Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain – Murder She Wrote: Murder on the QE2

Murder on the QE2

paperback
publisher: Signet
published 1997
pages 304

Book (English)

Blurb:

Bestselling mystery writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher is invited to travel to London on the grand dame of ocean liners, the Queen Elizabeth II, as one of seven guest lecturers. The night they set sail, a fellow speaker is found brutally murdered. Now Jessica has just four days at sea to find the killer…before she finds more of her colleagues, or even herself, dead in the water! (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ Novels based on the crime series Murder She Wrote
+ fun and entertaining read
+ whodunit crime story
– the solution might have been a little far-fetched, but that’s okay

My Opinion:

When I don’t have an Agatha Christie at hand I just turn to Murder She Wrote. Since I have watched all the seasons that I currently own on DVD several times, I decided to start another Murder She Wrote novel. This is my second MSW novel so far and I have to say that I enjoyed it.

Jessica Fletcher is on the QE 2 crossing the Atlantic and of course a murder happens. Why anyone would ever invite Jessica Fletcher at all still amazes me. I mean theoretically speaking everybody must know that people die around her and you should probably just run for the hills, but anyway. I am rambling. (Although a friend of mine and I agree, we would just run, when she was near 🙂 )

So, of course Jessica being the observant sleuth that she is, starts to look a little closer. This time she has a new sidekick – a lady she met on the trip who is as observant as she is. Towards the end both know who the murderer is and when the police arrives at the scene (I mean on the boat), the true killer is revealed.

The book contains what you need, Jessica Fletcher, an annoying and incapable security chief, and a group of suspects with a lot of motive. Although the murderer was a little far-fetched for my taste it did confirm the traditional whodunit requirement: the person you least suspect.

The book was entertaining, the story interesting, the writing fast paced and on track, and there was Jessica. I can’t help it but I love her as much as Miss Marple.

Bottom Line:

A fun and entertaining read. No Marple, but exiting nonetheless.

Rating:

rating 3

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Fiona Foden – Life, Death and Gold Leather Trousers

Gold Leather Trousers

paperback
publisher: Scholastic UK Ltd.
published 2011
pages 291

eBook (English)

Blurb:

Riley Hart is heart-stoppingly cute. Clover has a major crush. Unfortunately, Riley is also best mates with Clover’s arch nemesis, Sophie.
But right now, Clover’s life holds bigger problems. Jupe, her beloved rock-star uncle, has died and Clover will never know what she did to make him cut her out of his life
Is there anyone who can tell Clover the truth? Could Jupe have cared, even at the end? If only Riley would leave Sophie’s evil grasp and help her find out…(Goodreads)

In (Very)Short:

+ contemporary children’s/young adult novel (somewhere in between)
+ relatable and likeable main character
+ great way to deal with the topic of divorce and family

My Opinion:

It’s been quite a time since I read this book and I honestly don’t remember everything. Clover loves music, has a little sister with whom she shares a room, and her parents separate. As if that is not bad enough, she likes a boy who is best friends with her worst enemy and her uncle has broken of all contact with her.

Clover tries to deal with all the changes in her life and come to terms with her family situation. When her uncle dies and leaves everything to Clover’s mother, long-buried feelings start to unraveled.

I really enjoyed the book. It dealt with topics such as divorce, new family members, and death – all this without being in any way depressing. The book dealt with those topics without forcing the issues upon the protagonist or looking down on the Clover in any way. Everything progressed naturally.

Although I get quite frustrated with young protagonists, who make decisions that I don’t understand (and yes that is probably because I am old), I was able to relate to Clover and her feelings. I was as mad at Clover’s parents as she was and I was as frustrated as Clover was. Foden’s way of writing was so captivating, that I identified with her protagonist. Otherwise I would have not felt the way I did while reading the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and let’s be honest the title is just great.

Bottom Line:

A great book with a relatable and loveable main character, fluent writing, dealing with different forms of love and support.

Rating:

rating 4

Alexandra Pilz – Zurück nach Hollyhill

For a short English review please see below. The book is not published in English yet.

Holly Hill

Hardcover
Verlag: Heyne
veröffentlicht: 2012
Seiten: 348

Book (Deutsch)

Klappentext:

Ein Dorf im Moor. Eine Reise in die Vergangenheit. Eine große Liebe. Mit ihrem Besuch in England beginnt für die 17-jährige Emily ein Abenteuer voller Magie und Zauber. Und hinterher wird nichts mehr sein wie es wahr.

In Kürze:

+ Zeitreise Jugendroman
+ spannend, unterhaltsam; sehr angenehmer und einnehmender Schreibstil
+ ein Zeitreisekonzept das nicht überfordert
+ interessante Figuren und spannenden Handlung

Meine Meinung:

Bei diesem Buch handelt es sich um eine Zeitreise Jugendroman – so würde ich es zumindest beschreiben und es hat mir sehr gut gefallen.

Emily bekommt nach dem Abitur einen Brief ihrer verstorbenen Mutter in dem sie Emily rät nach Hollyhill zu fahren. Das Dorf in dem ihre Mutter gelebt hat. Das überrascht Emily und ihre Oma (bei der sie lebt), denn ihre Mutter hatte nie etwas über ihre Vergangenheit verraten. Also macht Emily sich auf die Suche nach einem Dorf was auf keiner Landkarte zu finden ist.

Endlich angekommen, vermeiden die Dorfbewohner ihre Fragen zu beantworten und verhalten sich auch sonst komisch. Erst als das Leben ihrer besten Freundin in Gefahr gerät, wird Emily klar, warum man das Dorf auf keiner Landkarte findet.

Die Geschichte ist wirklich sehr interessant und auch wenn die ganze Zeitreiselogik für mich doch recht verwirrend ist, schafft die Autorin es, dies nicht als Problem darzustellen. Es ergibt alles einen Sinn, wird ausreichend erklärt, lässt vielleicht ein paar Ungereimtheiten offen, aber das stört nicht.

Der Schreibstil ist flüssig, leicht und schafft es einen schnell in die Geschichte zu entführen. Die Figuren sind etwas verschroben, Emily ist etwas naiv, aber das nimmt man ihr nicht übel, Matt ist da schon etwas anstrengender, aber auch das ist okay.

Während wir in diesem Buch in einige der Geheimnisse des Dorfes eingeweiht werden, ist schnell zu erkennen, dass wir nur wenig über die Vergangenheit der Mutter lernen und auch wenig über die Vergangenheit der Dorfbewohner. Das lässt natürlich genügend Stoff für Fortsetzungen.

Auch wenn die Idee an sich sehr schön und auch recht einzigartig ist, sind einige andere Ereignisse doch vorhersehbar – besonders natürlich die Liebesgeschichte. „Sie können sich nicht leiden, aber trotzdem können sie nicht ohne einander“ ist ein immer wiederkehrendes Motiv und kann auch sehr gut und überzeugend gemacht sein. Hier wirkte es allerdings ein wenig erzwungen in meinen Augen. Aber das ist auch nicht so schlimm und tut der Spannung der Geschichte keinen Abbruch.

Fazit:

Ein schöner, spannender Zeitreiseroman, der mich schnell in seinen Bann gezogen hatte.

In English:

This book is not translated into English yet. It is a good and entertaining time travel young adult novel. Emily receives a letter from her dead mother when she graduates college. She tells her to visit her old home Hollyhill to find out about her past. But the town does not exist. It is not on any map that Emily and her friend look at. Still Emily goes out to find Hollyhill. After a less than warm welcome in the town, Emily tries to learn about her mother’s past only to be drawn into an adventure she couldn’t even dream up. When her best friend is in danger she suddenly learns why the town is not recorded on a map.
The time travel concept (which can generally be very overwhelming when theories and such come into play) is kept simple and the idea of a time traveling town is quite unique really. The story has some crime fiction twists, the characters are likeable though some more so than others, the writing is captivating, and some plot twists are quite predictable as in many young adult books. The whole we-despise-each-other-but-we-are-so-drawn-to-each-other seemed a little forced. But all in all, this is a good and entertaining book.

Rating:

rating 4

Charlaine Harris – Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden Mystery #1)

Real Murders

paperback
publisher: Berkley
published 2007
pages: 290

Blurb:

Lawrencetown, Georgia,may be a growing suburb Atlanta,but it’s still a small town at heart. Librarian Aurora „Roe§ Teagarden grew up there and knows more than enough about her fellow townsfolk, including which ones share her interest in the darker side of human nature.
With those fellow crime buffs, Roe belongs to a club called Real Murders, which meets once a month to analyze famous cases. It’s a harmless pastime – until the night she finds a member dead, killed in a manner that eerily resembles the crime the club was about to discuss. And as other brutal „copcat“ killings follow, Roe will have to uncover the person behind the terrifying game, one that casts all the members of Real Murders, herself included, as prime-suspects – or potential victims…

In (Very) Short:

+ first book in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries
+ fluent and captivating writing, Harris has a way of drawing you into the story
+ likeable characters
– not necessary a mystery series: lack of sleuthing and more coincidences really

My Opinion:

The first book in the Aurora Teagarden Mystery Series was my third Charlaine Harris series. I have started Sookie Stackhouse’s books some time ago, I started the Lily Bard Mystery Series last year, and I like to return to Harris writing. It is always an easy and entertaining read. And so was Real Murders.

Aurora Teagarden is a librarian who has an interest in real murders (usually committed some time ago). She meets with a group of people who are also interested in real murders and they discuss those cases. During one of those meetings a member is murdered in a way that resembles the murder that the club was about to discuss. Now, Aurora and her club members and friends are caught in the middle of it all and have to be careful not to be the next victim of the copycat killer.

The book was a good read. The story was fast paced, the writing was fluent and easy, and the main characters were interesting and likeable. Real Murders was not necessarily a mystery for me since Aurora was not really investigating a lot but was more caught in the middle of all this. She was and often seemed to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But although I read this as a mystery and expected the main protagonist to be more of a sleuth, it was by far not disappointing.

It was a good story and Charlaine Harris is able to draw me into her stories, her characters, and her novels. In the middle of the book I noticed I cared about Aurora so that there was not a lot left to be disappointed about. I would have liked a character who does not perceive that being married with kids was the only way to be happy and who would not be so disappointed for being single – but I can overlook that in one book. I am not sure how I will feel about it should this continue throughout all books, but I will have to see.

Bottom Line:

A good and entertaining read, with a likeable protagonist. But it is less of a mystery than you would expect, so beware with your expectations.

Rating:

rating 3