Today, I’m happy to be bringing you a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Stuck: The Penningtons Investigate by C.T. Collier. This was a great read and tho’ it didn’t quite hit a “5” on my scale, it’s a solid “4.5”!
Meet the Penningtons: Lyssa, Ph.D. Economics, and her husband “the handsome Brit” Kyle, Ph.D. Computer Science. When their clever minds ask questions, clever killers can’t hide.
Murder never entered the picture until Fritz Van Derzee decided, at long last, to clear his name. Who stuck a jeweled stiletto into his desktop after stabbing him to death? Fritz’s daughter, Emma, recruits her former professor Lyssa Pennington to find the killer.
But where’s the ten million Fritz was falsely accused of embezzling? Tompkins College President, Justin Cushman, hires his old friend Kyle Pennington to trace the missing money.
While Lyssa uses charm and tenacity on the long list of suspects, Kyle reconstructs the college’s old homegrown finance system. As they converge on the killer, Lyssa and Kyle may be the next two casualties.
This book was a lot of fun for me. I had planned on reading the first book in the series before tackling this one, but life happened and that didn’t. Thankfully, I didn’t feel like I was missing a ton of important back story, maybe a little bit, but not too much.
I enjoyed the characters in this book. Lyssa and Kyle seem like people who I’d want to be friends with. They’re intelligent, inquisitive and yet they seem down-to-earth and fun. There were a couple of times that I felt Lyssa was overreacting about something, but then again, I didn’t read the escapades that happened in the first book, so perhaps she had reason. The supporting characters were great too.
The plot line moved along steadily and it kept me guessing right until the end. We all knew one of the villains, but I didn’t see the other one coming until it happened at the end. I also enjoyed the side visits that the Penningtons made. I liked the blending of Kyle’s business along with Lyssa’s career at the college. I really enjoyed their visit to Iceland and the time the book spent there.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely highly recommend this series to other cozy mystery enthusiasts!
About the Author
C. T. Collier was born to solve logic puzzles, wear tweed, and drink Earl Grey tea. Her professional experience in cutthroat high-tech and backstabbing higher education gave her endless opportunity to study intrigue. Add to that her longtime love of mysteries, and it’s no wonder she writes academic mysteries that draw inspiration from traditional whodunits. Her setting is entirely fictional: Tompkins College is no college and every college, and Tompkins Falls is a blend of several Finger Lakes towns, including her hometown, Seneca Falls, NY (AKA Bedford Falls from It’s a Wonderful Life).
Today, I’m excited to bring you a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Debbie De Louise’s Cobble Cove Mystery series. Currently there are three (3) books in the series and I will be reviewing all three today!
Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers… After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library. Secrets stretch decades into the past… Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John. Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered… When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears… Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?
Review – Book #1
This was a great start to the series. We got adequately introduced to the characters and some of their back stories; we visited main locales of the upcoming series; and we were introduced to the author’s style of writing.
The characters in this series are definitely interesting. They’re fairly well-rounded. We learn some of their back story, but not enough to make them completely flat in the future. They’re complex and definitely each have their own issues, but they’re interesting.
The mystery was totally interesting and had lots of great twists and turns that I didn’t see coming! I didn’t know who the villains were until they were revealed. For the most part the book moved along at a steady pace, though there was one point where it dragged slightly.
All in all, a great start to the series and I look forward to the 2nd and 3rd books.
Book #2, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”: 3 out of 5 stars.
Librarian Alicia McKinney has put the past behind her… Two years ago, Alicia discovered both a terrible truth and lasting love with John McKinney in the small town of Cobble Cove, New York. Now a busy mother of twin babies and co-author of a mystery series, Alicia couldn’t be happier.
Alicia’s contentment and safety are challenged… Walking home alone from the library, Alicia senses someone following her, and on more than one occasion, she believes she is being watched. Does she have a stalker? When the local gift shop is burglarized, the troubling event causes unrest among Alicia and the residents of the quiet town.
John and Alicia receive an offer they can’t refuse… When John’s sister offers to babysit while she and John take a much-needed vacation in New York City, Alicia is reluctant to leave her children because of the disturbances in Cobble Cove. John assures her the town is safe in the hands of Sheriff-elect Ramsay. Although Alicia’s experience with and dislike of the former Long Island detective don’t alleviate her concern, she and John take their trip.
Alicia faces her worst nightmare… The McKinneys’ vacation is cut short when they learn their babies have been kidnapped and John’s sister shot. Alicia and John’s situation puts them between a rock and a hard place when the main suspect is found dead before the ransom is paid. In order to save their children, the McKinneys race against the clock to solve a mystery more puzzling than those found in their own books. Can they do it before time runs out?
Review – Book #2
I didn’t like this book nearly as much as I did the first one. For one thing, one of the issues they mention in the description of the book doesn’t even happen until the book is 3/4 of the way done! I was super disappointed in that. Plus, I felt like the ending was a little too convenient and not at all realistic.
The characters are mostly the same and that’s nice. It’s nice to see one of the characters from the first book make a reappearance in this book in a different capacity and as a seemingly different person.
The story moved along at a decent pace, I just was very disappointed that the one piece of the story line happened so late in the book. Usually something that’s in the description of the book happens more towards the beginning of the book.
This book just wasn’t as good as the first, but the interpersonal relationship growth in the book is important so if you’re going to read the series, I do suggest you read it and not skip it.
Alicia McKinney is confused . . . Was the strange email her husband received from the fictional detective in their mystery series a threat? Did the killer mistake the woman shot in the library for Alicia or the victim’s twin sister?
Cat vs. Dog . . . After Sneaky goes missing from the library, will he turn up before a young girl becomes ill with worry over his disappearance? And will he return in time to outsmart Fido by being first to find the perpetrator’s smoking gun?
Alicia is worried . . . While waiting for the killer’s next move, Alicia has other concerns. An old flame of John’s is in town and her friend, Gilly, has adopted the role of Miss Marple to aid her sheriff boyfriend in his investigation.
When all clues point to one of her co-workers, Alicia joins Gilly in searching for the answers to the mystery.
Will they survive . . . or is their ending written in stone?
Review – Book #3
This book I felt was in between the first and second as far as quality. It wasn’t as good as the first, but it wasn’t as bad as the second.
The mystery was far more interesting than the second one, but didn’t have as many twists and turns as the first. I still wasn’t sure who the villain was until it was revealed, but I was pretty sure who it was NOT.
The portion of the book dedicated to the sub-plot of the library cat, Sneaky, going missing was well-done. It didn’t detract from the original mystery, but it wasn’t an annoying little thing either.
The one thing that really got to me by the time I got to this last book was the main character’s emphasis on her weight. Now, I will say that I’m predispositioned for this to be something that gets on my nerves, but I felt like it was just mentioned too often. They live in a town where she walks almost everywhere, so she’s getting a lot of exercise, and yet she’s constantly talking about her weight and watching the sugary desserts and this and that. I’m all for eating sensibly. I may be fat, but I do try to eat more healthy than I ever have before, but I also do not see the point in completely depriving oneself of desserts (unless you have a food allergy or diabetes or something like that). And if she lives in a town where she’s getting that much exercise, then she shouldn’t have to worry about eating dessert or a donut a couple of times a week.
That’s a topic I can easily get on a soapbox about, so I’m going to stop now. This book was definitely better than the second. If there’s a fourth, I’ll read it. 🙂
About the Author
Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her published novels include Cloudy Rainbow, A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and Written in Stone. Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Cobble Cove Mystery #2) has been on the Amazon bestseller list for cozy mysteries. Debbie has also written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres and a romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace. She is currently seeking agent representation for her psychological thriller, Sea Scope. Debbie lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats.
Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop–located at 222 Baker Street–specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.
The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.
5 out of 5 stars.
I loved this book and am thrilled that I had the opportunity to read it and host a spot for this blog tour!
I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Vicki Delany (including the Lighthouse Library series she wrote under the pen name, Eva Gates), so I was excited when I heard there was a new series coming out. This book did not disappoint in the least!
I’ve already fallen in love with the town of West London and its inhabitants. Gemma, Jayne, Ryan, Louise, and the rest are all well-developed, complex characters and while we don’t know everything about them, they come across as realistic and still leave a little mystery to be discovered in other books in this series. I love the way Gemma’s mind works. I’m not quite as good at my powers of observation as Gemma is, but a lot of her logic I totally understood. It’s always great when I can identify with a heroine in the story.
The plot line moved along at a decent pace. It wasn’t slow, but yet not so fast that you didn’t understand what was going on. I had absolutely NO idea who the villain was until it was revealed. I can see now in hindsight how someone with astute powers of observation of details could put the clues together, but I didn’t do that, so it was a complete surprise to me.
Some of the interpersonal relationships in the story were strained and it’ll be interesting to see how those relationships develop and play out throughout the series. I don’t want to give away any details of the story though, so if you want to know more, read the book!
The setting sounds absolutely beautiful and I could easily imagine myself there in West London. I love when I can imagine the scene and yet the author hasn’t provided too many details. If there’s too many details, I feel over saturated and it becomes harder to imagine the setting. Ms. Delany is a master at balancing that mixture of detail and imagination.
A wonderful start to a new series and if you like cozy mysteries or even mysteries in general, I highly recommend it!
** Many thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions and conclusions expressed are my own. **
About the Author
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries. Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.
The first in Vicki’s Sherlock Holmes bookshop series, Elementary She Read, will be released in March 2017 from Crooked Lane Books.
Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.