Of Dubious and Questionable Memory by Rachel McMillan

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Of Dubious and Questionable Memory by Rachel McMillan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Lady detective duo Herringford and Watts are at it again in 1911 Toronto, with the case of…a kidnapped rooster. Not much danger there. However, when they receive word from a suffragette friend about an affianced woman gone missing, the case will bring Merinda and Jem to the United States in Of Dubious and Questionable Memory by author Rachel McMillan.

So! Another fun mystery short along the way of this detective series. Only, well, I wouldn’t call it much of a mystery. And I’m not saying that because there’s no murder, as murder mysteries aren’t the only mysteries around.

The story has nice nods to Little Women and Orchard House that fans of Louisa May Alcott can appreciate. There’s much ado about married life, the antics of friends, workers’ rights, and, yes, even hubbub about a rooster. But the actual mystery elements might only take up half of the novella or less.

Hence, I’d tell readers looking for stunning sleuth work not to get their hopes up here, but it’s a worthwhile read to learn more about the characters in the series. On to the next Herringford and Watts novel…

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Here’s my review of A Singular and Whimsical Problem.

A Singular and Whimsical Problem (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #.5) The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder (Herringford and Watts, #1) A Lesson in Love and Murder (Herringford and Watts Mysteries, #2)

Conductor of Light (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #2.5) The White Feather Murders (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #3)

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

It isn’t the most usual or socially acceptable situation, for two single young women in 1910 Toronto to be exercising their investigative powers on behalf of the city’s downtrodden. But Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts haven’t much time to worry about feminine propriety when two other young women are found dead in The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder, a novel by author Rachel McMillan.

This is the second of the Herringford and Watts mysteries I’ve read. I’ll confess I likely won’t form a habit of reading an abundance of murder mysteries, at least not ones that seem to, well, make light or sport of the subject of murder. But I went on to read this novel because in the novella I read before it, A Singular and Whimsical Problem, I noticed the author’s way of making room for comedy in a story without trivializing a serious issue.

And here, in the official Book One of the series, it was a particular pulse running through the entertaining story that tugged at me the most. The pulse of social concerns, prejudice and poverty, and the need for societal reform, as relevant today as in this novel’s early twentieth century setting.

But Merinda, Jem, and their male constable and reporter sidekicks didn’t go bashing me over the head with reformation sermons or anything, as again, this is quite an entertaining work of fiction. It’s got humor, intrigue, romance, a dash of faith, and an upbeat pace.

Sure, the pace seemed to border on being rushed at times, and I had to stop and think now and then, “Wait—how exactly did she end up here, and what is she doing, again?” But, hey, there’s nothing wrong with a story that requires the reader to keep up and pay attention. And while the mystery didn’t throw me for the most surprising loops, it was still fun to go along with the winning cast of characters on the journey.

I’ll definitely be continuing this series.

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Here’s my review of the next Herringford and Watts mystery, Of Dubious and Questionable Memory.

A Singular and Whimsical Problem (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #.5)  Of Dubious and Questionable Memory (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #1.5)  A Lesson in Love and Murder (Herringford and Watts Mysteries, #2)

Conductor of Light (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #2.5)  The White Feather Murders (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #3)

Counterfeit by Lee Carver

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Online Book Club provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
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Counterfeit by Lee Carver

Romantic Suspense

He suspects that she’s a covert copyist of masterpieces, but she may have what it takes to expose a dangerous fraud ring. This novel brings together a fitting blend of art, travel, romance, danger, and faith, with a smooth style and appealing intrigue.

Officially reviewed at OnlineBookClub.org with 4 out of 4 stars. Do take a look!

Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Ramona Quimby wishes her family would perk up. Her cat refuses to eat, her older sister is going through a moody and defiant phase, and her parents worry a lot these days, since her father just lost his job. But if Ramona sets her mind to it, maybe she can find a way to help her father through this rough patch in Ramona and Her Father by author Beverly Cleary.

Just as I remembered from childhood, I found this to be one of the darker Ramona books (although back then, “sadder” is the word I likely would’ve used.) It’s certainly a serious situation for Ramona here, with her family being even more strapped for cash than usual, and her father putting his lungs in danger with cigarettes. (Wow–I’d forgotten all about Ramona’s mission against her father’s smoking habit! My, does that lead to some parts that prick my heart in a whole new way, now that I can better appreciate how Mr. Quimby must feel.)

But there’s still patented Ramona humor and fun in the read, with a heroine whose feelings about things like eating out at Whopperburger are so on point. Plus, seeing how an imperfect Mr. Quimby is a good man who loves and gets a kick out of his daughter makes this a winner of a tale.

Oh–and did I mention this book’s delightfully Christmassy ending?

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Ramona and Her Father is the fourth book in the Ramona Quimby series. Another one on the “sadder but wonderful” side is the book that precedes this one, Ramona the Brave.