Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Review: 'Murder, She Wrote: A Palette for Murder' by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain

✰✰✰½ Jessica Fletcher is back in this fast-paced cozy mystery. After teaching a writing workshop at New York University, Jessica decides to take some time off. She arrives in the tranquil Hamptons looking for some peace and relaxation. Hoping to get in touch with her creative side, Jessica signs up for an art class under an assumed name. Unfortunately when the model ends up dead while posing during class, Jessica must put on her sleuthing hat and help solve the crime. She is suddenly plunged into the world of art crime involving the death of a local artist, a missing painting, and lots of money. On top of everything else, Jessica’s own sketch is stolen as well. Follow Jessica Fletcher as the picks her way through the twists and turns of this art themed mystery.

The Bottom Line: This is a fun book to read if you enjoyed the television show. Written in the first person, the books are very much in line with the series. As a quick read, it's the perfect book to take to the beach. Recommended for fans of cozy mysteries.

Details: Murder, She Wrote: A Palette for Murder written by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain. Paperback published by Signet in 1996. 304 p. ISBN: 978-0-451-18820-5

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Review: 'The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' by Alexander McCall Smith

✰✰✰✰ Mma Precious Ramotswe is the type of person who just wants to help people. When her father dies, she uses the money from the sale of his cattle to pursue a lifelong dream. With no training, Mma Ramotswe opens a detective agency. She wastes no time getting started by diving into the drama of the people of Botswana. As the first and only lady detective in Botswana, Mma Ramotswe accepts all the cases that come her way. Along the way she must find a missing husband, expose a con artist, and follow a troublemaking daughter. Mma Ramotswe is clever and lucky as one by one she works her way through the cases in her own quirky way. Follow Mma Ramotswe on her journey as she learns her trade. Indeed the mystery of Mma Ramotswe herself is revealed as she solves these mysteries.

The Bottom Line: This is an entertaining, engaging, and quick read. It makes you appreciate the simple things in life like reading a good cozy. I enjoyed the structure of this book in which each case is like a short story. The mystery stories are then woven together by the search for a missing boy who may have been kidnapped by a witch doctor. The story of Mma Ramotswe herself is revealed layer by layer as she solves the mysteries. I also enjoyed Mma Ramotswe’s romance with Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni. The characters are clever, original, and fun. Enthusiastically recommended for fans of cozy mysteries. The setting in Botswana is a nice change of pace.

Details: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Paperback published by Anchor Books in 2003. 235 p. ISBN: 978-1-4000-3477-2