Duels & Deception

Like Jane Austen and thrillers? Wondering what a mashup of the two might look like? You need to read Cindy Anstey’s Duels & Deception, a rollicking adventure with a headstrong heroine trying to protect her inheritance of the family estate from a controlling drunk uncle, a man-crazy cousin, the spendthrift noble next door she’s expected to marry, and her own surprising feelings for Robert, the visiting new law clerk. Lydia and Robert sparkle as their relationship develops — and then […]

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Elementary, She Read

There’s nothing new about bookstore owner mysteries, but I was drawn to Elementary, She Read because of its subtitle: “A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery”. And I was entertained by how Vicki Delany gives an appropriate set of characteristics to her lead character. Gemma Doyle is English but living in Cape Cod so she can manage her uncle’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. She’s not a huge fan, but she likes the seaside town and her life there after leaving behind […]

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Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes

As a child, I read a lot about trivia and oddities, including weird death. (It was before the internet, so this was from real books.) One of the creepiest was what happened to the Collyer brothers, found dead in 1947. Some of the massive amounts of newspapers and junk they stockpiled had collapsed on one, and the other starved to death. They were the first hoarders to become famous due to their obsessions and how they destroyed them. As a […]

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Michael Eury Explores the Camp History of Comics

I don’t know why I didn’t know about this until now, but friend of the blog Michael Eury has a book coming out in April that explores the camp comics of fifty years ago. Hero-A-Go-Go: Campy Comic Books, Crimefighters, & Culture of the Swinging Sixties pretty much lays out its premise in its lengthy title. The book … celebrates the camp craze of the Swinging Sixties, when just about everyone –the teens of Riverdale, an ant and a squirrel, even […]

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The Last of August

Charlotte Holmes is back! In the sequel to A Study in Charlotte, this generation’s Sherlock descendent and her best friend Jamie Watson are spending the holidays together in England. The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro takes the two to Holmes’ house in Sussex over winter break. They’re uncomfortable together, after all that happened in the last book, including explosions and Watson almost dying. He thinks he loves her, but there’s trauma between them, and she’s a rape survivor, and […]

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Big Trouble: A Friday Barnes Mystery

R.A. Spratt’s Big Trouble: A Friday Barnes Mystery is third in the series featuring the girl detective at a modern-day boarding school. It’s a terrific blend of humor, mystery, and adventure, particularly since this volume starts with more about Friday’s family. Her parents and four older siblings are all academics, theoretical professors, and their love of detachment from everyday life is astounding. That’s a complicating factor when the book opens, as it seems that Friday’s mother has been kidnapped. Yet […]

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The Big Rewind

I absolutely adored The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore. It’s a wonderful blend of murder mystery, satiric portrait of hipster life, quarter-century nostalgia (silly as that is), awkward burgeoning romance, and love for music, with the right song capturing the perfect memory or even changing your life. Jett lives in her grandmother’s apartment in Brooklyn. She wants to be a music journalist, but as we all know, print is dead, so she temps where she can and glides through life, […]

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Crosstalk

A new Connie Willis novel is a terrific gift, and Crosstalk does not disappoint. It’s a romantic comedy (similar to her early story “Blued Moon”) with a setting focused on a hot cultural topic (which reminded me of Bellwether) and a whole flock of female Irish family members. Briddey works at a cellphone company eager to develop the next communication breakthrough. She’s dating a promising young executive there, and he’s just proposed to her that they get the new operation […]

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