Cat who could read backwards review


Goodreads: Jim Qwilleran is a prizewinning reporter who’s been on the skids but is now coming back with a job as feature writer (mostly on the art scene) for the Daily Fluxion. George Bonifield Mountclemens, the paper’s credentialed art critic, writes almost invariably scathing, hurtful reviews of local shows; delivers his pieces by messenger; lives with his all-knowing cat Koko in a lushly furnished house in a moldering neighborhood, and has a raft of enemies all over town.

He offers the newcomer a tiny apartment in his building at a nominal rent, and Qwilleran grabs it, surmising the deal will involve lots of cat-sitting. Meanwhile, a gallery whose artists get happier treatment from Mountclemens is owned by Earl Lambreth. The acerbic critic has praised paintings there by a reclusive Italian named Scrano; the junk assemblages of Nino, who calls himself a “Thingist,” as well as works by Lambreth’s attractive wife Zoe.

It’s Zoe who, one night past closing, finds her husband stabbed to death in the vandalized gallery. Days later, Qwilleran, guided by an insistent Koko, finds Mountclemens’s knifed corpse on the patio behind his house.

Well, this was my first Lillian Julian Braun book and I’ve already checked out the next one from the library. It was funny and fun though a bit slow moving.  I liked Qwilleran – though not his name – and the cat was hilarious.

It took a while for the story to take off – for the first murder to happen and all of that but it is an older book so not as into meeting the reader’s need for action straight out of the chute.

The book is decent and I will read more but hope that the next one moves a little faster and that the cat is still prominent.  I understand they get yet another cat in the next or third book so that will be interesting.

I have to admit, I didn’t care for Zoe in the least – I hope she isn’t a constant in the series.  I give the book a B.



Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist review

278555Goodreads: In this sixth delightful outing Agatha travels to the north of Cyprus, only to contend with her estranged fiance, an egregious group of truly terrible tourists, and a string of murders as scorching as the Greek sun.”

OK, I am taking a break from this series.  I didn’t like Agatha in this one at all.  Instead of endearing me to her, I found her unbearable.  All she did was complain, whine, pester and make a fool of herself.  It was difficult to get through.

I’m tired of her only reason for pursuing these murders is the chance to be near Lacey – who seems like a cold fish anyway.  He is always running away and Agatha can’t leave well enough alone.  This relationship has run its course – I hope the author moves on because the same old things book after book is getting old.

James goes abroad and Agatha has to go gallivanting around trying to find him in some inane hope of making him fall back in love with her.  I’ve never understood women who make a fool of themselves over a man who is obviously not interested.  Her jealousy and outbursts make me think she needs therapy and lots of it.

Perhaps it is just that I have read too many in a row but this one has virtually turned me off of the series.  Figure I will give it a month and then try the next one.  Have to read three more books to make my 2015 challenge so hope I can find something else to read in December.

I give this book a D.  I know that I am in the minority here – most people gave it four or five stars.

Walkers of Dembley and Murderous Marriage reviews


Goodreads: Agatha Raisin joins Dembley hiking club to pursue handsome Cotswold neighbor James Lacey. Angry member Jessica targets wealthy landowner Charles Fraith, who retaliates with tea invitation, but her body is found dead on his grounds. Agatha and James investigate the crime, the group ready to kill.

Well, this one was pretty predictable and even a tad bit disappointing.  Not that it wasn’t well written and a decent read, but after the Hamish Macbeth series, I expected more than a middle-aged woman blundering about after some handsome neighbor.  Kind of thought Agatha would grow beyond this by now.

The story is alright – hopefully one will end sometime without Agatha almost being killed.  That is one of the reasons I stopped reading the Maggie O’Dell series – Maggie was always “recovering” from the last book’s assault on her life at the beginning and being shot, kidnapped, stabbed, etc., by the end of the next one.  No one would really have that happen – it was too far-fetched even for my pretty relaxed standards.

I give this one a C and hope the next will be better.

181665Goodreads: In her fifth outing, Agatha Raisin – the sometimes pushy, sometimes endearing heroine of Beaton’s Cotswold village mystery series – has her marriage to next-door neighbour James Lacey disrupted by the startling appearance of her undivorced, long-thought-dead first husband, Jimmy Raisin. Matters go quickly from bad to worse when Jimmy is found murdered – and Agatha and James are the prime suspects.

Well, I’m not to sure what to say about this one.  I didn’t want to read it because I knew the ex would blunder in and ruin the marriage.  Of course, if he hadn’t, the books wouldn’t be “Agatha Raisin” anymore as she was likely to take the last name of her husband.  The story was fun enough and while I thought I knew the murderer right off, there were enough red herrings to make me doubt myself until the end when I could exclaim, somewhat smugly, that I had known it all along.

Better than the last book but still not as good as Hamish.  Poor Agatha has the worst luck when it comes to men.  Well, she has worse luck when it comes to the murderer almost doing away with her, again.  Think she has used up five of her nine lives.

I could see less of myself in this story.  Agatha seemed so emotionally weak which I know she went through a lot in the story but I found myself wanting her to put on her big girl pants and quit wallowing in self-pity.  Maybe she will emerge through all of this a stronger character.

The countryside sounds wonderful – I find myself wishing I could live in a small town with beautiful countryside.  Then I remember that I grew up in a small town out in the middle of nowhere – it really wasn’t that pleasant.

I give the book an A and look forward to the next one.  If you haven’t given the series a try but like cozy mysteries, you should.  🙂



Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener review


Goodreads: Agatha Raisin 50s returns from a lonely holiday to find James Lacey having an affair with newcomer Mary Fortune. She sees green – jealous, Mary’s favorite color, and the Garden Open Day competition. A body planted head first brings Mary’s estranged daughter Beth and her violent boyfriend. Agatha investigates with Roy, Bill, and other pals.

I have to say, I find that Beaton’s characters are starting to run together.  It is a bit like reading a soap opera.  LOL

So here we are on the next book ~ they read so quickly and easily! This one was better than the last by far but I had the murder picked out before there even was a murder so guess it wasn’t that suspenseful. Still, it was fun and poor Agatha reminds me so much of myself that I have to shake my head sometimes in wonder.

Agatha is funny, blunt and overwrought all at the same time.  Poor James, the confirmed bachelor, seems totally inept when it comes to women.  He regrets getting himself on the “outs” with Agatha and then regrets getting himself on the “ins” with her too.  I’m afraid I would find such a man rather droll but Agatha seems to think otherwise.

Agatha, herself, can be wishy washy in that first she hates village life, then she loves it, and then she hates it again.  It gets a bit repetitive – I hope it doesn’t continue throughout the entire series.  She seems so sure of herself and strong-willed at times and then a weak, silly old woman at others.

When Mary sets her eyes on James, she has no idea what she is going to encounter with the jealous Agatha who will fight for him out of pure competitiveness.  Poor James wants neither woman but he brings it all on himself.  Then poor Mary gets “potted” and all the sordid details of her affairs comes to light with James getting caught in the crosshairs.

Well, on to the next one.  I don’t have as much time to read now as I did but I will squeeze in one now and then.  These are quick, light reads that give one a sense of accomplishment when they turn the last page.  I give it an A.

The Vicious Vet reveiw


Goodreads: Feisty Agatha Raisin, former London PR exec, retired to quiet Cotswold village. Handsome vet Paul Bladen accidentally kills himself while attending Lord Pendlebury’s horse. Agatha and attractive neighbor James Lacey investigate the curious lack of sorrow shown by his divorced wife while a killer plans another “accident”.

Well, the second in the series is done after a very long time waiting for access to it.  Had to reserve it in both book and ebook format in hopes of getting it sometime soon.  The book won out.  I have the third book in ebook format so will read that in the next week or so.

I liked Agatha better in this story but she is no Hamish Macbeth, that is for sure.  I guess I can kind of relate to her because she is my age and I do like that part.  Rather tired of all these young detectives in the books nowadays.

The story moved along quickly enough – it took me about 3 1/2 hours to read.  I’m not sure why she doesn’t appeal to me as much as Hamish but assume I haven’t gotten into the series far enough yet to like it unreservedly.

How can Agatha be “thin” and “stout”?

Paul Bladen sounded like a horrible man with no real love for animals which is strange for someone who is a vet.  He was so greasy that I lose a trifle bit of respect for Agatha that she could be schmoozed by the likes of him.  She is just a middle-aged woman who fills her head with sexual fantasies over every good looking man she meets.  Kind of makes me take her less seriously.

Yes, I suppose that is the old fashioned woman coming out of me – but I didn’t like Hamish’s affairs either.  Cheapens the characters to me in some weird way.

Still, I give the book a B+.

Quiche of Death review

139176Goodreads: Putting all her eggs in one basket, Agatha Raisin gives up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat, and samples a taste of early retirement in the quiet village of Carsely. Bored, lonely and used to getting her way, she enters a local baking contest: Surely a blue ribbon for the best quiche will make her the toast of the town. But her recipe for social advancement sours when Judge Cummings-Browne not only snubs her entry–but falls over dead! After her quiche’s secret ingredient turns out to be poison, she must reveal the unsavory truth…

Agatha has never baked a thing in her life! In fact, she bought her entry ready-made from an upper crust London quicherie. Grating on the nerves of several Carsely residents, she is soon receiving sinister notes. Has her cheating and meddling landed her in hot water, or are the threats related to the suspicious death? It may mean the difference between egg on her face and a coroner’s tag on her toe

Have to say, the way I feel about this story mirrors how I felt about the first Hamish Macbeth – it was alright but I wasn’t overly impressed.  However, I decided to give him a second chance which set the hook so deep that I didn’t stop until I had read every one.  Unfortunately for you, I am going to give this series another chance as well so be prepared to possibly have a lot of Agatha Raisin reviews over the next few months.

The story is decent enough but Agatha makes so many mistakes that one wonders how she could finally pull it off.  Her neighbors think she is a bit odd and I would have to say she is.  However, she is charming enough that I found myself liking her.

So yes, on to the next story – though I imagine it will have to wait till Sunday as I expect work to be busy tomorrow.  Decent story, I give it a B.  🙂

Death of a Liar review


Goodreads: Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

This is why it is policy in most police departments in America that you have to check out a call no matter what because you just never know when it could be the real deal.  Hamish waits until the next day to respond to the call and finds the poor woman murdered in her garden.

But who would kill her? What did the intruder want and did he get it? Several other murders, seemingly not linked to this one, crop up making one wonder just what the heck is going on.  Which is the same thing Hamish is wondering.

Will these murders end up in the cold case files? They seem rather unsolvable even with the help of both Elspeth and Priscilla.  Dick isn’t much help though he does come in handy here and there, especially when it is dinner time.

Poor Hamish is beginning to think any woman would do for a wife – even ones he just meets, he is that horny.  But oh what a tangle web he weaves.  Women are not his specialty.

Well written and entertaining – I give this last book in the series an A+.  This is the 30th book in the series – Beaton is supposed to have another out in 2016, or so I’ve read.  Now I can take a break knowing I am caught up – those kinds of things bother me.  Hate not finishing a series if I enjoy it.  Of course, these books aren’t long and airy in the descriptions of the décor which makes them way more enjoyable to me.  Pop the Champaign cork, I am DONE!