Archive for April, 2010

April 14th, 2010

Murder in Los Lobos: A Mystery on California’s Central Coast by Sue McGinty – Review

by Gwen

Cover Image
I need to disclaim right off that Sue McGinty is a local author and the setting for this mystery is set in my very own town of Los Osos. (She just calls it Los Lobos)

While a bit unsettling having a multiple murder mystery set in your own little burg, this was a really a cozy mystery. It reminded me of Agatha Christie in that everyone looks guilty at one point or another in the story and it is best read with a strong cup of tea.

Former nun, Bella Kowalski’s morning hike is interrupted when she finds a body on the beautiful rocky shores of Escarpa el Dorado. (Bluffs of Gold for those that don’t speak Spanish) While she is now the obituary editor of the local paper, she isn’t quite used to seeing the body before anyone else.

The victim? Connie Mercado, the only daughter of a local wealthy family that is rumored to be selling their old homestead to the city for a new water treatment plant. The sleepy burg has been in an uproar for years of the placement of this plant. Could that be the reason that she was killed?

Everyone is a suspect, including Bella and her husband, Mike, since he owns a septic tank pumping service. Even worse, when it turns out that Connie was pregnant when she was murdered, Bella starts wondering who the father was and if it had been her husband.

Like I mentioned, it was a bit freaky to be reading a mystery set in my own little town, but mostly, it was fun. Sue McGinty has wound truth, fiction, familial discord and murder into a wonderfully captivating read.

Murder in Los Lobos: A Mystery on California’s Central Coast by Sue McGinty

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Daniel & Daniel Publishers (October 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1564744779
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564744777
  • Added bonus: I have contacted Sue McGinty and she is going to let me pick her brain for a future post. Stay tuned!

    April 13th, 2010

    This Body of Death by Elizabeth George – Review

    by Gwen

    Inspector Lynley is back in action after losing his pregnant wife to a random shooting in George’s last book. This time he has a new Acting Department Chief, Isabelle Ardrey, and the victim is a young woman brutalized near a chapel in a cemetery.

    Do you ever watch PBS or BBCA? This is where I came to know Elizabeth George and her charming character Thomas Lynley. You see, Detective Inspector Lynley is not your run of the mill Inspector. Lynley, AKA Lord Linley, could be doing any other high ranking work in business, the government or even taking it easy and living the good life in London. Instead he chooses to be a cop. You have to admire him for that. Liking him is made even easier in the way that George describes him…..very good looking, very calm and charming.

    The victim, Jemima Hastings had recently moved to London from Hampshire saying that she needed time/space to think. She left her boyfriend of two years, Gordon Jossie, whom everyone dislikes, but agrees that she is crazy in love with, behind. Always a bit man-mad, it doesn’t take long for her to find some new men in her life. Was it one of these new blokes that did it or did her old love, Jossie, track her down with those ‘have you seen her?’ postcards with her picture and his number that he left all over Covenant Garden with his number?

    Woven in between the chapters is a type written report titled “Psychopathology, Guilt, and Innocence in the Matter of John Dresser” by Dorcas Galbraith, PhD. It discusses the events leading up to toddler John Dresser’s murder many years ago. The perpetrators were three 11 and 12 year old boys from glaringly dysfunctional families that kidnapped little John, took him to an abandoned building and brutally murdered him. It highlights the problems of sending to trial and sentencing of children who have murdered. (The old try them and sentence them as adults or juveniles debate) This report, placed in the middle of the current story seems to have no real place until you get to the sad and shocking end. It does build the suspense though, wondering where and when the pieces will fit together.

    I always enjoy British mysteries and Elizabeth George is one of the best. They not only hold my attention but cause me to giggle every once in a while. We all speak English, but our idioms and mannerisms are so different that I laugh and often have to look up a word to see just what they mean. Ie. They kept talking about eating jacket potatoes and I had an image of a potato with a jacket on. It turns out that it what the Brits call baked potatoes and they are sold from street vendors wrapped in foil. Hence the jacket.

    Just remember, not all bad guys stay bad and the same goes for the good guys, they don’t always stay good.
    You owe it to yourself to take on a mystery from the other side of the pond, this one is perfect for a first swim.

    This Body of Death, An Inspector Lynley Novel by Elizabeth George

    • Hardcover: 704 pages
    • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (April 20, 2010)
    • ISBN-10: 0061160881
    • ISBN-13: 978-0061160882

    Big thanks to Harper Collins for sending this to me!

    April 11th, 2010

    What Are You Reading (April 11, 2010)

    by Gwen

    Books completed last week:

    Books on tap for this week:

    Posts/Reviews last week: 

    Books I Still Need to Write Reviews On:

    • The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson
    • God’s Spy by Juan Gomez-Jurado
    • Worst Case by James Patterson
    • The Disastrous Mrs. Weldon by Brian Thompson
    • Gallows Lane by Brian McGilloway

    My Good News:

    I got a lot of reviews done last night and today, so there will be plenty to read here while I am moving this week. (It is amazing how much you can get done when you are in a ‘packing zone’ but have run out of boxes)

    April 10th, 2010

    Show Your Love of Books

    by Gwen


    I have proven this week that I can’t read all of the time. I have been busy selling and donating things via a garage sale, craigslist, Friends of the Library, and Goodwill instead of reading.

    What does one need when forced to set a book down? A bookmark! Not just any bookmark will do for me though. Check out these babies from


    Splat - custom animal

    Splat! The Custom Felted Bookmark, by Ben Mcfuzzylugs, $60

    I realize that $60 is a lot for a bookmark, but I really want one of these!Bookmarks - Oscar Wilde Quotes - Set of 6

    Wilde Quotes Bookmarks, by Wilde Designs, $5

    Silver Mermaid Bookmark with Swarovski Crystals

    Silver Mermaid Bookmark, by Majestic Jewelry for You, $5

    Love Letters Copper Bookmark

    Love Letters Copper Bookmark, by Windshine, $22

    Enough of this, back to reading!

    April 6th, 2010

    Stained Glass by Ralph McInerny (Review)

    by Gwen

    Stained Glass (Father Dowling Mysteries)



    A Father Dowling Mystery

    I am a big fan of priests in mystery stories. Not sure if it has anything to do with being raised Catholic, attending parochial school, and my unending awe of the priesthood, but they do appeal to me. I think that Andrew Greeley is my favorite priest turned author, but Ralph McInerny is my second fav.

    I love that both of them portray their priests as people with a great sense of humor and they are always approachable. (something I never really felt when I was a practicing Catholic)

    In Stained Glass, Father Dowling is dealing with the possibility of the diocese closing down his church, St. Hillary’s. He takes the news fairly calmly, but some of his parishioners go absolutely nuts and start talk of solidarity and picketing. The most vocal parishioners are the wealthy Deveres family who donated the stained glass windows and even have some of their ancestors buried in the church.

    Suddenly bodies are dropping like flies and they all seem to be connected to the Deveres family and those stained glass windows created by Angelo Minotti. The police bumble a bit to find the connection and Father Dowling and his buddies eventually set everything right, but not before they discover some skeletons in the Deveres family closet.

    While not hair raising or really suspenseful, Stained Glass is a good armchair detective story and another book that helps me get over my fear of priests.

    Stained Glass by Ralph McInerny

    Hardcover: 288 pages

    Publisher: Minotaur Books (October 13, 2009)

    Language: English

    ISBN-10: 0312582641

    ISBN-13: 978-0312582647


    While researching for this post I learned that Ralph McInerny passed away in January. May the prolific author and foremost authority on St Thomas Aquinas rest in piece.

    Stained Glass (Father Dowling Mysteries)