Saturday, August 25, 2018

Toucan Keep a Secret + Dim Sum of All Fears - Cozy Mini Reviews

Goodreads:  Toucan Keep a Secret (Meg Langslow #23) by Donna Andrews

Blurb: Meg Langslow is at Trinity Episcopal locking up after an event and checking on the toucan Meg's friend Rev. Robyn Smith is fostering in her office. After hearing a hammering in the columbarium (the small building where cremated remains are held), Meg finds an elderly parishioner lying dead on the floor of the crypt. Several niches have been chiseled open; several urns knocked out; and amid the spilled ashes is a gold ring with a huge red stone.

The curmudgeonly victim had become disgruntled with the church and ranted all over town about taking back his wife's ashes. Did someone who had it in for him follow him to the columbarium? Or was the motive grave robbery? Or did he see someone breaking in and investigate? Why was the ruby left behind?

While the Chief Burke investigates the murder, Robyn recruits Meg to contact the families of the people whose ashes were disturbed. During this task, Meg learns many secrets about Caerphilly's history--and finds that the toucan may play a role in unmasking the killer. Clues and events indicate that a thief broke into the church to steal the toucan the night of the murder, so Meg decides to set a trap for the would-be toucan thief--who might also be the killer.

My Thoughts:  I've seen this series around for years and probably even own a few but I don't think I've ever read one of the previous 22.  However, the title was just too good to pass up so I decided to take a chance!  One of my favorite things about a cozy mystery series is when starting the book feels like reuniting with old friends.  Normally this doesn't happen unless I've been reading a series for awhile but I kind of felt that right from the start here.  I found Donna Andrews' writing style so relaxed and so engaging that I was instantly pulled in.  I was really surprised with just how easy it was to jump in this far into the series.  I had no problems getting into the story and keeping track of who was who.  The mystery was really good though to be fair the digging into past mysteries is probably my favorite storyline but I felt it was done really wonderfully here with lots of bits and pieces of information, gossip, and research.  I'm really curious to read more from the series so I'm excited that I have 22 books to catch up on!  Don't let that this is #23 scare you away.  This is a fun series with a really interesting and likable main character set in a small town peopled with entertaining but not over the top characters.  Rating:  Very Good

Goodreads:  Dim Sum of All Fears (A Noodle Shop Mystery #2) by Vivien Chien

Blurb:  Lana Lee is a dutiful daughter, waiting tables at her family’s Chinese restaurant even though she’d rather be doing just about anything else. Then, just when she has a chance for a “real” job, her parents take off to Taiwan, leaving Lana in charge. Surprising everyone―including herself―she turns out to be quite capable of running the place. Unfortunately, the newlyweds who just opened the souvenir store next door to Ho-Lee have turned up dead. . .and soon Lana finds herself in the midst of an Asia Village mystery.

Between running the Ho-Lee and trying to figure out whether the rock-solid Detective Adam Trudeau is actually her boyfriend, Lana knows she shouldn’t pry into the case. But the more she learns about the dead husband, his ex-wives, and all the murky details of the couple’s past, the more Lana thinks that this so-called murder/suicide is a straight-up order of murder. . .

My Thoughts: I think my opinion of this suffered a little because I read it right after I read the above book which I loved immediately.  This one was an easy read that pulled me in right away but I didn't connect to it as much as the first one.  It too a little bit longer to really get going with Lana having to navigate some family issues and is kind of stuck in a transition phase and she tries to figure out what she really wants to do with her life.  I liked her friends and the different stores in  Asia Village and I really enjoyed that the reader is given a real sense of the community.  When the murder happens the story picks up and I really enjoyed the investigation.  This involves my 2nd favorite mystery type - the person with all the secrets - so I really enjoyed watching everything come to light and come together.  This was a good mystery with a unique setting and an interesting main character.  While it's book #2 it didn't feel like I was missing any information or was confused.  I would like to pick up the first book and will be looking forward to book #3.  Rating:  Good


  1. Book 23? Wow that's a longer series than any that I have! I think book 16 is the longest series I have though there will be more added to that I think!

  2. I've seen the Donna Andrews series around for years and have been wanting to read it. I'm glad to hear I can start with #23 without a problem.

  3. I'd be inclined to jump in with the first book. I wonder how an author keeps a series fresh after so many books. Speaks to the talent of the writer.

  4. Both of these sound good to me. I haven't read either author, but hopefully I will get the chance.