Love and Death Among the Cheetahs (Royal Spyness, #13)

Love and Death Among the CheetahsLove and Death Among the Cheetahs
by Rhys Bowen
Rating: ★★★★
Series: Royal Spyness #13
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Pages: 304
Publisher: Berkley

The author starts this instalment with an apology in advance; the book is set in Africa – Kenya – during the late 20’s/early 30’s, a time when race relations and the views of the British Empire (as were the rest of the world) were shameful.

This had me braced for difficult reading, but I have to say, that was not the disclaimer I needed.  In true cozy style, Bowen acknowledged the dichotomy and inequality between white and black without really verbalising it.  What caught me unawares (and shouldn’t have; I can only wonder if the pre-apology diverted me), was the casual references to hunting big game.  Of course it was a thing back then, and of course I should have seen it coming.

The other unexpected part of the story was the behaviour of the upper class in Kenya; a risqué path for a cozy, but done well by the author, and based on actual events and a real person: Lady Idina Sackville.  Bowen closes with a short bibliography of texts she used in an effort to write about the times accurately.

All in all, another enjoyable instalment in a long-running series that has remained fairly strong throughout, balancing cheeky naiveté and interesting murder plots.

What Lola Wants (Lola Cruz, #4)

What Lola WantsWhat Lola Wants
by Melissa Bourbon
Rating: ★★★
Series: Lola Cruz #
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Pages: 244
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press

The first three books in this series were published years ago, and, I’m guessing, got dropped from the publisher.  I was disappointed at the time because I enjoyed the series, and I generally enjoyed the author’s mystery writing.  Fast forward several years later, and Henery Press published this fourth instalment.

Meh.  Either my tastes changed, or the author lost her groove during the hiatus.  It was still an interesting plot, and I still enjoyed the characters, but a lot of her romance writing history bled through into the story and the chapters’ angst.  And seriously, the editor or author need to repeat things over and over is grating on my nerves.  Lola’s always wanted to be a detective; she knows jujitsu; I get it and I got it the first time it was mentioned.  I’m smart that way.

Not sure this series is for me anymore.

The Glass Thief (Jaya Jones Treasure Mystery, #6)

The Glass ThiefThe Glass Thief
by Gigi Pandian
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 9781635115550
Series: Jaya Jones Mystery #
Publication Date: November 1, 2019
Pages: 256
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press

I never know what to say about these books.  They’re cozy, but with an Indiana Jones/Where in the World is Carmen Santiago mash up vibe.  All the mysteries in this series are rooted in off the beaten path historical fact, usually, but not always, India’s past, and always center on some type of treasure that’s been looted, or being searched for in order to be looted.  It’s this that keeps me coming back to these books if I’m honest.  I like the characters well enough, but I’m not as invested in them as I could be.

The Glass Thief is supposed to be an homage to Elizabeth Peters’ character Vicky Bliss, but – and admittedly it’s been over a decade since I’ve read them – I didn’t see it.  The romantic relationship here is similar, but otherwise I’d have to re-read the Vicky Bliss books to see more.  The plot twist was obvious from the beginning, so the ‘gasp!’ moment mid-way was less gasp! and more eye-roll.  But overall it was a good story that kept me entertained, which is something of an accomplishment lately, so it deserves merit for that.

Lowcountry Boomerang (Liz Talbot Mystery, #8)

Lowcountry BoomerangLowcountry Boomerang
by Susan M. Boyer
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 1635115434
Series: Liz Talbot Mystery #8
Publication Date: September 1, 2019
Pages: 256
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press

I continue to really enjoy this series; Boyer doesn’t overplay the ghost, and keeps the mysteries solvable by strictly corporeal measures.

The plots are always well done, though this one’s solution sort of felt like it came out of left field.  Looking back at the end, I can see where the author placed the ‘clues’ (though they wren’t really clues) but I’m not sure really works, and it left questions for me.  Still, I really enjoyed watching Liz and Nate go about solving the crime, absolving their client of a false accusation.  And the Talbot family had a few moments in the spotlight to let their crazy flag fly, which I always enjoy.

The inside flap of my book says there’s already a ninth book out, so maybe I won’t have to wait longer than the slower than usual post before I can jump back in.