Ashley Weaver: Playing it Safe

Electra McDonnell #3

If Nancy Drew had lived during WWII and had the skills of a safecracker, she might have grown up to be Ashley Weaver’s appealing Electra McDonnell.  Electra, or Ellie, has been trained by her safecracking uncle and in the first book is recruited by the government to put her skills to a more patriotic use.  While Ellie’s past is criminal, her present is in the service of her country, and as the book opens, she’s given an assignment with few details other than “get to know the locals.” read more

Colin Cotterill: The Motion Picture Teller

This charming mystery from Colin Cotterill’s innovative pen is not a murder mystery, but it is a mystery.  Set slightly in the past – 1996 – the action takes place mostly in a corner of Bangkok where postman Supot hangs out whenever he can at his buddy Ali’s video store.  This book will bring back a wave of memories of old video rental places and the pleasures of browsing the shelves and discovering a treasure.

While neither Ali or Supot make much money, they are united in their love of cinema, and their happiest hours are spent in the back of the store watching an old film like Casablanca. At one point, Supot thinks to himself: “He wondered if anyone had ever starved to death from enthrallment, dazzled to malnutrition by cinematic magic, not realizing they hadn’t eaten for a week.”  One night Ali and Supot’s viewing is interrupted by an old wino named Woot, who brings in a box of video tapes to sell.  Ali gives him a little bit of money, and as he and Supot go through the tapes, they discover an unknown (to them) movie called Bangkok 2010. read more

Alice Henderson: A Solitude of Wolverines

This book will be published October 27, 2020.

If this book isn’t the birth of a long running series, I would be stunned.  A definite relative of Nevada Barr’s long running and beloved Anna Pidgeon series, Alice Henderson has created an adventure suspense mystery with a foundation in the natural world.  While Anna Pigeon is a parks ranger, Alex Carter is a biologist who studies endangered species in their dwindling habitats.  Like Anna, however, Alex is definitely a bad ass.

Proving her hand with action scenes, the book opens with Alex attending an event celebrating the saving of a natural habitat within a city.  Her discovery of over a hundred species of birds who called the area home has prompted the city of Boston to create a protected space, upsetting plans for a development project.  Alex is due to be interviewed by a TV reporter – during the interview the two women are shot at and while Alex escapes, she is traumatized by the incident. read more

Margaret Mizushima: Hanging Falls

This novel will be published on September 8.  You can pre-order it here.

Margaret Mizushima must have been a fan of Nancy Drew as a child, as she has the narrative gift familiar to lovers of Carolyn Keene of leaving a little cliff hanger at the end of each chapter (or novel, as the case may be).  I love series fiction for many reasons, but a big reason is visiting and checking in with the continuing lives of characters I’ve come to know and love, just as I loved checking in with Nancy, George and Bess when I was a girl. read more