Solving the Mystery …of the Mystery Genre!

Did you find something to read in which a crime was committed? And after the crime occurred, did you witness an amateur or professional detective find the bad guy -or gal? Then you read a mystery book, just like us! If you want to know what we read and enjoyed, then check out these books:

Chris: Sharp Shooter by Nadia Gordon introduces Sunny McCoskey, an independent chef/owner of the organic Wildside café who can’t help but start doing a little investing of her own when one of her Napa Valley customers, Jack Beroni, is found dead. Jack was the heir apparent to the Beroni Vineyard and someone wanted him dead. Was it one of the two Campaglia brothers who worked the estate and named to inherit it? His longtime girlfriend who he wouldn’t marry? His long-ago high school girlfriend with whom he was having an affair? A competing vineyard owner of which there are plenty? Or one of his many, many enemies? Won’t say. Will add there are two sharp shooters present in the book—one, the actual murderer, and then there’s the glassy-winged sharpshooter, an insect that threatens to destroy every organic vineyard in Napa Valley if the estate owners don’t approve using a toxic chemical to kill it.

Maureen: In local author D.M. Pulley’s debut novel The Dead Key, we meet young architect Iris on her first “real” assignment for her firm to survey and sketch the floors of the old, long abandoned First Bank of Cleveland building. As Iris works, she begins to find clues to mysterious things that went on at the bank before its sudden closure in the middle of the night in 1978. Flashbacks in the book simultaneously reveal the story of 17-year old Beatrice, who has moved in with her aunt to pursue a new life on her own in Cleveland. It turns out being a banking secretary can get you into some pretty interesting predicaments at First Bank of Cleveland and Beatrice is determined to uncover the truth of what is going on with missing safe deposit boxes as well as right some wrongs. Fun mentions of local neighborhoods and landmarks add to the story. Pulley is currently working on her second novel.

That’s right -we had another double read! Here’s another take on the same book:

Ann: The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley is a mystery reaching across two decades in a grand old bank in Cleveland. In 1978 the First Bank of Cleveland mysteriously closed, locking out customers and employees. Twenty years later, in 1998 a young engineer, Iris, stumbles upon documents, keys, and safe deposit boxes left as they were decades before. As Iris gets sidetracked from her surveying work in the bank, we also learn the backstory of Beatrice, a clerical worker at the bank in 1978. She discovered many irregularities at the bank at the time and has left clues behind that Iris has discovered. Iris is determined to figure out the mystery of the keys and safe deposit boxes, even if it means she is putting herself in danger. The author, who lives in Cleveland and is a structural engineer, won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2014 for this mystery.

Beth: The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty is set during the Troubles of Northern Ireland. This entertaining, gritty novel focuses on Detective Sean Duffy who is assigned to be the lead investigator in a string of murders in the small village of Carrickfergus outside of Belfast. The murders seem to be independent of the territorial conflicts, but are things ever really what they seem?

Steve: The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler, is the granddaddy of hardboiled mysteries. It was written in 1939, and features main character Philip Marlowe, a Private Investigator, hired by a rich, ailing father to investigate a blackmail scheme involving his wild daughter. It’s set in gritty 1930’s Hollywood, and that and the old school dialogue are worth the read alone, with the twisting plot being the icing on the cake.

Emma: In The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain, when Laure is mugged, she ends up in the hospital in a coma. Bookseller Laurent finds her expensive handbag on top of a trash can minus the wallet and cell phone. He is determined to find the owner and uses items from the bag including a red notebook, a dry-cleaning ticket, and a book signed by Patrick Modiano to assist in the search. While Laure is still in the hospital, Laurent ends up at her apartment posing as a friend and offers to take care of the cat. Laure’s co-worker had been feeding the cat. When Laure wakes up and hears about the mystery man from her co-worker, she decides to track him down. Lighthearted, fun, and a little creepy.

Carol: In The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell, Adrian Wolf thinks he’s a lucky man to have such great relationships with his two ex-wives and five children. In fact, they appear get on so well, they all vacation along with his latest wife, Maya, and himself. All is not what it seems, however, and after Maya is killed in an apparent accident, Adrian sets out to find who might have wanted to force her out of their “blissful” extended family. This psychological mystery grabbed me from its first page.

Lauren: The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths is the first mystery in a series of books featuring Ruth Galloway. Ruth is an archaeologist who gets caught up in a murder investigation as an expert witness for the police and the detective on the case. In the salt marshes of Norfolk near Ruth’s home, human bones have been discovered and Ruth is called in to determine if they are those of either of two missing girls or remnants of an ancient burial site. The bones turn out to be ancient, but Ruth is quickly drawn into the into the hunt for the recently disappeared Scarlet Henderson and for young Lucy Downey who has been missing for ten years.

Megan: Lock In by Jon Scalzi is a thrilling science fiction mystery. In the near future a virus sweeps through the world population. For a small percentage the result of the disease is a condition known as lock in. They are fully awake and aware, but unable to move their bodies. With 1.7 million Americans affected, new medical technologies emerge, including systems that allow the locked in to use the bodies of the healthy. Things get really tricky when an Integrator (a healthy person hosting a lock in) is found at the scene of a murder. Who is the guilty party-the person who’s body committed the crime or the person who was using the body?

Dori: Judith Flanders’ debut mystery A Murder of Magpies stars Samantha Clair, a London book editor who works all the time and has no time for nonsense. She’s busily editing two books: the first is written by her reliable women’s fiction author but is not up to par – how will she tell her author how horrible it is? The other is a gossipy look at impropriety in the fashion industry by her friend Kit – will she be able to publish it without legal implications? When Kit goes missing and a courier delivering his manuscript is murdered, Inspector Field comes calling and they join forces to try to find Kit and why someone does not want his book published. Funny, with a myriad of characters and a plot that gets a little too convoluted.

Stacey: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella isn’t a straightforward, typical kind of mystery. Readers slowly get to know Audrey and her family in the present but very little is said about the criminal incident that took place before the book begins. Whatever it was -it happened at school and it was very, very bad. Aimed at the teen audience, this book will appeal to anyone looking for an unique and suspenseful mystery.

Next time, we’ll be talking about …Beach Reads! A beach read can be any thing that you’d like to take to the beach (as long as you don’t get the Library’s copy all sandy and wet) or you might like to read on the porch during a lazy summer afternoon! -You can think of this category as a big ol’ freebie!- A pretty sweet deal for a pretty sweet time of year!


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