Monthly Archives: October 2009

The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page

sleighReviewed by Nancy Eaton

Faith and her family are spending the holidays at their cottage in Sanpere Island in Maine. Her husband, Reverend Thomas Fairchild, is recuperating from surgery. The couple really looked forward to this time in Sanpere Island because it was not too often they got to spend some family time together. What a place to be for the holidays. There were plenty of enjoyable winter sports to keep them busy.

It did not take long for this nice, relaxing holiday to turn into something frightening. On a trip to the Sanpere Historical Society, Faith discovers a body in an antique sleigh that is decorated for the Christmas holidays. The victim, Norah, was a teen drug addict. What happened to the young girl? Did she die of a drug overdose? Was she murdered?

The Palace of Strange Girls by Sallie Day

palaceReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

In The Palace of Strange Girls readers are introduced to the Singleton family as they take their summer holiday at Blackpool, a seaside resort, in the 1950s. While at the onset this book seems to be the story of a middle class family’s day to day lives, it soon becomes apparent that the author is trying to give readers a glimpse of the turmoil that often exists beneath the surface of ordinary families everywhere. While this is a story of a restless family trying to muddle through their lives, it’s also an interesting look back at the 1950s. Readers who lived that era may look on some of the now seemingly quaint practices fondly, while those readers who are younger will most probably be amused.

Midnight Revelations by Karen M. Bence

midnight1Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Is there a point at which the rational can no longer be reconciled with the facts? How is one to judge the difference between that which the senses reveal and the spirit world shows beyond those senses?

Bence takes these questions and answers them for Sara Miller, her husband David, and their son Jack. This mystery, and perhaps even horror story, is a tale that grabs the reader and does not let go. The Millers move into a dream home. Yes, there are problems from the past that they are dealing with this way, but it is always with hope and dreams that they moved into this new house. And for the Millers this was a dream-come-true house. There is plenty of room on this Virginia farm for horses to run and dogs to play and, last but not least, a family to grow together after a heart wrenching loss.

Merry, Merry Ghost by Carolyn Hart

merryReviewed by Nancy Eaton

Bailey Ruth Raeburn, a member of Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions, did not exactly behave herself the first time she was sent back to earth as a heavenly agent to help a person in need. Wiggins, who is in charge, hinted that he might use Bailey Ruth again even though she would be on probation.

Well, Bailey’s chance has arrived. Wiggins told her it was because she had a special qualification – she always loved Christmas. As soon as Wiggins mentioned Christmas, Bailey could not help but think of all the memories associated with the holiday like sugar cookies, carolers, presents, cutting down a Christmas tree and the manger. So Wiggins chose Bailey Ruth because of her love for this holiday and the fact that she had a wonderful heart. Her new assignment is to protect a little boy and the best part is she is being sent to her hometown in Oklahoma. Bailey tries so hard to behave but she thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a glimpse of her family.

The Laughter of Dead Kings by Elizabeth Peters

laughterReviewed by Stephanie Nordkap

Elizabeth Peters (also known as Barbara Michaels) is well-known for her Amelia Peabody books, a series of books I enjoyed reading tremendously. When I saw the new Vicky Bliss novel I had to admit I was somewhat excited as I had really enjoyed the first five novels in the series. Maybe my expectations were too high as I was somewhat disappointed by this novel. It took me a long time to read and I found the plot really thin and uninteresting. It seemed to lack the usual fire and tension between the characters and the fascinating and witty dialogue that I enjoyed in the earlier books.

Her Highness’ First Murder by Peg Herring

highnessReviewed by Patricia Reid

Jacob Maldon, the village doctor, is summoned to Hampstead Castle when one of the women of the castle had fallen from a horse and injured herself. Jacob took his son Simon along to assist him. Simon is young but crippled in one arm. Simon’s visit to Hampstead Castle is the first of many visits to follow. Hampstead Castle is the home of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn. Elizabeth’s mother was executed when Elizabeth was a child. Although now only aged fourteen, Elizabeth is wise beyond her years. She is attracted to Simon and asks that Simon be allowed to come to the Hampstead in the afternoons and practice Greek and Latin with her.

Necessary As Blood by Deborah Crombie (Review #2)

bloodReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

With a wedding to plan and a mother critically ill, Gemma James really does not need to become involved in a complicated case. Especially one that is not even in her home jurisdiction. But while having a “catch up” lunch with her friend Hazel, Hazel’s husband calls and asks for Gemma’s help. His client and friend Naz has failed to appear for an appointment, something very out of character for him to do, and isn’t answering his mobile or work phone. Then Naz’s nanny calls alarmed because Naz has not returned home. While normally a missing persons investigation could not be started so soon, the fact that Naz’s wife vanished just a few months earlier nudges the locals into launching an investigation immediately.

Letters to Rosy by C. Ellene Bartlett

rosyReviewed by Julie Moderson

It only took a little bit to get used to the writing style of C. Ellene Bartlett and then I couldn’t put the story down.  Two friends are living across the ocean from each other and start writing letters from March until the book ends in November.  The women are elderly with some health problems. They met as young girls and it seems like they are renewing their friendship and unburdening their conscience.  Rene and Rosy each have a story to tell the other and each chapter is one letter plus their notes on what they are talking about.  It is a fascinating way to write a book. 

The Deputy by Victor Gischler

deputyReviewed by Teri Davis

“I faked a cough, put my hand over my mouth to hide the grin. I knew it wasn’t really funny, but the surprised look on Luke Jordan’s dead face caught me just right. Luke was the first dead guy I’d ever seen up close except for in a funeral home.”

Being a twenty-five year old part-time deputy in the small town of Coyote Crossing, Oklahoma, Toby Sawyer truly believes that his life is heading in the right direction. Even though, supporting a wife and a child on her waitress salary and his part-time salary proves challenging. Toby dreams of joining the force full-time.

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram

scarabReviewed by Laura Goodwin

This book is a cross between the Goonies meets Indiana Jones. The story revolves around Adam and Justin who are cousins that go to Egypt with their Aunt Isabel and Gram (Grandmother). The boys are interested in James Kinnaird who is an Archeologist who is searching for the tomb of the ancient Egyptian ruler, The Scarab King. A lot of myths and legends surround this ancient ruler and the boys try to figure out what is fact and what is fiction.