Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Candy Corn Murders + Some Short Reviews

Source: NetGalley
Blurb: Mayhem, sabotage and a little bit of murder both past and present, interrupt the festive fun of Tinker's Corner Pumpkin Festival.  Luckily Lucy Stone is here to save the day and solve the mystery - especially when her own husband is suspected of murder.

Leslie Meier is an author I've been wanting to read for awhile.  I love her covers and her holiday themed titles and when I had a chance to read Candy Corn Murder (amazon link) I just couldn't resist.  This one set right before Tinker's Cove's Pumpkin Festival had all kind of Halloween-y goodness.  The mystery itself was interesting if only one of many plot lines.  This is one of those cozies that talked about everything that was happening in the small town and not just the mystery but I tend to enjoy this.  I haven't read a book by Meier before and was able to jump right in.  Unfortunately, I did have some issues with the book.  While I liked Lucy and her family her relationship with her husband Bill seemed odd and they had zero communication.  As well, the hostile tone to the police and a number of blanket statements saying that all police were inept and/or corrupt (such as a comment made that stated that all police inflate the value of property they seize so they look more impressive) grated on me.  I particularly had issue in one scene where the police officers screamed at a 4 year old and made him put his hands up.  It seemed a bit much.  This was a very readable cozy but the negatives will probably keeping me from reading much more in the series. 3 Stars

Source: NetGalley
Blurb: A decade old art theft receives fresh attention when a stone Celtic cross is stolen in Ireland and a woman is murdered in Maine.  FBI Agents Emma Sharpe, granddaughter of legendary art detective Wendell Sharpe, and Colin Donovan must investigate and discover if their recent engagement will affect their working relationship.

I've really enjoyed Carla Neggers Knight's Bridge series so I was really curious about her more suspenseful Sharpe and Donovan series.  I love an Irish setting and throw in some art theft, a mystery and a romance and I figured Harbor Island (amazon link) was the book for me.  Except that it wasn't - not that it was bad but more that it was a complete neutral for me.  I didn't love it but I didn't hate it.  I think the majority of the reason this didn't really grab me was because this is a series that really needs to be read in order and I was coming in on the 4th book.  The relationship and the mystery continue throughout the series so the character development is on the slow side and in this book we see neither the beginning or a conclusion.  However, I'm going to try the next book - Keeper's Reach to see if I like it better the more involved in the series I get.  This isn't really a fair rating because I haven't read the rest of the series which I imagine would make a difference but 2 Stars

Source: Library (audio)
Blurb: Trains, murder and fraud plague Moose County.  Luckily Jim Qwilleran is on the case with lots of help from his two Siamese cats!

I can't remember when I started reading The Cat Who series by Lillian Jackson Braun but it was at least 20 years ago.  I was looking for an audio book and decided it might be fun to revisit the series when I saw The Cat Who Blew the Whistle (amazon link) was available.  It was a pleasant listen.  The man who did the narration did a decent job on the women's voices which is a rare feeling for me.  My feelings towards the main character, Jim Qwilleran, are similar to my feelings towards MC Beaton's Agatha Raisin.  I find them both annoyingly endearing.  This one of those mysteries where there's a LOT going on and not all of it has anything to do with the mystery itself.  I don't quite understand why Qwilleran lies so much as it just seemed to make things more complicated and he's been solving mysteries for 20 years in a small town so surely everyone knows what's going on by this point. Also, the solution came completely out of left field and didn't feel very probable.  I'm not sure if I would've enjoyed it as much if I'd read it but it was a nice listen - especially if you're fond of the series.  Qwilleran's Siamese cats play a pretty large role so that's always fun.  I won't be racing to pick up more books form the series but I might grab another audio at some point.  3 Stars

Source: NetGalley
Blurb: Murder most foul in the Scottish Highlands.  A couple is killed at a party and the murderer must be among the guests.

I really wanted to love Murder at Midnight by C.S Challinor (amazon link).  I mean just look at the cover!  It screams classic locked room mystery and the setting is in the Scottish Highlands so I settled in for a nice modern classic mystery.  The mystery itself is interesting.  A couple is murdered at a party and the murderer must be one of the guests.  We're left with the classic - Who? Why? and How? in the paneled drawing room on a stormy Scottish night.  Unfortunately this read a bit like a play script.  There's not much emotion and everything is described without getting the feeling of being shown.  The characters are flat and it was a little hard to keep track of who was who.  By the time the solution came around I unfortunately, wasn't particularly interested.  I liked a lot of the pieces - the setting, what I did get to know of the main characters, Rex Graves and Helen d'Arcy - so I will try another book in this series but I just can't recommend this one.  2 Stars


  1. Love these ad agree with you on The Cat Who Blew The Whistle and Candy Corn Murder. I haven't read Harbor Island yet, it's in the 'some day' pile but I don't love that series and yes, it's best read in order.

    Fun post!

  2. I've always been really curious about that Cat series. My aunt has read a ton of them.

  3. I read a lot of the early books in Leslie Meier's cozy series. I especially remember the first one. Lucy was pregnant with her 3rd or 4th kiddo and was working for a catalog company (where you call in your order) at Christmas time - like L.L. Bean or something. Anyway, I had her on my list for a long time because I liked the town and her family and the kids and all. Sorry this one didn't work well for you. I can't believe she is still writing these.

    Just went and looked and the first one, Mail Order Murders, was written in 1991.

  4. I wanted to read the Candy Corn one but I hate reading out of order especially in a cozy series and that one is like book 17 or something like that so I just went and put the first couple on my wishlist. :)

  5. Well that's a bunch of meh reads. I hope they weren't read all in a row. Otherwise that would put me in a major slump.

    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

  6. I find that I really like to read cozies set around Halloween this time of year, so I was eager to read your thoughts on Candy Corn Murder. I think your faults with the book would bother me too.

    I was hoping you'd like Negger's book more. The setting appeals to me too. If I do decide to give this series a try, I'll make sure to start at the beginning of the series. Hopefully that will make a difference.

    For the longest time, my mother would buy my husband Cat Who books every gift giving holiday. She figured because he liked cats and mysteries, it would be a good combination. He faithfully read them for a few years until he decided it wasn't worth it. He's never liked the series much. I haven't tried any of Braun's books as a result. It's unfair really, given we don't always agree on books. He is very picky about books and I am not as much.