Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2009


Pretty Poison – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘The man was face down in one of her attractive wicker baskets filled with anemone bulbs. It was part of the autumn scene she’d created, complete with scarecrow and pumpkins. He’d obviously fallen forward, dragging the scarecrow from its perch on the oak rocking chair. The straw figure looked forlorn, lying half under the man’s weight like some bizarre teddy bear.’

Peggy Lee is the owner of the Potting Shed and when she walks into her shop to find a man face down in one of her arrangements she’s beyond words. Part of her wanted to turn around and run, screaming for help. But after being a cop’s wife for years as well as a researcher, she pushes her emotions aside and does the right thing. She calls the police.

To Peggy’s relief, the Detective that took the call was her deceased husband’s partner, Al McDonald. He had been her husband’s partner for twenty years and there wasn’t a man alive she trusted more. But his questions, as well as hers, was who is this man with his face hidden in the plant, how did he get in a shop that was locked up and what happened to him. It definitely wasn’t an accident. There was blood on the shovel that he had been hit over the head with.

One question was answered as soon as the body was turned over. It was Mark Warner, one of the wealthiest men in Charlotte. Peggy had seen him around the shop lately with a woman and the woman wasn’t his wife. Could she have killed him in a rage of jealousy? Maybe he decided to break up with his new girlfriend and she struck out in rage. Some speculated that it might be the homeless man who hung around the shop. There were as many reasons for his murder as there were suspects and Peggy was determined to find the killer.

I became hooked with the Peggy Lee series after reading A Corpus for Yew. There are a total of five books in this series and I intend to read them all, starting next with Fruit of the Poisoned Tree. The Peggy Lee series has to be one of the most light hearted murder mysteries I’ve ever read. The situations Peggy finds herself in will make you laugh as well as keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to solve the mystery. Joyce and Jim Lavene, I really hope you will continue the Peggy series. And please don’t forget to write in Shakespeare the Great Dane rescued by Peggy.

Read Full Post »

The Whittaker Family Reunion – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘The boy stared straight ahead aware of the other’s interest. His young mind was reeling. Can I trust this doctor? Will those men find me and possibly kill us both? Can I tell him that the men are after me an why? He watched the doctor through his peripheral vision; the doctor was handsome and older than he was. The clothes were of good quality, but appeared to be several years old; he was a puzzle.’

The Whittakers are having a family reunion for Martha Whittaker’s 40th birthday. Martha and her husband Jeremy can’t wait for the arrival of their sons.

Isaac, the oldest, lives nearby with his wife and family. When his father Jebediah married Martha he hated her and stood his distance inflicting as much pain through his evil deeds as possible to make her sorry she married his father. But after the death of his father he realized what a blessing Martha actually was. They were now close and he was proud to call her his mother.

Ezekiel lived in England. He took quite well to Martha as she taught him to read. Reading and learning were his passion and he later grown up to become a teacher. He couldn’t wait to see his mother.

Abraham was the doctor in the family. His respect for his mother grew when his father beat him and Martha stepped in hoping to stop the brutal beating. Instead, she too was given a beating by his father. After being locked in the barn for hours, their closeness grew and he became the first one to call her mom.

Jeremy was the brother of Jebediah. He had been sent by Martha’s father from England to America to rescue Martha from his evil brother. After the death of his brother, Jeremy found himself loving Martha and the boys enough to stay in America just to be with them and eventually marrying Martha. Jeremy and Martha’s marriage made the family complete. And with the birth of their daughter Anna, who could ask for more.

After the abuse and beatings Jebediah inflicted on herself and her sons led her to treat her daughter Anna with a soft hand. Most agreed a too soft hand. Anna was spoiled, selfish, self-centered and held no respect for anyone other than herself. She became a constant burden to her parents. After sending her away to boarding school only to have her return unexpectedly, they agreed to give her hand in marriage to Martha’s bookkeeper. For Anna, this was exactly what she needed to free her from her mother. She happily agreed to the marriage but had her own plans in mind as to how she would treat the marriage.

And then there is Red who is determined to destroy the Whittaker family. How will he do this? He will start with the women in the family which will bring the men to their knees. Then he will destroy them.

I read Of Dreams and Nightmares and thoroughly enjoyed meeting the characters, following them through their travels from England to Wyoming with death and destruction along the way and their final escape from the evil Jebediah Whittaker. I’ve also enjoyed The Whittaker Family Reunion which takes their lives and stories into adulthood. Now I’m looking forward to reading Back to Whittakerville in hopes that Anna will realize the hurt she has created for those that love her and straighten out her life. The story, as well as the history written into these books, make them unforgettable.

Read Full Post »


The Fall of Augustus – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Victor stepped into the elevator shaft and looked up. “This should make a good shot,” he said motioning to the video tech. The elevator light gleamed on his distinguished sweep of dark hair touched with gray. The cameraman, standing just outside the shaft for a better angle, pointed his camcorder up. Ellen moved closer and craned her neck.’

‘The Emperor Augustus hurtled down, crashing against the side of the shaft as he went. Victor, Susan, and Ellen vanished in the maelstrom of smashed plaster. There was a bone-jarring thud… then an awful silence.’

‘Victor’s crumpled upper body was partially hidden under the wreck of the cable car and chunks of plaster. One dead museum director.’

Lisa Donahue is the Senior Curator at Wigglesworth Hall. The museum is in the process of being moved to a new facility and with the death of Museum Director Victor Fitzgerald she now finds herself in complete charge of the move. But, what Lisa and police Sergeant Bruce McEwan want to know, ‘was the breaking of the cable used to lower the statue of Augustus through the elevator shaft an accident or murder?’

Lisa’s problems with the move are increased when a former boss Valerie Albrecht is hired to replace Victor. Valerie is a vicious woman who steps on anyone and everyone to make herself look good. She enjoys inflicting fear in her employees and is known by those who have dealt with her in the past, to make last minute changes to exhibits knowing it will be almost impossible to accomplished. And she is happiest when she can belittle those who failed her orders, especially if there is an audience present to hear her raving.

But Valerie isn’t the end of Lisa’s problems. Artifacts are starting to disappear and Lisa believes they are being taken by someone in-house. But who and how are they getting them out of the museum?

I’ve enjoyed following Lisa as she solves the mystery of Victor’s death and as she discovers the identity of the museum thief. The Fall of Augustus turned out to be a real page turner that I very much enjoyed.

And oh yeah, did I mention that Lisa is also faced with determining who has been taking bodies and attempting to turn them into mummies?

Read Full Post »

Bertha Fights Back

Bertha Fights Back – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Walking into my homeroom class, I realized that something was definitely going on and I was beginning to think that I might not want to know what it was. One of the boys, Dan, looked at me and then at his cell phone and burst out laughing and almost fell off of his chair. Since the teacher was not there, which seemed odd, no one stopped what was going to happen next.’

‘As I was just about to sit down, I turned around and saw that all of the kids in the class were using the internet on their phones. Some were sharing the information they found with other kids. Some were on Facebook, My Space or YouTube. Others were looking at pictures sent from one phone to the next. Everyone was staring at me.’

Someone had posted pictures of Bertha in the girl’s bathroom changing into her gym uniform on Facebook, My Space and YouTube. Other pictures showed her throwing spitballs and wads of toilet paper all over the walls and floor of the girl’s bathroom. On the door someone had written “Bertha Rules.” Not a very nice thing to do to a 13 year old who has always been overweight, not very good in sports nor dancing and has definitely never been very popular with kids her own age. But she is smart and always makes her parents proud with her grades.

In Bertha Fights Back, Bertha decides to find out who put these pictures out there in cyberspace and to get her revenge. No more nice girl Bertha. But revenge doesn’t come without a price. Bertha decides to join a gang but finds out that being a gang member gets her into more trouble than she expected and trouble comes with a price. In Bertha’s case, community service.

When the school band room is broken into, Bertha is called upon by her principal to do a little detective work. She and a group of other students start looking into the destruction and theft of the musical instruments. Along the way the group encounters students who are upset about foreign students attending their school to the point of not only writing graffiti on the walls but also physically harm some of the students.

Bertha Fights Back brings to life what all young people need to be taught. One of the lessons Bertha learns through her experiences is that being a gang member is not the answer. She also learns that being a Bully is not the answer. I thoroughly enjoyed reading as Bertha grew up and took on the responsibility for the things she did whether they were right or wrong. To me, this is a good book for both young people as well as adults to read.

Read Full Post »