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The Trouble with Harriet–what is in that urn?

The Trouble with Harriet

by Dorothy Cannell

The Trouble with HarrietThe Trouble with Harriet is different from many cozy mysteries that start with a crime to immediately draw the reader in. Instead the reader is enticed with more personal events—a chance meeting with a gypsy, a prospective getaway trip to France, and the appearance of a surprise visitor.

Replete with quirky characters displaying a flair for the dramatic, this book reads like a play from the era of Arsenic and Old Lace. I can picture cousin Freddy climbing with little ado through the living room window to make his entrance. Ellie’s father possesses a penchant for the dramatic. The Hoppers, who resemble stacking Russian dolls, are the things comedy is made of. The vicar in his dotage who rarely remembers what he should be doing provides all kinds of interesting possibilities. This book is quite enjoyable and would make an amusing theatrical production, featuring a play within a play.

The mystery develops gently during the course of the book, but with the reader unaware of it. It begins simply, but adds complexity as the book progresses. The Trouble with Harriet is an enjoyable book in an enjoyable series.

I would like to extend my thanks to and to Random House (Alibi) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery, Historical

Notes: #8 in the Ellie Haskell Mystery Series (which currently has 13 books). In spite of having previously read only #7, I found this book delightful. I’m sure reading the whole series would be fun, but not necessary.

Publication: June 13, 2017—Random House Publishing Group (Alibi)

Memorable Lines:

She had a fatal flaw as a listener. She enjoyed the sound of her own voice.

And the world is filled with qualified interior designers, although possibly not in Chatterton Fells, where people tend to consider switching a picture from one side of the room to another a major renovation.

“You can’t go through life being an irresponsible charmer and not expect impressionable females to fall all over you.” “Sometimes I feel like a pound of bacon during wartime rationing.”

Bad Housekeeping–a humorous cozy mystery

Bad Housekeeping

by Maia Chance

Bad HousekeepingBad Housekeeping is a fairly typical cozy mystery that will keep you laughing and shaking your head in dismay as Agnes, recently dumped by her professor boyfriend, and Effie, her quirky great aunt, drive from adventure to misadventure in a “borrowed” Cadillac. This is a fun read, not intended to shake your world or be a realistic portrayal of anything. It is a great diversion as a summer beach read or a session curled up on the couch.

Agnes, freshly returned to her Dad’s home, has literally the clothes on her back. Effie gives her a job helping save the condemned Stagecoach Inn. Agnes stumbles over a body at the inn, precipitating a murder investigation and leading to the uncovering of lots of personal secrets in the little town of Naneda.

The plot clips along at a good pace with some twists and turns as the story develops. The characters are predictable in a comfortable sort of way with a stuffy ex-fiancé and an old high school flame with boy-next-door kind of appeal. The police hover in the background, but all of the successful investigation is done by Agnes. While this book is not destined for number one on the New York Times best seller list, it will provide a good afternoon’s entertainment.

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

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #1 in the new Agnes and Effie Mystery Series

Publication:   June 13, 2017—Crooked Lane Books

Memorable Lines: 

Maybe salvaging a wreck of a building is a metaphor for salvaging the wreckage of our own lives. It’s like we’re telling ourselves, See? It can be done. It’s never too late. I’m not sure if it’s tragic or inspirational.

I tried not to notice Otis’s tanned biceps. Yes, I know, women may have evolved to be attracted to muscles as a way to select mates with better survival odds. But this is the twenty-first century. The wise thing these days is to find a little nerd like Bill Gates if you’re interested in survival odds.

“I cannot believe you’re wearing poor little dead animals,” I said. “It’s vintage, darling. Vintage fur doesn’t count. These little animals have been dead since the Nixon administration.”

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