Wednesday, July 08, 2015

What YOU are reading: Mysteries!

More book reviews from the Summer Reading Club for Grownups!

The Beekeeper's Apprentice, by Laurie R. King
Reviewed by Dianne B.

My first thought was, "Oh no, not another take on Sherlock Holmes!" But no, not quite. This is a retired Holmes, seen through the eyes of his teen-aged apprentice, a girl named Mary Russel. The book doesn't go against the grain of Holmes, just gives him a new, aged patina. Mary is a great character in her own right. The story develops nicely and is just the beginning of a series. So, if you like this one, you're in for a nice long ride.

Death at La Fenice, by Donna Leon
Reviewed by Louise P.

I read this book for the library's Scene of the Crime Book Club and really enjoyed it! Set in the beautiful, mysterious city of Venice, Italy, Death at La Fenice is the first of Donna Leon's popular series. A world famous opera conductor is found dead of cyanide poisoning during the intermission of La Traviata. Venice is shocked at the devastating loss of the Maestro, and Police Commissario Guido Brunetti has to sift through a throng of suspects to unravel the case. An enjoyable read with all the tantalizing flavor of Venice!

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, by Alan Bradley
Reviewed by Jeanne G.

Eleven-year old chemist Flavia De Luce stands out in her community. There are murders, and she spends her time assisting the police in solving them. In this installment of the series, she ponders the death of a family member and reaches surprising conclusions, which are verified. Flavia also receives other surprising family news. This bittersweet installment is different from the other stories in the series. I am hooked, and I enjoy these quirky stories and this acerbic protagonist/heroine.

Editor's note: This is #6 in the series that began with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
Reviewed by Alia L.

In a Soviet Russia (where there is officially no crime), a serial killer is murdering children. Disgraced MGB agent Leo Demidov investigates the murders, at risk to himself and everyone he loves. This book was immensely enjoyable; I stayed up way too late many evenings reading it. I highly recommend it!

A Cast-Off Coven, by Juliet Blackwell
Reviewed by Ellen M.

This book was darker than the last mystery I read (that involved witchcraft). I say it’s darker because the witch detective had to bind a serious demon (Sitri, a powerful demon who governs 60 Legions of Spirits). This wasn’t a cuddly book. I don’t like demons and don’t even like to utter the word. I agree with the characters in the book, sometimes just saying the word demon can conjure them into your space (okay, it may not be just uttering the word, but…intent is everything). The setting of the book is San Francisco. I’ve only driven through the city, but if you know the city, you may like the setting of this book…lots of reference to places, streets, shops. This was a good mystery, kept me guessing until the end. A ghost, a demon, a murder, a witch, a psychic, artists…lots for everyone! Note: I looked up a reference from the book, The Lesser Key of Solomon, Goetia, and found the demon sigil described in the book (I wanted to see if I could find the sigil before the demon’s name was revealed)). I found the sigil but the Goetia has assigned it to a different demon (Beleth)…not that it matters…just a little interesting side research…

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