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Before I even start this review, I want to say that Hailey Lind is in my top 5 favourite mystery authors. In the last book Annie Kincade decided to go into business with the shady, yet charming Michael X Johnson, a crony of her Grandfather’s and also an ex(?) art thief, much to the dismay of her landlord/semi-love interest Frank. It starts out with Annie and her friends discovering a body set up to look like the Death of Marat painting in the exclusive and male only Fleming Union Club where she was doing some restoration.  After finding the body, she was ejected from the club for going into unauthorised areas (ie everywhere by the servants quarters) and being a woman.

Someone was trying to sell a fake Gaugain and the insurance company wanted her help to confirm the fake as well as track down the original, while Frank wants her to ask around regarding a missing bronze.  Of course with her family background, she soon knew who was the forger of the Gaugain and it was only when her Faux Uncle Anton is found suffering from arsenic poisoning that Annie decides to start investigating. I love everything about this series, Annie is a wonderful character and the perfect mix of light and shades that makes her pop out of the page – she is funny, sarcastic, fiercely loyal and one of those people who you would love to be friends with.  We also get to see more of Mary and Brian in a hilarious scene in a club. Of course I enjoyed the book, that goes without saying!  I found myself totally immersed into her world, cemented with continuous plots that run throughout the series, as well as different elements of the mystery story.  Absolutely brilliant! The author has her own website http://www.haileylind.com/ where you can read excerpts of the books and also read more about her other alter ego as Juliet Blackwell who writes paranormal mysteries which also has excerpts too.

Ari owns a knitting shop, ‘Ariadne’s Web’, and this is where the first body is discovered strangled with some handspun yarn, spun by her best friend Diane. Eventually Josh the new detective clears her as a suspect and reluctantly concedes to work together to find the murderer.
As the dead bodies pile up, she discovers that her patterns have been sold online, but is it connected with the deaths? Her life is also made a little more difficult thanks to her irritating ex husband and issues with her young daughter.

This was a well written book that had consistent and swift pacing, making it an enjoyable page turner. There is a large cast of characters which helped the mystery bed to down and hid the murderer. I also liked the connection between Ari, Joel and Diane. As a knitter, I enjoyed the knitting and spinning references too, as well as the descriptions of the shop and contents. I did have an inkling of who the murderer was, which was a little disappointing.

From what I understand, the author has primarily written romance books and it was clear that murder mysteries were a departure. I wasn’t entirely sure that she knew much about knitting and in particular online pattern sharing and selling, as there seemed to be some inconsistencies. All in all, this was a fun cozy mystery which also had the bonus of some knitting patterns as an added extra. All in all this was a great book and an interesting start to a series, which I will look forward to reading.

Geared for the GraveThis is the first in  the Cycle Path Mystery series. Evie, an ad exec, finds herself on Mackinac Island after volunteering to help Rudy’s ailing bike hire business (who was also laid low with a broken leg) with the hope that as Rudy is her boss’s Dad, she might finally get her hands on her long awaited promotion.  Not on the Island for 12 hours, she finds herself face to face with her first bead body – Bunny the local Grande Dame. With Rudy framed for the murder and her promotion speeding away from her, Evie decides to channel Miss Marple and figure out who the murderer is.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, you were taken on a romp around the island, complete with bikes, horses, hit men, and lock picking.  Not only that, but like every small community, it was rife with scandal, internal squabbles and infighting, as well as committees and festivals to promote the tourist industry.  In short, Mackinac is a law unto itself, so when Evie, the Pied Piper of trouble turns up – the residents of Mackinac Island are happy to join in and fan the flames.

I thought that the map of Mackinac Island was a stroke of genius –  there was a lot of rushing about to different parts of the island, and it was useful to pin point where everyone was. In fact, it would have been great if it also contained where the main characters resided/worked.

One of the things I love about murder mysteries is that you can pick up clues and play along, and with this book, the cornerstone clue was lobbed in just after the murderer was revealed, so it would have been fun if there was a sniff of it earlier instead of when it was all over and done with, but that is only the tiniest of criticism and better than figuring out who the murderer was three chapters in!

All in all, this was a great book, it definitely seemed to be laying the ground for more adventures on the island and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Duffy very kindly sent me a copy of this book for a fair and unbiased review – thank you!

http://www.duffybrown.com/

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