Category Archives: Mystery

Ryder: An Ayesha Ryder Novel – by Nicholas Pengelley

Ryder

Awesome female protagonist! Love love love! History! Fiction! Action!

Ayesha Ryder bears the scars of strife in the Middle East. Now her past is catching up with her as she races to unravel a mystery that spans centuries–and threatens to change the course of history.

As Israeli and Palestinian leaders prepare to make a joint announcement at the Tower of London, an influential scholar is tortured and murdered at his home in St. John’s Wood. Academic researcher Ayesha Ryder believes it is no coincidence. Sir Evelyn Montagu had unearthed shocking revelations about T. E. Lawrence, the famed Lawrence of Arabia. Could he have been targeted because of his discoveries?

Ryder’s search for answers takes her back to her old life in the Middle East and into a lion’s den of killers and traitors. As she draws the attention of agents on both sides of the conflict–including detectives from Scotland Yard and operatives from MI5–Ryder finds herself stumbling across Lawrence’s secrets, an astounding case of royal blackmail, and even the search for the Bible’s Ark of the Covenant.

Every step of the way, the endgame grows more terrifying. When an attack rocks London, the real players show their hand–and Ayesha Ryder is left holding the final piece of the puzzle. Goodreads description

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Filed under Action, Adult Fiction, Mystery, Suspense

Deadly Games (Emperor’s Edge #3)

Deadly Games

My perusal of the Emperor’s Edge series continues with book #3, Deadly Games.  It’s been a slow process – I can’t really account for the delay between reading the second book, Dark Currents, and this one.  After the break, it was nice to get back into the characters, and I found the book went much faster and flowed well.  Maybe it’s just an improvement in her writing style, or maybe the focus on Basilard was more interesting to me than Books.

Amaranthe Lockdon is still trying to prove herself (and her team) are on the Emperor’s side.  Constantly looking for good deeds, their self-imposed holiday is interrupted when athletes begin disappearing from the Imperial Games.  Things are never as easy or as smooth as planned, of course, and members of Amaranthe’s team are secretly plotting against each other, a potential new ally tries to turn her in, and Sicarius disappears.  There’s also the ever-present avoidance of the Enforcers, which adds even more spice to the story.

Bonus for fun fight scenes! Amaranthe seems to be constantly butting heads with vicious creatures, and this time a Kraken comes between her and her goal.  Amaranthe just kicks butt.  I love how she’s a strong character, who believes she can talk her way out of numerous situations – but she knows how to fight when she needs to.

I just love the interactions between these characters, as their relationships grow and change and strengthen.  I also love that the story is not all about the developing feelings between Amaranthe and Sicarius – there’s a plot to focus on after all!

I love the slow slow thawing of Sicarius, and the slowly revealed back stories of each team member (Basilard in this one). I think I do like Basilard better than Books – I guess I have more patience for Basilard’s internal moral dilemmas than Books and his lack of confidence.

An action-packed steampunk adventure!  I think I even enjoyed it better than book #1, The Emperor’s Edge.

5/5

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Filed under Fantasy, Mystery, Science Fiction, Steampunk

Gone Girl

Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is waaaaaay off the path of my usual reading material.  A thriller – what??

But it was so good! And gripping!  And twisty!  And unexpected!

I feel like I can in no way describe what this book is about, so I will quote the cover:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

This book takes you through a chilling and frighteningly realistic portrayal of psychopathy and a love story gone wrong.  The story is stunningly well written, and the characters deep and developed.  It leaves you on the edge of your seat – asking both What happened? and How did we go from here to there?  I got so into it and anxious about the story that I had to put down the book a few times. And – I admit it – I peeked ahead at the ending.  It was the only way I could finish the book, knowing what direction it was going to take.  I’m weird like that. (Yes I enjoy knowing the ending – it decreases my anxiety about what is coming).

If you’re in the mood for a suspense / mystery / thriller then I would highly recommend this one!

5/5 (for it’s genre!)

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes #1)

The clockwork Scarab

Colleen Gleason has written a lovely late-Victorian era steampunk tale of mystery and adventure!

Mina Holmes, niece to the famous Sherlock Holmes, and Evaline Stoker, sister of Bram Stoker and descendant of a long line of vampire hunters, are both eager to live up to their respective family legacies.  Mina has inherited her uncle’s keen powers of observation and deduction, while Evaline has the supernatural strength, speed, and rapid healing ability bestowed by her Vampire-Hunting ancestry. When two society girls go missing, Evaline and Mina are called in to help investigate by Irene Adler, representing the crown.

Though Mina and Evaline don’t exactly hit it off, they must find a way to work together to solve both murder and mystery, starting with a strange clockwork scarab as the first clue.  The stakes are high and they are not the only ones following the trail.  The ladies must also deal with the strange and “foreign” Dylan Eckster, the intelligent and logical Inspector Grayling, and the mysterious and mischievous Pix. Can they solve the mystery and find the nefarious person behind it all – before it is too late?

I highly enjoyed this tale of 1889 London – a steam-powered place where electricity is outlawed and “sky-hooks” secure the towering buildings.

Mina is intelligent, logical, and secretly lacks confidence.  Since the departure of her mother, Mina has been largely unsupervised by her parents, which means few social functions and a lack of experience with both young men and parties. She’s tall but clumsy, and although she puts on a brave face, she hides behind her wit and intelligence.

Evaline took me longer to like.  Fierce and strong, she too is plagued by dwindling confidence and an inability to see blood without freezing up. She also puts up a brave front – it’s no wonder she and Mina don’t hit it off.  Beautiful and certainly no stranger to society, Evaline is more interested in dodging potential suitors and hunting the Undead during the night than in enjoying the company of the upper-crust.

Irene is working for the British Museum and apparently the Princess of Wales, and although she pushes the young heroines into action, she herself remains mostly in the background.  I, for one, have a few suspicions about her.

Then the young men!  First there is Dylan, who clearly comes from the future, however improbable that sounds. He’s a little ignorant of the expectations for gentlemen in London 1889, and mostly just wants to go home.  That won’t stop him from getting involved in solving the mystery or causing Mina to blush a lot.

Inspector Grayling is tall, Scottish, and rides around town on a brilliantly fast steam-powered contraption.  Investigating the deaths of several young women on behalf of Scotland Yard, Grayling is keenly intelligent and seems an excellent match for Mina’s mind. Grayling and his partner are not too pleased with Mina and Evaline barging in on the investigations.

Pix keeps running into Evaline – in all sorts of unlikely places. He seems to be able to fit in to all sorts of unexpected roles, much like a chameleon. With a cockney accent and a lot of swagger, he seems forward, frustrating, and unexpectedly chivalrous.

Solidly young-adult, this is a charming steampunk tale.  Better yet, it’s the first of a series!  The second book, The Spiritglass Charade, appears to be coming out … sometime this year?

4 / 5

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Filed under Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Steampunk, Young Adult Books

The Bride Wore Size 12

The Bride Wore Size 12

Another Heather Well’s mystery! I finally came up on the library wait-list for The Bride Wore Size 12 and punctuated my day of errands with some very enjoyable book-time. (Sometimes there are advantages to long train rides!)

Heather Wells, former pop-star now Assistant Director of Fischer Hall (student residences for New York College), is back again.  She’s determined that this new school year will be a fresh start – and one devoid of student deaths. Unfortunately for Heather, “Death Dorm” earns it’s moniker before classes even start.  Heather has another mystery to solve PLUS a wedding to plan PLUS the unexpected (and very unwelcome) arrival of her mother to deal with. (You know, the mother who stole all of Heather’s money and fled the country?)

I quite enjoyed the added tension (i.e. “are they actually going to pull this wedding off??”) to this book.  I find Heather still fresh and interesting, and I love love love that she is a kick-ass character!

This one is definitely going on my list of “to-buy” favourites! (Although, for the simple fact that its mostly a fluffy chick-lit type of book, I can’t bring myself to give it a 5/5).

4/5!  I definitely enjoyed this one!

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Filed under Chick Lit, Mystery, Romance

Speaking From Among The Bones

Speaking from Among the Bones

In the fifth book by Alan Bradley, Flavia returns again – witty, sharp, and precocious. I just love her!  She’s like a young Sherlock Holmes.

When the organist is found dead in a crypt of the church (discovered as the Vicar and workmen are set to exhume the remains of Saint Tancred), Flavia once again has a murder to solve. She races to figure it out before Inspector Hewitt or two new rivals. With a backdrop of their ongoing family tensions (including the aging manor house Buckshaw), Flavia is in her element.  Aside from chemistry, Flavia does snooping very well!

There is a gasp moment!  I can’t wait for the next installment in the Buckshaw Chronicles!

4 / 5

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I am half-sick of shadows

I am half-sick of Shadows

Alan Bradley is brilliant. Flavia de Luce is an eleven year old budding chemist residing at Buckshaw – an old Manor house in England with her father, Colonel de Luce, her two elder sisters (Ophelia/Feely and Daphne/Daffy), Dogger (a man-of-all-trades on staff) and old Mrs. Mullet (the cook). Flavian is delightful, hilarious, and precocious. I salute Alan Bradley for creating such a believable voice for his narrator and protagonist, Flavia. I like her more and more with every installment in The Buckshaw Chronicles. I Am Half-Sick Of Shadows is the fourth.

This book takes place over Christmas. Buckshaw is being partially rented out by a film crew. The day before Christmas Eve, a bunch of Parishioners come to see a charity show the Vicar has arranged at Buckshaw. Unfortunately a huge storm blows in, and the guests are snowed in. A grisly murder is discovered, and Flavia bounces between planning a trap for Father Christmas and trying to figure out whodunit.

I just love Flavia. She is QUITE the character! I can’t believe it took me so long to get to this book! (I definitely loved the first three).

My only complaint was that it felt really SHORT. I felt like I got to the climax in record time and was almost surprised that it was all being wrapped up so soon!!

4 / 5

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