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Friday, March 22, 2019

Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel by James Markert and Murder Served Cold by Eric Brown

Beautiful cover, strange book.

description: For years, guests of the Tuscany Hotel could leave their pasts behind and live among fellow artists. Now guests of a different sort fill the rooms, searching for their memories—no matter the cost.

A lot of Greek mythology in this one, something I usually love.  However, although crucial to the story, I found the mythology a bit over the top.  The book fits the magical realism genre, mixing miracles and muses and myth.  Some books are really hard to review, I'm going for Lark's haiku review style:

Lost your memory?
Visit Tuscany Hotel
Remember the past.

Didn't love it, but...

Read in December; blog post scheduled for March 22, 2019.

NetGalley/Thomas Nelson
Fantasy/Magical Realism.  April 9, 2019.  Print length:  352 pages.

Murder Served Cold is part of a series by Eric Brown that takes advantage of the popularity of more traditional mysteries like those of the 1920's and 30's.  Brown sets the story in the post-war British countryside of the 1950's.  

The novel borrows much from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction style, but has the slightly more modern (if still historical) setting of post-war Britain.  

A country house converted to a sort of boarding house as a result of huge estate taxes, an odd-lot of permanent guests, a missing painting, and of course, a murder.  The series features Donald Langham and Ralph Ryland as private investigators, who are hired to find the stolen painting. They solve that conundrum fairly quickly by finding the painting, but not who took it.  Add a little blackmail and murder and a couple of cocktail hours.

I liked Langham and Ryland and thought they felt genuine for the time period.   Brown did a good job with the 50's setting and the "vintage" writing  style.

In addition to this series, Eric Brown also writes science fiction (for which he has won several awards) and children's books.

Read in December; blog post scheduled for March 22, 2019

NetGalley/Severn House
Mystery.  April 1, 2019.  Print length:  208 pages.


  1. The first book sounds interesting with the mythology, but over the top may seem a bit too much, huh? The second book sounds more like something which I'd like. ;)

    1. The Tuscany Hotel sounded great, but it didn't work for me. I did like Murder Served Cold and the Golden Age of Detective Fiction style. :)

  2. Great haiku review! (They're fun to write, aren't they?) And I really like the sound of Murder Served Cold. Hopefully my library has a copy. :)

    1. Trying your haiku review style was fun! Murder Served Cold was interesting, and I'd read another by Eric Brown. ;D

  3. Another British mystery set in the post-war period! So interesting since Britain was going through such massive changes during that time.

    I've not read any (yet) but Anthony Horowitz also writes modern mysteries but with a Golden Age flair. What is it about that style that appeals to so many mystery enthusiasts? :D

    1. Maybe the Golden Age affection involves a simpler time and a more basic approach to investigation, without all of the tech advances we currently have. Less emphasis on gore and more on solving the puzzle still appeal to me. ")

      I'm interested in Horowitz's Magpie Murders, but haven't read it yet. I did read his The House of Silk in 2012 and Moriarty in 2015, but didn't love either of them, but I think I'd like the Golden Age books better than the Holmes pastiches.

  4. Both books sound interesting to me but of course I'm leaning more towards the Eric Brown book. I don't think I've seen many of the Severn House imprint books at my local B&N, which I'm not surprised by but it would be nice to have more variety.