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Tag Archives: book group

Dorothy L. Sayers’ “Gaudy Night”

gaudynightJust Desserts Logo 225In April, the Just Desserts group returned to a “classic” mystery author, in Dorothy Sayers. Our selected title is part of her Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vale series — Gaudy Night. “In this Lord Peter Wimsey whodunit, mystery writer Harriet Vane attends her Oxford reunion, known as the “Gaudy”. But the festivities are haunted by a series of ghastly warnings which threaten murder. Soon Harriet and her paramour, Lord Peter Wimsey, find themselves ensnared in a nightmare of terror.” Originally published in 1936.

This title was discussed at the Just Desserts meeting on April 24, 2008. We encourage you to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below!

Robert B. Parker’s “Trouble in Paradise”

troubleinparadiseJust Desserts Logo 225Our Just Desserts title for March 2008 was Trouble in Paradise, the second Jesse Stone novel by Robert B. Parker. Robert B. Parker and his legendary Spenser series have long been considered the ne plus ultra of detective fiction. But the critics’ praise for Jesse Stone’s debut in Night Passage proved there was room for an addition to the Parker literary canon. “A novel as fresh as it is bold? Parker’s sentences flow with as much wit, grace, and assurance as ever, and Stone is a complex and consistently interesting new protagonist. His speedy return will be welcome” (Newsday). “Stiles Island is a wealthy and exclusive enclave separated by a bridge from the Massachusetts coast town of Paradise. James Macklin sees Stiles Island as the ultimate investment opportunity: all he needs to do is invade the island, blow up the bridge, and loot the island. To realize his investment, Macklin, along with his devoted girlfriend, Faye, assembles a crew of fellow ex-cons — all experts in their fields — including Wilson Cromartie, a fearsome Apache. James Macklin is a bad man — a very bad man. And Wilson Cromartie, known as Crow, is even worse. As Macklin plans his crime, Paradise Police Chief Jesse Stone has his hands full. He faces romantic entanglements in triplicate: his ex-wife, Jenn, is in the Paradise jail for assault; he’s begun a new relationship with a Stiles Island realtor named Marcy Campbell; and he’s still sorting out his feelings for attorney Abby Taylor. When Macklin’s attack on Stiles Island is set in motion, both Marcy and Abby are put in jeopardy. As the casualties mount, it’s up to Jesse to keep both women from harm.”

 This title was discussed at the Just Desserts meeting on March 27, 2008. We encourage you to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below!

Ngaio Marsh’s “Grave Mistake”

gravemistakeJust Desserts Logo 225In February 2008, we discussed a classic mystery by Ngaio Marsh. The title to read was Grave Mistake, one of her Inspector Alleyn novels. “A bit snobbish and a trifle high-strung, Sybil Foster prides herself on owning the finest estate in Upper Quintern and hiring the best gardener. In fact, she is rapturous over the new asparagus beds when a visit from her unwelcome stepson sends her scurrying to a chic spa for a rest cure, a liaison with the spa’s director…and an apparent suicide. Her autopsy holds one surprise, a secret drawer a second. And Inspector Roderick Alleyn, C.I.D., digging about Upper Quintern, may unearth still a third…deeply buried motive for murder.” From her first book in 1934 to her final volume just before her death in 1982, Ngaio Marsh’s work has remained legendary, and is often compared to that of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. During her celebrated fifty-year career, Marsh was made a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, was named Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire, won numerous prestigious awards, and penned 32 mystery novels.

This title was discussed at the Just Desserts meeting on February 28, 2008. We encourage you to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below!

James D. Doss’ “Shadow Man”

shadowmandossJust Desserts Logo 225Following our holiday hiatus at the end of 2007, Just Desserts returned in January 2008 with another Native American mystery. Our author was James Doss. Our selected title is Shadow Man, a 2005 entry in his Shaman Mysteries series, featuring Ute tribal investigator Charlie Moon. “When a fomer prosecuting attorney is killed by a shot from a long-range rifle while dining late one evening at an exclusive Granite Creek, Colorado, restaurant, it seems obvious that a vengeful criminal is to blame. But orthodontist Manfred Blinkoe was sitting ten feet away and he insists to Chief of Police Scott Parris that he was the intended victim. In fact, he claims that just before the shot was fired, he saw his doppelganger — an eerie look-alike — as he has in the past just before other near-death experiences. Terrified that his would-be killer is getting closer and closer, Blinkoe hires Ute tribal investigator Charlie Moon to find this mysterious stalker before he can hit his mark. But before Charlie or Scott — or the lovely FBI Special Agent Lila McTeague, also working out of Granite Creek — can get anywhere in their respective investigations, the killer strikes again, and this time he doesn’t miss. Charlie, a reluctant private eye who would much rather be working out on his cattle ranch than playing detective, suddenly has a much bigger – and much more dangerous – case to solve.”

This title was discussed at the Just Desserts meeting on January 31, 2008. We encourage you to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below!

Mignon Eberhart’s “The Mystery of Hunting’s End”

huntingsendJust Desserts Logo 225To finish off the 2007 season, we read a classic mystery by Nebraska’s own Mignon Eberhart — often called America’s Agatha Christie. The title we’ve selected is The Mystery of Hunting’s End, a traditional “locked room mystery.”

The Sand Hills of Nebraska, where Mignon G. Eberhart lived as a newlywed, inspired the setting of this 1930 chiller. Smack in the middle of the rolling desolation is Hunting’s End, a weekend lodge owned by the rich Kingery family. To that place socialite Matil Kingery invites a strange collection of guests — the same people who were at the lodge when her father died of “heart failure” exactly five years ago. She intends to find out which one of them murdered him. Posing as another guest is the dapper young detective, Lance O’Leary. At his recommendation, Matil has engaged Nurse Sarah Keate to care for Aunt Lucy Kingery at Hunting’s End — not a pleasant assignment as it turns out. Gathered at the lodge, Matil’s guests are shut off from the outside by a November snowstorm. Nurse Keate is the same sharp-eyed, stiletto-tongued, strong-stomached Nightingale and sleuth who established Mignon Eberhart as a mainstay of the golden age of detective fiction.

This title was discussed at the Just Desserts meeting on October 25, 2007. We encourage you to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below!