Sunday, September 19, 2021

Sample Sunday: MYSTERY AT THE BLUE SEA COTTAGE: A True Story of Murder in San Diego's Jazz Age by James Stewart

 

Please welcome author James Stewart to the blog today as he tells us all about his new narrative nonfiction book, MYSTERY AT THE BLUE SEA COTTAGE: A True Story of Murder in San Diego's Jazz Age. It is scheduled to be released by Wild Blue Press on October 5th. True unsolved murder of a beautiful Jazz Age dancer who left home one evening to meet a mysterious man and the next day turned up dead on lonely Torrey Pines Beach. The press hyped the case as police uncovered intriguing suspects, Hollywood connections, a clandestine meeting at a beach cottage, and secrets that threatened to ruin the killer.

 

Set in Jazz Age San Diego against the backdrop of yellow journalism, notorious Hollywood scandals, Prohibition corruption and a lively culture war, Mystery at the Blue Sea Cottage tells the intriguing true story of a beautiful dancer, a playboy actor, and a debonair doctor. In January 1923, Fritzie Mann left home to meet a man whose identity would forever remain a secret. The next morning, the barely clad body of the beautiful and bewitching dancer washed up on lonely Torrey Pines beach, her party dress and possessions strewn about. The scene baffled investigators. Was it suicide, murder, or an accidental drowning? A botched autopsy created more questions than it answered, revealing a scandalous secret and a powerful motive for murder. Journalists in southern California hyped the case, but when Fritzie’s Hollywood connections came to light the investigation shifted to L.A. and the story became a nation-wide sensation. An ambitious District Attorney battled a high-profile L.A. private counsel in the most sensational trial in San Diego’s history. The big question: What happened at the Blue Sea Cottage? 

 

MYSTERY AT THE BLUE SEA COTTAGE: A True Story of Murder in San Diego's Jazz Age by James Stewart

 

Prologue – A House Party in Del Mar

 

On the morning of Monday, January 8, 1923, after performing in Los Angeles for two months, Frieda Mann rode the midnight train home to San Diego dressed like a flapper.


The outfit shocked her mother, Amelia. A party dress of brown silk crepe fringed with rows of copper beads and a brown hat with a tan ostrich feather? Who wears a get-up like that on an overnight train ride? Not her daughter, usually. Frieda said she’d borrowed the outfit from her friend in Long Beach for a house party on Sunday evening. It seemed odd to Amelia. She scolded Frieda for being careless with her friend’s fancy outfit, then put it away and told her to wear her own clothes.


Frieda behaved oddly for the rest of the week, but Amelia saw no hint of melancholy. If anything, the girl acted too cheerful, too much like herself, especially that last day.


“She was joking around the whole day and making happy her sick sister,” Amelia Mann said later in her thick Hungarian accent, “…and she made jokes, take her bath, and was lively—don’t show a thing—nobody can say this girl had something in her heart, because she was happy, and she always was a jolly kid.”


That jolly kid, twenty years old, went by a stage name better suited to her personality and profession: Fritzie. She remained jolly to the end, Amelia insisted, despite what some would claim. Still, something new seemed to be weighing on Fritzie.


What had she been up to in Los Angeles for the past two months? Filling dancing engagements and visiting friends, or so she said. Her visit home was supposed to be short—long enough to break a contract with her employers in San Diego and perhaps tie up some loose ends—then return to L.A. for work and from there on to San Francisco. But maybe she’d been doing something else, like consorting with the wrong kind of people, a danger in the interpretive dance world. Or, more dangerous still, trying to break into Hollywood, again.


Don’t worry, Mother, Fritzie said when Amelia asked her to share her troubles. Everything will work out.


But Amelia did worry, perhaps more than she would have before now that her older daughter, Helen, lay dying in a sanitarium, the consumption killing her by degrees as it had her husband three years before. Fritzie’s cageyness about her plans for Sunday evening bothered Amelia the most. She mentioned the house party more than once but refused to share details.


“Between Del Mar and Los Angeles,” Fritzie said when Amelia asked where the party would be held, which meant nothing—it was a hundred miles between Del Mar and L.A. At other times she answered, “in Del Mar.”


“Tell me the man with who you go,” Amelia said.


“A man from L.A.”


Each time Amelia asked, Fritzie refused to give the man’s name or pretended she didn’t know. She’d never done that before.


There were enough reasons to worry about a young daughter without her keeping secrets. Times had changed in the few years since the Great War and not all in a good way. The shifting gender norms and rambunctious behavior of the younger set—the late-night drinking and dancing, the permissive attitudes towards sex—had come too far and too fast for traditionalists. There were no safeguards anymore. Suitors no longer called on a young woman at her home, where her parents could keep an eye on her; now the man picked her up in his automobile and took her out on a “date,” ostensibly to a restaurant, a moving picture, or a jazz dance. But they might end up at a speakeasy or a hotel.

 

Amelia had scrutinized Fritzie’s dates as much as any mother would, always asking questions and writing down the man’s name. Some of the men had seemed respectable enough. The soft-spoken Jewish doctor from the Veteran’s hospital, who Fritzie had dated on and off since the previous spring, fit into this category. Fritzie had seemed to care for him, at least before she left for L.A. last November. Was he the house party mystery man? Maybe. The doctor had telephoned her almost every day since she returned home so they must still be seeing one another. But he lived in San Diego, not L.A., and Fritzie would’ve had no reason to hide his identity.

 

Other suitors had vexed Amelia, one a man Fritzie had dated the previous fall. She had seemed smitten though it hadn’t lasted long—thank God. Supposedly an actor and director, the man never entered the house or stepped onto the porch, just waited on the street in his pretentious Marmon touring car and summoned her with that damn ahooga horn. One morning he’d picked up Fritzie for a drive south of the border to Tijuana. Amelia hadn’t liked the idea one bit—nothing good happened in TJ, a place that teemed with bars and brothels. To size the man up, Amelia had created a pretext; she asked him to drop her off at the Paradise Hills sanitarium, where Helen was being treated at the time, on their way south. Riding in the back seat of the ritzy machine, Amelia had jotted down the man’s physical description, just in case. Was he the mystery man from L.A.? He lived there and worked in the motion picture business, a business Fritzie wanted to join. Hopefully not. Fritzie’s troubles had seemed to start around the time she met him.

 

Not that Amelia had much control over Fritzie anymore, least of all her dating life and aspirations. Modern young women, the ones they called New Women and flappers, tended to do as they pleased, tradition and consequences be damned. Fritzie had been around more than most women her age anyway, especially for a place like San Diego, a rather provincial city of 80,000. She’d spent her early childhood in Europe, spoke several languages, and danced before large audiences in San Diego, Denver, and L.A. But if Fritzie’s independence and self-assurance gave her certain New Woman sensibilities, no one could call her a flapper—she didn’t smoke cigarettes or hang out in speakeasies or sleep around or do other things flappers did on the big screen. Fritzie danced on stage, not on tables. She was a sensible girl who helped to pay her sister’s medical bills and pursued a career as a dancer on her own. And if interpretive dance had naughty undertones in some quarters, Fritzie considered herself a serious artist and any salaciousness rested in the minds of people who had such thoughts. But she had a twenty-year-old’s overconfidence and naivetĂ© and moved in risky circles, the night world of the cabaret and on the fringes of Hollywood. A young lady could get herself into trouble if she weren’t careful. Her attitude and behavior may have changed; in many ways, things had not.

 

                                        ***

 

On Sunday afternoon, January 14, 1923, as she watched her daughter get ready for the house party in Del Mar or wherever she was going, Amelia’s anxiety grew. Was Fritzie really going to a party? She seemed to be getting ready for one, putting on a real flapper outfit. She dolled herself up with makeup and curled her hair and donned her Long Beach friend’s glad rags, as the younger set called their fancy outfits. To the brown hat and dress, she added brown satin shoes and silk stockings. She accentuated the outfit with a necklace of black and white beads, a gold bar pin on her left breast, and a barrette pinning her hair on the left side. She topped it off with an electric blue coat. She packed an overnight bag with a pink satin night shirt and underwear,

makeup, and a sheer peacock blue nightgown with longish sleeves and gray fur trim.

 

If I’m not home by noon tomorrow, Fritzie assured her mother, I’ll call.

 

At 5:15 p.m., ten minutes after sunset, Fritzie grabbed her handbag and vanity case. With her usual flippant goodbye wave to her older brother William, she headed out the front door of their tiny rental house on Spruce Street, near the northeast corner of Balboa Park. Amelia, a small woman, walked with her daughter in the cool January twilight under a cloudy sky, past the California Bungalow-styled homes of the modest neighborhood, two blocks to the streetcar stop at 30th and Redwood. On the way, Amelia’s trepidation grew into a premonition. She implored Fritzie to stay home.

 

“Tell me who is the man who takes you out,” Amelia said.

 

“He is a man from Los Angeles,” Fritzie said.

 

“Tell me the name.”

 

“I don’t know his name.”

 

“You told me always who you go out with and now you don’t want to tell me.”

 

Amelia continued to nag but at the trolley stop Fritzie gave her a quick hug and stepped up onto the streetcar. Photographs of Fritzie Mann, most of which show her in an exotic dance costume, reveal a pretty woman with delicate features whose self-assured, vibrant temperament is evident. Her dark brown hair, often tinted auburn by the red hairnets she wore, wasn’t cut in a flapper bob, but she kept it short in line with Jazz Age fashion and the preferred style of the New Woman. Having seen these pictures, it’s easy to imagine her waving goodbye to her mother, confident that she had everything under control. No photographs of Amelia survive, but it’s not hard to imagine her face as she watched the streetcar disappear into the gathering darkness, the trolley pole sparking on the overhead wire: The worried look of a mother who knew or suspected that her youngest child had gotten herself into a fix and feared it was about to end badly.

 

Fritzie likely caught a south-bound streetcar, the shortest route to downtown. From there the car would’ve rattled down 30th Street on the eastern edge of Balboa Park, zigzagged around the corner of the park through Golden Hill, and then due west along Broadway into downtown. Fritzie had kept the rendezvous point to herself, mentioning only that she was meeting the mystery man downtown. It might’ve been the U.S. Grant Hotel, a gathering place for the younger set in the heart of downtown that Fritzie and her chums frequented. Or the Golden Lion Tavern, another hangout. Or, if the man was coming by train, the Santa Fe depot.

             Twenty minutes later Fritzie called Amelia.

 

“Mother, that party will not be between Del Mar and Los Angeles,” Fritzie said. “It will be in La Jolla.”

 

A strange phone call on top of the other strangeness. Did the house party change venues at the last minute? La Jolla was nine miles south of Del Mar, somewhat closer to home. If Fritzie hoped to allay her mother’s fears with this information, it didn’t work.

 

“You might think you know the place where you are going,” Amelia said. “I don’t. You don’t told me who you go, and I don’t know.”

 

Don’t worry, Fritzie said. “It is a very quiet place.” 

                                    ***


James Stewart ©2021

James A. Stewart was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up in a small town sixteen miles to the north called Zachary. After graduating from Louisiana State University with a BS in Industrial Technology, he spent twenty-five years on active duty with the U.S. Navy, including a tour as commanding officer of USS MOUNT VERNON (LSD-39). He also holds a BA in English from National University and an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside. He lives with his family in San Diego, CA. Mystery at the Blue Sea Cottage is his first book. https://www.jamesstewartauthor.com/

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Lesa's Book Critiques: THE KEENING BY ANNE EMERY

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The Rap Sheet: Double Shots of Scottish Pride

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KRL This Week Update for 9/18/2021

First off, for those following my blog tour for my book “One of Us” today's stop is at I Read What You Write! There I talk about What My Characters Read Says About Who They Are https://ireadwhatyouwrite.com/2021/09/18/guest-post-what-my-characters-read-says-about-who-they-are/

Up on KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "What the Cat Dragged In" by Miranda James https://kingsriverlife.com/09/18/what-the-cat-dragged-in-by-miranda-james/

 

And a review and giveaway of "Partners in Lime" by Bree Baker https://kingsriverlife.com/09/18/partners-in-lime-by-bree-baker/

 

And a review and giveaway of "Panic Attack" by Dennis Palumbo, along with an interesting interview with Dennis https://kingsriverlife.com/09/18/panic-attack-by-dennis-palumbo/

 

We also have the latest Queer Mystery Coming Attractions from Matt Lubbers-Moore https://kingsriverlife.com/09/18/queer-mystery-coming-attractions-october-2021/

 

For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL, here is the player for the new ep which features the first chapter of "Murder Under a Blue Moon" by Abigail Keam read by local actor Brianne Vogt Debbas https://kingsriverlife.com/09/18/mysteryrats-maze-podcast-featuring-murder-under-a-blue-moon/

 

Up during the week we posted another special midweek guest post, this one by Josh Pachter about the recent mystery anthology he edited "Monkey Business." It is published by Untreed Reads https://kingsriverlife.com/09/15/monkey-business/

 

And another one by thriller author Katie Lattari about the setting of her new book "Dark Things I Adore" https://kingsriverlife.com/09/15/the-darkness-in-your-own-backyard-dark-things-i-adore/

 

Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and ebook giveaway of "The Safecracker's Secret" by Sandra Bretting https://www.krlnews.com/2021/09/the-safecrackers-secret-by-sandra.html

 

And a review and ebook giveaway of "One Cat for the Road" by Gin Jones https://www.krlnews.com/2021/09/one-cat-for-road-by-gin-jones.html

 

Happy reading,
Lorie

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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Scott's Take: Behind The Throne: The Indranan War: Book 1 by K. B. Wagers


Behind The Throne: The Indranan War: Book 1 by K. B. Wagers revolves around a former princess who became a gunrunner and now must return home to become the heir and future empress. She never wanted to come back home, but with most of the royal family killed in a series of attacks, it is time for her to return to the role she was born for—ruler of the Indranan Empire. Though, based on the first chapter, she may not live long enough to so as somebody wants to take over and is happy to spill her blood to do so.

 

This science fiction book set far into the future has Earth references and connections, but Earth is not a focus. Gender politics are reversed and women hold much more power in the society than men. The citizens of the Indranan Empire worship the Hindu gods and are involved in a non-official war with the Saxons. The main character is a sarcastic woman named Hail Bristol who is to be the future Empress. She never wanted the job, but is not about to abandon her people to those who would take her place. She is a complex and emotional character whose instincts tend towards the violent side. Not that there is anything wrong with that as sometimes violence is the answer.

 


An obvious negative in the book was the fact that despite the main character being a former gunrunner, the author never considered the implications of providing weapons to others and being potentially responsible for what they do with those weapons.  Even though it becomes clear to the reader that the former gunrunner may have inadvertently supplied the weapons that were used to kill her family members, as well as to nearly kill her, this angle is completely ignored. In fact, the author made sure to keep her rather clean for a gunrunner. Allegedly, she never was really bad and never supplied weapons that killed innocents and, though she is very feared by some, she never did much wrong. The idea is that the main character was able to stay relatively in the gray despite being a criminal and never went too far into the black.

 

Behind The Throne: The Indranan War: Book 1 by K. B. Wagers is a fun, violent, humor packed read with plenty of intrigue and politics throughout. There is a lot of character development and plenty of relationships evolve throughout the novel. It is a rather dark and mature read that includes suicide, various forms of murder, bioweapons, and a number of children are killed quite horribly. Book Two in the series, After The Crown is here from my local library system.



Behind The Throne: The Indranan War: Book 1 

K. B. Wagers 

http://www.kbwagers.com/

Orbit Books (Hachette Book Group)

https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/k-b-wagers/behind-the-throne/9780316308595/

August 2016

ISBN# 978-0-316-30860-1

Paperback (also available in audio and eBook formats)

432 Pages (includes a preview of the next book and a two-page author interview) 

 

My reading copy came from the Central or Downtown Branch of the Dallas Public Library System. 

 

Scott A. Tipple ©2021

Friday, September 17, 2021

Writer Beware: #DISNEYMUSTPAY UPDATE: DISNEY IS STILL NOT PAYING

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Beneath the Stains of Time: Mystery at Friar's Pardon (1931) by Martin Porlock

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Sweet Freedom: Mathew Paust, RIP

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Happiness Is A Book: WINNERS AND A WITCHY COZY GIVEAWAY

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Happiness Is A Book: FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOK: BLUE MURDER BY HARRIET RUTLAND

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Patti Abbott: FFB: IN THE MORNING I'LL BE GONE by Adrian McKinty

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FFB Review: Vengeance in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 6) by J. D. Robb


It is 2058 as Vengeance in Death begins and Homicide Lieutenant Eve Dallas is wrapping up her latest case in New York. She thinks she is done for the day and is looking forward to going home to Roarke and a weekend off. That is until the strange phone call comes in on her tele-link. The caller claims to have been blessed by God and therefore quite justifiably killed a sinner. He offers his religious viewpoint of the world, before and after he gives her a riddle to solve for the location of his victim.

 

It does not take Eve and her assistant, Officer Peabody, long to solve the riddle. Once they arrive on scene, they are smugly assured by the doorman that everything is absolutely fine and that Thomas Brennen is away from his penthouse suite. Not willing to take the guy’s word for anything, Lieutenant Dallas convinces the doorman to take them up to the penthouse. It is clear when the door is opened that death is in the air. They gradually work their way into the suite and soon find a scene of incredible carnage. It might be the worst scene Lieutenant Dallas has ever come across and she has seen quite a few bad scenes.

 

Paperback

She is going to see more really bad scenes in the coming hours as she chases an elusive killer in Vengeance in Death. One who clearly is taking the lives of others as he works closer and closer to Roarke. As has happened before in this series, Roarke's past is another problem to work around in the read that is part police procedural, part romantic suspense, and all very complicated.

 

All the usual caveats apply in this sixth book of the long running series. Head hopping still occurs as do numerous tropes common in the mystery field. At the same time, the reads are enjoyable and pass quickly as readers are reminded that guns are outlawed, but murders still occur in NYC. The result is another entertaining read.

 

The series to this point and my reviews: 

Naked in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 1) March 2021

Glory in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 2) April 2021

Immortal in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 3) May 2021

Rapture in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 4) June 2021

Ceremony in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 5) July 2021

  

 

Vengeance in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 6)

J. D. Robb

https://jdrobb.com/1997/10/vengeance-in-death/

Berkley

October 1997

ASIN: B000OCXJR0

eBook (Available in audio and print formats)

354 Pages

  

My copy came via the good folks at my branch, Lochwood Library. Scott, once again, made the Libby App work for Dad. 

 

Kevin R. Tipple ©2021

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Kristine Kathryn Rusch-- Business Musings: Supply Chain Woes…Traditional, Indie, And More

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Lesa's Book Critiques: HAVE YOU HEARD? JULIET BLACKWELL’S SYNCHRONIZED SORCERY

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Marie Colvin, Dan Rather, Feather Thief, Gilead, The Sum of Us, Slaughterman's Daughter, Rainier Erupts, Exiles

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MAKE MINE MYSTERY: The Plague of 'ist' by Janis Patterson

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Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story Wednesday: "Sweet Baby Jenny" by Joyce Harrington

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story Wednesday: "Sweet Baby Jenny" by Joyce...: In A Moment on the Edge , Elizabeth George collects 26 crime fiction stories over the past 100 years, all written by women. This week I deci...

Patti Abbott: Short Story Wednesday: Outside the Jurisdiction, Larry Watson

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Short Story Wednesday Review: Mystery Weekly Magazine: September 2020

 

Mystery Weekly Magazine: September 2020 opens with “Cult of Personality” by Nick Legrand. John Fielding has a job interview with Mr. Roger Martin Mathis of the billboards and the giant smiling face with tag line, “WE’LL GET HIM FOR YOU!” A lot is riding on this interview and Mr. Fielding is feeling the stress from long before he finally walked into the marble floored lobby of the building on the way to his scheduled appointment. How the interview went and the repercussions of that are detailed in this increasingly surreal story.


The story that inspired the cover art comes next with “The Figurine” by Edward Hodi. After wandering the streets and purchasing some sort of small figurine, the narrator went home and crashed on the couch. Eventually, hours later, he got up, took the figurine and looked at it. He had purchased a small figurine of the Grim Reaper and pretty much has very little memory of doing so. He placed the figurine on top of the newspaper and as it happens, right on the picture of some guy on the front page of the paper. He goes about his business and discovers the next day that the figurine has quite the power.


After two surreal and weird tales, the mere straightforward mystery, “Golden Lives” by Joseph S. Walker is a breath of fresh air. Private Annalee Lincoln is met by Police Officer Whitney Lewis upon arrival at the airport in Sacramento. Her brother Ike is dead and she is home looking for answers. Though it has been only three days he has already been cremated. Ike died during the commission of a crime, but Annalee does not believe it and launches her own investigation to figure out what actually happened that fateful night and why. This reader hopes that we will see more of Officer Lewis and Annalee Lincoln in stories to come.


Samuel Sharpe and Bartholomew Blunt return with another interesting tale in “The Case Of The Red Ribbons” by Benjamin Mark.  Captain Elias Young has a complicated case of missing diamonds and more. Fortunately, he can put his two best detectives on it and have Sharpe and Blunt solve it all.


“Two Taxis” by William Burton McCormick is next where readers are taken to a resort town on the Mediterranean. Things go wrong at the hotel and it is not really the fault of Jean-Paul fault through Monsieur Rault is going to blame him for everything. Things escalate quickly in this complicated and enjoyable tale.


Detectives James Alonquin Mendelsohn, known to many as “Jam” and his partner Detective Sammie Aku have a murder to solve outside “Kitty’s Kats: Exotic Dancers.” The dead woman is posed in the same way as the figure on the overhead sign advertising to one and all what goes on inside if the name of the business did not already make things very clear. That body outside the club is the first case in “Neon Nights” by Shea E. Butler and the proverbial tip of the iceberg.


Skipping between current events and a work in progress is “Never Kidnap A Crime Novelist” by Stan Dryer. Fiction and the real world collide in a complicated tale that can not be explained at all without ruining the read.


The “You-Solve-It” this month is “An Oldie But A Goodie” by Eric B. Ruark. Sheriff Tracy Hyers is back in the neighborhood looking for the escaped canine terrorist, Horace. It is time to once again talk to the owner, Lydia Monroe, about her dog. It should have been simple. It wasn't.


The solution to the august 2020 puzzle “A Number's Game” by Bruce Harris brings this issue to a close.


Mystery Weekly Magazine: September 2020 is another enjoyable read. A bit more surreal than most issues but still a solidly good read. Complex plots and characters in tales with no easy solutions make for another good issue.

 

 

For quite some time now I have been gifted a subscription by the publisher with no expectation at all of a review.  

 

Kevin R. Tipple ©2021

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Totally Justified

 


MysteryTribune: 15 Best Crime, Mystery and Thriller Books of September 2021

 MysteryTribune: 15 Best Crime, Mystery and Thriller Books of September 2021

MysteryTribune: Best Crime, Mystery and Thriller Movies Coming to Netflix on September 2021

 MysteryTribune: Best Crime, Mystery and Thriller Movies Coming to Netflix on September 2021

Little Big Crimes Review: A Hell of a Thing by Wayne J. Gardiner

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Lesa's Book Critiques: THE BOOKSHOP OF SECOND CHANCES BY JACKIE FRASER

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The First Two Pages: “Going West” by Robert J. Randisi

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Review: A Good Day For Chardonnay: A Novel by Darynda Jones


A Good Day For Chardonnay: A Novel by Darynda Jones is the second read in the series that began in A Bad Day For Sunshine. It was in that book that readers were introduced to the quirky town of Del Sol, the newly elected sheriff Sunshine Vicram, and her family. While some things were resolved in that book, one major thing was not, and that continues here in a secondary story line.

 

One of several secondary storylines in a complicated and occasionally a laugh out loud read. In the main storyline, Levi Ravinder is involved in a serious altercation in the parking lot of the Roadhouse Bar and Grill. To say that Sunshine and Levi have history is to say the sun and the desert have a history. This night Levi was trying to stop three men who were beating and stabbing Keith Seabright. What Seabright was doing at the place, what his connection with Levi is, who the three men are, and other questions are questions she needs official answers to as fast as possible. All she knows for sure, based on what Levi is saying is that he is military of some type and had to drugged to be losing to his three assailants. Instead of going to the hospital as the clearly injured Levi should, he soon escapes custody and disappears into the night. Presumably headed north in pursuit of the three who left the scene in a truck.

 

As in the first book, relationships in and outside of family power this novel. Therefore, as many things from the first book continue here, it is not possible to discuss those things that drive forward the secondary storylines in this read.

 

Along the same vein, it is also not possible to discuss two glaring technical errors in the last fifty pages without creating spoilers. Suffice it to say, those of who have spent time in hospitals or know a thing or two about police vehicles, might be briefly and annoying jolted out of the world of the book.

 

That being said, this is a funny read that reminds this reviewer of the Sheriff Brady series by J.A. Jance with a lot more humor. This read also has a multi-page and graphic sex scene between two characters that may be too much for some readers. One did expect the romantic moment though this reader did not expect the graphic detail of the event. The read also has plenty of action, violence, misdirection, and mystery.

 

All in all, A Good Day for Chardonnay is a good read and ties up the primary storyline and several ongoing issues from the first book quite well. 

 

  

A Good Day For Chardonnay: A Novel

Darynda Jones

https://darynda.com/

St. Martin’s Press (MacMillan)

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250233110/a-good-day-for-chardonnay

July 2021

ISBN #978-1-250-23311-0

Hardback (also available in audio and eBook formats)

416 Pages 

 

My reading copy came from the Skyline Branch of the Dallas Public Library System. 

 

Kevin R. Tipple ©2021

Monday, September 13, 2021

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 9/13/2021

 In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 9/13/2021

Lesa's Book Critiques: HAVE YOU HEARD? DIANNE FREEMAN’S A LADY’S GUIDE TO ETIQUETTE AND MURDER

Lesa's Book Critiques: HAVE YOU HEARD? DIANNE FREEMAN’S A LADY’S GUIDE TO ETIQUETTE AND MURDER

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Reader is Warned (1939) by Carter Dickson

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Reader is Warned (1939) by Carter Dickson: Several months ago, I reread and reviewed John Dickson Carr's The Problem of the Green Capsule (1939), whose reputation received a much...

SleuthSayers: The Challenge of Exposition by Steve Liskow

 SleuthSayers: The Challenge of Exposition  by Steve Liskow

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare:     Reviewed by Ambrea   The Duke of Ashbury—Ash to his friends, if he had any—is a man faced with a problem:   he needs an heir, but,...

Markets and Jobs for Writers for 9/13/2021

 Markets and Jobs for Writers for 9/13/2021

Aubrey Nye Hamilton Reviews: Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich

 

Bull Mountain (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015) is Brian Panowich’s blockbuster debut. The book won the 2016 Thriller Award for Best First Novel and the Southern Book Prize for Best Mystery. It was shortlisted for the Barry Award, the Anthony Award, The Georgia Townsend Book Prize, and the LA Times Book Prize. It was also selected for the 2016 Books All Georgians Should Read list by the Georgia Center of the Book. Its sequel Like Lions (Minotaur, 2019) is considered equally good, if not better.

Set in northern Georgia, this is the story of three generations of the Burroughs crime family who own most of Bull Mountain, where they make a living from producing and distributing first moonshine, then marijuana, and finally methamphetamine.

The entire family is involved in its illicit enterprises. They view themselves as a unit separate and apart from the rest of the world. “Family” is a word that crops up often, starting with the first chapter in 1949 and carrying through to the end. Deciding to work with a gun-running outfit in Florida was a big step; outsiders had long been viewed with suspicion. Echoes of the Corleones in The Godfather resonate in the background.

Finally in the third generation, Clayton Burroughs walks away from the family organization. Similar to the network television series Justified, where Raylan Givens enters law enforcement to separate himself from his career criminal father, Clayton Burroughs becomes the local sheriff, mostly to earn an honest living to please the woman he wanted to marry. He makes no attempt to enforce the law on Bull Mountain, even if state and Federal authorities stage occasional raids. Eventually an FBI agent approaches him with a plan to close the Burroughs’ lawless activities down for good and Clayton agrees to try it.

It is hard to say much about this book without giving away essential plot elements. Shockingly violent and brutal, the story is riveting from the first pages. I read it through in one sitting. I did find the disjointed chronology disruptive; the chapters move back and forth from 1949 to 2015 and points in between. I sometimes had to stop reading to check the chapter heading to orient myself.

An incredibly good book and an intriguing contribution to contemporary Southern fiction. Fans of Justified, the Colson Quinn stories by Ace Atkins, or the Wolfe crime family books by James Carlos Blake will likely enjoy this series.



·         Publisher:  G.P. Putnam's Sons; First Edition (July 7, 2015)

·         Language:  English

·         Hardcover:  304 pages

·         ISBN-10:  039917396X

·         ISBN-13:  978-0399173967

  

Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2021

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Lesa's Book Critiques: LONDON’S NUMBER ONE DOG-WALKING AGENCY BY KATE MACDOUGALL

Lesa's Book Critiques: LONDON’S NUMBER ONE DOG-WALKING AGENCY BY KATE MACDOUGALL

Beneath the Stains of Time: Cold Evil (1938) by Brian Flynn

Beneath the Stains of Time: Cold Evil (1938) by Brian Flynn: I didn't intend to cram two reviews into as many days, but Dean Street Press released their third set of ten Brian Flynn reprints earl...

KRL This Week Update for 9/11/2021

Up in KRL this morning reviews and giveaways of 3 more fun mysteries for you September reading-"A Time to Swill": Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery by Sherry Harris, "A Few Drops of Bitter": A Savannah Reid Mystery by G.A. McKevett, and "Claws for Alarm": A Cat CafĂ© Mystery by Cate Conte https://kingsriverlife.com/09/11/september-mystery-catchup-sherry-harris-ga-mckevett-cate-conte/

And a review and giveaway of "Fatal Family Ties" by S.C. Perkins along with an interesting interview with S.C. https://kingsriverlife.com/09/11/fatal-family-ties-by-s-c-perkins/

And a review and ebook giveaway of my new book "One of Us" A Tower District Mystery https://kingsriverlife.com/09/11/one-of-us-by-lorie-lewis-ham/

We also have a mystery short story by V.S. Kemanis https://kingsriverlife.com/09/11/dust-to-dust-mystery-short-story/

Up during the week we posted another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Marilyn Meredith. She talks about writing her latest book in her Rocky Bluff P.D. Mystery series "Not As We Knew It." You can also enter to win a copy of the book

Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and ebook giveaway of "Sherlock Holmes & the Case of the Wealthy Widow" by Gemma Halliday and Kelly Rey https://www.krlnews.com/2021/09/sherlock-holmes-case-of-wealthy-widow.html

And a review and giveaway of "Severn-Year Witch" by Angela M. Sanders https://www.krlnews.com/2021/09/seven-year-witch-by-angela-m-sanders.html

And a review and ebook giveaway of "The Graveyard of God's Name" by Neil Plakcy https://www.krlnews.com/2021/09/the-graveyard-of-gods-name-by-neil-s.html

Happy reading,
Lorie