Summer Is Over Mystery Review Catch-Up

Sep 30, 2017 | 2017 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

So many great mysteries came out this summer that we are still playing catch-up! Here are 3 more-two from Minotaur and 1 from Penguin-A Terrible Beauty: A Lady Emily Mystery by Tasha Alexander, Another Man’s Ground: A Sheriff Hank Worth series by Claire Booth, and A Purely Private Matter: A Rosalind Thorne Mystery by Darcie Wilde. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 3 books, along with links you can use to purchase them.

A Terrible Beauty: A Lady Emily Mystery by Tasha Alexander
Review by Sandra Murphy

Emily married Phillip, the Viscount Ashton, after a short courtship. She didn’t know him very well and certainly not well enough to love him, but he proposed and marriage is expected so, why not? Although he certainly seems to love her, he cuts their honeymoon trip short and returns home, only to leave immediately for a safari in Africa. It’s his dream to kill an elephant, and he can’t miss the opportunity.

Emily receives word that Phillip himself was killed. She dutifully follows through with the funeral, although she is sad but not devastated. Really, she feels more relief and accompanying guilt. She’s enjoyed more freedom as a married woman than when she was single, and without the constant need to please another person. The guilt stems from journals Phillip wrote. Emily finds they had a love of antiquities in common and more. She feels she knows him better after death than when he was alive. book

Emily loves all things Greek. She organizes a trip to cheer up her longtime friend, Jeremy, who was jilted. He would be happy with a trip full of food, drink, and sitting in the sun. She thinks a more educational trip would be a better cure, but he’s afraid it will damage his reputation as a useless but handsome man.

As they ready for the trip, Emily spots a man who reminds her of Phillip. This happens more than once, which makes her wonder about her sanity. The trip is just the thing to clear her mind.
After arriving at her home in Greece, she finds a dead man in one of the bedrooms. Her housekeeper says he was injured at the archeological dig nearby and didn’t survive. When two men arrive to claim the body, she’s astonished to see a man who could be Phillip’s double—or Phillip himself.

He certainly has many of the same memories as she has. The major complication is, Emily has remarried—to Phillip’s best friend. He’s not convinced the man is Phillip either. The man has an explanation for every objection—his nose was broken, he’s aged ten years, he didn’t return because of illness and then when he did, found Emily remarried. He now works on the digs and relishes his new life.

To complicate matters further, someone is after him. It’s rumored he found a relic of historical significance and priceless value. Collectors want it although it properly belongs in a Greek museum. Phillip denies having it but his life remains in danger.

Although now, DNA, fingerprints, and more could identify the man as a fraud or the real Phillip, but in the 1800s, Emily had no way to verify his story. She’s torn between the man she loves now, the man she discovered in the journals and the man who stands before her.

The book is full of history and description of Greece, mythology, and the lengths men will go to in order to achieve their greatest desires. This is Alexander’s eleventh book. If you love historical mysteries, this is a series to explore.

Another Man’s Ground: A Sheriff Hank Worth series by Claire Booth
Review by Sandra Murphy

When Sheriff Hank Worth sets out to investigate the theft of trees, bark that is, not the whole tree, he has no idea where the case will lead. It seems innocent enough. Trees were stripped of bark, but the thief didn’t just take some of it. All the bark is gone which means the tree will die. Mature trees will take years to replace. The herbal medicine industry pays high prices for tree bark, so it’s a more valuable commodity than Hank first thought.

He’s new to the job, appointed to fill the position until a new sheriff, hopefully himself, is elected. He’s not much on politics though and is forced to hire someone to run his campaign. That, of course, involves a lot more glad-handing and backslapping than he is prepared to do. book

Branson, Missouri isn’t where you’d usually find feuds like the old Hatfield and McCoy kind. However, Hank is warned to stay off the property of one old codger. It seems he has a way of getting even. No one gives specifics but they all are afraid to test the theory, just in case. Add in the fact that the men stripping the trees were illegal immigrants, and you’ve got a whole lot more trouble added to the plot. The men managed to escape into the woods but how will they survive? They might be getting a little anonymous help.

As the campaign ramps up, Hank has to divide his time between meetings and crime solving. If he’s at the meeting, his opponent says he’s shirking his duties as Sheriff. If he’s on the case, he’s accused of not sharing information with the townspeople who are in danger from thieves, illegals and who knows what else. Add in a wife and kids who need attention and who are his salvation and Hank’s plate is not just full but overflowing.

Booth has written an easy read full of characters you’d not only want to meet but to spend time with. The flavor of the Ozarks comes through clearly. Hank and his family would welcome you in and make sure you had a good time while visiting. If you enjoy Bill Crider’s Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, you’ll find Hank a younger version with kids.

This is the second book in the series. While you can start here, you’ll find yourself looking for “The Branson Beauty” so you can spend more time with Hank and friends—as well as looking for the next book.

A Purely Private Matter: A Rosalind Thorne Mystery by Darcie Wilde
Review by Sandra Murphy

Rosalind Thorne is somewhere between gentry and a lower class. She was certainly gentry until her father left, taking her older sister with him. Now she makes herself useful to other women who find themselves in unacceptable trouble.

Using her training, she knows how society works—who may speak to whom, who a woman can be seen with, where she can go and when. One case involved a wife who became overly fond of gambling. Rosalind had to have the skills and know-how to sneak into a men’s club to retrieve incriminating, blackmail level evidence. Her newest challenge is much more difficult. book

Margaretta Seymore is accused of adultery by her husband. In the early 1800s women were viewed as property. Husbands could sue the other man involved for “damaged goods.” Captain Seymore is threatening to do just that. To further complicate matters, Margaretta is pregnant. If the Captain does sue, the paternity of her child will be in question.

There’s also a title to consider. The current Marquis is ill. The Captain is in line to receive the title. His younger brother, Bertram, insists Margaretta is having an affair with the famous actor, Fletcher Cavandish. Is Bertram sure of his facts or merely spurring the Captain to take action which would mean the title would bypass him and conveniently go to Bertram? Bertram and his wife are blatant social climbers.

It seems Margaretta is working against Rosalind more than keeping a low profile. She makes a late night visit to Fletcher. The Captain threatens him in front of witnesses. Rosalind would like nothing better than to wash her hands of the situation but now she’s embroiled as well. It will take all her skill to find a way out.

Unfortunately, Fletcher is stabbed to death. The Captain is arrested for murder and in those times, a speedy trial meant a week or so. Rosalind is under pressure to find the killer, discover who wrote notes to the Captain about Margaretta’s behavior, and what the title of Marquis might have to do with the whole thing.

On a personal level, Rosalind is attracted to Devon, the Duke of Casselmain. He is handsome, wealthy, and a good companion. He also represents stability and safety, but Rosalind isn’t sure she’s willing to trade her current freedom of movement for a more confined lifestyle. She’s also attracted to Adam Harkness, the police officer she met during a former case. He’s in charge of the Cavandish murder. It’s improper for him to spend time with her under most circumstances.

A Purely Private Matter is a look into the past, when men controlled everything a woman could do, where she could go, how much money she had, and how she should behave. The consequences of not following the rules were harsh. Although Rosalind’s best friend, Alice, is a newspaper reporter for the society pages, she must write using only her initials so no one knows she’s female. Margaretta is a poetess, a genteel way for a woman to make a bit of extra money. The characters are engaging as well as entertaining. Margaretta is frustrating as she asks for help and then disregards advice she’s given. Secrets from the past cast a long shadow onto the current situation. Rosalind has the skills needed to solve the case but can she do it in time?

This is the second book in the series. A Useful Woman is the first. Readers who don’t usually choose a historical mystery will enjoy both as Rosalind follows twists and turns to a satisfactory solution.

To enter to win a copy of all 3 books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “catch-up,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 7, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Click on this link to purchase any of these books. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link:


Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won’t see coming.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I’ve always enjoyed historical mysteries. Thanks for a chance to enter!

  2. These are all new to me series. I’d love to win. My book club is always looking for new authors to read. Happy Oct 1!

  3. All great reads.

  4. Love the sound of these books. Would love to read.

  5. We have a winner!


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