The French Paradox (A Wind Country mystery Book 11) by Ellen Crosby – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

“According to Napoleon, in victory you deserve champagne, in defeat you need it.”

 Book Blurb:

Lucie Montgomery’s discovery of her grandfather’s Parisian romance unlocks a series of shocking secrets in the gripping new Wine Country mystery.

In 1949, during her junior year abroad in Paris, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis The French Paradox by Ellen Crosbybought several inexpensive paintings of Marie-Antoinette by a little-known 18th century female artist. She also had a romantic relationship with Virginia vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery’s French grandfather – until recently, a well-kept secret.

Seventy years later, Cricket Delacroix, Lucie’s neighbor and Jackie’s schoolfriend, is donating the now priceless paintings to a Washington, DC museum. And Lucie’s grandfather is flying to Virginia for Cricket’s 90th birthday party, hosted by her daughter Harriet. A washed-up journalist, Harriet is rewriting a manuscript Jackie left behind about Marie-Antoinette and her portraitist. She’s also adding tell-all details about Jackie, sure to make the book a bestseller.

Then on the eve of the party a world-famous landscape designer who also knew Jackie is found dead in Lucie’s vineyard. Did someone make good on the death threats he’d received because of his controversial book on climate change? Or was his murder tied to Jackie, the paintings, and Lucie’s beloved grandfather?

My Review:

I always enjoy these entries to the wine country mysteries, as I’m assured of learning new facts about viticulture and the historical areas of Virginia. In this episode, protagonist Lucie Montgomery (owner with her family of the Montgomery Estate Vineyard) discovers a DB (dead body) in her fields—the guy she was supposed to have met to consult about problems with her sickly grapes.

The French Paradox by Ellen CrosbyHer winemaker-fiancé Quinn is quick to provide support, but it’s just one of several threads and I’m still trying to decide whether or not I like the Jackie Kennedy inclusion. She is also anticipating the arrival of her 93 year old French grandfather for a birthday celebration with a local friend. There are enlightening discussions on the impact of climate change to certain grapes and a comparison of GMOs with hybrids. Additionally, a major sub-plot involves the daughter of her birthday friend and the big reveal regarding her book and the early women art masters tied into the mystery of Jackie O.

The well-plotted narrative delves deeply into the family drama anticipation of a mini-family reunion with her beloved grandfather and her artistic sister’s commission for the art exhibition that will feature renown paintings tied to the books’ announcement.

I really loved The Angel’s Share and Harvest of Secrets but the pacing of this series entry was a bit slow for me and my attention waned. I suppose in the end, part of my enthusiasm this time was the Jackie thread. Not a lot of elements of a cozy, listed as a traditional detective mystery—but didn’t feel that vibe either. Still, these can all be considered standalone and I’ll be looking forward to the next one.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Detective Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Severn House Publishers

  • ASIN : B08QNF14TD

Print Length: 243 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! April 6, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Ellen Crosby - authorThe Author: Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia wine country mysteries, two mysteries featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone. THE FRENCH PARADOX, the 11th book in the wine country series will be out 1/29/21 in the UK, 4/6/21 in the US and 3/1/21 as an ebook. Before writing fiction, Crosby–who has lived in England, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the former Soviet Union–worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, an economist at the US Senate, and Moscow reporter for ABC Radio News. Visit her website at http://www.ellencrosby.com and follow her (very) occasionally on Facebook at EllenCrosbyBooks, sometimes on Twitter at @ellencrosby–but mostly on Instagram at ellencrosbyauthor. She also writes an erratic (but interesting) newsletter.

©V Williams

Fatal Divisions (A Hank Worth Mystery Book 4) by Claire Booth – A #BookReview – #policeprocedural

Book Blurb:

Family secrets and internal police politics cause trouble for Sheriff Hank Worth and his Chief Deputy Sheila Turley in this compelling mystery.

Fatal Divisions by Claire BoothHank Worth has always been committed to his job as Branson sheriff, so getting him to take a break is difficult. But to everyone’s surprise he agrees to take time off after a grueling case and visit a friend in Columbia, Missouri, leaving Chief Deputy Sheila Turley in charge. She quickly launches reforms that create an uproar, and things deteriorate even further when an elderly man is found brutally murdered in his home.

As Sheila struggles for control of the investigation and her insubordinate deputies, Hank is not relaxing as promised. His Aunt Fin is worried her husband is responsible for the disappearance of one of his employees, and Hank agrees to investigate.

The search for the missing woman leads to a tangle of deceit that Hank is determined to unravel . . . no matter the impact on his family.

His Review:

Sheriff Hank Worth was past exhausted. His wife was trying to get the old work horse to take a break. His department was way over budget and the county commissioners were complaining. His second in command was a no-nonsense female who was trying to develop a better work schedule and eliminate large cost overruns. The rest of the department hated her guts!

Fatal Divisions by Claire BoothFinally, Hank is maneuvered into a weeks’ getaway with an old college buddy. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief. But the buddy has a case he is working on as well and there is no rest for Hank. Meanwhile Sheila, his second in command, was going to fix all of the budgetary problems caused by sandbagging employees. Predictable of course the old timers rebelled and a sickout begins.

Mail mounting up in a mailbox causes the postman to call a deputy to check on one of his postal customers. Upon entering the house, a grizzly murder is discovered. The first suspect is the mans’ estranged sun. Dual plots spin from there. Claire Booth crafts this yarn with the best of them.

She is very adept at keeping the reader off balance with dual plots clouding the development of the investigations. Strong women are replete throughout the tale and men seem to be cast as the weaker sex. A fun approach to the investigations but also a bit unsettling. The ending justifies the means, however, and a surprise leads to a totally unlikely perpetrator. Then the development of the characters becomes crystal clear.

Pick up this book and enjoy a ride with Claire Booth available now. She doesn’t disappoint in her development of a tale. 4.5/5 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest and unbiased opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Severn House Publishers; Main edition

  • ASIN : B08MQ61BH2

Print Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Fatal Divisions [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Claire Booth - authorThe Author: Claire Booth spent more than a decade as a daily newspaper reporter, much of it covering crimes so convoluted and strange they seemed more like fiction than reality. Eventually, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series takes place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in, yes, strange and convoluted ways. Her latest, A Deadly Turn, is available now.

For more about Claire, her books, and some of the true crimes she’s covered, please visit http://www.clairebooth.com.

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Dangerous Pursuits (A Hazel Best & Gabriel Ash Mystery Book 7) by Jo Bannister – a #BookReview – Traditional Detective Mystery

Book Blurb:

Dangerous Pursuits by Jo BannisterWhen Gabriel Ash comes across a terrified young woman fleeing a brutal attacker, he and Hazel Best are drawn into a complex and baffling investigation.

Rachel Somers, running . . . Something appalling happened in the wood. When Gabriel Ash and his dog come to her aid, she thinks she’s safe. But this is Norbold, where things aren’t always as they seem.

Detective Chief Inspector Gorman thinks this is his worst nightmare: a predatory paedophile who’s prepared to kill rather than be taken. Constable Hazel Best thinks she’s helping both the Somers family and her friend Ash, but her tendency to follow her heart rather than her orders is about to get her into trouble again. And the people of Norbold have noticed that descriptions of the attacker, sketchy as they are, fit Ash better than they fit anyone else.

With panic stalking the town, DCI Gorman needs to make an arrest before more young girls are attacked, before someone else dies, before the vigilantes who burned Ash’s shop decide to burn him too. But the parameters keep shifting, and almost none of the facts he’s relying on will turn out to be true. The solution to the mystery is more shocking, and more tragic, than even these three could have imagined.

My Review:

Obviously, I’ve been living under a rock, as Dangerous Pursuits and this series is my introduction to the author and I gotta say, why haven’t I seen these books before?!

Before I get too crazy on just how much I enjoyed the metaphors and similes (mostly the latter) and that Irish sense of humor, I must not miss mentioning the actual mystery in the premise, which is a serious one.

“…you know what a mob is, don’t you? It’s a group of people whose IQ is in inverse proportion to its size.”

“The only difference between a teenage girl and a viper is eye shadow.”

“…thought there was more dignity in jumping than waiting to be pushed.”

Ooh! So this is character-driven or plot-driven? I read it and I don’t know.

Dangerous Pursuits by Jo Bannister cover with picture of Patience, the white lurkerYou can’t discount these main characters. Constable Hazel Best and Gabriel Ash (second-hand bookseller in his shop Rambles With Books) perfectly complement each other despite the difference in age and just about every other thing going. Gabriel, after all, has a dog he named Patience (the white lurker) who talks back to him. Not unusual, you say, most people talk to their animals. But no, I’m not talking as in anthropomorphic, I’m talking English. Of course, no one but Gabriel can hear her.

This is a well-plotted and fast-paced mystery and the mystery never leaves center stage while carefully involving the characters from the offices of DCI Gorman and the other close contacts owing to Constable Best. Chewing on the lack of clues, they bounce one theory after another off each other. And just when you think you can see where this is obviously going, there’s another twist.

These two main characters are immensely engaging and the author’s writing style entertaining and immersive. This is an easy and comfortable book to take your time and enjoy or gobble up and enjoy the chuckles between the occasional serious contemplative philosophical hypotheses. Dialogue is typical English, introducing me to some new terms I’ve not seen before in UK books.

The conclusion is one you’ve seen coming, but denied, hoping it wasn’t so. A familiar theme but one we must keep seeing. Such an important, and topical, concept. Still, it’s been a delightful ride and I can’t wait for the next. Heartily recommended.

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Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Detective Mystery, Police Procedural
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
ASIN: B086TZD71B
Print Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: To be released July 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Pre-Order Links:

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Jo Bannister - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Jo Bannister lives in Northern Ireland, where she worked as a journalist and editor on local newspapers. Since giving up the day job, her books have been shortlisted for a number of awards. Most of her spare time is spent with her horse and dog, or clambering over archaeological sites. She is currently working on a new series of psychological crime/thrillers.

©2020 V Williams – V Williams