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The Counterfeit Crank by Edward Marston

Publisher:  St. Martins Minotaur ISBN:  0-312-31949-5

The Counterfeit Crank by Edward Marston: Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

The theater life of Shakespeare was never so interesting or exciting as is that of Nicholas Bracewell, book holder for the acting troupe, Westfield's Men. Several great tales in one with Nicholas at the center of the action.

Several things occur at once to the actors, a new landlord, an ailing playwright, gaming and theft, then add to the mix a pair of young beggars newly arrived in London who are befriended by Nicholas. Too sure of their success as beggars, the pair ignore an offer of gainful employment and shortly find themselves in dire need of friends.

Caught between his wish to help the young beggars and the demands of his position with the troupe, Nicholas must make a decision that could cost him all.  As it turns out, it nearly does cost him all, but not the price he expected to pay when he meddles where he isn't wanted and threatens the livelihood of two dangerous men.

The several subplots are skillfully woven into the whole by talented author Edward Marston and the result is a highly enjoyable and satisfying tale set in Olde England. You almost expect Kit Marlowe and Shakespeare to turn up in the audience at The Queen's Head.  Highly recommended.

 

The Fall by Michael Allen Dymmoch: Reviewed by C.J. Curry, New Mystery Reader

Joanne Lessing is a divorced single mother trying to make a life for herself and her son Sean.  Joanna has spent several years learning photography and earning a reputation for herself.  Her pictures have appeared prominently in and on the covers of several  prestigious publications.  

Out early the morning after Halloween Joanne is photographing the aftermath of the revelries.  After her assignment she turns her eye to geese in the park, loving the contrasts on the snowy backgrounds.  She has just finished her roll of film in one camera when she hears a foreign car speeding down the road.  The driver of the car is startled to see Joanne with a camera in her hand and sharply veers into a VW parked along the road.  But the car doesn’t stop, instead it puts on more speed and roars away.  Joanne instinctively puts up her other camera and takes a couple of pictures.  Wanting to preserve her mornings work, Joanne processes her film while she is waiting for the police to come and take her statement.  She only got a partial view of the hit and run driver so her efforts weren’t much help.  Later that evening she is surprised to hear on the news that a man in her neighborhood had been murdered.

Joanne is soon inundated with FBI agents.  It seems the murder victim was a member of the government’s witness protection program and was hiding from the mob.  Agent Paul Minorini is the only one who seems to grasp the danger that Joanne may have inadvertently placed herself and Sean in, and he is concerned about their safety.  After another murder in the neighborhood, an elderly woman who claimed to have seen the hit and run accident,  Agent Minorini persuades the agency and Joanne that a safe house needs to be provided along with around the clock protection for the pair.  And so begins a thriller that will have you spinning with all the twists and turns taking place!

Ms. Dymmoch does have a way with telling a story.  After two or three surprising twists you begin to wonder what she can come up with next.  This was a very interesting murder mystery.  One that will keep you guessing until the last page.  I do like her style!

 

Such Vicious Minds By Daniel Klein

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312319401

Such Vicious Minds by Daniel Klein: Reviewed by C.J. Curry, New Mystery Reader 

This is a series based on the supposed life and times of Elvis Presley.  The titles of the books are a play on his song titles.  This is the fourth book in the series. 

Has Elvis let fame and fortune go to his head?  The King has been accused of a rampage of  heinous crimes.  Someone has been taking advantage of young girls in Tennessee and the systematic deflowering of young Southern womanhood has come to the attention of the KKK.   Namely the branch of the Klan called the Decency League which has become notorious for it’s vigilante actions.

Totally unaware of all this,  Elvis has invited his favorite humorists, Terence Southern of Dr. Strangelove fame, to Tennessee to discuss a possible book/motion picture on what Elvis deems ‘real issues’.  Such as cook Mary’s meatloaf, etc.  They hadn’t gotten around to discussing what is relevant and what is not when the proverbial business hit’s the fan.  While meeting with a supposed victim, Carol-Sue Crampton , Elvis finds himself running away with Carol-Sue’s daddy in hot pursuit.  After the crash, Elvis winds up in the hospital with a cracked pelvis.  What a host of weirdos find their way into Elvis’ hospital room!  Miss Krafty Plaster who’s hobby is making plaster molds of certain parts of a celebrity’s anatomy.   A female Elvis impersonator who looks astonishingly like The King, and claims to be his cousin.  Two Sheriff’s detectives who arrested Colonel Tom Parker for the murder of a sleazy photographer who had been blackmailing the Colonel on Elvis’ behalf.

Elvis and Terrence decide they need to ‘go on the lam’ if they are going to prove the innocence of Elvis Aaron Presley to the world , and to Miss Pricilla. They are joined in their quest by the rebellious Miss Amy Coulter, a supposed victim of Elvis’ attentions. 

While I don’t care for this genre, Mr. Klein has obviously had a great deal of fun writing these Elvis mystery stories.  You can almost feel his glee coming off the pages, wondering what he can get away with next.   I know there are Elvis fans out there who will revere anything that has Elvis Presley’s name on it.  However, I also feel there are some Elvis diehards who might feel  just a little miffed with someone taking liberties with the Elvis persona and his reputation, so it's with mixed feelings that I recommend this title.