Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

In a remote Quebec monastery fame has caused dissent and murder. Chief Inspector Gamache and Inspector Beauvoir must shift through darkness and light to find the murderer. Will they be successful?

The monastery is a captivating mix of beautiful and unsettling. Its inhabitants, Gamache, and Beauvoir struggle with the darker side of human nature. The inspectors provide a look at how to cause witnesses/suspects to speak honestly. The mystery is complex due to multiple suspects and an object protected by the victim. The Beautiful Mystery offers a unique setting, interesting characters, and a cozish police procedural.

Want other books like The Beautiful Mystery?

A French police chief finds a veteran’s murder is tied to hidden secrets from WWII in Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker.

A Venice Vice Commissario must uncover the truth of a world famous conductor’s murder in Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon.

A Scotland Yard detective’s vacation is interrupted by murder in A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie.


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Spycatcher by Matthew Dunn

Will Cochrane, codenamed Spartan, defeats MI6’s worst enemies. He finds his deadliest and most personal enemy in an Iranian terrorist planning to kill thousands. Can Spartan defeat an enemy who has a chess master’s mind and an assassin’s skills?

Will Cochrane is a tense mix of ruthlessness and compassion. He feels a normal life is an unattainable luxury. Intelligence work is an arena where choices have costs and practicality trumps compassion. The are many chases and questions of trust as Will plays a suspenseful cat and mouse game. Spycatcher offers a conflicted protagonist and a look at the dark side of espionage.

Want more books like Spycatcher?

A CIA agent attempts to trick a terrorist group into killing one of its most effective agents in Body of Lies by David Ignatius.

An elite British intelligence group must foil a terrorist plot to assassinate the U.S. president in A Devil is Waiting by Jack Higgins.

John Wells may be the only one who can prevent a terrorist attack, but the CIA doubts his loyalty in The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson.

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Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith

Big Red Amlingmeyer’s older brother is determined to be the West’s Sherlock Holmes. When murder strikes at a ranch Old Red has the chance. Can a rough cowboy successfully think like Holmes?

Old Red is a loner and deductive like Holmes, but his vastly different experiences make him his own man. Big Red shows Watson level loyalty, but also thinks about whether he wishes to be a detective’s ally. Together, the two are an effective team. Cowboy customs and ranch life give the mystery a Western feel. There are plenty of clues but they don’t make the solution obvious. Holmes on the Range offers a twist on Holmes and a Western mystery.

Want more books like Holmes on the Range?

Two San Francisco PIs find their investigations helped and complicated by a man claiming to be Holmes in The Bughouse Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini. (Click here to read my blog entry on The Bughouse Affair.)

A federal investigator must recover a powerful weapon apparently stolen by his estranged brother in The Killing Machine by Ed Gorman.

Sherlock Holmes comes to America to thwart a railroad arsonist in Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon by Larry Millett.

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Red Means Run by Brad Smith

Farmer Virgil Cain regrets hotheaded words when a lawyer he hates is murdered. Virgil escapes custody to prove his innocence, but his chances are slim. Can he evade the cops and find the killer?

Virgil and his reluctant ally, Detective Claire Marchand, both calmly confront gritty life with dry humor. The characters fit mystery character molds but also have striking twists. Events confuse whodunnit to make an interesting read. The worlds of horse farming, police work, and a sleezy music producer create a unique atmosphere.  Red Means Run offers dry humor and an interesting mystery.

Want more books like Red Means Run?

A wife is determined to prove her PI husband didn’t commit suicide in Beach Strip by John Lawrence Reynolds.

Cliff Janeway finds bookselling may be a deadly occupation in Booked to Die by John Dunning. (Click here to read my blog entry on this book.)

Ex-policeman Jack Taylor is stuck mourning his past until an intriguing woman brings him a case in The Guards by Ken Bruen.

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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Retired Texas Rangers McCrae and Call miss adventure. When they hear of bountiful and uncivilized Montana they decide to move their ranch there. What happens during their journey to an unfamiliar land?

Lonesome Dove is leisurely paced epic which provokes amusement, sadness, and thoughtfulness about the bygone West. It’s a cowboy adventure in a slowly civilizing West. It also has a coming of age story and bittersweet love. Its characters are compellingly interesting, endearing, and/or odd. Lonesome Dove offers thoughtful Western adventure and compelling characters.

Want more books like Lonesome Dove?

A haunted Civil War veteran journeys the West seeking peace and finding turmoil in Far As the Eye Can See by Robert Bausch.

A Canadian Mountie becomes a Montana rancher and is entangled in white-Native American conflict in A Good Man by Guy Vanderhaeghe.

The West is seen through the eyes of a group of pioneers traveling from Missouri to Oregon in The Way West by A.B. Guthrie Jr.

Lonesome Dove was made into a TV miniseries in 1989.

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