Saturday, November 24, 2012

"Cathedral Windows" by Clare O'Donohue Penguin Group Inc.- Plume e-Book

This "Someday Quilts Mystery" is a short Christmas story. The school children in the small town of Archers Rest are making quilt squares to raise money for the local Fire Department. Nell and her grandmother, who own the local quilt shop, are sewing the squares into quilts that will be auctioned on Christmas Eve

When an arsonist strikes and the 3rd grade teacher becomes a suspect, the quilters rally behind him. Nell decides she must use her amateur detective skills to find the real culprit before the big party on Christmas Eve.

This is an entertaining, feel good, cozy mystery Christmas story. I don't quilt but I enjoyed the activity in the quilt shop, the characters, and the small town community.

--Helen Jones

FTC Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

BEAR BAIT by Pamela Beason (Berkley)

This is an interesting, well-written environmental mystery featuring Summer "Sam" Weston. Like Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon, Sam is a single, mid-thirties, self assured woman with an environmental nterest and the ability to go anywhere and do anything. She is a wilderness writer who, in this second outing, is working at Olympia National Park, hired as a temp by the National Park Service to do a usage plan for a new addition to the park.

Everyone is not happy to have the federal government taking the land. Trouble follows with hunters, workers, and environmentalists causing problems. Sam not only finds a body in a burned area, but she also has near death experiences as she in investigates ways she shouldn't.

The story includes charactrs similar to those in a Barr novel, including relatives, confused teenagers, questionable co-workers, and an on-again, off-again romantic interest. The romance involves an FBI agent who just happens to be working in this area who provides both investigative assistance as well as some intimate enjoyment.

As the title implies, there is a bear that Sam is trying to protect which provides her an opportunity to show her love of nature and appreciation of the wilderness and its inhabitants.

This is a good story, interesting, exciting, romantic, and intelligent—-with an appreciation of the wild world and the strength of a real outdoor woman. If you enjoy the writing of Nevada Barr, as I do, you will enjoy this series. I look forward to Undercurrents, which is set in the Galapagos Islands.

--Rodney Vashaw

FTC Disclosure--This book was provided by the publisher.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Debut novel from Dick Wolf

As a long-long-time fan of "Law and Order," I'm delighted to be part of the contest to spread the word about The Intercept, the debut novel from the show's creator Dick Wolf.

In The Intercept, NYPD Detective Jeremy Fisk becomes New York City’s last hope against an ingenious terrorist attack. Dick Wolf brings the same keen storytelling skills that keep viewers watching his shows each week to his debut novel—plot surprises, believable characters, and page turning suspense.

William Morrow is offering three copies of the book to readers of Meritorious Mysteries. Of course, they have to know about you, so you'll need to comment on this post! The Intercept will be released on December 26, so we'll need your comments by December 20. If you don't want to publish your email or snail address, send me an email with "The Intercept" in the subject line.

I'm looking forward to reading this one myself!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A Thrill & an Honor

What a nice surprise that the delightful Ellery Adams dedicated Written in Stone—a Books by the Bay Mystery to "These Mavens of Mystery: Kaye Wilkinson Barley, Lesa Holstine, Doris Ann Norris, and Molly Weston"! Ellery was then kind enough to send each of us a signed copy.

I'm so delighted with this honor that I'm offering a copy (unsigned, of course) to one of you. Just drop me an email with "Contest" as the subject or put a comment below. Tell me why you enjoy mysteries which fit into the "cozy" end of the crime fiction spectrum.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Jo Nesbo in North Carolina

On Friday, November 16th at 6:30pm, McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village, Pittsboro is thrilled to host bestselling Edgar-nominated mystery author and cult favorite Jo Nesbø for a reading of his latest Harry Hole mystery, Phantom. Pete Mock, McIntyre’s book buyer and mystery guru, says “Right now, in my opinion he is the best mystery writer in the world. He writes high powered, complex stories that keep you riveted for hours upon hour. We are his only tour destination in the Southeast, which is pretty exciting.” Nesbo’s books will be available for purchase at the event, and anyone interested in getting a signed copy of Phantom or any of Nesbo’s previous works, should call the bookstore 919.452.3030. And yes, McIntyre’s ships books anywhere in the US.

Photo by Arvid Stridh on

Saturday, November 03, 2012

It Takes Two To Strangle by Stephen Kaminski (Cozy Cat Press)

Former baseball player Damon Lassard is head of the Hollydale Citizens Association; therefore, he is the local liaison to a traveling carnival that has been contracted to put on a fair in this Washington DC suburb. When one of the owners of the carnival is murdered, Damon decides to help his friend, Detective Gerry Sloman, find the killer. While his efforts are not always appreciated by the local police, he does uncover long hidden crimes that may be connected to the current murder. There are a lot of suspects and twists in this tale of money, greed, and murder. The story also has a bit of romance as Damon's best pal is Rebecca (a cooking instructor), but he has crush on the local weather girl, Bethany.

This is good cozy mystery, easy to read. At times Damon seems to be too nice or naive but he is very likable. The other characters and plot are well thought out and believable. The background and descriptions seem very real. The author keeps you guessing, but in the end all the loose ends come together. This is the first book in the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series—and I look forward to reading the next installment.

--Helen Jones

FTC Disclaimer: This book was provided by the author.