Murder in the Manuscript Room

Murder in the Manuscript Room (A 42nd Street Library Mystery #2)Murder in the Manuscript Room by Con Lehane

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was looking forward to reading this book, the main reason is the place where the murder took place – New York Public Library! This is a second book of the “A 42nd Street Library Mystery”. I haven’t read the first part.

The beginning of the story takes place in the 80s, with the murder of Richard Wright, a union representative who uncovered a contract between NY gangs and NYPD officials. An innocent man, Devon, is sent to jail. Years later he contacts his childhood friend, Raymond Ambler, and asks him to look into the case.

Ray Ambler, a librarian, is in charge of a new exhibit at takes place at New York Public Library – A Century-and-a-Half of Murder and Mystery in New York City. He is being introduced to Paul Higgins, retired detective and a murder mystery book writer. Paul “donates” to the exhibion his notes and some police files that he has been collecting and used as a material for his books. Ray questions Paul regarding the documents and Devon’s case, however, Higgins denies having any knowledge or info on Devon/Wright case. Days later Paul’s ex-wife Laila, a librarian and undercover cop, is found dead in Raymond’s office. Godi, an Islamic scholar whom Laila was investigating is a suspect in the murder.

Mike Cosgrove, an NYPD retired cop and a friend of both Ambler and Higgins, is looking into the case. It seems that all the roads lead him to Richard Wright’s murder back in the 80s. Coincidence? Mike doesn’t think so. He is sure that Godi is framed for Laila’s murder and Paul has to reasons to go after his ex-wife. Days later and both murders of Devon and Paul are confirming Mike’s suspicions. He takes the investigation into his own hands and takes down NYPD Intelligence Department and the man behind it all – Bradley Cooper.

The idea of the book is very catching. In my opinion, there are too many characters involved, way too much inside drama that didn’t have much to do with the actual case. Bradley Cooper was portraited as a dirty cop since the first pages, so I expected him to be behind the murders by the end of the book. I still do not understand what exactly Godi was researching in the library, why it was important, and why Laila was investigating him. And who exactly shot Richard Wright?! I wish the story included Cooper’s trial and how it actually ended.

As I said, I like the idea of the book, I just don’t feel it was completed, it has a few loose ends, and I wish it had more reasons to be tied to the Library.

View all my reviews


Searching for Irene

Searching for IreneSearching for Irene by Marlene Bateman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thrilling and wonderful mystery novel. The story takes place in 1920s in a charming Virginia mansion that is full of intrigues, secrets, and brother rivalry.

Anna, a modern secretary, lands a job as a live-in secretary/bookkeeper working for Lawrence Richardson. Lawrence’s older son Tyler is against the idea and is not afraid to show it, meanwhile, his younger brother, Kent, seems to be very happy to have a young and pretty face around the house. Anna is hired to finish the job that was started by a previous secretary, Irene, who suspiciously disappeared. And surprisingly enough – no one seems to care what really happened to Irene. Anna settles in the house, makes herself familiar with the bookkeeping work, gets to know the staff that works at the mansion, and creates a close friendship with Evan and Grace. But one thing doesn’t leave Anna’s mind – what happened to Irene?

During one of Anna’s afternoon rides, the young secretary comes upon a body that is identified as Richardson’s previous secretary – Irene. Coroner’s exam confirms that Irene’s death was not caused by a fall from the horse – she was strangled. Heartbroken Anna makes a promise to her mom – to find who killed Irene, her younger sister. (What!?)

And what a wonderful list of characters we have here:

Lawrence – a patriarch of Richardson family.

Tyler – single father and a widower, whose passion is breading horses. Tyler is in line to inherit Ashton Hall.

Evan – Tyler’s son.

Kent – ladies man, trapped in a marriage that he is trying to escape. Kent is known for his love of farming that causes many of the arguments between him and his brother.

Grace – Kent’s sweet and caring wife, who has not been the same after losing her daughter Rose.

Helen – Tyler’s wannabe wife, who comes from an aristocratic family.

Charles – Richardson family carpenter.

Verla – housekeeper/maid.

Pearl – cook.

Mrs.Calder – Evan’s governess.

Billy – stable worker.

Anna is not the only one in Ashton Hall who has a secret. The young girl has a strange feeling of being watched, she is being pushed down the starts and a note with a black wreath is left on her pillow. Will this be enough to scare Anna away? Anna is convinced that her sister’s murderer is closer, the murdered is an occupant of Ashton Hall.

Meanwhile, Anna manages to still do the job she was hired to complete. In a process, Anna persuades Lawrence to divide the management of the Ashton Hall: horse breeding to Tyler and farming side to Kent, that finally brings a peace between two brothers.

The last few chapters were so thrilling, I was accidentally skipping the lines while reading, that’s how excited I was to get to the end of the book. This is romantic mystery thriller with a fantastic plot. Perfect vacation or evening read.

View all my reviews

The Lost Girl of Astor Street

The Lost Girl of Astor StreetThe Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I want to be like Piper Sail when I grow up! It’s been a few weeks since I read such a great mystery book. It’s fast, engaging, with captivating characters, and new details come to lite with every page. I could not get enough of this book.

A storyline takes place in Chicago, 1924 (I love this time!). Piper’s best friend vanishes from the safest street in town, and police seem to be looking in all wrong places. Impatient Piper takes the investigation into her own hands. Sadly, Lydia’s body is recovered from a river. Family chauffeur, who suddenly disappears, is being blamed for young girl’s death. Police seem to close the case. But Piper can’t give up on her best friend so easily. Detective Sail has made a list of suspects and has made a priority to find the right person responsible for Lydia’s death.

Is it Lydia’s father, Doctor DeVine, who has hidden his daughter’s illness for months and was ready to send Lydia away to the clinic to get well?

Or is it Matthew, family chauffeur, who was sweet on Lydia, and Lydia was over heels in love with a young man?

Or is it next door neighbor, who cheats on his wife with a nanny and has a history of hitting his son?

Or is it one of Chicago’s gangs, the Finnegans, who have some connection to both Piper and Lydia’s fathers… and Matthew?

During her investigation, Piper befriends a young and handsome detective Cassano, who is related to another of Chicago gangs, but claims that he is an honest cop. The two catch feelings for each other and become an adorable sweet couple.

But let’s not forget all other amazing characters: Walter, Piper’s first love and “big brother”, a son of Sail residence cook/housekeeper. Emma and Jeremiah Crane, a brother/sister duo that also came to Detective Sail’s help during her investigation. Nick, Piper’s big brother. And Alana, Nick’s new lady love and an annoying reporter who keeps sniffing around for more scoops about Lydia and Matthew’s story.

With a surprising discovery (and some scratches and broken bones), our little detective concludes her investigation and brings Lydia’s killer to justice.

“I don’t think Chicago’s underbelly has seen the last of Piper Sail.” – I hope this is true. I would love to read more about this fascinating character.

View all my reviews

Queen of the Flowers

Queen of the Flowers (Phryne Fisher, #14)Queen of the Flowers by Kerry Greenwood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of all detective series, however, I never got a chance to read any of Ms. Fisher’s books. Therefore this is my very first novel from Ms. Fisher’s Murder Series. Even though this is a #14 book from a series, it gave me a very thorough introduction to the main heroine, Phryne Fisher, her background, and family/friends. And oh boy, there is a lot to keep up with: circus, tea dances, tango competitions, etiquette lessons, flower festival, young love, kidnapping, a missing daughter, family reunion, attempted murder of a young girl… That is one big and entertaining rollercoaster.

Let’s start with a missing Rose Weston. Weston’s family friend requests Ms. Fisher’s services to find the young girl. During the investigation, Phryne realizes that something shady is going on behind the doors of Weston’s residence. After Phryne locates a half-alive body of Rose, she looks more thoroughly into the missing case, that later on discovers quiet unpleasant old and new secrets about Weston family.

The second story of the book involves Phryne’s adoptive daughter, Ruth. It’s a very heartbreaking story of young love, shattered by parent’s disapproval and unfortunate terminal illness. Nevertheless, in books, every tragic story has a happy ending that brings us to a surprising but very sweet family reunion.

As mentioned above, the book was very entertaining, however, there were too many backstories. Although I was very happy to learn about our sassy detective, I felt a bit disappointed that the main story only took place in a second half of the book. However, I was charmed by Ms. Fisher and will definitely read more of her books.

View all my reviews

A Christmas Return

A Christmas ReturnA Christmas Return by Anne Perry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anne Perry’s books are always a delightful read with a very sweet happy ending.

This time I was introduced to a very sassy Mariah Ellison. The story takes place during the Christmas time. 20 year prior, a tragic accident ended a life of Mariah’s very good and dear friend, Cullen Wesley. The accident also caused a fall out between Mariah and Rowena, Cullen’s wife. And nothing would ever change if Mariah didn’t receive a cannonball in a Christmas pudding that followed by a letter from Rowena’s grandson. Peter invited Mariah to come back to Surrey and help him “complete” his grandfather’s last case that has been hovering over Rowena for the past 20 years.

Our short tempered Mariah is on her way to Surrey, where she reunites with Rowena and her grandson, Peter. Upon her arrival, our sassy grandmother learns the news – Dr. Owen Durward is back in Surrey, to clear his name and… to marry into a very wealthy family. Since Dr. Durward’s arrival a very unpleasant rumor being spread around little village. The rumor states that Cullen’s death was not an accident, but a horrific murder and the murderer is Cullen’s own wife – Rowena. Peter is determined to clear his grandmother’s name.

Now, let’s talk about a tragedy that took place 20 years prior in a quiet village of Surrey. A 14 year old girl went missing during the Christmas time and was found dead in the woods. A young girl was awfully violated. Owen Durward, a village doctor, was arrested and charged with her murder. Cullen Wesley, village attorney took Dr. Durward’s case. During the trial, Cullen came upon a similar tragedy that took place 5 years earlier only a few villages away. And guess who was a village doctor at that time? Coincidence? I think not. Owen Cullen was not arrested at that time, his married lover friend confirmed his whereabouts during the time of abduction/murder of a 12-year-old girl. Right after this dreadful discovery, Cullen has dropped Dr. Durward’s case, and hours later was found in his study, dead. The death was considerate an accident. However, Owen has spread the rumor that Rowena has killed her husband, as he refused to defend Owen because Dr. Durward and Rowena were engaged in a love affair. Phew, talk about drama!

England has a very interesting law, a person can’t be arrested and tried for the same murder twice. Dr. Durward has underestimated our little sassy and stubborn Meriah. Peter and Meriah followed Cullen’s steps 20 years later and discovered an unsolved murder in a neighbor village. Queer Dr. Durward was finally brought to justice. This time Owen was arrested, tried and hanged for the first murder he has committed 25 years ago.

This book receives 3 stars because of two questions that were not answered in the story. Who did send Mariah a cannonball in a Christmas pudding? And did Dr. Durward killed Cullen or was his death really an accident?

View all my reviews