ll have to read the first book in the series. However, nothing here spoils the first book if you decide to jump in here.

With the dueling plots, there is plenty to keep you engaged as you read. The book spends some time setting up the new characters and their relationships with each other, but once that foundation is laid, things really take off. I figured out the solution only paragraphs before Lillian did, although even then, there was quite a bit I had missed.

The book mixes real and fictional characters in a completely organic way. Again, since I don’t know old Hollywood well, I suspect I missed quite a few of the cameos, although the extensive notes at the end of the book helped fill in the gaps. But whether I recognized a name on the page or not, I felt like all of them came to perfect life.

And I really am impressed just how much real history was worked into this story. The notes at the end help flesh out what is true, what is fiction, and what is inspired by truth. Couple that with writing that evokes 1938 and the world as it was during that time, and this is a trip back in time. While this book may not be focused on Christmas, it does play into a sub-plot and come up regularly, which I also enjoyed.

I’m so glad I have discovered this wonderful historical mystery series. Dangerous to Know will please the many fans of the first in the series. And if you haven’t taken this trip back in time to meet this wonderful duo, I highly suggest you do so today.

A Puzzle to Be Named Later (Puzzle Lady Mysteries (Hardcover))
A Puzzle to Be Named Later (Puzzle Lady Mysteries (Hardcover))
by Parnell Hall
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £24.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Play Ball with Murder, 25 July 2017
Summer means hot days, relaxing, swimming, and watching baseball. So I waited to read A Puzzle to be Named Later until summer so I could read it in the proper season. Okay, not really. It just so happened that the first chance I had to read it was in July, the month when the book is set. I wish I could say I planned it that way. But I have no problem saying I enjoyed it.

As any fans of this series knows, famed Puzzle Lady Cora Felton is a huge Yankees fan, so when Matt Greyston moves to the area, she is absolutely thrilled. Matt is the Yankees latest star closing pitcher who, unfortunately, broke his arm in a car crash. He’s decided to rent a home in town to rehab.

His big introduction to the town at their 4th of July picnic is overshadowed by a break in, however. A therapist has had her home burgled and a flash drive stolen. That’s when a puzzle shows up that makes Cora wonder just what this therapist’s files contain. Then a dead body turns up with another puzzle, and Cora knows she has her work cut out for her.

This series is hit or miss with the mysteries, and this book was a weaker mystery. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty happening, but that was just it. It seemed like it was stuff happening and some random clues that didn’t really lead much of anywhere. Cora is able to piece things together at the end, but it is rather convoluted.

But I don’t read these books for the mysteries, I read them for the humor and word play. And here I was rewarded. The banter between the characters was as sharp as ever. Cora’s grand-niece Jennifer is growing, and she provided some laughs of her own this time around. In fact, she has my favorite line in the entire book.

The usual gang is all here and it’s always fun to spend time with them. I really enjoyed the new characters that were introduced in this book as well, which made it hard knowing one of them had to be the killer.

As you’ve probably guessed with all the talk of puzzles, this book includes two crossword puzzles and a Sudoku that you can solve. Or, if like me you don’t enjoy the puzzles, you can keep reading until they get solved for you and the clue they hide revealed.

So if you are looking for a light, funny summer read, A Puzzle to be Named Later will fit the bill perfectly.

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