Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mini Reviews: two fun mysteries

Last week while I was plugging away at a rather ponderous non-fiction book, I lightened the load by listening to two mysteries during my daily drive/swim/drive (2 hrs each day).  One, the Julia Spencer-Fleming (hereafter referred to as JSF) had me so glued to my MP3, that I stayed up very late one night to finish it.

Last Lessons of Summer
Author: Margaret Maron
Format: audio - 9 1/2 hrs, 386 page equivalent
Subject: delving into family secrets
Agatha Award nomination 2003
Setting: New York, and North Carolina
Genre: crime fiction - amateur sleuth
Source: Public library

I really enjoy Maron's Judge Deborah Knott series, but this one is a stand-alone about a young woman Amy who inherits a family business - The Pink and Blue publishing company - and a house from her grandmother.  The house is in North Carolina and since she has such fond memories of spending time there with her grandmother, she returns to NC to go through her grandmother's treasures before selling the house.  At the same time, she is looking for clues to help her understand why her mother killed herself when Amy was only 3 years old.  The mysteries she unearths, the assorted relatives whose apple carts she upsets, and the suspense created by all this make for a very satisfying read.
All Mortal Flesh
Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming
Format: audio - 13+ hrs, 400 page equivalent
Subject: crime, mistaken identify
Setting: upstate New York
Genre: crime fiction - amateur and professional sleuth team
Source: Public library

One of my all time favorite crime series.  Not as cozy as a ladies tea-cup cozy, but not quite as bloody and gory as many being written today, these have the added feature of an illicit romantic relationship that continues to escalate in intensity if not in fruition. Russ Van Alstyne, the town's married police chief, and Clare Fergusson, the town's episcopal priest take their struggle to avoid having a full-blown affair to new heights.  It's really difficult to write a review of this one without revealing the plot, but if you are a follower of the series, you will not want to miss this one!  JSF has managed to give us a portrait of two very moral and human people trying to help the people of their town, trying to help each other, while maintaining their sense of morality.  There is a new character- Deacon Elizabeth DeGroot- who is sent by the bishop to help Clare in parish work (or is she a spy from the bishop?), there is an incredible plot twist in the middle, and a breath-taking, heart-stopping ending.  

I've already checked out the next one in the series from our library, and plan to read it Sunday after our company leaves ---- I may not be able to go to bed until I've finished it.


  1. I am on the way to the library right now...for some unknown book I put on hold...and I may have been convinced that I MUST check out the next one in the Julia Spencer-Fleming series for me...which would be the second, A Fountain Filled With Blood.
    That sounds delightful..lol

  2. They both sound good and are new to me mystery series!


Welcome, thanks for stopping by. Now that you've heard our two cents, perhaps you have a few pennies to throw into the discussion. Due to a bunch more anonymous spam getting through, I've had to disallow anonymous comments. I try to respond to all comments posing a question, but may not always get to you right away.