Five Stars for Murder on Lexington Avenue

8-31 Victoria Thompson coverMur­der on Lex­ing­ton Avenue is the 12th in Vic­to­ria Thompson’s Gaslight Mys­tery series. I’ve read sev­er­al, but this one is a favorite of mine. My review: Sarah Brandt, New York mid­wife in the ear­ly 1900s, keeps get­ting involved in mur­der while deliv­er­ing babies. It isn’t any­thing about souls pass­ing in and out, it’s just that the same peo­ple are involved. While one woman is hav­ing a baby, some­one she knows, be it her fam­i­ly or her neigh­bors, is mixed up in mur­der, often as the vic­tim. Sarah is handy and will­ing to help out an Irish cop, Detec­tive Sergeant Frank Mal­loy. In this case, the teenage daugh­ter of the vic­tim is involved with con­flict­ing schools of train­ing the deaf. Her father is a gen­er­al­ly dis­liked busi­ness own­er. But, who killed him? Seem­ing­ly he was alone at his place of busi­ness. His busi­ness part­ner, and sev­er­al oth­ers may have vis­it­ed. Or, none of them saw him, if one is to believe the tes­ti­mo­ny. And, even if Frank Mal­loy finds the killer, 1903 in New York often meant Frank, although he was the police, would find it dif­fi­cult to accuse any­one who had the mon­ey to make sure he didn’t keep his job. Then anoth­er mur­der com­pli­cates the pos­si­bil­i­ties.

The ambiance is authen­tic, the plot is devi­ous, the char­ac­ters are a mix from delight­ful to dev­il­ish. Best of all, the out­come is com­plete­ly unex­pect­ed, but, oh so absolute­ly right! High­ly rec­om­mend­ed to mys­tery and his­to­ry read­ers.

Vic­to­ria Thomp­son has been nom­i­nat­ed for an Agatha for his­toric mys­tery. There are now 17 books in the series. Her Ama­zon author page is here. (I believe the mid­wife and the police detec­tive sergeant are plan­ning to wed in the lat­est. Must read that too!)

Five Stars for Death By A Dark Horse

8-17 Death by a Dark HorseWhen Thea’s miss­ing horse, Black­ie, is found in the pas­ture with a dead woman, the first thought was that crushed head was caused by Black­ie. Thea knows that’s not true, but how did Valerie die?

Was it mur­der? Who did it? And why? Soon Thea is ask­ing all those ques­tions, but so are the police, and they have more clout.

Death by a Dark Horse is the first in Susan Schreyer’s Thea Camp­bell series. Black­ie is a promi­nent char­ac­ter in each one. (For a horse lover, how can that be bad?) And, since Thea has a habit of find­ing dan­ger, and her horse seems to real­ize that—how can that be bad for a mys­tery lover?

Let me share some oth­er reviews from Goodreads. “The clev­er­ly titled Death By A Dark Horse has all the trap­pings of an engag­ing mur­der mys­tery: high stakes, an inde­pen­dent hero­ine, intim­i­dat­ing goons and a clever vil­lain. All of this is set upon a back­drop of horse-rid­ing and dres­sage, so right off the bat I can eas­i­ly rec­om­mend this sto­ry to horse lovers.”

Anoth­er one: “This mys­tery has enough twists, turns, and inter­est­ing char­ac­ters to keep me reach­ing for my Kin­dle every free moment.

I enjoyed learn­ing inter­est­ing tid­bits about hors­es and their care while try­ing to fig­ure out “who­dunit” and why. The protagonist’s char­ac­ter­is­tics make her some­one I will fol­low into the next book of the series: Lev­els Of Decep­tion.”

I, too, found this mys­tery a cap­ti­vat­ing read. Rec­om­mend­ed for horse lovers, mys­tery lovers, heck, let’s just say for all read­ers and be done with it! And, I just dis­cov­ered, right now it’s a free ebook at Ama­zon.

Discovering Character-And Other Things

I should know Jo, my main char­ac­ter by now—I’ve just com­plet­ed final edits of the sec­ond mys­tery, plus a short sto­ry pre­quel. But she con­tin­ues to sur­prise me. I’ve been resist­ing.

Why? Hey, she and I start­ed out the same age with the same child­hood mem­o­ries, but our per­son­al­i­ties and life expe­ri­ences are dif­fer­ent. Over the years that I wrote and rewrote that first mys­tery, I aged, while Jo kept get­ting younger. By the time a small press said, “Is your man­u­script still avail­able? We want it,” I was near­ly eighty and she was some­where in her late six­ties (nev­er specif­i­cal­ly stat­ed).

As I start­ed the sequel, I thought, 61. Yeah, sounds about right. But, as I wrote, I decid­ed, maybe late 50s. That’s old enough to have the his­to­ry I’d sup­plied. Some of those mem­o­ries could be from Grand­ma, or a par­ent. Or, she’s into old stuff. Then I added a TV ref­er­ence I remem­ber watch­ing with my kids. My kids are most­ly in their 50s. So I wrote away, decid­ing she was that age. But, I still  had those ‘old’ ref­er­ences. Jo described her­self as old in a vari­ety of ways. I do not think of my 50s daugh­ters as old. They do not look old. Perhaps—I just didn’t think.

Until, I saw an arti­cle about Valerie Bertinel­li with her cook­book.8-13 Bertinelli cover She’s 55. Yoiks! How can that be? I remem­ber her on TV as a teenag­er. I’m real­iz­ing that fifty is def­i­nite­ly the new thir­ty. Final­ly, I have an image of my fifty-some­thing Jo—maybe not a beau­ty, def­i­nite­ly not a Valerie twin, but cer­tain­ly not a hag. And a whole new image of my mar­ket. And the pos­si­ble cov­er. And pos­si­bly a redo of the first cov­er. And, def­i­nite­ly, a redo of Jo’s atti­tude. She’s been much too laid back about the guy who’d like to know her much bet­ter. I mean, let’s have a lit­tle chem­istry there.

And maybe I’ll try Valerie’s recipes. (I do love to cook!)

 

 

Do You Tweet?

Some days I tweet, some days I don’t. Today, for some rea­son, I put up sev­er­al tweets on dif­fer­ent sub­jects. I linked them to my blog, or to an Ama­zon site. I can’t say if Ama­zon got any clicks, but my blog got a cou­ple. They were about books—nothing about any of mine, but com­ments about oth­er books and favorite books. Did a click­er then go to the oth­er books’ Ama­zon sites, maybe buy a book? I don’t know.

_Fish or Cut Bait coverSpeak­ing of tweet­ing, those of us who con­tributed to the Fish or Cut Bait anthol­o­gy decid­ed to tweet and retweet other’s pro­mo­tions. I’ve done so a cou­ple of times. But, there are so many tweets fly­ing by, I haven’t seen any to retweet. (And that’s anoth­er thing I’m unable to check for any kind of ben­e­fit.)

I like to add pic­tures to my tweets, a book cov­er, usu­al­ly. Does that make a tweet more notice­able? Prob­a­bly. Or, does the read­er just get tired of see­ing so many, often the same pic­ture repeat­ed­ly? Yeah, I’m sure that hap­pens too.

I’m not all that savvy to use Tweet Deck or any such pro­gram. I’ve tried a cou­ple, unsuc­cess­ful­ly. So, I’m not a tweet expert. I tweet in the dark, you might say.

How about you? Shall we just bum­ble along togeth­er?

Five Stars for The Glassblower’s Wife

8-3 Glassblower coverI love an his­tor­i­cal mys­tery. I espe­cial­ly love one that intro­duces me to his­to­ry I don’t know in such a thor­ough­ly engross­ing way. The Glassblower’s Wife, by Joan­na Camp­bell Slan, is a long short sto­ry rather than a full-length nov­el. But, it packs a wal­lop! It is an his­toric tale involv­ing Jew­ish glass blow­ers from Italy who took their excep­tion­al craft to France to make the mir­rors for the Hall of Mir­rors in Ver­sailles. There’s mur­der, devo­tion, an excel­lent plot, and superb writ­ing.

The offi­cial blurb states: “When Jew­ish glass­mak­ers and their fam­i­lies flee the pow­er­ful Doge of Venice, the cost of their free­dom is three hun­dred and fifty-sev­en mirrors–the cre­ation of the mag­nif­i­cent Hall of Mir­rors in Ver­sailles. But the Doge sends assas­sins to pick off the artists, one by one. Can Ruth Telfin, the mute wife of the head glass­mak­er, save her peo­ple?”

I’m not the only read­er who com­ment­ed favor­ably. One says, “Since this is a short sto­ry, I fig­ured it would be a good chance to get a taste of this author’s writ­ing style. I nev­er expect­ed such a pow­er­ful sto­ry.”

Anoth­er said: “I must admit that this type of book isn’t real­ly what I usu­al­ly pick to read. Hav­ing read all of Camp­bell Slan’s oth­er books, I decid­ed to give it a try. This is a long short sto­ry based on his­tor­i­cal facts back in the late 1600’s. I real­ly learned a lot from it. She throws in a fic­tion­al char­ac­ter that real­ly saves the day at the end. Kudos to Slan for her research and dri­ve to write this book.”

And that’s my focus today—fiction that gives the read­er his­to­ry with a sto­ry that not only inter­ests the read­er, but opens her eyes to some­thing that real­ly hap­pened, per­haps years, per­haps cen­turies ago. All too often his­to­ry is pre­sent­ed as bor­ing, irrel­e­vant, unim­por­tant, or, even as per­pet­u­at­ed untrue myth. One of the web­sites I researched to fol­low this sto­ry said: “His­to­ri­ans have long repeat­ed that the for­mu­la for lead-glass was invent­ed in 1674 by an Eng­lish­man, George Raven­scroft. His­to­ri­ans often make a habit of being in error. In this case the error could not be more gross. Raven­scroft was nei­ther an arti­san nor an inven­tor. It is true that Raven­scroft patent­ed the process; it is false that he invent­ed it.”

And, occa­sion­al­ly, text­books per­pet­u­ate myth as well. I remem­ber one such from my own high school years. I cer­tain­ly know that fic­tion often plays fast and loose with his­toric past. No prob­lem, as long as it is under­stood. Some of my favorite reads are steam­punk nov­els, the ulti­mate reworked his­to­ry. But I love the true mean­ing that often comes through in his­tor­i­cal fic­tion.

Lois Winston-Guest with A Stitch To Die For

7-27 a_stitch_to_die_forI’m hap­py to intro­duce my guest, Lois Win­ston. Her new book is A Stitch To Die For. (I absolute­ly love the cover—and the excerpt.) She answered a few of my ques­tions.

I know you write in more than one cat­e­go­ry. Do you have a pref­er­ence of one over the oth­ers?

I start­ed out writ­ing roman­tic sus­pense, but I real­ly found my voice when I switched over to writ­ing humor­ous first-per­son novels—initially in chick lit, then in ama­teur sleuth mys­ter­ies. I’m not a fun­ny per­son by nature. I either for­get or mess up the punch line of any joke I’ve ever tried to tell, but I dis­cov­ered I have a tal­ent for writ­ing fun­ny. Of course, humor is very sub­jec­tive, so not every­one “gets” my sense of humor, but that’s true of most things in life, isn’t it? Some peo­ple “get” you; oth­ers don’t.

What inspired you to begin your writ­ing career?

As cliché as it sounds, it was a dream. I usu­al­ly don’t remem­ber my dreams, but one night I expe­ri­enced a very vivid one that stayed with me. Every night for over a week the dream con­tin­ued, unfold­ing like the chap­ters of a book. I final­ly decid­ed I need­ed to write down the sto­ry, most­ly to get it out of my sys­tem. When I had fin­ished, I real­ized I want­ed to keep writ­ing. By the way, that ini­tial sto­ry, after years of revi­sions, became Love, Lies and a Dou­ble Shot of Decep­tion, the sec­ond book I sold.

Char­ac­ters and plots—are any of yours based on real peo­ple or real sit­u­a­tions? Does real­i­ty ever spark a cre­ative leap?

Most of my plots are born from actu­al events I’ve read about in the news­pa­per or watched on the news. I’m a total news junkie. A Stitch to Die For, my lat­est Anas­ta­sia Pol­lack Craft­ing Mys­tery, incor­po­rates sev­er­al news sto­ries that have appeared over the past year—swatting inci­dents that are occur­ring across the coun­try and a cou­ple of court cas­es where chil­dren died from salt poi­son­ing.

In addi­tion, some of my char­ac­ters have been based on peo­ple I’ve known. Lucille, Anastasia’s com­mu­nist moth­er-in-law, is based on my own com­mu­nist moth­er-in-law. The woman put me through years of hell. I’m now get­ting even. Lucille has become the char­ac­ter read­ers love to hate.

Now let’s talk about your new book, A Stitch To Die For. I love the cov­er for your new Anas­ta­sia Pol­lack mys­tery. Will you reveal a bit of a teas­er? Or more?

Thanks! I’m real­ly thrilled with the cov­er, too!

The adven­tures of reluc­tant ama­teur sleuth Anas­ta­sia Pol­lack con­tin­ue in A Stitch to Die For, the 5th book in the Anas­ta­sia Pol­lack Craft­ing Mys­tery series.

Ever since her hus­band died and left her in debt equal to the gross nation­al prod­uct of Uzbek­istan, mag­a­zine crafts edi­tor and reluc­tant ama­teur sleuth Anas­ta­sia Pol­lack has stum­bled across one dead body after another—but always in work-relat­ed set­tings. When a killer tar­gets the elder­ly nasty neigh­bor who lives across the street from her, mur­der strikes too close to home. Cou­ple that with a series of unset­tling events days before Hal­loween, and Anas­ta­sia begins to won­der if some­one is send­ing her a dead­ly mes­sage.

Excerpt:

Two weeks ago my moth­er, Flo­ra Sud­ber­ry Peri­win­kle Ramirez Scoffield Gold­berg O’Keefe, took her sixth trip down the aisle to become Flo­ra Sud­ber­ry Peri­win­kle Ramirez Scoffield Gold­berg O’Keefe Tut­tnauer. The groom’s daugh­ter was a no-show. At the time of the cer­e­mo­ny her body was being fished out of the Delaware and Rar­i­tan Canal in Lam­bertville, New Jer­sey.

Ira Pol­lack, my step­broth­er-in-law and the groom’s son-in-law, had just fin­ished a toast to Mama and Lawrence Tut­tnauer when two men in dark suits entered the back­yard cater­ing tent and head­ed straight toward him. Giv­en all my deal­ings with the police over the last few months, I eas­i­ly made them for detec­tives, a sus­pi­cion con­firmed when I spot­ted them flash­ing their badges. Ira nod­ded and fol­lowed them out of the tent.

I fol­lowed Ira.

He and the two men made their way to the patio at the back of his house. I stopped at the entrance to the tent. The men stood with their backs to me, Ira fac­ing me. From my van­tage point I couldn’t hear their words over the con­ver­sa­tions and music going on behind me, but I saw the col­or drain from Ira’s face. He shook his head vio­lent­ly and yelled, “No!” loud enough for me to hear.

I raced across the lawn as fast as I could in three-inch heels. Once at the patio, I placed my hand on Ira’s arm. In a voice that trem­bled as much as his body, he said, “Cyn­thia. They found her float­ing in the canal.”

I gasped, then led Ira over to one of the patio lounge chairs. He col­lapsed onto the cush­ion and buried his head in his hands as he choked out huge sobs.

I turned to the detec­tives, wait­ing for more of an expla­na­tion, but both ignored Ira’s grief to fix­ate on the par­ty across the lawn. “What’s going on here?” one of them asked.

A wed­ding,” I said.

Whose?”

Ira’s father-in-law mar­ried my moth­er.”

Both detec­tives knit their brows togeth­er and glared at Ira. “Your wife doesn’t show for her father’s wed­ding, and you’re not wor­ried?” asked the old­er and taller of the two men.

Ira tried speak­ing between sobs. His mouth opened and closed sev­er­al times, but no words came out. I answered for him. “Cyn­thia didn’t approve of her father mar­ry­ing my moth­er.”

And you are?” asked the sec­ond detec­tive, whip­ping out a notepad and pen­cil.

Anas­ta­sia Pol­lack. I’m also Ira’s step­sis­ter-in-law.”

Both detec­tives repeat­ed the twin eye­brow knit, but nei­ther said any­thing. Also, up to this point I had no idea how Cyn­thia had died, so I asked, “What hap­pened to Cyn­thia?”

The med­ical exam­in­er will have to deter­mine cause of death,” said the old­er detec­tive. “We’re wait­ing on an autop­sy.”

Do you sus­pect foul play?”

Why would you sug­gest that?” he asked.

I shrugged. “I can’t imag­ine how Cyn­thia would land in the canal on her own. She isn’t…wasn’t the canal-strolling type.” Dirt and extreme­ly expen­sive design­er duds don’t mix.

What type was she?” asked the younger detec­tive.

Cyn­thia the Tro­phy Wife was more the spend-all-day-spending-Ira’s-money type. I thought for a moment, not want­i­ng to say any­thing that might be mis­con­strued. If Cyn­thia hadn’t died of nat­ur­al caus­es, Ira would wind up at the top of the sus­pect list. “I only met her once,” I said, “but I’d describe her as some­one more inter­est­ed in indoor activ­i­ties than com­muning with nature.”

The spouse is always the prime sus­pect, but Ira was no killer. The man didn’t even have the back­bone to dis­ci­pline his brat­ty kids. If Cyn­thia had met with foul play, my mon­ey was on the pool boy she’d run off with weeks ear­li­er. “Ira, you have to tell the detec­tives what hap­pened with Cyn­thia.”

Buy Links  Paper­back     Kin­dle     Nook     iTunes     Kobo     Google Play

(Oth­er books in the series include Assault With a Dead­ly Glue Gun, Death by Killer Mop Doll, Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, Decoupage Can Be Dead­ly, and three mini-mys­ter­ies: Crewel Inten­tions, Mosa­ic May­hem, and Patch­work Per­il.)

7-27 lois-winstonBio: USA Today best­selling and award-win­ning author Lois Win­ston writes mys­tery, romance, roman­tic sus­pense, chick lit, women’s fic­tion, children’s chap­ter books, and non-fic­tion under her own name and her Emma Car­lyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed Anas­ta­sia Pol­lack Craft­ing Mys­tery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addi­tion, Lois is an award-win­ning craft and needle­work design­er who often draws much of her source mate­r­i­al for both her char­ac­ters and plots from her expe­ri­ences in the crafts indus­try. Vis­it Lois/Emma at her web­site and Anas­ta­sia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog. Fol­low every­one on Tsu, on Pin­ter­est, and on Twit­ter @anasleuth. Sign up for her newslet­ter here.

Five Stars for A Hostage To Heritage

7-20 Adair coverI can’t believe I haven’t already pro­filed this book on my Mon­day book blog. It’s one of my very favorites—not only mys­tery, but his­to­ry as well! My com­ments from Ama­zon and Goodreads fol­low.

Suzanne Adair has pre­sent­ed the read­ing pub­lic with anoth­er excel­lent his­toric mys­tery adven­ture. This book is Michael Stoddard’s sto­ry. He’s a British offi­cer in Amer­i­ca at the time of our Rev­o­lu­tion. The ear­li­er books in this series tell the sto­ries of Amer­i­cans dur­ing that time, and a few of the char­ac­ters appear in all of the books. They, and this one as well, show the con­flict­ing loy­al­ties of peo­ple in our past, includ­ing the Eng­lish Michael. Besides that, there’s the main sto­ry of a miss­ing young boy and how Michael and his sec­ond in com­mand worked toward find­ing the boy while also fol­low­ing their com­mand­ing officer’s orders. I won’t say more, don’t want to ruin the sto­ry for any­one.

High­ly rec­om­mend­ed to lovers of his­to­ry, and mys­tery. This book sat­is­fies on every lev­el! It’s a mys­tery with great char­ac­ters, sol­id his­to­ry, sus­pense, and emo­tion. It’s his­tor­i­cal fic­tion with reveal­ing atti­tudes and war-time dan­ger. It’s a char­ac­ter study with “real” fic­tion­al peo­ple who had a past and will have a future. It’s roman­tic sus­pense with antic­i­pa­tion. And final­ly, it’s emo­tion trans­ferred from words on paper (or, in my case, on Kin­dle) to the read­er.

I’ll send you to Suzanne’s Ama­zon page where all her books are list­ed (mys­ter­ies of our Rev­o­lu­tion in the South­ern states) and Suzanne’s web­site and blog. Her blog hosts guest authors with a wide vari­ety of books, often includ­ing give­aways. (Always inter­est­ing.) 

That Final Edit

Every day when I sit at my com­put­er, I see a clip­ping I cut out years ago. It’s a pic­ture of a dog and a cat. In these days of viral videos show­ing ani­mals of all kinds play­ing with each oth­er, this one typ­i­fies the usu­al belief of dogs and cats as wary ene­mies. The dog’s head seen from the rear tips ever so slight­ly toward the cat. The cat gin­ger­ly pass­es the dog while watch­ing for any way­ward move­ments. It’s an illus­tra­tion from a book for writ­ers, The Pock­et Muse. It illus­trates the sen­tence, “Most good sto­ries are about trou­ble,” and includes a list of trou­bles.

When I look at that page, even more than trou­ble, I think, sus­pense, sus­pi­cion, what if…

Today I’m pay­ing spe­cial atten­tion to that illus­tra­tion, since I’m deep into a final edit of a mys­tery, I know my read­er must have that same sense—that some­thing will sure­ly hap­pen, but not in a good way. Will the read­er be slight­ly dis­ori­ent­ed, pos­si­bly leery of ques­tion­able actions, even fear­ful of what might hap­pen to a char­ac­ter on the next page? Will the read­er turn the next page?

Ah, that is the eter­nal ques­tion.

So, even after my man­u­script has under­gone peer review with a cri­tique group, a full pro­fes­sion­al edit, and a perusal by a beta read­er, I’m going over it again. I’ve not­ed arti­cles in the recent Writ­ers’ Digest issue on revi­sion, I’m check­ing my pages for vio­la­tions of the 24 prob­lems explained in Chris Roerden’s Don’t Mur­der Your Mys­tery. (Okay, that one is my Bible.) And, espe­cial­ly, I want to make sure each chap­ter, each scene, each page entices the read­er to eager­ly turn the page.

And, if I’m suc­cess­ful, my read­er will have a mys­tery that pro­vides exact­ly what the read­er wants—a good book—a sto­ry that sat­is­fies and pos­si­bly edu­cates in some small way.

The Monday Book Blog

Hidden Body 4I’m not here—I wrote this last week. (Hey, a gal has to take time off once in a while.) Actu­al­ly, oth­er than a few days over the 4th of July, oh, and fam­i­ly vis­it­ing the end of July, I’ll be at Camp NaNoW­riMo. (That’s a fic­tion­al camp, quite prop­er for one who writes fic­tion.) I hope to fin­ish writ­ing a short sto­ry (that may become a novel­la if I don’t watch out). I call it Hid­den Body, and my big plans are to include it in a book of short sto­ries called—ta da— Hid­den Body and Oth­er Short Sto­ries. I even made up a cov­er. This may not be the cov­er I even­tu­al­ly use. But, would you buy a book that looked like that? Let’s say, would you down­load a free book that looked like that? (I hope to make it free.)

My sec­ond project for the month is to com­plete edit­ing For­got­ten Body.

Five Stars For Mr. Monk

I loved the TV show—now long gone. It ran from 2002 through 2009. The books with orig­i­nal sto­ries by Lee Gold­berg kept on going after the Monk show ran its course. Then Lee Gold­berg stopped writ­ing them after quite a few, and Hy Con­rad took over. I may have just read the final book of the series, since Mr. Conrad’s fourth book, Mr. Monk and The New Lieu­tenant, is his last one. He hopes some­one else will con­tin­ue, but when that one was pub­lished this year (2015) no one had yet stepped up.

So, here are my reviews of two of my favorite books—Mr. Monk is Cleaned Out by Lee Gold­berg, and Mr. Monk and The New Lieu­tenant by Hy Con­rad.

6-29 Mr Monk 1

6-29 Mr Monk 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My five-star review of the first was short: “I was a big fan of the Monk TV series, and I’m a big fan of Lee Goldberg’s Monk mys­tery series. This book is a neat com­bi­na­tion of Monk, his pho­bias, and up-to-the-minute cur­rent events! And you can just guess Monk’s thoughts about that dog with those irreg­u­lar mark­ings.”

I’ve just fin­ished read­ing the sec­ond book, and it deserves five stars as well. “Mr. Monk does not like Cap­tain Stottlemeyer’s new lieu­tenant. He’s new, for one thing. (Of course, the feel­ing is mutu­al.) How­ev­er, he and Natal­ie try their best. They now have their own detec­tive agency with lit­tle busi­ness. Natal­ie takes on a divorce case (with­out Mr. Monk’s knowl­edge, and def­i­nite­ly against his approval). Then there’s the mur­der case that wasn’t—until Monk declared at a man’s funer­al that he had been mur­dered. Now they are try­ing to save the Cap­tain with the same symp­toms while track­ing down a miss­ing client. Monk con­vinces Randy Dish­er to return. With all this going on, it isn’t only Monk’s OCD that con­fus­es every­one. This time Stottlemeyer’s life depends on Monk’s suc­cess.”

Both authors worked on the Monk TV show. Lee Gold­berg con­tributed to some shows and worked on dif­fer­ent series as well. Hy Con­rad was with the Monk show the whole time. Both authors give the read­er the authen­tic “Monk” voice. Gold­berg tends to give him more prob­lems with his mul­ti­ple pho­bias and per­son­al­i­ty dis­or­ders. Con­rad, writ­ing the sto­ries as Monk begins to improve (slight­ly) still shows them, but they are pos­si­bly a bit more mut­ed. (One reader’s opin­ion here.) Both authors present a humor­ous as well as nice­ly con­vo­lut­ed sus­pense­ful sto­ry.

I do hope this isn’t the last Monk sto­ry.