Cozy mysteries began in the late 20th century as a reinvention of the Golden Age whodunit; these novels generally shy away from violence and suspense and frequently feature female amateur detectives. Modern cozy mysteries are frequently, though not necessarily in either case, humorous and thematic. This genre features minimal violence, sex and social relevance, a solution achieved by intellect or intuition rather than police procedure with order restored in the end, honorable and well bred characters, and a setting in a closed community. The murders are often committed by less violent tools such as poison and the wounds inflicted are rarely if ever used as clues. The writers who innovated and popularized the genre include Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and Elizabeth Daly.
Laos, 1976: Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old medical doctor, has been unwillingly appointed the national coroner of newly-socialist Laos. Though his lab is underfunded, his boss is incompetent, and his support staff is quirky to say the least, Siri’s sense of humor gets him through his often frustrating days.
When the body of the wife of a prominent politician comes through his morgue, Siri has reason to suspect the woman has been murdered. To get to the truth, Siri and his team face government secrets, spying neighbors, victim hauntings, Hmong shamans, botched romances, and other deadly dangers. Somehow, Siri must figure out a way to balance the will of the party and the will of the dead.
About the book
First in the Doctor Siri Paiboun series. The plot follows Dr Siri, now a coroner, who is faced with peculiar cases such as a body recovered from the river and a judge’s wife whom he thinks has been poisoned.
The world's greatest detective is back in an all-new adventure! When thieves pull off a daring heist that threatens a quaint town in Montana, Virginia Holmes and her partner decide to work "pro bono," taking no pay unless they can solve the case in time to prevent economic ruin. What they find is an elaborately planned theft that baffles them at every turn. And at the center of the mystery is one crucial question ... how does thief steal MILLIONS OF HONEYBEES?!
What I think
Nice story, certainly not full of twists. The style still doesn’t convince me, too many repetitions and a superficial language. Although I learned a lot about bees, I don’t understand what these poor bees did to get stolen. Or rather, I understand the reason given but, bees? really…oh well. I don’t think I will continue with the series. However I have to say that I like Holmes, I feel like I’m reading Hetty from NCIS: Los Angeles when I read her parts.
Cookies and corpses, not the picture-perfect Christmas Chris and Alicia Mallory had planned.
Recipe for a Christmas Murder:
Take one gingerbread competition, one mayor looking for publicity, one egocentric celebrity chef and a killer with an axe to grind. Mix thoroughly for the perfect Christmas murder.
Well, almost perfect.
It’s one month until Christmas in Dunbarton and the town is buzzing with the news that a famous celebrity chef is coming to judge and televise the gingerbread competition at the new community centre. Confident that the event will attract hordes of food-loving visitors to town, the mayor has Dunbarton decked out in all its Christmas finery and directs Alicia and the deputy mayor to make sure everything runs smoothly.
All is going as planned until a body is found in the life-sized gingerbread house outside the community centre, with a gingerbread dove stuffed in the victim’s mouth. The distraught mayor once again calls on Alicia and Chris to solve the murder before it sounds a death-knell to the holiday festivities.
It’s not long before Alicia and Chris discover that it’s not all sugar and spice in the world of big-time baking and that one too many cookies can be the death of you.
What I think
Last book of the year and last book for the Cloak and Dagger challenge.
I can’t give more than 3 stars even if I liked it better than the first book. Too simple to give Alicia the ‘oh it was him’ idea and leave it there. This particular one didn’t make me give more stars.
I know they’re not cops, but I found the case underdeveloped. It’s also too simple to have Alicia come to the solution (complete with a light bulb) and go “oh the killer was….” without saying how she found out. I understand how she found the murder weapon, but from there to say who the killer is (without saying why you think such a thing) is preposterous. Anyone could take it (the weapon) to kill.
I like Alicia and Chris as characters, maybe I’ll start reading the series and not just the Christmas ones, but I already have too many series to finish, so I don’t know.
There was more Christmas in this book and I enjoyed it more. But nothing exceptional, obviously I recommend it, but read it at Christmas time.
With a missing reindeer, a murdered elf, and a mayor one Christmas Carol short of a breakdown, it looks like Christmas festivities in Dunbarton are in danger of being cancelled - especially since Santa is in jail, charged with murder!
It's coming up to Christmas and everyone in Dunbarton is filled with excitement at the arrival of a reindeer, a gift from their twin town in Norway. But when Dasher disappears, children and parents alike are devastated, and the mayor fears an international incident.
In desperation, the mayor turns to the Mallorys to save the town's Christmas, but the more Chris and Alicia investigate, the more they realize it isn't just Christmas that's in jeopardy.
What I think
The story is pleasant, I was hoping for more Christmas atmosphere but apart from saying that the fair starts in a certain number of days and the lights put up by Chris around his house, I haven’t felt it that much. Be that as it may, I never thought that the killer was that person.
The book has some grammatical and spelling errors but since it is a “free” book it can be overlooked.
I haven’t read the previous books because I honestly wanted to read the Christmas book after this one and since I read the books in order of publication, I had to read this one first, but I didn’t want to read the books before this one because there are too many and I wanted Christmas. Maybe I’ll pick up the series later.
When Detective Virginia Holmes and her plucky assistant take on an investigation in the Galapagos islands, they quickly find themselves embroiled in a dispute that goes back generations … and leads to more than a few grisly revelations. Secret clues, giant tortoises, and a few murders will keep the world's greatest detective busy while she's piecing together the truth!
For curious readers new to the Virginia Holmes series, this is the PERFECT book to start your adventures with Detective Virginia Holmes and Samantha Fox!
(my comment about the last sentence: please don't, read them chronologically)
What I think
Nice, too descriptive, but understandable given the place where we are. Some things were easy to understand before the final explanation, (also because a fact was taken up by Bones or rather that part was also in Bones so the solution was clear to me).
All my book reviews are and will be 100% honest. I don’t get paid to write them and I don’t get “gifts” to write a good review so what I write is what I think. If I love a book, I’m going to say that, if I don’t like a book, I will write why I don’t. My critics aren’t an attack to the author, they are just how I feel about a subject or a style. See more in my Review Policy.