Friday, February 28, 2020

The End

Thank you to everyone who read my blog, to the authors who I have met and to the publishers for giving me the chance to write about books. Over the years I have learned how to operate a bakeshop (Ellie Alexander), run a B&B in a Plantation House (Ellen Byron), be a midwife (Edith Maxwell), operate a library in a lighthouse (Vicki Delaney), drive a bookmobile (Nora Page), make candles (Christin Brecher), cook in a Mediterranean restaurant (Tina Kashian), be a reporter for a island newspaper (Lucy Burdette), organize garage sales (Sherry Harris), run a scrapbook store in the French Quarter (Laura Childs/Terrie Farley Moran, track down art thieves (Ritter Ames), research historical sites (Kathleen Ernst), talk to ghosts (Molly MacRae), enjoy how the other half lives (Alyssa Maxwell), prepare a lobster roll (Shari Randall), run a family clambake (Barbara Ross), follow Abe Lincoln (C.M.Gleason), operate a classic movie theatre (Vicki Fee & Margaret Dumas), run a bookstore (V.M.Burns), knit (Sally Goldenbaum), operate a spice shop (Leslie Budewitz), run a restaurant she inherited (Leslie Karst), write a college syllabus (Mary Angela and Cynthia Kuhn), bake tons of cookies (Eve Calder), be the first Indian female attorney (Sujata Massey), be a reporter for a local radio station (Nancy Cole Silverman), embroider pillows (Lea Wait), make dog biscuits (Bethany Blake) and so much more. 

This has been a fun four years, but it is time for me to move on. Keep reading and writing. 

Much love and a few tears

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories

For my last review on MapYourMystery, I thought I would go back to where my mania with mysteries began - Dame Agatha Christie. In Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories, I was reminded again of her genius. Short stories are difficult to write and to incorporate a mystery, then solve it takes a certain type of diabolical brain. 

This collection of short stories takes the reader around the world to England, to Egypt to parts unknown. Among the shorts stories are the Labors of Hercules. M. Poirot has been thinking about retiring, but he is not sure what to do in his leisure time. He has thought about cultivating some flavor into vegetable marrow, but his Dr. Burton scoffs at the idea.  The good doctor also doesn't believe Poirot will retire because his cases are a labor of love, not the Labors of Hercules.

When the doctor departs, Poirot decides to learn more
about The Labors of Hercules. The last twelve stories in this book detail his attempt to solve cases such as The Nemean Lion, The Lernean Hydra and The Girdle of Hyppolita. All the cases have parallels to the mythical labors of Hercules. 

As always M. Poirot loves to solve his cases in a grand style and solve them he does. If you have never read any Agatha Christie books (and shame on you), do yourself a favor and start with the short stories. They are bite sized and will increase your appetite for more. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Interview with Christine Gentes

My name is Denise Kainrath, and I sometimes dabble in blogging of my own at, but mostly I wanted to interview my mom before she retired the blog. My mom has worked diligently on her blog for the last four years, and I am immensely proud of the hard work that she has put in. There have been many times that I've called her to rave about an amazing book I just finished, and she has chosen to slot the book into her never-ending queue or work it into a blog post to share with her readers. She has taken her work very seriously, and has stuck to her posting schedule infinitely better than I ever could have. Please join me in giving Map Your Mystery a celebratory send off with my mom's interview below!


Tell me about your blogging and reading process.
Christine Gentes &
Denise Kainrath
I am a voracious readers, but one thing I learned about blogging is to write the review as soon as I finish the book. Some weeks I was reading three or four books at a time and boy does that get confusing. Other times I was so far ahead in my reviews that I would read a book a couple of weeks before I wrote the review and then essentially have to page through it again to refresh my memory

What compelled you to start blogging?
Actually my husband suggested it. He was the mayor of our town for eight years and he wrote a blog aimed at his constituents for the entire time. His best one was written on April 1 when he said the village was going install heating wires under the roads to melt the snow. Everyone believed it and then he reminded them that it was April Fool's Day.

As for my motivation, I love to tell people what to do so it was logical to tell people what to read. Many of my friends would ask me for recommendations, so this was the perfect venue for me. 

What has been the coolest opportunity that being a blogger has afforded you?
The coolest opportunity was meeting many, many authors at Malice Domestic. The first year I went I had just started writing the blog so I had to introduce myself to everyone. The next time I went people were dragging other authors over to me to tell them about the blog. So fun. Plus of course, the books. I have so many books given to me by authors, publishers and NetGalley.

What are some of your favorite titles to recommend?
Oh boy I would hate to leave someone out in this list. I will tell you what I enjoy in a book. I like the female lead to be the owner of some kind of interesting business. I love a continuing series. I want the lead character to be smart and not do stupid things like go to a deserted place to meet the killer. I do not like the love triangle. That might work for a book or two but it doesn't appeal to me. And I don't need the gory murder details. Like with Agatha Christie books, I want the murder to be "off screen." 

How can blog readers stay in touch with you?
I hope to publish one review a week on Instagram so if you want to follow me I'm @the_comish or stay in touch through I also have a personal Facebook page under my name. You'll be able to see some of my paintings, too 

What will you do next Monday morning when you would have been blogging?
I will be attending YouTube University to catch up on the videos from some of the artists I follow. I hope I can stop dithering around early enough in the day to actually paint while the light is good in my studio. Now I will have no excuse. 

Thanks again to all more readers, authors, friends, and my husband and daughter for their support. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

I Know Where Your Sleep

There must be nothing more frightening than being stalked by an unknown person. In I Know Where You Sleep by Alan Orloff, restaurant hostess Jessica Smith has been receiving phone calls with no one speaking when she answers. But things begin to escalate and she decides she needs help.  She hires the investigative services of PI Anderson West.

The caseload at Anderson's agency has been light and he has the time to take Jessica's case - pro bono at the insistence of his erratic sister Carrie, an unofficial employee of his agency. Carrie takes the investigation in her own direction and soon discovers Jessica might not be telling the entire story. 

For Anderson there are plenty of suspects: Jessica's current boyfriend Matt; her ex-boyfriend Patrick, her slimy boss Oscar and even the reverend at whose church she belongs Reverend Thompson. All need looking into the standard way - through interviews. Carrie takes a more blunt force approach and increases Jessica's unease.

When the stalked leaves a phone message saying he knows where she works and he knows where she lives, Jessica's anxiety ratchets up. As for Anderson, his investigation is leading him to dead ends and that annoys him.

Through flashbacks we learn what Jessica is hiding and understand why someone is stalking her, but not who it is. 

A tense, taut mystery in a situation that would terrorize most people. Anderson is in a race against time to discover who the stalked is. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

The End of the Line

Four years ago I started the blog. Over that time I have read hundreds of wonderful books, met scores of terrific authors and interacted with many, many readers and fans. I want to paint more and do some other things. I still plan to read cozy mysteries because they are my favorite. 

Seasons come and seasons go and this is the right season to say goodbye to blog.  My last post will be Friday, February 28. Thanks to the authors, publishers and readers for their support throughout. 

Occasionally I will be posting book reviews, comments and photos of some of my paintings on my Instagram account. Follow me on IG @the_comish or email me at

Friday, February 21, 2020

Hid From Our Eyes

After a long hiatus due to many personal problems, Julia Spencer-Fleming has brought back her popular characters -Reverend Clare Ferguson and Chief Russ Van Alstyne. In Hid From Our Eyes, the story opens in 1952, when police are investigating the death of a young woman found dead on the road. With no signs of violence, but dressed in a party dress and wearing nighttime makeup, the police assume she was a prostitute. They never solve the case, nor identify the victim. (Hid From Our Eyes will be published by Minotaur Books on April 7.)

Jump forward 20 years and Millers Kill, New York, Chief Jack Liddle leans over another dead young woman dressed up for a fancy date or party. Jack had been on the force in 1952 and the similarities in these two cases is baffling. The person who found the body was young Russ Van Alstyne, newly returned home from Vietnam and angry to boot. Immediately he is considered a suspect.

While Jack investigates, he discovers the young woman was a member of a commune and there are two other suspects. Throughout the investigation, no clues as to how she died have been discovered. Even after an autopsy, the coroner cannot give a cause of death. The case is never solved and Russ is never officially cleared.

Leap forward to present day which in this book is around 2002, and ironically Russ is the police chief in Millers Kill and the body of another young woman is found in an eerily similar fashion. While trying to investigate, Russ is facing a referendum on whether the town should give up its local police and have the state police deal with crimes in their town. He is also married to Clare and they have a new baby. No pressure on him.

Hid From Our Eyes is a gripping, absorbing mystery with a shocking ending. Happy Julia Spencer-Fleming was able to write this new book in the series. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Sugar and Vice

Business is booming at The Cookie House and Kate McGuire couldn't be more pleased. In Sugar and Vice by Eve Calder, Kate had spread her baking wings and preparing more and more different and tasty cookies. (Sugar and Vice will be released by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 28.)

While helping her friend Maxi dig three new flower beds behind her flower shop, Flowers Maximus, when they top to rest. Oliver, Kate's dog, continues to dig and much to their surprise he unearths human remains. Maxi thinks it might be Gentleman George Bly, the pirate king of Coral Cay.

And now that it is almost Pirate Week, this sets everyone in town into a frenzy to find Gentleman George. Legend has it he was buried on the island with much of his pirate treasure. Complicating matters is her former fiance Evan Thorpe who promises to fund the research for Gentleman George through his Foundation.

When tests show the skeleton in Maxi's garden is not old enough to be Gentleman George, Kate is puzzled as to who it might be. She believes someone local must have known when Maxi and her family and Sam Hepplewhite, part owner of The Cookie House, were all out of town at the same time in order to dig the grave. 

With the town in a frenzy to find Gentleman George, Kate decides to do some of her own research while baking scores of cookies for the shop. What she discovers surprises everyone. 

A terrific series and I look forward to more of Kate's adventures in the coming books.  Caution: if you do not have at least two dozen cookies on hand while reading this book, you will find yourself either baking or driving to a local store for cookies.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Interview with Alan Orloff

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My new book is called I Know Where You Sleep, and I’m excited about it because,
Alan Orloff
although it’s my ninth published book, it’s my first private eye novel.

What was the most recent book you read?
I just finished Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett. A really fun read! Great voice and great characters!

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
I often write about the place I lived for most of my life, Northern Virginia, which is a suburb of Washington, D.C. However, unlike so any DC-area writers, I don’t write about the machinations of our federal government or about political backstabbing or about three-letter government agencies. Instead, I like to set my stories in the suburbs, where the cookie-cutter houses might all look alike, but there’s deception and suspense going on behind their doors.

Tell me about your recent Police Academy experience. How did it impact your research for your books?
I wanted to write about crime but I’ve led a sheltered life. Realizing that I needed to learn more about crime, I knocked over a 7-Eleven. Just kidding. I took a Citizen’s Police Academy. That coursework consisted of 10 or 12 weekly sessions, each focused on a different aspect of police business. We learned about gangs and drugs, we saw a K9 demonstration, we fired weapons on the shooting range, we toured the local jail, we got to use radar (LIDAR) guns, and we went on a ride-along.

What was the ride-along like?

I have a whole ride-along story!

Let me take you back to that Saturday night on the mean streets of Herndon...
We’d been cruising for about two hours or so, checking out the normal trouble spots, and we’d gotten the usual calls. Excessive noise at a sketchy apartment complex, some possible gang activity near the 7-Eleven, a D-and-D (that’s drunk and disorderly, for all you, uh, rookies) at a local bar. Just your typical shift. Then we got a report over the radio of several people running through the Community Center’s parking lot with rifles.

We went roaring through town, cars parting to let us through. Screeching into the Community Center parking lot, we pulled up alongside a couple other cruisers, both empty, one with a door still flung open. Someone had left in a hurry.

The officer barked at me, “Stay here. Don’t get out of the car.” I forced a nod, mouth too dry to talk. Of course, she didn't have to worry. I had no intention of following her into the night with a bunch of armed goons on the loose. I slid down in my seat, until I could barely see over the dashboard.

She grabbed her shotgun out of the lockdown and raced off, leaving me all alone. 

All alone.

My heart raced. What if the guys with guns doubled back and found me, by myself, a sitting duck in a patrol car? Would I become the unfortunate reason future ride-alongs had to be eliminated? I glanced around, hoping for reinforcements. Nope, just me and the empty police cars. I’d realized it before, but it hit home a lot harder in that moment. We don’t pay law enforcement personnel nearly enough.

Luckily, the situation had a non-violent resolution. It turned out that the people running through the parking lot were teenagers wielding air rifles. No one got hurt. But, man, how easily could something have gone terribly, irrevocably wrong? In the dark, those air rifles were indistinguishable from real rifles. Some poor teenager’s head easily could have been blown off.

I heartily recommend going on a ride-along. Just make sure to wear two pairs of underwear on ride-along night. That experience made its way into one of my books, a suspense novel appropriately titled Ride-Along.

What drew you to writing?
Process of elimination, I think. One of the few things I hadn’t yet tried!

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Write more, and don’t worry about what other people think UNTIL you’re ready to get feedback on your work. Then be judicious to whose voices you listen.

Who is your favorite author?
I have so many favorite authors, and I wouldn’t want to leave any of them out, including many of my friends. So I’ll go with Stephen King. You can never go wrong with Stephen King.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
Excluding my family and friends, here’s my guest list: Dorothy Parker, Albert Einstein, Sally Ride, Jacques Cousteau, and George Plimpton.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
I’d be an entrepreneur doing something, maybe in the alternate energy field.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

To the Land of Long Lost Friends

Although the three cases in the To The Land of Long Lost Friends by Alexander McCall Smith are not paying clients for Mma Ramotswe, but as always she is entirely dedicated to results. 

While having lunch one day, Precious is startled to see someone she thought was "late." Her friend Calviniah Ramoroka had been reported killed in a road accident, but her she was having lunch at the same place as Precious. Precious soon learns there was someone else with the same name killed in the accident. 

She is so relived her friend is still alive and promises to help her reconcile with her daughter. It seems Calviniah's twenty-four-year-old daughter suddenly has no time for her mother. As much as she has tried to understand why this has happened, Calviniah believes she hasn't done anything to deserve the cold shoulder. 

Precious also learns another friend of theirs has lost all her money. Poppy was the owner of a large store in Francistown and now she has given all her money to a a minister who started his own church called the Church of Christ, Mechanic. 

With no real cases to deal with, Precious decides to help Calviniah reconcile with her daughter and get Poppy's money back. Suddenly the two cases have an overlap and with her usual flair and folksy wisdom, Precious finds a way to solve both cases and wrap up another one she thought was solved.

And then there's Charlie who wants to marry Queenie-Queenie but he had no money to pay the bridal dowry. Poor Charlie, only an assistant, not even a detective. 

As usual this delightful series enables the reader to take a deep breathe of the clear air in Botswana and relax a little.

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Body in the Garden

The first in a new series by Katharine Schellman features Lily Adler. In The Body in the Garden, young widow Lily returns to London to reestablish her household after the death two years before of her husband Freddie. (The Body in the Garden will be released on April 7 by Crooked Lane Books.) 

Life in London society is different for a widow and Lily wants to try to do something useful without having to rely on a man. At a ball thrown by her friend Lady Walter, Lily finds herself in the garden overhearing an argument. In what sounds like someone demanding blackmail she tries to make her way back to the house when she hears a shot. 

Rushing back to the garden she discovers a young man dead on the grass. To avoid any scandal brought to his family, Lord Walter bribes the local police magistrate not to investigate. This does not sit well with Lily and she worries her friend's husband might be involved in the murder. Along with a charming navy officer Captain Jack Hartley, a friend of Freddie's, and a mysterious heiress from the West Indies, Ofelia Oswald, she sets about to solve the murder.

Lily soon learns Miss Oswald was acquainted with the deceased young man Augustus Finch from her home island. As she discusses the case case with Ofelia, Lily feels she is holding back some vital information. Jack refuses to trust Ofelia and that causes some friction. 

Through her diligent investigating, Lily discovers treason in the highest places during in 1815 and puts herself at risk to confront the killer. 

An excellent start to a new series and I look forward to more of Lily Adler's adventures.