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Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe

Los Angeles, CA United States
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  • Killing in C Sharp

  • By: Alexia Gordon
  • Narrated by: Helen Duff
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10

Gethsemane fought off an attack by a sleazy hotel developer who wanted to turn her Irish cottage into a tourist trap. But now she must face a vengeful ghost determined to exact revenge for a murder that took place centuries ago. This ghost's wrath spares no one - not Gethsemane's students, Inspector Niall O'Reilly, fellow teacher Frankie Grennan, or the group of ghost hunters that has descended on Dunmullach to capture proof that ghosts exist...proof that Gethsemane has to quash to keep Eamon, her resident ghost and friend, from becoming an internet sensation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing audio performance of a great book!

  • By Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe on 02-07-19

Amazing audio performance of a great book!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-07-19

Killing in C Sharp
In Killing in C Sharp by Alexia Gordon, musical virtuoso Dr. Gethsemane Brown, who teaches music at St. Brennan’s, an all- boys’ school in Dunmullach, Ireland, is facing visits from two different groups of people. First, St. Brennan’s is hosting Aed Devlin, who is trying to make a comeback in his formerly brilliant composing career as he debuts a new opera at his alma mater. Then, Gethsemane’s landlord is allowing a television show, Ghost Hunting Adventures, to search at the historic cottage the musician rents. The paranormal experts want to locate the ghost of Eamon McCarthy, the greatest composer of the 20th century, whom Gethsemane vindicated of murdering his wife and then committing suicide in Murder in G Major. Since Eamon actually does live as a ghost at Carraigfaire, the cottage he owned during life, Gethsemane has an incentive to get the group out of her house before they discover the truth and lead hordes of curiosity seekers to Dunmullach and Carraigfaire.

As Gethsemane and Father Tim Keating make plans to distract the ghost hunters with the 13th century Hungarian curse of Maja Zoltán that Aed is featuring in his new opera, the music reviewer whose lies destroyed Aed’s career shows up in Dunmullach, causing a huge stir. Bernard Stoltz got caught demanding bribes for good reviews and destroying the careers of those who didn’t pay up. So when Bernard gets murdered during a rehearsal for the new opera, Aed falls under suspicion. And in the meantime, the vengeful ghost of Maja Zoltán shows up and causes destruction and terror. Now, despite Gethsemane’s earlier desire to keep Eamon out of the way of the ghost hunters, she needs his help to fight this evil spirit and solve the murder of the corrupt reviewer.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Killing in C Sharp, which had an interesting plot and highly creative characters. I would typically not enjoy a book with as much paranormal activity as this one has, in particular the evil spirit, but I really had a good time. Though the character of Eamon is a ghost, we have come to love him as a regular character as well as any other character in the book. I did find it curious how many people in the community are aware of Eamon’s ghost, as well as the presence of other ghosts, since all the paranormal cozy mysteries I have read feature just one ghost whom only one person can see or knows about. The plot keeps things moving and is very exciting. I also liked that several cultures have converged upon Dunmullach, including the Southern African American culture of Gethsemane, the other American cultures of the ghost hunters, and the Irish culture of the locals.

Helen Duff performs the audio edition of this book and does an impressive job of making Killing in C Sharp a delightful listening experience. This book features characters from different regions of the U.S. and U.K., and Duff shifts effortlessly among the many accents, making each seem highly realistic. Duff makes each character seem alive through her choice of voices that perfectly suit each one. I listen to hundreds of audiobooks each year, and this stands out as one of the most impressive of 2018.

I appreciated the experience of listening to Killing in C Sharp. It was a very fun book that kept me drawn to the adventure. If you haven’t listened to or read Murder in G Major and Death in D Minor, then I recommend reading the first two books before this one, especially the first. And the quality of the audiobook is so incredible that I highly recommend the audiobook version of this book. I give it five stars!

  • A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder

  • Countess of Harleigh Mystery Series, Book 1
  • By: Dianne Freeman
  • Narrated by: Sarah Zimmerman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 257
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 231
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 229

 

Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, enjoys more freedom as a widow than she did as a wife. After an obligatory year spent mourning her philandering husband, Reggie, she puts aside her drab black gowns, leaving the countryside and her money-grubbing in-laws behind. With her young daughter in tow, Frances rents a home in Belgravia and prepares to welcome her sister, Lily, arriving from New York - for her first London season.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Exceptional blending

  • By tzinnamon on 07-01-18

Excellent Victorian mystery

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-28-19

In A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman, set in Victorian England, Frances Wynn, the American heiress, now the elder Countess of Harleigh, is relieved to have finished the obligatory year of mourning over the death of her late husband, Reggie, Earl of Harleigh. Only she and two others know that his death actually occurred in the bed of his mistress and that Frances and George Hazelton, the brother of Frances's best friend, moved Reggie back to his bedroom and dressed the naked corpse. Then Frances overhears Reggie's brother, the new earl, making plans to use her personal money to repair the family manor. So Frances arranges to move with her young daughter, Rose, to her own home in Belgravia, taking over 80 years on its lease. However, to Frances's consternation, she discovers that her new next door neighbor is the very George Hazelton who knows the shameful secret of her husband's death. But she finds that he is eager to be a friend and not a critic.

Then, just as Frances moves into her new home, she gets a letter from her mother in America saying that she is sending Frances's little sister, 18-year-old Lily, accompanied by their Aunt Hetty, for Frances to bring Lily out into society. In the midst of attending balls, the women keep hearing about small thefts that happen during the balls. What is worse, Frances gets several visits from Inspector Delaney because of suspicion that Reggie was murdered. Then, to add to all this drama, Frances discovers a footman murdered in her yard before he could come to visit her with information. And Frances's brother-in-law, Graham, is stirring up trouble for her as well in an attempt to get her money.

A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder is the first novel by Dianne Freeman, and she has made a success of her first book. The historical setting proves to be interesting, with fascinating details about high society and the issues faced by both young ladies and their chaperones as they navigate the challenges of trying to find the best husband. The book deals with the different classes in society as well as the common practice in the late Victorian era for rich Americans to send their daughters to find husbands with important titles, many of whom needed the infusion of cash by the Americans to keep their estates running. This is hope Frances found her husband and how Lily expects to find her own spouse.

Sarah Zimmerman performs the audio edition of this book, creating an effective shift between the accents of the various characters. The American Frances narrates the book, but she has a slight influence from having lived in England for close to 10 years. Other characters are fully British, while Lily and Aunt Hetty have stronger American accents. The strong intonations and timing, without over-emoting, further add to the interest in the content of the book. Zimmerman certainly makes this book effective as an audiobook, and I will look for more books narrated by her.

I really enjoyed my experience listening to A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder. The book was creative and depicts Victorian society in an interesting and effective manner. I look forward to the second book's being released in audio and certainly intend to get that next. I give the book five stars!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Turn for the Bad

  • County Cork Mystery Series #4
  • By: Sheila Connolly
  • Narrated by: Amy Rubinate
  • Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 155

After calling Ireland home for six months, Boston expat Maura Donovan still has a lot to learn about Irish ways - and Sullivan's Pub is her classroom. Maura didn't only inherit a business, she inherited a tight-knit community. And when a tragedy strikes, it's the talk of the pub. A local farmer, out for a stroll on the beach with his young son, has mysteriously disappeared. Did he drown? Kill himself? The child can say only that he saw a boat.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Little Disappointing

  • By Chalis on 05-24-16

High drama over a missing man in Ireland

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-28-19

In A Turn for the Bad by Sheila Connolly, American Maura Donovan is settling into her ownership of Sullivan's Pub when tragedy hits her Irish town of Leap. A toddler boy was discovered on the beach, and his farmer father, John Tully, has disappeared. The guardai and the local Coast Guard scour the beach to look for John Tully without success. Then the body of a strange man turns up on the beach.

In a conversation with her employee Mick, the man clues Maura in to the fact that the area is popular among smugglers of many things from cigarettes to illegal drugs. They begin to wonder if perhaps John Tully might have gotten caught in the midst of a delivery of goods, but why has his body not been found? Could he still be alive? Maura does her own investigating and determines to do her part to try to find and rescue Tully, assuming him to be alive.

After being riveted by ther first two books in the County Cork Mystery series, I was disappointed in book three, An Early Wake, so I was pleased to find A Turn for the Bad to be highly enjoyable. It kept my attention strongly and drew me intensely to the story. The characters do not have much depth to them, but they are still fun to get to know.

Amy Rubinate performs the audio version of this book. She continues to do an excellent job of bringing the books in this series to life, helping the readers to experience the anxiety of everyone as they search for the missing John Tully.

I enjoyed listening to A Turn for the Bad, especially after my disappointment with the previous book in the series. It had a dramatic plot with strong personal connections, drawing the readers into the story. I give the book four stars.

  • Death by Committee

  • Abby McCree Mystery Series, Book 1
  • By: Alexis Morgan
  • Narrated by: Coleen Marlo
  • Length: 7 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery - Aunt Sybil's only known rival is buried in her backyard! Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A solid start to a new series

  • By Melissa on 02-16-19

Fun plot and creative characters

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-28-19

In Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan, Abby McCree is just concluding a nasty divorce when she inherits the home and possessions of her Aunt Sybil in Snowberry Creek, Washington. She soon finds herself talked into taking over her aunt's commitments as head of the quilters' guild and the city's senior committee. In addition to inheriting the home of her aunt, Abby has found that she has inherited the sexy, muscular army vet, Tripp, who has been renting a bungalow from her aunt in exchange for doing yard work. Then one day Abby and Tripp work on cleaning up Aunt Sybil's backyard when they discover the body of Dolly Cayhill, her aunt's chief enemy, who has been dead for months and is wrapped up in a quilt. Many in the community accuse Sybil of having killed Dolly, spurring Abby to start asking questions and team up with Tripp to find the truth.

Death by Committee was a fun book with an interesting plot. I especially liked the fact that the main character is nearing her 40s and the other women are senior citizens. Too many cozy mysteries feature only young women, and seniors are not treated as legitimate sleuths. It's also good to see a dog who is not a cute little thing, with the dog in this book's being a mastiff.

Colleen Marlo performs the audio edition of this book. She gives a good portrayal of the book, making the readers connect to the plot and characters all the more effectively than the book by itself would.

I enjoyed listening to Death by Committee and look forward to more books in this series or by the author. I give it five stars!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Cruel Winter

  • A County Cork Mystery
  • By: Sheila Connolly
  • Narrated by: Amy Rubinate
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 159
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 143

Snow is a rarity in Maura Donovan's small village in County Cork, Ireland, so she wasn't sure what to expect when a major snowstorm rolled in around Sullivan's pub. But now she's stranded in a bar full of patrons - and a suspected killer in a long-ago murder. Maura's been in Ireland less than a year and hasn't heard about the decades-old unsolved crime that took place nearby, let alone the infamous suspect, Diane Caldwell.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not up to Sheila Connolly's usual standard

  • By S on 07-01-17

Solving a murder while snowed in

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-22-19

Cruel Winter, book five in Sheila Connolly’s County Cork Mystery series, Maura Donovan, owner of Sullivan’s Pub, opens the Irish pub on a day when the worst snowstorm in years is due to arrive. As customers trickle in, before long, they all find themselves snowed in. Most are locals who know each other, but one woman from England, Diane Caldwell, comes in because she can’t travel due to the storm. Soon, Mick Sullivan, one of Maura’s employees, privately points out to Maura that Diane was the chief suspect in a notorious murder 20 years earlier. Soon, everyone in the pub is whispering with suspicion and fear about Diane. But though Diane was interrogated several times for the murder, she never was even arrested yet has borne the stigma of the crime for all these years.

Maura suggests that the people in the pub spend their evening snowed in by holding an unofficial, impromptu trial of Diane to allow her to air her side of the story. The group begins with most people presuming Diane’s guilt, but they agree to discuss the murder of Sharon Morgan and see if they can find some answers. So as the snow falls and locks them all into the pub, they create their own inquest.

Cruel Winter comes with a creative premise, a unique variation on the locked room mystery. It has an interesting plot, but at times it moves a little slowly. The parsing out of the case can get bogged down periodically. However, I enjoyed the development of the plot as it unfolds. The flavor of Ireland comes through clearly, especially in teaching readers about the legal system, both of the courts and the investigative branch.

Amy Rubinate performs the audio edition of this book, doing an effective job of making the book come alive. This is especially true with Rubinate’s convincing accents of the Bostonian Maura, the English Diane, and the Irish other characters. The portrayal of the informal trial makes these scenes more interesting.

I appreciated listening to Cruel Winter, though at times things got a little tiresome. With all the action’s having taken place within one setting over the period of a day and night, the book does a good job of keeping my attention for the most part, but at times I got a little bored. Overall, this book was very interesting, and I give it four stars.

  • Crewel and Unusual

  • A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery, Book 6
  • By: Molly MacRae
  • Narrated by: Emily Durante
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

Yarn shop owner Kath Rutledge is looking forward to the grand opening of the Blue Plum Vault, a co-op of small shops on Main Street. In the week before the grand opening, Kath and her needlework group, TGIF, hear rumors of an unpleasant rivalry developing between two of the new shopkeepers: Nervie Bales and Belinda Moyer. The opening is a success - until Belinda is found dead, stabbed in the back with a pair of scissors from Kath's shop.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun and Entertaining

  • By Beatrice on 01-24-19

When a Ghost Witnesses a Murder

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-18-19

In Crewel and Unusual by Molly MacRae, Kath Rutledge gets involved in another case as her town opens the Blue Plum Vault, a co-op of shops operated by various artisans and booksellers. Belinda Moyer sells antique textiles, which draws the textile expert Kath to her shop. The day before the official opening, Belinda reports that her valuable antique table runner has been destroyed, and then the ruined item disappears. On the day of the opening, the Blue Plum Vault draws a big crowd, and Kath enjoys exploring the place. She goes with Artis Buchanan, the manager of her shop, Weaver's Cat, and the only other person besides Kath who can see the ghost Geneva. The pair hear sorrowful singing in a storage closet and realize that Geneva is inside. When they get the closet open, Kath discovers Geneva cradling the murdered body of Belinda. Then Kath learns that Geneva witnessed the murderer, so she faces an extra challenge in solving the case without revealing her source.

I have enjoyed the Haunted Yarnshop mystery series, so I was really happy to see that MacRae published a new book. I found that I was kept listening to Crewel and Unusual raptly, as the book has plenty of charm. I love the premise of Geneva's having been a witness to the murderer. Geneva is different than every other ghost I've encountered in other paranormal cozy mysteries, serving as a regular character in the book who just can't be seen by most others. Yet she also has her unique limitations, having lived over 100 years earlier and spent most of her time before Kath became able to see her just watching television. So we have a very moody ghost who endears herself to us and sometimes makes us laugh.

I did find myself confused several times with this book, though. It starts with a murder case that is already in progress before adding further layers to the plot, an angle that has real potential. However, I sometimes got confused about the details of that case, so I would have liked to have been given more information in a way that it made things clearer to me. Plus, I got confused about the identity of certain characters new to this book, particularly those related to the back story.

Emily Durante performs the audio edition of this book, doing a lot to add to the pleasure of reading this book. She adds flavor to the book in her portrayal of Kath as the narrator. In particular, I liked the way she plays Geneva, the real joy of the book. Making us feel Kath's confusion and love of the ghost, Durante adds a lot to MacRae's already successful job of making a ghost seem alive.

I had a very good time listening to Crewel and Unusual. It had a creative premise, unique characters, and a fun conclusion. Because I did find certain parts confusing, as discussed above, I give it four stars but have to say that I highly enjoyed the book despite those issues.

  • Death of a Santa

  • Juniper Grove Cozy Mystery, Book 4
  • By: Karin Kaufman
  • Narrated by: Becky Doughty
  • Length: 4 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3

Rachel never expected to be caught up in another murder investigation, especially at a wreath-making party. But when a member of the Four Santas, a Juniper Grove caroling group, dies at the party, minutes after telling her he fears for his niece’s safety, she is determined to act. Eager to hunt down the truth, Rachel throws herself into solving the case, despite her blossoming romance with the town’s police chief. Convinced a killer is targeting the carolers, she must act quickly to get to the bottom of the mystery.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Someone Killing Santas!

  • By Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe on 01-18-19

Someone Killing Santas!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-18-19

In Death of a Santa by Kaufman, Rachel Stowe goes to a Christmas wreath- making party in her new hometown of Juniper Grove, Colorado. While making the wreaths, the women are visited by the town’s renowned Christmas carolers that call themselves the Four Santas and invite the cold men in for coffee and cookies. Micah Schultz, one of the Santas, pulls Rachel aside and asks her to investigate threatening phone calls his niece, Sonia Quinn, has been receiving. Then, within a couple minutes, Micah falls over and dies. As Chief James Gilman gets involved and discovers that this was murder, Rachel does her own investigating, leading to all kinds of conflict both personal and criminal.

Death of a Santa continues with the previous books in the Juniper Grove Cozy Mystery series in being delightful and creative. The book has a strong mystery plot and characters we become invested in. Further, it is clean of bad language, sex, and violence, ideal for giving to a child who is ready to graduate from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

Becky Doughty performs the audiobook edition of this book and takes on the personality of Rachel, who narrates the book. We become quickly convinced that we are listening to Rachel herself, as Doughty acts the role of the character effectively.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Death of a Santa. The book was clever, fun, and clean. It’s also a short listen, a mere four hours, so someone who goes through audiobooks more slowly than I do might appreciate the shorter length. I give this book five stars.

  • Killer Transaction

  • Cindy York Mystery Series, Book 1
  • By: Catherine Bruns
  • Narrated by: Amy Deuchler
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 27

All struggling real estate agent Cindy York wants is the home listing that was promised to her. But her deceitful co-worker, Tiffany Roberts, has other ideas, and she always manages to get what she wants. Tired of being manipulated, Cindy tells her to back off - or else! But when Cindy stumbles upon Tiffany’s lifeless body, she suddenly finds herself front and center in a deadly investigation. Now everyone from her kids' classmates to her monstrous mother-in-law is sold on the idea that Cindy's guilty.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent first book in real estate cozy series

  • By Julesy on 01-13-19

A Realtor Suspected of Murder

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-16-19

In <strong>Killer Transaction</strong> by Catherine Bruns, realtor Cindy York is about to sign a much- needed contract to list a house when she learns that fellow realtor Tiffany Roberts, known to realtors as a dirty agent, has stolen the listing from Cindy. After leaving an angry message on Tiffany's voice mail, Cindy goes on to her next event and then to the office of the company she and Tiffany both work for. Coming upon the fellow realtor murdered, Cindy gets accused by the office manager of having committed the crime, and soon everyone, including Cindy's mother-in-law and 15-year-old daughter seems to think this is true. With the help of her best friend, Jacques, Cindy determines to get to the truth before she gets arrested or driven bankrupt from a lack of clients.

<strong>Killer Transaction</strong> takes a basic premise, that of a hated corrupt business rival's getting murdered, and makes the story around it unique and well- done. The book's particular strength is in its character development and in the way the main characters are real people with problems that they work through together. In particular, Cindy has been married to Greg for 18 years, and they have a stable marriage even though they still have their issues. Cindy's daughter and twin sons are real children, especially the moody 15-year-old daughter as she faces the social stigma of being a teenager whose mother is suspected of murder. The friendship between Cindy and Jacques also strikes the reader as genuine, as the pair look out for each other.

The audio edition of this book is performed by Amy Deuchler, who plays the role of Cindy well. She voices each character well, embodying the nature of each one in the process. In the process, she brings the book to life well.

I enjoyed listening to <strong>Killer Transaction</strong>. I thought the book was well- written and enjoyable with highly relatable characters. I give it five stars!

<strong>Disclaimer:</strong> I received this book for free for review purposes, but that had no effect on the content of my review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Case of the Holiday Hijinks

  • Corgi Case Files, Volume 3
  • By: Jeffrey M. Poole
  • Narrated by: Bob Johnson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

There’s a Grinch in Pomme Valley! Someone is stealing presents right from under the noses of unsuspecting homeowners and leaving no trace of how he broke in. And, to make matters even more baffling, he’s stealing only presents! Corgis Sherlock and Watson are on the case! Accompanied by their reluctant human, Zack, the unlikely trio must find out who’s responsible for the thefts and stop him before anyone gets hurt. The townsfolk are scared. City officials are nervous. Can Zack and the dogs put a stop to this crime spree before Christmas is ruined for everyone?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Catching the Grinch!

  • By Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe on 01-15-19

Catching the Grinch!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-15-19

In <strong>Case of the Holiday Hijinks</strong> by Jeffrey M. Poole, Zack Anderson is approaching his first Christmas in Pomme Valley, and he is facing pressure from his parents to return to Phoenix for the holiday. But the widower doesn't want to face the city where his wife was killed a year earlier, so he resists them. Besides, he has recently started a new relationship with a widow, Jillian, and he wants to spend Christmas with her. So Zack's parents decide to spend Christmas with him instead and surprise him by showing up in Pomme Valley early to do a surprise inspection of his new life.

In the meantime, Zack's police officer friend Vince asks for the help of Zack's corgi Sherlock, who has a gift for sniffing out clues, in a case that is stumping the police. Someone has broken into the house of a low-income family and stolen all the presents from under their Christmas tree and nothing else. The only thing Sherlock seems to pay attention to is the Christmas tree itself, but that tells Zack and Vince nothing. As the break-ins continue, with only Christmas presents getting stolen, they become further puzzled, and one case turns violent. So Zack and Vince must hurry to find the culprit.

<strong>Case of the Holiday Hijinks</strong> was an interesting, well- written book. It has a good plot and creative characters that you want to get to know. I particularly liked the way that the book introduced the back story with Zack's telling his story to a friend instead of making the details seem like a back story. I do recommend that you read the first two books in the Corgi Case Files series before this third book, which gives away some details of the previous books that you might prefer to wait to learn while reading those books. However, you can easily read this book without the prior two and not feel at all lost.

Bob Johnson performs the audio edition of this book. With Zack's serving as the book's narrator, Johnson portrays the writer and amateur detective realistically and effectively. I felt that I could picture Zack clearly while listening to the book. With strong expression, Johnson balances the strength of this book by providing an excellent performance.

<strong>Case of the Holiday Hijinks</strong> was a fun book to listen to and has some creative elements. I appreciated the development in the relationship between Zack and his parents and the development of Zack's character as we see him bond further with his adopted town and show real generosity to those in need. I give this book five stars!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free for review purposes, but that had no effect on the content of my review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Dough Must Go On

  • Oxford Tearoom Mystery Series, Book 9
  • By: H.Y. Hanna
  • Narrated by: Pearl Hewitt
  • Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 95
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 95

Showbiz comes to Oxford in the form of Britain's hottest new talent show, and tearoom owner Gemma Rose gets a peek behind the scenes when she's asked to cater for the event. But with the Old Biddies, entering the contest as England's first "granny band", and her little tabby, Muesli, stealing the limelight, Gemma soon ends up with more than she bargained for... and that's before she comes across a frozen dead body! Now, she's on the trail of a murderer, with four nosy old ladies giving her a helping hand, while also dealing with her embarrassing mother, and more.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A charming cozy

  • By Christina on 02-15-19

A Delightful Mystery Set at a Talent Show

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-15-19

In <strong>The Dough Must Go On</strong> by H.Y. Hanna, Gemma Rose has been hired to cater the From Pleb to Celeb talent show, which is taking place in Oxford. To her surprise, the four Old Biddies, plus a friend, have entered the contest as a "granny band" named the Pussy Puffs. Backstage, Gemma encounters plenty of personal drama and conflict, especially with one contestant, Laura King, determined to stir up trouble. The night of the semifinals, the puppeteer's cat, who is part of the act, goes missing, so Gemma takes her own cat, Muesli, for the woman to use. But as Gemma looks for the performer, she comes upon the body of Laura King, who must have been murdered in the previous ten minutes. With Gemma's boyfriend, Detective Instructor Devlin O'Connor, in charge of the case, Gemma finds herself mixed up in the investigation.

<strong>The Dough Must Go On</strong> is book nine in the Oxford Tea Room series and shows that Hanna has not lost any of her momentum in writing these books. The mystery plot is interesting, with the creative backdrop of the dysfunctional talent show adding extra flavor. As usual, the Old Biddies change their opinions of the murderer every next scene, adding to the fun of the book. The characters in the book are fun, each having a unique personality. They are not particularly round characters, but their natures have creative features. Gemma's prim and humorous mother plays a larger role than usual, giving the book an extra touch of flair. And of course, the Old Biddies never cease to delight.

I have enjoyed all the books in this series, but one strength of this book in particular is the extra humor found in it. The Old Biddies prove even funnier than usual, and I laughed especially hard at the scene in which they drag Gemma into a sex shop, where they loudly comment on the strange items they find.

The audio edition of this book is performed by Pearl Hewitt, who continues to bring the series to life. She depicts each character with an individual flavor that makes each one seem unique. I especially love Hewitt's depiction of the mews of Muesli, giving real personality to the cat.

I had a great experience listening to <strong>The Dough Must Go On</strong>. I was excited to see that the latest book in the series was available on audio, and I was not disappointed. The book has a great plot and creative characters filled with humor. I give this book five stars!