Archive for Mystery Books

Donna Andrews Turing Hopper Mysteries


Donna Andrews Turing Hopper Mysteries

Donna Andrews is a popular mystery writer in Northern Virginia. She has two series out there right now, but I am writing about my favorite one.

She writes

The Meg Langslow series – about a blacksmith in Virginia who is an amateur sleuth.

The Turing Hopper series – A computer, who is not really an amateur sleuth because it is a computer, but heck, it has no license, so why not?

Which one am I going to talk about?

Turning of course, because she is so absolutely fascinating.

Turning is an artificial intelligence program at a database company in Virginia. “She” has a couple of people who know she is a program; most believe she is actually a person.

Basically this is the story of an amateur sleuth that is a hacker, but the hacker is inside the computer system.

The characters are very real to me, very well written. Most of the time, if you get involved in the story, the only way you can tell a computer is talking is because of the italics. That is Turing talking. The other characters start out a little one note as most do at the beginning of a series, but Donna Andrews developed the stars rather quickly, like she has known these characters all her life.

As I have been to the area where this story takes place, the setting is very close to reality. Which makes for fun.

There are not really a lot of twists and turns creating massive sub-plots. Not sure because of the main character being in one place, or that is the author’s choice. But the lack of a multitude of sub-plots actually makes the stories a little easier to swallow. I say this because of who the sleuth is.

I mean, come on, a computer that is a sleuth? How ingenious is that! You really don’t need much more.

This is a well written series, albeit short. There are only four books at this point. I am hoping Donna Andrews will continue the story some day, as I really want to find out what happened to T2. Please write at least one more!

Definitely worth reading for both genders and multiple ages. This is not a series only certain people will like.

The Turing Hopper Series

  1. You’ve Got Murder – 2002
  2. Click Here for Murder – 2003
  3. Access Denied – 2004
  4. Delete All Suspects – 2005

You can find out all about Donna Andrews and her books at

Ellen Byerrum Crime of Fashion! Oh My!


Ellen Byerrum Crime of Fashion! Oh My!

The Crime of Fashion is a wonderful cozy mystery series, written by Ellen Byerrum. The series is running strong, with nine books in the series.

Lacey Smithsonian writes a fashion column for a newspaper in the nation’s capitol. She wants to be a hard news reporter, but no one takes her seriously, and she is stuck writing about crimes of fashion. You would be surprised (or probably not), at the fashion faux pas in the political hub of the country.

Of course, as an amateur sleuth, she always tends to be at the wrong place at the right time. This is another series, where we have a single woman, who happens to be in love with a former cop turned private eye. Brook and Stella are her BFFs, who have definitely different perceptions of things, but it adds to the well rounded characters in the books. Her EFP (extra-fashionary perception) pops clues up to help solve the murders. I wish we could all be that in tune with our sixth sense.

The settings are truly spot on, as she does her research, and even when she makes up a store or street in town, the others around it are quite real. Ellen has her pulse on the area, true as life. It is exciting to read the stories and being able to picture in my mind the areas as real.

Ellen keeps things real in the stories by actually having gone through private eye school, getting her license in the state of Virginia. She has been a news reporter in the past. She loves vintage couture. And, her first two books were turned into Lifetime movies! I saw them, and they were very close to the books!

Other than learning about what is wrong to wear with what, we also get to learn key information about fabulous vintage clothes, via a ‘magical trunk’ left by a relative. If you want to learn a little bit about couture and occasionally its history, this is the series for you.

Crime of Fashion Mystery Series:

  1. Killer Hair – 2003
  2. Designer Knockoff – 2004
  3. Hostile Makeover – 2005
  4. Raiders of the Lost Corset – 2006
  5. Grave Apparel – 2007
  6. Armed and Glamorous – 2008
  7. Shot Through Velvet – 2011
  8. Death on Heels – 2012
  9. Veiled Revenge – 2013
  10. Lethal Black Dress – 2014

Find out more about the Crime of Fashion series at

Elaine Viets Dead End Job Mystery Series


Elaine Viets Dead End Job Mystery Series

The ever popular Dead End Job mystery series.

This is a cozy mystery series of a totally different sort than most these days. Most have some kind of amateur sleuth who has a day job. Helen Hawthorne has a day job as well in the wonderful, heated state of Florida, but it is a different job in each book. You see, she has chosen to take jobs that pay under the table when requested, hence the name dead end job. Or it is the kind that pays in cash. Most of these kinds of jobs pay minimum wage, of course. I won’t tell you why Helen insists on these kinds of jobs, you have to find out yourself, by reading the books.

So each book you find out a little bit about the life of a maid, a sales clerk for several different types of stores, telemarketer, fitness club receptionist… You get the picture. These are people most treat as invisible. There is no respect, in the eyes of these books. Of course there are people in this world who do not see these employees, but there are many of people who do respect those who do this kind of killing labor. Dead end jobs are just like any other, the employees who have these jobs work hard too.

Anyway, Helen seems to always have her dead end job at the wrong time, because she is always smack dab in the middle of the murder scene. She has friends who help her out, such as her landlady Margery (who has her own style of dress), her friend Peggy the parrot lady, and Phil, who is… (okay, I’m not telling!).

The books are a fast and furious read, and quite entertaining. The one interesting tidbit I have learned is that she has done all of the dead-end jobs in the series at one time or another. This woman is amazing! She is elegant and carefree and fun and a gracious author, as I have had the pleasure to meet her in person and can attest to this.

Dead-End Job Mystery Series:

  1. Shop Till You Drop – 2003
  2. Murder Between the Covers – 2003
  3. Dying to Call You – 2004
  4. Just Murdered – 2005
  5. Murder Unleashed – 2007
  6. Murder with Reservations – 2007
  7. Clubbed to Death – 2008
  8. Killer Cuts – 2009
  9. Half-Price Homicide – 2010
  10. Pumped for Murder – 2011
  11. Final Sail – 2012
  12. Board Stiff – 2013
  13. Catnapped! 2014
  14. Checked Out – Coming Mlay 2015!

She has another mystery series as well, but that post is for another time. If you want to learn about Elaine’s writing, go to

Cleo Coyle CoffeeHouse Mystery Series


The CoffeeHouse Mystery Series – by Cleo Coyle

This mystery series has been around for ten years, congratulations!

The series is about a coffee house in New York City (Greenwich Village to be exact) that has been around for decades and is considered a landmark according to the storyline. Clare Cosi is a manager of the storefront along with her ex-husband (Matteo Allegro); and the owner is her former mother-in-law (Madame Dreyfus Allegro Dubois). They all actually get along fairly well, which is kind of surprising considering the “ex” of it all and the past history that is thrown in here and there.

Clare seems to keep finding herself in the middle of a murder scene, whether it is at or around her place, one of her friends or employees is a suspect, or she just happens to be at the wrong place at the right time. The leading detective (Mike Quinn) is a straight arrow, but tends to bend toward Clare’s unusual take on things. That is the one questionable thing with all cozies when a cop is involved. Do they really listen to the common man’s viewpoints? I don’t know.

The series is very well written, thought out, and quite clever on the who-dun-it part. Sometimes I am able to guess who the murderer is, but I have yet to figure out the exact why before it is revealed. The characters are well developed, and if one gets into the book, it almost feels like the city is surrounding you.

The interesting thing about this series (in my opinion) is not the recipes that are included, as well as the ones on the author’s website (which are very good and simple to make for the most part), but it is the coffee experience that is doled out. In each book, one can learn a little bit about the roasting process, where the various beans are grown, and other tidbits about coffee that make for a great conversation starter at any party.

This is one of my favorite series.

The Coffeehouse Mystery Series

  1. On What Grounds – 2003
  2. Through the Grinder – 2004
  3. Latte Trouble – 2005
  4. Murder Most Frothy – 2006
  5. Decaffeinated Corpse – 2007
  6. French Pressed – 2008
  7. Espresso Shot – 2008
  8. Holiday Grind  – 2009
  9. Roast Mortem – 2010
  10. Murder by Mocha  – 2011
  11. A Brew to a Kill  – 2012
  12. Holiday Buzz – 2012
  13. Billionaire Blend – 2013

Find out more about this series at: