Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery DEATH ON THE DANUBE by @JSAauthor

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Death On The Danube by Jennifer S. Alderson

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After losing the job she loved, not to mention her husband leaving her for his new assistant, Lana Hansen’s fresh start in Seattle isn’t working out as planned. Thank goodness for eccentric Dotty Thompson, her landlady and good friend. Dotty persuades Lana to escort a tour group in Budapest, taking the place of an injured tour guide. Along with her property portfolio, Dotty also owned several small businesses, but Wanderlust Tours was her favourite and she wanted to make sure it stayed successful.

Lana really didn’t have a choice as her rent was due and she was broke. This offer of Dotty’s would certainly tide her over and meant that she wouldn’t be home alone over the New Year. Apart from that, it would be a free trip and she knew Dotty’s company specialised in high end travel.

“Lana had originally envisioned Budapest as a city full of gray, Communist-era buildings. But the photos in Dotty’s guidebooks were of beautifully maintained neoclassical, baroque, medieval, Gothic, and rococo buildings. Driving through the heart of the city, Lana was glad to see Dotty’s books didn’t lie. The imposing statues, tiered fountains, captivating monuments, delicate spires, and majestic buildings decorated with snow and sparkly lights made Lana feel as if they were driving through a postcard.”

Lana’s tour group is a mix of colourful, if not always likeable, characters and Lana has to diffuse more than one awkward situation. For Dotty’s sake, she was determined to do her best. The other tour guide, Carl, has troubles of his own and is finding it difficult to focus on his job, leaving Lana to cope much of the time. Then a body is found in the river, but was it an accident or something more sinister…not everyone in the group is who they seem and there are obvious hostilities rising to the surface.

Lana’s efforts to discover the truth throw up more questions than answers and her anticipation for the trip has turned into more of a nightmare. She’s trapped aboard the boat with a murderer and, as we learn more about the passengers, it seems several people might have a motive.

Along with the mystery are vivid descriptions of Budapest, picturesque scenery, wonderful Christmas markets and fascinating landmarks along the way. The mix of travel and murder make for a fun cosy mystery.

 

Book description

Who knew a New Year’s trip to Budapest could be so deadly? The tour must go on – even with a killer in their midst…

Recent divorcee Lana Hansen needs a break. Her luck has run sour for going on a decade, ever since she got fired from her favorite job as an investigative reporter. When her fresh start in Seattle doesn’t work out as planned, Lana ends up unemployed and penniless on Christmas Eve.

Dotty Thompson, her landlord and the owner of Wanderlust Tours, is also in a tight spot after one of her tour guides ends up in the hospital, leaving her a guide short on Christmas Day.

When Dotty offers her a job leading the tour group through Budapest, Hungary, Lana jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect way to ring in the new year and pay her rent!

What starts off as the adventure of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare when Carl, her fellow tour guide, is found floating in the Danube River. Was it murder or accidental death? Suspects abound when Lana discovers almost everyone on the tour had a bone to pick with Carl.

But Dotty insists the tour must go on, so Lana finds herself trapped with nine murder suspects. When another guest turns up dead, Lana has to figure out who the killer is before she too ends up floating in the Danube…

Introducing Lana Hansen, tour guide, reluctant amateur sleuth, and star of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series. Join Lana as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that, unfortunately for Lana, often turn deadly.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT A New Year’s Cosy #Mystery DEATH ON THE DANUBE by @JSAauthor

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Death On The Danube by Jennifer S. Alderson.

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I am a great fan of Jennifer S. Alderson’s Adventures of Zelda Richardson books as I really enjoy the fast pace and wonderfully exotic locations that feature in this series. When this first book in Ms Alderson’s new cozy mystery series became available, I quickly snatched it up to see what this versatile author can do in this slightly different genre. I have recently visited Budapest, so I was also keen to see how this amazing city is featured in this book.

I was not disappointed, either with regards to the genre or the setting of Death on the Danube. As a cozy mystery, this book is shorter than the Zelda books and, as a result, the characters are not as fleshed out. this was not a problem for me as I still got a good feel for Lana, the recently divorced heroine, who finds herself unexpectedly dealing with a murder investigation instead of just assuming the new role of tour guide to a party of wealthy tourists. Lana was previously an investigative journalist and this experience comes in handy when Carl, her fellow tour guide, is found floating in the Danube.

This book reminded me of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express as it had lots of interesting characters. The story dips into each potential suspects life and reveals enough tantalizing details about a few of them to make them a likely suspect and Lana must do some hard work to unravel their stories and how they fit into Carl’s messy life.

Carl was an interesting chap with his involved history of womanizing, gambling and misleading people in order to gain their financial support. He was likable enough for me to not entirely hate him and I felt rather bad about his untimely death even though he was a bit of a rotter.

The introduction of the travel element and virtual tour the author gives her readers separates this book from others in this genre and made it a really interesting read. The depictions of the tourist destinations were interesting and the descriptions of the food, tantalizing.

I would strongly recommend this book to lovers of cozy mysteries and short murder mystery stories.

 

Book description

Who knew a New Year’s trip to Budapest could be so deadly? The tour must go on – even with a killer in their midst…

Recent divorcee Lana Hansen needs a break. Her luck has run sour for going on a decade, ever since she got fired from her favorite job as an investigative reporter. When her fresh start in Seattle doesn’t work out as planned, Lana ends up unemployed and penniless on Christmas Eve.

Dotty Thompson, her landlord and the owner of Wanderlust Tours, is also in a tight spot after one of her tour guides ends up in the hospital, leaving her a guide short on Christmas Day.

When Dotty offers her a job leading the tour group through Budapest, Hungary, Lana jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect way to ring in the new year and pay her rent!

What starts off as the adventure of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare when Carl, her fellow tour guide, is found floating in the Danube River. Was it murder or accidental death? Suspects abound when Lana discovers almost everyone on the tour had a bone to pick with Carl.

But Dotty insists the tour must go on, so Lana finds herself trapped with nine murder suspects. When another guest turns up dead, Lana has to figure out who the killer is before she too ends up floating in the Danube…

Introducing Lana Hansen, tour guide, reluctant amateur sleuth, and star of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series. Join Lana as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that, unfortunately for Lana, often turn deadly.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery MURDER AT THE COLUMBARIUM by @TheEmilyGallo @ImChrisBarboza #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Sean, he blogs here https://ebookwormssite.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Sean has been reading Murder At The Columbarium by Emily Gallo

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Summary:

This is an interesting whodunnit story, which has a number of other threads running through it.

Main Characters:

Jed Gibbons: Sixty-something African-American, curator of a Columbarium (a building where funeral urns are stored).

Monica: His wife, positively diagnosed with HIV.

Minor Characters:

Dutch: Sixty-something grower of legal weed.

Juniper: Dutch’s live-in companion, and overseer of his farming operations.

Malcolm: Long-time friend of Jed and Monica.

Tony: Another friend, roughly the same age as Jed, who covers for him at the Columbarium when he needs to travel to investigate.

Plot:

Jed arrives at work, and discovers the body of a Pakistani woman on the grounds, along with her still-breathing little baby girl. He immediately calls the police, and the novel is up and running.

Jed is of course a person of interest, and he quickly gets sucked into the police investigation process, initially to prove his innocence, then fired by his desire to foster the little girl, that he and Monica name Aja.

While the murder investigation gathers pace in the novel, normal life also goes on, and we get an insight into the relationships and world that Jed and Monica have. They are particularly close to Malcolm and his partner Savali, who is undergoing gender transition. They are struggling to cope with the impending closure of the old folks home they are running, and the need to place their residents. This has no direct impact on the investigation, but the threads are neatly pulled together by the end.

As a result of Jed’s amateur work, he is led to weed-farmers Dutch and Juniper, who become good friends, even though they run a personal risk. His work also unearths less savoury characters, and Jed relies on the police and FBI for support.

Throughout all this, we see the tensions rise between Jed and Monica over Aja, their shared hopes and dreams, and the practicality of two sixty-somethings raising an infant.

What I Liked:

  • It is more than a simple whodunnit. We get a real sense of people at a point in time, their lives, and how they deal with change and stress.
  • The multiplicity of topics raised – racism (both direct and indirect), importance of family, different moral viewpoints on cultural issues, etc.
  • The plotline was excellent, with some surprising twists, and there was some strong character development in Jed and Monica.

 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • There was obviously a preceding book, as there are references to events that happened previously, and characters who are mentioned but not “seen. This did throw the story for me a little, because I couldn’t see where those characters/events helped this novel.
  • There were a couple of scenes that were too domestic, in that the conversation was desultory, and nothing happened to move the story along.

 

Overall:

I found it a pleasant read, well-structured and reasonably paced. There are a lot of sub-issues addressed, but there is no high moral ground taken. The issues are raised as being normal, and treated by the characters in that way, with pros and cons. It will please fans of the amateur detective genre, as it hits all the touchpoints. Definitely recommend.

Book description

Jed’s quiet life as caretaker of the San Francisco Columbarium is turned upside down when he comes upon a dead woman’s body and a crying baby just inside the gate. His search for answers thrusts him into a world of corruption, bigotry and drug trafficking and he becomes one of the principal suspects.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery HIDE NOT SEEK by @dehaggerty

Today’s team review is from Karen, she blogs here https://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Hide Not Seek by D.E. Haggerty

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This book focuses on Pru, finding creepy notes – has her murdered friend’s stalker found her?

With “Hide Not Seek”, D. E. Haggerty has created an expertly worded and very funny suspense story with a romantic touch. The story comprises a broad variety of believable characters with sufficient depth, hilarious moments, and interesting interactions to solve the case of the diamond pendant necklace. I had a great time reading “Hide Not Seek” – it is a very fun read. I was drawn into the story right away, chuckling about the stubborn protagonists, shaking my head – a lot because of Mel; for me, Terri and Ryder are a great counterpoint for Mel.

This is for you if you like female amateur sleuths, stubborn and determined women, hilarious situations as well as a great combination of cosy suspense, humour, and romance.

A funny and suspenseful book to read again; I hope for the opportunity to read #2 – which I sadly missed – as well.

Recommended.

Book description

I know who you really are.

Pru has a secret, which she has no plans to reveal – ever. But after a woman is murdered and all clues point to her, she has no choice but to disclose her true identity. When her revelations thwart the killer’s plan to frame Pru for murder, the killer begins stalking her. With each note he sends, he gets closer. The police are stumped. Pru wants to run away. She really, really wants to run, but Ajax has found the woman of his dreams and he’s not letting her go anywhere. He can be patient. In the meantime, he’ll protect her with his life. Pru isn’t feeling very patient, and her friends, Mel and Terri, are definitely not willing to wait until the police discover who the stalker is. The three friends take matters into their own hands and jump headfirst into the investigation.

Will Pru and her friends uncover her stalker before he turns his violence on Pru?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery Picture Not Perfect by @dehaggerty

Today’s team review is from Sandra.

#RBRT Review Team

Sandra has been reading Picture Not Perfect by D.E. Haggerty

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This is the second book in the ‘Not So Reluctant Detective’ series set in a high school in Milwaukee.

Melanie is the school guidance counselor and her friend, Terri, is the librarian. Although it can be read as a standalone, I think you would understand more about Mel’s behaviour if you read them in order (first book is Terri’s story).

Mel is accused of the murder of a teacher; although he was creepy, and kept asking her out, he was not stalking her as the police claim. Determined to prove her innocence before they lock her up, Mel‘s impulsive behaviour leads her friends into a lot of hilarious escapades, some more dangerous than others.

One thing that did seem over the top was the reaction of her police officer boyfriend, Owen, when she did something stupid and reckless (Terri’s boyfriend was the same in the first book). Mel’s impulsive behaviour is revealed to be because of ADHD; it is unusual to read about it in an adult though it is handled sensitively.

There is a lot of humour in this book, and we laugh and cringe in equal measure at the antics of Mel, Terri and their new friend, Pru. Although Mel can be exasperating it is hard not to like her.

I enjoyed this short, light-hearted mystery and have already ordered the next one, Hide Not Seek.

Book description

A picture tells a story. But is it the truth?

When the police find pictures of Melanie hanging up at her murdered colleague’s house, they’re convinced he was stalking her. Maybe she even killed him. Melanie was not being stalked! And she certainly didn’t kill her supposed stalker – as if. But Mel – always up for a bit of drama – jumps at the chance to go search for the real killer. When Mel’s ex-boyfriend, Owen, discovers her plans, he pulls out all the stops to ensure she’s safe and to win her back. No matter what happens with the murder investigation, he’s not letting her go. With the police setting their sights on Mel, he may need to jeopardize his own career on the police force to protect her.

Will Mel find the real killer before the detectives arrest her for murder?

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