Second to None by Nancy Herkness read by Megan Tusing

Ignore the cover photo.  An interesting story about a woman who bartends at an upscale New York club and an old college friend-become-billionaire who meet and reconnect — after a long time. The woman loves children, dogs, and has lots of student loans to pay back. The man is still trying to win over disappointed, wealthy parents, despite his many achievements.  Well written, entertaining, relevant.

The Dollar-A-Year Detective by William Wells

Another alcoholic ex-cop running a bar? Yes! This time in Fort Myers, living every cop’s retirement dream: living on a houseboat, dating a Cuban woman and solving murders on the side.

It’s good.

From the very first paragraph Jack feels like a detective, sounds like a detective, and makes it clear that in his world there are good guys (military, ex-military, marines) and bad guys (criminals, politicians); good music (Chicago blues, Springstein) and music that he doesn’t play in The Drunken Parrot. You don’t like it, go elsewhere.

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…