Tag: series

Mystery Series Reviews | The Cater Street Hangman

THE CATER STREET HANGMAN
Anne Perry, Charlotte and Thomas Pitt #1

The Cater Street Hangman coverAnne Perry wrote another murder mystery series featuring Charlotte and Thomas Pitt. In the first book of the series, The Cater Street Hangman, the two were not an item. Charlotte Ellison lived with her wealthy family in an elite part of London. She was forbidden to read the newspaper, however, her father often left it lying out, and she would sneak a read as much as possible. After all, her father reasoned, the contents of the newspaper were not suitable for young ladies to read.

Sarah Ellison had married Dominic a year before, and even though she had come to terms with her infatuation with Dominic and her sister’s marriage, Charlotte retained a slight “crush” on him. Both Dominic and Sarah become dominant characters as this mystery unfolds. Grandmama also maintains a high level of importance, and Charlotte values Grandmama’s knowledge of all the exciting things and people of the past:  Waterloo and Napoleon; the Crimea; scandals of the royals; and Florence Nightingale. This series is set in the 1880s, and Thomas Pitt comes into the scene when a second local woman is found in a neighboring street, hideously and brutally murdered.

Ms. Perry again tastefully describes the class differences in this series – the elite and wealthy, the household servants, as well as the public servants such as the police – and she does it so as not to leave any questions in your mind as to who is important and who is not.

Up Next:  A is for Alibi, by Sue Grafton

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 | Everywhere That Mary Went

EVERYWHERE THAT MARY WENT
Lisa Scottoline, Rosato and Associates #1

Everywhere that Mary Went cover

The Rosato and Associates series by Lisa Scottoline takes us to Philadelphia and is a bit different in that the main character, Mary DiNunzio, is a lawyer. It focuses mostly on justice rather than the detective work we have been reading about in the other series. Ms. Scottoline provides us with plenty of drama, suspense, life-threatening happenings, and untimely and unnecessary death. She writes a running narration of a young lawyer in the big city who must face her fears and stare down the enemy.

Mary DiNunzio works for a large law firm in Philadelphia and eagerly awaits the election of new partners for the firm, of which she has been told she is one of three likely candidates. However, between now and then, she presents just her second oral argument, and that she must do in front of a crude and rude judge. On top of that, someone is making anonymous and silent phone calls, and Mary also believes she is being stalked. Both the professional and personal chaos builds into a crescendo that culminates in the death of her secretary and friend. In the thought processes of a professional young woman on her own, everyone becomes suspect.

 

Next up:  The Cater Street Hangman 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.)

Mystery Series Reviews | The Cold Dish

THE COLD DISH
Craig Johnson, Longmire #1

The Cold Dish coverWe are not traveling too far with this week’s review, but we are returning to Wyoming. This trip takes us again to the Big Horn Mountains, the Powder River, a different county (Absaroka), and a different town (Durant). The characters, too, are different:  Walt Longmire is the sheriff, Vic Moretti is his deputy, and Henry Standing Bear is Walt’s best friend.

Sheriff Longmire is a widower with a daughter, Cady, who is a lawyer in Philadelphia. He has been the sheriff of Absaroka County for much of his adult life and is considering retirement. There isn’t much crime in this part of Wyoming, but what Longmire has experienced haunts him, especially a case involving a young Native American girl, Melissa Little Bird, who was allegedly gang-raped by several high school jocks. Melissa was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Longmire highly respects the Native American people, their customs and lore, and cares deeply for those under his jurisdiction. He also cares deeply for his staff and the colorful residents of Absaroka County.

As Walt is doing his weekly study of the file on Melissa, he is notified that there is a dead body in a ditch. Since those who find this dead body have a notorious reputation for being mostly drunk, Walt discounts the report and sends his deputy, Vic Moretti. Unfortunately, there is a dead body, one of the boys involved in the Melissa Little Bird case. Walt now wonders if this was an accidental shooting or intentional. If intentional, then the lives of the other boys may be in danger as well.

Next up:  Everywhere That Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline

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 | Iron Lake

IRON LAKE
William Kent Krueger, Cork O’Connor #1

Iron Lake coverFrom the high country of the Guadalupe Mountains, this week’s book review takes us to Aurora, Minnesota, in St. Louis County, just this side of the border with Canada. Like the mountain ranges of Texas, this county is rough and wild. Krueger does an excellent job, in my opinion, of describing the isolated lakes and desolate woodlands of this northernmost part of our country. He does this while his main character, Corcoran (“Cork”) O’Connor solves a few very gruesome murders.

Cork was the sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota, keyword being “was.” After an unfortunate event involving the death of a close friend, Cork was relieved of his duties. He also was living with his wife and three children, but putting it mildly, his marriage with Jo was on the rocks. And then the very dead body of Judge Parrant was discovered by the newsboy, Paul LeBeau, on one of his two routine paper routes. This discovery set in motion a complex hunt for both Paul, who disappeared, and the person who cold-bloodedly murdered the judge. Being an investigator at heart and part Native American Ojibwe by blood, Cork is naturally drawn in, along with his participation requested by those who trust him, to find the young boy and the ruthless killer.

Krueger has a style of writing that keeps you reading. His knowledge of the Native American people and their ancient customs, along with the lay of the land, makes for some very good reading.

Next up: The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

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 | Track of the Cat

TRACK OF THE CAT
Nevada Barr, Anna Pigeon #1

Anna Pigeon had a nature-lover’s dream life: a Law Enforcement ranger in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas. Her assignments involve wandering the high country for days searching for evidence of specific wild animals – high country that includes deep canyons, ponderosa pines, limestone walls, the great expanse of Texas sky, and dead bodies, dead human bodies.

So begins this series featuring Anna Pigeon. You will learn that Anna has experienced tragedy and loss in her young life. Her “escape” into the wilderness of National Parks gives readers a glimpse of each park as she travels from one assignment to another, experiencing the vast ruggedness of North America, from coast to coast. Ms. Barr masterfully describes each park and skillfully takes Anna, and you the reader, through some rather spine chilling tragedies involving some rather strange and ruthless people.

Back to the dead body Anna discovers in a deep limestone canyon. It is the body of a fellow ranger, one whom Anna knows only in passing; however, Anna does know that Sherry Drury was known to rock some boats and irritate a lot of people. After her discovery, Anna must scramble back to where she gets a radio signal and can alert District Ranger Paul Decker of her find. Thus begins the unraveling of the mystery of this woman’s death, an unraveling in which Anna finds herself deeply involved, and a mystery which brings Anna close to becoming a dead body herself.

Up next:  Iron Lake, by William Kent Krueger

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.)

 (If you do not see the full description that includes the “Series” section, you can also click on the book cover. This will bring you to a screen with a blue header and the book cover. Click on the link for Series and it will bring you to a list of all the books in that series. You will need to go back to the catalog to search and request it this way, though.)

Mystery Series Reviews | Postmortem

POSTMORTEM
Patricia Daniels Cornwell, Kay Scarpetta #1

Postmortem by Patricia D Cornwell cover

This series takes us back to the United States, specifically, Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Kay Scarpetta had just been appointed as the Chief Medical Examiner (CME) for the State of Virginia just two years earlier. The call that came in at 2:33 on an early Saturday morning was letting her know that there was a fourth murder that, as chief and due to the nature of the first three incidents, she needed to be involved. Sergeant Pete Marino was on the other end of the line. He was condescending and perhaps a little begrudgingly helpful.

Ms. Cornwell begins this series on a fast paced note, giving the reader a quick rundown of the main players: Dr. Scarpetta, Sergeant Marino, and Dr. Scarpetta’s ten-year-old niece, Lucy, visiting from Florida. The stage is set for both accomplishments and regrets to build up in Dr. Scarpetta’s life – accomplishments in that horrific crimes are solved and regrets for how her position as CME impacts her relationship with Lucy.

This fourth incident was stacking up to being very similar to the first three. Of course, murder is never pleasant, and this one is no exception. The victims were women, married, professionals. This most recent victim’s husband had been out of town. The perpetrator found a way through the bathroom window. In a terrifyingly short time, multiple lives were drastically and forever changed.

This series is fast-paced and can be considered as “thriller” material. It includes medical information and descriptions, along with forensic details, and the partnering with law enforcement. As with the other series that I have reviewed, you, the reader, have the opportunity to follow the lives of the main characters, their passions, joys, foibles, and vulnerabilities.

Up next:  The Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr

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.)

 (If you do not see the full description that includes the “Series” section, you can also click on the book cover. This will bring you to a screen with a blue header and the book cover. Click on the link for Series and it will bring you to a list of all the books in that series. You will need to go back to the catalog to search and request it this way, though.)

Mystery Series Reviews | Open Season

OPEN SEASON
C. J. Box, #1

Open Season - C J Box coverWe come back to the United States with this review of Open Season, the first in C. J. Box’s series featuring Joe Pickett, the newly hired Wyoming State Game Warden. Joe Pickett replaces the outgoing Game Warden, Vern Dunnegan, and must work with the incompetent County Sheriff, O. R. “Bud” Barnum. Joe’s wife, Marybeth, is pregnant with their third child. Their two daughters, Sheridan and Lucy, are seven and three years old, respectively. Also part of the family is eight-year-old Maxine, Joe’s yellow Labrador.

The setting is the State of Wyoming, Twelve Sleep County, the town of Saddlestring, the surrounding Bighorns, and the Twelve Sleep River flowing through town. The Picketts live about eight miles outside of town. It is Wild West action situated late in the 20th century, and the entire Pickett family shares in the grandeur of the mountains and forests of Wyoming and the life and troubles of a state game warden.

The first book in this series begins with the sound of a bullet hitting flesh. The gun is fired by a poacher, Ote Keeley, whose rationale is, “There’s more animals in Wyoming than people.” Joe begins to write him up for poaching, Ote goes off the deep end, and Joe finds himself staring down the barrel of his own service revolver. It is action, murder, threats, tragedy, protection of an endangered species, and some wrongs made right. It is the beginning of Joe’s life as a Wyoming State Game Warden.

Up next: The Mysterious Affair at Styles 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.

Mystery Series Reviews | The Face of a Stranger

THE FACE OF A STRANGER
Anne Perry, #1

The Face of a Stranger - Anne Perry - coverAnne Perry’s William Monk series takes us across to London, England, in 1856. William Monk is a detective with the city police who wakes up in a hospital, does not know who he is, where he is, where he came from, what he did, and how he got to where he is. He is told that he had an accident and struck his head (among other injuries), resulting in amnesia. His boss, Superintendent Runcorn, visits him in the hospital and tells him his name and occupation, which, of course, mean nothing to Monk. Instead, it raises more questions. He is to take time off to recover and report to work as soon as possible.

At his room in the boarding house with Mrs. Worley, he finds tailor-made clothes in his closet, clothes a cut above what a policeman would wear. Back at work, in a mental fog and emotional upheaval, Monk begins investigating the murder of Joscelin Grey, all the while trying to piece together his life. From a few comments from others in the department, he learns that he is a good detective. From their body language, however, he learns he is feared by most. During the investigation process, Monk meets and interviews Hester Latterly, a nurse returning from the Crimea war zone, and her sister and brother-in-law. Miss Latterly becomes an integral player in this series.

This series offers a great deal of history, a good description about how the upper class lives, and the roles of both the men and women occupying the wealthy circles. Ms. Perry paints excellent pictures of the city streets, the modes of transportation, the clothes worn, and the tensions between what women can and cannot do, what they want to do, and the social mores that govern the lives of both men and women. Ms. Perry also is very adept at describing body language, helping the reader envision the emotions of the characters.

Take a turn through the streets of London as the plot in this mystery takes its own surprising and nail-biting twists and turns.

Up next:  Open Season 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.

Mystery Series Reviews | The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

THE CAT WHO COULD READ BACKWARDS
Lilian Jackson Braun, #1

Just as writers have their style, readers have their preferences. Some readers like to read fiction, some non-fiction. Some enjoy romance novels, others prefer murder mysteries. Just as both fiction and nonfiction abound in variety, so is the variety of readers.

Several authors have written series that combine murder, mystery, intrigue, some humor, and a little romance, which allows readers to witness the evolving events and personalities of the characters. Add to that mix a good dose of history, and the plot thickens.

One of my favorite authors is Lilian Jackson Braun, who has written more than three dozen whimsical mysteries about a newspaper journalist and two Seal Point Siamese cats he adopted – KoKo and Yum Yum. In the first book of this series, The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, Ms. Braun begins the journey of James McKenzie Qwilleran, who writes a newspaper column focusing on special events in the city of Chicago. Jim, also known as “Qwill,” was a very successful crime reporter before he fell into difficult times. As he regains his feet and begins a new position, he is given assignments not of crime but what he deems to be “fluff.” His first assignment is to do a human-interest story about artists, particularly an artist named Cal Halapay. Little does he know that as he delves into interviews and journalistic footwork for this assignment, murder and crime can drop into and from anywhere. And, little does he know that two very precocious cats will become his trusty sidekicks who serve him well as he unearths clues to solving the crimes.

Start your adventure with The Cat Who Could Read Backwards and follow Qwill, KoKo, and later Yum Yum through big city crimes in Chicago to crimes of a small town “400 miles north of everywhere.”

Next up:  Anne Perry’s novel featuring William Monk in The Face of a Stranger.

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.