Thumbs up for A Curious Beginning, A Perilous Undertaking, A Treacherous Curse, A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell series #1 to #4) by Deanna Raybourn. Historical mysteries.

Escapist literature at its best. A series of mysteries set in Victorian England following the exploits of two natural historians: Veronica Speedwell, sexually-emancipated lepidopterist, and Stoker, black-sheep aristocrat and professional taxidermist. (“They fight crime!”) I don’t know about the quality of the mystery plots, in the sense that I don’t care; I’m just here for the banter and smoldering sexual tension.… >> Read more

Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Naked in Death by J. D. Robb. Science fiction romantic suspense.

This is going to be one of those reviews in which it seems I didn’t enjoy reading the book. That is not the case. It was an immensely fun page-turner, which I plowed through in three sittings. Nora Roberts knows how to tell an engaging story.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Outsider in Amsterdam and The Sergeant’s Cat and Other Stories by Janwillem van de Wetering. Mystery.

I’m not a mystery reader, generally, but there are three or four authors whose books I love. The books of Van de Wetering – globetrotting Dutchman, erstwhile Zen monk, and part-time member of the Amsterdam Police Force – made me exceptionally happy when I read them in my teens, and they continue to make me happy as I’m rereading them now.… >> Read more


Thumbs up for The Big Sheep by Robert Kroese. Science fiction.

Near-future science fiction mystery about a missing sheep and a TV starlet who believes someone wants to kill her. And that is where I must stop, because the plot is so blindingly complicated and contains so many reveals that literally everything after that point is spoilers. But I will tell you that it is enormous fun; droll and dialogue-driven, it’s like Robert B.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for The Zaanics Deceit by Nina Post with David J. Peterson. Suspense.

I was asked by the co-author (assisting linguist?) if I’d be willing to review this; because I am a picky reader and didn’t want to get in trouble, I read the blurb and first page on Amazon before agreeing. Hmm, I said to myself. It takes place in Istanbul and San Francisco (among others), concerns a manuscript in an invented language, makes direct nods to King Lear, and begins with a heroine with an anxiety disorder remotely managing a diamond heist from her home?… >> Read more

Thumbs up for The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman. Mystery.

I have no idea why I love Jewish mysteries (yes, this is a subgenre), since I’m not Jewish and don’t much like mysteries: you can count yourself lucky that the era when I obsessively read everything by Harry Kemelman and Batya Gur was pre-blog. Frankly, I’m glad too. But a very boring day at work and the memory of having read an interesting interview with Mrs Kellerman led to me picking up this, the first book in her Decker/Lazarus series.… >> Read more