Thursday, September 10, 2015

DEATH BY DIDGERIDOO by Barbara Venkataraman
DEAD AS A DOORNAIL by Linda P. Kozar
MURDER IN COTTAGE #6 by Dianne Harman

Book 1 in the Jamie Quinn Mystery series 
written by Barbara Venkataraman
narrated by Carrie Lee Martz

Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It's up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it's too late. It doesn't help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn't commit. 


A good start to a new series, DEATH BY DIDGERIDOO was creative and entertaining.

I love my cozy mysteries when the protagonist owns a bakery or bookstore or any other such businesses. I always want to put myself in their places. But series lead in this story, Jamie Quinn, is a lawyer. Not something I ever wanted to be but it made a nice change of pace to read about.

Jamie is asked by her aunt to defend her cousin, Adam, when he is accused of murder. It doesn’t help that Adam confessed. However, he has Aspergers, and under stress he said what the police wanted to hear. The topic of this syndrome was handled very well by author Barbara Venkataraman.

With plenty of suspects, Ms. Venkatarman kept me on my toes trying to solve this one. And when the reveal came, I found I had been on the wrong track. Needless to say, the author’s ending made more sense than mine. ;-)

The story was wonderfully narrated by Carrie Lee Martz. She did a beautiful job with capturing each character and making them come to life.

Based on this well written first in a series, I do want to check out the rest of the series and I would enjoy hearing Carry Lee narrate it.
Book 3 in the When The Fat Ladies Sing Mystery series
written by Linda P. Kozar
narrated by Michelle Babb

With her wedding to Hudson just months away, all Lovita’s plans seem to be going awry. A crooked politician is running for Mayor, his girlfriend is opening a new beauty shop in town, and the contractor building Sue Jan and Monroe’s dream home is found dead, with Monroe as their prime suspect. To top it all off, the money from the high school band fundraiser has disappeared. Now the kids won’t be able to go to New York City and march in the Macy’s Day parade. All the girls have to do is nail the real killer, find the missing money, save their beauty shop, and rescue the little town of Wachita, before Lovita walks down the aisle. Can two big bodaciously beautiful women do it? Piece of cake.


In the When The Fat Ladies Sing series, author Linda Kozar gives us a little bit of Steel Magnolias, mixed with Fried Green Tomatoes, and a touch of National Lampoon’s Christmas all ensconced in this great mystery. (You’ll know the National Lampoon reference when you read the book)

Other than the series name, (as a “fat lady” myself, I don’t like the use of the three letter F word) I loved everything about this story and I can’t wait to go back and “read” the first two!

Murder, theft, wedding arrangements, a mayoral race, and unwanted visiting family all come together in one of the funniest mysteries of the year for me. With characters such as the series leads, Lovita and Sue Jan, this story had me laughing out loud even as the mystery became more involved.

But I have to say, listening to narrator, Michelle Babb, was a real high point for me. She brought the characters to life in such a way I could almost see them standing before me. It was almost like watching a movie, and I can still see the scenes in my mind.

Rather you read it or listen to it, give this series a try!
Book 1 in the Liz Lucas Mystery series 
written by Dianne Harman
narrated by Erin deWard 

Liz Lucas, a 52 year old widow, is beginning to think she’s been given a second chance at life by owning a successful spa located in a beautiful forest area on the coast north of San Francisco. 

What could possibly go wrong? Well, for starters, discovering that a guest staying in cottage #6 at the spa has been murdered. 

In order to save the spa’s reputation, Liz, along with her two dogs, Brandy Boy and Winston, sets out to find the killer. The cast of characters includes a handyman, spa employees, the bumbling police chief, the owner of Gertie’s Diner, the dead woman’s husband (the mayor), his girlfriend, and a Tiffany glass collector. One of them probably committed the crime, but it’s up to Liz to quickly find the culprit. 


Author Dianne Harmon is making a real name for herself in cozy mysteries. If all of her books and series are like this one, I can see why.

MURDER IN COTTAGE #6 is a wonderful mystery that hit the ground running, wasting no time in getting to the murder. Although I guessed the how of the murder about half way through, the why of the murder and the whodunit took me completely by surprise. I just never saw it coming.

This book was extremely well written with a good plot. I got so absorbed in the story, I was disappointed when I would have to shut of the audio so I could attend to the real world.

The only thing that bothered me in this story was when new dog Winston comes on the scene. Brandy Boy, the old St. Bernard that came with the resort and spa purchased by protagonist Liz Lucas, took a backseat to Winston. Since Brandy Boy’s name features in the title of another installment, I’m hoping he will not be left out as much in future books.

Narrator Erin de Ward did a pretty good job with the story. At first I found her voice to be a bit too breathy, like it would be more appropriate for a romance novel. But I quickly grew use to it. She did great when she voiced the character Seth, the sleazy police chief. It’s my extreme hope that slime ball chief will be a victim in a future story.

Audio or print, give this story a try!

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by 
clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.


  1. These books sounds awesome! Thank you for the reviews Lisa. :-)

  2. I read the second Jamie Quinn first, and liked it enough to go back and buy the first one. Haven't read it yet, but it's in my TBR pile. I spend 24/7 with some of the most brilliant attorneys I know, and much to my mother's dismay, chose journalism over law school for myself. So I like stories involving attorneys. Jamie is more human than most and a relatable character.

  3. Thanks, Lisa! Glad you're enjoying audio books.