Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

The Corpse at the Crystal Palace by Carola Dunn

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When I discovered this title on Net Galley, I had never heard of Daisy Dalrymple and this absolutely delightful cozy mystery series that takes place in England in the 1920’s. I love the cast of characters in this novel, which includes more than just the intrepid Daisy, but also her friends and children. While this is part of a series, it can certainly stand alone (it did for me!). I will definitely go back and read earlier installments in this well-written and plotted series; and I will look forward to new ones.

Thank you for my review copy! Description is below and a bit on the real Crystal Palace (which I had never heard of perhaps because it burned down in 1936) is at the end, compliments of You Tube.

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Here’s a glimpse of the original Crystal Palace (with sad Beethoven music):

And here’s a video from the V&A Museum with no sound that shows how it was built:

I also found this video about the walkway that used to lead to it from the subway – interesting!

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The Witches’ Tree by M.C. Beaton

 

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If you read me, you know I LOVE the MC Beaton “Agatha Raisin” mysteries. Agatha is so cranky and funny and yet brilliant at solving mysteries. Ms. Beaton’s publicist kindly sent me her latest installment: The Witches’ Tree, where poor Agatha is tracking down a murderer while being targeted by a coven of witches. Agatha Raisin is now being made for television in the UK and I’ve seen several of the episodes. I really like how they’ve interpreted the stories – fairly close to the book but with some unique twists on character interpretation. I get them through Acorn TV (which has loads of awesome British shows – so much better than anything on regular US TV!).

Thank you for my review copy! Can’t wait for the next novel — I never grow tired of Agatha!

The Witches’ Tree continues the tradition in M. C. Beaton’s beloved Agatha Raisin mystery series―now a hit show on Acorn TV and public television.

This spells trouble…

Driving home from a dinner party in the village of Sumpton Harcourt, Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, strain to see the road ahead―and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. An elderly spinster has been murdered―and the villagers just can’t fathom who among them could commit such a crime.

Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, she must admit, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation and, since the village happens to have its own coven of witches, her own life. . .

“Once you meet Agatha Raisin, you’ll keep coming back.”―New York Journal of Books

“M. C. Beaton has a foolproof plot for the village mystery.” ―The New York Times Book Review

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She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell

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I love a good thriller and I especially love YA boarding school settings – the perfect place for a murder! This was a thriller about twins that are sent to a prestigious boarding school and while one is the good, quiet twin, her sister promptly gets in trouble. Told in more than one voice, the story has its twists and turns and will keep you guessing! For older YA and adults due to sexual scenes and violence.

Here’s the overview from Net Galley – thanks for my review e-copy!

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Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen

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If you read me, you know I adore the Royal Spyness books, with clumsy yet likable Georgie (34th in line to the throne) and her solving of mysteries that seem to find her wherever she goes. There’s a likable cast of characters throughout, including her stage actress and completely self-absorbed mother, her East London rough grandfather, her dashing beau Darcy (Irish and Catholic!), and her always bumbling maid, Queenie.

We’ve been waiting for books and books for Georgie and Darcy to get together and to marry. Will it finally finally happen??

Publishing today, this novel is a great addition to an already favorite series. You can read it alone or mix them up, but I like reading them as soon as they are published!

Thanks for my e-copy to review via Net Galley.

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The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal

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Then next Maggie Hope story is here! I love this series, which is WWII mystery series centering on a young and daring spy, Maggie Hope. I used to think of them as cozies, but they really aren’t. They are more of a historical mystery. I learn so much about women’s roles in WWII while reading them!

This one reminded me a bit of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Everyone is dying, one by one, and Maggie must find the killer.

Here’s the description from Net Galley – thanks for my review e-copy! Happy Pub Day!

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HFVBook Tour for Susan Spann’s TRIAL ON MOUNT KOYA with GIVEAWAY!

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I’m a big fan of this historical mystery series, set in the 1500’s in Japan. I feel like I learn so much while reading each of these books! Along the way, the characters continue to develop and things happen in their lives. This was a great installment in the series (which actually can all stand alone as well). Lots of potential suspects when Buddhist priests, isolated in a temple during a horrific winter storm, are methodically being murdered one by one. It felt a little like Agatha Christie!

Thank you for my review e-copy and for making me part of the tour!

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TRIAL ON MOUNT KOYA BY SUSAN SPANN

Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Seventh Street Books
Paperback & eBook; 256 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Hiro Hattori, Book #6

Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo head up to Mount Koya, only to find themselves embroiled in yet another mystery, this time in a Shingon Buddhist temple atop one of Japan’s most sacred peaks.

November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple at the summit of Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple’s priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife–the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests–including Father Mateo–become unwilling members of the killer’s grisly council of the dead.

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

Praise for Trial on Mount Koya

“A page-turning and atmospheric historical mystery that beautifully melds fascinating Japanese history with a cleverly constructed mystery reminiscent of And Then There Were None—if the famous Agatha Christie mystery had been set in medieval Japan on a sacred mountaintop during a snowstorm.” —Gigi Pandian, USA Today–bestselling author of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mysteries

“Susan Spann is up front in saying that Trial on Mount Koya is an homage to Agatha Christie. Believe me, she does the great Dame Agatha proud. This excellent entry in Spann’s series of Hiro Hattori mysteries offers plenty of esoteric clues and red herrings that are fun to chase. Along the way, she even does Christie one better, giving readers a fascinating glimpse of life and religion in feudal Japan. This is a book sure to please Spann’s growing legion of fans as well as anyone who loves the work of Agatha Christie.” —William Kent Krueger, Edgar® Award–winning author of Sulfur Springs

About the Author

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Susan Spann is the award-winning author of the Hiro Hattori mystery novels, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo.

Susan began reading precociously and voraciously from her preschool days in Santa Monica, California, and as a child read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest.

Susan is the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year, a former president of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (National and Sacramento chapters), the Historical Novel Society, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is represented by literary agent Sandra Bond of Bond Literary Agency.

When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, photography, and hiking. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and two cats, and travels to Japan on a regular basis.

For more information, please visit Susan Spann’s website. You can find Susan on Facebook and Twitter (@SusanSpann), where she founded the #PubLaw hashtag to provide legal and business information for writers.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 3
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 4
Interview at Donna’s Book Blog

Thursday, July 5
Interview at T’s Stuff
Feature at The Bookworm

Friday, July 6
Guest Post at Jathan & Heather

Sunday, July 8
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings

Tuesday, July 10
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, July 11
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, July 12
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, July 13
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, July 16
Review at Writing the Renaissance

Tuesday, July 17
Guest Post at Writing the Renaissance

Wednesday, July 18
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Friday, July 20
Feature at Maiden of the Pages

Saturday, July 21
Review at Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, July 24
Feature at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, July 26
Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, July 27
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, July 30
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, August 1
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, August 2
Review at A Book Geek

Friday, August 3
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Sunday, August 5
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, August 6
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, August 8
Review at Reading the Past

Giveaway!

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 5 copies of Trial on Mount Koya! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Click below to enter:

https://gleam.io/KPAPn/trial-on-mount-koya

 

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Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

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B. A. Paris took everyone by storm with her debut novel Behind Closed Doors (which, I have to say, had the very best marketing campaign ever! I was getting postcards and notes from the book characters and was completely freaked out by it all!).

Her second novel, The Breakdown, was engaging, but I had figured it all out quite early on in the novel (first third), so I didn’t find it as compelling.

Her latest novel, Bring Me Back, is another suspenseful thriller (I love this genre!) where a man’s life is being turned upside down when his “missing” fiancee appears to have returned to him, and he is set to marry her sister.

This did keep me guessing, and I thought I had figured it out, but was wrong, then I re-thought and was right. I did enjoy it and couldn’t put it down. If you like the thrill of books like those of Lisa Jewell and Jillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins, then you will probably like B. A. Paris!

Thank you for my e-copy via Net Galley!

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Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King

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I’m always thrilled when Net Galley offers a title in a series that I enjoy. Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell’s series are mysteries that feature the young, intelligent wife of Sherlock Holmes. While Holmes plays his part, Russell is the protagonist. They are cleverly plotted and I always find I learn a little something while reading them.

This latest one takes place in Venice. Holmes and Russell have gone there seeking a missing aunt of a friend. There are LOTS of themes in this book – women’s roles, depression and mental health, sexual abuse, sexuality, treatment in hospitals, rise of fascism, etc. I found it all rather compelling and fascinating. Adding to the mix were real characters, like Cole Porter and his wife Linda, along with Mussolini. I think this is my favorite Mary Russell mystery yet.

This would be a great book club book as there is much to discuss, too.

Thank you for my e-copy from Net Galley!

From Amazon:

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are back in Laurie R. King’s New York Times bestselling series—“the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today” (Lee Child).

With Mrs. Hudson gone from their lives and domestic chaos building, the last thing Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, need is to help an old friend with her mad and missing aunt.

Lady Vivian Beaconsfield has spent most of her adult life in one asylum after another, since the loss of her brother and father in the Great War. And although her mental state seemed to be improving, she’s now disappeared after an outing from Bethlem Royal Hospital . . . better known as Bedlam.

Russell wants nothing to do with the case—but she can’t say no. And at least it will get her away from the challenges of housework and back to the familiar business of investigation. To track down the vanished woman, she brings to the fore her deductive instincts and talent for subterfuge—and of course enlists her husband’s legendary prowess. Together, Russell and Holmes travel from the grim confines of Bedlam to the winding canals and sun-drenched Lido cabarets of Venice—only to find the foreboding shadow of Benito Mussolini darkening the fate of a city, an era, and a tormented English lady of privilege.

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Alan Bradley’s The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place (a Flavia de Luce novel)

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If you know me, you know I adore the Flavia de Luce series, centering on a precocious 12 year old genius in 1950’s England. Somehow, while I was distracted elsewhere (probably work), a new installment in the series came out. This one has Flavia and her sisters travelling with Dogger for a short vacation while they regroup from the untimely death of their father. The “rest” has barely begun when Flavia discovers a dead body in the village’s river, and things go from there.

(from Amazon):

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The world’s greatest adolescent British chemist/busybody/sleuth” (The Seattle Times), Flavia de Luce, returns in a twisty mystery novel from award-winning author Alan Bradley.

In the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is struggling to fill her empty days. For a needed escape, Dogger, the loyal family servant, suggests a boating trip for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt drifts past the church where a notorious vicar had recently dispatched three of his female parishioners by spiking their communion wine with cyanide, Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poisons, is ecstatic. Suddenly something grazes her fingers as she dangles them in the water. She clamps down on the object, imagining herself Ernest Hemingway battling a marlin, and pulls up what she expects will be a giant fish. But in Flavia’s grip is something far better: a human head, attached to a human body. If anything could take Flavia’s mind off sorrow, it is solving a murder—although one that may lead the young sleuth to an early grave.

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As always, Flavia does not disappoint! I love how these mysteries always keep me guessing. I look forward to seeing what this super sleuth tackles next!

This is Book 9 in the series, and while I loved reading them in order, it can stand alone as well.

I purchased my book at a local bookstore while on a “date night” with the hubs. You can find it at your local bookstore or online or at the library!

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Death at the Selig Studios by Frances McNamara

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The early summer of 1909 finds Emily Cabot eagerly anticipating a relaxing vacation with her family. Before they can depart, however, she receives news that her brother, Alden, has been involved in a shooting death at the Selig Polyscope silent movie studios on Chicago’s northwest side. She races to investigate, along with her friend Detective Henry Whitbread. There they discover a sprawling backlot, complete with ferocious jungle animals and the celluloid cowboys Tom Mix and Broncho Billy. As they dig deeper into the situation, they uncover furtive romantic liaisons between budding movie stars and an attempt by Thomas Edison to maintain his stranglehold over the emerging film industry. Before the intrepid amateur sleuth can clear her brother’s name she faces a serious break with the detective; a struggle with her adolescent daughter, who is obsessed with the filming of the original Wizard of Oz movie; and threats upon her own life. (via Amazon)

This is book 7 of the Emily Cabot mysteries, and I love this entertaining and well-plotted series that blends interesting facts from history with a lively fictional protagonist. Each volume can stand alone. Emily finds herself mixed up with film makers in Chicago in this installment. To be honest, I didn’t realize that the early film industry was in part in Chicago before it came to California. At the end of this post I’ve included a You Tube link of a Selig Studios rendition of The Wizard of Oz from 1910, the movie they were filming in this novel. It certainly is different from the movie version most of us grew up with!

Ms. McNamara’s writing is always a treat and she often can write a mystery that I can’t figure out. This novel was yet another winner from her.

Thank you for my review copy, sent from the publishers: Allium Press of Chicago.

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