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Death by Auction–fun event turns deadly

Death by Auction

by Alexis Morgan

Abby McCree is new to Snowberry Creek, but wants to contribute to her community, so she spearheads a fundraiser in support of a local veterans’ group. It is a fun bachelor/bachelorette auction which will be followed in a few weeks by a World War II era dance. Well, it would be fun if Abby had not discovered her celebrity Master of Ceremony’s dead body and if her boyfriend’s ex-wife hadn’t made a surprise visit to Snowberry Creek.

Abby is not happy to be in the middle of this mess, but she responds in her usual hospitable manner to the unwelcome ex-wife whom she privately  calls “the barnacle.” With her never ending stash of muffins and cookies tucked away in the freezer, she even feeds the law enforcement officers who show up on her doorstep.

The story, which varies in mood from humorous to serious, moves quickly. As much as I wanted to know who committed the crime, I still didn’t want the book to end. From adventures at a biker bar to the joys of having her boyfriend’s ex-wife, who is one of the suspects, as a houseguest, the plot has a high energy level. The characters’ interactions are interesting. I’d love to join Abby at her kitchen table for a chat and the chance to pet Zeke, her slobbery ninety pound mastiff mix who is a good companion for her because of his intimidating size and his abilities in judging character. Abby is astute in her investigations and instrumental in solving the crime. All in all, Alexis Morgan’s Death by Auction is a very satisfying cozy mystery.

I would like to extend my thanks to Netgalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #3 in the Abby McCree Mystery Series, but would be excellent as a standalone

Publication:   May 26, 2020—Kensington

Memorable Lines:

They settled in at the table while Zeke parked himself between them in case someone dropped food on the floor that would require an emergency cleanup. He was good about things like that.

“I’ve learned never to underestimate your total inability to stay out of trouble, but also every guilty thought you have flashes across your face like it’s a billboard.”

Mount St. Helens had nothing on the eruption Abby could sense brewing in Tripp. His fists were clenched so tightly that his knuckles stood out in stark relief. One wrong word at this point, and she had no doubt he would go ballistic.

Shake Down–reality TV is so fake!

Shake Down

by Kendel Lynn

Shake DownElliott Lisbon is the director of the billion-dollar Ballantyne Foundation and is also a very frustrated PI-in-training. There are plenty of cases to work on, but her boyfriend Lieutenant Ransom and other law enforcement officers do not share much information with her. So, Elliot enlists her best friend Sid, and the pair hone their investigative skills in the complicated search for Daphne who has a reputation for going missing and following her whims without warning. Would she do that with her friend’s wedding less than a week away?

In Shake Down by Kendel Lynn, lots of plot lines intersect. The Ballantyne Foundation is sponsoring a BBQ fundraiser honoring families who host the homeless. We are also introduced to Daphne who disappears shortly before she is to be maid of honor for her best friend Juliette. The girls met on a reality TV show where they were competing for an eligible bachelor. Much of the plot is centered around the town’s search for Daphne. That part of the book drags just a bit, but the pace and action pick up later and culminate in a conclusion I could never have predicted.

I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #5 in the Elliott Lisbon Mystery Series but OK as a standalone as characters from previous books in the series are clearly reintroduced.

Publication:   March 17, 2020—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

She stopped as if her soles had been superglued to the asphalt. She seemed to be experiencing the second half of fight or flight. Freeze or faint.

“He’s being all cagey and friendly. Helpful in a distinctly not very helpful way.”

The shot was beyond loud. Like saying a hurricane was breezy or a ghost pepper had a little kick.

Mr. Finchley Discovers His England–going on holiday

Mr. Finchley Discovers His England

by Victor Canning

Mr. Finchley Discovers His EnglandEdgar Finchley, a clerk in a law firm, has not had a vacation in ten years when his new boss surprises him with a three week holiday. This mild-mannered, middle aged bachelor anticipates trading his typical, longstanding daily schedule for a different holiday routine, but is surprised to find himself wrapped up in a series of adventures.

Victor Canning’s Mr. Finchley Discovers His England was originally published in 1934 before WWII when the author was twenty-three. A best seller upon publication, it is a humorous work reflective of a more innocent time and makes a fun read. I enjoyed all of Finchley’s exploits. Despite the light-hearted nature of the book, the character of Finchley develops as he finds courage and flexibility he never knew he had. This book is full of well written, vivid descriptions and many British terms. I enjoyed learning words such as “roach” (a type of fish)  and “rean” (a varian of reen, an irrigation ditch). Mr. Finchley Discovers His England is a delight to those who enjoy an author who can craft superlative descriptions and has an extensive vocabulary.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Ferrago for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: General Fiction (Adult), Humor

Notes: 1. The first in a series.

2. There is a chapter which devotes itself to a cricket match This part of the book  would be more interesting to a reader who is familiar with the game and terminology.

Publication:   April 18, 2019—Ferrago

Memorable Lines:

The sun tipped the edge of the hills in a blazing tiara and every copse and thicket, each barn and cottage, sprang into a bold relief, white wall vivid against chestnut green, and a church clock, black and gold against the grey of the stones.

…he came slowly to see what until now he had never realized; that danger, the wonder of the unexpected, the exhilaration of living and not knowing what one would be doing or where one would next be were the only thing that gave colour to life.

He was beginning to see that McGrath was the type of man who bullied and stormed at people—and was surprised when they accused him of losing his temper.

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