Archive for February, 2010

Purple Death – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Sam tried to move his legs and instead fell in a crumpled heap on his office floor. He felt more than just ‘ill’ now. Fear gripped Sam while the sweat on his brow began to run down into his eyes. He felt a constriction in his chest, as if someone had suddenly placed an iron barrel ring around him and was tightening it by the second. The life was rapidly being crushed out of his body, but with nothing and no one there to offer help. Sam Gabriel had never felt so frightened and alone.’

Sam Gabriel will become just one of several to die a gruesome death by poisoning. The poison ‘aconite’ is being administered by what Detective Inspector Shawn Connor has decided is a serial killer. D.I. Connor, who heads up a team of investigators, is baffled as to how the poison is being induced. This question is finally answered after the third victim is killed. Now Connor must determine if there is a connection between the victims and follow what few clues he has to determine who will be next.

DI Connor has determined that a woman is involved but doesn’t feel that she’s alone. Due to the timing of the deaths and the locations of the victims, there has to be more than one person involved.

Connor and his team finally come up with a clue which seems to connect most of the victims. The clue pertains to events that happened over 30 years earlier with most of those involved being deceased. To Conner, it appears that with each clue that surfaces, another victim turns up poisoned. He seems to hit nothing but dead ends.

I’ve read all but 2 books written by Brian Porter and I have to say that if you’ve never read his writings, you’re losing out. Purple Death has taken me on a road with many curves, most of them sharp. Porter grabs your attention in the beginning of the book with his Welcome message and your reading experience goes up from there. He has got to be one of the best mystery writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

Moongypsy Press
January, 2010
327 Pages
ISBN #9781449954154


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A Lesson in Murder – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘George Wheeler sat in the driver’s seat, looking as lifeless as the car in which he was sitting. On the seat next to him, was a stuffed animal which looked like Walt Disney’s Pluto. A large, flat, hardback book lay open in his lap. Wheeler’s usual black horn-rimmed glasses had been replaced with large, bright yellow-framed spectacles. Barnum again peered in the window quickly. Wheeler’s tan, healthy-looking face had been smeared with what appeared to be charcoal ashes.’

George Wheeler usually met with his advertising agent at 6:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for their jogs in the park. During this time, Wheeler who was in the pharmaceutical business would pitch ideas to Barnum as they ran. But as Barnum soon found out, Wheeler had performed his last job and pitched his last idea. Someone had murdered him.

Maxwell Hunter is an English teacher for Eastern Friends School in Pennsylvania. Eastern Friends School (EFS) was originally a private school for the wealthy but had started adding a few students, through grants, that were exceptionally intelligent. Hunter has a passion for mystery solving and is a stickler for details. That and Hunter’s familiarity with the people involved prompted Lt. Frank DiSalvo to ask Hunter for his help in solving the murder of George Wheeler. But, as it turns out, Wheeler wasn’t the only one to be murdered and each murder is in some way connected with the school.

As I read A Lesson in Murder I found myself second guessing my own ideas as to who the killer was. And I have to say that I was surprised with the ending. I had several suspects in mind but never really narrowed it down to one. I really enjoyed reading A Lesson in Murder and recommend it to anyone who would like a quick read mystery.

1st Edition 2007
Oak Tree Press
185 pages
ISBN 978-1-892343-03-1

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Merry Merry Ghost – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Susan shakily reached out for the mask and held it to her face. Slowly her breathing eased. The bluish tinge faded from her face. She put aside the mask, sank back against the chair. “I’m tired now.” Her voice was faint. “Tomorrow I’ll read everything.” Her voice was flagging. Susan
gathered up the papers, replaced them in the envelope. “Mitch’s little boy… tomorrow… some toys… I’ll talk to Wade… He’ll take the proper steps, make everything official.” Tears glistened in her eyes.
“Mitch’s little boy…” She twisted to look up at Peg. “Take good care of him.”

Susan Pritchard Flynn is the last living Pritchard. At least that’s what she thought until Keith showed up at her door shortly before Christmas. He arrives with a note stating that he is her grandson. His father was Sergeant First Class Mitchell Pritchard Flynn who had been killed in the line of duty. Keith also carried an envelope that contained his father’s medals and a birth certificate from the
military hospital in Germany. Susan and her deceased husband Tom had two children. Their daughter Ellen had been killed in a car accident and Mitch had left home shortly afterwards. They had not heard from him since. And when she was notified by the military that he had been killed, she was without true Pritchards to pass her estate on to. But Keith’s arrival changed all of that.

It also threatened the inheritance that was expected by Tom’s relatives who had lived with her and through her generosity. Susan’s original will was to leave the main house to Jake who had spent years taking care of the house and Susan. Tucker, who was currently maintaining the ranch would have it signed over to him upon her death. The others, Gina, Harrison and Peg would receive equal shares of the balance, amounting to several million each. And then there was Peg’s boyfriend Dave who hounded Susan to loan him enough money, interest free, to open his own clinic. So what steps will be taken to keep Susan from signing a new will leaving everything to Keith? And who will take those steps?

That is where Bailey Ruth Raeburn comes in. Bailey Ruth is a ghost who lived in Adelaide, OK
before her death. She and her husband were on their boat when it capsized. Their bodies never found. Bailey Ruth is spunky and even though she tries, she doesn’t always follow Heaven’s rules of how an “Emissary” is supposed to act. She sometimes fudges just a bit but all in the line of accomplishing the task at hand. And that task is to keep Keith safe.

When I read Merry Merry Ghost, I had one author come to mind… Mary Higgins Clark. This book is so light hearted and loving…yet it’s still a murder mystery. The characters are so believable and their thoughts and actions are so understandable under the circumstances. Even Bailey Ruth becomes so
real that if you don’t already believe in Angels, you just might start. This is the first book I’ve read by Carolyn Hart but I can promise you, I will be reading more.

Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN #978-0-06-087437-7
182 Pages

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Marrying Mallory – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘In the past, Mallory Harrington felt cursed at times. Too many things had gone wrong in her thirty-two years of life. Her father had left when she was five and never even said good-bye. As a seventh grader, Mallory climbed a tree, slipped before reaching the ground and ripped her cheek on a barbed wire fence creating a cut that required thirty stitches. She was robbed of being valedictorian a few weeks before graduation due to another students grades being just a little higher. When she married Toby Harrington, she finally felt blessed. Doubly blessed when she gave birth to their son, Joshua. But her happiness ended the night Toby asked for a divorce. On top of everything else, she had inherited her father’s big nose. She was jinxed. The name Mallory meant luckless’

Mallory can see no future of happiness in her life. When she married Toby, her vows were given in the presence of God and could never be taken back. Even though Toby was the one to commit adultery while married to Mallory, she still felt that in the eyes of God she was still married to him. She feels that if she had been prettier, Toby’s eyes wouldn’t have strayed and they would still be married. So to make herself more beautiful Mallory decides to have something done about her big nose. But what she didn’t know was that when she meets Dr. Seth Whitman, her whole life is about to change.

In today’s world, divorce is so common that it’s actually hard to find a man or woman over 50 that hasn’t been divorced at least once. To most of us, it’s more surprising to find a couple that has not been divorced. Marriage is made up of sacred vows that are usually committed to in the name and eyes of God but, as Mallory learns, ‘what we assume God wants for us isn’t necessarily correct.’ After reading Marrying Mallory, I was reminded that by believing in Him and accepting His guidance, we will find what he wants for us without assuming.

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