The Quick and the Thread
by Amanda Lee
It interests me to see how different authors, jumping off from essentially the same (or at least extremely similar) starting points, can find so many directions to travel.
Earlier for the DISCO shelf I reviewed the first (and ultimately read quite a few) of “The Vampire Knitting Club” books. For the SHAG shelf, I’ve chosen what turned out to be nearly the same beginning. The new owner discovers the previous one to be dead, killed in the storage room.
The starting points are of course coincidental. the dead person in the first one is the new owner’s grandmother, who joins the club in the basement and becomes a continuing character. The dead former owner in this one stays dead, becoming the first clue to the puzzle.
The locale of northern coastal Oregon is well drawn, and characters fully realized with a twisty plot that kept this reader pleasantly confused ’til the end.
I’ll be reading on…
A Muddied Murder
by Wendy Tyson
In the first of the “Greenhouse Mystery” series, we are introduced to the village of Winsome, Pennsylvania and it’s many characters, with our depth of ‘knowing’ smoothly increasing as they become more important … (or die, as the case may be) …
I was thoroughly engaged as tension built, with the ultimate resolution of the puzzle with ‘just enough’ left over to prompt the next episode … which I’m now reading …
Chili Con Carnage
by Kylie Logan
Living in an interesting gypsy/carny traveling ‘chili cookoff’ road show, our characters …at least those who survive… work their way through several days of mayhem. Red herrings abound, and lives are complicated and interwoven.
This is the first of three episodes, hopefully the somewhat sketchy character development will be filled in as we progress. So far, storytelling is straightforward with little of the humor that I have come to expect from a Kozy.
3½ ✪ ⦽ …”rounded up” for 5*system…
The Vampire Knitting Club
by Nancy Warren
This is definitely a ‘Kozy’ … life happens, items are lost and found, people die from causes that are duly discovered, and carnal relationships are obliquely hinted at …
I needed comforting after discovering my boyfriend of two years, Todd, had stuck his salami in someone else’s sandwich. Warren, Nancy. The Vampire Knitting Club
With an interesting setting, strong characters that you become engaged with, and plenty of action in a quick-moving plot, this series earns 4✫’s.
Room With a Clue
by Kate Kingsbury
This novel (and series) is set in very rural Britain shortly after the turn of the 20th century with all the social quirks of “british class” and suffrage. The miscommunications caused by these social mores contribute the difficulties to solving the puzzle.
I was entertained, so I’ll read on for at least a couple more to see how the characters develop, and if the puzzles become more complex.
3½ ✪ ⦽
by Susan Wittig Albert
This is number four in the ‘China Bayles’ series…
Jumping into the middle, so to speak, always presents problems with back story. Known characters are only sketched in, filled out somewhat by further actions, leaving the reader at a disadvantage. This is the series author’s dilemma, too little or too much, for too much can lead to skimming when binging on into the series. I judge this instance as ‘just about right’, I guess, as the roles of supporting actors were made clear, and will probably remain so as the stories progress.
I’m fairly new to ‘Cozy’ as a genre, but I see why there is so much enthusiasm for it. Ms Albert’s character’s lives happen, and the mystery (mysteries?) just happens to get solved.
I’ll be joyfully reading on ’til the next subject is called…………………………………….
Touch of Frost
by S.E. Smith
We are introduced to the “world” of Magic, New Mexico, constructed using “world-builder lite”, throwing in elements of SciFi (aliens from space) and Magic (portals opened to other worlds in our/other dimensions), and populated by mythical beings (witches, warlocks, werewolves, vampires, elves, gnomes, and yes, even gorgons and fire breathing dragons) and various hybrids thereof. The town was founded as “a protected place where you can be whoever/whatever you are without hiding”, as soon as Europeans started settling the continent, when the early settlers fled hard times (the villagers were gathering kindling and pitchforks). Some of those earlier inhabitants remain, socializing in the graveyard. The town has evolved into a modern-day tourist trap, similar to Kristen Painter’s “Nocturn Falls”, although Ms Smith didn’t develop that aspect.
The loose framework allows plenty of opportunity for character development, which Ms Smith uses quite well in this, as well as two following volumes. They were typical well-done frothy fast moving romances with hea’s and leading into the next one… that never happened.
Ms Smith threw open the framework she built to a plethora of talented authors, and it’s now the Kindle World of Magic New Mexico… I read the one my Oasis said was next, and it fit right in… but I hope Ms Smith someday continues with HER characters…