The Old Success by Martha Grimes


9780802147400_250cdFrom the publisher: In The Old Success, the twenty-fifth mystery in the bestselling Richard Jury series by MWA Grand Master Martha Grimes, an unlikely trio of detectives teams up to solve three puzzling murders that span three counties across England.

When the body of a French woman washes up on a wild inlet off the Cornish coast, Brian Macalvie, divisional commander with the Devon-Cornwall police is called in. Who could have killed this beautiful tourist, the only visible footprints nearby belonging to the two little girls who found her?

While Macalvie stands in the Scilly Islands, inspector Richard Jury–twenty miles away on Land’s End—is at The Old Success pub, sharing a drink with the legendary former CID detective Tom Brownell, a man renowned for solving every case he undertook. Except one.

In the days following the mysterious slaying of the Parisian tourist, two other murders take place: first, a man is found dead in a country estate, then a holy duster turns up murdered at the Exeter Cathedral. Macalvie, Jury and Brownell set out to discover whether these three killings, though very different in execution, are connected. Written with Grimes’s signature wit, sly plotting, and gloriously offbeat characters, The Old Success is prime fare from “one of the most fascinating mystery writers today” (Houston Chronicle).

Reading an advanced review copy months before publication is always tricky. Sometimes the text is well developed and edited; other times you find the skeleton of a plot with some muscle and sinew but little flesh. That’s what I found with The Old Success.

The plot is classic Martha Grimes, featuring several mysterious deaths all eventually tied together by one long thread which is slowly untangled by the cast of characters. There is the usual witty repartee between series regulars Jury and Plant, mouthy kids, deceitful killers, and appearances by the Long Piddleton crew, the gorgeous Carolanne Palutski, and my favorite detective Brian Macalvie.

However, there’s so much connective tissue missing here that it’s like reading the graphic novel version.

As a decades-long Grimes reader, I can see the strong bones here and plan to buy this when it’s published, hoping that I will find a fully fleshed out story. The plot is every bit as clever as my all-time favorite Grimes book, The Old Fox Deceiv’d, and I do enjoy Jury & Plant in any form, but this needs more words. One final caveat: this is not a stand-alone novel since it references events and characters from previous books.

Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Published By: Atlantic Monthly Press
Thanks to Edelweiss for the review copy

Mayhem, Murder & the PTA by Dave Cravens

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Parker Monroe is a tough-talking investigative reporter used to writing headlines, not being the subject of them. When a key source vanishes on a politically toxic story, this single mother of three finds herself at the center of a media storm and out of a job. Ready to reset, Parker moves her family back to the rural town where she grew up. But a gossip-filled PTA, a tyrannical school principal and a gruesome murder make adjusting to the “simple life” anything but. Parker Monroe is about to chase the story of her lifetime…

If you like your protagonists irreverent and bold, Parker Monroe is for you. She is confident and assertive, even in the face of the abject and complete failure she faces at the beginning of the story.

It’s interesting to see how the author takes the rough-and-tumble, take-no-prisoners Chicago journalist and plants her back in her small hometown where the most exciting and challenging project she takes on is reinstating the music program at her children’s school. Leave it to Parker Monroe, though, to turn that mundane task into something horrifying.

The story is a romp, full of larger than life characters. However, I found the author’s interpretation of how a woman speaks and behaves, even one as irreverent as Parker, to be a little off. I’ve been known to drop an F-bomb or two, but the author takes Parker to a whole other level of swearing that I find just a little unbelievable. Maybe I lead a sheltered life, but I have never said, nor heard any other woman exclaim “Are you butt-f-ing me” aloud in a coffee shop. Not even in Chicago. But despite the over-the-top vulgarity, this is still a fun and intricate story that will appeal to mystery readers.

Book Details:

  • Book Title: Mayhem, Murder and the PTA by Dave Cravens
  • Category:  Adult Fiction, 434 pages
  • Genre:  Mystery / Thriller
  • Publisher:  Amazon
  • Release date:   May 20, 2019

Buy the Book: Amazon.com

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Dave CravensMeet the author!
As a child, Dave Cravens planned to grow up to be a superhero, the first person to capture Bigfoot and Nessie on film, pilot experimental aircraft out of Area 51, develop cold fusion, and star and direct in his own blockbuster action movies so he could retire at the ripe age of twenty-five and raid tombs the rest of his life. Instead, he got a degree in journalism, which he hasn’t used at all other than to justify his incredibly insightful and valid complaints about the state of journalism. During his twenty-two years in the video game business, he’s written for award winning franchises, directed TV commercials and movies, sprained his ankles numerous times in ultimate frisbee games and published three original novels.

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Great Jewel Robbery by Elizabeth McKenna

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Mystery with a splash of romance…Chicago Tribune reporters Emma and Grace have been best friends since college despite coming from different worlds. When Grace is assigned to cover an annual charity ball and auction being held at a lakeside mansion and her boyfriend bails on her, she brings Emma as her plus one. The night is going smoothly until Emma finds the host’s brother unconscious in the study. Though at first it is thought he was tipsy and stumbled, it soon becomes clear more is afoot, as the wall safe is empty and a three-million-dollar diamond necklace is missing. With visions of becoming ace investigative journalists, Emma and Grace set out to solve the mystery, much to the chagrin of the handsome local detective.
This is Nancy Drew for the 21st century! Grace and Emma make a fabulous team, and their first foray into mystery-solving is definitely a hit. The women play off each other’s strengths and each contributes to solving the crime. They are daring, smart, and driven to prove themselves to their editor and to each other.
This is a quick, light read – perfect for a day at the beach, or on your porch sipping an iced tea (or something stronger!). Fans of Kate Carlisle and Juliet Blackwell will enjoy Elizabeth McKenna’s mysteries.

Book Details:

  • ​Book Title: The Great Jewel Robbery: A Front Page Mystery Book 1 by
  • Elizabeth McKenna
  • Category: Adult Fiction, 204 pages
  • Genre: Cozy mystery
  • Publisher: Elizabeth McKenna
  • Release date: May 28, 2019
  • Tour dates: August 19-30, 2019
  • Content Rating: PG-13 (There is no profanity. There is drinking, desire, and a kiss.)
To read more reviews, please visit Elizabeth McKenna’s page on iRead Book Tours.

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 Elizabeth McKenna’s love of books reaches back to her childhood, where her tastes ranged from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to Stephen King’s horror stories. She had never read a romance novel until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She combined her love of history, romance, and a happy ending to write the historical romance novels Cera’s Place and Venice in the Moonlight. Her contemporary romance novel, First Crush Last Love, is loosely based on her life (she eventually married her first crush)

The Great Jewel Robbery is her debut cozy mystery, and she hopes readers will like it as much as they have enjoyed her romances. Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

Connect with the author: Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

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A Bolt From the Blue by Lise McClendon AND Fire & Rain by Katy Munger

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More international intrigue, murder, and romance for the Bennett Sisters overseas in the newest entry to the bestselling women’s fiction and suspense series. The next to youngest Bennett Sister, Francie Bennett (Blame it on Paris) is a hard-charging attorney whose boyfriend Dylan Hardy invites her to join him in Paris to help with a client. When Axelle Fourcier left Paris behind after the student riots of 1968, she vowed never to go back. She made a life for herself in America as a professor.

But now a beloved aunt, age 104, has died and left her an inheritance to be shared with a cousin she never met. A fabulous Belle Epoque apartment in Paris filled with pop art from the ’50s and ’60s is just the start of Axelle’s discoveries in Paris. Wrangling with her slick cousin for the proceeds is distasteful but oh so French. Then the apartment is broken into, a friend is murdered, and Axelle’s fears that the French state is once again conspiring against her seem very plausible.

Francie tries to deal with her cranky client, her own new relationship, and her boyfriend’s nine-year-old daughter, as the estate problems spin out of control. Intrigue, romance, Paris and the Dordogne, and a soupçon of murder, wrapped in the legal and art world of France bring more than a few ‘Bolts from the Blue’ to the Bennett Sisters.

Book Details:

  • Book Title:  A Bolt From the Blue by Lise McClendon
  • Category:  Adult Fiction, 243 pages
  • Genre:  Mystery, women’s fiction, suspense
  • Publisher:  Thalia Press
  • Release date:   August 1, 2019
  • Tour dates: Aug 1 to 23, 2019
  • Content Rating: PG-13 (No sex scenes but some language, mostly mild)

Buy the Book:
Amazon.com 
Amazon.ca ~ Apple books
Kobo ebooks ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:
Lise McClendon writes fiction from her home in Montana. She is the author of numerous novels, short stories, and articles. In 1997 she wrote and directed the short film, The Hoodoo Artist, featured at the Telluride Indiefest. She has served on the national boards of directors for Mystery Writers of America and International Association of Crime Writers/North America. She is on the faculty of the Jackson Hole Writers Conference.

Her books, written under her own name and as Rory Tate and Grier Lake, are full of the fascinating lives of women. The choices that women sometimes make are a quagmire of directions and misdirections, sending women into careers, love affairs, children (or no children), travels, and hobbies. And, in the case of her novels, into suspense, crime, secrets, and love.

Connect with the author:    Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest  ~  Instagram

Casey Jones is back with a new adventure that takes her from four-foot strippers to forty-something bikers—and a head-on collision with too many ex-boyfriends to count. When a routine bodyguarding case turns deadly and Casey loses one of her oldest friends, tracking the killers and a missing stripper — who may or may not be in on the murder — turns out to be a wild ride that takes her from the flatlands of eastern North Carolina to its most exclusive mountain enclaves.Fans of Casey Jones will recognize their favorites in the cast of colorful supporting characters who answer Casey’s “all hands on deck!” call. If you’ve been missing your kick-ass Casey and craving Krispy Kremes, you’ll find all that you have missed in this seventh installment of a long and beloved female P.I. series.

Book Details:
  • Book Title:  Fire and Rain (A Casey Jones Mystery) by Katy Munger
  • Category:   Adult fiction, 260 pages
  • Genre:  Mystery
  • Publisher:  Thalia Press
  • Release date:   August 2019
  • Tour dates: Aug 1 to 23, 2019
  • Content Rating: PG-13

Buy the Book:
Amazon.com
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Katy Munger is a North Carolina-based mystery author who has written under several different pseudonyms. She is the author of the Dead Detective series, writing as Katy Munger (Angel Among Us and Angel of Darkness) and as Chaz McGee (Desolate Angel and Angel Interrupted); the Casey Jones crime fiction series writing as Katy Munger; and the Hubbert & Lil mystery series, writing as Gallagher Gray. She has also been a book reviewer for the Washington Post and served as North Carolina’s 2016 Piedmont Laureate.

Connect with the author:    Website 

 

Old Bones by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles


cover169220-mediumDCI Bill Slider’s out of favor in the force—for accusing a senior Met officer of covering up an underage sex ring. As punishment, he’s given a cold case to keep him busy: some old bones to rake through, found buried in a back garden, from a murder that happened two decades ago, and with most of the principal players already dead.

“You can’t upset anyone looking into old bones.”

Surely Bill Slider can’t unearth anything new or shocking with these tired old bones?

As an avid reader of mystery and suspense novels, it’s rare for me to be completely surprised by a twist at the end. Let me just say, the twist at the end of this book is superb! Unexpected, Did-Not-See-That-Coming ending.

This is a very British police procedural, full of slang and language relatively unfamiliar to this American reader, but I thoroughly enjoyed learning new vernacular speech because it was paired with engaging characters and a clever, twisty plot. In addition to all that, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles writes extremely well, equally skilled at description, dialog, and plot. Overall, this is one of the better British police procedural books I’ve read in a good long time. Recommended.

Advance Praise

‘For detection fans demanding quality and heart as well as ingenious plots. – Daily Mail

‘Harrod-Eagles writes terrific crime novels, meshing fully realized characters with multilevel plot lines. – Library Journal

‘A truly outstanding series. – Booklist

‘Harrod-Eagles is never less than expert in presenting suspects. – Kirkus Reviews

Publication Date: August 16, 2019
Published By: Black Thorn
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister


cover154444-medium Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.

Lyrical and immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.

Erica Bauermeister, the national bestselling author of The School of Essential Ingredients, presents a moving and evocative coming-of-age novel about childhood stories, families lost and found, and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course of our lives.

This book is a gift that I did not expect. The story is by far one of the most unusual and imaginative I’ve read in a long time, and the characters by turns fascinating and exasperating. I first became interested in the properties of scent, particularly of how scent can trigger memories, when working with an elderly woman. Scent was a trigger for her and she shared the loveliest memories of her childhood and early adult years living on a farm and serving in the WAVES in World War II.

Emmeline’s experience with scent and the scent-machine is fascinating, and I particularly appreciated how scent continued to play a role in her life even after she left the island. I was pleased that she found a new family, and even more pleased that she eventually reconnected with her mother. However, the first meeting between Victoria and Emmeline was a little hard to swallow. Victoria’s acceptance of Emmeline as her daughter was a little too quick from someone being portrayed as hard-as-nails. Even so, their relationship building was interesting, and I totally loved the end, bringing both of them full circle back to John. Fans of M.J. Rose will enjoy this. Recommended.

Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Published By: St. Martin’s Press
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

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cover163601-mediumFrom the Publisher: From Ann Cleeves, bestselling author of Vera and Shetland, beloved by readers and TV viewers alike, comes a spectacular new series, told with deep compassion and searing insight.

In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his estranged father’s funeral takes place. On the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back to the people and places of his past, as deadly secrets hidden at their hearts are revealed, and his new life is forced into a collision course with the world he thought he’d left behind.

I discovered Ann Cleeves a few years ago and binged her Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez books. Now she has introduced a new detective, Matthew Venn, who struggles with his past while working on a future with his husband Jonathan. Cleeves does some of her best storytelling here, creating likable and intriguing characters working their way through a clever plot. She sets the stage for further development of Venn, Jen Rafferty, Ross, and Jonathan, which makes me eager for the next one in this series.

Here, I particularly appreciated Cleeves’ sensitive and accurate portrayal of adult women who have Downs Syndrome. Lucy Braddick is especially sassy, intelligent, and clever, with a smile that lights up the room.

I’ll be recommending this new series and looking forward to the next TV adaptation of Cleeves’ work!

Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Published By: St. Martin’s Press Minotaur Books
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri

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A Cloud Of Fraud by Linda Ferreri BannerOn Tour June 1-30, 2019

Synopsis:

A man is shot dead in front of City Hall in Philadelphia where his family is tangled in a bitter lawsuit. One brave woman, drawn there by a work of art, finds herself following a twisted trail to the hills of Le Marche in Italy to learn why. All the while, the cloud of fraud grows thicker and darker around her. 

This thrilling story grabs and holds the reader from the first chapter through unexpected twists all the way to the richly satisfying ending. Art expert Claire Bliss and police Comandante Baldo are joined and antagonized by unforgettable characters in both Philadelphia and Italy. The authenticity of Ferreri’s players and their territories give special vibrance to the novel.

Lovers of the Renaissance will be drawn in immediately by the book’s cover, a painting of Mary Magdalene by Carlo Crivelli (ca. 1480) in the Rijksmuseum. Inside the book, a great art crime story unfolds together with a gem of a murder mystery.

Readers here know that my preferred genre is mystery and suspense, which can range from hardcore, blood-and-guts police procedurals, to softer Jessica-Fletcher-esque cozies, to cleverly plotted and researched historical novels, and so on. I am particularly fond of mysteries that involve books or art, so I was happy to review this madcap mystery when offered from the publisher.

There are two parallel stories happening here: a legal drama involving a (possibly) forged will, and theft of artwork by Italian Renaissance painter Carlo Crivelli. The two stories are linked by Arthur Seri, a quiet, unassuming art expert who is suing his cousins over his uncle’s will, which he believes was forged. At the same time, Arthur is working with a larger-than-life Russian to authenticate parts of a Renaissance era altar piece painted by Crivelli.

And then Arthur Seri is killed. Shot in the back on the steps of the Philadelphia Court House. Enter art expert Claire Bliss, who also happens to own a home in the Le Marche region of Italy where Carlo Crivelli painted. Claire finds herself neck-deep in a confusing and dangerous game involving fake paintings, Arthur Seri’s very Italian landlady, the above-mentioned Russian, and an Italian police chief pining for his missing wife. The action moves between Philadelphia, New York, and Italy as Ferreri weaves all the various plots and subplots together into an unexpected ending.

There is SO much going on here that I was reminded of the 1930’s era madcap mystery movies where there are lots of characters, lots of motives, and lots of movement. Ferreri does an excellent job of managing all the different strands and bringing some resolution to the two separate stories of the Crivelli paintings and the forged will. Her depiction of Rose Cicarelli is spot on for the Italian grandmas and mamas in my life, especially Rose’s comment on the very last page, which made me howl with laughter. So accurate! The characters here – Claire and Baldo – have the makings of becoming a duo in a series. I would enjoy reading more about the New York sophisticate Claire and the provincial Italian police chief Baldo. Ferreri’s experience in the art world will surely make for more entertaining books in the future. Now I’m going back to find her earlier books on the Crown of the Andes.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Published by: Linda Ferreri Trustee
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Number of Pages: 315
ISBN: 978-0-578-47624-7
Purchase Links: Amazon | Kindle | Apple Books | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Early on in the Hard-heads case, at one of the bar association luncheons, Judge Pirandello had positioned himself next to one of his former clerks who was now a successful litigator in the Probate Court. Biggers, by name. There was the introductory chat about the wellbeing of their family members and the joke about the latest case here or there. The dialogue was familiar to both of them. The Hard-heads plaintiff was a problem person, the judge had learned, and he needed to be squashed to put an end to mostly frivolous claims, driven by greed. Everybody in the family knew it, the judge heard. He knew the type. The Probate Court was littered with greedy relatives, angry children with buxom young stepmothers wearing expensive jewelry their fathers had bought. He knew it all. The judge wanted rid of this case, and so he was pleased to learn that it was not worthy of His Honor’s dignified much less close attention. The Hard-heads case had to go.

It would have gone long before now, the judge was thinking to himself as he growled into the cup of black tea, but these damned people had refused to take the hint, refused to be cowed or put in their places. Here and there at the few hearings he had conducted over this motion or that, he had seen a shrug of the shoulders by one or another lawyer.

“What could we do?” They might as well have said that out loud. The judge understood.

His knee was throbbing, but Judge Pirandello refused to have it replaced. The fact that cold weather was coming on made it worse. The goddamned orthopedic surgeon was another money-grubber. Were there no professionals left in his world who were not money-grubbers? He stretched his corpulence forward over the edge of his chair to reach for his footstool, then winced as he elevated the bad leg. He yelled out for Mary to bring him another cup of tea. Then, he opened the enormous file on the small table beside his chair.

In Re the Estate of Seri. He hated even the name. Italian people should not behave in this fashion, he thought. His own father would have come back from the dead to beat the daylights out of his heirs if they had behaved as these people were behaving. Suing one another. Claiming fraud. All of it. Disgraceful, he thought. They were each poised to receive a generous amount of money but no, that wasn’t good enough. As with errant children, the Judge was both angry with and ashamed of the parties.

***

Excerpt from A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri. Copyright 2019 by Linda Ferreri. Reproduced with permission from Linda Ferreri. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Linda Ferreri

Linda Ferreri is the author of several art crime novels as well as witty illustrated iBooks. She is a highly respected international art law expert who divides her time between the United States and Le Marche in Italy.

Sometimes she says her most amusing book was her first, The King of UNINI, a sophisticated little romance set in Paris.

Catch Up With Linda Ferreri On:
acloudoffraud.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

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The Midnight Call by Jode Millman


midnight callFrom the Publisher: Everyone dreads the terrifying call that comes in the middle of the night. Your worst fears could be realized, your life changed forever in the minute it takes to answer. Jessie Martin never expected to hear the word murder on the other end of the line. That ringing phone was the sound of an ill-fated trajectory that would tilt her world, throwing her life into free-fall in Jodé Susan Millman’s heart-pounding courtroom thriller, THE MIDNIGHT CALL (Immortal Works; June 18, 2019).

The call is from distraught family friend Terrence Butterfield, threatening to harm himself. Jessie races to his side, but what she learns at Terrence’s house shakes her to her core. There’s a boy’s body in the basement—and Terrence insists he was the murderer. Drawing upon her connections as a corporate attorney, Jessie calls in a favor. She asks her former boss, criminal lawyer Jeremy Kaplan, to take the case. When Jessie and Jeremy speak to Terrence, she can’t believe he’s the same dear friend she’s known and loved since high school. The handsome, charismatic, and popular teacher swears he doesn’t know how the teenage boy ended up butchered in his basement. But he delivers this statement with an insidious flash of a malicious grin. Equally worrisome is the prosecution. Assistant District Attorney Hal Samuels is surprised to see his old law school flame listed as a witness. He hasn’t seen Jessie in years—how will this affect building his case? The tension mounts as Terrence tries to manipulate her, Kaplan uses her as a pawn, her fiancé pressures her for more, and the man who dumped her insinuates himself back into her life. How will she survive the aftermath of answering that terrifying midnight call?

Millman hits the bull’s eye in this, her debut novel. The plot is tight as a drum and filled with suspense from the first chapter to the last. Everything works here – the characters, the dialog, the description, the story – which demonstrates the author’s excellent research skills and imagination. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.  Police and legal procedural fans, this is a new author to watch!

jodeJODÉ SUSAN MILLMAN is the author of the bestselling Seats: New York Theatre guidebooks. Her debut novel, The Midnight Call, was short-listed for the Clue Award and was designated as “Best Police Procedural” by Chantireviews.com. She is an attorney who blogs about publishing law and is the co-host and co-producer of the popular podcast Backstage with the Bardavon (available on iTunes, Spotify and GooglePlay). Visit her at http://www.jodesusanmillman.com or on Facebook @JodeSusanMillmanAuthor.

 

Praise for The Midnight Call
“Witty, smart, and entertaining. An intriguing mix of hopes and fears, where the line between right and wrong blurs into some juicy, legal skullduggery.”
– International and New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry, author of The Malta Exchange

 

A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie


bitterSynopsis: Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, have been invited for a relaxing weekend in the tranquil Cotswolds, one of Britain’s most beautiful and historic regions, famous for its rolling hills, sheep-strewn green meadows, golden cottages, and timeless villages that retain the spirit of old England.

Duncan, Gemma, and their children are guests at Beck House, the country estate belonging to the family of Melody Talbot, Gemma’s trusted detective sergeant. No ordinary farmers, the Talbots are wealthy and prominent with ties to Britain’s most powerful and influential. A centerpiece of this glorious fall getaway is a posh charity luncheon catered by up-and-coming chef Viv Holland. After more than a decade in London, Viv has returned to her native Glouscestershire, making a name for herself with her innovative, mouthwatering use of the local bounty. Attended by several dozen of the area’s well-to-do, as well as national food bloggers and restaurant critics, the event could make Viv a star. A tragic car accident followed by a series of mysterious deaths could ruin her ascent. Each piece of information that surfaces makes it clear that the killer had a connection with Viv’s pub—and perhaps with Beck House itself.

I began this novel with some trepidation because I was disappointed by Crombie’s last entry in this series. After the first couple of pages, I knew this one was of the caliber I had come to expect from the author, and, truthfully, I could not put this down. The story is engaging, and the relationship between Duncan & Gemma is back on track. I enjoyed the foodie aspect to this mystery, as well as the idyllic Cotswalds setting. Learning more about Melody Talbot’s family was also a bonus.

Upon reflection, the “couldn’t put it down-ness” of this book *could* have stemmed from my fear that Crombie was going to kill off Duncan in the end. I am still smarting from James Compton’s death in the Maisie Dobbs series; I would have been crushed if Duncan died from complications from the car crash. THANK YOU, Deborah Crombie, for keeping him going!

Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Published By: William Morrow
Thanks to Edelweiss for the review copy