Sunday, January 23, 2022

Updated Collection of Phryne Fisher Stories for 2022


Phryne Fisher Collection
Kerry Greenwood
Poisoned Pen Press
May 17, 2022

I am a fan of the Miss Fisher series with the incomparable Essie Davis in the title role. But, I had only read a few of the books, so this collection was a delight. Even more so was the introduction describing how Phryne sprang into being. There are four new stories in the group, and some others have been edited. They were all new to me. I can't say which stories were better than others. Still, I can point out a couple of my favorites: Death Shall Be Dead, in which Phryne shows her innate kindness by finding a home for the old dog of a murdered man. Marrying the Bookie's Daughter, in which she thwarts the revenge of a jilted young woman by getting her a more profitable one, is another favorite.

I highly recommend The Lady with the Gun Asks the Questions for fans of Miss Fisher, both old and new. Thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING- 5 Stars

Monday, January 17, 2022

A New Detective Inspector Comes to Town


 Rick Bleiweiss
 SoHo Crime
 February 8, 2022

The quiet town of Haxford, England, has a new Chief Detective Inspector. It’s 1910, only a few years before the upheaval of WWI will change England forever, and sleepy Haxford is much as it has been for centuries. So the Inspector, Pignon Scorbion,  causes quite a stir in the town with his odd name, uncertain origins, and dapper attire. Good Heavens, two-tone shoes! The Inspector does have one friend in the city, however. The proprietor of the local barbershop is an old friend, and Scorbion quickly makes the shop his unofficial headquarters. The employees and patrons are happy to provide him with the local background. Scorbion quickly immerses himself in three cases, the first being a young man presenting himself as the heir to a wealthy landowner, though illegitimate. The second case is a stolen pig, and the third is murder. The issues seem unrelated, but as Scorbion interviews the principals, he suspects a connection. Helping him with his interviews are the denizens of the barbershop and the brilliant and attractive Thelma Smith. Scorbion is wary of any involvement, having suffered an unhappy marriage, but Thelma might change his mind.

Pignon Scorbion & The Barbershop Detective is very much a homage to Agatha Christies Poirot, and Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes, written in the sort of Edwardian English one would expect from them. Rick Bleiweiss has added quirky characters and charm to the mix.

Thanks to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING-4 Stars


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Rockton Comes To An End (or does it?)


 Rockton # 7
 Kelley Armstrong
 St. Martins Minotaur
 February 15, 2022

Kelley Armstrong is one of those authors who seems to be able to write in any genre and provide a suspenseful, imaginative, and action-packed experience for the reader. Nowhere has her ability been more evident than in her seven-book Rockton series. Rockton is a village in the Canadian Yukon, established to be deliberately off the grid, invisible to even overhead air traffic. The town was founded decades ago as a refuge for people on the run from abuse or victimhood, primarily political persecution. Governed by the shadowy "council," it has slowly devolved into a money-maker. Once for only non-violent people, the council has gradually allowed violent criminals in for vast sums. The changes are no secret to Sherriff Eric Dalton and his Deputy, Casey Duncan. Casey came to Rockton, running from her problems, but Eric was born there. It also is clear that the council is closing the town down. They just aren't saying so.

Secrets are the essential currency in Rockton. The residents promise never to divulge the reasons why they are there. But when the history of another deputy's presence is revealed very publicly, things begin to fall apart. Everyone wonders what other secrets are hiding and trust, never much in evidence, disappears completely. Eric and Casey must find out who revealed it and why. When they do, the person is nearly dead. Rockton has a desperate resident willing to do anything to hide his secrets.

The Deepest of Secrets brings the Rockton series to an end, at least in its present form. Eric and Casey are well-developed characters, as are others who have been front and center in the series. I will be sorry to see them go. One thing I am sure of is that Kelley Armstrong has more exciting stories to tell.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martins Minotaur for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING- 4 Stars


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Crime Short Stories from a Master

 READER, I BURIED THEM and other stories
Peter Lovesey
SoHo Crime
February 1, 2022

My first question was, "Who could resist that title?" and with Peter Lovesey as the author, who would want to? Peter Lovesey has had a long and distinguished career as a crime novelist, telling stories in the classic puzzle vein. I am a great fan of his contemporary series, set in Bath and featuring the overweight, irascible Peter Diamond. I was unaware of his Victorian series and many short stories.

The stories in Reader, I Buried Them include characters both high and low-born, rich and poor, good and evil, and those caught in situations, not of their making. I found And The Band Played On heart-wrenching and The Homicidal Hat hilarious. Each of the stories is a small gem, many with a touch of macabre humor. Anyone who knows Peter Lovesey's work will be delighted by this collection, and those who aren't familiar will have a pleasant introduction.

Thanks to SoHo Crime, NetGalley, and Mystery and Suspense Magazine for an advance digital copy.

RATING- 4 Stars