Locked room mystery, Agatha Christie style

"Murder at Black Oaks" Book Cover "Murder at Black Oaks"
Robin Lockwood
Philip Margolin
Minotaur Books
November 8, 2022

The author herself summarizes the story the best in the words of one of her characters: "Spooky mansion, escaped madman and locked room mystery". And for Robin Lockwood fans, this newest novel delivers all of those, and more, in a story full of twists and turns. Robin is invited to a dinner to remote mansion of an eccentric retired district attorney. The night is stormy, and Oregon-style mud slide makes return to civilization impossible. In that time, three people are murdered. How are those murders connected to each other and what they have to do with the curse hunting of the mansion? Or do they? You will have to find out for yourself.

I have received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review from NetGalley. The links in this post contain affiliate code.

Murder in Amish county

The hidden one Book Cover The hidden one
Katie Burkholder
Linda Castillo
Macmillan Audio
05 Jul 2022

In "The Hidden One", the newest mystery by Linda Castillo, Chief of Police Katie Burkholder takes a trip to Pennsylvania’s Kishacoquillas Valley. Katie is asked by community elders to help prove innocence Jonas Bowman, who just happens to be her first teenage love. Jonas is accused of killing beloved bishop, whose remains were just found after over decade of being missing.

But who really was Ananias Stoltzfus?

I have received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review from NetGalley. The links in this post contain affiliate code.

“Watcher in the Woods” by Kelley Armstrong

Watcher in the Woods Book Cover Watcher in the Woods
A Rockton Novel (Casey Duncan Novels Book 4)
Kelley Armstrong
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Minotaur Books
February 5, 2019

Kelly Armstrong is a Canadian writer, known for her series of fantasy and paranormal books.
"Watcher in the woods" is, however, not one of those. The Rocton series, with "Watcher in the woods" being fourth in the series, is a more reality-based suspense novel. No werewolves here.

The story happens in a small village in the middle of Canadian nowhere. There is an eerie atmosphere in the book, with hostiles and overall feeling of isolation, albeit on purpose. The story shows a couple serving as a police force for the outlaws' community pulled me in. The appearance and murder of US Marshall reveal plenty of secrets hidden by the community members, even if each one of them had to undergo careful screening before being brought to Rockton. The main characters have to sort it all out, meantime dealing with other communal issues and personal lives.

"Watcher in the woods" is a page turner, although at times I was getting lost among all the characters used to build the story. I enjoyed the unexpected bursts of humor in characters dialogs, a big plus for me. I was happy I reached for the book, even of the author outside my usual reading list.

I have received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review from NetGalley. The links in this post contain affiliate code.

“Last Stop in Brooklyn” by Lawrence H. Levy

Last stop in Brooklyn Book Cover Last stop in Brooklyn
Mary Handley
Lawrence H. Levy
Mystery & Suspense
Broadway Books
January 9, 2018

It is hard to say "no" to a good mystery. While I am not a big fan, I have been known to read Anne Perry, so just the thought of picking up a period mystery was not discouraging. I went for "Last stop in Brooklyn".

The book tells a story of female private detective, Mary Handley. In this story, she works on two cases, one what looks like a marital infidelity and another, of an unfairly convicted immigrant. The world of New York richess like Rockefellers and Carnegies meets dark alleys of night and day entertainment of Coney Island. Terrorist attacks and ideology and serial killer, murdering prostitutes. With a dose of corrupted police and justice system. Really, an interesting combination of current social issues, set over 100 years ago. I guess some things are universal to humanity thought a history - and this was one of the messages you can take from the book.

Really, my only complaint about the "Last stop in Brooklyn" is that, while set in 1894, the story does not have the real feel of period novel. The language, the characters, it all feels too contemporary. Sure, if you doubt the authenticity of the facts, there is an "Author Note" at the end, explaining which facts were historical. And yes, you can imagine the Coney Island over 100 years ago, with non-existing buildings and atmosphere. Again, the characters, how they act and how they speak falls short.

I have received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review from Blogging for books. The links in this post may contain affiliate codes.