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Hamlet’s back

Words with Fiends (Berkley, 11/2013) is the third volume in the Black Cat Bookshop mystery series by Ali Brandon.  Bookshop owner Darla Pettistone is worried about Hamlet, her cat.  Recently he hasn’t chased a single customer out of the shop or clawed open anyone’s shopping bags–unusual behavior for the ornery feline.  So she decides to hire a cat whisperer for Hamlet.  Darla has admitted to feeling a bit fragile herself  after the events in the last book, A Novel Way to Die (Berkley, 2012).  Her remedy:  she is taking classes twice a week from Tom Tomlinson, a revered  local instructor who teaches his own brand of martial arts combining elements of karate and judo.  Tomlinson, a contemporary of Bruce Lee, is now almost seventy years old, but remarkably fit and wise.  Why would someone want to kill him?

–posted 11/30/2013

Posted November/29/2013

Mystery/war novel

Just added to eSequels are two novels that are an interesting blend of mystery and war novel. Captain Thomas Oscendale was a police detective in Wales before the war. Now when the story begins in 1916 he is an officer in the British Military Foot Police assigned to the Welsh Regiment (38th) fighting near the Somme. Oscendale understands the disdain that both officers and soldiers feel for the military police. Yet he is a thoughtful and diligent investigator of the crimes that are brought to him. The Dead of Mametz (Y Lofa Cyf, 2012) is set against one of the deadliest battles of WW1–the Welsh division lost about 4,000 men killed or wounded. The second book is Demons Walk Among Us (Y Lolfa Cyrf, 2013) takes place while Oscendale is on leave in Wales. Author Jonathan Hicks, a military historian, paints a realistic picture of war at the front. Dr. Hicks is the Headteacher of St Cyres Comprehensive School in Penarth, Wales.

–posted 11/17/2013

Posted November/17/2013

Maigret revival

maigret gambonGeorges Simenon’s novels starring French detective Jules Maigret is being reprinted by Penguin beginning in February 2014 with the release of the Pietr the Latvian and The Late Monsieur Gallet. Thereafter they will release a new title every month until all 75 are available. The books will be published in both paperback and ebook format accompanied by a healthy marketing campaign. The series about the big, patient police inspector, who solved crimes by slowly coming to understand the criminal’s mind and background was an immediate hit in France when it was introduced in 1931 and quickly caught on in England and America . Inspector Maigret is about forty-five years old and living a quiet life with his wife in their Paris apartment when the series starts and ages hardly at all through the next 43 years. The last book was published in 1973. Simenon died in1973.  His executors chose Penguin for this edition of his work.  Several of the Belgian author’s non-fiction titles will be re-issued also.

NOTE:  The video series staring Michael Gambon as Maigret ran on many PBS stations across the U.S. and is available on Amazon Prime.  The twelve episodes were filmed in Budapest in 1992-92.

–post revised 1/2015

Posted November/12/2013

Jack Taggart, undercover Mountie

assetWho knew that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had an undercover unit? Author Don Easton worked as an undercover Mountie for 20 years, so he must know his stuff. The hero of this series is Corporal Jack Taggart, an RCMP undercover operative who pits himself against drug-runners, human traffickers, and other antisocial types in the course of his duties. His assignments take him to an amazing variety of exotic places, from the beaches of Cuba to the ghettos of Hanoi. Corporate Asset (Dundurn, 10/15/2013), the seventh book in the series, focuses on white collar crime, insurance fraud and murder. Taggert and his assistant Constable Laura Secord, are working together out of Vancouver’s Intelligence Unit. In a desperate attempt to flush out the criminals behind an insurance scam, Jack sets himself up as bait to be murdered.

— posted 11/11/2013

Posted November/11/2013

New Dandy Gilver

dandyIn this series of humorous mysteries set in Scotland in the 1920s, Catriona McPherson has created a beguiling heroine, Mrs. Dandelion “Dandy” Gilver, a wife and mother who is bored with her family and social life and turns to solving mysteries for excitement. Dandy’s husband Hugh and their two boys, Donald and Teddy’s are too conventional to hold her interest. She would much rather be sleuthing with Alec Osborne, her “Watson.” Her favorite investigations seem to be cases that require her to go undercover disguised as a maid or a teacher. Not all of the early volumes have been published in the U. S. yet. Dandy’s newest adventure, number 7 in the series, is Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses (Minotaur, 11/2013).  Dandy infiltrates St. Columba’s school as a new teacher and discovers that instructors are quitting, being fired or disappearing at an alarming rate.  Readers will enjoy Dandy’s website,,  with recipes from the cook, comments from the butler and fashion tips from Dandy’s maid.  Fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Carola Dunn and Kerry Greenwood will like Dandy.

–posted 11/5/2013

Posted November/6/2013

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