Death of a Macho Man (Hamish MacBeth #12) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: 2009

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Randy Duggan is the macho man of the title of this work of fiction. He claims to be a professional wrestler and he becomes known in the small village of Lochdubh for his tall stories. When Randy is found murdered, Constable Hamish Macbeth hopes that the killer is not one of the villagers. However, there is enough local resentment against Randy, that someone in quiet, peaceful Lochdubh may have been driven to slaying this macho man.

 

Review –

This is the twelfth book in a series of cozy mysteries featuring lovable Highlander, Hamish Macbeth, the constable for the sleepy village of Lochdubh in northern Scotland. In this book, village life takes center stage and the village characters beguile the reader, giving the book that cozy feel. Moreover, readers will enjoy the dynamics between Hamish and is ex-fiancée, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, as they try to achieve a détente and resolve their relationship. The book is laced with sly humor throughout that is engaging, keeping the mood of the book light and highly enjoyable.

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Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross

Book Description:

Published: October 25, 2016

With the fireplace crackling, the tree twinkling, and the carols humming, few things in life are as picture perfect as Christmas in Maine—until murder dampens the holiday spirit. It must be something in the eggnog . . .

EGGNOG MURDER by LESLIE MEIER
When a gift-wrapped bottle of eggnog—allegedly from the Real Beard Santa Club—proves to be a killer concoction for a Tinker’s Cove local, all Lucy Stone wants for Christmas is to find the murdering mixologist who’s stirring up trouble.

DEATH BY EGGNOG by LEE HOLLIS
Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell has never cared much for Bar Harbor’s grouchy town librarian, Agatha Farnsworth. But after the Scroogy senior has a fatal—and suspicious—allergic reaction to supposedly non-dairy eggnog, it’s up to Hayley to ladle out some justice.

NOGGED OFF by BARBARA ROSS
Julia Snowden’s tenant Imogen Geinkes seems to be jinxed. First, her poorly named “Killer Eggnog” gives all her co-workers food poisoning at the holiday party, then her boyfriend’s body shows up in Julia’s moving truck as she’s headed back to Busman’s Harbor. Now Julia has to get moving to catch the cold-hearted culprit.

Cozy up with a glass of eggnog and enjoy the spirit of murder and mystery in a Yultide treat perfect for those winter holidays . . .

Review –

I haven’t read a food related murder mystery in a long time so I thought this one would be perfect, and it completely lived up to all my expectations.

EGGNOG MURDER is set in Tinker’s Cove, Maine and  I loved learning about their Real Beard Santa Club, which I now know is a real group with branches everywhere. The characters of this story drew me right in and I realized I have missed them so I know I need to get caught up on the books I have missed as soon as possible.

DEATH BY EGGNOG  takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. I was at a little disadvantage with this one as it was my introduction to these characters and the writer’s style of Hayley’s articles right in the story but I knew from the start Agatha Farnsworth, the head librarian, was definitely on Santa’s naughty list and was not surprised she was our victim. What was surprising was the culprit responsible for her demise.

NOGGED OFF focuses on Julia cleaning out her old apartment in New York since she has decided to stay in Busman’s Harbor. When she meets her subletting tenant her quick trip to the city gets complicated. The author packed a whole wonderful cozy into just over 100 pages. The mystery takes us on quite a ride that at times was just plain crazy and so much fun to read. I love Julia and her big heart. It was fun to make winter trip to Busman’s Harbor.

All three of these stories were well written with interesting characters. Great reads for the holiday season but they may have you refraining from eggnog for a while. I say fix a cup of peppermint hot chocolate and curl up in a cozy chair. These mysteries will captivate you for a few wonderful hours.

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From Doon With Death (Inspector Wexford #1) by Ruth Rundell

Book Description:

Published: June 26, 2007

Dazzling psychological suspense. Razor-sharp dialogue. Plots that catch and hold like a noose. These are the hallmarks of crime legend Ruth Rendell, “the best mystery writer in the English-speaking world” (Time magazine). From Doon with Death, now in a striking new paperback edition, is her classic debut novel — and the book that introduced one of the most popular sleuths of the twentieth century.

There is nothing extraordinary about Margaret Parsons, a timid housewife in the quiet town of Kingsmarkham, a woman devoted to her garden, her kitchen, her husband. Except that Margaret Parsons is dead, brutally strangled, her body abandoned in the nearby woods.

Who would kill someone with nothing to hide? Inspector Wexford, the formidable chief of police, feels baffled — until he discovers Margaret’s dark secret: a trove of rare books, each volume breathlessly inscribed by a passionate lover identified only as Doon. As Wexford delves deeper into both Mrs. Parsons’ past and the wary community circling round her memory like wolves, the case builds with relentless momentum to a surprise finale as clever as it is blindsiding.

Review –

This is the first book in the Inspector Wexford Series by Ruth Rendell and the second I’ve listened to, the other being Not in the Flesh, number twenty-one in the series.

While the story line was good and the characters interesting, Inspector Wexford, seemed flat and just so-so and because of this I found myself wanting  the book to hurry up and end. If the Inspector couldn’t get excited about what was going on around him, why should I?

I’ve decided not to read any other books in this series.  There are just too many GREAT books waiting on my TBR list.

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Death of a Charming Man(Hamish MacBeth #10) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: July 1, 1995

Hamish Macbeth’s unofficial engagement to the stunning Priscilla Halburton-Smythe is reminding the constable of the old adage about answered prayers. His lovely fiancée has replaced his cozy wood stove with a modern electric one and is busy trying to “make a man of him.” The only man Hamish wants to be is the one who slouches about the village, gossiping, fishing, and deftly solving a crime or two.

Deciding that this may be a good time for a little retreat, Hamish ambles over to the nearby backwater of Drim – ostensibly to check out a posh English chap who’s causing a most unusual problem. Single, wealthy, and terribly attractive, newcomer Peter Hynd has thrown the middle-aged matrons of Drim into a flutter, and put their men, dour Highlanders whose feelings run deep, on a slow burn.

Hamish’s instincts tell him this seemingly charming young man likes to stir up trouble, and it’s not long before the seething emotions transform the sleepy village into a hotbed of threats, domestic rows, and violent murder. With Hamish’s own relationship raising doubts about hearts and flowers, he’s more than ready to do what he now must – investigate the darker side of love . . .

Review –

M. C. Beaton is a master at the cozy mystery and even in the 10th novel, we are still interested in the life and crimes of the northern Highlands. As always, the townsfolk and Hamish’s seemingly lazy personality are at the core of the book. The mystery was well constructed and not easy to figure out, but it’s the quirky characters who keep me coming back to Lochdubh.

Easy, relaxing read.

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21)Not In The Flesh (Inspector Wexford #21) by Ruth Rendell

Book Description:

Published: June 10, 2008

When the truffle-hunting dog starts to dig furiously, his master’s first reaction is delight at the size of the clump the dog has unearthed: at the going rate, this one truffle might be worth several hundred pounds. Then the dirt falls away to reveal not a precious mushroom but the bones and tendons of what is clearly a human hand.

In Not in the Flesh, Chief Inspector Wexford tries to piece together events that took place eleven years earlier, a time when someone was secretly interred in a secluded patch of English countryside. Now Wexford and his team will need to interrogate everyone who lives nearby to see if they can turn up a match for the dead man among the eighty-five people in this part of England who have disappeared over the past decade. Then, when a second body is discovered nearby, Wexford experiences a feeling that’s become a rarity for the veteran policeman: surprise.

Review –

This was the first time I’ve read or listened to a book by this author and I found it a little slow but pleasant.  Not great, but an okay way to pass the day. A lot of the incidents in the book were just too implausible to happen, but that’s why it’s called fiction!

If you like a good “who-dun-it” give this one a try.

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Aunt Dimity and the Buried Treasure (Aunt Dimity Mystery #21) by Nancy Atherton

Book Description:

Published: May 24, 2016

While exploring the attic in her cottage near the small English village of Finch, Lori Shepherd makes an extraordinary discovery: a gold and silver bracelet inlaid with gleaming garnets, which she quickly learns belonged to Aunt Dimity. When Lori brings news of the garnet bracelet to Aunt Dimity, it awakens poignant memories of a doomed romance in Aunt Dimity’s past. Regretfully, Aunt Dimity asks Lori to do what she could not bring herself to do—return the bracelet to her unsuccessful suitor or to his rightful heir.

In the meantime, a new family has moved to Finch. The villagers are thrilled because their new neighbors are avid metal detectorists. Metal detectors soon become all the rage in Finch and the villagers unearth a lot of rubbish (some of it quite embarrassing) before one of them stumbles upon a real treasure—an ancient hoard of priceless gold and silver artifacts.

The artifacts look strangely familiar to Lori. She begins to suspect that the villager isn’t the only person who’s stumbled upon the hoard. Did Aunt Dimity’s suitor get there first? If he took the garnet bracelet from the hoard, what else might he have taken? Was Aunt Dimity’s long-lost love a common thief? If so, who is his rightful heir? As Lori searches for answers, she discovers an unexpected link between the buried treasure in the village and the treasure buried in Aunt Dimity’s heart.

Review –

If you love cozy mysteries, you should really read the Aunt Dimity Mystery Series, and in order. Sometimes it doesn’t make a difference in which order a series is read but this one follows the characters from the beginning with the discovery of an unexpected inheritance by a woman Lori didn’t even know, to how Lori met the man she would marry and their  life in the quaint village of Finch in England. There is a natural progression in the lives of all the characters involved  and the reading is easy and a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

I love this book just as much as the others and look forward to the next one.

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Buried in a Bog (County Cork #1) by Sheila Connolly

Book Description:

Published: February 5, 2013

Honoring the wish of her late grandmother, Maura Donovan visits the small Irish village where her Gran was born—though she never expected to get bogged down in a murder mystery. Nor had she planned to take a job in one of the local pubs, but she finds herself excited to get to know the people who knew her Gran.

In the pub, she’s swamped with drink orders as everyone in town gathers to talk about the recent discovery of a nearly one-hundred-year-old body in a nearby bog. When Maura realizes she may know something about the dead man—and that the body’s connected to another, more recent, death—she fears she’s about to become mired in a homicide investigation. After she discovers the death is connected to another from almost a century earlier, Maura has a sinking feeling she may really be getting in over her head…

Review –

Accidentally came across this gem while searching for something free to listen to on Overdrive and it’s a shame this was the only one of this series they had because it really is a good mystery while incorporating the sights and sounds of the Irish countryside.

It shows that no matter where you are in life circumstances can change in the blink of an eye and change your entire life.

A great read for any time and any one.

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A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #7) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: August 30, 3011

“Hearts are broken,” Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. “Sweet relationships are dead.”

But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow’s garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara’s solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light. Where nothing is as it seems. Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart. And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they’ve found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light.

Review – 

Another crime has been committed in Three Pines and the body winds up in the garden of Clara Morrow, no less.

It happens at a reception held at Clara’s house the evening after the solo showing of her art work. The dead woman is someone from Clara’s long ago past, a best friend who was really a jealous vindictive person. Clara is never under serious suspicion because there are too many other people who had more motive to get rid of the victim.

Along side of the murder story, we learn that Inspector Beauvoir is leaning heavily on pain killers to function while his body still heals from the shooting six months earlier. We also find out that he is resentful of the Chief Inspector for leaving him during the gun fight at the vacant warehouse. If he was thinking clearly he would realize that the Chief Inspector saved his life and then went on to capture one of the terrorists and then get shot too. Beauvoir has also separated/divorced his wife and now is wanting to approach Annie, the Chief Inspector’s daughter, because he has had a crush on her for years.

The crime is solved and all is well. The Chief Inspector orders Beauvoir to get counseling and at the end of the story Beauvoir calls Annie, but we are left with our imaginations as to their conservation. (I forgot to mention that Annie and her husband, David, are having trouble and are separating)

Five stars *****

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The Hangman (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6.5) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: 2010

Louise Penny wrote:

l’ve been meaning to mention THE HANGMAN for a while. Some of you wonder if it’s part of the Gamache books. A very good question. In fact, I wrote THE HANGMAN a couple of years ago as part of GoodReads Canada – an initiative for adult emerging readers. The idea is to give adults who are improving their literacy skills adult books to read – so they don’t have to read children’s books. It’s a wonderful idea – one that started, I believe, in the UK and has since spread. THE HANGMAN is in fact a novella – written intentionally at a grade 3 level…simple words and sentences, but adult themes. It’s set in Three Pines and is a mystery featuring Gamache. But, it doesn’t really fit into the actual arc of the characters….sort of a ‘one off’. Hope I’m making sense. It’s also a fundraiser for literacy, and there are lots of wonderful writers contributing novellas to GoodReads and similar projects. It’s also good, I’ve since learned, for people learning English as second language – or after a stroke and needing to re-learn the language. So pleased to be a small part of this terrific initiative. I think your local bookstore can order a copy of THE HANGMAN, or other books in the literacy series, if you know someone who might like them.

On a cold November morning, a jogger runs through the woods in the peaceful Quebec village of Three Pines. On his run, he finds a dead man hanging from a tree.
The dead man was a guest at the local Inn and Spa. He might have been looking for peace and quiet, but something else found him. Something horrible.
Did the man take his own life? Or was he murdered? Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to the crime scene. As Gamache follows the trail of clues, he opens a door into the past. And he learns the true reason why the man came to Three Pines.

Review-

This is just a very short story involving a hanging man in the village of Three Pines and it is written on a third grade level (see above)

Even though it is short, it still has the same “who-dun-it” air that all of the Inspector Gamache has and I enjoyed it very much.

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Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: September 28, 2010

It is Winter Carnival in Quebec City, bitterly cold and surpassingly beautiful. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has come not to join the revels but to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong. But violent death is inescapable, even in the apparent sanctuary of the Literary and Historical Society— where an obsessive historian’s quest for the remains of the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain, ends in murder. Could a secret buried with Champlain for nearly 400 years be so dreadful that someone would kill to protect it?

Although he is supposed to be on leave, Gamache cannot walk away from a crime that threatens to ignite long-smouldering tensions between the English and the French. Meanwhile, he is receiving disquieting letters from the village of Three Pines, where beloved Bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. ‘It doesn’t make sense,’ Olivier’s partner writes every day. ‘He didn’t do it, you know.’ As past and present collide in this novel, Gamache must relive the terrible event of his own past before he can bury his dead.

 

Review –

There are actually three story lines going on in this installment of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series and make for a roller coaster of a ride.

The Chief Inspector is in Quebec City on leave recuperating from a horrific event where agents he knew were killed, including one that we met in The Brutal Telling, Agent Moran. He was young, engaged, red-headed and could play the fiddle and Gamache left very closed to him. The author uses flashbacks in order for us to see how the kidnapping and murders occurred and it is heart wrenching. (I cried, of course).

The second story line is the murder in the  basement of the Literary and Historical Society of a man obsessed with finding the body of the Father of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain. 

And the final story line is a revisit to the murder in Three Pines that was told in The Brutal Telling. Gamache  is receiving disquieting letters from the Gabri in the  village of Three Pines where beloved Bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. “It doesn’t make sense,” Olivier’s partner writes every day. “He didn’t do it, you know.”

As past and present collide in this astonishing novel, Gamache must relive the terrible event of his own past before he can bury his dead.

All I can say is that this is the best of the series so far and if I could give it 10 stars, I would. It is a phenomenal piece of writing.

Five Stars *****

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