Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Year of the Series - Death in Reel Time + Fatal Cajun Festival

After the calamity that was 2020 I didn't want to give myself serious reading goals but I did want to do something to help my book stacks get a little more under control.  I've tried getting rid of the ones I want to read but unfortunately I want to read all the books I own.  So I decided to focus on series.  There are so many I have that I abandoned halfway through or came in halfway and never read the first few.  I made a list of ten series and the next book I had to read in them and will be rolling in new books and series as I go along and catch up.  Here are two reviews from that list that I've read recently.

Goodreads:  Death in Reel Time (Family History Mystery #2) by Brynn Bonner

Blurb:  If there’s one thing genealogists Sophreena McClure and Esme Sabatier have learned, it’s that every family has a black sheep— sometimes a whole flock of them. Their new client, Olivia Clement, is hoping to uncover the truth about her ne’er-do-well father, who disappeared before she was born. But Sophreena and Esme have barely begun delving into Olivia’s past when a present-day murder interrupts their schedule.
Someone has decided to prune the Clement family tree by getting rid of Olivia’s domineering son-in-law, Blaine Branch. Even without Esme’s psychic gift, it was easy to sense the tension between Blaine and his put-upon wife, Beth. Suspicion quickly falls on a young filmmaker and family friend who’s creating a documentary about their small town. Yet Soph and Esme become convinced someone else wanted to edit Blaine out, permanently. Buried deep in dusty boxes of memorabilia and 1940s film reels are vital clues, but it will take all of Sophreena’s deductive skill to expose the truth—before another victim fades to black.

My Thoughts:  I love this series!  I love the attention to detail when it comes to research and the stories that Sophreena and Esme dig up.  I really love that the genealogical research isn't window dressing to the mystery but is instead on equal footing and sometimes provides the key.  I love that there is a team effort as I always enjoy getting different perpsectives that that brings to the amateur sleuth experience.  The mystery was interesting and the research equally so.  If you don't enjoy books involving digging into the past this is series as a whole is definitely not for you.  I did figure out everything pretty early into the book but I enjoyed the story and the characters so much this didn't bother me.  I'm sad that I only have one book left in this series and that this author doesn't appear to be publishing any more books.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

Goodreads:  Fatal Cajun Festival (Cajun Country Mystery #5) by Ellen Byron

Blurb:  Grab your tickets for Cajun Country Live!, the pickers' and crooners' answer to the legendary New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Maggie Crozat, proprietor of the Crozat Plantation B&B, plans to be in the cheering section when her friend Gaynell Bourgeois takes the stage with her band, Gaynell and the Gator Girls.
The festival's headliner, native daughter Tammy Barker, rocketed to stardom on a TV singing competition. She has the voice of an angel...and the personality of a devilish diva. But Maggie learns that this tiny terror carries a grudge against Gaynell. She's already sabotaged the Gator Girls' JazzFest audition. When a member of Tammy's entourage is murdered at the festival, Tammy makes sure Gaynell is number one on the suspect list.
Gaynell has plenty of company on that list--including every one of Tammy's musicians. Posing as a groupie, Maggie infiltrates Tammy's band and will have to hit all the right notes to clear her friend's name.

My Thoughts:  We are back in the bayou for the holiday that is second only to Mardi Gras - Jazz Fest.  I knew someone who went to LSU and they actually had a scheduled break just for Jazz Fest.  But this year Pelican, Louisiana is putting their toe in the water and having their very own music festival headlined by local girl made good - Tammy Barker.  Tammy is hardly the sweetness and light that she seems and she's almost immediately setting Maggie's teeth on edge by targeting Maggie's friend and Tammy's former highschool classmate, talented musician Gaynell.  This was quite a winding web of a mystery.  The first body to fall has lots of people who won't be shedding tears that he's gone and all the motives and finger pointing make for quite a mess that needs sorting out.  This was a fun mystery that kept me guessing to the end.  While Maggie's family does fade a bit into the background her group of friends makes up for it.   I had a few laugh out loud moments and thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Cajun country.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!


  1. I really want to read the Ellen Byron series. It really sounds so good.

  2. Two successful reads. Yes I don't like it when it seems the author has finished with the series. Still nice to know you've read it all the way through.

  3. There is my favorite dog Gopher! :)

  4. It's nearly time for your final totals. You've done really well. 😃