Wednesday 19 June 2024

Read in 2024 - 10, 11, 12

A small backlog of book reviews has been building up since I last posted one; sometimes it is just that way and I simply don't find (or don't take) the time to blog more than my weekly report.

#10: Mystery on Hidden Lane - An Eve Mallow Mystery
Clare Chase
You guessed it - here was another first of a series, offered at Amazon's Kindle shop for free so that readers would get interested and buy the rest.

This one ticked all the boxes for what is labelled a "Cozy Mystery": Not too much gory detail, but still making the story not all that foreseeable; a likeable cast of main characters in a cosy setting (here: a sweet little village) and maybe (but not necessarily) the start of a romance that can easily span several instalments of the series.

In this book, obituary writer Eve Mallow is given the task of writing about a famous cellist - and finds out that his death is much more interesting than his life. By interviewing his nearest and (not necessarily) dearest, as she usually does for an obituary, she finds unexpected reasons for people wanting the famous musician dead, and eventually uncovers the truth.

It was an easy, enjoyable read without too much daftness on the heroine's side; I know this is often used by authors who want to make their readers laugh and sympathise with the character, but it rarely works on me - I just get annoyed. So, thankfully, this was not the case here. I quite liked Eve Mallow and her dachshund, as well as the cottage and the village.

Certainly not a "must read", but a "can".
The author has a good website and is also a blogger.

#11: The Murder Mystery - A Beth Haldane Mystery
Alice Castle

Another one from the "read the first one for free and then buy the rest" section at the Kindle shop, I found this one more gripping and cared more about the main character than in my previous read.

Beth Haldane, the way-too-early widowed mother of a 9-year-old boy, is happy when she lands the job of assistant archivist at the most distinguished school around, hoping this will contribute towards her son eventually getting a place there.

But her first day on the job turns out to be the First Day from Hell when she stumbles across her new boss stabbed to death. 
Because she believes the investigating officer to see her as Suspect No. 1, she does all she can in order to find the real murderer, clear her name (and hopefully keep her job) and get to the bottom of it all.

It starts to look very much as if the motive for the murder of the school's historian lies in the 16th century, when the school was founded. Beth's office is ransacked, but when even her home is burgled, things get personal - with her son's safety at risk, she puts all her efforts into solving the case, and fast.

Eventually, the true motive and the murderer turn out to be unexpected, more sad than scary. And although Beth's life is saved by a hair's breadth, all's well that ends well... right? Only that, as it is the start of a series, the reader knows that Beth and her son won't simply enjoy the quiet, good life from now on.

A good read for those hours spent at train stations and on trains.

The author's website is here.

#12: Aunt Bessie Questions
Diana Xarissa

A bit out of the ordinary: This free ebook is actually #17 in a series, not the first book. Also, it is set on the Isle of Man, a place I know next to nothing about.

Maybe it was the appeal of an unfamiliar place combined with the heroine being an elderly lady that made this such a good read; I really enjoyed it.

A couple about to get married are meeting at the church to talk things through with the vicar who is to perform the ceremony the next day. When he turns up dead between the old tombstones in the church's graveyard, Bessie (who happens to be the bride's friend) is drawn into the mystery.

Yes, it's another Cozy Mystery and yes, some things are pretty foreseeable or at least follow the typical pattern of such books. But it flows along easily and yet one wants to find out what really happened.

The author's website is here.


  1. I love mysteries, cozy or otherwise. Looks like some enjoyable titles are here!

    1. They were good companions on my trips to and from work, or over the weekend.

  2. I have read several books that aren't mysteries so it might be time I get back to mysteries soon as those are my favorite! I wish they had these in print at my library! But they don't, so I will have to look for some other good mysteries!

    1. I am not even sure these series are available in print; quite possibly they are only published as ebooks. The one set on the Isle of Man had a few bits about the island's past and present, which made it all the more interesting.