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Reviews Written by
S. Schwartz "romonko" (alberta canada)
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The Squire's Tale
The Squire's Tale
by Margaret Frazer
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite., March 3 2004
This book is not my favourite Sister Frevisse story. I found that the clash of personalities that occurs in the book took away from my enjoyment. Lady Blaunche is a very difficult personality and it's hard to get through her scenes. She is a "drama queen" in the true sense of the word. In this book Sister Frevisse and Sister Claire are away from their nunnery during Lent. Lady Blaunche has taken a liking to Dame Claire's treatment (she is expecting a baby). Dame Claire and Dame Frevisse go to her home with Lady Blaunche in order that Dame Claire can provide her with medical help for the return journey. Once there both sisters discover so much animosity and hate in the Lady's family that is very upsetting to them and to others of the household. Dame Frevisse is caught up in the powerful machiniations for power and supremacy, and before you know it a death occurs. Sister Frevisse sets out to find a killer, but not unfortuately before another death occurs.

Death of an Addict
Death of an Addict
by M. C. Beaton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.55
59 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably My Favourite Hamish Macbeth story., March 1 2004
I loved this story. I look forward to each new addition to this wonderful series and this one did not disappoint! In it we see Hamish at his most exasperating and endearing best. When a young recovered(?) drug addict is found dead in his rented chalet, Hamish feels that something doesn't add up. Although Strathbane writes it off as another dead junkie, Hamish thinks the young fellow was murdered. While trying to pursue this theory on his own, he is thrown into the drug buying and selling scene in Scotland. One thing leads to another and it turns out that Hamish is put undercover with a rather fetching Detective Inspector to expose a big drug ring in Strathbane. Hamish finds himself in hot water, and is exposed to all manner of nefarious people, but you can bet he triumphs in the end. He also determines just what happened to young Tommy Jarret. Lots of fun.

Stiff News
Stiff News
by Catherine Aird
Edition: Paperback
10 used & new from CDN$ 0.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Clever and Sharp, Feb. 29 2004
This review is from: Stiff News (Paperback)
As in all her books, this one is cleverly and wittingly written. No one quite has Ms. Aird's style. It is truly unique in the genre of British detective fiction. She has sharp dialogue and carefully drawn characters, and her books almost make the reader feel they are partaking of a guilty pleasure because of her sly wit and slightly naughty "tongue-in-cheek" writing. In this book Sloan and Crosby are called out to a Senior's manor. No one seems surprised that a sick old lady has died, except the lady herself. She had made arrangements to have a letter sent to her son saying that she was afraid of dying not a natural death. By the time Sloan and Crosby are on site at the manor it appears that something very wrong has been going on there. It's one of the most puzzling cases of Sloan's career, and he finds that he has to delve into the past to unmask the murderer.

Cursed in the Blood: A Catherine LeVendeur Mystery
Cursed in the Blood: A Catherine LeVendeur Mystery
by Sharan Newman
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A So Real Interpretation of the 12 century., Feb. 26 2004
Sharan Newman's series is so real that it is sometimes terrible to read. She paints a true picture of what medieval life was like and no punches are pulled. The era and the characters come alive for the reader. We see a realistic picture of the "Dark Ages". Not only that, but she weaves an interesting mystery into each of her stories. This book is one of her darkest and in it Catherine and Edgar and their small son, James go to Scotland after Edgar's terrible father has summoned them. It is a country that is torn asunder with civil wars. The people are barbaric and superstitious. Catherine feels totally lost there, and it doesn't help that her and Edgar are separated from each other for most of the book. They both face their own dangers and overcome them in order to be reuinted again at the end. In this book we see a true villain in Edgar's father Waldeve. Catherine wonders how her gentle Edgar can be related to this monster. There's a lot of hate, and from that hate real revenge that makes Scotland a dark and ominous place. Really, the mystery in this book is secondary and not much of a one since it's easy to figure out, but this is a great historical novel and this is a cracking historical series. It seems to get better with each entry (as well as bloodier).

Gruel And Unusual Punishment
Gruel And Unusual Punishment
by Tamar Myers
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Better Outing for Magdalena, Feb. 23 2004
This tenth installment in the Magdalena Yoder series is a bit better thatn some of the more recent additions to this series. There is still an editing problem that is apparent in the books, but I found that there wasn't as much repetition and even less "wailing". That is an improvement. But there is still the "off the wall" plot and unbelievable occurences (a car lands in a tree when shoved off the road?) Still I found the book amusing and there is a possibility of another interesting character - young Allison holds promise. In this book Magdalena is asked by Melvin to help him find who has poisoned one of his prisoners in his jail cell. Magdalena goes off in hot pursuit of some really strange female suspects. Anyway, we found out "who done-it" in the end.

The Humphrey Bogart Murder Case
The Humphrey Bogart Murder Case
by George Baxt
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from CDN$ 0.18

3.0 out of 5 stars Not Too Bad a Story, Feb. 22 2004
Although there were some glaring errors in this book, I didn't find it that bad a story. Bogie comes across pretty realistic, and the sneak peaks that we get at big names is always fun in these books. This book's time frame is supposed to take place around the time that Bogart was filming the Maltese Falcon, and the story runs a parallel storyline to that great Dashiell Hammett story, only in this case they're looking for a missing cornucopia filled with priceless jewels. The stakes are high and before the missing artifact is found, three bodies are found. One of the killed was Bogie's and his wife Mayo's housekeeper so Bogie feels he must get involved in order to solve the mystery of who killed her in his house.

Black Notice
Black Notice
by Patricia Cornwell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
138 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Coincidences is almost the undoing of this book., Feb. 21 2004
There are a number of very glaring coincidences in this book and I think that this is the biggest problem with the book. For example, how could a case that Kay's Lucy is working for AFTA in Miami have anything to do with a homicidal maniac in Kay's town of Richmond? But in spite of this glaring inconsistency, I still enjoyed the book. We see Kay at her most vulnerable here and to those of us who have followed her story from the beginning, it is understandable. This book takes place a year after Kay's lover, Benton was killed in the line of duty, and in typical Kay fashion, she has really not dealt with her feelings about that. She has been burying herself in her work as usual. The killer that is stalking Kay's city forces her to deal with some "unlaid-to-rest" issues surrounding Benton's death. This is quite a dark book, but an edge-of-your-seat thriller that keeps the reader guessing until the end. We also see some real character development in some of the main characters; particularly Marino and Kay herself. It is so important that this series be read in order, and unless it is I don't think readers get the true scope of the series, and they certainly can't see the character development that occurs in each subsequent book.

Cat Who Talked Turkey
Cat Who Talked Turkey
by Lillian Braun
Edition: Hardcover
56 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Not As Bad As All That., Feb. 18 2004
This review is from: Cat Who Talked Turkey (Hardcover)
I didn't find this book as bad as some of the previous reviewers did. I do admit that it probably isn't my favourite Qwill book, but it is still a charming tale anyway. In it we see Qwill and the indomitable KoKo trying to make sense out of two killings - one on Qwill's property by the lake and one in Milwaukee. To Qwill and his "smart cat" there is one thing that these two killings have in common, and the arrival of a woman to the town of Brr, seems to have some connection. She's someone who used to live there, but has been gone for a long time. Don't worry, it will all make sense in the end, and Qwill and KoKo manage to identify the person responsible for these strange goings on. Ms. Braun's books are still charming and wonderful - and great escapist reading.

Kissed a Sad Goodbye
Kissed a Sad Goodbye
by Deborah Crombie
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.02

3.0 out of 5 stars Murder Then and Now, Feb. 16 2004
This review is from: Kissed a Sad Goodbye (Hardcover)
This is not a bad entry in the Kincid/James series, but I too was somewhat disappointed with this story. I have read some excellent examples of stories where the feelings and actions that have occured in the present have come about because of some of the protaganists' histories. Jill McGown and Elizabeth George both have wonderful examples of this type of sub-genre. This one attempts this, but it seems to fall flat in a way. The ending seems hurried somehow, and the two storylines don't seem to flow together until they meet explosively. I thought the book seemed long as I was reading, and it just didn't seem to gel. I really enjoyed "Dreaming of the Bones", and was looking forward to this book, so I was disappointed. Also, the relationship with Gemma and Duncan seems to stagnate. There is no sexual tension, and the relationship seems to be struggling and neither one seems to notice and to do something about it. Hopefully the next book will be better, and we get back to some of the writing that we've seen in this series.

Estate Of Mind
Estate Of Mind
by T Myers
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.50
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars I never know what to grade these stories., Feb. 12 2004
I always have a problem with giving Tamar Myers' stories a rating. The idea behind the books is usually a good one, and there is some humour, but they are truly lacking in some key areas. Ms. Myers really needs an editor for her books. She contradicts herself throughout the books. Also, she requires some help in basic writing skills. She overuses a lot of words consistently (ie: wailing). Also, her main characters are quite rude, and there comes a time when that is no longer that funny. I always thought Abigail was less abrasive than Magdalena, but in this book I couldn't tell the difference. In this book, Abigail stumbles upon what might be a priceless work of art hidden behind a hideous copy that she purchased at a church bazaar. It turns out that some truly nasty people knew what was hidden behind the terrible front picture and are after Abby and her family in order to get the priceless work back. The other characters in the book are still likeable, Abby's mother, CJ and some of the characters we see only in this book are fairly well drawn, but it's hard to enjoy all this with the glaring errors.

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