Category: Book Reviews

Harriet Engle is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for reviews highlighting each of these series, along with reviews of other books she enjoys.

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Mystery Series Reviews | Boundary Waters

Boundary Waters coverBOUNDARY WATERS
William Kent Krueger, Cork O’Connor #2

Even though Cork O’Connor is not the sheriff of Tamarack County and even though his business as owner and operator of Sam’s Place is thriving, he finds himself pulled into the complexity of a situation that involves a missing young singer (Shiloh), the FBI (Harris, Sloane, and Grimes), an Italian Mafioso type family (Benedetti), Cork’s wife (Jo), a few unsavory characters, and an Ojibwe family (Wendell, Stormy, and Louis Two-Knives). All of these people either want to find this missing young singer or are those who know the back country well enough to actually find her. And more than one of them claim to be her father.

It is a story of push and shove with the government, the mafia, and the unsavory characters doing all the pushing and shoving to force the others to do their bidding. Those others use their wits, cunning, intelligence, and their knowledge of the very obscure parts of Minnesota to outwit the money and muscle.

Krueger does a beautiful job, once again, of honoring the Native people who would rather die than be disloyal.

Up next:  Death Without Company by Craig Johnson

Harriet Engle is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | While My Pretty One Knits

While My Pretty One Knits coverWHILE MY PRETTY ONE KNITS
Anne Canadeo, Black Sheep Knitting #1

Maggie, Lucy, Dana, Suzanne, and Phoebe – all avid knitters, all faithful knitting circle members, all involved in solving the crime that shook Plum Harbor, Massachusetts. Maggie owns and operates the Black Sheep, a thriving yarn shop in this small village. Amanda Goran owns and operates the Knitting Nest, a not-so-thriving shop in this same small village and a rival of Maggie’s.

Someone murders Amanda; the police suspect Maggie. Maggie’s friends, especially Lucy, set out to not only encourage and support Maggie but to actually discover who really committed that heinous crime.

Anne Canadeo writes murder mysteries based in a small town just outside Boston, Massachusetts. Her characters knit. Her characters fall out of love and fall in love. Her characters care for each other. Her characters solve crimes, and keep the knitting circle intact.

Up next: Boundary Waters by William Kent Krueger

Harriet Engle is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | A Superior Death

A Superior Death coverA SUPERIOR DEATH
Nevada Barr, Anna Pigeon #2

Anna Pigeon left the high desert of West Texas for the deep waters of Lake Superior. She learns how to navigate those waters, both on the surface and in the depths where the ruins of ancient ships lie in state. One of those sunken vessels, the Kamrood, is a treasure-trove for deep sea divers and contains five bodies which have been preserved over the decades. And then there is a sixth body unexpectedly included with the original five.

Nevada Barr, herself a park ranger, writes about Anna’s experiences as a recently transferred park ranger who misses her horse, Gideon, her cat, Piedmont, and trades the hot and dry air of the west for the cold chilling winds and waters of one of the Great Lakes of the northern United States. In this second of Ms. Barr’s murder mysteries, Anna learns new skills, makes new friends, and once again escapes the jaws of death, this time as a deep sea diver.

Next up:  While My Pretty One Knits, by Anne Canadeo

Harriet Engle is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | Body of Evidence

A Body of Evidence coverBODY OF EVIDENCE
Patricia Cornwell, Kay Scarpetta #2

Although this second novel in the Kay Scarpetta series starts in Key West, Florida, the murder and its investigation occur in the victim’s home town of Richmond, Virginia, where Dr. Scarpetta is the Chief Medical Examiner. Actually, several murders occur before Dr. Scarpetta and Pete Marino manage to untangle the many threads that weave together many lives . . . and deaths.

Ms. Cornwell has this way of connecting Richmond with numerous other cities in the United States that could possibly cause one’s mind take a spin. While Dr. Scarpetta attempts to find the killer of one person, she hops a plane for New York, makes calls to Chicago, finds herself spending the night with a dead body in Williamsburg, all the while being tracked by the murderer of the first victim. As she and Marino, after all the evidence is in and the case is solved, review the details and sequence of events, the weariness of the Chief Medical Examiner seems, through the written word, almost palpable.

Next:  A Superior Death by Nevada Barr

Harriet Engle is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs coverMAISIE DOBBS
Jacqueline Winspear, Maisie Dobbs #1

Once again, we are in London, England, where Maisie Dobbs is starting her career as a private investigator. Well, we begin in England, but Jacqueline Winspear takes us to France during the Great War, later known as World War I.

Maisie Dobbs was born in the late 1890’s when the class system was still in full swing. In fact, Maisie spends some of her teen years “in service” to the very wealthy Lord and Lady Compton. The Compton’s learn early on that Maisie is on a higher level of intelligence than the other maids in their employ, and when Maisie is found in their library reading books on philosophy in the early morning hours, they decide, instead of punishing her, to put her under the tutelage of one Maurice Blanche.

This first-of-the series novel gives us a front line seat into the horrors of war and the lives of those who were wounded physically and mentally. At the same time, we see into the lives of those who were dedicated to do what they could to mend the physical brokenness and give what warmth they could to perhaps mend the brokenness of the mind.

As Maisie Dobbs investigates a case of suspected marital infidelity, she stumbles on a situation in which she must depend upon the skills ingrained in her by her mentor, Maurice Blanche, to stop the mental brokenness of one man from preying on the lives of the severely wounded and disfigured young men returning from war. Together with her training, she draws upon every ounce of courage she has to prevent the death of her friend, Billy.

Up next:  Body of Evidence, by Patricia Cornwell

Harriet Engle is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | A Show of Hands

A Show of Hands by David Crossman coverA SHOW OF HANDS
David Crossman, Winston Crisp #1

Manheim Community Library is featuring an author new to this library: David Crossman. The one book we had had not been catalogued and was not on a shelf, so I took it home to read it. I found Crossman to be a skillful murder mystery writer basing his mysteries in Maine. This series is just three books featuring Winston Crisp. Before I get into the review of the book itself, let me tell you just a bit about David Crossman.

Crossman is a best-selling author, playwright, lyricist – the list goes on. He elicits numerous chuckles as he lays out his murder mysteries, especially in the beginning chapters, as he describes the characters, their names, and their personalities. Most of the characters are in their 70s or older. Some are a bit quirky. Most of these septuagenarians congregate in the hardware store, the beauty parlor, and the pool hall. They have colorful names, like Mostly Sanborn, Stuffy Hutchin, Olaf Ingraham, and Pharty McPhersen. Crossman throws out phrases that could be classified as metaphors, similes, or analogies, which help add flavor to the story (“He’s as deaf as a post” and “they found her frozen . . . as a fish dinner”). So starts the story.

From France, we zoom to the coast of Maine, specifically an island off the coast, Penobscot Island. The murder victim is a young woman frozen solid in the quarry waters. The unofficial detective is Winston Crisp, in his 80s, a code breaker retired from the National Security Agency (NSA}. Crisp takes his residence in the boarding house of Mattie Gilchrist, his old friend from forever. Luther Kingsbury is island law enforcement, and Nate Gammadge is an investigator from the mainland. Many locals come to Winston’s aid to help solve the mystery. Then, of course, there’s the murderer. Winston Crisp does not agree that the young woman simply drowned and ended up frozen in the quarry. He sets off on the course of solving the crime, which results in putting himself in the path of the murderer.

Next up:  Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Harriet Engle is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | Murder on the Links

Murder on the Links coverMURDER ON THE LINKS
Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot #2

Hercule Poirot demonstrates his prowess as a detective in this next mystery in Ms. Christie’s Poirot series, Murder on the Links. He does this all the while showing great patience with Captain Arthur Hastings who, once again, narrates the story. While Poirot uses psychology to solve the crime, Captain Hastings uses emotion. Of course, we all know that Poirot wins the day while teaching the good Captain how to deduce.

Hercule Poirot, who by this time has set up a lucrative and popular office as a private detective, is called upon by Monsieur Renauld to come at once to help avert a tragedy. Poirot and Hastings take the next boat to Calaise and then to Merlinville, France, but they arrive too late – the man has been murdered.

Ms. Christie brings in a multitude of people who have means and motive, twists the plot until everyone comes together in a tight little knot, and beautifully has Poirot untie the knot to expose the only person who had a diabolical reason and the inscrutability to commit murder.

Next: A Show of Hands by David Crossman

Harriet Engle is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | Savage Run

Savage Run coverSAVAGE RUN
C. J. Box, Joe Pickett #2

In Savage Run, we go back to Wyoming where Sheriff Barnum candidly asks “Why is it, Game Warden Pickett, that we rarely if ever have any trouble in my county, but every . . . time we find dead bodies strewn about you seem to be standing there in the middle of them?” That comes in the aftermath of an exploding heifer that left a huge crater, several dead cows, and a lot of questions about the human remains found at the site.

The legend of Savage Run involves the Cheyenne Nation outwitting the Pawnees by finding an escape route through an impossible-to-escape canyon that only a few intrepid explorers had been able to duplicate. It becomes the only way out of a very sticky situation for Game Warden Joe Pickett and two companions.

C. J. Box packs a punch with this mystery, emphasizing the protection of the environment and Game Warden Joe Pickett’s fight with those who used power, money, and politics, like hobby rancher/lawyer Joe Finotta, to ravage both the wildlife and the land. As in Box’s Open Season, we see Joe Pickett on the low end of income and prestige but on the high end of doing what he believes is right.

Next: Murder on the Links, by Agatha Christie

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | A Dangerous Mourning

A DANGEROUS MOURNING
Anne Perry, William Monk #2

A Dangerous Mourning is the second of the William Monk series, and we are once again in London. Monk continues to grapple with his loss of memory, trying to do his job daily while wishing for, and waiting for, jolts of memory to return. Ms. Perry keeps us in suspense about Monk’s return of memory, or lack thereof, all the while continuing to build for the reader Monk’s personality as an intelligent detective and an irascible human being. The murder of a young woman, Octavia Haslett, a member of an elite and wealthy family, assists Ms. Perry in establishing Monk’s difficult yet sensitive personality.

Ms. Perry also brings to a conclusion the murder of the first novel as she weaves in the trial of the accused murderer of Joscelyn Grey. While Monk investigates the murder of Octavia Haslett, he and Hester Latterly testify for the defense at this trial. It is here that we are introduced to Oliver Rathbone, the brilliant attorney for the defense, and a man who plays significant roles in subsequent novels.

An ongoing narrative about how William and Hester feel about one another ensues: both of them admiring certain aspects of the other and at the same time finding considerable fault with the personality of the other. Two additional characters play large parts as this series progresses: Lady Callandra Daviot, who supports both Monk and Miss Latterly; and Sergeant Evan, who assists Monk in his investigations.

Early on in his investigation of the death of Mrs. Haslett, Monk discovers and discloses to Octavia’s father that it can be nothing other than a crime committed by someone in the household. Miss Latterly, currently working at an infirmary, once again becomes involved in the investigation.

Next up:  Savage Run by C.J. Box

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

THE CAT WHO ATE DANISH MODERN
Lilian Jackson Braun, The Cat Who series #2

In The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, we travel back to Chicago to find Jim Qwilleran down and out:  he must move out of his apartment, aka “homeless;” the moths are putting holes in his favorite neckties, aka “tieless;” he has no viable dating prospects on his calendar, aka “womanless; and if things do not go well when he goes to the office, he could be out of a job, aka “jobless.” Fortunately, he is not friendless. His bright spot is Koko, his extraordinary and intelligent feline companion for the past several months.

Thus begins the second of Ms. Braun’s “Cat Who . . .“ series. Jim Qwilleran loves to solve crimes, and to do so he uses some extraordinary measures. One is his very bushy moustache, which tingles when he becomes suspicious of something or someone and when he notices something just not quite right with a situation. Also, after living with Koko for several months, he learns to use his feline partner’s unusual communicating skills. Koko is not just another cat – Koko knows things that elude the supposedly “higher intelligence” of the humans in his world. In order to help him understand his intelligent friend, Qwill seeks out the help of a psycatatrist.

When he arrives at the office all primed to speak to the chief about work more challenging than the boutique assignments he has been doing, he surprisingly learns that he has been given a new assignment – a newspaper magazine on interior decorating – even though he admits to knowing next to nothing about interior design. In spite of doubts about his qualifications, Jim sets out to publish a magazine that will make a decorator’s dreams come true, except when things go terribly wrong.

Once again, Ms. Braun takes us on a mystery adventure, and we all know that in a murder mystery series, someone is about to be murdered, and solving a crime makes Qwill’s moustache twitch and tingle and brings out more of Koko’s communication skills.

Next up:  A Dangerous Mourning, by Anne Perry

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)