Lea Wait, Thread and Gone read by Christina Delaine

Stitched into textiles by young girls in the early 19th century, some terribly bored,  are poems.  These needlepointed poems are featured as epigraphs in  another “cozy” mystery about a woman who returns to Maine.  Life in a small town in Maine is mostly monotonous and cold.  It is also cumulative. For some, local accumulations are the stuff of identity; for others they are the stuff of profit. For Lea Wait  they are the stuff of mystery.

Shards of Murder by Cheryl Hollon

A daughter who inherits her father’s  glass studio, as well as his friends, his neighbors and his dog, stays on in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has trouble trying to be like her father.    The second murder mystery consists of  some technical details about glassmaking, some comforting facts about St Pete, little or no information about the victim, and a silly search for someone to take the blame.

Not Hemingway. Sea Glass Sunrise by Donna Kauffman read by Amanda Ronconi

Yes it is well written. Yes, it reels you in and captivates you, and the dialogue is peppy enough to make you grin. But. All Hemingway needed to write was: Who was she? for Bacall to deliver the message that Bogie was being a dick, and she wasn’t having any, cause it wasn’t her fault.

Why does it take 6 hours and rolling for Donna to message that whoever it is that comes on the scene of Blueberry Cove has a history, and that history is going to determine their fate, even if fate only ever appears as an accidental encounter.

Hmmm.

 

 

Granny Under Cover by Harper Lin read by Sara Morsey

Have you ever wondered what a 70 year old ex-CIA agent is thinking while being greeted by an over-friendly young woman at a Senior Center?

“Are you lost honey?”, she asked in a volume more suitable for calling me from the other end of the hallway…”

“Are you trained to speak louder than normal?”

To her credit, she didn’t skip a beat. “Yes, I am….”

…she’d turned up the volume.  Did she know I could break both her arms?

Barbara Gold is a retired widow and grandmother, specializing in small arms, undercover surveillance, chemical weapons,  and small terrorist countries… She is also taking up gardening in Cheerville, where her very normal son is growing a belly and a real estate agency, and where her surly 13 year grandson is trying to kill himself with a mountain bike.

She is also solving murders.

Pane and Suffering by Cheryl Hollon read by C.S.E. Cooney

Despite the silly title that announces the ‘coziness’ of this mystery and tags it as irreal, uncruel and bloodless, there is some ‘spur’ to this tale. Not enough to kick into a plot, but some.

First, there are characters: a dead cryptographer father, a glassblower-daughter, a local kid with Aspergers, a lazy police detective, a  bunch of sweet and nasty neighbors who only want the land, or the money..

Then, there is St. Pete. The left coast of Florida, on a hurricane-loving gulf, among some old and interesting leftovers of something like the South…

And there is the semi technical charm of making glass, cutting glass, glazing it, blowing it…

Lane by Peter Grainger read by Henrietta Meire

Grainger has a way of ‘teasing out’ the most annoying characteristics of altogether too familiar personality types (aka ‘too old intransigent & traditional to live’, ‘career girl with delayed children’, ‘bureaucratic ox’, ‘resentful government serf’, ‘the thug who will not die’, ‘the devotedly inattentive son’…) and presenting them in living glory under a perfectly charming Cornish sun.

As in the Charlie Gallagher books where threats to family are used to manipulate police and criminals alike, Lane tells the story of a detective’s oldish mother, some thugs who want to punish her, and the inscrutable neighbor that comes for a visit just as trouble begins.

This is not so much about Cops and Their Mothers but rather about Two Women of Different Ages, and what they become when confronted by an odd and evil circumstance…

 

Deadly Assets by Wendy Tyson read by Tanya Eby

This second in the “Allison Campbell Mystery” series is disappointing. It would have been nice to come back to a different kind of detecting woman — a woman whose job it is to detect — and re-configure — a social image. The image of a person is of course a mysterious thing – what makes a person resonate success or wealth or credibility? How is it possible to create or re-create such an image? So promised Killer Image, the first Allison Campbell installment, where we were introduced to a divorced, independent and slightly peculiar professional who is paid to perform character make-overs. The subject of the first job was a politician’s unruly daughter. Yes she was also accused of a crime. Yes, there were suspects: twisted and corrupt. Yet somehow, Allison Campbell of Main Line Philadelphia resonated singularity. She wasn’t a detective. She wasn’t a cop. She wasn’t a little old lady.

The second installment is indeed disappointing because it is confused, confusing and formulaic. There are clients. They are suspicious. Their families are suspicious. There is a search for the truth, then a search for lost clients, against an over-resonance of overchewed, overused relationship problems. Really. You have an ex? You still love him? You’re not sure? Your ex-mother in law is sleeping with your business partner? Why am I reading this book?

At this point the suspense is effectively over. And the book might as well be.

Making It Right by Catherine Bybee read by Cristina Panfilio

After much too much silly shitty giggly girly fiction, this clever, sharp, unpredictable novel about a small town female Sheriff who meets a man at a Quantico training course is a delight. The dialogue between the coupling law enforcement agents is witty, original, delicious; the supporting characters are curious and unpredictable, the clean story line is etched out like an Ed McBain procedural. Spare, lean action. Fast, frank language. No coincidences.