The Hog’s Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts with an introduction by Martin Edwards read by Gordon Griffin

Remarkable introduction to a remarkable detective novel. The introduction explains that Crofts was an engineer who mapped out detailed specifications for his detective fiction much the way an engineer would draw up plans for a house or a bridge. Knowing this transforms the way we read and appreciate the work — and magnifies the intelligence behind Inspector French’s investigation of a missing husband, a disappeared nurse… and the disorder beneath a domestic peace.

Betrayed by Sharon Sala

A sister who witnessed her brother’s murder goes back to her home town after 10 years to find the killer. As usual with Sharon Sala, the main character is layered, magnetic, surrounded by friends and neighbors each of whom reflect her differently… There are also the usual divisions of wealth, of class, the separation of one person from another by virtue of their social position and place. And of course, there is the compelling and irresistible plot which draws us in, engages us and wraps us up — for a time.

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.

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.