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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors and A Season to Lie

:) It is always interesting to see what attracts a person to a book.  Author?  Topic?  Genre? Setting? Cover?  

I requested Smoke and Mirrors because the main character is the sister of P.T. Barnum (at least in fiction), and Evie Barnum works at her brother's museum.  Of course, I couldn't refuse even a fictional look at the workings of the museum with all of its exhibits and oddities. One of Evie's friends is the bearded lady, the most popular exhibit is the Fiji mermaid.  

A murder, a secret past, and an arrogant and annoying sister-in-law all woven in this first book in a new series.  Was it all that I hoped for?  Not quite.  Too much takes place outside of the museum.  Nevertheless, I look forward to more of Evie Barnum's adventures, and I expect that a character who was introduced and then dropped will make a return in the next book.

Light and entertaining.  
Read in August; blog review scheduled for 8/27/17.

NetGalley/Severn House

Historical Mystery.  Nov. 1, 2017.  Print length:  224 pages.

OK, I requested A Season to Lie because of the cover.  The splash of the red scarf on the white snow proved irresistible, especially in a hot and humid Louisiana summer.

As Colorado police officer Gemma Monroe complained about the freezing temperatures, I thought about giving her an earful about the kind of July weather that fogs your glasses when you open the door.  Not really, but the cold that hampered Gemma's investigation was a pleasant imaginative escape for me.

Just back from maternity leave, Gemma and her partner Finn are called out in blizzard conditions after an anonymous caller phones in a report of a prowler at an expensive private school.  Expecting a student graffiti prank, instead they discover a murdered man with a message stuffed in his mouth.

Worse yet, the man is a famous author who, under an assumed name, was functioning as a writing coach for the school as a favor to a childhood friend.  

There are other unpleasant undercurrents at the school, but how are they connected to the death of the author?  Or are they?  

I enjoyed the mystery and the setting of A Season to Lie.  I haven't read the first book in this new series, but I will be checking the library for Inherit the Bones.  

Read in July; blog review scheduled for 8/27/17

NetGalley/St. Martin's Press

Mystery/Police Procedural.  Nov. 13, 2017.  Print length:  336 pages.


  1. I think I would have been drawn to the first book for the same reason. It sounds like an interesting series. I would really like to give the other series a try you mention though, the one by Emily Littlejohn. I love the Colorado setting. I will be adding that to my wish list. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Smoke & Mirrors has all kinds of possibilities with both the setting and the characters. Of course, I always like mountain settings, and A Season to Lie offered mountains and snow. :) The setting is never enough on its own, but can certainly add to the experience!

  2. Both books sound interesting and hopefully the next Evie Barnum book will be better. :)

  3. I liked Smoke & Mirrors--it offered a nice introduction to what I hope will be a fun series. I hope the next one involves the museum and its characters more; it would be fun to see more of the bearded lady and to have the "oddities" take larger roles!

  4. Barnum and Bailey attracts me because I used to live near Bailey's Crossroads (Columbia Pike and Leesburg Pike) in Northern Virginia where they wintered over many years ago. The whole circus story is fascinating and it all started with the New York museum so Smoke and Mirrors is bound to be right up my ally. And having Evie Barnum as an amateur detective is clever. I'm looking forward to it.

    1. :) I can see the added interest for you! The idea of Evie Barnum having access to all of the weird and wonderful elements of the museum and solving mysteries is a great premise, isn't it?

  5. Both of these sound good. Too bad there wasn't more museum in the first one. That's what intrigues me the most. I'm thinking I'll still have to give it a try. :)