Friday, 8 November 2019

Read in 2019 - 25, 26, 27

# 25: Frosted Shadow
Nancy Warren

Toni Diamond is a successful sales representative for cosmetics. During a national conference, she finds a dead woman at the conference hotel. Although it is clear pretty soon that she was not there for the conference, she had a make-over with cosmetics by the same brand Toni and the other sales representatives offer.

Somehow Toni feels responsible, and gets involved with the investigation - and the Detective assigned to the case.
Soon, suspects and clues appear, and as the amateur and the proper detective work together, not only do they find the killer, but also each other.Before the happy ending, one more person loses their life, and of course this would not be a mystery if the heroine herself was not in danger at some point.

I liked this book, after my initial negative reaction to the heroine: Toni is everything I am not: single mother, hard-working sales woman and firm believer in cosmetic products to make the world a better place. 
But there is more to her than meets the eye, and as I read on and noticed that she did indeed have a rather bright head on her shoulders and a good heart, I found myself warming to her and her crazy mother (think an elderly Dolly Parton living in a neat trailer so full of bling you need sun glasses). 
The business organisation, the conference and its participants and other characters were well described, and the pace of the story was neither too rushed nor too slow.There was some humour in the book, but also (every now and then) food for thought.

I would not mind reading Toni's next adventures; this was #1 in a series, and I found it as a free ebook on Amazon's kindle shop.
The author's website is here.

# 26: Agatha Raisin and the Dead Ringer

M.C. Beaton
My Mum and I love the Agatha Raisin series, and so I was very much looking forward to the next-to-latest instalment.
However, I must admit I was somewhat disappointed with this one. 

Up until the first third or so, everything is pretty much as you'd expect: A typical aspect of village life is taken as the background (this time it is bell ringing). A cast of more or less quirky characters are introduced (the bell ringers, the vicar and his wife, plus an extremely handsome bishop and his dean). Agatha is her usual self: smoking, drinking G&Ts, worrying about her waistline and pining for the one true love that will turn her life around. 

The first murder occurs among the bell ringers, and Agatha is drawn in to help investigating. 

Then the book changes - and not for the better, I'm afraid. 
While there is still much of what we like about the series (the relationships between Agatha, Charles, her ex-husband James plus some other well-loved regulars), Agatha has an uncharacteristical hard time at solving the mystery. In fact, for a long time, she does not feel like doing any detecting and seriously considers giving it up altogether, without finding out who the murderer is, and how (or if) it is all connected with the disappearance of the bishop's fiancĂ©e years ago. 

This and several other things happening in the book make it a bit of a jerky read.
I missed the flow and the dramatic build-up. This was just not entirely "our" Agatha.
Still, it is part of the series, and if you follow any kind of series, be it on TV or books, you know what I mean - you can't dismiss one part, you want the whole thing.

 There is the latest book waiting for me on the shelf. Something tells me (the voice of hope, maybe) that one will be better.

# 27: Dead Angler
Victoria Houston
Another freebie from Amazon's kindle shop, another first of a series, and another mystery - but set in an entirely different enviroment, one I know next to nothing about: fly fishing! 

A retired dentist, widower and recovered alcoholic, has no greater joy in life than fishing. He also sees his old friends almost daily for breakfast and has a quirky neighbour who is very knowlegdeable about wildlife and the outdoors. Then there are his two grown-up daughters, very different from each other both in what they have been making of their lives and the relationship with their Dad. Oh, and don't forget the Police Chief of the small town - a no-nonsense woman, younger than the doctor, but not too young; the reader soon learns of the doctor's interest in her. 

One night, she takes him along the river for some fly fishing, when he stumbles in the water and finds the dead body of a woman who turns out to have been an old friend of one of his daughters, just recently returned to her hometown.

The police chief quickly enlists the doctor's help, and with his access to family and friends of the murdered woman, they eventually manage to find out who killed her, and why.

 The outcome was not as easy to guess as it may sound; several suspects had reasons for wanting to see the woman dead.It was a good read, also because of the (for me) exotic setting of a small backwater town (the whole area really exists; you can find out more ont he author's website, see below.). 
Fishing techniques and descriptions were a bit overdone to my taste, since only part of it was relevant for the story, but I suppose it added credibility.

I cared for the main characters and liked them and would like to read more of Dr. Osborne and Police Chief Lew.

The author's website is here.


  1. I have read a few M C Beaton Agatha Raisin mysteries but nothing for me beats the Hamish Macbeth television series based on her books of the same name.

    1. So far, I have read maybe one or two Hamish Macbeth books, but never seen it on TV. I can imagine that the setting of that series has particular appeal for you.

    2. Meike, the television series was brilliant!

  2. I always enjoy reading your book reviews...So far, I have read Dead Angler and enjoyed it but it was not at all free on! I also enjoy the tv series of Hamish Macbeth which is available on BritBox, I think. Or amazon prime?

    1. Thank you, Kristi! As far as I remember, I downloaded Dead Angler a long time ago - could have been a couple of years or more. Sometimes a first book ina series will be offered for free for a while, to make people interested in a series. I must have chanced on the book at just such a time.

  3. I've seen some episodes of the Agatha Raisin TV series, but did not fall for that... (Never read any of the books.)

    1. Monica, I saw the first and a couple more of the TV Agatha Raisin series but I just didn't enjoy them. I can't put my finger on why but I think it was because I didn't like the way Agatha was portrayed/cast.

    2. My Mum and I watched a few of the Agatha Raisin TV episodes and liked them well enough. However, Agatha was not at all how she is described in the books, and we decided to view the tv series simply as something independently from the books, with the main characters just happening to have the same names.

  4. I’ve seen the name Agatha Raisin in Bookbob emails, do you think it would be worth my while to read her? If both you and your mum like her maybe I should give hera try.

    What is in the Wonder Burgers? Are they veggie?

    1. Friko, I am not sure you'd like the Agatha Raisin books; somehow I think you are a much more intellectual reader than I am, and this series is just light entertainment.

      The Wonder Burger consists mainly of soy. There is also coconut and corn in it, the colouring is beetroot. You can read more about it here.