THE EAST BAY MYSTERY READERS GROUP - 3 July 2007 - Meeting Recap

Andrea, Charlotte, Libby and I met last night. Unfortunately, I was the only one to have read all the books but Corona did send me her comments on DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE. So, we decided to move the other two July book to September.

The book discussed July 3rd was:

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE (YA Mystery-Ingrid Levin-Hall-Echo Falls-Cont) – 1st in series – Peter Abrahams

Ingrid is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or at least her shoes are. And getting them back will mean getting tangled up in a murder investigation as complicated as the mysteries solved by her idol, Sherlock Holmes. With soccer practice, schoolwork, and the lead role in her town's production of Alice in Wonderland, Ingrid is swamped. But as things in Echo Falls keep getting curiouser and curiouser, Ingrid realizes she must solve the murder on her own -- before it's too late!

Corona – VG - I read this book and had a REALLY great time! I felt like I was tagging around with the 13 year-old girl and it was fun, not just ‘cause she was 13 but I liked her too. But I wonder if someone really can be so bright and still so naive. Her family was interesting, a little too interesting; when it happened it seemed right that she lied to her parents about how she got the black eye. But as their relationship unfolded it seemed like her brother could be dangerous. The book was fun, a little suspenseful, but it wasn’t a mystery.

LJ – VG - I so enjoyed this book. Ingrid comes from a family very typical for today; two working parents tied up in their own concerns but expecting their children to excel, the brother Ty at football and Ingrid at soccer scholastically, and Grampy, the solid, grounded influence in Ingrid’s life. Ingrid is smart, gutsy and loves Sherlock Holmes and we see grow and mature during the story. The plot is good, with moments of suspense. I did identify the villain fairly early, but there was a nice twist at the end I appreciated. The book is targeted for young adults, who I do think would really enjoy it, but I consider myself young at heard and I found it delightful.

Books for August 7th are:

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (Traditional Mystery-Hercule Periot-Europe-1930s) – 9th in series – Agatha Christie

On the long train ride from Istanbul to Paris, detective Poirot must find the killer of a much-hated millionaire among 13 suspects with reasons to kill.

THE LIZARD’S BITE (Police Procedural-Dec. Nic Costa-Italy-Cont) - 4th in series – David Hewson

From Booklist: At the end of Hewson's superb Sacred Cut (2005), Roman cops Nic Costa and Gianni Peroni, along with their maverick boss, Leo Falcone, were all in jeopardy, having both outfoxed and offended the Eternal City's leading powerbrokers. Now exiled to Venice, Costa and Peroni find themselves with another hot-potato case on their hands. After being reunited with Falcone, the pair is offered a chance to return to Rome if they will rubber stamp a murder investigation on the island of Murano, where a glassmaker apparently has killed his wife and then died himself when the furnace he was tending exploded. Naturally, Costa and Peroni smell a fix and can't resist following the scent.

THE ART OF DETECTION (Police Procedural-Kate Martinelli-San Francisco-Cont) – 5th in series – Laurie R. King

Kate Martinelli has seen her share of peculiar things as a San Francisco cop, but never anything quite like this: an ornate Victorian sitting room straight out of a Sherlock Holmes story–complete with violin, tobacco-filled Persian slipper, and gunshots in the wallpaper that spell out the initials of the late queen. Philip Gilbert was a true Holmes fanatic, from his antiquated décor to his vintage wardrobe. And no mere fan of fiction’s great detective, but a leading expert with a collection of priceless memorabilia–a collection some would kill for. And perhaps someone did: In his collection is a century-old manuscript purportedly written by Holmes himself–a manuscript that eerily echoes details of Gilbert’s own murder. Now, with the help of her partner, Al Hawkin, Kate must follow the convoluted trail of a killer–one who may have trained at the feet of the greatest mind of all times.

Books for September 4th are:

VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS (Mystery-Nebraska-Cont) – Standalone – Nancy Pickard (moved from being a June selection)

While rounding up newborn calves during a 1987 blizzard, Nathan Shellenberger, sheriff of Small Plains, and his teenage sons, Rex and Patrick, discover the naked frozen body of a beautiful teenage girl. Later, Nathan and Dr. Quentin "Doc" Reynolds bash the girl's face to an unrecognizable pulp, since they know who she is and fear that either Patrick or Rex's best friend, 17-year-old Mitch Newquist, is her killer. Witnessing this terrible scene is Mitch, hidden in Doc's home office supply closet where he's gone for a condom to use with Abby, Doc's 16-year-old daughter. Mitch's father, a judge, forces Mitch to leave town after the boy admits what he saw. In 2004, Abby and Rex—now the sheriff—find another blizzard victim, Mitch's mother, dead near the marker commemorating the still-unidentified "virgin."

THE MIDNIGHT ROAD (Lic. Invest.-Flynn-Long Island, NY – Cont) – Standalone – Tom Piccirilli

From the moment he saw the girl in the snowstorm, Flynn had less than an hour to live. But he’ll remember his last fifty minutes long after he’s dead. As an investigator for Suffolk County Child Protective Services, Flynn has seen more than his share of misery, but nothing could prepare him for the nightmare inside the Shepards’ million-dollar Long Island home. In less than an hour, that nightmare will send him plunging into a frozen harbor—and awaken him to a reality even more terrifying.They’ve nicknamed Flynn “The Miracle Man” because few have ever been resuscitated after being dead so long. But a determined homicide detective and a beautiful, inquisitive reporter have questions about what really happened at the Shepard house—and why the people around Flynn are suddenly being murdered. Flynn has questions of his own, especially when one of the victims dies while handing him a note: THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT. Flynn has returned from the Midnight Road—and someone wants to send him back.

THE LOST VAN GOGH (Police Procedural-Det. Clay Ryder-NYC-Cont) – Standalone – A.J. Zerries (moved from being a June selection)

From Booklist: As the "Art Cop," NYPD detective Clay Ryder doesn't get much respect at headquarters. Not only does he appear to have a cushy beat, but he's also considered stuck-up, when, in reality, he is filled with remorse over the death of his wife. Not that he has time to brood once two priceless paintings are stolen from a Central Park penthouse, and a previously unknown Van Gogh shows up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This smart, emotionally loaded, and strongly anchored art caper is the work of first-time wife and husband coauthors. The Zerries have made powerful use of the always-alluring stolen-masterpiece motif and also cleverly, and affectingly, linked it to the Nazi pillaging of Jewish-owned art treasures, conjuring up an especially barbaric SS officer believed to have escaped to Argentina, the clever Mossad agents on his trail, and the heir to the Van Gogh portrait, Rachel Meredith, a fetching and all-too-trusting film-history professor.

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