Sick of Shadows by Marion Chesney

This seems to be book #3 in the Edwardian Murder Mysteries and I believe I had read book 1 or 2 at some point. Delightful and light with interesting historical detail. Lady Rose should have learned by now to stop leaping to conclusions and know that Harry has good intentions, but I’ll keep reading all about her!

Fun fact: Marion Chesney is the first historical romance author I ever read. I started reading the School for Manners in high school and loved it. So I’ve often read books by her. But not until I logged this book in Goodreads did I ever realize that Marion Chesney and M.C. Beaton are one and the same!!

Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I read this because a friend liked it and compared it to the Westing Game and when I saw that and also that it was by the person who wrote The Naturals, I had to read it. I really enjoyed this (more 3.5 than 3) and totally agree-very Westing Game. I was kept in convoluted suspense and eager to find out the next clue, what things were revealed, etc. I also relished the descriptions of an outrageously wealthy person’s kooky mansion (mansion seems too small a word for what this was. It was a “house” like I would have imagined as a 10 year old as what the richest person in the world would have. Side note, I think kept picturing the dead rich man as Pierce Hawthorne’s dad, another wealthy kook.) I didn’t care so much for any of the emotions of the wealthy boys or any of her interactions with them.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

(Thursday Murder Club #2)

The nice thing about coming in late to a great “new” book is that the sequel might already be out too and you get to read it right away. As was the case with this. I read this right after the first one and liked it even better! I thought the mystery itself in this one was even better. I continued to just adore these characters who are smart and funny and clever and mysterious. 

And in writing this up so belatedly (read in April, writing this at end of August) I’m delighted to find out that book #3 is coming out in September!

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

I don’t consider myself much of a mystery reader, though I’m not opposed to them. I just want them all to be like this one! This was so great. The characters are all older people in a retirement village in England and by a combo of wits and bossiness they involve themselves in a murder. In fact, it seems like one or more of them might be a “more than meets the eye” type of person. The whole thing was just funny and clever and great.

If you like the show Only Murders in the Building this would be a good book for you.

The Greenglass House by Kate Milford

A smugglers’ inn, a mystery, a family, it feels like it’s set a million years ago and in a magical place, but on the other hand it’s not. I enjoyed this story and found it unique for all the reasons I just said.  I also loved the way book made me feel that I was in a wintery snowed in old house. And with each unexpected guest arriving it felt like all the characters were getting in place for an old fashioned house party mystery. There were a lot of characters to keep track of and it was all a little bit weird, but that was definitely right up my alley. This is the sort of book that I’d say needs a particular reader. I was definitely that read when I was a kid and I know they are still out there and I hope those kids find this book.

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

What an absolutely satisfying conclusion!! When is the last time I sat by the fire eyes glued to my book, hand reaching in and out of popcorn bowl, just completely caught up? Although I couldn’t remember too much about Truly Devious and the Vanishing Stair that was fine because there was a lot of recapping. Once again the book is set up with Stevie working away at the 1930s mystery of the vanished kidnapped child, Alice, along with the more recent suspicious deaths at her school and alternating chapters telling us exactly what happened in the 30s.
It was immensely satisfying to be reading and know that I would soon have all the answers and it was immensely satisfying to finally get those answers. I couldn’t make this last at all-purely enjoyable and unputdownable.

Mac Undercover and Impossible Crime (Mac B., Kid Spy #1 and #2) by Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett is one of my favorite go-to funny authors and these are the first two in his new series, which is all about when he himself was a kid in the 1980s and how he was a Kid Spy.  His tone of stating that directly to the audience is hilarious. There are abundant illustrations in cartoon style.  The hilarious initial premise is that Queen Elizabeth calls on him to be a spy. There are corgis galore, the Queen is a hoot of a character, Mac has a nemesis, Derek, and his mom has a boyfriend, which very much reminded me of Rick, the jerk, in the Brixton Brothers books.

The first book sets up Mac getting called in as a spy, with a focus on his stolen Game Boy. The second one has Mac solving an Impossible Crime, the kind where something happens in a locked room.

All in all, great fun, highly recommended.

One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson

I feel like this took foreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever to read. And it’s no fault of Kate Atkinson’s because this book is just as good as all the other Jackson Brodie books. (Though I will say, this is #2, and I recently read the very newest, and reading these two together they seem to have an awful lot in common. Russians, call girls, money laundering, bad guys, etc.)
Something that I think is very interesting about all the Jackson Brodie books is that you think of them as being all about him-he’s the main character, it’s his story, how will he solve it, etc. But! An awful lot of the chapters don’t even have him in it and you do get these wonderful back stories about the other characters who get wrapped up in these extremely complicated webs.

My quarantine reading is really not happening the way I had ever imagined it. I’m prescribing for myself a dose of Rosamund Pilcher, or possibly Outlander. Though they are big books they are comforting and familiar and engrossing.

Started Early Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

After Big Sky I was itching to read another Jackson Brodie. Even though I was pretty sure I’d already read this, it’s what was available at the library at that moment, so I took it. Even while I read it I still wasn’t sure if I’d read it or not, but just now I see on Goodreads that yes, I read this once before, in 2011.
Even though there are a lot of terrible things that happen in these novels, somehow it is not soul crushing to read them. I liked the way the point of view went back and forth, I always like peeking into Jackson’s personal life, and the setting was fascinating to me.  Best of all, Atkinson is a fantastic writer. I found myself reading for about 45 minutes one night and just solidly enjoying so many lines and the way certain paragraphs were written, never mind the story itself. These books are a pleasure to read.

Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen (Her Royal Spyness)

I’ve been especially looking forward to this one since it is enticingly set in Africa (Kenya, to be exact.)
As usual there is a little of the Queen, Mrs. Simpson and cousin David (the Prince), and fussy sister in law Fig. (Fig, Binky, Diddy–these names crack me up) which is all very entertaining, but the bulk of the story has Georgie and Darcy in Kenya, ostensibly on their honeymoon, but really Darcy is investigating something and then of course someone gets murdered and they investigate that.
It is so interesting to read about how they get to Kenya–a long and difficult journey, which included a surprising amount of glamorous air travel. And once there everything was new to me–how the Brits were “settling” in valleys and farming, but also being aristocrats, terrible to the natives, and so on. Just like Lady Georgiana I was fascinated by the big animals and how they were just in the wilderness with them-but also horrified by how casually people talked about killing them.
The biggest surprise of all I won’t explicitly state here-I’ll just say that I was TOTALLY surprised and the author’s note afterward explains that she didn’t make it up-it really happened. Fascinating.