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THE ROGUES GAME by Milton Barton

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312336810

Reviewed by Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader 

Shortly after World War II he drove into a west Texas town in a Lincoln convertible with a beautiful woman sitting in the passenger seat.  At the same time a wildcatter hits a gusher and the oil boom is on.  His objective is to be invited to sit in the high stakes poker that has been going on for fifty years.  But his ulterior motive is based on justice and revenge.

This is a novel filled with rich ruthless men, crooked cops, every form of illegal gambling, moonshineing, and a carefully plotted means of bringing down a traitor.  Suspense is cliffhanging and nail biting.

 

Deadly Slipper by Michelle Wan

Publisher: Doubleday ISBN: 0385514573

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Almost twenty years ago, Mara's twin sister Bedie disappeared while hiking with her boyfriend in the bucolic hills of France.  Never able to put it behind her, Mara has made a home for herself in the same area where her sister was last seen alive, working as a lonely interior decorator with only her dog for company.  But when she stumbles across a camera on one of her antique jaunts, she is positive that it is the very same camera that once belonged to her sister.  Finding a roll of film still in it, she eagerly gets it processed and soon finds that her sister's last hike followed a trail of several different species of orchids through an unfamiliar countryside.  A trail that ends abruptly with the last photo showing one so rare and beautiful, that Mara is sure this is that ultimate clue that will finally solve the case of her sister's disappearance and finally bring her closure, if only she can find it. 

However, the French police refuse to get involved, but do suggest she contact a local expert, a man Julian known for his love of orchids and other flowers.  The two set out to find the trail, but the closer they get, the more suspicious Mara becomes of her helpmate, a man she knows far too little about, but one who seems to know more than he's letting on.

One doesn't have to be a fan of orchids to enjoy this cozy little mystery but, if you are, you'll probably enjoy it even more.  Strewn throughout are facts and trivia concerning this sometimes elusive flower making for some interesting reading, as do the lovely details Wan shares of the beautiful French countryside.  She also tosses in some delicious red herrings for the reader to ponder and decipher, adding to the fun of this light and breezy read.  Recommended for those who like their mysteries gentle and devoid of violence and gore, this one easily pleases.  

 

 

The Russian Hill Murders by Shirley Tallman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur  ISBN: 0312328575

Reviewed by Robin Thomas, New Mystery Reader

Sarah Woolson is a woman ahead of her time; she is a practicing lawyer in the 19th century.  Sarah’s employer, Shepard, Shepard, McNaughton and Hall reluctantly hires her but they give her only the most menial tasks to do.  Sarah is determined to do the best job that she can despite the odds against her.

While attending a charity dinner for the new Woman and Children’s Hospital, Sarah Godfrey, the current chairperson, drops dead of an apparent heart attack.  The autopsy determines that her death was a result of an overdose rather than natural causes.  Sarah’s curiosity is peaked as several other people, who are affiliated with the hospital are murdered, all in a matter of weeks.

Sarah’s first case is a pregnant woman whose husband dies in a sweatshop fire.  She seeks Sarah’s help to find the owner of sweatshop and to handle the lawsuit.  With the help of her colleague, Robert Campbell, Sarah delves into the sweatshop underworld.  At the same time the Chinese chef (Chin Lee Fong) at the hospital is arrested for the murders; Sarah is asked by Li Ying, a dangerous Chinese tong lord, to represent him as his attorney.  Facing her first court case, Sarah puts all of her energy and investigative prowess into finding the real murderer and exonerating her client. 

In The Russian Hill Murders, Sarah Woolson faces the extreme sexism and racism of the times and puts her own life in danger in order to seek justice for those she represents.  Sarah struggles in a male dominated world but never loses her sense of femininity, grace, or sense of honor.  Shirley Tallman does a masterful job of recreating the 19th century setting around a strong female character who is far from conventional.  Those readers who enjoy the 19th century sleuths will truly enjoy the Sarah Woolson series.

 

Same Time, Same Murder by Robert J. Randisi and Christine Matthews

Publisher:  Thomas Dunne books  ISBN:  031231728X

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader 

A fun blend of romance and mystery as Claire and Gil Hunt reminisce about how they met at a mystery writers convention.  This was a mystery convention with its own mystery--who killed the guest of honor?

Gil talks about how he might have been suspected, how he was asked to sit in on interrogations and Claire tells how worried she was when she inadvertently sent the police looking for Gil and his 'kidnapper'.  Had he been kidnapped? 

Gil tries to put the pieces together, but there is another murder.  Will what he theorizes as the truth prove to be right?

This is a tale with a twist and it will catch you by surprise.  Great cast of characters to enjoy meeting and if you haven't ever been to a writers convention, this is a good way to see what goes on.  A well-told tale by two talented authors that will keep you reading.  I guarantee you'll enjoy every page.

Highly recommended.  Enjoy. I sure did.