The second book in the historical mystery series starring the young Musketeer Charles de la Forêt.

Format: ebook

Publishing year: 2023

Wordcount: 277

In the first book in this series, Charles caught a murderer during his first mission. His success brings more work. First, he and his fellow musketeers help to free a kidnapped young woman. Then, Charles is summoned to the presence of Cardinal Richelieu. A wealthy count has been murdered, poisoned. Charles and one of the Cardinal’s guards, Henry Reynard, must find out who did it, and quickly. The guards and the Musketeers have a long-standing rivalry so Charles is unhappy when he’s forced to work with Henri. But you don’t say no to the Cardinal.

The count died at a dinner party with other nobles and a moneylender. The two men head out to question them. Of course, the suspects are influential people who can’t be accused lightly. Also, while their mission is supposed to be a secret, someone has sent assassins after Charles.

This was a fun historical mystery set in 17th-century Paris. It has vivid historical detail. Charles is from a small town but has now become more accustomed to Parisian life. The story has twists and turns and kept me guessing. It also has a little bit of romance but more action scenes.

This is a very good sequel. Familiar characters return, even though the majority of the characters are new. Most are related to the case but some are Charles’ fellow Musketeers. The tone is similar to the first book so if you enjoyed it, you’re likely to enjoy this one, too. However, it can be read as a stand-alone.

The first book in the Daisy Dalrymple cozy mystery series set in 1920s Britain.


Publication year: 1994

Format: Audio

Running time: 6 hours, 38 minutes
Narrators: Bernadette Dunne

The Honorable Daisy Dalrymple doesn’t want to rely on her family and so she works as a journalist and photographer for the Town and Country magazine. She’s sent to the Earl of Wentwater to write an article about his historical home. Daisy knows some of the people at the Earl’s court and the family welcomes her. However, she notices that something is off. The Earl’s beautiful new wife is the same age as the Earl’s daughter Marjorie. One of the male guests, lord Stephen, is hitting on the Earl’s wife. She seems to spur his advances but the Earl turns a blind eye. At the same time, Marjorie tries to seduce Stephen. Marjorie’s brother Wilfred seems uncountably hostile to his young stepmother.

A man is found dead. At first, everyone thinks it was an accident but Daisy notes something strange. When a dashing Scotland Yard chief inspector arrives on the scene, he agrees. She wants to write a mystery novel and is very interested in helping the chief inspector. He’s immediately attracted to her and agrees that he needs a secretary. He’s been warned that he needs to honor the Earl’s rank and investigate carefully.

This was mostly a fun and light listen. Unfortunately, the narrator isn’t British and that shows. The characters are somewhat stereotypical but entertaining. There’s a beginning of a romance between the inspector and Daisy but it doesn’t take over the story. Daisy is a plucky flapper and determined to make her own way in the world. The story is told from the POV of both Daisy and the inspector.

The solution was quite different than I expected and resulted in quite a convoluted ending. On the other hand, I didn’t guess the killer.

A stand-alone spacestation murder mystery novella.


Format: ebook

Publisher: WMG Publishing

Page count from GoodReads: 120

Publishing year: 2012

Kris DeLake is Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s romance pen name. However, this novella has no romance.

Grissam Hunsaker runs a run-down, very remote space station that pretends to be a resort for the rich. However, very few people find the place. So, when Hunsaker gets the message that a passenger ship is coming in just sixteen minutes, he’s annoyed. The Vaadum Resort and Casino has minimum staff and it takes a lot longer to prepare for over twenty guests. But the Presidio was in trouble and needed a place to dock, fast. The passengers are shocked, not just by the fact that their ship had a fire, but also because someone has murdered two of them.

Susan Carmichael is on the run and doesn’t want anyone to know. She just wants to leave the station and continue her journey. But when one more of the passengers is killed, she realizes nobody is safe.

Richard Illykova is the ship’s newest employee and the lowest on the pecking order. He works on the ship to pay for his passage. But when people start to die, he must rely on his skills from his former work: as an assassin.

This was a fun, short murder mystery. The characters are interesting and very different from each other. The mystery kept me guessing.

This is apparently a prequel to her Assassins in Love series but can be read as a stand-alone.


Publication year: 2020

Format: Audio

Running time: 9 hours, 37 minutes
Narrators: Paul L. Coffey, Kirsten Leigh, Ryan Jordan McCarthy

Set in the Chaco Navajo reservation. Ben Dejooli is a Navajo Nation police officer with a troubled past; his little sister vanished six years ago and his best friend Joey Flatwood was accused of it. Ben was convinced that Joey knew what had happened and testified against him. Joey refused to say anything and was banished. Many people blame Ben for it. Of course, being a cop doesn’t help. That day crows started following Ben but tries to ignore them. After a fight, he faints and is brought to the local hospital.

Caroline Adams is a nurse at the Navajo hospital. She’s plagued by self-doubt, especially when the patients curse her and she wonders if they’re right. However, she has a special talent she hasn’t told anyone about: she can see a color surrounding every person, except herself. When Ben is brought to the hospital, he’s surrounded by angry colors which means he’s seriously ill. But he refuses treatment. She’s immediately attracted to him and wants to find a way to help him.

Owen Bennet is a doctor working in the Navajo hospital. He’s close to burnout, working long days. He’s also in love with Caroline but has never said anything because he screws up relationships. When he notices that she’s very worried about Ben, he wants to help them both.

This isn’t an adventure book. It starts slowly, building the characters, the setting, and the mystery of the crows and what happened to the little girl. We get to know how the Navajos live on the reservation. We also get to see a couple of their old rituals, too. However, Ben is an outsider who doesn’t believe in the rituals but rather is humoring the people around him. His grandmother is a real interesting character who refuses to speak in English and otherwise despises white people. She’s a follower of the “old ways”. His sister’s disappearance broke his dad who mostly drinks. His mom left the reservation and hasn’t contacted them.

The supernatural elements are used sparingly at first but they become very prominent near the end. The story is told from the first-person POV of the three main characters. We get to know each one very well.

The ninth Commissario Brunetti mystery.


Publishing year: 2000

Format: Print

Finnish publisher: Otava

Page count: 272

Finnish translator: Kristiina Rikman

Commissario Guido Brunetti from Venetian police is enjoying his free Saturday when a young official from Officio Castato, the registrar of buildings in Venice, comes to tell him that they haven’t found any building plans for his apartment on the top floor of one of the oldest buildings in San Polo. Since the apartment doesn’t exist officially, it’s possible that it will be torn down. At least Bruentti most likely must pay high fines. Brunetti, of course, isn’t happy.

In real Venetian style, Brunetti thinks about any contacts he has who can help. But months go by and he doesn’t hear about the registrar’s office. Then he sees an article in the newspaper that the official fell and is in a hospital, in critical condition. He goes to the hospital but the man has died. The man’s death feels off to Bruentti so he starts to investigate.

The case leads him to money laundering and drug dealing and also the high level of corruption in Venice.

The pace of the story is leisurely but the threat feels very real when Brunetti digs into the dealings of powerful people in the corrupt Venice. Brunetti himself isn’t above corruption, no matter how much he loathes the rich and powerful using the unofficial system: “At no time did it occur to him, as it did not occur to Paola [his wife], to approach the matter legally, to find out the names of the proper offices and officials and the proper steps to follow. Nor did it occur to either one of them that there might be a clearly defined bureaucratic procedure by which they could resolve the problem.

Leon manages to capture the beauty of the city while also bringing to light the many problems. I love the interplay between Brunetti and his wife Paola.

A stand-alone murder mystery set in 1636 France.


Publication year: 2022

Publisher: Palmetto Publishing

Format: ebook

Charles de la Forêt is the third son of a Baron. A couple of months ago, his father sent him to Paris to be a musketeer. Charles has no choice but to obey. However, he enjoyed the camaraderie of the musketeer cadets and has even made a couple of friends.

Dueling is illegal in France but when a group of the Cardinal’s guards interrupt rudely the cadet’s play, Charles has to defend the Musketeers’ honor and fight one of them. They’re both wounded. The next day, Charles is sent to his first mission; not because he’s the most qualified but because the Cardinal might charge him if he remains in Paris.

Charles is sent to a small town, Pontcourt, to bring a murderer and proof of his guilt to Paris for trial. A family was brutally murdered but the people caught the villain. When Charles and his servant Michel arrive in the town, they encounter a mystery. The suspected murderer has been tortured so much that he can’t travel. Still, he insists that he’s innocent. He’s also a tax collector, so the local people want him to be the culprit. Charles starts to investigate even though the people are against it.

Charles lives in the shadow of his two elder brothers who are more successful than him. His father is constantly disappointed in him. So, he’s eager to prove his worth but he also wants justice to be done. He was born and raised in a small town and thinks that Paris is a smelly and dangerous place. He’s short and men often underestimate him. The Musketeers assign him the servant Michel. Michel was born and raised in Paris and thinks it’s the best place in the world. They don’t know each other but must quickly learn to rely on each other because the people just want to see the murderer punish with torture and death.

This was an entertaining read. It has surprisingly many action scenes for a murder investigation. Wray has clearly researched the time and the place; his descriptions are vivid. The mystery has enough twists to keep you guessing. This is a stand-alone story but it can be easily expanded to a series.

The first book in the First Edition Library cozy mystery series.


Publication year: 2019

Format: Audio

Running time: 9 hours, 23 minutes
Narrator: Fiona Hardingham

Hayley Burke has a new job as the curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling’s First Edition Society’s library in Bath. She also lives in the Middlebank House, a Georgian manor, where the library is kept. The late Lady Fowling’s former secretary, Glynis Woolgar also lives in the house. The women don’t get along because Hayley wants to modernize the Society so that it could be profitable. Lady Fowling wrote murder mysteries and the library is dedicated to first editions from the Golden Age of Mysteries. Hayley’s other problem is that she’s never even read a mystery: she’s an English Lit major. She’s planning to read one whenever she doesn’t have to fight with Mrs. Woolgar, advise her adult daughter, or travel to London to see her inventor boyfriend. Meanwhile, she avoids talking about mystery books as much as she can.

She’s arranged for a group of mystery fanfiction writers to meet weekly at the Middlebank House and pay for the privilege. Mrs. Woolgar doesn’t like it, of course, and complains about them all the time. But then one of the writers is found dead in the library. Initially, Hayley has no intention of investigating the crime but she needs to preserve the Society, not to mention her job, so soon she becomes an amateur sleuth.

This was a fun mystery set in a very bookish environment. The story has lots of twists but the ending didn’t really work for me. In addition to the mystery, Hayley juggles a long-distance relationship with her absent-minded boyfriend, giving motherly advice to her daughter, and she meets an annoying literature professor. The fanfiction writers are a very colorful lot. The story is a bit too long and sometimes focuses a bit too much on Hayley’s life than the mystery. Otherwise, it was quite entertaining.

The third short book in the Cherringham cozy mystery series.


Publishing year: 2017

Format: Print

Finnish translator: Taina Wallin

Page count: 106

Finnish publisher: Tammi

Kirsty owns a small gift shop in Cherringham and also sings in the village’s choir. She has a deathly allergy to peanuts and everyone makes sure not to bring anything with peanuts to the choir practice. Buy one night she’s walking home from choir practice and gets an allergy attack. She uses her EpiPen – but it doesn’t work, it’s empty.

The police think that her death is an accident. But when Jack Brennan, the former NYPD detective, joins the choir, he finds out that Kirsty was very diligent and carried two EpiPens at all times. She would never put a used one back in her purse. One person in the choir thinks that she was murdered and asks Jack to look into it. Jack and Sarah investigate.

But everyone who behaves suspiciously, such as the town bank manager who seems to want more than just money from his female clients, turns out not to really have a motive.

This was another quick and fun murder mystery in the little Cherringham village.

The second book in the Bernie Rhodenbarr humorous mystery series.


Publishing year: 1987 (originally 1978)

Format: Print

Finnish translator: Pasi Junna

Page count: 223

Finnish publisher: Viihdeviikarit

Bernie Rhodenbarr is a burglar. He enjoys breaking into other people’s homes and taking their stuff. However, burglars usually work alone, just as Bernie does. So when his dentist, Dr. Sheldrake, talks about how his ex-wife has lots of expensive jewelry and doesn’t really deserve them, Bernie gets nervous. But in the end, Bernie agrees to break into Crystal Sheldrake’s apartment and steal the goods.

Bernie plans carefully and takes his time in the apartment. A bit too much, even. Because when he has gathered the jewels up neatly, Crystal returns. Desperately, Bernie hides in a closet and Crystal locks him in. Before Bernie can get out, someone else comes in and murders her. Bernie doesn’t hear or see the murderer who leaves, taking the case with the jewels with them.

This was a fun, quick read written in a humorous style. Bernie is in a lot of trouble: the dentist is arrested right away and he quickly points a finger at Bernie. Bernie and the dentist’s nurse try to figure out the murderer. One corrupt cop also tries to blackmail Bernie for half the jewels.

The murdered woman has several boyfriends and her ex-husband hates her, so there are several suspects.

The book is written in Bernie’s first-person POV. While he has no problem stealing, he’s very careful. He’s already been in prison and doesn’t want to return there. He has his own code of honor. The other characters are quite entertaining, too.

The second short book in the Cherringham cozy mystery series.


Publishing year: 2017

Format: Print

Finnish translator: Taina Wallin

Page count: 106

Finnish publisher: Tammi

Victor Hamblyn is 91 and still in relatively good health. He lives alone in a run-down manor on the edge of the Cherringham village. He’s not an easy person to be around but his home care helper Hope likes him. One night, the manor is caught on fire. Against all reason, Victor painfully climbs to the attic and dies from the smoke. The police think it’s an accident, but Hope knows that Victor was still sharp. Something drew him to the attic, to a room where nobody else was ever allowed to go. Hope confides to her friend Sarah who believes her.

Jack agrees that this probably wasn’t an accident. He and Sarah interview the old man’s three children who all live in Cherringham and could be behind the fire. All three are middle-aged and impatient to inherit the mansion’s large lands, as the sole heir.

This was another quick and easy read. Sarah and Jack are already working comfortably with each other and are clearly heading for a romance. All of the three heirs are suspects until the end.

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