From Elaine Pasquali


Title: Gypped

Author: Carol Higgins Clark

Jack and Regan Reilly go to Los Angeles. where Jack is attending a law enforcement conference. The conference presents a change for a much wanted rest and . Or does it? Regan meets her old friend, Zelda, who recently inherited $8 million. Instead of fun and relaxation, Regan gets discovers a scheme to swindle Zelda of her millions and Regan is almost murdered for her troubles. A vacation this trip was not, but it was a fun, relaxing read.


A razor wrapped in silk : a St. Petersburg mystery

From  Eileen Effrat
Author:  R.N. Morris
Title:  A razor wrapped in silk : a St. Petersburg mystery 
This is the third in Morris’s historical crime mysteries featuring Porfiry  Petrovich, the detective from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Two murders at opposite end of Russia’s social stratum —-an orphaned child laborer and an aristocratic  beauty—-test the deductive and intuitive skills of St. Petersburg’s premier detective. Are the two murders linked? Is this political provocation by revolutionaries? As the investigation proceeds, Petrovich’s life is threatened by those inside the Tsarist government and by those revolutionaries seeking social change. For an authentic portrayal of St. Petersburg in 1870,this is right on the mark. You can feel the political and social tensions of Tsarist Russia on the verge of revolution, as Morris describes the working conditions in factories and the luxurious living of the Russian nobility.  Although each novel can stand alone, I would suggest beginning with A Gentle Axe, and then A Vengeful Longing  to get a strong feel for the main character, Petrovich.

The corpse reader

From Andrea Kalinowski
Author:  Antonio Garrido
Title:  The corpse reader
Just imagine, if you will, being gathered in a crowd of peasants, sickle in hand, waiting impatiently for the official to pronounce sentence. The official scans the crowd, looking for his witness, and finally spots him. The witness is indicating “Yes, this is the sickle that slew the peasant.” The official beckons forth the peasant holding the sickle and pointing to the witness, a fly, on his blade, pronounces sentence. When the peasant inquires as to how the official knew, the official points to the fly and his brethren. The fly would not sit on your blade without something to attract it and so even though you cleaned the blade, the fly knew there had been blood on the blade. Now imagine you are in China and this is really happening to you. The Corpse Reader by Antonio Garrido is a novel based on an actual Chinese personage, Ci Song.  Ci Song was the father of Chinese Forensic Sciences and the official who used a fly as a witness. The beginning of the novel was a little slow but soon enough it caught me in its web. From that moment on, I could not put the book aside. Ci Song experiences many moments of pain but is always moving forward. He exemplifies strength in the face of adversity and always attempts to honor his family ties.

Blue Lightning

From Eileen Effrat
Author:  Ann Cleeves
Blue Lightning
This is the fourth book in Cleeves’ crime series set in the Shetland Islands.  Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez returns to Fair Isle to introduce his fiancée to family and friends.  Shortly after their arrival,  the well  known director of the island’s bird observatory is found murdered. Within a day the cook is found dead.  As a storm rages across the island, no one can get on or off the island.  When forensic help finally arrives, it is of little help. This is a mystery where motive is crucial.  I would recommend beginning with the first in the series, Raven Black, followed by White Nights, and Red Bones.

Ashes to Dust

From Eileen Effrat
Author:  Yrsa  Sigurdardottir
Ashes to Dust
The third in Sigurdardottir’s series featuring detective Thora Gudmundsdottir, this does not disappoint.  Set in Iceland’s Westermann Islands,   Thora investigates the murder of four men whose bodies have come to light while archaeologists are excavating the “Pompeii of the North”.  In 1973  a major volcanic eruption occurred, and all the  islanders were safely evacuated.  Who are these men buried in a cellar under volcanic ash?  As the investigation proceeds, the dirty little secrets of this small community are stripped away. I enjoy this Icelandic crime writer immensely.  The plots are always intricate , the characters believable, and the Icelandic setting never fails to impress me.

Outrage : An Icelandic Thriller

From  Eileen  Effrat
Author:  Arnaldur  Indridason
Outrage : An Icelandic Thriller
Icelandic crime writer Indridason is my favorite Nordic crime writer. This is the seventh in his police procedural series translated into English featuring Detective Erlendur of the Reykjavik police. In this sequel,  his subordinate,  Elinborg, takes center stage in unraveling the murder of a serial rapist who drugs his victims with Rophypnol. Elinborg is a very competent and clever female detective attempting to find a balance between family obligations and her professional career. As she and the team investigate, it leads them to a rural Icelandic village with some very nasty secrets. This sequel is much more touchy feely with Elinborg in the lead. While I enjoyed the mystery, I do prefer the grumpy, old fashioned and impenetrable Erlendur.

The Dead Witness

From Grace Segers 
Title:  The Dead Witness
Author:  Edited by Michael Sims
For an aficionado of Victorian mystery stories, such as myself, The Dead Witness is an obvious choice. It is filled with detective stories of that era, written both by authors famous and obscure. Most of the stories are easy to read and fly by, few of them are haunting, and some should have remained in obscurity. However, it is a fun, easy read, and anyone who truly considers themself a fan of the genre should try it out.

Plain fear : forsaken

From Rosemarie Jerome
Author:  Leanna Ellis
Plain fear : forsaken 
Vampires and the Amish, sounds bizarre and I was skeptical at first but the story slowly lured me in until I was hooked.  It begins with a young man running for his life and evolves into a young Amish woman haunted by her dead boyfriend and an ex-cop from New Orleans hunting for his wife’s killer.  It is a dark story of secrets, love, faith and a battle to save a woman’s life and her immortal soul.