Monday, September 29, 2008

Mystery of the Maps

RE: Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson

I’m about half-way through this book now. The victim in this book, Drew Wellington, was a buyer and seller of rare antique maps. These maps are the kind that sell for thousands of dollars.

But there is a question as to whether he legitimately bought the maps he sold. Some claim he stole them. There are allegations that he visited libraries and literally ripped off old maps from the shelves without anyone noticing until much later.

When Goldi found Drew dead in the Aspen Meadows library, the police did a search and found one map in his briefcase. A fellow map dealer who was at the library at the same time, claims that Drew had three with him when he entered the library.

So how many maps did Drew have? If he had three, what happened to the other two? Was he killed for them? Did the killer take them, or did someone else see an opportunity after Drew was dead to rifle through his belongings and steal the maps?

Another mystery to be solved.

Photo courtesy stock.xchng

Saturday, September 27, 2008

High in the Rocky Mountains

RE: Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson

Goldi lives in a fictitious town called Aspen Meadow, CO. According to Diane Mott Davidson’s website, Aspen Meadow is in the mountains west of Denver. Diane herself lives in Evergreen CO, which is not unlike Aspen Meadow. I imagine it helps a writer to know a little something of the subject they write about. Her descriptions of the terrain are always interesting.

Sweet Revenge takes place in mid-December. It is snowy and cold. I can relate as I live in Wisconsin, where winters are all-together much too long. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if I were in Colorado - at least we’d have the mountain scenery to enjoy. But unlike Goldi, I think I’d like to hibernate during the Colorado winter so I wouldn’t have to drive!

Photo courtesy stock.xchng

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Likes and Dislikes of the Goldi Catering Series

RE: Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson

I like the relationship Goldi has with her wealthy best friend, Marla.  As it turns out Marla and Goldi were both married to Dr. John Richard Korman AKA "The Jerk".  If memory serves from previous books, Goldi was married to him for several years while Marla was only married to him for a short time.  Goldi was beaten up quite a bit by "The Jerk" as he has a mean and abusive streak.  So I think it's great that Goldi and Marla were able to hook up and remain friends in their "Post Jerk" era and commiserate on their miserable experiences with him.
One criticism I have of this series is that Goldi can be overly hyper. Her tendency to chug expressos gets on my nerves at times. The only time she seems to be at all relaxed is when she is cooking. I guess her career choice of caterer is a good one - all that work she does in the kitchen just makes me tired!
Despite that, would I hire her to cater for me? You bet! To heck with the low-fat, low-cholesterol foods!

Photo courtesy

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sweet Revenge

I just started reading Diane Mott Davidson's "Sweet Revenge". This is her 14th mystery story featuring female sleuth/caterer Goldi Schulz. I've read all the other Goldi mysteries and just got this one in paperback. It is close to 500 pages including recipes from Goldi's kitchen. I have yet to try any of the recipes out - someday when I 'retire' I just might!

Goldi lives in the small town of Aspen Meadow in Colorado, outside of Denver. She lives with her second husband, police detective Tom Schulz, and her son Arch from her first marriage. She operates her small catering business out of her home. It's called: "Goldilocks Catering, Where Everything Is Just Right!" A cute & catchy name.

The premise of Sweet Revenge is that Goldi is investigating the murder of Drew Wellington, the former district attorney. She was setting up for a breakfast she was to cater in the city library when she and the head librarian happened upon the dead body of Mr. Wellington. Of course Goldi has to try to figure out what happened, even though her husband Tom reminds her to stay out of the case and let the police handle it.

Perhaps there is another mystery to be solved: Goldi also thinks she sees a woman who is supposed to be dead named Sandee Brisbane. Sandee murdered Goldi's ex-husband and then committed suicide. Now Goldi wonders if Sandee really did commit suicide? Did they ever find her body? Why was Sandee, or someone who looked just like her, in the library right before they find Mr. Wellington's body?

We will find out as the page turns....

Photo courtesy Ebay

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Whispering Statue - 1937

RE: The Whispering Statue by Carolyn Keene

I finished reading this Nancy Drew book for the first time. I have the 1970 edition and have read that one a few times.

This version had so many sub-plots that I got confused about 2/3 of the way through, and couldn’t figure out which character was which. But I must say that by the end of the book, everything was neatly wrapped up and it all made sense.

This is where Nancy ‘gets’ her dog, Togo - or rather, he gets her. He is a stray that Nancy and her friends Bess and George happen upon in the park. He keeps following the girls and Nancy decides to ‘adopt’ him. And his real owner(s) never show up, so she keeps him.

The main plot is about an elderly woman Nancy meets on a train trip, a Miss Morse. Nancy is convinced that a shady character named Joe Mitza is out to swindle her. She encounters Miss Morse again in a little town aptly named ‘Sea Cliff’. This is where the Whispering Statue comes in. It is located in the garden of a very old mansion on a sea cliff. Of course Nancy very strongly resembles the statue and uses that to her advantage in the mystery.

I picked up this version on Ebay. The book is in pretty good shape considering it’s over 70 years old!

You can actually buy this on too. Here is the link:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Chapter a Day

I'm usually always reading one book and sometimes two.  I like to slip a paperback in my purse for easy reading at lunch time.  Then in the evening I typically read at least one chapter in another book. Sometimes it's a mystery, sometimes a non-fiction book.  Right now it's a Diane Mott Davidson book at lunch ("Sweet Revenge") and a Nancy Drew book at night. 
Every few years I go downstairs to our storage area and break open the Nancy Drew book boxes with the goal of re-reading the entire series.  For the past few months I've been doing that, and also reading for the first time some of the older versions of those books that I've bought on Ebay.  It brings me back to the summer days at home lounging out in the backyard reading while getting a suntan.  This was when we slathered on suntan lotion rather than sun block.  Aahh, the good old days!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Favorite Things

Here are some things I like (or don't like) in a mystery book.  I am NOT a fan of gratuitous violence and fortunately many of these books have little of that.  I wouldn't read them if they did.  Yes a murder is usually always committed and it's not pretty, but it doesn't have to be described in gory detail.  In my opinion there is enough of that on the daily news.
Since I love to laugh, I like a touch of humor.  Some series, notably the Stephanie Plum books, have many Laugh-Out-Loud moments.  Others are more serious.  As long as they are true to the character, I can enjoy both types.   
And a little romance never hurts to spice things up.  In my opinion it keeps the story from getting too wrapped up in the main plot.  It's an enjoyable sub-plot and keeps me turning the pages. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Same Title, Different Story

I didn’t realize until a couple of years ago that there are different versions of Nancy Drew books under the same title. So I’ve been searching Ebay auctions for the other versions I don’t have. Some of the books have been completely rewritten, like ‘The Whispering Statue’. I got the 1970 edition when I was younger, but I recently purchased the 1937 edition. I’m currently reading the older version and was surprised to find out it is nothing like my 1970 edition: it’s a totally different story.

Other books in the Nancy Drew series have been edited to bring them more up to date with our current culture and to make them more politically correct. They have, however, kept most of the same characters and plot-line.

I’ve found to my delight that the older books are quite entertaining - the language is more descriptive. Many of the newer books are more skimpy on the details and provide more ‘action’, as if to speed up the story.

Photos Courtesy Ebay & Wikipedia

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Done with "Murder of a Small-Town Honey"

I have finished "Murder of a Small-Town Honey". The killer was not who I thought it would be but I'm not disappointed. The book had a good ending. Skye's brother was vindicated in the end. She used her head to escape from the killer in what I thought was a pretty dangerous move, but it worked.

The relationship between Skye and May, her mom, is sweet and I hope future books in the series explore that. And perhaps future books will explore the budding relationship between Skye and Simon, the town coroner. I'll have to read the next book in the Scumble River series to find out. But it will be awhile as I have several other books to read.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Winding Down

RE: Murder of a Small Town Honey by Denise Swanson

The suspense is building! I'm getting closer to the end of "Murder of a Small-Town Honey". Skye finally has her list of suspects narrowed down, and I have mine. OK, she has more people on her list - I only have one - but my 'guy' is also on her list. So I will see if I'm right and let you know. I won't reveal any details however, as I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone.

I still haven't decided if I will be buying more books in the Scumble River series. I've enjoyed this book, but it's been hard for me to relate to any of the characters. Perhaps in future books the characters will have more depth to them. I'll decide after I finish this one.

Monday, September 8, 2008

On the Lookout

This is my first attempt writing a blog. It’s my hope to share my interest and insight into the genre with other interested parties. Maybe some of you reading this will also have a favorite female-sleuth that you can share with us. I’m always on the lookout for new and fun series. has recommendations for me that they share in the hopes of getting me further hooked! Thankfully we have a rewards credit card from them - after you earn 2500 points, you get a gift certificate worth $25. Good enough for about 4 new paperbacks!

(Photo courtesy stock.xchng)

Murder of a Small-Town Honey

I'm currently reading the first book in the "Scumble River" mystery series called "Murder of a Small-Town Honey" by Denise Swanson. This series is new to me, and was probably one of those that recommended based on my purchase history. So far I'm about half-way done and I've been enjoying this book. There have not been any "Laugh Out Loud" moments, but that's OK.

The female sleuth's name is Skye Denison, and Scumble River is the small town in Illinois she is from. She is a school psychologist and has recently moved back home after losing her job and boyfriend in New Orleans.

Skye stumbles upon a dead body and is shocked to learn that it was a woman by the name of Honey Adiar, who used to date Skye's older brother Vince in high school. Vince tells Skye that Honey claims to have had his son, and was asking him for money. (Sounds like blackmail to me!) The police think Vince killed Honey. He claims not and Skye believes him.

Skye's mother May works as a part-time dispatcher for the local police station. She is the one who calls Skye to let her know Vince was arrested. She wants Skye to find out who the real killer is. May thinks that Skye's background as a psychologist will be helpful - that people will open up to her.

The relationship between Skye and her mother is interesting. They love each other but get on each other's nerves. I thought it was interesting that May wanted her to get involved. Typically a mother would not want her daughter trying to solve a murder mystery, so this is an interesting twist.

Skye is smart, and does a good job of handling people and knows what to tactfully say in tough situations, although she does have to bite her tongue a few times. A good role model for all of us!

(Photo courtesy Ebay)

Friday, September 5, 2008


So now I’ve become obsessed with fictional female-sleuths like Kinsey Millhone, Stephanie Plum, Hannah Swenson, and Goldi Schultz, to name a few. I admire their ability to put the pieces together and solve the mystery. I also enjoy their senses of humor and their relationships with lovers, family and friends.

As this blog progresses, I will share my thoughts and opinions about the books I’ve read. I can even sometimes figure out ‘who done it’ before I reach the end of the book!

Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy my blog!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"G" is for Grafton

My passion for reading mystery books again was re-kindled in the early 1990’s by a co-worker who loaned me several books to read during the long bus rides to and from work. Among those she loaned me was a Sue Grafton ‘alphabet mystery’ about a female private investigator named Kinsey Millhone. I don’t remember which particular book in the series she let me read, but I knew I had to start my own collection with “A is for Alibi”. Over time I got all the rest and I’m now up to “S is for Silence”.

I found many of the Sue Grafton paperbacks at used bookstores like Half Price Books. Then along came the computer age and the internet. Wow - in no time I discovered and and, along with some used book sales at work to benefit charity, I have increased my collection of books about lady PI’s. I’m addicted and obsessed!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Nancy Drew's Influence

As the 1960's and 1970's progressed, my parents and I added to my collection of the yellow hard-cover Nancy Drew books.  We stopped at number 48, The Crooked Banister.  Then my time was occupied with high school and college activities.  I graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and got my first professional job as a researcher.  I continued my career in business and market research and data analysis.  Boy, I was a long way from those grade school days and my summer days spent reading Nancy Drew mystery stories.  Then again, maybe Nancy influenced me in some way - after all, research means "to carry out investigations into a subject".

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How it all started

My interest in the genre started in the mid-to-late 1960's with my first Nancy Drew book, "The Secret in the Old Attic".  This was an era when girls were groomed for traditional careers.  I remember being asked in grade school, "What would you like to be when you grow up?"  I noticed the other girls were saying "teacher or nurse", and the boys were saying "doctor or fireman" - the more traditional occupations.  I think I said "teacher" and I wondered as I said it if there couldn't be more for us girls than a couple of choices.  Anyway, the Nancy Drew books opened up my world and showed that girls could do other things, like use their 'pretty little heads' to solve crimes. 

(Photo courtesy Ebay)