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My Progress:

9 / 30 books. 30% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

14 / 51 states. 27% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

13 / 50 books. 26% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

18 / 50 books. 36% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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37 / 50 books. 74% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

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29 / 52 books. 56% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

22 / 40 books. 55% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

13 / 40 books. 33% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

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5 / 25 books. 20% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

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22 / 26.2 miles. 84% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

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18 / 100 books. 18% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 104 books. 41% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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35 / 52 books. 67% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

39 / 165 books. 24% done!
Friday, January 26, 2018

Murder at the Brightwell An Engaging Opener to Historical Mystery Series

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After being wed to Milo—a notorious playboy—for five years, Amory Ames knows a little something about unsatisfactory marriages.  So, when Gil Trent, an old friend (and former fiancé), asks her to help him persuade his younger sister not to marry a disreputable man, she obliges.  As all the key players are staying at the Brightwell Hotel, Amory checks in to the lavish resort.  A relaxing holiday is just what she needs.  If she can help Gil and his sister in the process, so much the better.  

Despite her best intentions, Amory makes little headway with Emmeline, who's determined to marry self-absorbed Rupert Howe no matter what anyone else thinks.  Before that happens, however, the unsavory man is murdered.  With his well-known dislike of his sister's fiancé, Gil soon becomes the prime suspect in Rupert's death.  Amory knows gentle Gil could not have done something so dastardly.  To prove his innocence, she launches her own investigation into the crime.  An already tense situation gets even more complicated when Milo arrives at the Brightwell unexpectedly.  With her marriage crumbling and her old flame very much available (if she can keep him out of prison, that is), Amory must sort out her feelings for two very different men while trying to solve a murder that becomes more puzzling by the minute.  Can she find the answers she seeks in time to save Gil?  And what of her traitorous heart?  What will it decide?

Murder at the Brightwell, a debut novel by Ashley Weaver, is the first installment in an exciting mystery series starring likable Amory Ames.  Deborah Crombie calls this opening novel "an elegant Christie-esque 1930s romp"—a very apt description.  The story is engrossing, entertaining, and twisty enough that I didn't guess the killer's identity until the very last minute.  Because of its large cast, the tale does get confusing; the minor characters tend to blend together, which is a little annoying.  All in all, though, I found Murder at the Brightwell enjoyable.  I already have the next few books in the series and I can't wait to read them.  

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Murder at the Brightwell from the generous folks at Minotaur (an imprint of St. Martin's Press/Macmillan).  Thank you!

MG Mystery Series Opener Fun, Enjoyable

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As the daughter of New York City's first female police commissioner, 12-year-old Devlin Quick is hard-wired to sniff out mysteries wherever she goes.  When one unexpectedly falls right into her lap, there's no way she can resist launching her own investigation.  Even if her mother warns her to leave the sleuthing to the professionals.  Policing is in Devlin's blood, so that kind of makes her legit, right?  Right enough.

Liza de Lucerna—an exchange student from Argentina who's staying with the Quicks for the summer—is sure she witnessed a crime.  While studying in the New York Public Library, she saw a man cut a page out of a valuable old book.  Although she and Devlin both tried to chase him down, the girls lost their suspect.  Now they have only a vague description of a possible criminal and an even more dubious account of his "crime."  No wonder no one will take their accusations seriously.  

Undeterred, Devlin vows to solve the mystery of the missing page.  With Liza and her friend Booker Dibble by her side, she collects clues that lead her closer and closer to the perpetrator.  And straight into the exact kind of danger about which her mother warned her.  Can Devlin outwit the thief and solve her first case?  Or will her unofficial investigation just get her officially grounded—or worse?

Into the Lion's Den is the first book in a new middle grade mystery series by Linda Fairstein, a bestselling author of crime fiction for adults.  In her pre-teen heroine, Devlin Quick, we get a spunky narrator who's smart, brave, and a little mischievous.  The novel's plot moves quickly, making for a fun, exciting story that will appeal to anyone who enjoys an engaging mystery.  True, the kids don't always act/talk like their real-life counterparts and yes, Fairstein is excessively fond of using character names in dialog, which bugs, but still ... overall, Into the Lion's Den is a fast-moving, delightful tale.  I enjoyed it and will definitely continue reading this entertaining series.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of York by Laura Ruby)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I borrowed Into the Lion's Den from my daughter's elementary school library as part of my volunteer work with the school's reading program.
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