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

#RBRT Review Team

Sean has been reading Murder At The Columbarium by Emily Gallo

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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.


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.



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

#RBRT Review Team

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


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.


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?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS


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


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?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS