Diamonds are Not a Girl’s Best Friend

Diamonds are Not a Girl’s Best Friend ISBN: 9781945330698, Telemachus Press, Book 11, Samantha Jamison Mystery Series by Peggy A. Edelheit.

As usual, Samantha (Sam) becomes involved in solving an immensely complicated mystery. This time once again it is in New Hope but now entails the theft of an antique cane. Emil, the renowned French Chef who recently has sold his famous Bistro, has become interested in these unique items and has begun a local group of similarly interested collectors. He has invited the group, along with Sam and her geriatric mystery-solving co-workers, to his home for a showing of his latest purchase. They arrive early to discover Emil unconscious with severe head wounds and the diamond encrusted merchants’ cane missing. Upon regaining consciousness, Emil can recall nothing of the occurrence. Sam and her partners embark upon ferreting out and pursuing clues in their unique manner with the help of Clay and Tony and even Tony’s mother who enters the action upon escaping from the mental institution.

The author again involves her quirky characters in a fast-moving romp replete with duplicity, deception and murder as it winds toward a conclusion. She further has provided interesting details about an unusual object for collectors as well as some interesting facts about diamonds, faux and real. A slight lack of editing detail not noticed in other of the series unfortunately is apparent in this volume and the plot appears to be somewhat more contrived than usual. But again, she has projected her zany group into the often hare-brained activity so appealing to readers of this seemingly well-received series

3* Another amusing (with reservations) romp by the regular, along with new, zany characters.

Emboozlement

Emboozlement, Laughriot Press, a McCall & Company e-book novel by Rich Leder.

Kate McCall is an actress participating regularly as a member of the D-Cup Company in their off-, off-, off-Broadway productions. She also is owner of McCall & Company, a PI firm and .45 Cal. automatic inherited from father Jimmy who had been killed by a hired killer. She was 45 years old, a superb boxer because her dad, a sports fan, had insisted, manager of an apartment complex and a teen-age mother of a now Assistant District Attorney, who, along with the NYPD were not in the least happy with her PI activities. The story follows Kate and her Zany friends/employees/neighbors/co-actors as she meanders through her theatrical performances while attempting to find the culprit who is embezzling large sums of money from a popular sports bar, developing a possible romantic attachment to the owner and also investigating murders in a high priced law firm owned and operated by two married couples with secretes of their own – the murderer employing the same modus operandi as that of her father’s murderer.

The author has a lengthy list of credits for production of humorous books, TV and big screen films and has set forth here another in this same vein with a quirky protagonist, weird plots for her zany characters’ productions, and wacky parts for them to play in her supposedly serious attempts to bring her cases to a satisfactory conclusion. A tremendous number of loose ends remain at the story’s end, but if a reader enjoys a totally unconventional, even nonsensical romp, you’ll love this one.

5* For readers who enjoy a totally oddball read.

Stones in the River

Stones in the River, Vol. 1, is a short story in e-book format by Jason Tucker.

Plot: Jamie was sitting on his couch enjoying a beer and half watching TV news after a long shift at the factory. An announcement from the Lottery headquarters began and listed a number that sounded like the one he had just purchased. He checked, was right and went quietly bananas. It seems he was the lone winner of 33 million dollars. He thought of calling Stephanie a bartender he had seen a few times, but thought better of it. But he didn’t know who to call? Living in a small mountain town was tough. If it was the wrong person, everybody would know. A call to his parents would bring aunts, uncles, their kids, etc. and besides he had to work in the morning. Finally, he called his grandmother and told her he thought he won some money. She thought that was nice but he should not drink any more beer and go to bed. At this moment he knew he would never change. He would be the same old Jamie – send his family on vacations, buy grandma a new car, nieces and nephews stuff they wanted, get the Jeep he had been wanting. In other words he would be generous but not showy. “He would go to work, pay his bills and save money. It was a shame about Stephanie, but he’d meet some nice southern girl who wasn’t wowed by money, they would have three kids and send them all to college.” Unfortunately, this is NOT what followed his winning of the lottery. Instead, as the story unfolds, the Lottery insists upon wide dissemination of the knowledge of his win, Stephanie sues him for several million, his job is given to ‘someone who needs it’ and other occurrences have him leaving for an Alaskan fishing trip that provides an interesting twist to the tale.

Discussion: This is a short story by a newer author that offers an appealing approach to a timely subject. The presentation of the story line is interesting, the pace is good and characterization is a bit sketchy, but adequate. A shift from pure narrative to a conversational approach, in the reviewer’s opinion, would have added greatly to the book’s enjoyment.

3* A short story providing a fine basis for those volumes that follow.

The Laugh Supper, A Time Defying Dialogue

The Laugh Supper, authored/copyright by Leonard Ryzman, first published by Emerald Press in 2002; this e-book edition published 2014; “Printed by CM Digital, Adelaide, South Australia.”

Description/Discussion: The book is described as “a time-defying dialogue composed of imaginary conversations crammed with wisdom and laughter.” It is “time-defying” because the dialogue is provided by a remarkable and somewhat unlikely group of time travelers consisting of Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519); Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882); Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865); Groucho Marx (1890-1977); Mae West (1893-1980); perhaps lesser remembered but at the time well-known word supremacist and witty conversationalist Dorothy Parker (1893-1967); John F. Kennedy (1917-1963); Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968); and John Lennon of the Beatles (1940-1980). There are thirteen chapters in which this perhaps somewhat strange-appearing assembly of individuals discuss a myriad of subjects that range from invention, discoveries and art, to ways best suited for weight loss, understanding differences between the sexes, to the nature of, and relationship between, time and space and numerous other topics. The discussions may best be described as an assemblage of sharp repartee where the witty remarks often may be pithy, the observations/suggestions quite apropos and amusingly expressed, but all are quite fittingly couched in language and expressed in a manner one would expect from the person who is speaking. A brief sampling from an earlier chapter. Mae West: “A husband is a person who is under the impression he bosses the house when in reality, he only houses the boss.” Kennedy; “Agreed. Arguing with Jackie goes like this: I came! I saw! I concurred!” Mae: “Naturally, give a man a free hand and he’ll put it all over you.” Groucho: “when I was in hospital, a shapely nurse once had to hold my wrist to check my impulse. Well, men will be men.” Mae: “I wouldn’t want them to be anything else.” Kennedy: “I don’t think it’s all a one-way street though. Many women know how to use their curves to advantage.” Parker; “For every woman with a curve, there are several men with angles.” Then bits from later chapters: King; “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We still have guided missiles and misguided man. We don’t need more judges, but more sound judgement. We need more warm hearts and fewer hot heads. We need to realize it is not the differences between us that is the difficulty; it is the indifferences.” Emerson: “People once shouted give me Liberty. Now they leave off the last word.” Groucho: “What’s wrong with the world isn’t the people that are trying to get something for nothing. It’s those who are succeeding.” Lennon: “Time you enjoy working isn’t time wasted. Lincoln: You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must find it.” Parker: “Time isn’t passing me by. It’s trying to run over me.” The final chapter (13) provides a most thoughtful and interesting ‘wrap-up’.

Conclusion: The author has written a book that readers who lived during the mid-nineteen hundreds should greatly appreciate. Unlike today’s most usual experiences of communicating via an electronic devise, luncheons and dinners were spent leisurely in conversation with friends/acquaintances and pleasant repartee was a treasured part of the event. People did not just eat. They dined and conversed. As mentioned in Dorothy Parker’s short biography here, she was a member of the famed Algonquin Round Table where this was a daily occurrence. This was an activity prevalent to the times and others, who were not as fortunate and perhaps not as gifted, still would look forward to these same experiences as often as available. Thus, even if the reader is not of these generations, he/she might still appreciate the mental acuity demonstrated by these remarkable people and better understand the occasional comment on some of today’s interpersonal relationships from a member of an earlier generation. But if nothing more, the author’s opening quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln provides a most fitting conclusion for this book: “For those who like this kind of book, this is the kind of book they will like.”

5* Charmingly reminiscent, even enjoyable and possibly rewarding for younger generations.

Detention Land

Detention Land, Lip Service ISBN: ISBN: 9781483585956, an e-book by Susan Orion.

Plot: Simply and entirely the protagonist, Roger Prism’s explanations for, and his thoughts and discussions with the unknown and unseen woman behind a speaker during his seemingly everlasting sojourns in a detention room.

Discussion: Most readers will be impressed by the humor (frequently of an ‘indelicate’ nature) in which adolescents especially often indulge. This reviewer can concur. Several escapades will elicit more than a mere chuckle because the author has the ability to describe the evolving thoughts generated by the minds of these individuals, no doubt from her extensive educational training, interests and work with them. However, on another level, one cannot help but remember, if one is old enough to remember Jerry Lewis’ of the 60’s Martin & Lewis fame, or even more recently Trump’s, remarks with respect to a mental/physically compromised individual. And yes, Roger, although presented as of superior intelligence, also is severely compromised. Granted, there is only brief allusion to his physical problems – need for a neurological examination as a child, ‘duck feet’, and inability to function adequately as a participant in gym class and games. By contrast, the mental problems are blatantly and numerously provided. He has asthma, claustrophobia and hyperventilates to an unconscious state. His attention span is minimal, he conjures up spiders and distressing visions, has horrible dreams, is a ‘nail-biter’, self-loathing, uncomfortable with other people, arrogant and selfish. Some of the obvious causes for many of his problems are enumerated by his discussions with the unknown interrogator. His mother is neurotic, self-centered, and probably a hypochondriac. His father is dominant and seemingly uncaring. The unidentified interrogator, if supposedly a counselor, is a parody and assumedly provided purposely in this manner.

Conclusion: The author has provided a book that is well written from the standpoint of being able to depict the functioning’s of the juvenile mind. The humorous aspects are numerous and no doubt will appeal to many readers. Regrettably, this reviewer found Roger’s situation most distressing because these situations in varying degrees too often are encountered and extremely difficult to treat.

3* Well written, no doubt amusing for most; sad for this reviewer, as described