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A Female Guard?

High Heels and Handguns
Kate Howard #1
Lisa Heartman
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Publication date: February 7th 2020

For Kate Howard, former Army Special Forces Sergeant, life as a one-woman personal protection detail comes with challenges. Wearing civilian camouflage while guarding high-profile clients is a dangerous game of rock, paper, hollow point.

After an explosive and deadly end to her client’s reelection fundraiser, which left his young son in critical condition, Kate must accept help from an unwanted source: the soldier she loved and left in Afghanistan, bloody, broken, and barely alive.

Special Forces Officer Paxton Banks, Kate’s former captain—now an FBI agent—is assigned to investigate the attempt on her client’s life. After ten years, old emotions and new threats whip Kate’s world into complicated chaos. But when other elected officials are threatened, Kate and Paxton must tamp down their fiery feelings to catch a madman hell-bent on revenge.

So if you were a female personal body guard, would you want to be tottering around in 5 inch heels? 6 inch? [never figured out how anyone walked anywhere in those] Even if they were designer heels gifted to you?

How can you run and catch the bad guys? Can you find a way to have an ankle holster? And look really smart and professional and NOT like a beefy bodyguard but like a personal assistant?

And then you find that the FBI get involved and an ex-boyfriend comes on the scene. So how were you going to prove yourself in your chosen career?

I liked the heroine and her desire to be a kick ass female and thought the storyline was reasonably well undertaken and written. I look forward to seeing how Kate develops in future books.

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Icelandic Noir

The Darkness Book Cover The Darkness
Ragnar Jónasson
Women Sleuths, Norse and Icelandic Stories, Murder Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Michael Joseph
March 15, 2018
352

After being unceremoniously forced into early retirement at the age of 64, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsd ttir of the Reykjavik Police is refusing to go quietly. Hulda is told to pick a cold case to investigate for two more weeks and she knows just the one. A young woman found dead on the seaweed-covered rocks of the Vatnsleysustrond. A woman who had come to Iceland in search of refuge and found only a watery grave. Her death was ruled a suicide after a slapdash investigation. But when Hulda starts to ask questions she soon realises that there was something far darker to this case. That this was not the only young woman to disappear from the hostel where the asylum seekers waited for their judgement and that no one is telling the whole story. And that if she uncovers something she shouldn't her own life might be in danger.

It was a dark and dreary time in Iceland – but then Iceland doesn’t get much sun and fun at the best of times – and if I was an asylum seeker, it is one of the last places I would chose to go to. Winter lasts a very long time indeed – and there aren’t a lot of people there (it is the most sparsely populated country in Europe) – and there isn’t much that is green and… bits of it are falling off – [Personal fact – I saw a glacier ‘calving’ once in Alaska – it was outstanding and so blue!]

But if needs must, then you go. But what you don’t want to find is a system where being female is something that puts you in yet more danger.

We have e new detective to me in this book – a Hulda Hermannsdóttir of Reykjavik, who doesn’t get on so well with her colleagues and thus is left investigating a cold case – the death of an asylium seeker. But what she gradually uncovers is rather more than she expected.

I am not a great Nordic Noir fan, whether in books or on TV, but this book fascinated me. It was well plotted and well translated and the style was polished. It was basically good storytelling for a murder and in the classic style.

I enjoyed it and the as for the ending – well a good plot with plenty of red herrings (and the Icelandic folks probably know quite a lot about them) – and unexpected ending.

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Alibis?

Fries and Alibis Book Cover Fries and Alibis
Mitzy Moon Mysteries #1
Trixie Silvertale
Fiction, Women Sleuths, Mystery
Sittin' On A Goldmine Productions LLC
October 20, 2019
292

A gift that's too good to be true. A murder she didn't commit. A barista in a latte trouble... Mitzy Moon believes she's an orphan, so she's dumbstruck when a special delivery to her low-rent apartment reveals a family. But her shock turns to awe when she discovers her grandmother left her a fortune and a bookshop of rare tomes brimming with magic. No sooner does she set foot in the quirky village of Pin Cherry Harbor to claim her inheritance, than the handsome sheriff catches her standing over a corpse. Desperate to prove her innocence, she's forced to accept help from her granny's entitled cat and a spirit from beyond the grave. Can Mitzy and her otherworldly helpers uncover the real killer before the long, sexy arm of the law hauls her to jail? Fries and Alibis is the first book in the hilarious paranormal cozy mystery series, Mitzy Moon Mysteries. If you like amateur sleuths, small town intrigue, and a dash of the supernatural, then you'll love Trixie Silvertale's twisty whodunit. Buy Fries and Alibis to serve up the guilty today! 

So here we have a an orphan with a gift from the grave - a magical bookshop and a cat.
As normal per me, I wondered what a pin cherry was as this was a tree /bush that was not familiar to me, and discovered that here in the UK we would call it a Bird Cherry - and if you want one for yourself, you would need to sow a seed - uncooked - because some people in the States, do eat these fruits.
And then our plucky heroine, having relocated to obtain her inheritance finds herself with a dead/murdered person, a hot sherriff and a cat - a Caracal who has apparently spent 17 years in captivity and calls himself Robin Goodfellow / Puck.
Caracal | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants
The amazing thing about Caracals are their ears and the great tuft at the end. They are quite large cats if you want a domesticated one - around 12 kilos. Our Maine Coon is 8 kilos and believe me you feel it when he sits on your lap - he may get up to 12 kilos as he is still growing!
This is a Cosy Modern Mystery with a Female Sleuth and is the first of a series. It is funny and warm and a good light read.

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Pinkertons rule

An Agent for Dixie Book Cover An Agent for Dixie
The Pinkerton Matchmaker series
by Linda Carroll-Bradd
Historical Fiction | Romance
Backlit PR
Pub Date 8 May 2020

Foreign diplomacy is the Zivon family business but Alexei resists the polite constraints, not lasting a year in law school. The four successful years working as a Pinkerton agent prove he was meant to follow a different path. Now, he’s faced with the biggest challenge of his career—training a female agent who has no practical skills. Alexei figures he can convince her to just observe as he solves the case, because nothing will interfere with his success rate.
Since childhood, Dixie LaFontaine lived in her older sister’s shadow but applying to become a Pinkerton Agent is her first major decision. Being matched with confident Alexei is intimidating, especially when the assigned case involves them pretending to be brother and sister at a health spa where jewelry has gone missing. Dixie has no qualms about pretending to be a French heiress needing care for her arthritis. Soon, she falls victim to Alexei’s charm and realizes that hiding her feelings might be as hard as ferreting out the thief among the spa’s clientele.
Will Dixie focus on learning the skills of an agent, or will she concentrate on turning her marriage of convenience into a lasting love?

I rather liked this historical novel about the beginnings of the Pinkerton Agency. Dixie of course, was again our innocent heroine,  but with a twist, she could speak fluently a lot of languages, which meant that she had skills that would be useful as a private eye.

I had never realized that of course, in this era, you couldn’t partner a single woman and a single man together because of scandal, and thus marriages of convenience would have to take place.

I did think her announcement at the spa of why she had a male fawning on her was risqué, and am not sure how that would have been taken, but it was a fun idea. I was unaware that paraffin wax for arthritis was a known treatment then. But spas certainly were.

I liked this story.

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Where did she go?

The Vanished Bride Book Cover The Vanished Bride
Bella Ellis
Female sleuths, historical fiction, bisexual erotic fiction
Hodder & Stoughton
November 7, 2019
352

The year is 1845, and Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte are sat around the dining room table, laughing merrily as the rain of their Yorkshire summer falls outside. When their brother, Branwell, returns from The Bull Inn, he brings with him the most shocking revelation: that Elizabeth Chester, wife of Robert Chester and mistress of Chester Grange has gone missing - but the bloody scene found in her bedroom suggests she may have been murdered. The governess at Chester Grange is Matilda French, a close friend of Charlotte's, who resolves to pay her a visit the following day. At Chester Grange, the sisters make the acquaintance of Robert, a rumoured cruel man, who is suspected of having driven his first wife to suicide. Determined that he should be brought to justice, the sisters throw themselves into solving the case. As everyone knows, solving a murder requires sense, morals and a very good imagination - qualities which these sisters have more than enough of...

The idea of this book is great, but somehow, for me, the execution didn’t work. I found the Bronte girls 2 dimensional and the gypsy too stereotypical.

I didn’t manage to finish the book.

There is one good statement however, one which many of these historical genre novels emphasise, that women were considered property and thus the authorities – who were all men, and of which there few enough, were not bothered to investigate fully, if at all. Detectives were just coming in in London at this time and not further afield.

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