The East Bay Mystery Readers' Group - 6 January Meeting Recap

BLUE MOON (Amateur Sleuth) - Peter Duchin and John Morgan Wilson - OKAY
The universal assessment was that the writing left a lot to be desired and most of us found the constant name dropping became annoying. Jacky found it to be one of the most amateurish books she had read in a long time--a stupid plot involving a mcguffin of black pearls hidden under a bridge among bats, etc.--genre clichés. But she did enjoyed it very much because of the side characters like Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Kennedy, Herb Caen, Truman Capote and other familiar friends who had no real part in the story but were just there to keep one reading and, for her, that sure did work. The rest of us found it a fairly appealing but of fluff, not wouldn't read another in the series. I personally was amused as I had just seen the Eddie Duchin Story on television the previous week, with Eddie played by Tyrone Power (not Montgomery Clift) and with a very young Kim Novak. However, that didn't help my assessment of the book.
GREEN GIRLS (Suspense) - Michael Kimball - VERY GOOD Minus
Blaine was the only one to have read this and like it pretty well. It was not horror, as some of us feared. She found the plot well constructed, the writing and dialogue good. The story had some substance and the plot moves along. She felt it was a very good suspense thriller. Andrea read UNDONE by the same author, which had lots of twists and turns and enough to keep her reading, but probably not enough that she would read another.
THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY (Historical Mystery) - Hannah March - GOOD
Blaire, Charlotte and I enjoyed this. We found it a bit slow and plodding, but it was interesting with a well-done romance. Although it was a bit overly complicated at times, it was an entertaining read.
Books for February 3rd are:
ONE GRAVE TOO MANY (Amateur Sleuth) - Beverly Connor
Her new job as director of the RiverTrail Museum of Natural History in Georgia takes forensic anthropologist Diane Fallon out of the game-until a former love and a murdered family bring her back in.
REEF DANCE (Legal Thriller) - John DeCure
J. Shepard, is a twentysomething attorney marking time in L.A.'s Juvenile Dependency Court. In his off hours, he surfs with his old cronies and tries to make headway with his monied girlfriend. Then he lands a headline-grabbing case involving parents who are accused of selling their newborn son to the highest bidder. Jolted from the lethargy of his routine, J. goes one-on-one with the adoptive parents' cutthroat lawyer, hires surfing legend Jackie Pace as his investigator, and is inspired to solve the mystery of his own mother's disappearance 10 years prior.
NOT QUITE KOSHER (Police Procedural) - Stuart M. Kiminsky
With a passion for pure justice, Chicago police detective Abe Lieberman (The Big Silence) chases thieves, tracks a man who predicted his own death, and plans for his grandson's bar mitzvah. His Irish partner, meanwhile, tries to deter an Asian crime syndicate member who is interested in his girlfriend.
Books for March 2nd are:
THE BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER (5th of the Ballad series) - Sharyn McCrumb
A career lawman will bear witness to the final judgment, as a man he put away twenty years ago is about to be executed for the brutal slaying of two hikers. However, his conscience is no longer clear to the point of absolute certainty about the man's guilt. Also of intense interest to the lawman is the parallel between the current events and a legendary murder and execution over 100 years old--the story of a great injustice, and a woman condemned to die for a crime she didn't commit. Suddenly, the sheriff finds himself in a race against and across time to see that history doesn't repeat itself!
THE ADVENTURESS (Amateur Sleuth) - Carole Nelson Douglas
Diva/detective Irene Adler and her bridegroom, handsome barrister Godfrey Norton, are honeymooning in Paris when they become embroiled in an investigation: a drowned sailor's body has been recovered from the Seine, and on his chest is a tattoo. A tattoo like one Irene once saw in London--on another sailor's chest, while the corpse lay upon Bram Stoker's dining room table. This clue will lead Irene to the first beautiful blond American princess of Monaco, political and matrimonial treachery, and a sword duel as she and her new friend Sarah Bernhardt unravel the mystery--with, of course, the help of Godfrey, Irene's faithful chronicler Miss Penelope Huxleigh, and Sherlock Holmes himself.
ISLAND OF BONES (P.I. Mystery) - P.J. Parrish
The skull of a baby has washed up on the beach, a beautiful young girl is found murdered in a swamp, and Kincaid is hired to follow an apparently boring older man. As Kincaid tries to figure out the connections, he's faced with various things: a new detective on the Ft. Myers police force who is not what he appears, his own difficulties in finding and keeping track of the man he's supposed to be responsible for, and more personally, bubbling emotions about his treatment of a young woman in his past whom he let down.

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