Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Two'fer One

If you know me, you know I like Texas mysteries. Well ... I came across a Texas mystery series by a Texas author so I feel lucky. The author is Cindy Daniel and she lives in the Dallas area. She has written a two book mystery series located in East Texas featuring Hannah Evans - a divorcee with a daughter. (Oh by the way these books also fall under the category of romance.) The title of the two books are Death Warmed Over and Family Affair. Here are a few adjectives that describe these books - good, funny, light, entertaining, delightful. I am sure there are plenty of others but I will stop with those. Now for a little about the stories.

Death Warmed Over introduces Hannah and her family. Hannah (and her daughter) lives in a garage apartment at her parents' house. Her father is a retired minister who owns and operates a five lodge campground. Since Hannah has returned home, she helps out by doing the maintenance / housekeeping for the lodges. She also has a sister Ruth who tends to be the wild one of the two but who seems to be settling down and is dating the local lawman. A lot happens in this book including romance (Hannah meets a handsome lawman-a cross between Tommy Lee Jones and Mel Gibson) and mystery (a local beauty queen is murdered). When one of the suspects for the murder turns out to be Hannah's sister, she decides she needs to help solve the mystery and clear her sister's name. All of this and she also makes a decision to open a mystery book store called Death Warmed Over. Now .... no more about the plot but let me tell you some of the inviting tidbits in the story. If you like good clean reading, then this is one - why heck it occurs in the East Texas Bible Belt. What is a romance if there is no sex? Well there are some minor references but nothing explicit - a woman doesn't tell. There are also good local descriptions in the words and the language. Here is one example - "Good Lord and Greyhound." There are so many things that made this an interesting book.

Here is a sample of the writing from Death Warmed Over:

Glancing at the clock as I heard Will's truck pull onto the highway, I had been shocked to see it was after one o'clock. Momma, being the snoop she was, would've surely been watching her clock as well. She would also be watching my face the next chance she got to see if I developed a case of acne. She always told me that she was glad I continued to have acne during my adolescent years- it was a determining factor as to whether you were a frustrated teen instead of a satisfied one.

I know I probably don't have to tell you this, but, Ruth always had a complexion smooth as a baby's bottom. Mommy and Daddy did a lot of praying during those teenage years.

The second book was called Family Affair. And it is a Family Affair in more than one way. First with the opening of her new bookstore, Hannah gets help from her family (and close friends). Plus she is getting married to that handsome lawman she met in the first book. When a customer and new friend asks her to investigate some attempts(?) on her life, Hannah does some investigating but turns up nothing. When the new friend turns up dead on Hannah's wedding day, she takes up the investigation again with the help from a few friends and family - including her new husband. He warns her to keep him informed since she was almost killed in the other book. The initial suspects are those family members (and an animal shelter) who will benefit from the will. But finding the murderer will not be easy with everything going on. Well ..., once again, no more of the plot but following is a sample of the delightful writing from this book:

Ruth scooched out of her leather seat and attempted to straighten her spandex miniskirt. Okay, I have two problems with that. One -wouldn't spandex be hot and sticky against those leather seats? And two - what did she think there was to straighten? I mean, my panties offered more coverage than that thing she was wearing.

Now, grant you, it takes a good size pair of panties to cover my sculpted derrierre, but still.

Don't pass up these two books. They are good reading material. And if you are interested, check out her website


Tina said...

Ok, that was interesting. Looks like somethings will always remain mystery.

I myself have been trying to solve the mystery of this legend for a while now. Could not understand much though.

Let me know in case you get to understand the mystery of the Old Hound and the Legend

By the way, good writing style. I'd love to read more on similar topics

JenningsJunk said...

OH MY GOODNESS!!! I can't believe you found these jewels and never let on (...did he hint to you MeadowviewThymes?!?!). You had me at Texas author writing mysteries set in East Texas!!! and then you add these wonderful reviews. I need to finish the 2 books on my nightstand so I can dive into these :D

JenningsJunk said...

...ok, went to Cindy Daniel's website after my first comment -- She's a neighbor across the lake! I find that too cool!!!

misterreereeder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
misterreereeder said...

Just found out this is one series my mom would like to read.