animals, mystery, tween

Monkey Magic 3: The Ghostly Thieves of New York


Author: Grant S. Clark
Genre: Middle grade / adventure / animals
ISBN: 979-8701643480
Pages: 206
Price: $9.99

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Romy Alexander has just arrived in New York after her adventures in China. She plans to tour the hot spots the guide has chosen for them and catch up on some sleep. But she doesn’t anticipate finding out that there are ghost thieves visiting the museums at night, stealing artifacts from endangered species in order to bring attention to their plight.

Nocturnal monkey visitors to her hotel room explain what’s going on, and look for her assistance. She’ll need to use her monkey magic once again to communicate with them and help them out. But not everything is as it seems, and soon Romy finds herself in trouble. It’s a good thing she isn’t the only one who has the ability to use monkey magic!

Monkey Magic 3: The Ghostly Thieves of New York is a fun mystery-adventure with lots of action. Romy barely has time to settle in before being whisked away on her latest mission. Kids will enjoy her daring and concern for the monkeys she meets. I highly recommend this newest addition to the Monkey Magic series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

Striking Range


Author: Margaret Mizushima
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-64385-746-6
Pages: 288
Price: $27.99

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Police Deputy Mattie Cobb needs to talk to the man who tried to kill her, and may have killed her father, but he is murdered at the jail just before she and cold case detective Jim Hauck arrive. But he has left a clue – a map to the area where Mattie nearly died.

Jim and Mattie investigate the area, but have limited success. But when a pregnant young woman who had visited Cole Walker’s veterinary practice a few days prior turns up dead, the investigation turns in a different direction. Is there a connection between the two cases? When Mattie and Cole realize the truth, their lives, along with Mattie’s K-9, Robo, are in jeopardy.

More information regarding Mattie’s father’s death is revealed in this fourth installment in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series, as it builds to its conclusion. Striking Range is a suspenseful and enjoyable read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

cats, mystery, tween

Ra the Mighty: The Great Tomb Robbery


Author: A.B. Greenfield
Illustrator: Sarah Horne
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Middle grade / Mystery / Cats
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4240-9
Pages: 256
Price: $16.99

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Ra the Mighty has just successfully solved his last case, and now he’s settled back into his usual and very enjoyable pampering as Pharaoh’s Cat. When his friends Khepri (a dung beetle) and Miu (a kitchen cat) suggest they need a new mystery to solve, he’s not initially excited. But when Ra sees the damage done during a tomb robbery and suddenly finds himself stranded in a worker village, he realizes he must act quickly.

Working in teams, the friends split up, accompanied by a distant cousin of Miu. They tackle the evidence and determine who is the most likely suspect. But would a daring nighttime visit to the tombs be the most helpful investigation of all? Ra must use all his wits to stay alive and return to Pharaoh’s court.

Ra is quite the character, as he shares his thoughts on personal grooming – both his and Khepri’s. He’s also a reluctant sleuth, preferring to nap when others are searching for clues. But when it really matters, Ra is willing to rise to the occasion and save the day. The Great Tomb Robbery is a light-heated and enjoyable read for all ages.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

Remember, Remember (A Sherlock Holmes & Lucy James Mystery #3)


Authors: Anna Elliott and Charles Veley
Publisher: Wilton Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-0999119112
Pages: 350
Price: $12.99

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Lucy wakes up on the streets of London to Constable Jack Kelly’s insistent prodding. She’s right outside the museum entrance, and needs to leave as quickly as possible. All she seems to remember is being in danger, and she wanders off, feeling lost and disturbed. After a narrow escape, she finds herself back in the care of Constable Kelly, who has come to believe her story.

Finally, her memory returns, and she and her father, Sherlock Holmes, have a new problem to solve. How can they keep Jack safe, after he’s arrested for a murder he didn’t commit? An unexpected tip warns of a future calamity, and only their quick thinking can save the day for everyone involved.

Remember, Remember is a quick and fun read, drawing the reader into the story from the opening scene. Even though I read this out of sequence, I didn’t feel I missed out on anything important. This is the second book I’ve read in this Sherlock Holmes takeoff series, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable they are. Lucy James is a spunky heroine with a sharp mind of her own, and I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

cats, mystery

A Very Meowy Christmas (Klepto Cat Mystery – Book 38)


Author: Patricia Fry
Publisher: Matilija Press
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Cats
ISBN: 978-1-7332772-2-8
Pages: 273
Price: $8.95

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Rags, the cat, is back to work again in A Very Meowy Christmas. First, Alicia requires his services to help locate an important object from her past. But in the process, he’s injured and is forced to travel with the Ivey family on their Christmas vacation in the mountains.

When ten year-old Adam and his best friend, Simon, go missing on a family hike, it’s a good thing Rags is there, as he’s called back into action to try to find the boys. And what he ends up finding is a surprise to everyone. Christmas spirit is alive and well as the group of family and friends celebrates in a unique and meaningful way.

This was my first introduction to the Klepto Cat Mystery series, and as a novice reader, I was instantly lost in a myriad of family and friends who have probably been around since the very beginning. The opening pages, which jump ahead to a particularly tense moment in the story before returning to set the stage, didn’t help my feelings of confusion. But those who have been following since book one will probably settle happily into this latest read. The Christmas celebration was a heart-warming moment, and it was also nice seeing everyone’s warm welcome to Simon, the newest member of the family. A Very Meowy Christmas would be a great Christmas read for fans (current and new) of the Klepto Cat Mysteries.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery


Author: Daryl Wood Gerber
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-68331-341-0
Pages: 320
Price: $26.99

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Mimi Rousseau is grateful to Bryan Baker, who graciously helped her finance her French bistro. When Bryan asks her to host his niece’s wedding, Mimi is happy to oblige, even though the bride is a famous TV personality. But when Bryan is murdered on the eve of the wedding, Mimi is horrified, especially once she realizes she’s a suspect.

As the local police officer investigates, the guests are all ordered to stay put, since they may have committed the crime. But Mimi isn’t content to just let them relax while he does his job. Instead, she grabs every opportunity she can to question them. Soon, someone is not happy with her meddling and lets her know about it.

Mimi is a nosy woman, and at times her badgering of the guests seemed unusually rude. I had a hard time believing the owner of such a posh establishment would do anything to hurt her business and reputation like that. But ultimately, her efforts do manage to pay off. If the reader can suspend disbelief for those moments, this is a fun, light read. A Deadly Éclair also contains recipes of the French creations mentioned in the story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery, tween

The Mystery Beneath Midville Museum (Cedar Creek Mystery #3)


Author: Anne Loader McGee
Publisher: Vendera Publishing
Genre: Middle grade / Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-936307-40-1
Pages: 156
Price: $9.99

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Mallory Gilmartin is troubled by some unusual events at the Midville Museum. But when she’s hired by one of her classmates to find out why her mother is being laid off from the museum, Mallory knows something fishy is going on. Who is the strange guard that keeps eyeing her suspiciously? What secret activity is happening in the basement? Does the moving ushabti statue have anything to do with it?

Mallory’s extrasensory perception will be called on when an unexpected visitor appears during the night. But how can she solve the mystery while also helping her visitor complete her journey?

The Mystery Beneath Midville Museum is the third book in the Cedar Creek Mystery series featuring Mallory Gilmartin and her friends and family. Mallory is well-known for her ability to pick up things others can’t see or hear. Although it might be nice to read these books in sequence, casual readers will have no trouble following this story without reading the first two books. I highly recommend this fun series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

The Crown Jewel Mystery (A Sherlock Holmes & Lucy James Mystery #4)


Authors: Anna Elliott and Charles Veley
Publisher: Wilton Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-0999119105
Pages: 118
Price: $5.99

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Lucy James is intent on discovering her heritage when she visits the Capital and Counties Bank. While attempting to break into a safe deposit box she believes holds some clues, she and her companion, Johnny Rockefeller, realize the bank is being robbed. But any notion of escaping is quickly thwarted, as the robbers discover them both in the back room.

Time begins to tick as the robbers struggle to complete their mission and begin to panic, threatening to kill everyone in the bank. Lucy knows it will take her quick wits and Johnny’s cooperation to free them all. But will they be able to act in time?

The Crown Jewel Mystery is a quick and fun read, drawing the reader into the story from the opening scene. Even though I picked this book up first, I didn’t feel I missed out on anything important by reading it out of sequence from the others. I didn’t know what to expect of a Sherlock Holmes takeoff story, but I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable this book is. Lucy James is a spunky heroine with a sharp mind of her own, and I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

Girl Ghosted (Penny Wade Mysteries #3)


Author: Lucy English
Publisher: New Sun Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-0692882238
Pages: 296
Price: $12.99

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Penny Wade has decided to give online dating a try. But when her roommate doesn’t come home one evening, it really scares her. Meeting so many strangers can be dangerous, and she needs to be careful. But maybe, just maybe, she’ll meet “the one” for her.

In the midst of her romantic pursuits, Penny is attempting to help a single mom and her two kids. The family has been referred to her office by the school, since the kids are struggling. Their mom suffers from depression, and Penny does all she can to try to get their lives back on track.

I can’t say much more about the mystery without giving too much away, but I found this one took a very long time to develop. This is more of a traditional novel than a true mystery. Those who enjoy deeper character development will enjoy it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

Murder Is Chartered (A Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mystery)


Author: Diane Weiner
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 9781946063120
Pages: 180
Price: $14.95

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Susan Wiles is getting sleepy as she drives home on a winding mountain road, but she’s startled awake when something hits her car. That something turns out to be someone – Melissa Chadwick, the assistant principal from the charter school – and she’s dead. Susan calls her daughter, a detective, who immediately realizes her mom didn’t kill Melissa. She was already dead when she fell from the bridge above.

Several people could have wanted Melissa dead, and Susan puts on her sleuthing cap for another case. But as she gets closer to tracking down the killer, she finds her own life being threatened. Taking chances most sensible people would probably avoid, she finds herself in precarious positions, hoping to come out alive. But her persistence pays off, and justice is served.

Murder Is Chartered is part of the Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mystery series. Since this was the first book I’ve read in the series, I had a hard time keeping track of characters who must have been introduced in prior books, and I wasn’t able to discern much of their stories to date. Susan’s behavior at times became a bit too much for me to believe, and I had a hard time with her recklessness. But readers who are just looking for a lighthearted mystery series will most likely enjoy her wacky investigation.

Reviewer: Alice Berger