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April 22, 2020

Join These Women Sleuths in Solving the Mysteries

by MK French

Do you enjoy a good mystery? These two novels featuring female sleuths are entertaining. Can you solve the mystery before they do?

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Killer Soul Mate by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

January 2020; Melange Books; 978-1680468830
ebook, print (244 pages); mystery
Jane Larson is hired by a woman wanting to undo terms of a matrimony agreement with her ex-husband. He operates a hedge fund and hates to lose, making this difficult. At the same time, the landlord is trying to get her out of the office her mother used to practice in and a younger man is trying to work his way into her life. While Jane is falling for his charm, he also happens to be nearby whenever there is a death...

Gracemary, as Jane’s landlord, is a character and a half. We get that part of the drama and Gary’s introduction before we get to the lawyering part, and it’s very much a personality-driven kind of story. You can hear their New York voices and the characters as they interact, and the flavor of the city as they move through it. Gary really doesn’t strike me as charming, but he’s not my type anyway. He certainly does look out for Jane in his own way, and she does have more ability to care for others than she thinks. Her interactions with others do soften over time as a result of that, but it doesn’t mean that Jane is any less tough on clients or police officers as she tries to piece together information to discover what happened.

I do admire Jane and her tenacity, especially her willingness to continue working with the indigent of New York City. It’s a tough population, with lots of problems, and they do need all the compassionate help that they can get. They certainly get it with Jane, and she is far braver than I would be if there were dead lawyers and threats from vague sources. The novel’s tension builds as it proceeds at a quick pace, and I had to race to the finish to find out what happened at the end. I laughed at the very last line, because of course the inherent irony of it was not lost on me. I really enjoyed this, and look forward to future novels starring Jane.

Buy Killer Soul Mate at Amazon

A Forgotten Murder by Jude Devereaux

March 2020; MIRA; 978-0778309895
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); mystery
Sara Medlar had solved two murder mysteries, and it's time for a well-deserved break. She goes to visit a friend in England with her niece Kate and their friend Jack. However, this is a break that still involves work of a sort: two people had run away together from Oxley Manor decades ago, and now they're all essentially doing live dinner theater. Over time, it seems like there was a murder in the past... and someone is willing to do it again to keep that secret safe.

A Forgotten Murder is the third book in the series, and I hadn't read the first two. It isn't necessary, because there's enough backstory given about Sara, Kate, and Jack. The mystery unfolds slowly; Jack is right, it isn't fair that Sara didn't tell them right away what the plan was for heading to Oxley Manor. He befriends Puck, who had been a young girl at the time of the disappearance/murder. The story is one of frustrated love, jealousy, greed, and fear. There are multiple variations of what had gone on twenty years ago, each version with more and more details as we go along. It paints a picture of a very tense and angry household, and it isn't much of a surprise that it fell apart so spectacularly.

I can't say that I am really emotionally invested in the characters. I'm drawn more to the mystery of it than the characters themselves. They're not very pleasant, and for most of the most part, I don't quite care about the emotions that most of them go through. The care and attention to detail in the mystery itself and the planning for the play to recreate the night in question is fascinating. It's at that point that I started to actually care about the characters and the stories that they told. The ending is full of surprises until the very last page, and it was a very satisfying conclusion. As much as many characters are unlikeable at the start, this is still a good mystery from Jude Devereaux.

Buy A Forgotten Murder at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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