🔎Vintage Cosy #Mystery. @OlgaNM7 Reviews Murder At Buckskin Joe by @jvlbell, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Olga.

Olga blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Olga has been reading Murder At Buckskin Joe by JVL Bell

Book cover for cosy mystery Murder At Buckskin Joe by JVL Bell, set againsta a background of a scene with a pond, green fields and snowy mountains from a free photo from Pixabay
Murder At Buckskin Joe by JVL Bell

Cozy mysteries can be a bit hit-and-miss for me, but this one, with the added attraction of the historical gold-mining background setting and the fabulous cast of characters worked wonderfully for me, and I loved it. Even though this is the third book in a series, it can be read and enjoyed in its own right, as it does provide readers with all the relevant details needed to follow the story, although I confess I wouldn’t mind reading the two previous ones.

The description of the book is quite apt, although it can’t reflect the full catalogue of adventures and characters included in the novel. We have the fabulous background of the gold mining town (already running out of gold at the time of the story), with plentiful but well-integrated historical detail; we have the day-to-day drudgery of living in an outpost of “civilization” (a term I use fairly loosely here); we have the animals (I love Buttercup, the fainting goat, and don’t ask me to explain, but I am also fond of the burros [donkeys in Spanish], and even the bear… No, I’m not explaining that either); we have a sheriff who is a gifted baker (the characters aren’t the only ones drooling over his confectionery); we have secret and newly found relatives all around; we have ill-fated love stories, and others that seemed impossible but work out; we have Dom and Millie’s children, Rachel (oh, she is infuriating but such a fabulously realistic character, and I love her to bits), and Hosa (who wouldn’t worry about a Navajo boy who lost his family but only wants to go back and fight against the white men?)… And, of course, we have Dom and Minnie. Minnie is the main character, and although the story is told in the third-person, we see everything from her point of view, and it is impossible not to like her. I particularly enjoyed the fact that she is not a modern heroin transplanted to the past. Although she has her own ideas, she also hesitates, tries her hardest to conform to the norms (down to using etiquette books and all), feels conflicted about her desire to investigate and what she feels is her duty towards her husband and children, and she is not perfect. She is daring and determined, rushed at times, but she can also be frightened and even phobic about certain situations. She doubts her own skills as a mother and questions herself, and that made her a true character rather than a caricature for me. Dom, her husband, is again not perfect. He supports her, is patient with her and understands her, but he is not beyond making mistakes, trusting people he shouldn’t, and even turning on her when he gets anxious or scared. Yes, they do fight, and yes, they do love each other. It feels like a real marriage, with two people trying their hardest to make everything work in their highly unconventional family.

I have already mentioned some of the things I really liked about this novel. I enjoyed the way the characters are created, because even those who don’t play big parts are not simple cut-outs. They all have their personalities, their distinctive features, and they all keep us guessing. I also like the historical note the author includes at the beginning of the novel. I have read historical novels where I spent most of the time wondering how much of what I was reading was based in fact and how much was creative license. Here, the author covers that at the very beginning, before we start reading, and although in her acknowledgments she talks about her sources and her process of creation in more detail, we are in no doubt as to what we are reading.

I also enjoyed that, despite the many things going on throughout the novel, the actual investigation is never too far away from the centre of the action, and although, evidently, this is not a police procedural novel where everything is highly scientific and all the details are accounted for, if we take into account the era and where the action takes place, the murder mystery works well, and I loved the slightly bittersweet ending as well.

The writing is dynamic, flows well, and it combines inner reflection and observation on the part of Millie with plenty of action scenes, which keep us turning the pages. There are many amusing moments, some scary ones as well, and the dialogues bring the characters to life and make them jump out of the page truly realised. We also learn about gold mining and about the era, its social mores and the way daily life was organised, and the knowledge and research the author has done and her talent in combining a cozy murder mystery with a historical novel portraying the life in the second half of the XIX century in the Territory of Colorado shines through. It’s a winner.

I don’t really dislike anything about the book; I can only say that I hope there will be further adventures, and we’ll get to know what happened to some of the other characters we’ve met here. I am happy there are previous novels I can catch up on as well.

In summary, this is a fantastic novel. It is funny, it is informative, it is full to the brim with unforgettable characters, it has plenty of adventures, it contains historical information about gold mining that never impedes the flow of the story, and it includes adventures and action scenes to satisfy those who prefer stories that keep moving along at a good pace. And a fairly solid, if cozy, mystery. There are threats, scary moments, and even violence, although not extreme, and I would recommend it to anybody who enjoys a good yarn. It’s solid gold.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Territory of Colorado, 1865

Millie knows the raucous mining town of Buckskin Joe is no place for children, but when Dom’s Uncle George shows up needing help, the whole family reluctantly heads to South Park. George has been accused of murdering his mining partner, Wandering Will, and although Millie questions his innocence, she finds there are many suspects who wanted Will dead.

There’s fancy-girl Queeny, Will’s ex-wife, and dancehall-girl Kate, who wanted to be Will’s next wife—until he dumped her. Mountain man Kootenay despised Will enough to have dispatched him and the Odd Fellows have seized George and Will’s mine, claiming the gold inside for themselves.

Millie’s investigation heats up when Dom volunteers to visit the local saloon for some hands-on investigating of Queeny and Kate. Interruptions from hostile Utes, the children’s devilment, and the local schoolmistress chasing after Dom make this Millie’s most difficult investigation—especially when the killer decides she is getting too close.

Murder at Buckskin Joe weaves a cozy murder mystery with fascinating South Park mining history and lovable, unforgettable historic characters.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

‘A fun, entertaining series’ @CathyRy reviews Cosy #Mystery Madam Tulip and the Rainbow’s End by @DaveAhernWriter

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading Madam Tulip and the Rainbow’s End by David Ahern.

Madam Tulip and the Rainbow’s End, the fifth instalment of this popular series, finds Derry O’Donnell and her fellow thespian and good friend, ex Navy Seal, Bruce, left to pick up the pieces when the rest of the cast desert the touring production they were involved in, without paying. Not only that, they made off with the box office takings leaving Derry and Bruce with the hotel and bar bill for everyone.

Luckily Derry has her alter ego, Madame Tulip, to fall back on, so while Bruce searches for a job, Derry dons her Madame Tulip costume to tell fortunes at a charity event to help work off their debt. Derry’s uncanny gift is the result of her being the daughter of the seventh son of a seventh son. Madam Tulip is the character created by Derry and her friends and transforms her into an elegant, mature lady who has a natural affinity with Tarot and crystals, which helps her clients to find answers to their questions.

As a result of being forced to stay on, Derry and Bruce get caught up in a mystery and a crypto currency puzzle involving an inheritance. And who, if anyone, was responsible for the death of a talented stone mason. Derry and Bruce are on the case although it’s anything but straightforward.

This is a fun, entertaining series, due in no small measure to Derry’s parents, Jacko and Vanessa, and their one-upmanship antics, which always frustrates Derry as she is in the middle, implored by both sides to make the other see sense. The characters are well developed and their relationships and interactions believable. Derry has grown more comfortable and self assured in her role as Madam Tulip, especially since she stopped telling fortunes at celebrity events and parties as it seemed to lead her into the sort of company she’d much rather not keep.

The character driven plot has enough suspects for confusion, cryptic clues to a puzzle, danger and a great setting.

Desc 1

On the private island of a wealthy banker, a young and talented stonemason falls from a cliff. A tragic accident? Or murder?

The dead man’s sister is obsessed with justice and will stop at nothing.
A glamorous French widow and her heart-throb son are certain they have been cheated of their legacy.
A daughter is bequeathed an island mansion beyond her means.
An enigmatic letter hints at a hidden fortune.

After the collapse of her theatrical tour, actress Derry O’Donnell must work to pay her way in a West of Ireland village. As Madam Tulip, she tells fortunes for a local charity only to be drawn into a maze of mystery and intrigue.

Madam Tulip and the Rainbow’s End is the fifth in the Madam Tulip series of mystery-adventures, in which out-of-luck actress Derry O’Donnell finds the promise at the End of the Rainbow may not be what it seems.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

A Cosy #Mystery. @LizanneLloyd Reviews Bells, Tails And Murder by @KathyManosPenn

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading Bells, Tails And Murder by Kathy Manos Penn.

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Leta Parker has long been an Anglophile, so after the tragic death of her husband she decides to leave Atlanta, taking her dog and cat to start a new life in a Cotswold village. It’s the perfect setting for a cosy mystery and Leta’s inquiring mind and interest in people make her an ideal detective. But when Leta finds a body in suspicious circumstances, she has trouble convincing local policewoman, Gemma, that she is not just an interfering American with too much time on her hands.

There are many possible villagers who have motives for the murder but they are Leta’s friends so she searches for clues. In an added twist Leta discusses her investigation with dog, Dickens, and cat, Christie. Not only do they understand her, but she can also interpret everything they say. Suspension of disbelief is necessary, but it adds to the fun! At times I had problems remembering who was who, so a list of characters at the beginning of the book would have been helpful.*

Readers on both sides of the pond will appreciate the descriptions of a visit to Oxford and of the charming imaginary Cotswold village. The setting reminded me of the adventures of Agatha Raisin with a little bit of Midsummer Murder and it is a good choice appealing to both a British and an American audience. If you fancy a light read with a mystery to solve its great escapism.

*Whoops There was a helpful summary of the characters at the beginning of the book but somehow I missed it (Remember to go to the very beginning of a book on Kindle!)

Desc 1

She crossed an ocean to start her life over. Can she nab a killer before her quaint village becomes a graveyard?


Recently widowed Leta Parker desperately needs a change of scenery. Pursuing her lifelong dream of retiring to the Cotswolds, she leaves her soulless corporate hustle in Atlanta and moves to England with her talking dog and cat companions—Dickens and Christie. But she’s barely begun making new friends when she stumbles across her housekeeper’s body …


With several villagers pegged for the crime, Leta teams up with a retired English teacher and her sharp-as-a-tack octogenarian mother to track the killer before the trail goes cold. As the not-so-friendly local policewoman elbows them out and scandalous rumours plague the tight-knit community, it’s left to the ladies and their pets to sleuth for the truth.


Can Leta, Dickens, and Christie sniff out the culprit before the cute little town loses more than its charm?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Paranormal #Thriller Madam Tulip And The Serpent’s Tree by @DaveAhernWriter #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Madam Tulip And The Serpent’s Tree by Dave Ahern

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Derry O’ Donnell, a talented but at the moment jobless actress, along with her friends, rising TV star Bella and ex Navy SEAL Bruce, have secured a three week run for their fledgling theatre company. Pat Kelly, pub owner and band manager, has offered a room above the pub as a venue. But first Derry was required to grant a favour and become her alter ego, Madam Tulip, for a party. Pat Kelly manages pop group Maramar and is hosting a birthday bash for the lead singer, Aileen.

Madam Tulip was born as a means for Derry to make some cash when jobs were scarce. Not that she was a fraud, she was the daughter of a seventh son of a seventh son and was a skilled tarot and palm reader which she practices withy integrity. However, all too often her other persona had lead her into situations she would rather have avoided. But it seems without Madam Tulip the theatre company would be a no-go.

Almost as soon as she arrives at the retreat in the Dublin mountains, Derry is made aware Pat Kelly wants her to compromise her moral principles.

“Gloom settled on Derry like a cold fog. She felt the energy drain from her body. Why did people always want something you weren’t selling and shouldn’t sell? Predictable. Tedious. Wearying. Too depressing to be merely a bore.”

During the weekend Derry finds herself an unwitting confidante for Aileen’s insecurities which lead her further into the dramas and obsessions that seem inherent with the level of success achieved by Maramar. More problems and suspicions arise when Aileen’s shaman and therapist Kira, who is distrusted and disliked by most, disappears.

Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree is told mainly from Derry’s third person perspective. It’s to David Ahern’s credit that the writing, engaging and enjoyable in itself, is also extremely visual and witty, with a smoothly flowing narrative. Diverse and colourful characters are fabulously realised. My favourites, Derry who is feeling conflicting emotions about her role as Madam Tulip and Bruce…who wouldn’t want a friend like Bruce.

“The sensation of becoming Madam Tulip was familiar but more intense than Derry had ever experienced. She had the strangest feeling that Derry O’Donnell, actress—the person whose body and brain she had inhabited all her life—had evaporated.”

Derry and Bruce are drawn into intrigue and much danger with a very atmospheric and dramatic conclusion that included two of my worst nightmares, fear of heights and claustrophobia, rising to to the surface. Those scenes might just have been described a little too vividly.  Offsetting the drama and adding a comedic element are Derry’s parents, Jacko and Venessa, who are in opposition over the book Jacko is supposedly writing.

An excellent addition to a series that includes mystery and suspense with a touch of romance, and one which I hope will carry on.

Book description

Actress Derry O’Donnell, moonlighting as fortune-teller Madam Tulip, finds herself in a famous pop singer’s entourage. But at the star’s glittering birthday party in the Dublin mountains, Derry finds a band riven by rivalries and feuds. Behind the trouble is a mysterious Russian guru, a shaman hated by everyone but the singer whose life she dominates.

When the shaman mysteriously disappears, suspicion threatens to tear the band apart. Was she victim or poisoner? Guilty or innocent? Dead or alive?

Two brilliant and beautiful musicians; an ambitious band manager with a shady past; a sax player entranced by Vikings–each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Paranormal #Thriller Madam Tulip And The Serpent’s Tree by @DaveAhernWriter

Today’s team review is from Barb, she blogs here https://barbtaub.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading Madam Tulip And The Serpent’s Tree by David Ahern

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My Review: 5 stars out of 5

She’s baaaack! I can’t binge on the absolutely bingeworthy Madam Tulip series because I obsessively grab each new book the second I can get my hands on it. Then I make a bowl of popcorn, pour my annual Guinness, and head back to Ireland with some of my favorite fiction friends. As I said in my review of Book 3, they include the (attractive of course) young actress, Derry O’Donnell—permanently broke and scratching for the next job in the Dublin theater scene, consistently dating the wrong flavor-of-the-week, while waiting for The Big Break—and her alter ego Madam Tulip, celebrity psychic and fortune-teller. (*That’s Madam without an “e”, because she’s not married to Monsieur Tulip.)

Derry’s supporting cast includes her mother Vanessa—successful American art gallery owner, artist’s agent, and force of nature. Vanessa is divorced from (but still agent to) Derry’s father, Jacko—famous Irish artist whose painting skills are second only to his ability to gamble (and lose) money. Then there are Derry’s acting friends, Bella (black, Belfast-born actress with catch-phrase ‘Say No to Negativity!’), and Bruce (gay ex-Navy Seal, actor, computer expert, and total eye-candy). [note: and in case you didn’t get the gay part, his remarkably prescient parents did, in fact, name him “Bruce”.]

In the team’s latest adventure, Derry is (as usual) caught between her ever-competing parents as her father Jacko prepares his tell-all, career-destroying autobiography while her mother Vanessa bemoans the inevitable loss of his career (and, of course, all those lovely commissions).

But Derry has bigger problems. Her uncomfortable relationship with alter ego Madam Tulip doesn’t stand a chance against her even more troubled bank balance when she accepts a gig as member of a rock star’s entourage. As usual, Madam Tulip has barely started telling her first fortune when murder attempts and accusations begin to pile up.

“Derry wondered if the source of her inspiration wasn’t her years spent in Ireland, where believing anybody’s motives are anything but self-serving, dishonest, and probably criminal was universally viewed as the sign of a half-wit.”

But two things are different this time. First, this is a darker adventure in every way. Events are already set in motion, but Madam Tulip’s very real gift is quick to shed light on a cauldron of seething motives. And second, unlike the past events where Derry was always aware that Madam Tulip was just another character she’s playing as an actor, this time she finds the character taking over. ‘This time, Madam Tulip felt more real than I did. As if she were acting me, like she was the one truly alive. Am I crazy?’

Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree has all the pieces I’ve loved so far. Derry and her friends’ backstory and characters continue to become more complex and rounded. Her parents continue to provide comic relief. The affectionate yet honest descriptions of Dublin and surrounding countryside are beautifully written.

New characters are introduced with author David Ahern’s usual brilliant descriptions, such as Pat Kelly, band manager and aspiring nightclub developer, “He was short and overweight, his pudgy face strongly tanned, like he spent long hours on a sunbed or had just returned from a winter vacation. His hair was black and curly, longer than fashionable. His clothes were youthful, obviously designer, though his socks were white and his shoes were black slip-ons, cheap-looking and too shiny. His shirt gaped over his belly, straining the buttons.” We probably know everything we need from just those white socks and too-shiny shoes.

As Derry has already discovered, interpreting Madam Tulip’s intuition isn’t an exact science. Take the serpent symbol, for example. Is it a warning, as it seems when Derry first sees a mysterious bracelet? Is it a symbol of the end of the world, as her Viking-loving new friend Nils tells her? Perhaps it’s part of the message from the tarot cards, or even an incomprehensible vision beckoning her to safety in her single moment of greatest danger? Derry never decides, and maybe we won’t know either.

For anyone who enjoys plenty of wisecracking banter, a cast of offbeat characters willing to risk their lives for each other—even if not in ways I could have predicted, as when Bruce brings Derry back from brink of hysteria by insisting she recite Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy—and a rollercoaster thriller plot, I can’t recommend this series enough.

And for you lucky ones who are not (yet) addicted, Madam Tulip predicts a treat in store for you: the first three books in her series are now available as a box set at special savings. What could you possibly be waiting for?

Book description

Actress Derry O’Donnell, moonlighting as fortune-teller Madam Tulip, finds herself in a famous pop singer’s entourage. But at the star’s glittering birthday party in the Dublin mountains, Derry finds a band riven by rivalries and feuds. Behind the trouble is a mysterious Russian guru, a shaman hated by everyone but the singer whose life she dominates.

When the shaman mysteriously disappears, suspicion threatens to tear the band apart. Was she victim or poisoner? Guilty or innocent? Dead or alive?

Two brilliant and beautiful musicians; an ambitious band manager with a shady past; a sax player entranced by Vikings–each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT MADAM TULIP by @DaveAhernWriter cosy #Mystery

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs at https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz has been reading Madam Tulip by David Ahern

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Madam Tulip by David Ahern

 

Derry O’Donnell is a fully qualified out of work actress who lives in Dublin. Her father, Jacko, is a charming artist, fond of gambling, while her mother, Vanessa, is an assertive, successful Gallery owner in New York.

 

Derry’s friend, Bella suggests that Derry uses her psychic talents, as the daughter of a seventh son of a seventh son, to create the persona of a mystic called Madam Tulip. After meeting a friend of Jacko at a race course, Derry is persuaded by supermodel Marlene O’Mara to give Madam Tulip her first performance, giving consultations and predictions to clients at a Charity Bash taking place in a castle, the following weekend. Among the guests are Mojo, a rapper from London and his partner Sonya Dee, an American R n B singer.

 

Derry finds Bruce, an old friend and also a “resting” actor, working at the castle. In addition, he is an ex US navy SEAL with special skills which she will soon need to rely on. Mojo is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Bella is arrested. When it looks as though Derry might also be framed for murder, she decides to find the real culprit, but she is hindered by the lack of co-operation of her old flame, Fitz, an aristocratic policeman from London, who is working incognito.

 

Derry is a brave, likeable heroine, who inspires loyalty from her friends. She relishes danger, although unsure of the advantage of her ability to sense people’s secrets and predict consequences. The second half of the novel is full of drama and adventure. It is clear that Derry or Madam Tulip could continue with other thrilling investigations since you can trust her and enjoy her sardonic humour.

 

This story fits into the cosy mystery genre but there is also a touch of Irish feyness which reminds me of the books of David’s namesake, Cecelia Ahern. A most enjoyable read.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT LOVE IN THE TIME OF MURDER by @denaehaggerty #Mystery

Today’s team review comes from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle has been reading Love in the Time of Murder by D. E Haggerty.

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Book Review: Love in the Time of Murder by D.E. Haggerty

Love in the Time of Murder is book three in The Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives series by this author. I will confess I haven’t read the first two, but I didn’t have any trouble getting into the story and understanding the relationships of the characters. I understand this is the last book in the series, and the previous two are also stand-alones.
This is a fun romp of a cozy. Delilah, or Dee as she is known to her friends, is the granddaughter of a group of elderly ladies who get together to knit and solve crimes. Her life is in a bit of a mess. Her husband Brock has become abusive for an unknown reason. Dee finally manages to leave him and move out on her own, but this means moving in with her grandmother, who raised her, with her attendant knitting and busy-body posse. Soon after, Brock shows up to take Dee back, and things get ugly before he finally leaves. For me, this was the most immediate and emotionally tense part of the story. While Dee is trying to figure out how to handle the situation – the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives insist she get a restraining order – Brock is found murdered and Dee is suspect number one.
Dee’s problems don’t end there, since the ladies see the perfect opportunity to find Dee a new man and put their matchmaking skills to use. Dee is having none of it, except for the fact the man they select – Tommy, introduced in the previous book – is handsome and makes her heart sing. At the same time, the ladies dive into finding the real killer, in order to save Dee.
The grannies are at once nosey, frustrating, overbearing and irritating. I myself got irritated with them, along with Dee’s moving back and forth from her new apartment to her grandmother’s. I think the relationship between Dee’s gay employer and his boyfriend is a little too blatant for my taste – they seem to be snogging in public at every opportunity (really?) – and some of the humor didn’t reach my funny bone. Equally frustrating is Dee’s reluctance to overrule her grandmother and the posse, despite being constantly ambushed by people with the best of intentions but oblivious to her mental distress. I wonder whether this is because the book is told in first person, which means the reader sees and feels everything through Dee’s eyes. Third person would allow the reader to view the characters in a less biased way.
Having said that, the mystery is a good one. The revelations about Brock keep you wondering just who he actually was, and overall, the book is a good story. Some of the wit and sarcasm I liked and there were some one-liners that made me laugh; I just wish the other relationships hadn’t fogged the sleuthing so much.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com