#FlashbackFriday – Tied Up with Strings (A Serebral Seniors Mystery) by Madeline McEwen #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour
On FlashbackFridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
This book was released back in December but has only been on my Kindle a short time.
About the Book
Tied Up with Strings (A Serebral Seniors Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – United Kingdom
Imajin Qwickies, An imprint of Imajin Books (December 11, 2017)
Print Length: 85 pages
An Imajin Qwickies® Mystery/Crime Novella
Big mysteries often come in small packages…
When curmudgeonly private detective Betty Grape visits a young friend, who is housesitting in a remote village in England for Christmas vacation, something seems out of place. Her friend, Catia, is visibly nervous. Is she worried about the young men in the decrepit caravan in next door’s back garden? Or is Catia involved in the disappearance of the homeowner’s invalid wife?
As an American, Betty discovers the locals are full of friendly gossip but taciturn about solid facts. Though they are determined to keep Betty from butting in on their territory, she blunders through the social morass of narrow-minded foreigners and their broad Dorset accents. Can she unravel the tight knots of this mystery? Will she find the perpetrator under thickly thatched rooves or behind floral chintz curtains?
Imajin Books has launched an imprint, Imajin Qwickies – “Qwickies” Are Novellas Ranging From 20,000-30,000 Words. In my opinion that while this story was very good it could have been great as a full-length novel.
The story opens with Betty Grape arriving in England to spend the holidays with the daughter of one of her friends. She had not seen the daughter in years. Apparently, Betty is a “part-time private investigator”. Here is one of the places a longer story would have helped me as a reader immensely. Background on Betty was almost non-existent. Betty is supposedly part of a firm with 2 other “investigators”. They are all senior citizens. Anyway, something seems off to her almost immediately. Catia, her friend’s daughter is housesitting for a professor and his invalid wife. They are two young men staying in a caravan next door. There is also a missing cat. Betty overhears some things, listens to the gossip and starts to realize things are not what they seem.
I really like Betty and want to know her better. She seems to have much life experience and is very intuitive. But this novel reads like the 2nd or 3rd book in the series, assuming I know these things already, rather than it being the first book and readers meeting her for the first time. I enjoyed her subtle way of investigating. Sometimes she is just in the right place at the right time. She makes some keen observations and starts to pull the clues together. She also has a low key way of passing on what she learns. I really enjoyed her as an American learning British ways, food, and slang.
There is a young man in the story that Betty quickly realizes is autistic. He plays a key part in the mysteries. His character was very well written, but until Betty pointed out he was autistic I had not reached the conclusion by what I had read. Because she is close to someone at home that has autism she recognized what others like me may not have tuned into right away.
The mysteries themselves were very interesting. It really reminded me of an old-time British cozy. Again with only 85 pages things had to unfold quickly. I was surprised by one part but figured out some of the other elements before Betty. The book does have a few nice twists. I did feel the ending was a bit abrupt. I would have liked one thing verified before everything was all tied up.
I would like to visit with Betty again and maybe get to know her friends in San Jose, California at the Serebral Senior Home. Like I said for a “Qwickie” this is a very good story. I hope future installments are longer so we can get to know the characters better.
About the Author
Madeline McEwen is an ex-pat from the UK, bi-focaled and technically challenged. She and her Significant Other manage their four offspring, one major and three minors, two autistic, two neurotypical, plus a time-share with Alzheimer’s. In her free time, she walks the canines and chases the felines with her nose in a book and her fingers on a keyboard.
Praise for Tied Up with Strings (A Serebral Seniors Mystery)
by Madeline McEwen
A heartwarming British cosy by a British ex-pat in America, TIED UP WITH STRING recalls adorable Village Mysteries with amateur–usually female senior citizens–sleuths.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies
The story unfolds layer by layer. We meet interesting characters and get a bit of a comparison between American and British mannerisms.
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July 10 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
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#Review / #Giveaway – Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder – Andi Anna Jones Mystery by Mary Cunningham – Great Escapes Book Tour
1st in Series
Setting – Mexico
Imajin Qwickies (November 30, 2017)
Paperback: 188 pages
Kindle ASIN: B076N6KBM3
Andi’s step-mother is a real piece of work!
But is Ruby a murderer?
Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent/amateur sleuth, puts aside her resentment of her father’s widow and books a 60th birthday cruise to Cancun for Ruby and three friends. Never does Andi imagine the cruise will lead to the murder of a has-been lounge singer—or that Ruby will be the main suspect.
Flirting with more than danger after arriving in Mexico, Andi connects with the charming local sheriff, Manual Rodriquez. After an embarrassing night involving the sheriff, too many margaritas, and a Mariachi band, a chance to check out an eyewitness to the murder leads her to Las Vegas.
In Vegas, a mysterious meeting in the Bodies Exhibition, a body preserving in the prep-room, and an evasive owner of a dance studio, give Andi clues to help Ruby. But when Andi is mercilessly drugged and locked in a storage room, she realizes dear old step-mom isn’t the only one in jeopardy.
Imajin Qwickies brings us the first Andi Anna Jones mystery. A quick mystery that packs a punch.
Travel agent Andi Anna Jones has sent her stepmother, Ruby, on a cruise for her 60th birthday hoping for a few quiet days for herself. Instead, she receives a middle of the night phone call telling her the woman is in jail held on suspicion of murder. Andi Anna thinks for a moment of just going back to sleep and letting Ruby fend for herself, but then she remembers her father and books a flight to Cancun. The eye candy, I mean sheriff, that meets her at the airport almost makes her forget what she is there for and a few margaritas leave her wondering what kind of evening the two of them shared. But, getting back to getting her stepmom out of jail, she calls a lawyer and starts her own investigation that puts her on another plane to Vegas. If she survives the trip she just may find the real killer.
A lot happens within the 188 pages. Plenty of action and drama and a fair bit of romance. With the “qwickie” format the story developed quickly and for me, everything happened a bit too fast. The romance between sheriff Manual Rodriquez and Andi was truly “love at first sight”. The mystery has Andi in Cancun, then at the cruise ship, then in Las Vegas. The girl hardly had time to catch her breath. Aside from the rushed pace, this was a good mystery. There were twists and turns and Andi did uncover more suspects. The motive was surprising and made the ending very exciting.
I did enjoy these characters and do want to get to know them better. Ruby is quite a woman, she is enjoying life and driving Andi crazy. Andi also has an assistant at her travel agency and I would like to get to know her better too. She seems to be the brains behind that business.
I had vacationed in Cancun several years ago and I would have liked to spend more time there will Andi. Hopefully, she will be returning there in a future story.
This was a fun, fast read and an enjoyable getaway.
About the Author
Author, Mary Cunningham, grew on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana. Her first memories are of her dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired her imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn”.
Childhood experiences, and a recurring dream about a mysterious attic, inspired characters, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, for her award-winning middle-grade series, Cynthia’s Attic.
Through the author’s horrifying stint as a travel agent, protagonist, Andi Anna Jones, travel agent/amateur sleuth, sprang to life. This series gives extra meaning to the phrase, “Write what you know.”
Cunningham is a member of The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Writers Guild.
When she gives her fingers a break from the keyboard, she enjoys golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where she makes her home with her husband. Together they’ve raised three creative children, have 2 granddaughters, a grandson, a great grandson, and an adopted, four-legged, furry daughter, Lucy.
Margaritas, Mayhem, & Murder: Andi Anna Jones Mystery #1 will be released NOV 30, 2017 by Imajin Books. Book # 2 is in process.
Praise for Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder – Andi Anna Jones Mystery
by Mary Cunningham
. . . an enjoyable escape read and sets things up for potential continuation.
. . . a comical investigation that introduces us to some crazy characters that really keep the story flowing.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
Andi is a charming and delightful character even though she isn’t such a great sleuth or travel agent.
~My Reading Journeys
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November 26 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”