Think it's hot? 103 degrees? Nah, it never gets that hot here.
Anyway, it doesn't bother me much. I am lying flat on my back, driving
a motor home up the Alaska Highway and my only problems are rain and bad
This is a great summer for mystery readers. Several of the really good
authors have brand new books out.
Sue Henry's new Alaska thriller is "Dead North," one of her best, but
no snow. Jessie Arnold's cabin was destroyed by fire in her last book,
and she agrees to pick up her contractor's new Winebago in Idaho and
drive it through two thousand miles of the world's most spectacular
scenery to Anchorage. The assorted characters Jessie runs into do take
her attention away from the scenery, though. The plot revolves around
people rather than dogs this time, except for her beloved lead dog,
Tank. She teams up with Maxie, an adventurous senior citizen, who is
also driving her motor home to Alaska, and they make a great pair. They
befriend a hungry, scared teenager, run into a few villains and, of
course, solve the mystery before they get back to Alaska.
While we are in Alaska, we can visit with Aleutian Kate Shugak in Dana
Stabenow's newest mystery, "The Singing of the Dead." Kate has nothing
to do with sled dogs, but is a sharp P. I. In this 11th Shugak
adventure, she signs on with a woman running for Alaska State Senator,
and learns more than she ever wanted to know about political
campaigning. Kate Shugak reminds me a little of Kinsey Milhone.
Neither one suffers fools gladly, both are fiercely, independent and
neither boasts a surplus amount of tact.
Moving down to California, Kinsey is back in Sue Grafton's latest, "P
is for Peril." You all know my buddy Kinsey Milhone, still driving the
'74 VW bug, using the portable Smith Corona (I keep wondering whether
it is the same one I used in college) and stoking up on our favorite
peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. This time she blends two separate
mysteries. The first involves a missing and very rich doctor and a
Medicaid fraud, and the other a pair of brothers who are her office
landlords and not exactly what they seem to be. Sue Grafton is always
fun to read.
Here's one on warm, sandy beaches and swaying palm trees -- with a
beautiful nude female corpse floating up onto the beach. This is the
summer offering from another of my favorite mystery writers. Edna
Buchanan's brand new adventure with Miami crime reporter, Britt
Montero, is called "You Only Die Twice." The only problem is that the
body is that of a young woman who disappeared ten years ago and was
declared dead. Her husband is due to be executed for her murder in two
weeks. Now figure that one out.
If you are hungry, Diane Mott Davidson tells you how to make
Damson-in-Distress Plum Tarts in her new mystery, "Sticks & Stones.
Colorado caterer Goldy Schultz has accepted a series of bookings at Hyde
Castle, otherwise known as Poltergeist Palace. I am getting bored with
Davidson's food descriptions which tend to substitute for plot, but I
must admit I started to salivate when I read, "I bit into the cookie.
Dark fudgy flavor exploded in my mouth and a burst of chocolate euphoria
sparked up my spine."
There is one other character I would like to introduce , although she is
not new. J. D. Robb has a series of mysteries set in the future,
featuring a great New York homicide detective, Eve Dallas, and an
equally impressive man with more money than Bill Gates. The series is
set in New York in 2058 and their electronic equipment is only to be
dreamed about. Eve is a deeply dedicated cop with a real mushy interior
which she hates to let anybody know about. It is a well written series
and good entertainment. Several friends and I are going through the
whole paperback series and we're up to number 11. The first one is
"Naked in Death."
I'm still waiting for Marne Davis Kellogg's latest. It's on its way,
but I guess I'll have to be patient.