Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Pumpkin Spice Peril

McKinlay, Jenn. Pumpkin Spice Peril. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2020.

Rene dies just before a catered event in which her artistic creation will debut. Mel becomes a suspect when the police chief questions how she keeps finding bodies and threatens her with an independent counsel investigation into her involvement in past homicides. Meanwhile Angie battles morning sickness but her brothers provide support for her and Mel. I found this to be a pleasant diversion. Even though I missed several installments, my familiarity with the characters was adequate to appreciate this. Even though I rarely read more than 50 pages at a time, I enjoyed this one. These COVID-19 days filled with other distractions account for the length of time it took to read it. I suspect under normal circumstances this would have been read in a few hours. I received an advance review copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Sugar and Vice

Calder, Eve. Sugar and Vice. New York: St. Martin's, 2020.

Although I missed the first installment of this series, the author provided enough background on the characters that I quickly caught up. While planting, Maxi finds a corpse presumed to belong to a legendary pirate. The Coral Cay grapevine alerts residents to the discovery. When an archaeologist arrives on the scene, he delivers the verdict the man died in the last ten years. Soon Kate and the gang begin investigating. My biggest complaint involves the choppiness of the writing. 68 chapters provided far too many breaks in a novel this length. Between the choppy chapters and COVID-19 distractions to reading, I found it difficult to concentrate. I'd give it 2.75 stars, but since I realize these are unusual times and my ability to fully enjoy any book is marred, I'm rounding it up to 3. I received an advance review copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

The Haunted Lady

Rinehart, Mary Roberts. The Haunted Lady. New York: Penzler Publishers, 2020.

When repeated attempts to rattle or kill wealthy widow Eliza Fairbanks occur, the police send nurse Hilda Adams to care for her. Greeted by a swarm of relatives with motives to kill the woman, Adams knows Eliza's imagination did not get carried away. When the woman turns up dead, the police and nurse Adams must sift through lies and clues to come up with the real murderer.  Roberts drops too many obvious hints of future events. The mystery shows its age in some aspects, but it still presents an interesting puzzle for modern readers. I received an advance review copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.