Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What I Read This Weekend

What I Read This Weekend . . .

Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen (Her Royal Spyness Mystery 5) -- Historical Mystery

Poor Georgie is being forced to endure a dreary London winter with Binky and Fig in residence. Georgie has taken to helping out in a soup kitchen just to get away from her domineering, penny-pinching sister-in-law. When Binky and Fig decide to head off to the Riviera with little Podge, they leave Georgie in the lurch. Even Belinda is headed to France and the mysterious Darcy has disappeared again. What's Georgie to do? She has a few options, none of which are appealing. Then the Queen summons Georgie for help once again. This time she wants to send Georgie to Nice to recover a valuable snuffbox that was stolen from her collection. Georgie is eager to head to the land of sun and sand but her vacation is anything but restful. Her maid Queenie can't seem to learn to be a proper maid, someone may have been snooping in her train compartment and worst of all - she has to stay with Fig's awful relatives. Then things begin to look up when Georgie meets the famous fashion designer Coco Chanel who takes an interest in Georgie wants her to model. Unfortunately, Georgie's clumsiness kicks in at the wrong moment and she falls off the catwalk and loses a priceless necklace on loan from the Queen. Now she has two valuable items to recover and no plans. On the bright side, a charming French Marquis seems to desire her. If everyone else can have fun in Nice why can't Georgie? In between searching for the Queen's valuables that is. Then someone ends up dead and Georgie is the #1 suspect. She needs all the allies she can get if she's ever going to get the Queen's valuables back and get home to Britain. This book follows the typical pattern of the last few novels where Georgie bumbles along until she solves a mystery. The mystery kept me reading far too late into the night. I had a possible suspect for the robbery but she was a real person so that eliminated her. Among the fictional characters there was one I did not trust at all and my instincts proved correct though I never guessed who the murderer was. I did wonder but there didn't seem to be a motive and the person had an alibi so I dismissed them. There were some mysteries left unanswered that really bothered me. I wish there had been more explanation. Some of the events in the story good a bit ridiculous and cliched which I didn't like. The rest of the story is fairly lighthearted, typical of the rest of the series. Belinda is hardly in this story for which I am very grateful. She gets on my nerves and I can't stand her behavior. There's a huge misunderstanding between Georgie and Darcy that I didn't like. I figured it out right away and if Georgie thought about it, she probably would have figured it out herself. The other thing I didn't like about the story was Georgie's snobbishness towards Queenie. I understand that she's a woman of the upper class in a time when such attitudes were normal but I felt that she was a bit more snobby than usual and Queenie didn't deserve it. This isn't the best of the series and I'm hoping that the author will wrap things up soon before the stories get stale and uninteresting. 

The War Against Miss Winter by Kathryn Miller Hines (Historical Mystery)

Rosie Winter is a struggling actress in 1942 New York. Her boyfriend shipped out a few months ago and Rosie hasn't heard from him since. She's feeling rather down and out and makes a quick visit to her day job, a private detective's office, hoping to make some cash, only to discover her boss hanging in the closet. Rosie knew her boss had some dealings with clients whom she wasn't allowed to know anything about. Could one of them have done this awful deed? When a potential client comes in through the fire escape offering Rosie cash to search for missing papers, she thinks there may be a connection between Jim's death and these missing papers. Rosie decides to take a chance and hopefully bring justice to her boss's killer. Her clues seem to lead nowhere except to more mysteries and one really awful political playwright. It seems everyone is searching for this mysterious missing play and whoever finds it first may end up dead. Rosie is determined to solve the mystery and stay alive all while trying to jump start her stalled career. This story is more of a typical crime novel than the "cozy" mystery I was expecting. Rosie is tough and down and out. She reads pulp fiction and talks like a character from a bad pulp fiction novel or gangster movie. I had a hard time understanding all her slang words, even in context. I really could not muster up any sympathy for her. I found her annoying and whiny and downright rude at times. She's not the type of character I usually enjoy. I was more interested in a minor character who appears in scenes only to help direct Rosie's search. There isn't a traditional romance plot either though Rosie has a sort of boyfriend and a potential romance. The mystery kept me interested and reading way too late until the big reveal. Then I was completely confused by the convoluted story. None of it made sense and it will answer the question asked in the beginning of the book: "What would shock you?" It's so bizarre and impossible that it ruined the book. I would not recommend this series to fans of cozy mysteries and I will not be reading the rest of the series.

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