Tuesday, August 24, 2010

'Live Free or Die', Jessie Crockett, 2010, Mainly Murder Press, LLC

In Winslow Falls, New Hampshire, Gwen Fifield is the Assistant Fire Chief, a volunteer position. When she is called to the local museum fire, she does not expect to see the body of Beulah Price burned in the fire. The Fire Chief, Harold Seeton, had taken a look at Beulah's body and collapsed with a heart attack. Now Gwen is in charge, not what she expected at all in her so-called volunteer position. When Hugh Larsen of the Fire Marshal's office arrives, Gwen informs him of a rash of other fires in the past two months. She hopes he will take charge of the entire case, but he requires her help to learn about and investigate the villagers. A recently arrived immigrant family would be the suspects of choice for the residents; but Gwen is convinced that the murderer is a native as facts from the past emerge.

In 'Live Free or Die', a debut mystery for Jessie Crockett, she has written a well-plotted storyline that is compact and maintains constant interest and surprises for the reader to the very end. Crockett's characters are well-defined and very believable with lively dialogue that does not veer from the main plot. Gwen Fifield is a woman to be reckoned with and I hope to see her soon in another book.

A very enjoyable debut mystery from Jessie Crockett!

FTC: Full Disclosure: Book provided by author

Monday, August 2, 2010

'The Blue Shackle', Lillian Stewart Carl, Nov. 2010; Five Star Publishing/Gale, Cengage Learning

Jean Fairbairn and Alasdair Cameron are getting married in the incoming New Year. Alasdair's childhood friend, Fergus MacDonald, owns the deteriorating Dunasheen Estate on the Isle of Skye in Scotland where the wedding will take place in the chapel. Fergie is frantic to save his home and has opened the estate to paying guests for a Scottish New Year celebration and needs help from Alasdair and Jean regarding some artificats. But when a guest is murdered and the police disrupt the gathering, Alasdair and Jean realize that they also must investigate the case so the wedding can take place on time. Everyone is under suspicion; secret plans are revealed; bewilderment stalks our sleuths as they deal with the mysteries of the past to find today's killer.

Lillian Stewart Carl is very adept at placing her readers in her geographical settings. 'The Blue Hackle' takes us to Scotland and with Carl's descriptions you feel that you are right beside Alasdair and Jean. Carl weaves an interesting plot with myths, legends and the paranormal along with a secondary storyline for the upcoming wedding. In 'The Blue Hackle' each and every character is skillfully portrayed with diversity.

A most enjoyable read intertwined with Scottish history and geography.

FTC: Disclosure- Book provided by author