Advice for Marvelous Mysteries: Of Manners & Murders, Recipes for Love & Murder, and Flight Risk

8 Feb

Of Manners and Murders
by Anastasia Hastings

Of Manners and Murders is the first in Anastasia Hastings’s new Dear Miss Hermione series set in 1885. Hastings is just one of the pen-names for Connie Laux who has published 65 novels over the years, most recently in the mystery genre! Mystery books series under her other pen names include Kylie Logan (Ethnic Eats series), Lucy Ness (Haunted Mansion series), Mimi Granger (Love is Murder Series) and Casey Daniels (Pepper Martin series). Bookish, Violet Manville is tasked with her Aunt Adelia’s infamous “Miss Hermione” Advice column after her aunt leaves London with her latest love for the continent. Going through the latest batch of letters, Violet discovers one from a mysterious Ivy who is afraid for her life. When Violet journeys to advise Ivy in person, she comes across not a distraught young wife, but Ivy’s funeral. The book is primarily told from Violet’s perspective, who has an adventurous spirit having spent some of her youth abroad in Africa and India. A few chapters give us the perspective of her younger and more naïve half-sister, Sephora, who also becomes caught up in the mystery. I found the story enjoyable and would recommend it to fans of period mysteries, especially for those who are fascinated by the Victorian era like I am. I look forward to reading more of the series in the future.

Recipes for Love & Murder
Recipes for Love & Murder is a Dramedy Mystery Series available to our patrons streaming on Hoopla based on the Tannie Maria Mystery series by Sally Andrew (Tannie is the Afrikaans word for Auntie). When Maria is told by her boss at a local South African paper that her recipe column is being cancelled in order to make room for a new romance and life advice column, she volunteers to write the advice column herself (while still managing to slip in some delicious sounding recipes). Characters are captured stating what is enclosed in their letters and each episode features a different conundrum Tannie Maria must aid. In the first episode one of her letters is from a woman with an abusive husband and an amorous friend, who turns up murdered (this is based on the first book in the series with the same name); Maria’s quest to find out who committed the murder along with her fellow reporter, Jessica, takes place over the first season. Jessica’s complex relationship with her family is also woven into the dramatic mix. Maria has her own secret past back in Scotland that she is hiding from. The two are a likeable pair. Fans of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith set in Botswana looking for more African set cozies will be charmed. Be prepared though each episode ends on a cliffhanger leading in to the next so you will be tempted to binge watch.

Flight Risk
by Cherie Priest

Flight Risk is the second in Cherie Priest’s Booking Agent Mystery series. I had previously reviewed the first book in the series Grave Reservations. This book continues to focus on the psychic travel agent, Leda Foley, who sometimes also provides psychic detective services to people in need or in aid of the local police force along with Grady Merritt, a widowed detective. Flight Risk, however, does not require reading the previous installment to enjoy and although some events are passingly referred to it shouldn’t spoil it for anyone reading them out of order. In this novel, a missing person case for a woman, who may have stolen funds from her employer, that Leda is helping with intersects with a case of a murdered man, which Grady’s dog discovered while he and his daughter were nearby on vacation. Leda’s “psychic psongstress” karaoke where she sings meaningful songs based on objects people bring in to the bar where her best-friend works were a favorite of mine from the last books and continue in the current book, it is a clever spin on the usual psychic doling out of advice. I would love to see this include in a TV series adaptation, if it were to happen one day. Also check out Priest’s great Cheshire Red Reports series.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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