A Lesson in Love and Murder by Rachel McMillan

a-lesson-in-love-and-murder



MY REVIEW:

The second installment of McMillan’s Herringford and Watts Mysteries finds Jem married to Ray but it seems that the honeymoon may be over. Oh, they are still in love but pressure from Ray’s long hours at work, not enough money to meet their needs, and Ray’s determination to take care of his sister and nephew has taken its toll. And now that they are married, Ray seems equally determined to protect Jem much to her dismay. Not only that but a new client has upset Merinda’s usual composure.

As in the first novel of the series, I found the dialogue to be witty. The quotations at the beginning of each chapter and the footnotes often added just the right touch, especially the quotations from Benny and Jonathan’s handbook. I personally found them quite eloquent. As other reviewers have mentioned, I liked seeing the personal growth of the primary characters but also sympathized with Ray and Jem’s communication problems. I also found it very natural to have two such good friends with only one of them a believer yet also could see some progress being made in that area.

Then there was the plot. Although not quite as mysterious as the first novel, “A Lesson in Love and Murder” was very action-packed with danger at every corner. The mystery itself was more in the line of proving who was behind the death and destruction that followed the team from Toronto to Chicago. I enjoyed the introduction of Benny the Mounty but felt sorry for Jasper as he watched Merinda’s reaction to Benny.

I thoroughly enjoyed another encounter with those endearing bachelor girls and can’t wait to join them on their next adventure. I love the unique yet somehow old-fashioned approach this author has taken with this series.

A digital copy of this book was provided for review by Howard Books through NetGalley.
I later purchased a print copy.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

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Sister Eve and the Blue Nun by Lynne Hinton

Sister Eve and the Blue NunABOUT THE BOOK:



MY REVIEW:

“Sister Eve and the Blue Nun” is the first book I’ve read by Lynne Hinton. I was uncertain what I could expect and it took me a little while to become fully engaged with the book even though it began quickly with a murder to solve. However, once I became better acquainted with the motorcycle riding, jeans wearing nun who doubles as a detective, it was easy to jump in and let the story pull me along for the ride.

I liked how Eve tended to be a bit of a lone ranger but also had a tendency to jump into things too quickly and make a mess of them. Her belief in her friend’s innocence was admirable as was her determination to prove it. Unfortunately that led her to make dangerous decisions that jeopardized her life. The way the legend of the Blue Nun played into the story was fascinating and I learned about a spiritual gift recognized by Catholics called biolocation that I had never encountered before.

All-in-all, I enjoyed reading about Sister Eve’s adventures in helping to solve another case enough that I will absolutely be open to reading more books by this author.

A copy of this book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.



After a murder at the monastery, Sister Eve may need a miracle if she is to prove a dear friend isn’t a cold-blooded killer.

Sister Eve, a motorcycle-riding nun with a natural (or is it supernatural?) gift for solving murders returns to the enclave she once called home and quickly finds herself confronting yet another mysterious death.

Someone has poisoned Dr. Kelly Middlesworth—a researcher on the life and ministry of 17th-century’s revered “Blue Nun”—and a set of irreplaceable historic documents have disappeared before they could even be examined.

When all evidence seems to point to the victim’s brother, Sister Eve sets out to expose the killer and learn the explosive truth those missing manuscripts might contain.

Chasing a killer is dangerous work, and as her two worlds collide, Sister Eve may need some heavenly help simply to survive.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lynne HintonLynne Hinton is the “New York Times” bestselling author of “Friendship Cake” and “Pie Town.” A native of North Carolina, she received her undergraduate degree from the U.N.C. at Greensboro and her Masters of Divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. She also studied at Wake Forest University and the NC School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking. She has served as a chaplain with hospice and as the pastor of Mount Hope United Church of Christ and First Congregational United Church of Christ, both in North Carolina. Lynne is a regular columnist with The Charlotte Observer. She lives with her husband, Bob Branard, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Find out more about Lynne at http://www.lynnehinton.com.

 

The Bachelor Girls Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan



MY REVIEW:

I don’t often take the time to watch TV because I prefer to spend it reading but occasionally I enjoy watching Murdoch Mysteries (aka The Artful Detective). Set in Toronto in the early twentieth century, it is a fun, historical detective mystery. When I opened the pages of “The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder” I found myself in that same Toronto time frame with Merinda and Jem, two friends who have defied society’s expectations to start a detective agency.

Merinda and Jem are unconventional and independent, preferring to don men’s clothing in order to slip past Toronto’s Morality Squad on their quest to discover clues to two unsolved deaths that the police seem to have forgotten. The plot is fresh and clever with frequent humor yet also contains an intelligence and depth that was somewhat unexpected. I loved all four of the primary characters and hoped for a match for Jem and Ray DeLuca throughout the entire book although at times it looked like she might be taken in by another character’s false charm. I also secretly hoped to see Merinda and Jasper join forces as more than just working together to solve crimes.

I pretty much loved everything about “The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder” including the quotations at the beginning of each chapter from fictional books as well as the explanatory footnotes scattered throughout the narrative. This is a witty and entertaining story with well researched historical facts and a solid message of faith woven through it. I eagerly look forward to the next Herringford and Watts mystery, A Lesson in Love and Murder. I can’t wait!

A digital copy of this book was provided for review by Harvest House Publishers through NetGalley but I also purchased a paperback copy.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever—if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rachel McMillanRachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

Direct Hit by Mike Hollow

Direct Hit



MY REVIEW:

I was uncertain what to expect when I agreed to review “Direct Hit” but what I got was a very readable and enjoyable detective mystery. Set during the London Blitz in the early 1940’s, the style is very reminiscent of detective novels I read years ago. 

The plot is fairly slow-paced but for this book, that is a good thing. I liked the way I felt a part of Jago’s entire process of solving the crime and the methodical way he processed every bit of information. The author’s descriptions of life in London while the population was under constant threat of bombing by the Germans added extra depth to the story. His character development was awesome and I felt like I knew them well by the conclusion of the story. I especially liked the way the detectives carried on with their responsibilities even in the midst of the bombings. Insight into the thoughts of various characters gave me a better idea of the different viewpoints of each one and how their choices were influenced by them. I think I gained a new understanding about how the history of that era evolved.

The story concept is imaginative. I loved the idea of a murder victim whose body was destroyed by a direct bomb hit shortly after discovery by detectives, nevertheless those same detectives were determined to solve the crime. Several twists kept things interesting and a surprise or two were the icing on the cake.

I thoroughly enjoyed “Direct Hit” and hope other mystery fans will check it out. Looking forward to the next installment of Hollow’s The Blitz Detective series.

This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

First in a crime series set in London during the Blitz in 1940-41

The jagged blast of high explosives rips through the evening air. In the sky over East London the searchlights criss-cross in search of the enemy.

On the first night of the Blitz, a corpse is discovered in a van in the back streets of West Ham. Detective Inspector John Jago recognizes the dead man as local Justice of the Peace Charles Villers. But then a German bomb obliterates all evidence.

Villers, not a popular man, was both powerful and feared. As the sirens wail, the detective must start matching motive to opportunity–and it doesn?t help when his boss foists an intrusive American journalist on him.

Jago soon discovers the dead man held many secrets, some reaching back to World War I. A lot of people wished Villers dead–and an air raid is a good time to conceal a murder.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mike HollowMike Hollow was born in West Ham, on the eastern edge of London, and grew up in Romford, Essex. He studied Russian and French at the University of Cambridge and then worked for the BBC and later Tearfund. In 2002 he went freelance as a copywriter, journalist and editor. He’s a published poet, and nowadays when not writing about the Blitz Detective he makes his living as a translator.