The Old Turk’s Load
Derek Hill

It’s 1967 and the Newark, New Jersey riots are raging. Two Italian mobsters with a car full of ten kilos of pure heroin are trapped in the melee. The rioters beat them and the dope, worth five million dollars on the street, is left hidden in their car. A perceptive local realizes the outsiders are mobsters and calls his connection. The drugs are safely hidden away by a rich real estate developer named Richard Mundi, who hopes to ride off into the sunset with the treasure. Meanwhile, Mundi is worried about his daughter, Gloria, who is slumming with a group of idealistic homegrown radicals who are bent on stealing the heroin to fund their war against America. Mundi hires a private detective, “Walkaway” Kelly, to tail Gloria. Everyone wants the dope, including a retired ailing mailman who hopes to make one big score before death finally takes him down.

Gregory Gibson’s debut novel captures the era of the late 1960s magnificently, perfectly balancing historical minutiae with an involving narrative and vibrant characters. Gibson’s prose also snaps, drawing us into the serpentine plot with its large cast of characters. Essentially, this is a caper novel, energetic and plot-driven. But Gibson also allows plenty of time for character development and for capturing the feel of a time and place without glossy exaggeration. It feels authentic and lived-in, prized characteristics of a great historical novel. This is a fabulous debut and readers will heartily anticipate Gibson’s next book.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 19:39:02

It’s 1967 and the Newark, New Jersey riots are raging. Two Italian mobsters with a car full of ten kilos of pure heroin are trapped in the melee. The rioters beat them and the dope, worth five million dollars on the street, is left hidden in their car. A perceptive local realizes the outsiders are mobsters and calls his connection. The drugs are safely hidden away by a rich real estate developer named Richard Mundi, who hopes to ride off into the sunset with the treasure. Meanwhile, Mundi is worried about his daughter, Gloria, who is slumming with a group of idealistic homegrown radicals who are bent on stealing the heroin to fund their war against America. Mundi hires a private detective, “Walkaway” Kelly, to tail Gloria. Everyone wants the dope, including a retired ailing mailman who hopes to make one big score before death finally takes him down.

Gregory Gibson’s debut novel captures the era of the late 1960s magnificently, perfectly balancing historical minutiae with an involving narrative and vibrant characters. Gibson’s prose also snaps, drawing us into the serpentine plot with its large cast of characters. Essentially, this is a caper novel, energetic and plot-driven. But Gibson also allows plenty of time for character development and for capturing the feel of a time and place without glossy exaggeration. It feels authentic and lived-in, prized characteristics of a great historical novel. This is a fabulous debut and readers will heartily anticipate Gibson’s next book.

The Baker Street Translation
Joseph Scarpato, Jr.

If you like Sherlock Holmes, or if you just like a well-written, good old-fashioned murder mystery, you’re going to love The Baker Street Translation. Although Sherlock himself is not the detective here—the story takes place in 1998 London—it involves letters still being sent to the occupants of 221B Baker Street and addressed to Sherlock Holmes.

As part of his tenancy of the law office there, barrister Reggie Heath has agreed to make sure that all of the Sherlock-addressed letters are responded to, but generally he sends them along to his brother Nigel in California to answer. Two such letters set this story in motion, one from a Taiwanese translator of American nursery rhymes, the other from a dying Texas woman who wants to leave all of her considerable fortune to Sherlock Holmes.

When the translator is found murdered in an alley nearby, Reggie feels compelled to look into the case. This is later complicated by the sudden kidnapping of Reggie’s chief rival for the affection of his girlfriend. These seemingly disparate elements come together in an investigation that barrels along at breakneck speed to an unusual and intriguing solution.

What added to the enjoyment of this novel for me was the crisp writing style. It’s primarily dialogue-driven and so moves quickly from one scene to the next, while giving you a feel for the personalities and motives of the characters without unnecessary verbiage. There are also a number of subtle Sherlockian references such as choosing Nigel as Reggie’s brother’s name, most certainly a shoutout to Nigel Bruce, the actor who played the quintessential Watson in the old 1940s Basil Rathbone-as-Holmes movies.

The Baker Street Translation is the third in a delightful series which includes The Baker Street Letters and The Brothers of Baker Street.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 19:43:57

If you like Sherlock Holmes, or if you just like a well-written, good old-fashioned murder mystery, you’re going to love The Baker Street Translation. Although Sherlock himself is not the detective here—the story takes place in 1998 London—it involves letters still being sent to the occupants of 221B Baker Street and addressed to Sherlock Holmes.

As part of his tenancy of the law office there, barrister Reggie Heath has agreed to make sure that all of the Sherlock-addressed letters are responded to, but generally he sends them along to his brother Nigel in California to answer. Two such letters set this story in motion, one from a Taiwanese translator of American nursery rhymes, the other from a dying Texas woman who wants to leave all of her considerable fortune to Sherlock Holmes.

When the translator is found murdered in an alley nearby, Reggie feels compelled to look into the case. This is later complicated by the sudden kidnapping of Reggie’s chief rival for the affection of his girlfriend. These seemingly disparate elements come together in an investigation that barrels along at breakneck speed to an unusual and intriguing solution.

What added to the enjoyment of this novel for me was the crisp writing style. It’s primarily dialogue-driven and so moves quickly from one scene to the next, while giving you a feel for the personalities and motives of the characters without unnecessary verbiage. There are also a number of subtle Sherlockian references such as choosing Nigel as Reggie’s brother’s name, most certainly a shoutout to Nigel Bruce, the actor who played the quintessential Watson in the old 1940s Basil Rathbone-as-Holmes movies.

The Baker Street Translation is the third in a delightful series which includes The Baker Street Letters and The Brothers of Baker Street.

The Cuckoo’s Calling
Hilary Daninhirsch

On the outskirts of London, on a dark and wintry night, a supermodel falls out of her apartment window to her death. On the surface, it looks like an open-and-shut case of suicide. After all, Lula Landry had a history of depression and family issues. Plus, there is no sign of forced entry, and the doorman saw no one coming or going that night.

So why does Lula’s brother John Bristow insist that she was pushed out the window? He consults Cormoran Strike, a private detective and a former soldier who lost a leg in Afghanistan. Strike lives in his seedy office after being thrown out by his girlfriend…again. He doesn’t have much business lately, so when the rich client comes calling with what looks like an easy case, he jumps on it.

But as with many mystery stories, things aren’t always what they seem. With the help of his temporary secretary, Robin, who acts as Watson to his Sherlock, Strike is starting to believe that perhaps it wasn’t a suicide after all. Strike becomes immersed in the world of high fashion and high society as he slowly peels back layer after layer of clues to uncover the truth.

Despite its length (464 pages), not a word is wasted in this atmospheric crime novel. Despite Strike’s shortcomings, the reader can’t help but root for him as he navigates through the underbelly of London after dark and hobnobs with the rich and famous. Strike would be a perfect protagonist for a series of novels, and the reader can only hope that this is Galbraith’s intention. A first-time author, Robert Galbraith (a pseudonym) has served in the Royal Military Police and their Special Investigative Branch.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-22 19:49:31

galbraith_thecuckooscallingRevisit the MS review of Galbraith, an author who was revealed to be the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling.

Riverside Drive: Border City Blues
Kevin Burton Smith

There are plenty of ripsnorting tales still to be told about the Prohibition era, particularly from the Canadian side of the border. The first Great War on Drugs was not just a fantastic business opportunity for Canadian smugglers and bootleggers large and small, but also a fine way to mess with the Yanks (Canada hadn’t invented Celine Dion or Justin Bieber yet). Unfortunately, in his ambitious, picaresque first novel, fledgling author Michael Januska ignores one of the cardinal pieces of advice given all newbies and insists on telling rather than showing, resulting in a fast-moving, but curiously dry rehash of events that lacks the juice and passion of fleshed-out characters and real empathy. Too bad. Because under all the static there’s a mother lode of great stuff here waiting to be mined.

Jack McCloskey, a battle-hardened vet returns from World War I to the River Cities, that cluster of small rural towns near Windsor, Ontario, just across the Detroit River from Motor City. But Jack’s too restless and prone to violence to easily settle down, and soon lights out for the States, knocking around for a few years as an amateur boxer and occasional muscle for local gangs. Eventually he does head home, though, hoping to make amends with his estranged father and brother who have become small-time bootleggers, much to the displeasure of Mr. Green, the local Windsor crime boss with whom Jack has recently signed on. Complicating matters is that Green is also on the outs with the big boss in Montreal, Mr. Brown (I know, I know, it’s starting to sound like a box of crayons here).

Subplots, themes, and characters—particularly women—are built up as important and then discarded with barely a backward glance. Vera Maude emerges late in the game as a major secondary character. A frustrated librarian slowly being crushed by the yoke of small-town ennui, she’s another lost soul yearning to break free. What ultimately brings her and Jack together is less a collision course than a series of loosely related stories and episodes that eventually (and conveniently) overlap, but never quite gel. Still, Januska’s knowledge of local history bodes well, and a return visit may yet yield the mud, blood, and passion the era so richly deserves.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 16:14:12

januska_riversidedriveAn ambitious, picaresque, but flawed first novel from fledgling author Michael Januska.

Cuts Through Bone
Kevin Burton Smith

Put your disbelief in the back, Jack, and get ready for one helluva ride. Cuts Through Bone is one hardboiled rip, heavy on Noo Yawk color, slam-bang action, and a breezy, slang-filled style that isn’t afraid to strut its stuff.

Clayton Guthrie is a well-respected, middle-aged Manhattan private investigator with an overdeveloped gift of gab and a network of informants and sources that includes everyone from the CIA to a band of wandering homeless people. But what really kicks this gritty, zippy debut novel into overdrive is Guthrie’s straight-outta-high school apprentice, Rachel Vasquez, a precocious chica from the Lower East Side who comes off as the long-lost offspring of Nancy Drew and Race Williams. It’s all rather preposterous, of course, and the author’s attempts to add too much grit, depth, and (so help me) relevance bog down the pulpy drive at times, but when Guthrie and Vasquez hit the streets, guns blazing, banging heads with Russian gangsters or chasing crazed winos through abandoned subway tunnels far below the surface, who cares?

The plot—the detectives are hired by the defense team on behalf of their client, Greg Olsen, a recently returned Special Ops soldier accused of murdering his rich, young girlfriend and a succession of other young women—isn’t quite as strong as it could be, but it’s mostly just an excuse to put the dynamic duo through their paces, anyway. And what paces. Clayton’s an honorable man, a smooth operator with more than a few tricks up his sleeves, while the fiery Rachel, who’s taken to wearing twin pistols, is definitely nobody to trifle with. No wonder her overprotective Puerto Rican family, with whom she still lives, is worried sick. And what exactly are Guthrie’s intentions toward their daughter, anyway?

Like I said, suspension of disbelief may be the ticket here, but given how much fun this was to read, I’m hoping Mr. and Mrs. Vasquez have plenty more sleepless nights in the years to come.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 16:20:54

Put your disbelief in the back, Jack, and get ready for one helluva ride. Cuts Through Bone is one hardboiled rip, heavy on Noo Yawk color, slam-bang action, and a breezy, slang-filled style that isn’t afraid to strut its stuff.

Clayton Guthrie is a well-respected, middle-aged Manhattan private investigator with an overdeveloped gift of gab and a network of informants and sources that includes everyone from the CIA to a band of wandering homeless people. But what really kicks this gritty, zippy debut novel into overdrive is Guthrie’s straight-outta-high school apprentice, Rachel Vasquez, a precocious chica from the Lower East Side who comes off as the long-lost offspring of Nancy Drew and Race Williams. It’s all rather preposterous, of course, and the author’s attempts to add too much grit, depth, and (so help me) relevance bog down the pulpy drive at times, but when Guthrie and Vasquez hit the streets, guns blazing, banging heads with Russian gangsters or chasing crazed winos through abandoned subway tunnels far below the surface, who cares?

The plot—the detectives are hired by the defense team on behalf of their client, Greg Olsen, a recently returned Special Ops soldier accused of murdering his rich, young girlfriend and a succession of other young women—isn’t quite as strong as it could be, but it’s mostly just an excuse to put the dynamic duo through their paces, anyway. And what paces. Clayton’s an honorable man, a smooth operator with more than a few tricks up his sleeves, while the fiery Rachel, who’s taken to wearing twin pistols, is definitely nobody to trifle with. No wonder her overprotective Puerto Rican family, with whom she still lives, is worried sick. And what exactly are Guthrie’s intentions toward their daughter, anyway?

Like I said, suspension of disbelief may be the ticket here, but given how much fun this was to read, I’m hoping Mr. and Mrs. Vasquez have plenty more sleepless nights in the years to come.

Almost Criminal
Hilary Daninhirsch

The underground marijuana trade is at the center of this novel by Canadian author E. R. Brown. Tate is a 17-year-old living in the fictional British Columbia town of Wallace, just over the United States border. He’s a teenager with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Years earlier, his father abandoned the family, leaving his mother, Beth, to raise him and his younger sister, Bree, on her own. Beth is recovering from breast cancer, and it falls upon Tate to be the man of the house, cooking, earning money as a barista at the town’s only coffee shop, and watching out for his sister.

Recognizing the combination of smarts and desperation in a vulnerable teenager, local “entrepreneur” Randle Kennedy targets Tate to help him run his illegal marijuana trafficking operation. At first, Kennedy entices him with small jobs, but eventually, the promise of enough money to support his family and go to college proves too much for Tate to resist. When he gets caught up in an intricate and dangerous web of criminal activity, the reader wonders whether Tate can get out before it’s too late.

Almost Criminal is a morality tale involving family loyalties and responsibilities and the corrupting power of money. While it does proceed at a nice pace, it gets a little too bogged down in the nitty gritty details of the marijuana trade. Ultimately, though, some surprising revelations and resolutions lead to an enjoyable read.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 16:34:11

The underground marijuana trade is at the center of this novel by Canadian author E. R. Brown. Tate is a 17-year-old living in the fictional British Columbia town of Wallace, just over the United States border. He’s a teenager with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Years earlier, his father abandoned the family, leaving his mother, Beth, to raise him and his younger sister, Bree, on her own. Beth is recovering from breast cancer, and it falls upon Tate to be the man of the house, cooking, earning money as a barista at the town’s only coffee shop, and watching out for his sister.

Recognizing the combination of smarts and desperation in a vulnerable teenager, local “entrepreneur” Randle Kennedy targets Tate to help him run his illegal marijuana trafficking operation. At first, Kennedy entices him with small jobs, but eventually, the promise of enough money to support his family and go to college proves too much for Tate to resist. When he gets caught up in an intricate and dangerous web of criminal activity, the reader wonders whether Tate can get out before it’s too late.

Almost Criminal is a morality tale involving family loyalties and responsibilities and the corrupting power of money. While it does proceed at a nice pace, it gets a little too bogged down in the nitty gritty details of the marijuana trade. Ultimately, though, some surprising revelations and resolutions lead to an enjoyable read.

The Asylum
Lourdes Venard

In this deliciously gothic novel set in 1882, the narrator, Georgina Ferrars, awakens in Tregannon House, a private asylum on a moor in Cornwall. She’s told by the superintendent, Dr. Maynard Straker, that she checked herself in voluntarily for nervous exhaustion under the name Lucy Ashton, and that she has suffered a seizure which affected her short-term memory.

But now the patient insists she is Georgina Ferrars and that she lives in London with her uncle, Josiah Radford. Her uncle, when telegraphed, replies that his niece is in London with him and that the woman in the asylum must be an imposter. Straker decides he must commit the young woman until she comes to her senses.

Georgina begins to investigate with the help of a strange young man, Frederic Mordaunt, secretary to Dr. Straker. Frederic’s family had owned Tregannon House before it became an asylum. Appropriately enough, his entire family has suffered from depression and he himself admits to “bouts of acute melancholia” and talks of having heard a ghost in the old stable. The novel is bookended by Georgina’s narration, told in old-fashioned language. The novel’s middle is told in epistolary form: letters to an Emily Ferrars and a journal that Georgina herself kept. Rather than slow down the story, though, this serve to draw readers in deeper, adding another layer to the mystery.

John Harwood does a good job of keeping readers on an uneven keel. The story is told through the eyes of Georgina, but the reader is never sure whether she is reliable or whether Georgina’s instability is a lifelong ailment. The reader doesn’t know which characters to trust.

The gothic elements are not overdone, providing just the right element of creepiness: shadowy twins, secret passages, the twitch of a curtain as someone seems to be spying on Georgina’s movements. It’s probably not a coincidence that there are similarities with that original gothic novel Dracula, which had an asylum, an author named Stoker (close enough to Straker), and a woman named Lucy. This novel harkens back to those old-fashioned gothics, proof that, sometimes, they still make them like they used to.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 16:37:24

In this deliciously gothic novel set in 1882, the narrator, Georgina Ferrars, awakens in Tregannon House, a private asylum on a moor in Cornwall. She’s told by the superintendent, Dr. Maynard Straker, that she checked herself in voluntarily for nervous exhaustion under the name Lucy Ashton, and that she has suffered a seizure which affected her short-term memory.

But now the patient insists she is Georgina Ferrars and that she lives in London with her uncle, Josiah Radford. Her uncle, when telegraphed, replies that his niece is in London with him and that the woman in the asylum must be an imposter. Straker decides he must commit the young woman until she comes to her senses.

Georgina begins to investigate with the help of a strange young man, Frederic Mordaunt, secretary to Dr. Straker. Frederic’s family had owned Tregannon House before it became an asylum. Appropriately enough, his entire family has suffered from depression and he himself admits to “bouts of acute melancholia” and talks of having heard a ghost in the old stable. The novel is bookended by Georgina’s narration, told in old-fashioned language. The novel’s middle is told in epistolary form: letters to an Emily Ferrars and a journal that Georgina herself kept. Rather than slow down the story, though, this serve to draw readers in deeper, adding another layer to the mystery.

John Harwood does a good job of keeping readers on an uneven keel. The story is told through the eyes of Georgina, but the reader is never sure whether she is reliable or whether Georgina’s instability is a lifelong ailment. The reader doesn’t know which characters to trust.

The gothic elements are not overdone, providing just the right element of creepiness: shadowy twins, secret passages, the twitch of a curtain as someone seems to be spying on Georgina’s movements. It’s probably not a coincidence that there are similarities with that original gothic novel Dracula, which had an asylum, an author named Stoker (close enough to Straker), and a woman named Lucy. This novel harkens back to those old-fashioned gothics, proof that, sometimes, they still make them like they used to.

The Last Girl
Derek Hill

London Metropolitan Police detective Maeve Kerrigan investigates the murder of a mother and her teenage daughter in their posh London home. Philip Kennford, the husband, a defense attorney, survives the attack. Did one of the lawyer’s vengeful clients perpetrate the brutal slayings? Kerrigan and her pushy throwback of a partner, DCI Josh Derwent, struggle in finding any substantial clues to who could have stabbed the two women. Kennford insists that none of his clients would have committed the crime, though he hasn’t escaped being a suspect himself. Could there be a link to Kennford’s second daughter Lydia? She was outside when the murders occurred and was the one to find the bodies.

This is the third book in the Maeve Kerrigan series and the heftiest yet. Kerrigan, a woman who is surrounded by institutionalized misogyny at work, strives to maintain her professionalism and to be taken seriously in a hostile environment. Although the stress of her job does get to her, she’s smart enough not to show her anger in the boys’ club atmosphere. Kerrigan also fears that her relationship with her longtime boyfriend, an ex-cop, will eventually end her career when family obligations are placed on her shoulders. The character is well written and Kerrigan’s self-doubt adds depth to her otherwise pragmatic disposition. Fans of the series who’ve invested in her rise through the ranks should feel right at home. It’s a lengthy work and the plot doesn’t hold many surprises, but it’s a solid read.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 16:43:15

casey_thelastgirlLondon Metropolitan Police detective Maeve Kerrigan investigates the murder of a mother and her daughter in the third book in the series.

Killer Honeymoon
Kristin Centorcelli

All Savannah Reid wants to do is enjoy her honeymoon with new husband Dirk, on the tiny island of Santa Tesla, only 24 miles from their hometown of San Carmelita, California. Even if their motel is a bit shabby, Savannah is determined to savor the time off from being a PI. When two of her closest friends offer alternative accommodations as a wedding gift, Savannah is ecstatic. It so happens that their new digs include a turn-of-the-century lighthouse, and as Savannah takes in the view from the top, she spots a woman who seems to be fleeing from someone. Savannah and Dirk quickly head down to the beach where the duo actually witness the woman being shot to death. Savannah recognizes the victim, a popular newscaster in the area. When the police show up and eventually get around to questioning them, the Santa Tesla police chief does not make a good impression on Savannah or Dirk.

Then there are news reports that the woman died from drowning and not from gunshots. Something is definitely rotten on not-so-peaceful Santa Tesla Island. Hot on the trail of a killer, the newlyweds gather together the rest of the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency and get to work.

Killer Honeymoon is the 18th book to feature ex-cop and PI Savannah Reid, and the saucy Savannah and her gruff-but-golden-hearted beau Dirk are a perfect blend of sugar and spice. With the help of their unusual and charming friends, and, of course, Granny Reid and Savannah’s brother Waycross, they’re bound to find the killer. What could possibly go wrong? Turns out plenty can, and I frequently laughed out loud at Savannah’s Southern-charm-with-bite wit and Dirk’s lovable grumpiness. What makes this such a singular delight, though, is the genuinely good-hearted and down-to-earth cast of characters and the author’s delicate hand with humor, even amidst some scary situations. Fans of Southern mystery will devour this delectable series.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 16:46:25

All Savannah Reid wants to do is enjoy her honeymoon with new husband Dirk, on the tiny island of Santa Tesla, only 24 miles from their hometown of San Carmelita, California. Even if their motel is a bit shabby, Savannah is determined to savor the time off from being a PI. When two of her closest friends offer alternative accommodations as a wedding gift, Savannah is ecstatic. It so happens that their new digs include a turn-of-the-century lighthouse, and as Savannah takes in the view from the top, she spots a woman who seems to be fleeing from someone. Savannah and Dirk quickly head down to the beach where the duo actually witness the woman being shot to death. Savannah recognizes the victim, a popular newscaster in the area. When the police show up and eventually get around to questioning them, the Santa Tesla police chief does not make a good impression on Savannah or Dirk.

Then there are news reports that the woman died from drowning and not from gunshots. Something is definitely rotten on not-so-peaceful Santa Tesla Island. Hot on the trail of a killer, the newlyweds gather together the rest of the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency and get to work.

Killer Honeymoon is the 18th book to feature ex-cop and PI Savannah Reid, and the saucy Savannah and her gruff-but-golden-hearted beau Dirk are a perfect blend of sugar and spice. With the help of their unusual and charming friends, and, of course, Granny Reid and Savannah’s brother Waycross, they’re bound to find the killer. What could possibly go wrong? Turns out plenty can, and I frequently laughed out loud at Savannah’s Southern-charm-with-bite wit and Dirk’s lovable grumpiness. What makes this such a singular delight, though, is the genuinely good-hearted and down-to-earth cast of characters and the author’s delicate hand with humor, even amidst some scary situations. Fans of Southern mystery will devour this delectable series.

Rage Against the Dying
M. Schlecht

In Becky Masterman’s debut novel, retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn is still haunted by the death of a young agent in a decade-old operation to capture the Route 66 serial killer. She blames herself for what happened, and even after settling down in Tucson, Arizona, years later, with new husband Carlo and a couple of pugs, the 59-year-old Quinn feels like an interloper on the set of “Normal Life.”

So when bureau agent Laura Coleman calls up to ask for assistance with a new lead in the case, Quinn is only too happy to help. Turns out Coleman has a confession from Floyd Lynch, who admits to being the Route 66 killer and leads authorities to a car containing an unidentified body mummified from years of desert heat. But Coleman doubts that Lynch actually committed the crimes he confesses to, and tries to convince a skeptical Quinn to join her in seeking out the truth.

However, the higher-ups at the FBI, the district attorney, and even Lynch’s defense lawyer are itching to pin this long-unsolved case on Lynch and move on. And so, as any reader of crime fiction knows, when the too-close- to-the-case detective ruffles feathers in nests above and is told by the brass to cool it, that’s exactly when the action starts to heat up. Coleman is summarily removed from the case, and it’s up to Quinn to continue an unofficial investigation for the true killer.

Masterman has a memorable character in Brigid Quinn, a strong, stubborn woman whose professional bravery contrasts with her unwillingness to let her husband see the darkness inside of her. In Rage Against the Dying, we see her struggling to come to terms with age, memory, and commitment. We also witness brutal attacks and macabre imagery—this is a thriller after all, and Masterman doesn’t shy away from the rage or the dying. Despite some clumsy structuring, Masterman’s debut manages to portray the consequences of burying the dead too deep in your heart.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 16:50:33

In Becky Masterman’s debut novel, retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn is still haunted by the death of a young agent in a decade-old operation to capture the Route 66 serial killer. She blames herself for what happened, and even after settling down in Tucson, Arizona, years later, with new husband Carlo and a couple of pugs, the 59-year-old Quinn feels like an interloper on the set of “Normal Life.”

So when bureau agent Laura Coleman calls up to ask for assistance with a new lead in the case, Quinn is only too happy to help. Turns out Coleman has a confession from Floyd Lynch, who admits to being the Route 66 killer and leads authorities to a car containing an unidentified body mummified from years of desert heat. But Coleman doubts that Lynch actually committed the crimes he confesses to, and tries to convince a skeptical Quinn to join her in seeking out the truth.

However, the higher-ups at the FBI, the district attorney, and even Lynch’s defense lawyer are itching to pin this long-unsolved case on Lynch and move on. And so, as any reader of crime fiction knows, when the too-close- to-the-case detective ruffles feathers in nests above and is told by the brass to cool it, that’s exactly when the action starts to heat up. Coleman is summarily removed from the case, and it’s up to Quinn to continue an unofficial investigation for the true killer.

Masterman has a memorable character in Brigid Quinn, a strong, stubborn woman whose professional bravery contrasts with her unwillingness to let her husband see the darkness inside of her. In Rage Against the Dying, we see her struggling to come to terms with age, memory, and commitment. We also witness brutal attacks and macabre imagery—this is a thriller after all, and Masterman doesn’t shy away from the rage or the dying. Despite some clumsy structuring, Masterman’s debut manages to portray the consequences of burying the dead too deep in your heart.

Dead, White, and Blue
Debbi Mack

When the trouble-making Shell Hurst, who came to Broward’s Rock, South Carolina, by way of Hollywood, mysteriously vanishes after the Fourth of July dance, few tears are shed. Shell insinuated herself into the lives of many men and women on Broward’s Rock and tried to cash in on the pain she could cause them. However, Shell’s stepdaughter Hayley worships her and runs to Max Darling of Confidential Commissions for help in finding out what happened to her. When Max shares Hayley’s concerns with his bookstore-owner wife, Annie, he initially dismisses them as the fevered imaginings of a hysterical teenaged girl. However, his curiosity is piqued when a waiter who worked at the dance also disappears.

Annie is concerned about Shell’s disappearance given the fact that no one saw her car leave the island. She convinces Max they should investigate further. Unfortunately, in doing so, Annie and Max turn over rocks that reveal nasty proverbial worms. In a small island community, this can be hazardous for your health. Annie enlists the aid of three friends: Emma, a local mystery author; Henny, a local collectibles enthusiast and avid mystery fan; and Annie’s mother-in-law, Laurel.

Solving the mystery involves untangling the web of deceit created by Shell’s many manipulations of various people at the Fourth of July dance. In the 23rd Death on Demand mystery, Carolyn Hart weaves a complex tale of heartbreak, blackmail, and deception. It’s a highly satisfying read that builds to a stunning climax.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 17:43:25

hart_deadwhiteandblueJustice is served up by Max and Annie Darling in this Fourth of July murder mystery.

Angel Baby
Derek Hill

Kept in confinement in her Mexico mansion as the wife of a vicious drug lord named Rolando, Luz is brutalized and desperate to flee from her increasingly dire situation. She cannot simply walk out the door. So, she bides her time to make her escape and reclaim her four-year-old daughter, whom she has kept hidden from Rolando. Luz does make her getaway, and it’s bloody. Free from the clutches of El Principe, her husband, Luz races to the United States to reunite with her daughter. Rolando, however, blinded with rage, will do anything to reclaim his “property,” including hiring El Apache, a ruthless criminal newly released from prison, to capture Luz.

This is one lean, tough novel. Lange’s prose is sharp throughout and his pacing moves with the momentum of rolling thunder. Luz is a fascinating and complex heroine who is willing to do anything to be reunited with her child and has remarkably stayed alive despite living for years as Rolando's punching bag. And Malone, the sad-yet-capable alcoholic who’s hired to smuggle her across the border into the United States, displays the sort of bruised humanity and world-weariness that we crave in noirish tales such as this. No one is good in this superb portrait of wrecked lives, but no one is entirely evil either. Everyone is painfully human and recognizable in his or her suffering. This is Lange’s second novel after 2009’s This Wicked World and it’s a truly great read.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 17:51:20

lange_angelbabyOne lean, tough, crime novel with a borderland twist.

The Frozen Shroud
Joseph Scarpato, Jr.

When a young woman is found dead on Halloween night in the remote Ravenbank area of England’s Lake District, her face battered and covered with a shroud, it brings back memories of another young woman who met a similar fate nearly a century earlier. When a third murder occurs five years later, and the victim is the best friend of DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of a Cold Case Review Team, all three murders become open for review.

To help matters, Hannah’s friend and possible romantic interest, Daniel Kind, happened to be on the scene of the most recent murder. In addition to being a noted historian, Daniel also has a special interest in murder mysteries. Between them, can they solve the riddle behind each of the three macabre incidents, and can Hannah find herself open enough to a new relationship after a recent ugly breakup with a faithless lover and the loss of her best friend?

If you like your whodunits with a small list of possible suspects and motives à la Dame Agatha; more than one murder investigation happening at the same time à la Peter Robinson; and important links to the past à la the late Reginald Hill, you’ll love this book that also takes place in the same Yorkshire area made famous by the latter two mystery luminaries. The author plays fair with the reader, and, although it was no easy task, I was actually able to solve most of the case.

Martin Edwards has published 16 crime novels and more than 50 short stories. He won the CWA Short Story Dagger award in 2008. This is the sixth novel in his Lake District mysteries, and I can highly recommend it.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 17:54:11

When a young woman is found dead on Halloween night in the remote Ravenbank area of England’s Lake District, her face battered and covered with a shroud, it brings back memories of another young woman who met a similar fate nearly a century earlier. When a third murder occurs five years later, and the victim is the best friend of DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of a Cold Case Review Team, all three murders become open for review.

To help matters, Hannah’s friend and possible romantic interest, Daniel Kind, happened to be on the scene of the most recent murder. In addition to being a noted historian, Daniel also has a special interest in murder mysteries. Between them, can they solve the riddle behind each of the three macabre incidents, and can Hannah find herself open enough to a new relationship after a recent ugly breakup with a faithless lover and the loss of her best friend?

If you like your whodunits with a small list of possible suspects and motives à la Dame Agatha; more than one murder investigation happening at the same time à la Peter Robinson; and important links to the past à la the late Reginald Hill, you’ll love this book that also takes place in the same Yorkshire area made famous by the latter two mystery luminaries. The author plays fair with the reader, and, although it was no easy task, I was actually able to solve most of the case.

Martin Edwards has published 16 crime novels and more than 50 short stories. He won the CWA Short Story Dagger award in 2008. This is the sixth novel in his Lake District mysteries, and I can highly recommend it.

Onion Street
Sharon Magee

Moe Prager, the ex-NYPD cop turned PI, is recuperating from cancer surgery. An independent sort of guy, he’s worried about the talk his daughter Sarah is insisting upon, fearing she wants him to move in with her and her husband until he recovers. Nothing so mundane. Instead, she wants to know why he became a cop. Now, in Onion Street, the eighth in the Moe Prager series following on the heels of Hurt Machine, he reveals all. We leap back in time to 1967 Brooklyn with just enough nostalgic references—The Mod Squad, S&H Green Stamps, Rambler—to keep us firmly grounded in that era.

Moe is a young, not overly ambitious college student, living in his parents’ dreary apartment and drifting through life with his girlfriend Mindy and his best friend Bobby. Everything changes when Mindy is beaten, leaving her in a coma just hours after she warned Moe to stay away from Bobby. When Moe sets out to find the person responsible for Mindy’s beating, he taps Lids, a brilliant-but-twitchy drug dealer, for help. A messy web of seemingly unrelated information and events ensue that sends Moe scurrying in all directions, only to discover Mindy is not the only person in danger. So is Bobby.

Coleman’s first literary love was poetry, and that shines through even when he describes Moe discovering an overripe corpse above the repair shop of a Nazi death camp survivor and then the body of a junkie on the boardwalk of winter-deserted Coney Island. Add in a mob boss named Tony Pizza, the mousey Susan from Moe’s Romantic Poetry class, a radical underground group, and a pub called Onion Street, and the pieces shift and fall into place. Other than one small quibble—a crucial piece of evidence that goes missing from the story for too long—Moe Prager fans are in for a treat as novice crime fighter Moe attempts to solve this convoluted case, giving insight into the cop, PI, and man he eventually becomes.

Noir, gritty, and hardboiled are words often associated with Coleman’s novels, and this latest offering does nothing to dispel that rep. That, along with his ability to paint a setting so vividly that readers are immersed in the dreariness and despair of 1967 Brooklyn, makes for a book that’s difficult to put down.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 17:57:54

coleman_onionstreetA leap back to 1967 Brooklyn reveals how it all began for PI Moe Prager, now in his eighth outing.

Candlemoth
Derek Hill

Daniel Ford is on death row for the horrible murder of his best friend, Nathan Verney, whom he killed over a decade before. Desperate to tell his story to someone and to clarify what happened, Ford weaves a sprawling, troubled tale to Father John Rousseau about his youth growing up white in South Carolina and his friendship with a black boy his age, Verney. That friendship is not an easy one to maintain in the seething racial climate of the era, but the boys’ bond is strengthened despite opposition to it. As the decade rages on testing the country with Kennedy’s assassination, the war in Vietnam, and turmoil at home, Ford and Verney are tested as well. Then comes that fateful night.

Candlemoth was originally published in R.J. Ellory’s native England in 2003, but is only now seeing publication in the US. That is strange considering this haunting, beautifully written novel is set in the turbulent American South of the 1960s through the 1980s. Although spanning the decades, Ellory keeps the action fast and involving. The story’s central mystery—is Ford indeed guilty of murdering his childhood friend Verney?—is gripping, but Ellory’s real concerns are not the mechanics of narrative. He’s a disciplined prose stylist, evoking a strong sense of mood and painful loss through language and the telling detail. The oppressive atmosphere of Ford’s last days on death row is powerfully conveyed, and his recollections of growing up in South Carolina are simultaneously tender and fraught with tension. Ellory does not ignore the ugly truths of racism that festered in the region throughout the civil rights era, and though that painful reality haunts, it’s the complex friendship between Ford and Verney that will linger long after you put the book down.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 18:02:38

Daniel Ford is on death row for the horrible murder of his best friend, Nathan Verney, whom he killed over a decade before. Desperate to tell his story to someone and to clarify what happened, Ford weaves a sprawling, troubled tale to Father John Rousseau about his youth growing up white in South Carolina and his friendship with a black boy his age, Verney. That friendship is not an easy one to maintain in the seething racial climate of the era, but the boys’ bond is strengthened despite opposition to it. As the decade rages on testing the country with Kennedy’s assassination, the war in Vietnam, and turmoil at home, Ford and Verney are tested as well. Then comes that fateful night.

Candlemoth was originally published in R.J. Ellory’s native England in 2003, but is only now seeing publication in the US. That is strange considering this haunting, beautifully written novel is set in the turbulent American South of the 1960s through the 1980s. Although spanning the decades, Ellory keeps the action fast and involving. The story’s central mystery—is Ford indeed guilty of murdering his childhood friend Verney?—is gripping, but Ellory’s real concerns are not the mechanics of narrative. He’s a disciplined prose stylist, evoking a strong sense of mood and painful loss through language and the telling detail. The oppressive atmosphere of Ford’s last days on death row is powerfully conveyed, and his recollections of growing up in South Carolina are simultaneously tender and fraught with tension. Ellory does not ignore the ugly truths of racism that festered in the region throughout the civil rights era, and though that painful reality haunts, it’s the complex friendship between Ford and Verney that will linger long after you put the book down.

The Healer
Derek Hill

Much of the world has plunged into social decay and chaos due to war, economic instability, rampant crime, plagues, and environmental catastrophe. Helsinki is a city on fire—burned-out cars clog the street, armed gangs run riot, and violence has touched almost everyone except for the very wealthy. Fleeing Helsinki, however, is not an option for the majority of its citizens, so they continue to go to work, to try and live some semblance of a normal life, and to pray that they make it home in time to see their loved ones before night falls.

Tapani Lehtinen’s life falls apart when his journalist wife, Johanna, disappears while covering a story. Lehtinen, a poet, receives little to no help from either the newspaper’s slimy editor or an overworked, hopeless chief police inspector, so he pursues Johanna on his own with the help of an immigrant cab driver. Lehtinen’s investigation puts him on the trail of someone known as “The Healer,” a man responsible for a number of political murders throughout the country, and whom Johanna was in contact with before she vanished.

The mystery at the core of Antti Tuomainen’s novel is gripping enough, but it’s the bleak, not-too-distant world of disorder and brutality that stays with you. Although the backdrop is science fiction, Tuomainen always keeps the emotional emphasis on his battered characters, who all struggle to persevere even when faced with complete despair—for instance, the stalwart cop Harri Jaatinen, who continues to fight crime even though his colleagues no longer see the point of it. Lehtinen is also faced with an overwhelming tragedy, though his need to find his wife makes for a brave stance against hopelessness. The Healer is a dark read, but Tuomainen’s ability to maintain an emotional connection with his characters offers to us a sliver of light in an otherwise grim world.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 18:06:06

tuomainen_thehealerA grim, near-future sci-fi thriller with a mystery at its heart.

The Trouble With Charlie
Eileen Brady

Recently separated second-grade teacher Elle Harrison reads the obituaries every morning and wonders why the death of a marriage isn’t included in the list. Hoping to lift her spirits her loyal girl posse takes her to happy hour at a Philly singles hangout called Jeremy’s. It doesn’t work. After fending off the attentions of Joel, an amateur magician who has more than magic tricks up his sleeve, Elle heads home only to find the body of her estranged husband, Charlie, waiting for her in the den—with a knife in his back. The trouble with Charlie is that his spirit decides to stick around. Very skillfully, writer Merry Jones, author of the Harper Jennings thrillers and Zoe Hayes mysteries, plants the plot in an unexpected gray area, straddling the line between the living and the dead. This talkative corpse comments on everything from the type of coffin to buy (expensive) to the eulogies at his funeral (he sits front row center). When his ghost angrily accuses her of murdering him, Elle has had enough and decides to find out what Charlie has been up to in the last few months. She enlists her ever-present BFF Betty (a curvaceous kindergarten teacher), Jen (a trophy wife ready to believe in ghosts), and Susan (a no-nonsense defense lawyer) to help find the real murderer. Between the gossip and the countless glasses of Shiraz (Charlie’s favorite wine) this fast paced story stays a fun, smooth read. With detective Nick Stiles threatening to arrest her, Elle plunges into the past of the man she loved looking for clues. More characters are introduced, including Derek, her husband’s business partner and super-rich investor Somerset Bradley. Unwanted surprises soon make Elle question how well she knew the man she loved. But going down that path takes an abrupt and dark turn as Jones introduces a twisted plot element definitely turning this mystery into a thriller. The identity of the killer surprised me, but not in a good way, since it seemed to come out of left field. Otherwise, the pace is fast and entertaining, with the author deliberately shaking up the reader, providing a wild ride right to the end.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 18:15:53

Recently separated second-grade teacher Elle Harrison reads the obituaries every morning and wonders why the death of a marriage isn’t included in the list. Hoping to lift her spirits her loyal girl posse takes her to happy hour at a Philly singles hangout called Jeremy’s. It doesn’t work. After fending off the attentions of Joel, an amateur magician who has more than magic tricks up his sleeve, Elle heads home only to find the body of her estranged husband, Charlie, waiting for her in the den—with a knife in his back. The trouble with Charlie is that his spirit decides to stick around. Very skillfully, writer Merry Jones, author of the Harper Jennings thrillers and Zoe Hayes mysteries, plants the plot in an unexpected gray area, straddling the line between the living and the dead. This talkative corpse comments on everything from the type of coffin to buy (expensive) to the eulogies at his funeral (he sits front row center). When his ghost angrily accuses her of murdering him, Elle has had enough and decides to find out what Charlie has been up to in the last few months. She enlists her ever-present BFF Betty (a curvaceous kindergarten teacher), Jen (a trophy wife ready to believe in ghosts), and Susan (a no-nonsense defense lawyer) to help find the real murderer. Between the gossip and the countless glasses of Shiraz (Charlie’s favorite wine) this fast paced story stays a fun, smooth read. With detective Nick Stiles threatening to arrest her, Elle plunges into the past of the man she loved looking for clues. More characters are introduced, including Derek, her husband’s business partner and super-rich investor Somerset Bradley. Unwanted surprises soon make Elle question how well she knew the man she loved. But going down that path takes an abrupt and dark turn as Jones introduces a twisted plot element definitely turning this mystery into a thriller. The identity of the killer surprised me, but not in a good way, since it seemed to come out of left field. Otherwise, the pace is fast and entertaining, with the author deliberately shaking up the reader, providing a wild ride right to the end.

Hour of the Red God
Robin Agnew

The hero of Richard Crompton’s novel is Maasai detective Mollel, who has landed in Nairobi, Kenya, after leaving his tribe and finding a place in the big city. Nairobi is a city full of simmering ethnic tensions, as different tribes fight for their own identity in a crowded patchwork of neighborhoods. This complex setting is beautifully rendered by Mr. Compton, a former BBC journalist.

As all good detectives must be, Mollel is a bit of an outsider. The Maasai are viewed by many other Africans as somewhat “other,” somewhat remote. It lends Mollel a certain cachet in one way, and he’s often allowed to follow his own leads. On a personal level, he left his tribe and married a Kikuyu woman; he’s widowed and his son lives mostly with his grandmother. That’s a source of tension between the two guardians, and a source of longing on the part of his son, who just wants to be with his father.

Mollel is called in on a murder of a young woman, probably a prostitute, and undoubtedly Maasai. Mollel’s higher-ups are hoping for some special insight on his part in helping to find her killer. Using true deductive reasoning, he follows clues that lead him to the spot where the young woman’s body must have been dumped. The lead eventually brings him to her acquaintances and backstory.

Set in 2007, Crompton uses the background of a disputed election that erupted in violence to set the stage for an explosion. Things seem to be brewing beneath the surface all through the novel, and as the story threads begin to get tied up, the tension from the election begins to take over. The two threads—the murder and the story of politics and the election—dovetail nicely together, and the penultimate scenes are both heartrending and disturbing.

This is a wonderful first novel, told with a clear eye for the setting and a poetic eye for character. I look forward very much to the next novel featuring Detective Mollel.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 18:20:24

crompton_houroftheredgodMaasai detective Mollel makes tackles crime and corruption in the big city of Nairobi in this debut.

Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night
Sue Emmons

Clergymen sleuths are not that common, and Canon Sidney Chambers of Cambridge is a welcome addition to their ranks in his second outing after The Shadow of Death. Set in 1955 during a time of intense Cold War suspicions, the mystery, which plays out in six intertwined novellas, begins with Chambers out for a late night walk on the campus Corpus Christie, where he is stationed. The front gates of the college are closed for the night, but in an attempt to escape detection by the proctors, three tardy young men led by research fellow Valentine Lyall attempt to enter the grounds by climbing the spires of Kings College Chapel’s rooftop. To Chambers’ horror, he witnesses Lyall spiraling to his death and one of the other climbers disappearing.

The third climber, when questioned, claims not to recall details of the expedition, other than the fear he experienced during the daring and dangerous climb. Soon, the police label Lyall’s death murder and the master of Corpus College asks Chambers to utilize his friendship with Police Inspector Geordie Keating to keep tabs on the investigation. Chambers reluctantly agrees, well aware that Cambridge is still smarting from the Kim Philby affair, a real-life incident when students from the prestigious university were recruited as double agents.

That first death is followed by a poisoning of a star cricket player and a fire that ravages the studio of a fashion photographer. As Chambers is pulled deeper into the case, he travels to Berlin, where he reunites with the mysterious and attractive Hildegard Staunton, for whom he developed a fondness in his earlier adventure.

As the series of novellas and Chambers’ investigations continue, soon the Communist menace, as perceived in the early days of the Cold War, comes to the fore in a maelstrom of murder and espionage. Searching for spies in a divided Germany is rampant. Chambers falls into the hands of the East Germany Stasi just as the wall, which will divide Berlin into East and West, is beginning to loom.

Runcie is a master at capturing the mood of the 1950s, replete with the loathing and fear of Communism—as well as the enthusiasm of its advocates. The author is a master wordsmith, writing in delicate, lyrical prose as exemplified when he describes a chapel with “the stained glass darkened, as if waiting for something to happen; a new Reformation perhaps, an air raid, or even the end of the world.” Runcie also exhibits a sly sense of humor, as when he describes the rooftop rambling tradition: “Onions had been rolled off the appropriately shaped dome of the Divinity School, umbrellas had been left on the Tottering Tower of the Old Library and a Canadian student at King’s had become obsessed by a fanatical desire to put a herd of goats on his college roof.”

Readers definitely are in for a treat when they meet this gentlemanly but worldly man of the cloth. I cannot but hope there are many more cases in his future.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 18:23:49

Clergymen sleuths are not that common, and Canon Sidney Chambers of Cambridge is a welcome addition to their ranks in his second outing after The Shadow of Death. Set in 1955 during a time of intense Cold War suspicions, the mystery, which plays out in six intertwined novellas, begins with Chambers out for a late night walk on the campus Corpus Christie, where he is stationed. The front gates of the college are closed for the night, but in an attempt to escape detection by the proctors, three tardy young men led by research fellow Valentine Lyall attempt to enter the grounds by climbing the spires of Kings College Chapel’s rooftop. To Chambers’ horror, he witnesses Lyall spiraling to his death and one of the other climbers disappearing.

The third climber, when questioned, claims not to recall details of the expedition, other than the fear he experienced during the daring and dangerous climb. Soon, the police label Lyall’s death murder and the master of Corpus College asks Chambers to utilize his friendship with Police Inspector Geordie Keating to keep tabs on the investigation. Chambers reluctantly agrees, well aware that Cambridge is still smarting from the Kim Philby affair, a real-life incident when students from the prestigious university were recruited as double agents.

That first death is followed by a poisoning of a star cricket player and a fire that ravages the studio of a fashion photographer. As Chambers is pulled deeper into the case, he travels to Berlin, where he reunites with the mysterious and attractive Hildegard Staunton, for whom he developed a fondness in his earlier adventure.

As the series of novellas and Chambers’ investigations continue, soon the Communist menace, as perceived in the early days of the Cold War, comes to the fore in a maelstrom of murder and espionage. Searching for spies in a divided Germany is rampant. Chambers falls into the hands of the East Germany Stasi just as the wall, which will divide Berlin into East and West, is beginning to loom.

Runcie is a master at capturing the mood of the 1950s, replete with the loathing and fear of Communism—as well as the enthusiasm of its advocates. The author is a master wordsmith, writing in delicate, lyrical prose as exemplified when he describes a chapel with “the stained glass darkened, as if waiting for something to happen; a new Reformation perhaps, an air raid, or even the end of the world.” Runcie also exhibits a sly sense of humor, as when he describes the rooftop rambling tradition: “Onions had been rolled off the appropriately shaped dome of the Divinity School, umbrellas had been left on the Tottering Tower of the Old Library and a Canadian student at King’s had become obsessed by a fanatical desire to put a herd of goats on his college roof.”

Readers definitely are in for a treat when they meet this gentlemanly but worldly man of the cloth. I cannot but hope there are many more cases in his future.

Lady of Ashes
Kristin Centorcelli

Ladies in 1861 London are expected to be the very picture of decorum, so the thought of a woman undertaker may offend a few delicate sensibilities. Fortunately, Violet Morgan isn’t concerned with those sensibilities in the least. When she married her husband, Graham Morgan, eight years ago, he was thrilled that he’d met a woman, and a beautiful one at that, who was more than eager to learn the profession of undertaking, and Violet has since thrown herself into the business. Unfortunately for Graham, Violet isn’t much of a housewife and he’s begun to point out her shortcomings in the keeping of the house and the quality of their help. Soon, Graham becomes preoccupied with a business venture with his brother, and it seems to have something to do with his hate of America and a perceived slight that his grandfather suffered at the hands of Americans. He’s loathe to share details with Violet, but she’s so busy with the business that she has no time to worry about it, until his treatment of her begins to deteriorate. In fact, Violet will soon have more than enough to worry about, and her housekeeping skills, or lack of, will be the least of her problems. She begins to notice strange markings on some of the bodies she’s been called on to handle, and suspects foul play may be involved. But who could possibly want to hurt these people, and why?

Lady of Ashes is the first of a new historical mystery series by Christine Trent, the author of three historical fiction novels. It covers about three years in the life of Violet Morgan, a London undertaker. I was entranced with Violet and her world from page one, and was perfectly content to follow her on her many adventures. Violet seems to be a bit of a trouble magnet, but also manages to charm nearly everyone she meets, which includes Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and a very enigmatic and handsome American lawyer. Set against the rich backdrop of Victorian England, with the shadow of the Civil War looming in the background, Lady of Ashes is a book you can sink your teeth into, with characters you’ll fall in love with. Although the narrative is almost immediately interspersed with mysterious diary entries from a disturbed individual, the mystery really doesn’t come into play until the last quarter of the book, and things wrap up rather quickly. I was too fascinated with Violet and her unusual profession to let that bother me, and even if the big reveal seemed a bit rushed, I’ll be more than ready for the next novel in this immersive historical series.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 18:27:24

Ladies in 1861 London are expected to be the very picture of decorum, so the thought of a woman undertaker may offend a few delicate sensibilities. Fortunately, Violet Morgan isn’t concerned with those sensibilities in the least. When she married her husband, Graham Morgan, eight years ago, he was thrilled that he’d met a woman, and a beautiful one at that, who was more than eager to learn the profession of undertaking, and Violet has since thrown herself into the business. Unfortunately for Graham, Violet isn’t much of a housewife and he’s begun to point out her shortcomings in the keeping of the house and the quality of their help. Soon, Graham becomes preoccupied with a business venture with his brother, and it seems to have something to do with his hate of America and a perceived slight that his grandfather suffered at the hands of Americans. He’s loathe to share details with Violet, but she’s so busy with the business that she has no time to worry about it, until his treatment of her begins to deteriorate. In fact, Violet will soon have more than enough to worry about, and her housekeeping skills, or lack of, will be the least of her problems. She begins to notice strange markings on some of the bodies she’s been called on to handle, and suspects foul play may be involved. But who could possibly want to hurt these people, and why?

Lady of Ashes is the first of a new historical mystery series by Christine Trent, the author of three historical fiction novels. It covers about three years in the life of Violet Morgan, a London undertaker. I was entranced with Violet and her world from page one, and was perfectly content to follow her on her many adventures. Violet seems to be a bit of a trouble magnet, but also manages to charm nearly everyone she meets, which includes Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and a very enigmatic and handsome American lawyer. Set against the rich backdrop of Victorian England, with the shadow of the Civil War looming in the background, Lady of Ashes is a book you can sink your teeth into, with characters you’ll fall in love with. Although the narrative is almost immediately interspersed with mysterious diary entries from a disturbed individual, the mystery really doesn’t come into play until the last quarter of the book, and things wrap up rather quickly. I was too fascinated with Violet and her unusual profession to let that bother me, and even if the big reveal seemed a bit rushed, I’ll be more than ready for the next novel in this immersive historical series.

When the Devil Doesn’t Show
Debbi Mack

Three bodies are discovered in a burning house in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Further investigation reveals that one of them was hung from the ceiling and set on fire—while still alive. The others, two gay men, were tortured and appear to be the victims of a hate crime. When another house fire occurs and more bodies are found, Detective Gil Montoya, a longtime resident, and his partner, Joe Phillips, an East Coast transplant, feel the pressure to solve the case as quickly as possible—especially when they discover there may be a deeply personal connection between one of the torturers and Montoya’s father, who was a judge.

The detectives are unofficially assisted by Lucy Newroe, a volunteer firefighter and reporter for the local newspaper. Lucy must walk a fine line between helping the investigators and being a good journalist, while dealing with personal family issues, her alcohol problem, and her on-and-off relationship with her ex-boyfriend Nathan.

Christine Barber’s experience as a journalist, firefighter, and emergency medical technician in New Mexico gives the story great authenticity. The author writes with rich detail about the beauty and culture of the region. In addition, the two detectives work together as a sort of good cop/bad cop duo, with Montoya clearly the friendly local boy and Phillips the skeptical outsider. This story is a thrilling combination of suspense, mystery, police procedure, and noir. Highly recommended.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 18:30:16

Three bodies are discovered in a burning house in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Further investigation reveals that one of them was hung from the ceiling and set on fire—while still alive. The others, two gay men, were tortured and appear to be the victims of a hate crime. When another house fire occurs and more bodies are found, Detective Gil Montoya, a longtime resident, and his partner, Joe Phillips, an East Coast transplant, feel the pressure to solve the case as quickly as possible—especially when they discover there may be a deeply personal connection between one of the torturers and Montoya’s father, who was a judge.

The detectives are unofficially assisted by Lucy Newroe, a volunteer firefighter and reporter for the local newspaper. Lucy must walk a fine line between helping the investigators and being a good journalist, while dealing with personal family issues, her alcohol problem, and her on-and-off relationship with her ex-boyfriend Nathan.

Christine Barber’s experience as a journalist, firefighter, and emergency medical technician in New Mexico gives the story great authenticity. The author writes with rich detail about the beauty and culture of the region. In addition, the two detectives work together as a sort of good cop/bad cop duo, with Montoya clearly the friendly local boy and Phillips the skeptical outsider. This story is a thrilling combination of suspense, mystery, police procedure, and noir. Highly recommended.

Grave Sight
Hank Wagner

Harper Connelly has a true “strange” talent—she can locate dead people, simultaneously getting a sense of how they spent their last moments. It’s a useful skill, in that she can provide closure to the deceased’s loved ones. It’s also a little off-putting, as those she assists often don’t really want to know the things she uncovers. Still, a girl’s got to make a living, so, assisted by her stepbrother Tolliver, she hires herself out, slowly gaining a reputation as a finder of lost persons.

In this illustrated adaptation of Grave Sight, Harper travels to Sarne, Arkansas, to investigate the disappearance of a young woman. Harper’s success in finding the body polarizes the town, creating two groups, those who anxiously seek her out for help with their own problems, and those who wish she’d cease and desist, before their darkest, most dangerous secrets are revealed. As they learn more about the populace, Harper and Tolliver are compelled to dig deeper into Sarne’s sordid secrets, even though it could very well cost them their lives.

Adapted from Charlaine Harris’ 2006 novel of the same name, this graphic novel successfully captures the dark tone of its source material, delivering a jolting tale of mystery and the macabre. Readers get a deep sense of Harper and Tolliver’s unique psyches within a few short pages, totally conveyed via dialogue and art. William Harms deserves kudos for boiling Harris’ story down to its essentials; illustrator Denis Medri and colorist Paolo Francescutto merit praise for the palpable sense of menace conveyed by their artwork.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 18:32:46

Harper Connelly has a true “strange” talent—she can locate dead people, simultaneously getting a sense of how they spent their last moments. It’s a useful skill, in that she can provide closure to the deceased’s loved ones. It’s also a little off-putting, as those she assists often don’t really want to know the things she uncovers. Still, a girl’s got to make a living, so, assisted by her stepbrother Tolliver, she hires herself out, slowly gaining a reputation as a finder of lost persons.

In this illustrated adaptation of Grave Sight, Harper travels to Sarne, Arkansas, to investigate the disappearance of a young woman. Harper’s success in finding the body polarizes the town, creating two groups, those who anxiously seek her out for help with their own problems, and those who wish she’d cease and desist, before their darkest, most dangerous secrets are revealed. As they learn more about the populace, Harper and Tolliver are compelled to dig deeper into Sarne’s sordid secrets, even though it could very well cost them their lives.

Adapted from Charlaine Harris’ 2006 novel of the same name, this graphic novel successfully captures the dark tone of its source material, delivering a jolting tale of mystery and the macabre. Readers get a deep sense of Harper and Tolliver’s unique psyches within a few short pages, totally conveyed via dialogue and art. William Harms deserves kudos for boiling Harris’ story down to its essentials; illustrator Denis Medri and colorist Paolo Francescutto merit praise for the palpable sense of menace conveyed by their artwork.

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made
Tea Dee

Timmy Failure is the founder, president, and CEO of Failure, Inc. And for those of you who haven’t heard, be informed that it’s “the best detective agency in town, probably the state. Perhaps the nation.”

In this first outing, Timmy and sidekick Total, his stuffed polar bear business partner, tackle several cases: a teepee vandal (case note: “Work of monkeys?”), a dead hamster (note: “Was he involved in criminal activity?”), missing Halloween candy (note: “Candy gone.”), and Timmy's mother's stolen Segway (note: "Timmy dead.").

And if this heavy case load wasn’t tough enough, Timmy is reluctantly saddled with an “idiot” best friend Charles “Rollo” Tuckus (who only has a 4.6 grade average because he studies), yucked-out by his classmate admirer Molly Moskins (who smells like tangeriness!), and plagued by his PI competitor, the “evil” owner of “the worst detective agency in town, probably the state, perhaps the nation,” Corinna Corinna, aka “The Beast.”

Stephan Pastis’ funny and tenderhearted “historical record” of Timmy’s life as a detective is told from the hilariously unreliable first-person perspective of Timmy, an imaginative kid hero in the tradition of Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes, and Greg Heffley of the popular Diary of A Wimpy Kid series.

Beneath the romp and pomp, Timmy is an elementary school mischief-maker failing school with a 0.6 grade average while being raised by a loving but often exasperated single mom who works tirelessly to make ends meet. At the heart of Timmy’s grandiose drive to be the head of the world’s largest detective agency is a heartfelt desire to make his mom proud and alleviate their troubles once he’s a multibillionaire.

Timmy and Total’s many well-intentioned disasters are illustrated throughout by Pastis’ playful line drawings—which my kid testers loved, along with Timmy’s outlandish and silly exploits. Grown-ups will appreciate Pastis’ sly humor and the many good-natured pokes at the tropes of PI genre fiction. All, young or old, are sure to be charmed.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 18:38:41

Timmy Failure is the founder, president, and CEO of Failure, Inc. And for those of you who haven’t heard, be informed that it’s “the best detective agency in town, probably the state. Perhaps the nation.”

In this first outing, Timmy and sidekick Total, his stuffed polar bear business partner, tackle several cases: a teepee vandal (case note: “Work of monkeys?”), a dead hamster (note: “Was he involved in criminal activity?”), missing Halloween candy (note: “Candy gone.”), and Timmy's mother's stolen Segway (note: "Timmy dead.").

And if this heavy case load wasn’t tough enough, Timmy is reluctantly saddled with an “idiot” best friend Charles “Rollo” Tuckus (who only has a 4.6 grade average because he studies), yucked-out by his classmate admirer Molly Moskins (who smells like tangeriness!), and plagued by his PI competitor, the “evil” owner of “the worst detective agency in town, probably the state, perhaps the nation,” Corinna Corinna, aka “The Beast.”

Stephan Pastis’ funny and tenderhearted “historical record” of Timmy’s life as a detective is told from the hilariously unreliable first-person perspective of Timmy, an imaginative kid hero in the tradition of Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes, and Greg Heffley of the popular Diary of A Wimpy Kid series.

Beneath the romp and pomp, Timmy is an elementary school mischief-maker failing school with a 0.6 grade average while being raised by a loving but often exasperated single mom who works tirelessly to make ends meet. At the heart of Timmy’s grandiose drive to be the head of the world’s largest detective agency is a heartfelt desire to make his mom proud and alleviate their troubles once he’s a multibillionaire.

Timmy and Total’s many well-intentioned disasters are illustrated throughout by Pastis’ playful line drawings—which my kid testers loved, along with Timmy’s outlandish and silly exploits. Grown-ups will appreciate Pastis’ sly humor and the many good-natured pokes at the tropes of PI genre fiction. All, young or old, are sure to be charmed.

Another Sun
Hank Wagner

English by birth, Timothy Williams made a name for himself in the mystery genre writing five highly praised crime novels about an Italian character named Commissario Piero Trotti, the last one coming in 1996. His new mystery, Another Sun, is the first novel he has published in English in 15 years. (It was first published in France in March 2011 as Un autre soleil.)

Set in 1980, in the Carribean Island of Guadeloupe, an overseas region of France, the book tells the story of juge d’instruction Anne Marie Laveaud, who, under the island’s system of justice, is tasked with investigating the murder of a local plantation owner. What at first blush seems to be an open-and-shut case against an elderly black man bearing a grudge against the deceased turns out to be far more complicated. Laveaud must make her way through a maze of fear, deceit, bureaucracy, prejudice, and politics to discover the truth, an arduous and difficult process which threatens her mental and physical well-being.

Another Sun is a complex, atmospheric novel, made all the more fascinating by Williams’ painstaking attention to sensory, sociopolitical, and historical detail, and by the author’s obvious passion for the written word. Laveaud is a compelling, intelligent heroine, her strengths and foibles so well depicted that readers will feel they have truly come to know her by novel’s end. Although long-standing Williams fans may miss their old friend Signor Trotti, they will be more than pleased at having made the acquaintance of the lovely, but formidable, Madame Laveaud.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 18:43:32

English by birth, Timothy Williams made a name for himself in the mystery genre writing five highly praised crime novels about an Italian character named Commissario Piero Trotti, the last one coming in 1996. His new mystery, Another Sun, is the first novel he has published in English in 15 years. (It was first published in France in March 2011 as Un autre soleil.)

Set in 1980, in the Carribean Island of Guadeloupe, an overseas region of France, the book tells the story of juge d’instruction Anne Marie Laveaud, who, under the island’s system of justice, is tasked with investigating the murder of a local plantation owner. What at first blush seems to be an open-and-shut case against an elderly black man bearing a grudge against the deceased turns out to be far more complicated. Laveaud must make her way through a maze of fear, deceit, bureaucracy, prejudice, and politics to discover the truth, an arduous and difficult process which threatens her mental and physical well-being.

Another Sun is a complex, atmospheric novel, made all the more fascinating by Williams’ painstaking attention to sensory, sociopolitical, and historical detail, and by the author’s obvious passion for the written word. Laveaud is a compelling, intelligent heroine, her strengths and foibles so well depicted that readers will feel they have truly come to know her by novel’s end. Although long-standing Williams fans may miss their old friend Signor Trotti, they will be more than pleased at having made the acquaintance of the lovely, but formidable, Madame Laveaud.

Borderlands: the Crime Fiction of Ellis Peters
Martin Edwards

brother_cadfael_rose_davidaustinrosesThere and back again


The popular Brother Cadfael Rose, named after the famous monk in Ellis Peters' novels. Sold at David Austin Roses.

The border country between England and Wales is rural and relatively remote, a place of enigmas, legends, and mysteries. Its very boundaries are uncertain and elusive. Apparently tranquil, long ago it saw fierce conflicts between the English and Welsh and to this day it may be said to host a clash of cultures between the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon traditions. Such an evocative area seems to offer fertile ground for fictional crime, so it is surprising how few detective novelists have made use of it. However, many of Ellis Peters’ most memorable books, including the Brother Cadfael series which earned her international renown, are set in the borderlands. Above all, she depicts her native Shropshire—a green and pleasant county which, amazingly, was also the cradle of the Industrial Revolution—with loving attention to detail.

Ellis Peters’ real name was Edith Pargeter (1913-1995). The duality of the borderlands was part of her personal heritage: she had a Welsh grandmother, but her parents were both English. Born in a village called Horsehay, she went to school in Ironbridge Gorge, now designated a World Heritage Site in recognition of Abraham Darby’s iron-smelting furnace which was founded a couple of centuries before she was born.

Early on, she showed a facility for writing. She published a short historical novel with the less-than-snappy title Hortensius, Friend of Nero in 1936 and her debut crime novel appeared in 1938. Murder in the Dispensary made little impact and remained little known and largely unavailable until Post Mortem Books recently produced a limited edition reprint. It was the first of four crime novels, initally appearing as newspaper serials, which Peters produced in the space of a couple of years under the name Jolyon Carr. She was fond of male pseudonyms: her second (non-criminous) book appeared as by Peter Benedict and in 1940 she published The Victim Needs a Nurse disguised as John Redfern.

Using her own name, she wrote no fewer than 36 novels, including two notable historical sequences, The Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet and The Heaven Tree Trilogy. As Pargeter, she also wrote Fallen Into the Pit, which introduced the policeman George Felse and his family; Felse began as a sergeant and eventually became a detective superintendent. One more non-Felse crime novel appeared under her own name before she transformed into Ellis Peters with the publication of Death Mask in 1959. She retained the Peters name for books featuring Felse and, increasingly, his son Dominic.

Just as Agatha Christie was capable of setting books in locations far distant from St. Mary Mead, so Peters refused for most of her career to be confined exclusively to the borderlands. The adult Dominic Felse appears, for instance, in two books set in India: Mourning Raga (1969) and Death to the Landlords! (1972). She was also fascinated by Czech society and was responsible for no fewer than sixteen translations from Czech literature. But in everyday life as well as in her writing career, she was most at home in Shropshire.

Peters_Ellis_2“She saw the Welsh as more romantic than the English,” says Margaret Lewis, author of the critical biography Edith Pargeter: Ellis Peters (revised edition, 2003). “The contrast between the English and Welsh ways of life was a theme consciously addressed in many of the book and she explored the notion of very different social and legal systems existing so close to each other. For example, in The Holy Thief she refers to the little-known fact that the Normans condoned slavery—but the Welsh did not.”

In the Felse books, Shropshire is disguised as “Midshire” and in Flight of a Witch (1964), the Hallowmount, a historic and eerie hill with a dark pagan past plays a central part in the story. Although it does not mirror a feature of the real border landscape, the Hallowmount is so atmospherically described that it sticks in the reader’s memory long after details of the plot are likely to have faded. Peters’ acute sense of the history of the borderlands is showcased in the character of young teacher Tom Kenyon:

The Hallowmount withdrew itself at morning and evening into mist, shrouding the Altar and its ring of decrepit trees. He wondered if the small, unaccountable ground-wind had abandoned, until next spring, its nightly ascent by the old paths to the old places where Annet had vanished for a while into her secret world, and whether the reverberations of her tragedy had already seeped away like spilt blood into that already saturated soil.

Other highlights of the Felse series include the Edgar-winning Death and the Joyful Woman (1964) and Black Is the Colour of My True Love’s Heart (1967). Follymead, the Gothic house featured in the latter book, is based, albeit distantly, on Attingham Park, a much-visited stately home near Shrewsbury. The trouble with the Felse books is George Felse himself. Decent as he is, he scarcely ranks as a memorable detective. Compared to the likes of Dalziel, Rebus, Wexford, and Dalgleish, he simply does not measure up.

Peters’ master-stroke was to conjure up a new hero, a truly great fictional sleuth who happened to be a 12th-century monk. Brother Cadfael made his appearance in 1977 with the publication of A Morbid Taste for Bones. The book was never intended to be the first in a series and neither the 64-year-old author nor her publisher appreciated the potential of the new character; initially, the novel did not even earn publication in paperback. Once Peters had the idea for a follow-up story, however, she was hooked, and Felse was allowed to slip away into well-earned retirement.

Some have thought that the international success of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (1983) helped to establish a wide readership for medieval detective fiction. However, when this was put to Peters, she retorted that she had produced seven Cadfael books by the time that Eco achieved best-selling status. She might have added that Monk’s Hood (1980) had by then won the CWA Silver Dagger. Yet although Eco’s aims were different from hers—she once said to the critic Mike Ashley that she was “not on the same wavelength” as Eco—it is perhaps fair to say that he finally threw open the door at which Peters had been knocking for several years. Thereafter, the series achieved ever-increasing commercial success, boosted by television adaptations starring Derek Jacobi as Cadfael, and in 1993 Peters was awarded the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in her crime-writing career.

Peters_Ellis_w-Derek_JacobiPargeter with Derek Jacobi, who played her detective Brother Cadfael in the BBC series.

From the start, the Cadfael books benefited from their setting and from Peters’ knowledge of its history. As Margaret Lewis says in her insightful book, “to escape across the border meant freedom, just as fugitives fleeing from justice in the United States frequently head for the Mexican border. Almost always the guilty in Cadfael’s world speed westwards along the quiet forest paths to reach Wales, only about ten miles away.” She argues that “the territorial border plays an important role in the development of the narratives, providing a psychological as well as physical boundary of mountain and dyke.” The point is illustrated by a passage from The Raven in the Foregate (1986):

Powys might be a wild land, but it had no quarrel with a soldier of the Empress more than with an officer of King Stephen, and would by instinct take the part of the hunted rather than the forces of English law.

Cadfael is a Welshman by birth, and was a Crusader before settling down at Shrewsbury Abbey, where for many years he has been in charge of the herb garden. In A Morbid Taste for Bones he accompanies a delegation to his native country to acquire the relics of St. Winifred and bring them back to the abbey. Cadfael’s ability to speak Welsh, at a time when the borderline marked a sharp linguistic divide, is significant to the storyline and his ability to be at ease in a wide variety of situations (a useful characteristic in a series hero) is soon evident. The second book in the sequence, One Corpse Too Many (1979) was inspired by Peters’ research into King Stephen’s siege of Shrewsbury castle and the massacre of the garrison in 1138. Cadfael assists with the burials, only to discover that there is one more body than there should have been. Time and again in the Cadfael Chronicles, the borderlands are crucial to the storyline and the herbalist makes regular forays across and into Wales. In Dead Man’s Ransom (1984), for instance, his task is to negotiate an exchange of prisoners, while in The Summer of the Danes (1991) he acts as interpreter on a trip to the revived Welsh diocese of St. Asaph.

Peters’ humanity and powerful, romantic imagination is evident throughout a substantial body of work of sustained merit, produced over the course of almost 60 years. So is her love of the borderlands. Yet although her non-series novels and her underestimated short stories include a number of gems, it was in writing about Cadfael and his community that her talent flowered most brilliantly.

The sobering thought for any crime writer is that her “apprenticeship” lasted almost four decades.

AN ELLIS PETERS READING LIST

LPeters_A_Rare_BenedictineThe Chronicles of Brother Cadfael
A Morbid Taste for Bones, 1977
One Corpse Too Many, 1978
Monk’s Hood, 1979
St. Peter’s Fair, 1981
The Leper of St. Giles, 1981
The Virgin in the Ice, 1983
The Sanctuary Sparrow, 1983
The Devil’s Novice, 1983
Dead Man’s Ransom, 1984
The Pilgrim of Hate, 1984
An Excellent Mystery, 1985
The Raven in the Foregate, 1986
The Rose Rent, 1986
The Hermit of Eyton Forest, 1987
The Confession of Brother Haluin, 1988
The Heretic’s Apprentice, 1989
The Potter’s Field, 1989
The Summer of the Danes, 1991
The Holy Thief, 1992
Brother Cadfael’s Penance, 1994

Short Stories
A Rare Benedectine, 1989

The Felse Mysteries
Fallen Into the Pit, 1951
Death and the Joyful Woman, 1961
Flight of a Witch, 1964
A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs, 1965
The Piper of the Mountain, 1966
Black Is the Colour of My True Love’s Heart, 1967
The Grass-Widow’s Tale, 1968
The House of Green Turf, 1969
Mourning Raga, 1969
The Knocker on Death’s Door, 1970
Death to the Landlords!, 1972
City of Gold and Shadows, 1973
Rainbow’s End, 1978

The Heaven Tree Trilogy
The Heaven Tree, 1960
The Green Branch, 1962
The Scarlet Seed, 1963

The Brothers of Gwynedd
Sunrise in the West, 1974
The Dragon at Noonday, 1975
The Hounds of Sunset, 1976
Afterglow and Nightfall, 1977

Nonfiction
Shropshire, with Roy Morgan, 1992
Strongholds and Sanctuaries, with Roy Morgan, 1993

Martin Edwards’ sixth Lake District Mystery is The Frozen Shroud (Poisoned Pen Press). He has also written eight whodunits featuring Liverpool lawyer Harry Devlin, two stand-alone novels, and over 50 short stories. He has edited 21 anthologies and is Archivist of the Detection Club.

This article first appeared in Mystery Scene Spring Issue #84.

Teri Duerr
2013-04-23 20:31:00

Peters_Ellis_w-Derek_JacobiThere and back again