I have been fortunate to receive quite a few ARC (Advanced Reading Copies) lately and I am gleefully making my way through them. Here are four new mysteries that I have enjoyed and hope you do too!
The Marlow Murder Club (#1
by Robert Thorogood
I thoroughly enjoyed the two books in The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman so when I read a description of The Marlow Murder Club, I knew that I would like it, and I did!
Judith Potts is a seventy-seven year old crossword puzzle designer who lives in a run down mansion on the Thames and likes her life just the way it is. She isn’t burdened with a husband to tell her not to drink scotch, wear her cape or swim naked in the Thames River at night. One night as she is swimming, she hears a gun shot at her neighbor’s house. When the police don’t believe her and more murders occur, she takes matters into her own hands. She teams up with Suzi, a dogwalker, and Becks, the prim and proper but bored local vicar’s wife, and they became the Marlow Murder Club.
This clever, cozy mystery kept me interested and I really enjoyed the quirky characters in it, especially Judith. There were some farfetched things like the detective Tankia who gives them access to all of the files because she is struggling with the case and the ending is a bit over the top. I didn’t like this book as much as I did the two books in The Thursday Murder Club but I did enjoy it. There is a second book in the series coming and I will also read it to see what further adventures Judith, Suzi and Becks encounter.
Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for the advanced reading copy in exchange for my honest review.
Published May 3, 2022
Miss Aldridge Regrets
by Louise Hare
Lena Aldridge, a mixed race woman passing as white in 1936, is struggling after losing her beloved father. Her mother deserted both of them when Lena was little and her father raised her. Now she is broke, has a nowhere job singing in a seedy nightclub called the Canary Club in Soho, London. When the owner of the club who is also married to her best friend dies in front of her from poison, Lena quickly accepts an offer to star in a Broadway play. The timing is perfect or is it? Everything will be paid for and she will be given a first class ticket on the RMS Queen Mary. When she questions the man, Charlie, who gave her the offer Lena was told that an old friend of her father wants to help her. Although Lena hates to leave her best friend, she desperately needs a fresh start so she boards the ship headed to New York.
On the ship she meets the wealthy Abernathy family who befriend her but something isn’t quite right with their family. When the patriarch of the family also dies from poison, Lena is afraid that she will be accused of his murder because of what happened at the Canary Club when she was there.
I was looking forward to reading Miss Aldridge Regrets because I thought that a mystery set in 1936 with a jazz singer on a luxury ocean liner and family secrets sounded intriguing. However, I was a little bit disappointed. The book was a little slow and there was a plot twist that I found hard to believe. I also didn’t like most of the characters but I will say that the ending surprised me. I liked this book but didn’t love it.
Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.
Publication date: July 5, 2022
The Woman in the Library
by Sulari Gentill
Hannah Tigone, a Sydney based writer, is writing a mystery set in Boston. She has a fan, Leo Johnson, who lives in Boston and helps her with the Boston setting. Hannah can’t visit Boston herself because of Covid so she is relying on Leo to help her with landmarks and dialect used by people living in Boston. Leo is a wannabe writer who keeps getting rejection letters and he has plenty of suggestions for Hannah and her book.
The book has a main character named. Winnifred (Freddy) Kincaid. Freddy is an Australian who is living in Boston on a writing fellowship. She is working on a novel and decides to spend the day in the ornate reading room in the Boston Public Library. There are three other people also working there and sitting at the table with her. Freddy begins to watch them, gives them names based on their appearance like Heroic Chin and Freud Girl and decides to use them in her novel. Things are very quiet until a woman’s scream is heard and they find out that someone has been murdered. Suddenly the police are there interviewing everyone in the room. Because they are each others alibis, they feel certain that they will be cleared but one of them might actually be a murderer.
As they bond and become friends over their shared experience Freddy learns that their real names are Whit, Marigold and Cain. As they begin to try and find who actually killed the women the story takes on some twists and turns and Freddy begins to wonder who she can trust. This book is a story within a story with Hannah writing her book from Australia and corresponding with Leo whose emails begin to take on a dark tone and her main character Freddy, writing her book.
The Woman in the Library is an engaging but sometimes confusing mystery because it was sometimes difficult to keep the storylines straight. I loved the Boston setting in the library and around Boston and it kept me reading to find out who the killer was.
Thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Published June 7, 2022
by Lauren Belfer
When Hannah Larson gets word that a close relative is very ill, she leaves New York City with her son, Nicky, to be with him at his manor house in Cambridge. Nicky has special needs and is brilliant but socially awkward and prone to outburst of anger. Lauren is concerned about taking him so far away and disrupting his routine but once they arrive at Christopher’s home, Nicky begins to thrive.
One morning while exploring, Nicky finds a skeleton in a boarded up section of the house. This historic find from the 1500 Tudor period is a mystery that Hannah has to solve. Who was she and why was she boarded up in that room and left to die?
Hannah is a historian and was working on her dissertation but decided to put it on hold to care for Nicky. She is conflicted about giving up her studies and being dependent on her husband especially after something is revealed about him. When the skeleton is discovered she is immediately intrigued by it and begins to piece together who she was and what might have happened by pouring over centuries old ledgers that were found in the manor and with the help of forensic science from the current day. As Hannah begins to learn more about this women she begins to evaluate her own life and marriage.
I enjoyed Ashton Hall but it was a little bit slow and very light on the mystery aspect. The investigation and the journals take the reader back to the the time period with lots of period details and that was interesting as was how Hannah would resolve her conflicted feelings about her career, her marriage and Nicky’s future.
Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the advanced reading copy for an honest review.