Strandfrost is a very ordinary computer company located in a fourteen-story office building outside the downtown area of quiet Denton, Colorado--an unlikely spot for a mugging. And Sedona O'Hala leads a very quiet life in one of its testing labs, that is, until she comes to the attention of the board, after foiling an attack by three thugs. Admittedly she had attended self-defence classes, but she had never expected to have to use her skills in real life.
As a result of her successful bravado, Sedona is given the opportunity of a lifetime: play an up-and-coming executive with all the trappings of wealth with someone else footing the bill. The catch: find out who is stealing company funds before the criminals find out that their program is being debugged. Sedona runs into danger, the corporate glass ceiling, and an occasional chance at romance in her quest.
EXECUTIVE LUNCH struck a chord with me. Not only is it full of humour, many of you will also be aware that I work for a "computer company", and I could imagine how some of the scenarios in this story could work in the real world. It is a light read, enjoyable, but at the same time a puzzle to be solved, and Schneider does a pretty good job of tying off the threads.
After working with him on a previous contract Sedona O'Hala should know better than to accept a dinner engagement with Steve Huntington. Especially when he wants her to leave her current managerial job at Strandfrost to take up another undercover one at Acetel services. There are rumours rampant about mismanagement at Acetel and Steve needs Sedona to become one of the employees and find out what is really going on. Their dinner where he is to tell her all turns into a disaster when two goons turn up looking for Steve and he makes a quick exit leaving Sedona to pay the bill.
Just as Maria's first Sedona O'Hala book EXECUTIVE LUNCH struck a chord with me, so did EXECUTIVE RETENTION. Someone appears to be reducing the company's profitability, and not even retrenchments are restoring it. I am very well aware of the pre-occupation with the balance sheet. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this latest offering.
I sincerely hope we see a lot more of Dorte Jakobsen's writing in publication in the near future. It is hard to write a review of this book as there is so much variety in the flash fiction stories, from vignettes which stir the imagination to longer pieces which introduce the residents of Knavesborough, the location of a cozy that Dorte is currently working on.
Humorous crime isn't usually my cup of tea but this is delightful reading, and I certainly want to read more of Dorte's writing.
As the author knows, humorous cozies are not quite my thing, but there's a lot like about THE COSY KNAVE.
The setting is the village of Knavesborough in Yorkshire and the various matches in the Soccer World Cup are being streamed onto a big plasma screen in Ye Cosy Knave the local tea shoppe. In fact the first murder takes place while locals are watching a match, and the victim is one of the audience. England's chances are still alive at this stage and Constable Archie Penrose's superior officer is determined that nothing will spoil his viewing of future matches.
If you enjoy traditional cozy mysteries with a touch of humour then you'll enjoy this carefully crafted, imaginatively written one. There are plenty of red herrings and the names of the characters have been carefully chosen, tickling the imagination at regular intervals.The threads are all resolved at the end with great panache.
In the acknowledgements at the beginning of the book Robitai writes
To all those who toil tirelessly in theatres everywhere, especially the past and present members of Nelson Repertory Theatre Inc. and the Theatre Royal Trust.
I’ve borrowed many of your finer attributes for the most likeable characters in this book. The nasty ones are of course entirely fictional. (And remember, I had to save some good characters for future books.)
The story is made up but the setting is the real Theatre Royal just as she was before the latest refurbishments, with all her quirky little nooks and crannies.
Like many amateur theatre groups the Whetford amateur dramatic society decides to stage a play that will have wide appeal, written by a "classic" author. Their choice is APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH by Agatha Christie which they hope will be popular.
Right from the start there appears to be someone who is determined that the show will not go on. The theatre itself is under threat by a local property developer who goes into print emphasising the antiquated nature of the building. Somebody keeps shoving cryptic notes on purple paper through the side door and even attempts to burn the building down.
None of the incidents are potential show stoppers until the death in the second row.
I enjoyed the bits of humour, the touches of romance, and the occasional "tributes" to Agatha Christie.
'Yes, right under our noses. Haven't you noticed how Gert looks just like Miss Marple? She may not hail from St Mary’s Mead but I bet she has a shrewd grasp of human nature.' 'Better her than that bloody little Belgian git. Hercule Poirot always annoyed the hell out of me,' said Gazza. 'Such a smug, self-righteous windbag.' ....
'Well, most of the old girl's murders were motivated by sex or passion, weren't they?' said Howard. 'Human nature hasn’t changed much since she wrote her novels, just the world around us. Fewer servants, for one thing.' .....
'Forget C.S.I., give me good old Agatha Christie. Leave it with me, Jack – I shall apply my little grey cells to the problem and try to come up with a solution for you some other way. It'll be the human element that's the key, you know. Motive is everything.'
MURDER IN THE SECOND ROW which appears to be sub-titled "Are you sure we can’t advertise for a tart?" is an enjoyable read made all the more so by the fact that it is carefully constructed and filled with interesting characters.
A good read for those of you who like a good cozy and have an e-reader.
Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen cleverly juggles several plot lines in her first "serious" crime fiction novel.
The novel begins with a Prologue which is in fact some text pulled from the middle of the novel. I must confess that at first this text confused me just a little. You can in fact read this Prologue online here and on Amazon.
Chapter One then jumps back in time about 2 months.
The first of the novel's threads is about Anna Storm's neighbour Karin who appears to go missing on a regular basis. Anna is not unduly alarmed at first because she and Karin have been good friends for so long. But she becomes concerned when Karin is gone for a week.
The second thread is Anna's relationship with her parents. Her father has refused to give her much detail about his side of the family until now. But now he is seriously ill and seems to understand Anna's need to know her family history. Anna is unemployed and generally has a bit of time on her hands and so goes off to Sweden to find the village her father's family came from. Anna learns that there is quite a bit of sinister mystery attached to her father's family history.
The third thread is a journal written at the beginning of the twentieth century by Anna Marklin, Anna Storm's father's Farmor. Excerpts from the journal begin to appear in the novel even before Anna Storm becomes aware that it exists.
The fourth thread is that of Anna's marriage to Lars.
Although Jakobsen is a Danish author, this novel is written in English with a few Danish words thrown in for good measure. Hymns and poetry are translated for the reader by the author and a glossary is provided of some Danish terms at the beginning of the novel.
There are at least two mysteries to be solved and the author does well to keep us on tenterhooks and not to reveal too much.
ANNA MARKLIN'S FAMILY CHRONICLES is self-published and only available as an e-book. The Smashwords version caters for all formats at $3.99 while the Amazon one is of course for your Kindle at $2.99.