Tag: Murder Mystery

A Methanolated Death

 

Julia Fairchild is a physician in a small southern Washington State town. She has long-term family roots in Parkview, a town of 38,000 built around the local pulp and paper mill. An internist at the local hospital, Julia has a hobby: solving mysteries.

“One Will Too Many: A Julia Fairchild Mystery,” by PJ Peterson is this series’s fourth book. In the first three, a peripatetic Fairchild (generally accompanied by her sister Carly) are vacationing in exotic locations. This one takes place in Parkview.

It begins with Pam, a childhood friend of Julia getting called out of town abruptly. Pam has to skip an important fundraising event to restore a landmark historic theater building in Fairview. She twists Julia’s arm into replacing her at the tux and formal dress event. This ends up involving Julia in a bizarre death. When banker Jay Morrison gets drunk, Julia gives his girlfriend Sophia a ride home. The next morning, Julia drives Sophia to Jay’s house so Sophia can recover her car. They find Jay unconscious in the dining room.

Murder and Mystery By the Ohio River

 

Piper Blackwell is an ex-GI. She saw service in Iraq with the 101st Airborne, seeing combat as an MP. Instead of serving her planned 20 years, she separated at the end of her hitch to look after her father, Paul Blackwell, ill with cancer. Her father, then sheriff of rural Spencer County, Indiana urged 23-year-old Piper to run for sheriff in his place. To her surprise, she won.

“The Dead of Jerusalem Ridge: A Piper Blackwell Mystery,” by Jean Rabe, is the fourth book in this mystery series. Blackwell is into her ninth month as sheriff. She has shaken up the sheriff’s department, mostly for the better. Even her election opponent, Chief Deputy Sheriff Oren Rosenberg, who would like for her to be inadequate so he could replace her, grudgingly admits her competence.

This book opens with Piper taking a three-day Labor Day weekend in Kentucky, with several ex-army buddies. They are playing paintball on land owned by one of them when tragedy strikes. They get attacked by an armed, active shooter. Several of the participants are killed, including the shooter. Others including Piper are badly injured.

Book Review: ‘5 Star’ by Michael Henry

 

In a good mystery, whatever the medium, the audience should not be able to tell very early on what really happened. It should be a journey of discovery for the audience as it is for the characters of the mystery. I was recently at a play which was a form of Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction wherein at the end, it turns out that Doctor John Watson is the real hero, but prefers to keep a low profile behind Holmes. It was hardly the first time I have encountered such a twist in Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction, but it was fairly well done. In this case, the writer was a little too cute in winking at the audience as he puts dialog into Holmes’ mouth about how writers can never be trusted.

I had been summoned to report for jury duty for yesterday. For those who have never been through the process, bringing a good book is always in order. Usually there is quite a bit of waiting time before selection. What is more appropriate than a mystery/legal thriller to read while awaiting empaneling or dismissal? I brought along Michael Henry’s latest Willie Mitchell Banks novel, 5 Star. To quote from a description of the book from the author’s Website:

El Ray, a 5-star Ole Miss quarterback recruit, is murdered on an unauthorized weekend visit, triggering a vindictive NCAA investigation eager to pin the blame on the university, and sending former D.A. Willie Mitchell Banks into a deadly drugs-for-sex underworld in rural Mississippi…

Book Review: Murder in the Grove by Michael Henry

 

I swear I was only going to read a chapter or two last night, but here I am at four in the morning just having closed Murder in the Grove by Ricochet’s own Michael Henry. Like the earlier books by Michael Henry I have reviewed (Three Bad Years, At Random, and The Ride Along), Murder in the Grove is a good, solid book and well worth reading.

The main character is Willie Mitchell Banks, whom we met in Michael’s earlier books. Willie Mitchell was a district attorney in the Mississippi Delta country. He had been in office in his rural county for nearly a quarter-century before retiring and moving to the big city of Oxford, Mississippi (population currently less than 25,000). By the time of Murder in the Grove, he has been living in Oxford long enough to be in good with the old geezers who play golf down at the country club each day, and it is there that the adventure begins. One of his relatively new friends asks if he will look into a murder that happened in 1962. At the same time, his successor as DA is having to bring a murder trial to Oxford in a change in venue due to the accused’s being too well known in their rural county in the Delta, making it impossible to impanel a jury. Willie Mitchell gets involved in both the current trial and in investigating the murder from long ago. And soon enough, more bodies are turning up all over the place.

Summer Reading and Ricochet

 

I found out today that we have actual rocket scientists lurking among the Ricochet membership! Being a member of Ricochet means that me… Front Seat Cat, a mere average feline, can share a post with a rocket scientist! Not only that, we have poets, photographers, journalists, teachers, doctors, lawyers (nobody’s perfect), nurses, clergy, TV and talk show personalities, writers, military, comedians, politicians (nobody’s perfect), truck drivers, accountants, financial experts, concrete drivers, chefs, stuntmen (I made that up), farmers, models, people that admire cheerleaders, gardeners, wine and spirits experts (lots of those), and many other amazing personalities and talents.

I can’t believe I can converse with someone from Ireland, Romania, and Paris about religion, politics, or dinner! We have group meet-ups from Thailand to Milwaukee, clubs where like-minded cigar chompers or cat lovers can share interests and photos. There’s a prayer thread if you need a party line to the Creator on your behalf (who doesn’t?) and just personal support. There is no better site out there on the Internet. There are book and movie reviews, audio podcasts, and much more. Additional bonus: The awed and respected “Code of Conduct” means if you act like a schmuck, you’ll be told to cool it in no uncertain terms, (love the lightning bolt) or take your schmuckiness elsewhere. Most folks contain their schmuckiness, but nobody’s perfect…..

Which brings me to my original subject, Summer Reading! Nothing like a good book on the beach, near the pool, back porch or lounger in summer, with a cool libation of your choice, listening to birds, crickets and whiffing the charcoal scent of a neighbor cranking up the grill. Like I said, summer is for kicking back, taking the edge off of working — so whatever rocket scientists read in the lounge chair in summer, I don’t know, but what are you reading? I hope it’s not a GPS manual…..

Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Sunday. (This week’s was printed on Wednesday.) When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet. Seawriter Preview Open

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