The Arcane Society continues in Amanda Quick’s The Perfect Poison. Quick (who is Jayne Ann Krentz) has written her sixth book in the series – the third historical one. And much to this reader’s joy – she keeps the excitement in the series. (Can I tell you how many times books within a long series, have clunkers through out because the author can not keep up the quality?) Finally Quick brings us Colin’s story. Colin Jones’ talent is a difficult one – he has a talent for strategy and making connections. He sees the patterns in his head and connects the dots so that the Society and his new project, Jones and Company can figure out what is going on in the battle for the founder’s formula. He doesn’t have Miss Lucinda Bromley in his pattern however.

Lucinda has a talent for botany – more specifically figuring out what botanic ingredients have been combined to create potions for good or for evil. She’s been helping a member of Scotland Yard, with various cases that involve poisons and she discovers that one of the ingredients she has figured out was stolen from her greenhouse. She decides to enlist Jones and Company to find out who the thief is and where is her plant. She also has a bit of a reputation – she is rumored to have poisoned her fiance, and wants things handled as quickly as possible. When they meet – they end up surprising each other – with their talents and intelligence. And when Colin figures out her thief is connected to his quest – the hunt is on.

Quick once again gives us great characters, with pithy dialogue and a roller coaster ride of a plot. And she brings us an excellent subplot of an Arcane Society matchmaker in action. (It would be fun to have her again in another book!) Along the way she manages to deftly fill in more details about the Jones family, the Arcane Society, their history, and their members’ talents. I can hardly wait for the next installment! A very good read!
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Murder On the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner is a wonderful book that combines history and mystery to produce a fun work of fiction. We are immersed from the beginning in the 1889 World Exposition in Paris. The entire city is focused on the new Eiffel Tower and the exposition. The joy and the excitement of going up to the viewing platforms has visitors in a frenzy. And when someone is murdered on the platform, the case makes front page news. But who would murder a maiden aunt taking her niece and nephews on an outing? Victor Legris, a young bookseller, is on the platform with newspaper friends when this happens and wants to find the culprit. And when more people start dying after visiting the viewing platforms and the exposition, he is determined to solve the case – even as his friends are turning into suspects.

The author (really a pen name for two lady booksellers in modern France) brings to life the Paris of the time, and Victor’s occupations as bookseller and book critic. Victor is a compelling character who is trying to be modern but finds he is more conservative than he thinks he is. With a cast of interesting secondary characters, the story allows us a brief glimpse into their world. And we had a wonderful time. A very fun read.

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A sharp, methodical mystery from Canadian writer Peter Robinson. This is his first mystery featuring English cop Alan Banks…who has subsequently become a continuing character of Robinson’s. Set in Yorkshire, Banks recently made the move from London to the North of England…and is still getting used to small-town ways. Robinson does a great job of setting Banks up as a character we want to get to know better. We feel comfortable with this man and like him…because he’s human. He has flaws, bad habits and is not always Super Cop. This book deals with two crimes…one involving a peeping tom and one involving a murder. Robinson does a great job of letting Banks unfold both cases. A superb mystery with a fascinating new police character!

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This is a great, funny mystery, ala Hiaasen. Schreck has a strong writing style, a knack for developing fresh, fun characters and a witty, droll sense of humor that compliments the darkness of the subject matter (in this case child porn and a child sex ring). His main character, Duffy Dombrowski, is a rude, crude, messy social worker/amateur sleuth who is someone you want to keep reading about. I hope this series continues and continues….

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At the amazing age of 88, Dick Francis has recently published his 44th novel, Silks. Francis’ son Felix gets a co-author credit on this, as in their first collaboration, Dead Heat. Despite a heavy-handedness in the characterizations, Silks has all of the Francis trademarks: absurdly handsome hero, check; ascension of right over might, check; horse racing, check; violence, check. Geoffrey Mason is a widowed barrister and amateur steeplechase jockey who makes a dangerous enemy when he prosecutes the young ruffian Julian Trent. Too soon, Trent is out of jail and becomes the executor of a series of anonymous threats Mason receives when he undertakes the defense of a jockey accused of muder. Along the way you learn about foaling operations, horse racing over hurdles, how jockeys cheat at weigh-ins, and the English justice system (which is just like ours). This might not be Francis and company at the height of his powers, but how could Dick Francis not be a good read?

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Remember Me is a fun, enjoyable time spent reading. It’s not heavy fiction. It’s hardly even fiction that requires your eyes to be open. But, it’s fun. Kinsella really knows how to write for an audience that isn’t interested in high art, but rather good, entertaining fluff. I don’t mean this in a critical way…but if you read even the first page of this one, you will see that the Pulitzer committee will not be considering this title. The story focuses a woman who loses her recent memory after she has a car accident. She forgets everything that has happened in the last three years. Yes, I know. UNBELIEVABLE. But, it sure is fun!

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This book is a well-written exploration into the world of love. From three different angles, love and being in love is explored and examined. We have the love of two sisters and one of the sisters’ illicit, unimaginable love. Next, we have the infatuation type of love…love that is more about the “getting” than about the “keeping.” And finally we have the tale of tragic love, told from the POV of a young girl who gets caught in the middle of a doomed love affair. Hoffman brings all of her characters to life, as well as London…the city is brimming with vitality…which contributes to the book passion.

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A different type of fiction from Keyes…who normally sticks to one main character throughout her stories. This time, she jumps between four female characters…all of whom are connected by one devilishly charming and seductively powerful man. There is Lola…who has just been tossed aside by said man – for another woman. And Grace, a journalist who has more than her fair share of history with the man. And Grace’s twin sister Marnie, who has been in love with the man for a long time. And finally Alicia…the woman for whom the man dumped Lola. An interesting concept that leads to a fascinating work of fiction – a good study of women and what they will and won’t do because of love.

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OK — I LOVED the first one — Silent in the Grave — and this one is good, but somehow, it didn’t captivate me the first novel did. This one also features Lady Julia Gray and her PI cohort Brisbane — who have sort of a Victorian Maddie Hayes/David Addison relationship…meaning they are civil to each other at time, argue at times, claim they can’t stand the other and really just want to sleep together. This time, Julia, Brisbane, members of her family and some friends are snowbound in a castle retreat…and then one of the houseguests turns up murdered. Julia and Brisbane once again provide the right amount of sexual tension…without being too un-Victorian about it.

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