Teeny Book Reviews: The Glass Thief by Gigi Pandian and Edisto Tidings by C. Hope Clark @GigiPandian @HeneryPress @hopeclark @Bellebooks

The Glass Thief
A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery #6
Gigi Pandian
Henery Press, November 2019
ISBN 978-1-63511-555-0
Trade Paperback

When I read the first Jaya Jones mystery, I thought, “Aha, the lady version of Indiana Jones!” and I’ve been a big fan ever since. After that first book, I’ve gone on a number of adventures with historian Jaya and have enjoyed every one of them.

This time, our treasure-hunting, ghostbusting heroine gets dragged into a locked room mystery involving a French family with a sordid history of Cambodian treasure looting, a resident ghost and several murders that have all (coincidentally?) occurred in their mansion two nights before Christmas. Perhaps most puzzling, a famous novelist is writing a new book and needs her help in a very odd way. Not only that, Jaya’s boyfriend, Lane, throws her for a loop and may have brought their relationship to an abrupt end.

The story takes place in San Francisco, Paris and the exotic land of Cambodia and I felt like an armchair traveler the whole time because Ms. Pandian is so good with settings. Jaya is on the hunt for the elusive Serpent King sculpture which has mysteriously vanished from the Delacroix home and the twists and turns abound, enough to keep me on tenterhooks as I waffled from one possible solution to another. That’s another thing the author does well—dream up a boatload of threads that may or may not connect to each other.

As always, Jaya’s friends are appealing and as well drawn as you could possibly want although Jaya is on her own through much of the tale. By the way, anyone with a taste for scrumptious food will be drooling over the dishes the author has everyone chowing down on—as I write this, I’m craving some mouthwatering Indian delicacies 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

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Edisto Tidings
An Edisto Island Mystery #6
C. Hope Clark
Bell Bridge Books, October 2019
ISBN 978-1-61194-956-8
Trade Paperback

As you can see, I’m a little out of season with this book as the story takes place at Christmas but, never you mind, a good story is a good story no matter when, right?

And a good one this is. Police Chief Callie Morgan is called to the scene of a murder—or is it a murder? There’s a body for sure, and it was found on a vacant lot owned by a contentious local, but there’s a very personal twist in that the victim is her biological mother’s husband. Obviously, Sarah, Callie’s mother, has to be a prime suspect along with the lot’s owner who also knew the victim.

Meanwhile, Callie also has to deal with a number of thefts that seem to be perpetrated by Santa. Somebody is stealing Christmas presents but might have an altruistic if criminal purpose. The resort town’s short-term rental visitors will be leaving in a few days and, if any of them are involved in these crimes, Callie’s timing had better be good. Fortunately, some of her friends are quite helpful when it comes to solving crimes and the police department staff is intelligent and reliable.

I really like this series, largely because Callie is so normal; she’s not on a power trip, she has heavy-duty baggage but is coping as well as one could hope, she’s smart as a whip and she cares about her job and the people she serves. Callie is a former big city cop so she has some skills not always easily found in small town departments but she also knows that the people of Edisto Island are not the least bit backward or dumb. In other words, she fits in well.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

Teeny Book Reviews: Pharma Con by Peg Herring and Epiphany by Susan Slater @authorpherring @susansslater @ColumbineGroup

Pharma Con
Kidnap Caper #2
Peg Herring
Gwendolyn Books, May 2019
ISBN 978-1944502263
Trade Paperback

How could a group of people make life just a little bit better for those who have had wrong done to them, something like the old TV show, “Leverage”? The motley crew of Robin Hooders led by Robin and Em that we first met in KIDNAP.org returns, still on the quest to bring justice or, at least, a kind of retribution, to those who prey on the vulnerable. While they go after their latest target, both Robin and Em are questioning their own futures with the outfit but that doesn’t stop them from going after Neil Preston, head of a pharmaceuticals company. Anyone in the US who is faced with exorbitant drug prices can sympathize with this crusade, especially since this man is reaping all the benefits of his unbridled greed. It’s an adventure full of clever tactics and a lot of sassy humor and any reader will enjoy this caper.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2020.

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Epiphany
Dan Mahoney Mysteries, Book 4
Susan Slater
Secret Staircase Books, April 2019
ISBN 978-1-945422-67-6
Trade Paperback

Insurance investigator San Mahoney is already in St. Augustine, FL, with his wife, Elaine, when his company assigns him to look into a very large theft from the local Basilica but, tangentially, one of the nuns has been murdered. Sister Leah was involved in a very nasty side business but is that why she was killed? Dan needs to work with and around the police and, meanwhile, he and Elaine are concerned that his mom, Maggie, may have gotten herself involved in a sketchy situation in her new town, Dragon’s Bend, especially when a dead body pops up there, too. Elaine’s twenty-year-old son comes to visit and a family Christmas is in the making but Dan really has his work cut out for him this time what with the missing relics, bodies and hints of a really distressing criminal activity.

As a resident of St. Augustine, I was captivated by the author’s careful and quite accurate use of this beautiful, historic city as the setting for Dan’s latest investigation and enjoyed recognizing different locations. Ms. Slater has also crafted an intriguing tangle of crimes and puzzling it out kept me swiping pages on my Nook to see what would happen next.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2020.