Mouth of the Rat

Mouth of the Rat ISBN: 9781938701672 Telemacus Press, Book 5 in Samantha Jamison Mystery Series by Peggy A. Edelheit.

Plot/Characters: Samantha (Sam) a mystery author constantly pushed by her editor and publisher has just been persuaded to visit a friend in Boca Raton, FL. The friend Mona, a college friend long removed, suddenly has an emergency that Sam cannot resist. (Her next story?) It seems that Mona’ husband, Marco has been killed, she has been left with instructions to find and give to his uncle Carlos his extremely valuable collection of cars and his condo. The problem is that she does not know where the cars are garaged, nor can she find the uncle anywhere. The story evolves as Sam attempts to discover both and encounters a mass of impediments as the search advances with numerous serious consequences awaiting any misstep. Marco was heavily involved in illegal activity, he was killed with Mona’s pistol (she has a permit to carry), Marco’s ex-wife doesn’t yet know about his marriage to Mona which is fortunate because she is believed to have very lethal tendencies. Another ex-wife also turns up, although rumors exist that she may have died in an auto accident (been run over –twice) along with two very large thugs, one with a poodle, neighbors Sylvie and Bunny and Irving who had ‘heard/saw things’ the night of the murder, Sydney and Nikko, neither of whom seem to be who they are supposed to be, and of course’ Sam’s AARP triumvirate of mystery-solving partners, Martha, Betty and Hazel.

Discussion: This is the third novel I have read in this series and all have involved zany players actively engaged in a plot of duplicity and deception with murder and mayhem working their way to an acceptable ending. A historical note about Boca Raton is included.

Conclusion: To repeat a conclusion I have used previously to describe books in this series: This book presents an amusing romp through a complicated plot with rather zany characters involved in a type of madcap activity that appeals to many readers in this seemingly well-received series.

5* Another amusing romp by the regular and new zany characters

Molto Mayhem

Molto Mayhem
ISBN: 9781537184081, is an amusingly presented story set in Italy in e-book by Deanne Wilstead.

Lucia is a 10-year-old visiting family in Italy with her mother and father when they tragically are killed in an automobile accident. She is desolate and will speak to no one but only wants to return to her home in San Francisco. The best efforts of her uncle, Gianni who also is trying to console his wife Cristina who is equally devastated because of her love of her sister and even their young son Mario’s attempts to aid are futile. A decision ultimately is made by the Head of the Family. Nonno, the grandfather, when he decides to take the young Lucia home to America and leave the eminently successful construction business in the hands of his son Gianni. In America, he successfully opens a grocery supply where Lucia helps by stocking the shelves and other menial tasks. She has many ideas for business expansion but Nonno, she is convince, would not consider any such ideas,. Fifteen years pass and Lucia now has returned to Italy to visit the family where she supposedly is to learn to ‘cook Italian’. Many changes have taken place in the family during the ensuing period. Gianni was spectacularly inept at running the business; Cristina, exhibited an adeptness and now runs the construction company successfully; Gianni has become a Chef Par Excellence, and Mario has gained a significant other named Jaime. All of these changes the family believes must be kept from Nonno because of his strong belief that women do not properly belong in positions of authority and other traditional views. Additionally entering the plot is Aiden, a young Englishman whose Godmother Francisca had left him her Villa della Fontana. He and Lucia meet. The young man’s villa unfortunately is in a state of almost complete disrepair. Cristina takes on the restoration project which is hampered by the loss of an icon from the property and must be replaced in order for the work to be completed and the chaotic situation gradually progresses through a number of related and unrelated issues. Suddenly, Nonno returns and eventually a satisfactory conclusion is reached.

Discussion: The author has exhibited an apparent love for a very provincial Italy that most regrettably like Spain, France, Mexico and similar largely has disappeared. Hopefully, it still may exist in some rural and/or ‘out-of-the-way’ sections of the country and can provide the wistfully charming thoughts/reminiscences of a type of people and way of life once prevalent in these beautiful countries. She has been able to capture this unsophisticated social behavior quite appealingly and amusingly.

5* Appealing story of unsophisticated social behavior seldom encountered today.