Tag Archives: Mystery

Death by Diamonds by Annette Blair

Overview
Death by Diamonds (A Vintage Magic Mystery, #3) by Annette Blair

Title: Death by Diamonds
Author: Annette Blair
Series: A Vintage Magic Mystery #3
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Cozy mysteryMystery
Dates read: 18th – 20th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley Mystery
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: “You get me in the stupidest trouble.”

Synopsis

The latest entry sparkles in national bestselling author Annette Blair’s enchanting series starring Madeira Cutler and her charming Vintage Magic boutique. This time Maddie needs to find out why a famous actress faced her final curtain call…

Madeira loves her vintage clothing store, but the visions she gets from the garments can be hard to handle, especially when she knows the garment’s owner. At first she’s thrilled to receive a package containing the beautifully bejewelled dress she designed for actress and old friend Dominique DeLong while in fashion school. But the dress comes with a disturbing note from Dominique, who it seems took her last bow under very mysterious circumstances. Now Maddie needs to use her second sight to shine a spotlight on the actress’s entire entourage – including a bitter ex, a rival ingenue, and a very catty “best friend” – and make sure that this was the killer’s final act.

Thoughts

I love a good cozy mystery. They have all the intensity and joy of a good thriller or crime novel. Just none of the horror, can’t sleep at night feelings that my other crime novels inspire. Which, thinking about it is a little weird… Death by Diamonds still has a murder, and it should be scary. But mostly it’s just enjoyable.

Admittedly I’m not one for fashion. But I do appreciate all of the intricacies that are around for people who are. And, honestly, after reading this, I kind of wish that I was into vintage fashion. There are so many beautiful nuances throughout this book.

Dom is maybe my favourite murder victim ever. Whoch is supremely weird, I know. But from the very beginning, she is manipulating and twisting things in a way that is kind of humorous. I love the gumption of the woman and the pizzaz that she shows, even from beyond the grave. It gives you a hint of the woman that you never get to meet within the storyline. And I loved it.

I have most definitely got a favourite leading man in this series… Weiner. Nick is not bad, per se, just “eh”. Which meant that I was incredibly happy to have Weiner take a little more centre stage in Mad’s attentions. Hopefully in the next book this relationship will start to develop more!

<- Larceny and LaceSkirting the Grave ->

Image source: Goodreads

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Overview
Poirot - Murder On The Orient Express [Illustrated Deluxe Edition]  :HarperCollins Australia

Title: Murder on the Orient Express
Author: Agatha Christie
Series: Hercule Poirot #10
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Mystery
Dates read: 10th – 24th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year: 1934
5th sentence, 74th page: This is where I’m supposed to go all goosefleshy down the back.

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Synopsis

‘The murderer is with us – on the train now…’

Just after midnight, a snowstorm stops the famous Orient Express in its tracks. A passenger is brutally murdered, and the luxurious train is no longer a place of safety. Everyone is a suspect.

This illustrated edition contains the complete text of Agatha Christie’s II Murder on the Orient Express, II together with 200 glorious production paintings and sumptuous photos from the new film, directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Thoughts

Wow. This was a pretty, seriously intense novel. I knew that it probably would be, considering it’s so damn well-known and popular. But I really didn’t expect… this level of awesomeness. Now I just desperately want more of these books on my shelves!

Recently, I’ve been watching some Agatha Christie movies with one of my clients. I can never guess who the culprit is in these (all except one thus far have come as a complete shock). This is such a wonderfully new experience for my crazy brain that I was looking forward to trying to match my wits to this storyline. And I couldn’t predict this either, every time I thought that I might be beginning to put all of the puzzle pieces together… Christie threw another curveball my way. It was brilliant and wonderful.

One of the things about this story that I did struggle with was the amount of characters. I actually struggled to keep all of the pieces in my brain and keep track of who was who. What the motives were. What the evidence was… I’ve been assured that that’s unique to this Hercule Poirot story, but it was certainly a little bit difficult. I’m just grateful that I had the movie edition of this book, so there were many pictures to help me sort out what exactly was happening…

The thing that I loved the most about this was that I just couldn’t predict what was going to happen. This surprise, partnered with the humour and Christie’s ability to completely change register and language style completely hooked me. I am most certainly in love with this and can’t wait to get my hands on some more Agatha Christie novels…

<- Lord Edgware DiesThree Act Tragedy ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood

Overview
Death in Daylesford, The New Phryne Fisher Mystery by Kerry Greenwood |  9781743310342 | Booktopia

Title: Death in Daylesford
Author: Kerry Greenwood
Series: Phryne Fisher #21
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Cozy mysteryCrime, Historical fiction, Mystery
Dates read: 11th – 13th October 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: She indicated the cloche.

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Synopsis

Surrounded by secrets, great and small, the formidable Miss Phryne Fisher returns to vanquish injustice.

When a mysterious invitation arrives for Miss Phryne Fisher from an unknown Captain Herbert Spencer, Phryne’s curiosity is excited. Spencer runs a retreat in Victoria’s spa country for shell-shocked soldiers of the First World War. It’s a cause after Phryne’s own heart but what could Spencer want from her?

Phryne and the faithful Dot view their spa sojourn as a short holiday but are quickly thrown in the midst of disturbing Highland gatherings, disappearing women, murder and the mystery of the Temperance Hotel.

Meanwhile, Cec, Bert and Tinker find a young woman floating face down in the harbour, dead. Tinker and Phryne’s resilient adopted daughters, Jane ad Ruth, decide to solve what appears to be a heinous crime.

Disappearances, murder, bombs, booty-traps and strange goings-on keep Miss Phryne Fisher right in the middle of her most exciting adventure.

Thoughts

I received this book as an ARC that I needed to review. I have never read any Phryne Fisher books and I honestly had absolutely no idea what to expect. Particularly since this is the twenty-first book in the series…

As a cozy mystery, I was expecting one cute and intriguing mystery to happen – alright, cute probably isn’t the right word, after all, they still tend to be murders or some such. What I didn’t expect, or anticipate was the fact that there would be three consecutive mysteries occurring. It created a number of parallel storylines to follow that I just adored and found absolutely beguiling. This is definitely the kind of mystery that I love to have on my shelves. And I seriously look forward to adding more in when I get the chance!

Not only did I seriously enjoy the setting of this story, but I also thoroughly loved the characters as well. Phryne Fisher is a woman full of character and gumption. She’s not afraid of… well, anything and she is exactly what I look for in a slightly zany and wonderfully independent lead character. But, you add to that her faithful companion Dot, and the zany adoptive family that she leaves at home… yeah, this is a group of individuals that I want to get to know better!

Finally, to top off the amazing storyline and characters, there is the setting. I don’t have the pleasure of reading many stories based in Australia. I even less commonly have the pleasure of reading stories which feature Australia in the 1920s… I just couldn’t look away, and nor did I wish to. A fantastic mystery, brilliant writing, and a totally unique setting that I wish we had more of. What more could you want in a book?

<- Murder and MendelssohnMore Kerry Greenwood ->

Image source: Booktopia

Killer Cupcakes by Leighann Dobbs

Overview
Killer Cupcakes (Lexy Baker #1) by Leighann Dobbs

Title: Killer Cupcakes
Author: Leighann Dobbs
Series: Lexy Baker #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Cozy mysteryMystery
Dates read: 11th – 13th October 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Leighann Dobbs
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: They walked over to her car slowly, enjoying the warm summer evening, the sound of peepers chirping filled the honeysuckle scented air.

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Synopsis

Things are going great for Lexy Baker. She’s finally opened her dream bakery, gotten rid of her cheating boyfriends, and settled into her grandmothers house.

But when her ex boyfriend is found poisoned with cupcakes from her bakery, Lexy finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation headed up by her hunk neighbor detective Jack Perillo.

With the help of a gang of iPad-toting, would-be detective grandmothers, Lexy decides to take it upon herself to find the real murderer in order to clear her name and get her bakery back in business.

As things heat up on the murder trail, in the kitchen and between Lexy and the hunky detective, it’s a race against time to put the real murderer behind bars and get back to baking.

Thoughts

I always enjoy a nice cozy mystery. They’re just a great way to read a crime / mystery novel without freaking the hell out of myself. Which, sometimes is needed. Particularly when it’s a dark night and I want nothing more than to curl up with a good mystery… but would actually like to sleep…

Killer Cupcakes was a pretty typical cute cozy mystery… it was sweet, kind of innocent and a lot of fun. The fact that it has a baker as the lead character called Lexy just made all that much happier… since my dog is called Lexi and I love to bake. It’s the small things in life that create happiness I suppose. I liked that although there were moments of concern throughout this story, I was never truly worried. I knew that things would work out just fine… without torture or any of the other insanity some of my other books have…

Having said all of that, I actually didn’t expect the villain to be… well, the villain. It was a bit of a fun twist. One that completely endears this series to me. And is making me put more of the series on my wishlist…

Ultimately, this is a fun little mystery that features cupcakes, skeevy exes and hot cops. Not really much more I could want in a cozy mystery to be honest…

<- More Leighann DobbsDying for Danish ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Unwilling by Shiloh Walker

Overview
Hot in Handcuffs - Bookshelf • Best Selling Books by #1 New York ...

Title: The Unwilling
Author: Shiloh Walker
Series: The FBI Psychics Series #3.25
In: Hot in Handcuffs (Sylvia Day, Shayla Black & Shiloh Walker)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Mystery, Paranormal romance, Romantic suspense
Dates read: 29th July 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: Sometimes this is like shooting in the dark.

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Synopsis

Mica Greer and her former lover, ex-FBI agent Colby Mathis, once shared an intimate past and a powerful psychic gift. Now, they’ve been reunited by a bizarre series of murders—and an electrifying passion that could put them both in jeopardy.

Thoughts

I absolutely adored this crime novella. Not only was it a great romantic suspense, but it had a fantastic layer of paranormal moments throughout. I’m completely intrigued to see what the rest of this series will be like – psychics who are in the FBI and run around solving crimes? Plus sex? Yes please. This is exactly the kind of series that I love.

One of the things that I loved about this novella was that it was all about love loved and lost. I didn’t like that fifteen years had been and gone for these two characters since they had last “connected”. But at least they finally made their way back to one another. That was a nice little, pleasant surprise. Even if the history still hurt my heart a little bit.

One of my favourite things to do when reading a mystery of any kind is to try and guess who the culprit is. Sometimes I love being able to guess the culprit, sometimes I hate it. In the case of this novella, I was able to guess who the culprit was about halfway through. Yet, that still left me with that unforgettable, spine tingling, uncomfortable moment that I think all good mysteries and suspense stories should have.

<- On FireHot in Handcuffs ->

Image source: Sylvia Day

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Overview
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris - Books - Hachette Australia

Title: Grave Sight
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Harper Connelly #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Mystery, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 27th June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2005
5th sentence, 74th page: I found it with my other sense, instead of asking for directions.

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Synopsis

Harper Connolly is honest, ethical and loyal – and ever since a bolt of lightning zapped her on the head, she’s had an extra-special talent: she can find dead people.

It’s not a common-or-garden job. Some people find Harper’s talent useful and fascinating, but she’s getting used to most people treating her like a blood-sucking leech, preying on the recently bereaved and offering false hope. She’s become an expert at getting in, getting paid and getting out fast.

So when Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver are hired to help in the Ozarks, they’re wary. Their mission is to find a local teenager – missing, believed dead – and instead they find that someone is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to bury a secret. 88 It doesn’t take long for Tolliver to be is locked away on trumped-up charges and leave Harpeer fighting for her life…

Thoughts

So this is a much better start to a series than the first Sookie Stackhouse novel. It’s a little more developed, which I think is probably just an indication of Harris’ developing skills. From the very outset, you are thrown into the world of Harper Connelly and her unique powers. From the very outset you are completely swept away and enmeshed with a woman who is quite damaged and has a seriously great personality.

I loved how this story started completely in the present. But, as the story unfolded, parts of the past also filtered through and helped to fill you in on so many important little titbits. It was a great way to create a beautifully dimensional and emotional character that you constantly felt connected to. It built upon all the trials and tribulations of the present story. It also helped to highlight exactly why Tolliver and Harper were so close. Just not in the way that is often implied…

Alongside the paranormal journey and discovery of Harper’s past, there is a great mystery to this story. In fact, it almost reads a bit like a cozy mystery. Just not quite. But still, it has that same sense of mystery to it and the almost innocence of the story line that the other cozy mysteries I’ve read hae had. However, there are a few more stakes raised. And a little bit more darkness due to Harper’s unique gift. It gives a slightly different feeling, and removes some of that innocence. Mostly though, I do love this paranormal aspect and brilliance. Particularly when it just makes the story that little bit darker.

Although the end of this story involves Harper and Tolliver getting the hell out of dodge, I can’t wait to see how this series unfolds. Partly, I kind of hope that they both get a bit of a happily ever after. It obviously wasn’t going to be in the Ozarks, but I look forward to jumping into this series and finding that at some point… hopefully.

<- More Charlaine HarrisGrave Surprise ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Mum’s the Word by Kate Collins

Overview
Mum's the Word (A Flower Shop Mystery, #1) by Kate Collins

Title: Mum’s the Word
Author: Kate Collins
Series: A Flower Shop Mystery #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Cozy mystery, Mystery
Dates read: 1st – 24th March 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Signet Mystery
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: It’s not safe.

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Synopsis

I don’t meddle, honest! But can I help it if my nose for injustice is as keen as my green thumb? Now I, Abby Knight, law school dropout, am the proud new owner of Bloomers, my hometown flower shop. Im devoted to making my business grow, but I’m no shrinking violent if someone needs my help to right a wrong – even if that person is already dead…

A THORNY PREDICAMENT

So maybe Abby’s life isn’t the bed of roses she was hoping it would be. She adores her job, but a new low-cost competitor is killing her profits – and a black SUV just rammed her vintage Corvette in a hit-and-run. Determined to track down the driver, she accepts the help of unky ex-cop Marco Salvare. But their budding relationship is threatened when the trail turns deadly. Now Abby is caught in a tangle of menacing phone calls, police corruption, and murderous road rage. If she’s not careful, the next flower arrangement might be for her own funeral…

Thoughts

This is the second Cozy Mystery series I’ve had the pleasure of reading. And I only bought it because I needed a book with a florist in it for a reading challenge (and then I didn’t get to read it in time. But anyhow…). Having said that. This was fun. This was light. A little lighter than the Vintage Magic Mystery series that got me into the genre. But still a great venture into mystery without all of the scariness of the other crime novels on my shelves.

I read this at a time that the world was going nuts and I am getting close to finishing my degree, and just in general wondering what was going to happen in the future. So, reading about Abby Knight leaving her law degree to own her own florist shop was kind of nice. It was a great reminder that you should do what makes you happy, not what you believe others believe you should do. I actually greatly admired her throughout this whole story and found her plight something that I probably need to remind myself of in the coming years – it’s okay to find what makes you happy, not what makes you rich.

Abby is one of those characters that can seem to help but meddle. In some, I tend to find this a wee bit tiring. After all, if I had somebody in my life that meddled that much… they would be quickly out of my life. However, she does it in such an endearing, smack yourself in the head kind of way that I didn’t find it too horrifying. After all, she’s a character in a book, and when I was finding her meddling a little too intense… I could close the book and move onto another one. This isn’t a heart-stopping, fast-action, fast-paced book. But it is an enjoyable one. Actually, it was quite nice to have this in my reading pile for a little while – it meant that I had a book that I could pick up and put down. Without being impossibly hooked into what I was reading. It’s the kind of book that is thoroughly enjoyable, but you don’t constantly need to see what is going to happen next. Just enough of an adventure to what the rest of the books, and give me that warm, happy feeling when I turned the final page.

 <- Tulips Too Late ReviewSlay It With Flowers Review ->

Image source: Goodreads

Larceny and Lace by Annette Blair

Overview
Image result for book cover larceny and lace

Title: Larceny and Lace
Author: Annette Blair
Series: A Vintage Magic Mystery #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Cozy mysteryMystery
Dates read: 19th October – 9th November 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley Prime Circle
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: But the longer I waited, the madder the Wiener was going to get.

Synopsis

With all the stress of opening her new vintage clothing store (in a renovated old morgue) Madeira Cutler feels like a bag of bones–until she discovers the real deal, unearthed by an intruder, in an old body drawer. And the bones are as vintage as Maddie’s stock, or so says Maddie’s resident ghostly hunk, Dante Underhill.

Could the break-in have something to do with the local playhouse and its curator going down in flames? Somehow Maddie will have to juggle dressing the store, party planning, and crime solving. Add to the brew the local witch’s costume ball, being held at her store, and Madeira is wishing she knew how to ride a broom right out of there…

Thoughts

I loved this book just as much as the first one. It had that same sense of self and humour. That same quaint feeling of fun and enjoyment. Something which I really enjoy in my reading and shelves. Especially after a long, serious day of hard work… it just makes me so incredibly happy. And you know that there is going to be an easy, simple happy ending… even if this is a mystery about death.

This Vintage Magic Mystery was quite a bit more sinister than A Veiled Deception. Especially considering the fact that unlike in the first novel, this one has people who are actively gunning for Maddie. She just can’t quite seem to keep her nose out of a good mystery, and that has gotten her into a whole lot more trouble than the previous story…. which of course made this all the more difficult to put down and forget about….

Nick is still in this story. There’s nothing in particular that I have against him… but he just isn’t a great fit. Anybody who is in an on again and off again relationship just doesn’t sit quite well. And he’s kind of dismissive of Maddie as a human being. Weiner on the other hand, I think is brilliant. He finds Maddie frustrating, irritating and, most importantly real. As someone who is a bit like Maddie, having a man that recognises all of your flaws is actually kind of amazing… and it also lets you be yourself. Weiner better be this for Maddie later in the series!!!

This story also featured the grand opening of Maddie’s shop. It kind of made me want my own little shop. One that I could let my passions run rampant and be my own boss. I don’t think that it’s a realistic dream… but still. I just loved the Maddie finds a way to live a full life that she wants. One that is filled with her passions and obsessions. Something that I think we could all strive for (even if for a lot of us, it isn’t super realistic).

 <- A Veiled DeceptionDeath by Diamonds ->

Image source: Amazon

A Veiled Deception by Annette Blair

Overview
Image result for book cover a veiled deception

Title: A Veiled Deception
Author: Annette Blair
Series: A Vintage Magic Mystery #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Cozy mystery, Mystery
Dates read: 8th September – 15th October 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: “Bummer,” I said, and she smiled.

Synopsis

With years of experience working for a top New York designer, Madeira Cutler has learned to appreciate the clean line, rich texture, and elegant draping of a finely crafted garment. It’s not until Maddie goes home to Mystick Falls, Connecticut, for her sister’s wedding, however, that she discovers her understanding of fashion goes much deeper…

Before the accessory shopping and fittings can begin, the festivities hit a snag when Maddie finds her sister’s nemesis strangled with the bride-to-be’s veil. In between opening her own vintage clothhing shop and keeping the wedding on track, Maddie’s determined to perform her own investigation to clear her family’s name. She soon finds that her best witness may be an antique wedding dress that magically unveils to her the secrets of those who have worn it. But if the gown doesn’t talk fast enough, the lives of everyone Maddie loves will surely fall apart at the seams.

Thoughts

This is my first ever “cozy mystery” book and I truly had no idea what to expect. After all, what in the heck even is a cozy mystery? And how does this fit into my normal taste in books? I mostly just bought A Veiled Deception because I loved the other books I read by Annette Blair. Turns out that cozy mysteries are something that I really enjoy, and now I can’t wait to explore the genre even further!

There is nothing like the bond of sisters. We drive each other nuts, bully each other, make each other mad. And, at the end of the day, love each other ridiculously. And would do literally anything for each other. Madi just decides that she’s going to solve a murder to help show her love. Luckily, she eventually does, and there’s a happily ever after moment, but there’s a few touch and go moments as you try to figure out who the actual culprit is.

I’m really not interested in fashion. Or makeup. Or really anything even remotely in that field, so the quotes at the beginning of each chapter, and some of the intricacies of the story didn’t really pull me in. Yet, I loved this insight into an entirely new world. I’ve never read a book which explores this aspect of life which is often glorified on TV. There is something fun and unique about it. Add that to the fact that it is a vintage wedding dress and a psychic gift that help to finally solve the murder… completely priceless.

This is one of those incredibly, wonderfully easy reads that I like to have in my reading list. They’re a great late night adventure that doesn’t take on too much emotional and mental impact. But it’s not overly simplistic – there is just a tangible innocence and love to the storyline that Blair is able to uniquely bring to life. And now I can’t wait to sink my literary teeth into the next book in the series, Larceny and Lace.

<- More Annette BlairLarceny and Lace ->

Image source: Amazon

The Thieves of Ostia by Caroline Lawrence

Overview
Image result for book cover the thieves of ostia caroline lawrence

Title: The Thieves of Ostia
Author: Caroline Lawrence
Series: Roman Mysteries #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, Mystery, Whodunnit
Dates read: 13th – 14th April 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Orion
Year: 2001
5th sentence, 74th page: They all sat on the carpet in a sunlit corner of the garden.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

The dogs on Flavia’s street have started dying mysteriously, and she is determined to find out why. Her investigation leads her to three extraordinary people: Jonathan, her new neighbor; Nubia, an African slave; and Lupus, a mute beggar boy. The four embark on a search for the killer … and that’s when the excitement begins.

Thoughts

This is the first time since I was a kid that I decided to pick up this book. And I’m really glad that I did. It is such a fun, happy, easy read and one that I struggled to put down. The combination of Roman history; a young, slightly too confident heroine; and a mystery that is both dangerous and grotesque work brilliantly together. Unlike many of the other whodunnit type stories that I’ve read, this one isn’t going to keep you up at night. There is just enough going on that you want to know who the real culprit is, but it’s not realistic enough that I could imagine any of this happening to me…

I remember reading this story when I was younger, I already had a bit of a fascination with Greek and Roman mythologies, but it wasn’t until this series that I also became captivated with the daily lives of the people who believed in these mythoi. This is the series that first enamoured me with historical fiction. The first series that made me want to step back in time and understand the daily ins and outs of life. Lawrence is able to bring forward Flavia’s experiences and make them completely relatable to your modern-day teenager.

Although this is a book aimed at a younger audience, it was still quite difficult to figure out who the actual culprit was. Even in my second read through, I couldn’t quite remember who the villain was in the story. I only managed to figure it out a few pages before the big reveal. And I’m pretty sure that it was just my memory kicking in, not any actual brilliance on my part. It’s always fun when you can’t quite figure out the end of a mystery.

 <- The Man from Pomegranate Street ReviewThe Secrets of Vesuvius Review ->
Image source: Wikipedia