A Most Agreeable Murder, by Julia Seales
One of the three books I listened to in September. This is a fun “regency” fantasy mystery. Beatrice Steele, a lady of little fortune, would rather become a detective than get married. It’s her great secret as her family, and the village of Swampshire, would be scandalized. But her opportunity comes when a guest winds up dead at a neighbor’s ball. Very silly, loosely regency (but in a fun way), and a decent mystery.
The Talisman Ring, by Georgette Heyer
Comfort read. One of my dogs died. This is one of Heyer’s more thriller-y action stories and always a good time.
Touched, by Walter Mosley
A speculative novella from the well-known mystery writer. Normal family man Martin wakes one morning feeling as if he has lived centuries and has toured the universe. He is one of many who were returned to earth to fulfill a galactic mission of good versus evil, while also experiencing racism as black man. So. I didn’t like this one at all. It just didn’t click for me. It was short, but I still found myself skimming. The explanations of what was “happening”, in a mystical way, made no sense to me. I didn’t find it compelling at all.
My Brother’s Keeper, by Tim Powers
Emily Bronte alternate history? Sign me up. Even if it wasn’t from one of my favorite authors, I would have wanted to read this. This book is a return to Powers’ steampunk origins and shows why his early work was so influential. In this one, the Bronte family carries a curse from an eldritch god in the body of a small ghost child. Emily gets involved in the thick of it when she discovers an injured man on the moor near an ancient standing stone. By helping him, she starts the turn of unusual events that brings a coven of werewolves in search for her brother. Loved it.
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, by Jesse Q Sutanto
When a man is found dead in Vera Wong’s tea shop, the aging Vera uses it as an excuse to expand her limited horizons. Lonely in a shop with no customers and a son too busy to visit, Vera vows to find the murderer—even when no foul play is detected. In trying to lure the killer back to the scene of the crime, she instead lures three people associated with the dead guy and winds up creating a found family with them all. And also, she catches the murderer. Fun not-so-mysterious mystery. I really enjoyed the found family aspect.
The Salvation Gambit, by Emily Skrutskie
When a group of con artists gets sent to the ancient, sentient prison ship, Justice, they believe they can scam their way out. Murdock, the hacker, is singled out by the ship to become one of its elite warriors, but she has other plans—which totally fall apart when she is separated from her crew boss who usually takes charge. She has to learn to rely on herself and her least liked crew member to figure out a way off Justice. I liked this one. It has great world building and Murdock is a flawed and sympathetic character. Not the most ground-breaking story, but very well done.
Night’s Edge, by Liz Kerin
Premise: vampirism as pandemic. Like COVID, vampirism caused a nationwide shut down until a test could be made that let people move about without fearing infection. Mia’s mom was turned before people even knew what was happening and Mia, to protect her mother, has spent her whole life taking care that no one knows their secret. In her twenties now, Mia’s life is circumscribed by her daily blood draws for her mother. When she meets a bon vivant musician, she finds she’s ready to take some risks for her own happiness. This book is by a YA author and, I think, the only reason it isn’t considered YA is the age of the protagonist. It’s very much coming-of-age formulated. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just there is a lot more about Mia discovering her feelings that plot.