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October 3, 2021

4 Books for Mystery Lovers

by MK French

Are you looking forward to a lazy afternoon of reading? Then you need a great book and if you love mysteries then you definitely should take a look at these.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

In the Crypt with a Candlestick by Daisy Waugh

In the Crypt with aCandlestick
October 2021; Pegasus Crime; 9781643138053
audio, ebook, print (288 pages); cozy mystery

Lady Emma Tode had wanted nothing more than to retire to Capri after her husband of over fifty years died. Her three children are unwilling or unable to look after the grand estate, so instead, her nephew will have the dubious honor. Soon after he moves his family to Tode Hall, however, she is found dead in the mausoleum, and not all is quite what it seems.

This is meant to mirror the old murder mystery dinners, as Emma's death isn't quite an accident and the manor house is eventually filled with guests. It's very dry humor, poking fun at the pretensions in British classist society, as well as the conventions of the gentry. This isn't strictly a murder mystery, though the elements are there; Emma doesn't die until a little over a third of the way through the book. We start with her husband's funeral and musings on the extended family and the house and end with the need to plan for Emma's funeral.

Daisy Waugh has a fantastic grasp of character voice. Some of the characters are truly awful and selfish people, and no one I would plan to spend time with. I suppose that makes it easier to see the foibles of society that they embody. I really felt bad for Alice, caught between the living and then the ghost of Emma's mother in law, She's interested in the truth and justice, and the ghost just wants to preserve the Tode name. When we find out what happens to them, the different threads all come together. The Tode family will persevere, and so will we.

Mystery on Spirit Mountain by Brenda Whiteside

Mystery on Spirit Mountain
August 2021; Indie; 979-8458041911
ebook, print (219 pages); romantic mystery

Harlan MacKenzie can sense trouble in the Big Purple House that he's been trying to repair. Phaedra is interested in selling the mansion that's been in her family for decades, and a friends-to-lovers relationship begins with Harlan. A stranger arriving in town determined to right old wrongs, revealing the mansion's history and putting both Harlan and Phaedra in danger.

Mystery on Spirit Mountain is the second book in the MacKenzie Chronicles, but you don't necessarily have to read the first book to understand this tone. The first book outlined a romance developing after a woman meets a man that looks exactly like her long-lost lover. This novel also takes place in Joshua, Arizona, and Harlan is Magpie's brother. If you read the book, it's a neat tie-in. If not, don't worry about it. Soon enough, you get a scene with Harlan talking with his father; the entire MacKenzie family has some kind of psychic ability, and Harlan's gift is getting a sense of places and things. This usually helps him with home renovations, but now there is a bigger mystery to unravel.

We begin with author Nora Cook arriving at the house to take a look around. Phaedra didn't even list it for sale yet, and she already has her back up about Nora. Slowly, we get a picture of the circumstances bringing Nora to Joshua, as well as the house itself. The descriptions are gorgeous, and really paints the picture of an elegant 1920's mansion. Phaedra and Harlan had grown up together and are friends, but the proximity of working together for renovations and Nora stirring up jealous feelings pushes the two together. Because Harlan has a sense of the house, he starts digging into its history as Nora does in her own way.

I liked seeing Phaedra and Harlan grow closer in time, and that their prior friendship remained, even with a gap of years. Seeing the past unfold from journal entries and digging into old records was fun, too. This was a great read and pulls in not just the romance tropes, but those involving old houses from the Gilded Age.

(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for FREE!)

Cold Consequences by David Rohlfing

Cold Consequences
July 2021;  River Grove Books; 978-1632993885
ebook, print (248 pages); hard-boiled mystery

Detective Sasha Frank is investigating the murder of Ashley Cummins, a powerful judge's granddaughter killed in a drug deal gone wrong. Unfortunately, all of Detective Franks' suspects soon go missing or turn up dead. Time is running out, and he has to find the killer and get justice.

Cold Consequences is the second of the Detective Frank novels but is a straightforward detective novel investigating a murder. It's clear to the reader what happens, as we open with Ashley's murder, then we follow the detective tracking down the clues. As the novel progresses, there's not only the investigation but another team in the underground able to get to the men that the detectives are looking for. They're not interested in questions, though, only payback. The only question as the novel progresses is if the detectives will find the remaining suspects and figure out who is the mastermind in time.

I was drawn in by the story, wanting to see if the professionals would find the drug dealers before the mafia team did and to find out exactly when the plan would unfold. Ultimately, justice is served to everyone involved as part of a satisfying end.

Buy Cold Consequences at Amazon

The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Back-to-Front Murder by Tim Major

The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Back to Front Murders
August 2021; Titan Books; 978-1789096989
ebook, print (304 pages); historical mystery

Abigail Moone writes murder mysteries under a pen name, and her presumed "victim" for research purposes dies in a manner that looks consistent with her notes. She hires Sherlock Holmes to prove her innocence, but there's more
than meets the eye. 

The entire case is presented "back to front," with a body discovered after we're presented with a murder method, and the team is to determine the innocence and not guilty for the death. Lestrade is very much a goofball here, seizing the simplest explanation and not looking for the truth. In his defense, it did look suspicious to anyone other than the reader and Sherlock Holmes. I found the actual explanation after the fact to be almost disappointing. It's wonderfully intricate and crafted, but we don't see Sherlock connecting the dots until it's all laid out. I find that less fun than following the chase.

Overall, this is a solid story with an interesting setup and execution in line with the Holmes novels. 

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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  1. Thank you so much for the great review of Mystery on Spirit Mountain.