Murder with Southern Hospitality (1942) by Leslie Ford

Murder with Southern Hospitality by Leslie Ford

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“I was frightened, all of a sudden. I could feel a pair of eyes raised in the dark, watching me. It was in my imagination, I suppose, because scientists say there’s no such thing as thought transference, but I had the creepy and rather terrifying feeling that there was something sinister there, and that those eyes I couldn’t see, fastened on me, were narrowed and sharply malevolent.”

Miss Letty Drayton left her home in Natchez, Mississippi, decades ago. She never planned to return at all, let alone bring a gaggle of garden-club ladies with her. Yet that’s exactly what’s happened, due to the club president’s unshakable desire to view the famous gardens of Natchez. Miss Letty never could stand up for herself.

When Louise Gould comes to stay at the Drayton mansion, she winds up with more questions than answers about her friend’s past. Why is Letty living an impoverished life in Maryland when she clearly comes from wealth? What is the source of the bad blood between the Draytons and their next-door neighbors, the Heywoods? And is that shadowy figure in the night a ghost, or a more human danger? Continue reading “Murder with Southern Hospitality (1942) by Leslie Ford”

Bunny Lake Is Missing (1957) by Evelyn Piper

Bunny Lake Is Missing by Evelyn Piper

3 Stars(3/10 stars)

“I must be dreaming, Blanche thought, as they walked toward her apartment. What could be more dreamlike than this walk down the street with a tall policeman? And, as in dreams, the faces you passed, all strangers, all strange, turned indifferently toward you and then indifferently away, and the policeman didn’t speak again after he had asked where she lived, and she didn’t speak, either, because what was the point in a dream when salvation only lay in waking up?”

Today is three-year-old Bunny Lake’s first day of preschool. But when her mother Blanche comes to pick her up that evening, Bunny isn’t there. In fact, no one at the school even remembers seeing her.

It’s a mother’s worst nightmare, but Blanche’s ordeal is just beginning. Not only are the police unable to locate Bunny, they are starting to question whether she ever really existed. Even the reader starts to wonder, as Blanche embarks upon a desperate search for her child. Continue reading “Bunny Lake Is Missing (1957) by Evelyn Piper”

Wings of Fear (1945) by Mignon G. Eberhart

Wings of Fear by Mignon G Eberhart

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“Murder had followed her; it had reached out toward her from the flying black shadows of the night. There was no reason, no motive, but the sheer fact of it was inescapable.”

It may look like Monica Blane is dancing at the Stork Club. In reality, she’s a million miles away—five years away, to be exact. That’s when the outbreak of war separated her from her friend Linda, and from John Basevi, the man she loved. Just as Monica begins to wonder if it is time to move on with her life, she receives an unexpected message from Linda. If Linda is still alive, then perhaps so is John.

The evening ends with a nightmarish discovery: a dead man in her apartment. She is soon on board a midnight plane to Mexico City, on her way to John with $10,000 cash tucked in her girdle. But what will Monica find when she arrives? Continue reading “Wings of Fear (1945) by Mignon G. Eberhart”

The Blackbirder (1943) by Dorothy B. Hughes

The Blackbirder by Dorothy B Hughes

8 Stars (8/10 stars)

“Terror was a luxury. She couldn’t afford it now.”

Julie Guille first heard about the Blackbirder on the night Maxl died. As a French war refugee who is in the United States illegally, the last thing Julie wants is to catch the eye of an old acquaintance, especially a German. She agrees to dine with him only to avoid a scene. “She smiled at him. Her smile looked real. She had learned to form it that way.” That night Maxl tells her the amazing story of a pilot who smuggles refugees across the Mexican border, a man they call the Blackbirder.

When Maxl is stabbed to death in front of her apartment building, Julie knows she will be the prime suspect. Only one person can help her escape: the Blackbirder. To find him, she will have to make her way across a strange country, using the skills she learned in wartime France. With the FBI and the Gestapo on her trail, Julie will need every bit of her courage and intelligence if she hopes to survive. Continue reading “The Blackbirder (1943) by Dorothy B. Hughes”

The Listening Eye (1955) by Patricia Wentworth

The Listening Eye by Patricia Wentworth

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“Visits from the police are not apt to leave a happy atmosphere behind them.”

After being bombed in the Blitz, Paulina Paine was lucky to escape with her life. Though the bombing left her unable to hear, she has become a skilled lip-reader and carved out a pleasant life for herself—until one afternoon, she witnesses an astonishing conversation between two strangers speaking of robbery and murder. What worries her is that if she could see these men, they could see her.

Scotland Yard does not take Paulina’s report seriously, but Maud Silver does. The former governess turned private investigator follows the scantiest of clues to a country house that is seething with crime and treachery. Continue reading “The Listening Eye (1955) by Patricia Wentworth”

The Face of the Tiger (1958) by Ursula Curtiss

The Face of the Tiger by Ursula Curtiss

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“It isn’t over with,” Lou said flatly. “People remember kidnappings and everybody connected with them long after they forget other things. I’ve found that out.”

Summer is in full swing at the Coastline Club, and Lou Fabian couldn’t be happier with her job there. No one at the club could possibly associate the new employee with Louise Royce, who was mixed up in that scandalous kidnapping case last year. Until one day the phone rings. “I know who you are, Miss Fabian.

Is it just a prank call, or something darker? Lou gets her answer when a woman is killed in the woods behind her cabin. Although she is drawn to one of the male guests, she’s not sure if he can be trusted. Lou must overcome her past trauma if she hopes to save herself and find the killer who is hiding in plain sight. Continue reading “The Face of the Tiger (1958) by Ursula Curtiss”

20 Books of Summer 2019

20 Books of Summer 2019

I had a lot of fun doing 20 Books of Summer last year, so I’m excited to tackle it again for 2019. There’s nothing better than spending a lazy summer day with a pile of books, taking vicarious vacations around the world. Here are some of the literary destinations I’ll be visiting this summer.

Britain in Summer Travel Poster

Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr

A village fête turns violent when a shot rings out in the fortune-teller’s tent. Is Lesley an innocent victim, or a brazen killer?

The Secret of High Eldersham by Miles Burton

High Eldersham looks like a sleepy, picture-perfect English village. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Uncle Paul by Celia Fremlin

A  family’s seaside holiday is shadowed by the return of one sister’s former husband, fifteen years after her testimony sent him to prison for murder.

Die in the Dark by Anthony Gilbert

A wealthy widow looking for a new home gets more than she bargained for.

Loire Valley France

The House above the River by Josephine Bell

A group of holidaymakers are forced to take shelter in a French chateau that may prove more deadly than the fog outside.

The Crime Coast by Elizabeth Gill

A young Englishman hunts for a missing murder suspect among the artists’ colony of the French Riviera, with the aid of an eccentric new friend.

Egypt and the Nile

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot must investigate a boatload of suspects when murder unexpectedly joins a cruise down the Nile.

Mexico Travel Poster

Vultures in the Sky by Todd Downing

It’s death in the tunnel when a passenger dies mysteriously on the train to Mexico City. Customs agent Hugh Rennert must solve the crime before the killer strikes again.

Wings of Fear by Mignon G. Eberhart

A young woman’s efforts to help her friend lead to a dead body in her apartment and a frantic flight to Mexico.

Natchez Mississippi Postcard

Murder with Southern Hospitality by Leslie Ford

The gardening club’s trip to Natchez, Mississippi, is more eventful than expected, as a romance between star-crossed lovers ends in murder.

Catalina Island Vintage Postcard

The Puzzle of the Pepper Tree by Stuart Palmer

On a trip to Catalina, irascible spinster Hildegarde Withers finds there’s no holiday from murder when one of her fellow airplane passengers dies in mid-air.

New York City Vintage Travel Poster

Cat of Many Tails by Ellery Queen

If the heat doesn’t kill you, the Cat might, as Ellery and his father stalk a serial killer through the dark streets of New York City.

The Chinese Chop by Juanita Sheridan

Chinese-American sleuth Lily Wu solves a baffling murder in postwar Greenwich Village.

The Swimming Pool by Mary Roberts Rinehart

An upper-crust family doesn’t have much patience for the antics of their drama-queen sister—until a corpse turns up in the swimming pool of their country house.

Minnesota

The Chuckling Fingers by Mabel Seeley

After a wealthy widower marries a younger bride, strange things start happening at the family’s isolated lakefront mansion.

New Orleans Mardi Gras Vintage Travel Poster

Waltz into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich

A mail-order bride brings danger into the life of her new husband, as sinister events seem to follow them wherever they go.

Hawaii Vintage Travel Poster

The House without a Key by Earl Derr Biggers

Charlie Chan is on the case as the murder of a longtime resident rocks 1920s Honolulu (as well as the victim’s very proper Bostonian family).

New Mexico Vintage Postcard

Murder Begins at Home by Delano Ames

Hijinks ensue when Jane and Dagobert Brown meet murder on a New Mexico ranch.

The Forbidden Garden by Ursula Curtiss

Mrs. Marrable is protective of her property…with very good reason, as lethal secrets flourish even in the desert.

The Blackbirder by Dorothy B. Hughes

A French refugee travels to Santa Fe to evade a murder and help her cousin escape from a Nazi prison camp. Then things get really complicated…