EBMRG - 2 September 2003 Meeting Recap

The East Bay Mystery Readers' Group - 2 September 2003 Meeting Recap

DEAD GIRLS DON'T WEAR DIAMONDS (Amateur Sleuth - cozy) - Nancy Martin - Okay "When a high society jewel thief winds up drowned at the bottom of a pool with a tacky garden gnome tied to her ankles, ex-debutante Nora Blackbird must swing into action to save her old flame from a murder charge. And when suspicion is directed onto Nora herself, she must find the killer or risk trading her grandmother's couture for an orange jumpsuit."

This is very light, silly and fun. Both Rhonda and I enjoyed it for what it was, and would read another. It reminded me a bit of Evanovich for the humor. Blaire, however, thought it was stupid with the characters seeming more as white trash than society. But, if you don't expect more from it than a light cozy, it's okay.

THE HOUSE ON SPRUCEWOOD LANE (Amateur Sleuth) - Caroline Slate - Very Good "Estranged from her family, documentary filmmaker Lex Cavanaugh is pleased to get an e-mail from nephew Jared until she reads it and discovers that his ten-year-old sister has been murdered. With everyone in the family under suspicion, Lex must rush in and protect Jared. "

Charlotte had a bit of a hard time with it being so clearly inspired by the JonBenet Ramsey case. However, once she could view it as a story on its own, she felt the characters were interesting and the writing excellent. Blaire liked it except that everyone had a major neurosis. However she also felt the writing and plot were very good. Libby really liked it and, as did the others, thought it was very well written. Diane enjoyed it and would recommend it, even though she would have preferred less first-person narrative from Lex. Overall, everyone felt it was very good and would read another by the author.

STORMY WEATHER (Police Procedural) - Paula L. Woods - Okay - Good "The suspicious death of respected black film director Maynard Duncan, a pioneer in his field, stirs up passions throughout the minority community's upper-middle-class enclaves in Woods's intriguing take on Old Hollywood from the African-American perspective. Detective Charlotte Justice finds herself more involved than she might like when the LAPD's elite Robbery-Homicide division gets the call."

Libby found it did keep her interested, although it was not gripping and badly needed an editor. Linda liked it; felt it moved along quickly and liked the inclusion of the black filmmakers in L.A. She would read another. Blaire felt the mystery was an excuse to write about the black culture in LA, which was interesting. Everyone felt the mystery was very weak and forgettable with way too many subplots, although it did pick up at the end.


THE LAST KASHMIRI ROSE (Historical Mystery) - Barbara Cleverly "Scotland Yard Detective Joe Sandilands is asked to look into a series of deaths in Calcutta in 1922. A number of British officers' wives have died in what looks like the work of a clever serial killer who "arranges" deaths for each of the victims in a manner that relates to her worst fears. "

THE PUSHER (Police Procedural) - Ed McBain "Two a.m. in the bitter cold of winter: the young Hispanic man's body was found in a tenement basement. The rope around his neck suggested a clear case of suicide -- until the autopsy revealed he'd overdosed on heroin. He was a pusher, and now a thousand questions pressed down on the detectives of the 87th Precinct: Who set up the phony hanging? Whose fingerprints were on the syringe found at the scene? Who was making threatening phone calls, attempting to implicate Lieutenant Byrnes' teenage son? Somebody was pushing the 87th Precinct hard, and Detective Steve Carella and Lieutenant Pete Byrnes have to push back harder -- before a frightening and deadly chain tightens its grip."

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES (Legal Thriller) - Sheldon Siegel "When Mike Daley gets fired from a prestigious San Francisco law firm, he starts a private practice. His first case is huge--to defend his best friend and former colleague, who's accused of killing two people at his old firm. Working to prove his friend's innocence, Daley uncovers the dirty secrets of his former partners and begins to question the legal system itself."


SILENT PROOF (Police Procedural) - Michael A. Hawley Twenty-five years ago, a woman was murdered in a Seattle park. The crime went unsolved. To homicide detective Leah Harris and her partner Frank Milkovich, the only possible suspect is Clifford Bakerman-a career criminal about to be released from prison on an unrelated rap. They have thirty-six hours to make another charge stick and keep Bakerman where he belongs. But startling new evidence-and a shocking new murder-plunge Leah and Frank into a life-and-death game with a deadly-and secret-opponent.

BLOOD DOUBLE (Amateur Sleuth) - Neil McMahon On a March evening in San Francisco a dying man is dumped in Mercy Hospital's parking lot, and it doesn't take ER's head doctor, Carroll Monks, long to discover he's more than just your average overdosed junkie. Only minutes after the man is swept away by his physician and several tough looking bodyguards, the hospital is set on fire and vandalized, the man's blood samples gone. Soon Monks and his daughter, an intern at Mercy, are being targeted for what they know and forced to flee for their lives in search of answers.

WALKING ON WATER (Psychological Thriller - Gemma O'Connor American art dealer Evangeline Walters is dead...bound to a tree at the water's edge of a small Irish coastal town. Garda Sargeant Francis Recaldo, the town's only policeman, finds himself digging up details of the victim's private life--details that could incriminate his friends and neighbors and the married woman he loves, who becomes his prime suspect.

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