Saturday, October 24, 2009

Starting A Literary Tour Mystery Series

This is the first book in a new series (November 2008) and the paperback version has just recently been released. It is book #1 in a Literary Tour Mystery Series and it is called Frankly My Dear , I'm Dead. Does it sound kind of familiar? The author of this series is no stranger to me - she is Livia J. Washburn - Texas author of the Fresh Baked Mystery Series.

It isn't surprising that an author will do more than just one series. I could not tell you why because I know there are a number of good reasons. One series might attract a different audience than another.

So what are the attractions of this new series? Well ... I can only name a few. This is a series that features a divorcee who has opened her own literary travel agency. Her name is Delilah Dickinson. The theme for her first tour is Gone With The Wind and the author Margaret Mitchell. Just like there are people who would be interested in this tour, there are people who would like to read about it. Incidentally, as an extra bonus at the back of the book, there is real information about Gone With The Wind Tours.

Delilah wants to have a successful tour under her belt for the start of her business. This tour starts with a problem between two of her customers - one accusing the other of trying to steal his camera. This will be nothing though compared to other problems occurring in the tour. One of the tour stops is at a plantation fashioned after Tara in Gone With The Wind - complete with performers dressed for a reenactment. Things go awry when the actor who resembles Rhett Butler is found stabbed to death. And this is not the end of the trouble for this tour. Hoping to salvage what she can, Delilah decides she needs to help solve this murder (and other problems I will not mention) - not only for the business but to prove the innocence of herself, her son-in-law, and her two granddaughters.

Will Delilah's business survive murder? Time will tell. As a matter of fact, the next book in the series is scheduled to be released next month and this tour will involve one of my early favorite authors - Mark Twain who wrote about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. The name of the next book is surprisingly called ... Huckleberry Finished. This should be interesting!!!

So ... do you like to travel? Like one of Delilah's granddaughters commented - murder does make the tour more interesting!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NEW Miniature Mystery RELEASE by Margaret Grace

Let me start out by saying ... I am a reader. I enjoy reading ... otherwise I would not read. When it comes to books, there is bound to be something out there for everybody. Let me take for instance the latest book I have read in Margaret Grace's Miniature Mystery Series. It is called Mourning In Miniature. This is the fourth book in the mystery series. Each book in the series offers as an extra bonus - tips about miniatures at the end of the book. I guess you might realize the author must have some interest in miniatures. It is no surprise her stories / books might include this interest.

This series has as it's sleuth a retired teacher in California named Geraldine (Gerry) Porter. One of the interests Gerry has is the making of miniatures.

Excuse me while I take a slight detour here. Gerry who is a retired English teacher occasionally makes comments or observations about the grammar, sentences, or words used by her former students or other characters in the book. I wonder what she would say about what I say - Ha Ha!!! Well ... as I have said ... I am just a reader (who occasionally blogs about what I read) and NOT a writer!!!

Now back to the book. One of Gerry's former students (and a friend) Rosie has asked her to go to a 30th high school reunion. She agreed to go and also brings her granddaughter along with her. Gerry knows Rosie is hoping to renew a failed relationship from her high school days. She hopes her friend does not get hurt again by the former high school football star she has her sights set for.

Needless to say, Gerry sees her friend get disappointed again after the party. Things go from bad to worse though when the former high school football star turns up dead - murdered. Her friend is an obvious suspect for the murder with a lot of "clues" pointing to her - but she has "disappeared". In spite of the appearances, Gerry believes Rosie to be innocent and sets out to clear her.

NOW ... I HOPE this has gotten your interest. I do not want to spoil the fun for you by giving away too much of the story. What I will tell you is that there are a few things the author has included in the story to catch your interest. One of the things I found of interest to me was a quote by one of my favorite authors as a youngster - Mark Twain. "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

By the way, the author has also published under the name Camille Minichino. To learn more about the author check out one of these websites: or

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another Fresh Baked Mystery by Livia Washburn

Finally ... I get to take another book off my list of books to read!!!

The latest Fresh Baked Mystery by Livia J. Washburn was just released last month. It is called Killer Crab Cakes. I enjoyed getting back to another Texas mystery and this is a fun series. If you are interested in the previous three books in this series, you can check out Livia's web page at

Phyllis Newsom and her fellow retired teachers are in the Gulf Coast area called Fulton, TX. Phyllis is watching over her cousin's Bed and Breakfast while she is away. This is supposed to be a vacation opportunity for Phyllis and her crew. And they are looking forward to entering in another baking contest - this one in nearby Rockport, TX.

Who would have thought that murder would follow Phyllis Newsom? What first appears to be a death by natural causes of one of the guests at her cousin's Bed and Breakfast turns out to be murder. And this is NOT an isolated incident!!! The next day another one of the guests is found stabbed to death. The first death was due to a poisoning. Is there a connection between the two murdered men?

This is NOT how Phyllis was hoping to spend her vacation. She realizes the bad publicity of two murders at the Bed and Breakfast can destroy her cousin's business. Unofficially (since she is just an amateur detective) - she starts looking for connections between the murders. There are quite a few potential suspects to consider.

I will not give away any more of the story here but want to remind you of an extra bonus with this series. Each book includes recipes used in the book. Hope you enjoy!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Discussion Group Selection For October

EXPOSED!!! This is one of those things that happens being a part of the Firewheel B&N Mystery Discussion Group. The way it works we each have an opportunity to select a book to be read by the group and discussed. It would be impossible for each of us to have the same interests – other than reading mysteries. And apparently there are SO MANY possibilities out there it is not surprising that we might get EXPOSED to authors and mysteries we might otherwise have not been exposed to. This month is NO exception. This month’s selection was Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell. To the person who suggested this book, GREAT CHOICE!!!

Kate Stanley is preparing for the production of one of Shakespeare's plays - Hamlet - at the Globe theatre. She has no intentions of being a sleuth but her world is shaken up by the appearance of her mentor from Harvard - Rosalind Howard. She handed her a package and promised an explanation later if Kate would meet her. Kate went for the meeting but it never took place. Instead she hurried back to the theatre to find it on fire. Here it just gets interesting because a similar event happened at the theatre many years ago. In that historic fire only one person lost their life and it appears only one life was lost here - Rosalind.

It becomes even more peculiar when the cause of Rosalind's death s determined to be similar to the death of a character in Shakespeare's plays. Whatever Roz was trying to get Kate involved in. somebody seemed to want it to remain a secret. Kate is determined to followup on this dangerous quest.

It was interesting to see how the author did this book. It was a mixture of the current story with that of some Shakespearean history. It was written with elements of a play - prologue, acts, and interludes. There were a lot of twists in the story and a lot of secrets. Who would have thought there were so many murders in Shakespeare's works.

This is all I want to say about this book except how our discussion rated it. If you cannot tell, I give it a thumbs up. And as far as the rest of the group is concerned, the vote was ... 6 thumbs up, 1 thumb down, one thumb wavering, and 3 abstains since they did not get a chance to read the book.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Novel by Patricia Gussin - The Test

Paul Parnell was a billionaire and a philanthropist. He also had a family from two marriages and one affair. As he is preparing to die, he wants to leave his family more than money. Where he had failed in life, he hoped his will and the test for each of his offspring will produce better outcomes in their lives. This is where Patricia Gussin's new novel called The Test picks up. This is her third book. Shadow of Death and Twisted Justice were her first two.

Paul's offspring (and their families) are gathered together for the reading of the will. They include: two sons from his first marriage - Frank (a U.S. Senator with White house aspirations) and Dan (a Florida Pam Tree farmer); two daughters and an adopted daughter from his second marriage - Rory (the adopted daughter married to a doctor), Carla, and Ashley; and a daughter from an affair between the two marriages - Monica (a famous female vocalist).

Each of the kids are given individual letters telling them what their father wants them to accomplish within a year's time. At the end of the year the remainder of the estate (valued at about 2 billion dollars) is to be split up to those who sufficiently meet the requirements designated in the individual letters. Some are not interested in the remainder of the inheritance - like Monica. Others are influenced by somebody near them to pursue the inheritance - these include Dan, Carla, and Ashley. Frank is interested for his political pursuits.

Only the contents of the letter to Frank are made known to us the readers. It says:

This is what I want for you: ethics and compassion as a senator; commitment to the community, both personal and financial; celebration of your faith, Catholicism, and for Meredith, Judaism.

There are a lot of things that will happen within Paul Parnell's surviving family over the next year. Some will die and others are threatened by death. I do not want to give away too much of the story. I think it is interesting how the author blends in real current events to the story - like the election fiasco in Florida and 911. It was also interesting how she uses a past event to affect this family's present - no ... I can't give that away. Let me conclude by saying that I would highly recommend this book as a must read.

If you are interested in learning more about this author, check out her website at