"FBI Agent Pierce Quincy is haunted by his daughter's death in a drunk-driving accident. Pierce knew about his daughter's problem with alcohol, and about her loneliness. And so, he is sure, did the man who killed her. Rainie Conner is an ex-cop with a past overshadowed by violence. She was once involved with Pierce in a harrowing case that brought them together personally and professionally. Then, he came to her rescue. Now it is time for her to help him. This killer is different. He has an insatiable hunger for revenge - and for fear. He isn't satisfied with taking his victims' lives - he wants to get inside their minds and strip them of every defense. And his target is Quincy's surviving daughter. Rainie believes that the only way to stop him is to put herself directly into the killer's murderous path and herself become - the next accident."
2. Night Rounds by Helene Tursten (Inspector Huss #2). I readily admit that I didn't enjoy the first book in the series but I've been wondering if it might have been the translation. So when I saw the 2nd book, I figured it might be worth the try.
"Irene Huss is a former Ju-Jitsu champion, a mother of twin teenage girls, the wife of a successful chef, and a Detective Inspector with the Violent Crimes Unit in Goteborg, Sweden. And now she’s back with a gripping follow-up to Detective Inspector Huss.
One nurse lies dead and another vanishes after their hospital is hit by a blackout. The only witness claims to have seen Nurse Tekla doing her rounds, but Nurse Tekla died sixty years ago. Detective Inspector Irene Huss of the Violent Crimes Unit has the challenge of disentangling wandering ghosts and complex human relationships to get to the bottom of this intriguing case."
3. Crimes of Winter by Philippe Georget (Inspector Sebag #3). I've read the 2nd book in this mystery series set in southern France and I've now got the first book. I was pleased to see that they had the 3rd and final book. And it was an excellent copy.
"This winter is going to be a rough one for Inspector Gilles Sebag, for he has discovered a terrible truth: Claire has been cheating on him. Bouncing between depression, whisky, and insomnia, he buries himself in work in an attempt to forget.
But his investigations lead him inexorably to bigger tragedies--a woman murdered in a hotel, a depressed man who throws himself from the roof of his building, another who threatens to blow up the neighborhood--all of them involving betrayals of some sort. Perpignan seems to be suffering from a veritable epidemic of crimes of passion. Adultery is everywhere! And each betrayal leads to another dramatic crime.
Sebag has an uncanny ability to slip into the skin of his suspects and solve apparently unsolvable crimes. Though professionally charmed, he is unlucky in love. He is a perfect protagonist for the town of Perpignan, sleepy and leisurely on the surface, seething with vice and violence underneath."
4. Murders in Volume 2 by Elizabeth Daly (Henry Gamadge #3). I've read a few of Daly's Henry Gamadge books. This series belongs under the Golden Age of mystery category, along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, etc.
"New York at its most charming? (New York Times) is the setting for Volume 2, first published in 1941. One hundred years earlier, a beautiful guest had disappeared from the wealthy Vauregard household, along with the second volume in a set of the collected works of Byron. Improbably enough, both guest and book seem to have reappeared, with neither having aged a day. The elderly Mr. Vauregard is inclined to believe the young woman's story of having vacationed on an astral plane. But his dubious niece calls in Henry Gamadge, gentleman-sleuth, expert in rare books, and sufficiently well-bred it is hoped to avoid distressing the Vauregard sensibilities. As Gamadge soon discovers, delicate sensibilities abound chez Vauregard, where the household includes an aging actress with ties to a spiritualist sect and a shy beauty with a shady (if crippled) fiance. As always in this delightful series, Gamadge comes up trumps, but only after careful study of the other players cards."
My Ongoing Look at the Mystery Genre - American PI's
a. Banquets of the Black Widowers (#4 / 1984).
"I've read many of Isaac Asimov's science fiction books; the Foundation and Empire trilogy, the robot books, Fantastic Voyage, etc. He was such a good story teller. It's been many years since I last read one of his books and recently I discovered this mystery series; the Black Widowers and I bought one of them; Banquets of the Black Widowers.
The Black Widowers are a group of six gentlemen who meet on a monthly basis for a dinner and drinks and then to interrogate a visitor about a mystery in their life. They are ably assisted by their waiter, Henry, maybe the smartest member of the group.
The collection of short stories are gentle and cozy. They follow the same formula for the most part. In each one, one of the members is the host of a visitor; they chat and have dinner and then while they relax over drinks afterward, they interrogate the visitor. Even their interrogation starts off in a similar fashion; first the member must justify their lives and then they tell a story that has troubled them while the members try to offer a solution that might help the person.
There is no violent crime just incidents in their lives that they need help either remembering or rationalizing. The six widowers are middle-aged or older, curmudgeonly and interesting. Their waiter Henry serves and observes and is the voice of final solution, deferred to by the others. I enjoyed this collection very much and will search for the others. Excellent concept. (3 stars)"
The remaining books in the series are -
- Tales of the Black Widowers (1974)
- More Tales of the Black Widowers (1976) (on order)
- Casebook of the Black Widowers (1980)
- Puzzles of the Black Widowers (1990)
- The Return of the Black Widowers (2003)
"This is the first King and Maxwell mystery/ thriller, the story where Michelle Maxwell, a Secret Service agent, whose charge, a presidential candidate, is kidnapped from under her nose, meets Sean King a former Secret Service agent, whose candidate was assassinate while under his protection. Both cases seem to be related. It's an action-filled thriller, with many deaths and explosions. King is now a lawyer, who finds his relatively sedate new life turned upside down. There are many suspects in this mystery; although over all, it's probably not that complex. There were some things I found irritating; why, oh why do they always go off by themselves when anybody on their own seems to get killed!! Or just when things get ticklish, someone's cell phone falls off that person's belt and is lost!! But these were relatively minor matters, it was a nice intro to the two intrepid agents. I wonder what the future will hold for them. (3 stars)"
"Baldacci throws everything, including the kitchen sink, at you in this action-packed thriller, the 2nd in the King and Maxwell series. A killer stalks Wrightsburg Virginia, imitating infamous serial killers with each murder. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, two ex-Secret Service agents, working now as Private Detectives in the area are called in to help with the investigation by the local police chief. As well, they are working a separate case for a lawyer, defending a break and entering suspect. Are the two situations related? Before they get to the crux of solving this case there will be many murders, almost daily, their lives will be threatened. But they plug on, working to solve the case. It's an easy, exciting read. I wish Maxwell was more than just the physical presence in the partnership, but that's a minor complaint. You have to suspend disbelief somewhat, but that was easy to do. I enjoyed the writing, the pacing and the steady throbbing action. Looking forward to getting into the 3rd book, Simple Genius. (3 stars)"
The remaining books in the series are (asterisked where I have it) -
- Simple Genius (2007) *
- First Family (2009)
- The Sixth Man (2011)
- King and Maxwell (2013) *
"The Crossword Murder is the first book in the Crossword Mysteries series by husband wife team Cordelia Biddles & Steve Zettler, who write under the pseudonym Nero Blanc. I've had it for awhile and am glad that I finally read it.
PI Rosco Polycrates of Newcastle, Mass, is hired by the mother of Thompson Briephs to look into his death, as she thinks he was murdered. Briephs works as the crossword puzzle editor for the local paper and also leads a seamy life. As is quickly shown, he is being blackmailed for something and this blackmailer might have been the murderer.
Polycrates, an ex-police investigator, looks into the death and trying to get a handle on this crossword business, asks for assistance from the editor of a rival paper, Annabella Graham. Together they continue the investigation, working through clues from a series of unpublished puzzles left by Briephs. Someone doesn't like their investigation and there are threats to Graham's life.
There is a developing relationship between Polycrates and Graham, one that they both resist, as she is married.
The investigation is interesting, the puzzle aspect a unique mystery technique. I liked both characters and how the story developed. It's definitely a cozy style mystery, reminding me somewhat of Lilian Jackson Braun's 'Cat Who... ' mysteries. Most enjoyable and a fun read. I'll keep on with this series. (3 stars)"
"Wrapped Up In Crosswords is the ninth book in the Crossword mysteries by husband and wife team who go under the pseudonym of Nero Blanc. I've read one book in the series so far and found it light and a nice cozy mystery. This one was for the main part Christmas fluff, more concerned with the Xmas Secret Santa and with the various owners dogs discussing the bad qualities of buying birds for pets. Yes, the dogs talk.
As a minor side issue, three convicts have escaped from the State Pen and they look like the 3 main male characters in this story, Roscoe, Lt Al and Coroner Abe. So there you have the story in its simplest form. It was light and lightly humorous, a nice little Xmas fix. (2.5 stars)"
The remaining books in the series are (asterisk where I have it) -
- Two Down (2000) *
- The Crossword Connection (2001)
- A Crossworder's Holiday (2002)
- A Crossword to Die for (2002)
- Corpus de Crossword (2003) *
- A Crossworder's Gift (2003)
- Anatomy of a Crossword (2004)
- Another Word for Murder (2005)
- A Crossworder's Delight (2005)
- Death on the Diagonal (2006)
So there you go folks. The start of a new sub-genre, the American PI. I hope you see a series you might like to try. Enjoy the rest of your week.