Home » Posts tagged 'seniors'
Tag Archives: seniors
Saddled Up 4 Murder–horse thieves in AZ
Saddled Up 4 Murder
by J.C. Eaton
Sophie (Phee) Kimball is an accountant for Williams Investigations in Glendale, Arizona. She often finds herself unofficially in the middle of murder investigations at the urging (make that insistence) of her mother and her mother’s friends who all live in the popular retirement area of Sun City West. As usual, Phee’s trying to work around the seniors, and their involvement in her investigation is always a source of humor.
In Saddled Up 4 Murder, there are dual mystery threads. Billie, a very unpleasant deli worker, is murdered. Sophie needs to find the perpetrator before one of the elderly ladies who was in the area at the time of the murder is attacked to silence her. Also, and very importantly, the Bye, Bye Birdie Festival is coming up soon when the full-time residents say farewell to the snowbirds. They have a deadline for purchasing balloons for the event and Phee’s mother wants it to be such a success that she gets interviewed on TV. None of this can happen if the crime scene remains cordoned off with yellow tape. The other thread is a string of horses being stolen. Nate, the owner of the detective agency and Marshall, Phee’s fiancé, are hired to track down the horse thieves. It is a hard job given the large area of rugged land they need to cover. In addition, there is no clear motive as these are not expensive race or breeding horses; they come from ranches all over Arizona.
At first I was a little irritated by the amount of time spent in the book on the lack of cellular connectivity and the trouble it causes. Upon further thought, having lived in the West for over 30 years (i.e. since before there were cell phones), I realized that their connection problems were actually very realistic and, in this case, pertinent to the plot. So often I see shows where the main characters are out in the middle of nowhere and have cell phone service. Even in 2022, that is not a realistic scenario.
As always with a J.C. Eaton cozy, the mystery is solid, the descriptions are on target, the characters come alive, and both the situations and dialogue are funny. No Sophie Kimball mystery would be complete without Phee’s mother’s dog, Streetman. The little Chiweenie plays a major role in this book! So, put on your cowboy hat and boots and saddle up for a fun, western cozy mystery.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Beyond the Page Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #9 in the Sophie Kimball Mystery Series, but could be read as a standalone.
2. Only found in this book in the series, there is a large gathering of several Wiccan covens which is depicted as a fun, family festival. I was uncomfortable with the involvement of the occult. In the book their role and actions are only positive, but I found that to be a deceptive and naive viewpoint. I hope this is an isolated inclusion of a Wiccan event, and I don’t expect this theme to appear in future books in the series.
Publication: March 15, 2022—Beyond the Page Publishing
“What about the field rep from the Department of Agriculture?” “About as useful as a toad on an iceberg.”
“Did you say finagling? Don’t you mean breaking and entering? Good grief! That’s the most preposterous thing you’ve come up with. Compared to that, the other two plans look like masterpieces.”
…people who hide important items sometimes stick them in their freezers. The exception being my mother. There was a no room under those layers of frozen dinners, cookies that had passed their expiration dates, boxes of matzo that had crossed the Red Sea with Moses, and ice cream that had crystalized.
Batter Off Dead–disappointing
Batter Off Dead
by Maddie Day
Robbie runs a breakfast and lunch restaurant in South Lick, Indiana. It has gained quite a reputation for its good food and the antique kitchen goods and local products sold in a dedicated part of Pans ’N Pancakes. Robbie also has a three bedroom B&B above the cafe. Locals love to meet to chat and eat there. Tourist buses often stop with excited visitors keeping the versatile staff on their toes. The reputation extends to Robbie who is even known in the bordering state as a detective.
Batter Off Dead is the tenth book in this series by Maddie Day, but the fourth one for me. I don’t like the way the series is developing. There is a violent crime and the local enforcement officers, Robbie herself, and the citizens of South Lick expect Robbie to find the criminal. She does this by picking up on clues she overhears in the restaurant. She also butts in on conversations there questioning anyone and everyone with even a remote connection to the case—all the while running around with coffee carafes in hand and telling the reader how busy the restaurant is. Meanwhile, Lt. Bird with the South Lick Police Dept. and Oscar Thompson, a detective with the Indiana State Police, come by the restaurant at least once if not twice a day asking Robbie what information she has for them, in addition to emailing, texting, and phoning her for information. They are not portrayed as bumbling, but the direction of information is almost always one way with Robbie leading and solving while the interested detectives follow along.
The reader is fed detailed descriptions of Robbie’s day: prepare, open, go crazy with breakfast, lunch and investigating, clean up, prepare for the next day, visit someone to nose around, dinner and drinks with new husband, and crash in exhaustion. Repeat. I am sorry to see a series I enjoy disintegrate. There is a good plot, but it was too drawn out to hold my interest to the end. There was action in the conclusion, but not much of a surprise. By that point, I didn’t really care whodunit.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #10 in the Country Store Mystery Series
2. Cookie and crepe recipes included
Publication: February 22, 2022—Kensington
I took her hand and felt her soft, parchment-like skin, which had first seen light when automobiles were new, when white women first won the vote, when the technology we so relied on today was a science-fiction dream.
“Dessert before the meal?” “Hon, I come by my silver hair honestly. At this stage of life, I figure I can do pretty much what I want, as long as it’s legal.” She winked. “And sometimes when it isn’t.”
His face took on a sorrowful look. “So, I can’t get me a pile of lunch? My stomach’s got a hole in it bigger than the Grand Canyon with no tourists, and it needs filled.”
Antique Auctions are Murder–very funny, cozy mystery
Antique Auctions are Murder
by Libby Klein
I always look forward to a visit at the Butterfly Wings B&B in Cape May, New Jersey. Poppy and her octogenarian Aunt Ginny operate their bed and breakfast that is beginning to show success. Poppy makes breakfast treats for the B&B and gluten-free muffins for her boyfriend’s espresso shop.
While I had no trouble remembering the major characters, I actually took some notes on the other characters in this book because there are so many of them. One of the major threads involves the dysfunctional Whipple family and those they know in the antique world. The patriarch and all of his children are more concerned about possessions than people.
This is the tourist season, and there are a lot of guests at the B&B. With all of the visitors’ quirks, Poppy stays busy sorting everyone out. The wine bottle and huge chunk of cheese disappear daily from the happy hour setting. Takeout orders are delivered in the middle of the night. Two guests bring their female cats, including one very large Maine Coon, who try to impress Figaro, Poppy’s male cat, who’s not having it.
Humor is all through the book, from smile-inducing to laugh out loud scenes. Some of the humor comes from the characters. Red-haired, feisty, little Aunt Ginny and her three senior sidekicks (aka “the biddies”) manage to draw Poppy into all kinds of situations. Victory, the Ukrainian chambermaid with narcolepsy, still works at the B&B. She is treated like part of the family, but her accent, misunderstanding of idioms, and the situations she gets into are hilarious. Some of the humor also comes from Poppy’s inner dialogue—what she is thinking but doesn’t verbalize. Incredibly, there is another very funny subplot related to a threat left for Poppy on her front lawn. It should be serious, but with Aunt Ginny’s “help,” it goes viral and the B&B guests and staff jump into the situation with a profit making scheme.
Gia and Poppy are officially a dating couple, but it seems doubtful that his mother and sister will let him go and accept Poppy like his melt-your-heart sweet little boy has. On Poppy’s side, Georgina, her mother-in-law from her only marriage, shows up unexpectedly at the B&B. Poppy is a widow and Georgina has a 10% interest in the business. She is high maintenance and has servants at home, but Poppy puts her to work as a chambermaid when Victory is out of commission in yet another humorous situation.
With all that’s going on, you might wonder how there is any room in Antique Auctions are Murder for a murder mystery. That’s where the author’s fine art of plotting comes in. There is a murder and Poppy’s solving the mystery is front and center in the book with all of these characters and situations moving in and out and then actually coming together. So many people with motives! So much greed and a plethora of secrets! The murder weapon is unusual. The killer is not someone you would suspect and you might even have sympathy for. Perhaps my favorite part of the book is the Epilogue. It not only ties up some loose ends and clears up a few major misunderstandings on the part of the characters, but it reveals one last surprise that will knock you over!
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #7 in the Poppy McAllister Mystery Series. It could be read as a standalone, but at this point in the series I think a new reader would have some trouble isolating the recurring characters. The whole series is so good, that my recommendation is to start at the beginning and ENJOY!
2. The book ends with a lot of Jersey boardwalk inspired, gluten free recipes. An example is “Unicorn Cotton Candy CuppyCakes.”
Publication: February 22, 2022—Kensington
My chambermaid hobbled around the corner with her arms sticking straight out and her legs wide like a zombie. “I weill sue sunscream companee. I am shreemp.” I think you mean lobster.”
Aunt Ginny cocked her head to give me a gleeful smile. I hadn’t seen her this excited since the Entenmann truck broke down around the corner and the driver had to give away fifty boxes of raspberry Danish twist.
Mrs. Davis gave me a look that was so pitiful it would put a basset hound to shame.
Murder in the Wine Country–plant smuggling mystery
Murder in the Wine Country
by Janet Finsilver
Redwood Cove is an isolated community in northern California. The wealthy Michael Corrigan, owner of Resorts International, is not the stereotypical rich businessman with cutthroat motives and actions. He is boss to Scott, manager of Redwood Cove Community Center, and to Kelly, manager of Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast. Always looking for ways to help others, especially veterans, Michael is hosting an exclusive event for other wealthy philanthropists with the goal of providing a model of community support that he hopes will inspire them to implement similar programs in their own communities.
Problems have arisen in the little town with the presence of plant poachers who are digging up a certain plant that is popular in China and smuggling them out of the country. In the midst of this event, wardens warn visiting chefs, who are encouraged to forage for edible plants in the area to showcase in their culinary creations, of potential danger from these smugglers. When there is a death, a robbery, and three missing people, Kelly and the Silver Sentinels, a group of seniors who use their skills to help solve crimes, gather at Kelly’s B&B and get to work.
Other mainstay characters are involved in Janet Finsilver’s Murder in the Wine Country. My favorites are Tommy, a sweet boy with Asperger’s, and his Basset hound Fred. Deputy Stanton enjoys spending time with Tommy working on projects and with Tommy’s mom Helen, a widow who works at the inn. There is certainly potential for romance between them in future books. Scott and Kelly also have romantic inclinations, but the author doesn’t rush the characters into relationships. Another interesting character is Julie, a visiting chef who has a service dog Rex, who is not only a faithful companion, but can warn her of an impending epileptic seizure. He plays an important role in the story.
The plot moves along at a nice pace. Kelly’s investigations are successful to the point of putting her in danger of losing her life. The Silver Sentinels are ready to help at a moment’s notice as are other community members who aren’t even involved. The setting is great, but it’s the people who make Redwood Cove the kind of place you might want to live.
I would like to extend my thanks to Netgalley and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #6 in the Kelly Jackson Mystery Series, but as the author provides good support for readers who are just beginning the series, I have no hesitation in recommending it as a standalone.
Publication: April 28, 2020— Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press)
I had my own rescue bag of sorts. Years ago, I had vowed I would always stop to help a loose animal that was in danger, even if it meant missing an important appointment or an airplane flight. This was after watching car after car whiz by a shaking dog stranded on an island of a busy street, no one stopping to help.
Mary handed me a plate with a chocolate brownie studded with chunks of chocolate. Coffee and chocolate, my two favorites. I might recover after all.
For a split second, I considered not saying anything regarding the incident but immediately rejected the thought. He’d asked about the rest of the afternoon. Omitting was a form of lying, and I wouldn’t go there.
Memories and Murder–scamming seniors
Memories and Murder
by Lynn Cahoon
The name of the series, Tourist Trap Mysteries, doesn’t begin to describe this bookish set adequately. Memories and Murder is the latest installment in which Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books and More in little South Cove, drinks coffee, eats sweet treats, and reads her way through relationship and murder issues. There are lots of threads to this plot. Aunt Jackie has called off her engagement to Harrold and gone silent. Deek is a new barista in the coffee shop; he is more perceptive than psychic, despite his heritage. He has great ideas for book clubs and follows through with implementation. Jill juggles investigating a murder and a scam and finds herself in deadly trouble.
The story is told from Jill’s point of view, and first person narration works well here. The pace moves along snappily in this cozy mystery. Don’t be deterred by Memories and Murder being the tenth book in the sequence. Author Lynn Cahoon is a master at bringing readers up to speed on characters and background. In the first chapter you will learn almost everything you need to know to enjoy this book while the storyline gets underway. There is perhaps a little too much description of who ate what, when, and where, but other than feeling like I needed to accompany Jill and her dog Emma on their beach runs, those details were not truly excessive. In fact, I’m looking forward to joining the South Cove family of friends in their next adventure.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #10 in The Tourist Trap Mystery Series, but works well as a standalone.
Publication: November 12, 2019— Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press)
Fighting with my boyfriend had not been one of the things on my to-do list today, but you had to make room for impromptu items.
Operation Harrold Wins Jackie Back was going to work. It had to work. All the best books and movies had a happily ever after. Real life should too.
…he’d assured me that the sun would turn to ice before he left me for her.
Molded 4 Murder–suffocation by clay
Molded 4 Murder
by J.C. Eaton
Sophia (Phee) Kimball is a full-time bookkeeper for Williams Investigations located in Glendale, Arizona. Nate, a retired police officer, moved to Arizona from Minnesota and persuaded Phee to work for his agency. Later he hired Marshall to join the group. They all knew each other from their jobs in Minnesota, but Phee and Marshall now have a romantic relationship. Phee lives close to her mother who, in league with her book club, keeps drama and gossip stirred up in the retirement community of Sun City West.
Phee finds herself drawn into an off-the-books mystery when two ladies she met on an airplane ask her to find out who is pilfering odd items in their resort retirement community. At the same time, Nate and Marshall are called in by local law enforcement as consultants when a semi-retired art teacher is found suffocated. Both mysteries get more complicated as the story progresses forming an intricate web. Not everyone is who they seem to be, and Phee’s favor to the ladies turns deadly. J.C. Eaton’s Molded 4 Murder includes quirky characters, humorous dialogue, investigators who know how to work as a team, and a lot of plot twists. It’s a cozy mystery that will leave you wanting more of the fun and action that this husband/wife writing duo dishes up so well.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #5 in the Sophie Kimball Mystery Series, but could be read as a standalone.
Publication: August 27, 2019—Kensington Books
We’ve got enough sugar cookies to set an entire classroom of kindergartners spinning for hours.
You give up a lot of things when you get old. You shouldn’t have to give up your privacy.
That girl can pick up gossip quicker than a black sweater picks up lint.
The Tale Teller–missing artifacts
The Tale Teller
by Anne Hillerman
Many years ago I read Tony Hillerman’s mysteries, eagerly awaiting the publication of each new one. Then after a hiatus, I rediscovered the Navajo world I had been missing—Shiprock, the Rez, and officers Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito. This time the storyline has been picked up by Anne Hillerman, Tony’s daughter. With eight books to her credit, four of which continue the plot lines established by her father, Anne Hillerman is a formidable successor to her father.
The Tale Teller weaves a plot as complicated as any mystery I have read, using the same main characters Hillerman fans have come to love. The Navajo culture is portrayed accurately including some basic Navajo words to enhance the Native ambiance in the story. The setting is the Four Corners region of the Southwest in all its dusty, gritty heat of July. The characters have just enough predictability to cause readers to smile and nod, but not so much that there are no surprises. In fact, the plot provides so many of those that your head will be spinning trying to keep up.
Lieutenant Leaphorn is hired to discover what happened to some missing donations to the Navajo museum. Bernie and Chee help solve a murder. Sorting out truths from deceptions is never easy, and it certainly isn’t in this mystery with a surprise ending.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to HarperCollins Publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Mystery, Police Procedural
Publication: April 9, 2019—HarperCollins
“My philosophy is when someone says something sweet to me, I believe it. It balances those times someone said something mean and I believed that.”
“They aren’t teaching cursive writing much anymore. My daughter just prints and types. But she’s learning to speak Navajo in class and that’s more important. You can’t expect the schools to do everything.”
Leaphorn knew what it was like to miss someone, how the numbness of shock fades into profound, bone-deep loneliness.
Getting Old Can Hurt You–light, humorous, senior mystery
Getting Old Can Hurt You
by Rita Lakin
This is my first opportunity to read a book in the Gladdy Gold Detective Agency Mystery Series. I found it amusing, but not hilarious. The main characters in Getting Old Can Hurt You by Rita Lakin are a group of seniors who consider themselves a detective gang under the leadership of Gladdy. Just as young people are not all alike, neither are these seniors. They run the gamut from down to earth to not quite all there. They are generally up for an adventure even if it is limited by arthritis, pee breaks, and walkers and canes.
A long-lost granddaughter arrives at the senior apartments looking for the grandmother she hates. It seems, however, that she has other plans in mind besides reconnecting with her grandmother. Having survived a difficult childhood, she travels across the country to solve her personal mystery, hiding the fact that she is being followed. Will Gladdy’s gang be able to help her? They are determined to try!
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Severn House for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #8 in the Gladdy Gold Detective Agency Mystery Series. I had no problem understanding the story as a standalone, but readers might enjoy it more with additional background on the characters.
Publication: October 1, 2018—Severn House
We know we’re all in the checkout line for the big deli in the sky, but until then we are totally involved in the Gladdy Gold detective agency. Our motto, “Never Trust Anyone Under Seventy-Five.” Senior Sleuths to Senior Citizen. Our slogan—“We Take Care of Our Own.”
Lola never says much when Hy’s around. There’s only room for one ego.
“When I got older I found my happy hobby. Stealing do-re-mi to help old folks who needed surgery.” Sophie adds, gushing, “You were so good at it. Loved the plastic gun in the pastrami sandwiches.” Izzy blushes, pleased with the compliment. He shrugs. “Jail time reformed me finally, and now you’re caught up. Here I am. I’m looking into another happy hobby.”