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Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

The prequel to the Da Vinci Code, Angel and Demons also stars Robert Langdon, who this time teams with Vittoria Vetra, a physicist to stop the destruction of the Vatican by someone who claims to be from the ancient and long forgotten organisation - Illuminati. Very exciting and compelling. Reviewed by A.M.

This was very interesting to read. The author knows how to keep your attention. I did not enjoy reading about the murders or the details. However, they were necessary for the plot. Reviewed by: Anonymous


Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander Mc Call Smith

This latest installment in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective series is just as fluffy as the others. Precious Ramotswe, lady detective, and her trusty sidekick Mma Makutsi deal with the lazy automotive apprentices, as well as problems big and small. I know these books have no substance. But for me, they are perfect first-day-at-the-beach books -- easy, quick, light, and relaxing. Reviewed by: K.J.


The Cereal Murders by Diane Mott Davidson

Fun! Good summer read - a who-dun-it that keeps you guessing with recurring characters that develop from story to story in this series.

This focuses on a series of murders connected to a private school. Anxieties build as the students apply to college but also become murder victims who the caterer, our hero, keeps finding. Reviewed by: L. Sandburg


The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Symbologist Robert Langdon becomes entangled in solving the murder of the curator of the Louvre museum. With the help of the dead curator's niece, Sophie Neveu, he uncovers secrets relating to a secret organization, which was suppressed by the church for the nature of its shocking secrets. A quick fun read. Reviewed by A.M.

This was a great book. I did not want to put it down, in part because I wanted to finish it before I saw the movie, and in part because it was so fascinating. After reading it, I had to find out what happened in Italy; as such, I read Angels and Demons. Reviewed by: L. Sandburg

I finally got around to reading The Da Vinci Code and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite characters that are beyind flat and a writing style that is almost comically bad. What carries the book is its fascinating premise; in fact, I found the didactic sections of the book a lot more lively and compelling than the "thriller" plot. I highly recommend the special illustrated edition that I read - it's fun to see the images that the author writes about.


The Dead Hour by Denise Mina

There's lots of tension and suspense in this "noir" mystery, which features reporter Paddy Meehan and is set in Glasgow, Scotland, the author's hometown. Glasgow is reeling from unemployment, poverty and drug use, and Paddy Meehan is hanging on to her night job so that she can support her parents and siblings. "The Dead Hour" begins when Paddy shows up at a domestic violence scene and sees too much; the consequences reverberate until Paddy finds herself caught in a terrifying situation. The characterizations in this mystery are varied and interesting, and the action moves at a crisp pace to its devastating climax. I highly recommend this mystery. Reviewed by: Francesca B.


Dead In The Water by Stuart Woods

A woman sailing with her husband in the Atlantic is accused of murdering her husband. She claims he had a heart attack and she buried him at sea and sailed to St Mark’s port alone. The unusual trial and politics of St Marks keeps the reader on his or her toes. This is an engrossing mystery and I will read more of this author. I listened to this book on a CD. It was read by Richard Ferrone D.C. Reviewed by: D.C.


The Doublet Affair: A Mystery at Queen Elizabeth I's Court, featuring Ursula Blanchard by Fiona Buckley

A mystery set in Elizabethan time, starring a young woman who doubles as one of the Queen’s ladies and a spy in the Queen’s service. Just not a very interesting read from my perspective…though the plot has several clever twists, and elements that tie it together, I didn’t find myself really drawn to spending time finishing the novel. Perhaps the character development lacks that spark which makes you empathize with them. Reviewed by: B. Sullivan


Killer Smile by Lisa Scottoline

Killer Smile is a highly entertaining mystery dealing with a genuinely serious issue - the internment of Italian-Americans in the US during World War II. The plot kept my interest until the very end and I enjoyed all the South Philly Italian ambience and felt it was handled with charm and clear inside knowledge. My only complaints were the sidekick Judy (silly and tedious) and the law office atmosphere (unrealistic and sit-comish). Sue Grafton avoids these pitfalls in her Kinsey Milhone series - but my guess is that if Killer Smile is typical of Scottoline's work, her mysteries are pretty much in Grafton's league! I'm eager to read them all. Reviewed by: J. Adler


The Main Corpse by Diane Mott Davidson

One in a series featuring caterer Goldy Schuly, who just can’t believe her best friend is a murderer. Old mines, fraudulent assays and great food lead up to a series of disappearances and a murder. There are some interesting characters and genuine suspense as we hope Goldy survives her adventures. And there are bonus recipes at the end of the story. Reviewed by: L. Sandburg


Murder at the Gardner by Jane Langston

When Ann Waldron recommended this mystery in her talk at the PPL Princeton Murders series, I was intrigued. The Gardner of the title is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, a place that was an art-filled fairyland to me as a child. I wondered if the mystery could possibly measure up to the reality of that wonderful place. In fact, I found this a good read, but I wondered if someone who had not visited the Gardner would feel equally positive. Many of the scenes hinge on familiarity with Gardner works of art, and the story itself could use some editing. It's ironic that this mystery, which refers to stolen art works, predates the unsolved theft of several of the Gardner's most treasured paintings. On the positive side, I was impressed by the author's lovely pen-and-ink sketches of Gardner scenes.

Reviewed by: Francesca B.


Murder in Jerusalem by Batya Gur

Batya Gur's last mystery takes place in the frenetic, chaotic studios of Israeli television. This talented author immediately plunges the reader into the wild goings-on of a time-obsessed TV studio, where people jostle for space and dozens of decisions about TV news coverage must be made on the spot. In the midst of this chaos, the body of a much-loved colleague is discovered, and from that point the frenzy mounts. This is a complicated, fascinating mystery -there are many characters, beautifully drawn, and the action is fast-moving and compelling. The climax of this mystery puts it in the "best" category for me - the way that Batya Gur connects the reasons for the murder with the poignant story of modern Israel. This book is a beautiful legacy to her readers.

Reviewed by: Francesca B.


Murphy's Law: a Molly Murphy mystery by Rhys Bowen

I thought a mystery with an Irish heroine might be fun, but "Murphy's Law" turns out to be a gripping account of an immigrant woman's difficult passage from the estate of a lecherous landlord to the corruption of Tammany Hall, by way of a hard voyage in steerage across the Atlantic Ocean. I found myself more involved with the difficulties and injustices faced by Molly Murphy along the way than by the murder of a bullying shipmate. Molly's struggles to find a place to live in New York, and her eventual success in finding a job as a maid in the Park Avenue mansion of an influential Irish politician, seemed authentic and harrowing, and the identity of the murderer surprised me. I'll watch for the next mystery in this series.Reviewed by: Francesca B.


Piece of My Heart by Peter Robinson

A NYT Sunday Book reviewer waxed enthusiastic about this mystery in his July 2 review, but I didn't think it was up to Peter Robinson's usual standard. Robinson has two mysteries going at the same time in this book - a 1969 murder and one in the present, and I found it confusing to keep track of each one. I got tired of Robinson's many allusions to the 60s, which seemed somewhat forced to me. Worst of all, I guessed one of the murderers too soon! I found myself longing for another P.D. James mystery, though we can't expect too many more from that talented author - she's in her eighties! Reviewed by: Francesca B.


Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

A dead newborn is discovered in the barn of an Amish farmer. The guilt points to an eighteen year old daughter of the farmer though she denies ever being pregnant, even after she is rushed to the hospital bleeding and a Dr. confirms that she just gave birth. It is suspected that the baby was murdered and Katie, the eighteen year old is charged with murder. Ellie Hathaway, a New York defense attorney is visiting an aunt in the area and is convinced to take up the case. Ellie finds herself not only in a clash of wills with a client who doesn’t want to be defended but also in a clash of cultures with a people whose culture is markedly different from her own. The only way Katie can stay at home is if the lawyer is with her at all times so Ellie moves in with the Amish. From the book cover: Picoult has a remarkable ability to make us share her characters’ feelings. The locale is a small town, Paradise, in Lancaster County, PA. It is on of the few books that I have read lately that I couldn’t put down. In fact I didn’t. It was also one I didn’t want to end. I highly recommend it. The author received a AB in creative writing from Princeton and a MA in education from Harvard.Reviewed by: D. C.




Promise Me by Harlan Coben

This slick mystery did keep my interest despite the many flaws - boring love story, occasionally outlandish characters, and a particularly unpleasant view of New Jersey teenagers. The plot, however, was fairly compelling, with a clever twist at the end. All in all, okay - but not amoung the best mysteries that I've read.

Reviewed by: J. A.


A Rare Murder in Princeton by Ann Waldron

Ann Waldron's Princeton mysteries are fun, and this latest one is no exception. McLeod Dulaney is staying with her friend George in a "murder house" on this Princeton visit, as she continues her occasional teaching at the University. An understandably rare murder takes place in the Rare Book department of the Firestone Library, and of course McLeod investigates. By coincidence, she finds a suspicious treasure in an inauspicious box of costumes, and her room and office are burgled. McLeod's meals are described in detail, and references to familiar Princeton spots abound, from Wild Oats to Lahiere's. Interest sometimes flags as McLeod ponders information about each suspect, but the several mysteries are finally solved in a tidy and even surprising manner. Reviewed by: Francesca B.


The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne

I would not have expected the author of the Christopher Robin books to write a mystery. Nor would I have expected this 1922 mystery to compete successfully with more recent writings. I was therefore doubly surprised to find this both an enjoyable story and an intriguing mystery. The red house of the story is the estate of an eccentric British country squire.

The hero, Antony Gillingham, brings unusual talents to bear to solve a murder which takes place there. A.A. Milne's sense of humor, so delightful in his children's books, is in evidence here as well, and there is a wry twist to the solution that I didn't expect. The library copy of this mystery dates from the 70s and is rather spotted; I have asked the library to purchase a new paperback edition which might be more pleasant for modern readers. Reviewed by: Francesca B.


The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard

There’s something about Kansas these days. First the renewed interest in Truman Capote’s true crime novel In Cold Blood and now Nancy Pickard’s suspense novel The Virgin of Small Plains. The story begins in 1987 when two young lovers and an idyllic Kansas town are changed forever when a mysterious young woman, known later as the Virgin, is found dead during a snowstorm. The crime was never solved and the girl's identity remains unknown. Fast forward to 2004 when this cold case is reopened after apocryphal stories surface proclaiming the girl buried in the local cemetery to be a miraculous healer. This is a captivating mystery about solving a seventeen year old crime. It is also about young love, good people who do bad things, and parents whose good intentions damage their children. It is a great summer read, but beware, once you start this book you may not be able to put it down.

Reviewed by: Reference Librarian Carolyn Barnshaw


The Whole Truth by Nancy Pickard

Marie Lightfoot, an author is in the court room taking in the trial of a suspected murderer who is in the same league as Hannibal Lecter and Ted Bundy. His name is Raymond Raintree. Marie observes all the evidence against Raymond and it looks like a conviction is a sure thing. Something bothers her though and the story takes on a very unusual twist.

I had never read this author and wanted the Kansas Virgin book reviewed here but it wasn’t available so I picked this one instead. It started out slow but once I got into it it kept me riveted.


Reviewed by: D.C.

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