Category Archives: Signet

Cozy Mystery Week:How to Murder a Millionaire: A Blackbird Sisters Mystery by Nancy Martin

CozyMystery2013

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (October 1, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 0451207246
  • Source: Personal copy

When Nora Blackbird’s parents flee the country, evading tax-collectors, they leave Nora and her sisters with mounds of debt. Their property is divided among the three Blackbird sisters: Emma is gifted the art collection, Libby the furniture collection and Nora, the family land and property that has been in the family for generations. Unfortunately, with this property comes a two million dollar tax bill. Nora is forced to find a job. As a former socialite, this is a completely foreign concept to Nora. Reluctantly, she accepts a job as a columnist for the society page after a family friend takes pity on her.

Still desperate to find funds to pay off the tax debt, Nora sells a portion of the family land only to find it has been converted to a monster truck dealership. Her sisters are shocked when they learn of the property sale, forgetting that they property they were handed down by their parents didn’t have any debt attached to it.

Things can’t possibly get any worse (you know they do anytime you hear/read that statement). Yet when Nora attends a party that evening, she discovers the body of Rory Penderghast, the family friend that gave Nora her job. Nora is obviously devastated and, when her curiosity gets the best of her, begins her own little investigation into Rory’s death.

How to Murder a Millionaire is an incredibly witty cozy mystery. The dialogue between the Blackbird sisters is downright hilarious. At first, i thought I would be turned off by Nora’s attitude as a former snobby socialite but found that she did have a genuine interest in finding the culprit behind her dear friend’s death.

This series is lighthearted, perfect for someone wanting to curl up with a light and easy read.  I guarantee these books will become an “old favorite,” books you pick up, knowing you are going to have a tremendously rewarding reading experience.  Highly recommended!

Frightful Friday: The Haunted by Bentley Little

Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week.

This week’s featured book is The Haunted by Bentley Little:

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 1st edition (April 3, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0451236378
  • Source: Personal copy

The Perry family (Julian & Claire, and their children Megan and James) were living in a neighborhood that had taken a dramatic turn for the worse in recent years. It was full of teenagers on skateboards, disobeying their requests to stop skating on their driveway.  They were fairly well off, financially; Julian worked from home designing web sites and Claire was a lawyer. Plus, their youngest, James was miserable at his current school. A move seemed to be just what this family needed.

The find a home in their town’s historic district. It seems to have everything the want: a gorgeous wrap around porch, a large living space, space for an office for Julian to work from. However, something about the basement, a small damp dark room, puts the family on edge. When things start happening around the house, including items being moved, strange shapes appearing in foggy mirrors, the Perry’s begin to wonder if the decision to buy the house was the right one.  But it’s the night of their open house that sends the Perry’s over the edge; soon their neighbors reveal the horrid past revolving around their house. The body of a homeless man was found in the basement. To their utter disbelief, this is just the beginning of a history of tragic events surrounding the house. Horrific incidents centuries ago have tainted the land, the house itself. Even the neighbors are at risk and they eventually refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Perry’s…or their haunted house.

Despite a few bumps with some of his more recent books, Little is a truly talented writer of horror. In The Haunted he’s back to his old self again, relaying a truly chilling classic ghost story. Unlike other horror novels of this type, Little provides a well-developed back story that flows naturally into the main storyline. Seasoned fans of Little’s writing will notice a few hints of novels past pop up throughout this novel, some more obvious than others.  The highest compliment I can pay this author is that is books are among the few that can actually send a chill down my spine.  If you are looking for a classic haunted house story, The Haunted is the book for you! Highly recommended.

Warning: language, scenes of a graphic sexual nature

Review: An Appetite for Murder by Lucy Burdette

  • Paperback:320 pages
  • Publisher:Signet; Original edition (January 3, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0451235517
  • Source: Author

Haley followed her “soul mate” and moved to Key West.  Unfortunately, when she catches him in bed with another woman, the relationship ends abruptly. Haley’s a strong, independent young woman and vows to make a life for herself in Key West.  She’s always been a foodie and decides to apply for a food critic job for a new Key West style magazine.  When she learns that her potential new boss, Kristen Faulkner, is the very woman who stole her “soul mate”, she doesn’t think things can get worse. Unfortunately, they do.

Kristen is murdered, killed by a poisoned Key Lime pie, the very pie Haley writes an article about shortly after Kristen’s death.  Due to her relationship with Kristen, the police name her the number one suspect in her murder. To save her reputation, and, frankly, any attempts to be a food critic, Haley must find out the identity of the real killer.

An Appetite for Murder is the first book in Burdette’s Key West food critic mystery series and it is a true delight! Not only does she cause your mouth to water with all the talk of food, but she really captures the essence of Key West as well; the culture, the people, the food, comes to life on the pages.  The setting is absolutely perfect, particularly for those of us up North suffering from frigid temperatures this time of year! 

Haley’s character is completely likeable; while she is a food critic she’s not snooty at all, she’s actually quite fond of tasting and critiquing food from local fast food restaurants.  The secondary characters are quite rich as well; I look forward to reading about them more in subsequent books. Finally, you can’t have a foodie book without recipes! Recipes for a few of the dishes Haley makes throughout the course of the book are included as well.

Bottom line: if you are a fan of cozy mysteries this is a series you can’t afford to miss out one! Highly recommended!