If you love Agatha Christie’s classic play The Mousetrap, or you’re longing for a good high school theater production, you should read Two Truths and a Lie by April Henry. It’s packed with classic characters from stage play whodunits, updated for more realistic diversity of course, and it’s an homage to theater and murder mysteries.
Nell and her theater friends are on their way to a conference and competition, and their spirits are high – until a blizzard chases them off the road and into a weird motel in the middle of nowhere. It’s full of strange knick-knacks, it’s oddly laid out, and it’s nearly deserted, except for a few truckers, a handyman, and the owner. Luckily another group of high schoolers turns up similarly stranded, and the evening turns to games and flirtation. But during a group session of Two Truths and a Lie, a terrifying anonymous message is found: “I like to watch people die. I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve killed.” When students start to go missing it’s a terrifying scramble to find them and figure out the truth, even as the storm gets worse outside…
Tropes and references to horror movies and stage plays (Agatha Christie in particular) abound; these are theater kids, after all, and so the book can read as staged in places. Also familiar is the love triangle/mysterious love interest, but the other characters are diverse in race, religion, and sexuality in an authentic way. The plot is also suspenseful enough to keep you hooked and full of twists and surprises.
Don’t miss this snowed-in teen thriller for chills of all kinds! This title is also available on Overdrive.
It’s been a while since I have found a new cozy mystery series to read. After talking to some other book lovers, I decided to start Hannah Dennison’s newest series: the Island Sisters Mystery series (I’ll admit that the cover is what pulled me in first – lucky for me, the plot was thoroughly engaging too).
Death at High Tide is the first book in the Island Sisters Mystery series. Evie Mead is devastated. Her husband Robert has suddenly died of a heart attack. During a meeting with his accountant after his death, Evie and her sister Margot learn that Evie may own the rights to an old hotel on Tregarrick Rock, one of the Scilly Islands. At a loss of what to do, Evie wants to leave all the arrangements in the hands of her accountant. Margot has other plans. Having left her glamorous career and fancy life behind in Los Angeles to come help Evie, Margot is determined to help Evie relax. She suggests a weekend getaway to Tregarrick Rock so the two can scope out the hotel and the area.
Once at the Scilly Islands, Evie and Margot realize that the area is not what they thought it would be. When they eventually arrive at the hotel, the two are fascinated by the history. Famous detective novelists used to visit the hotel in its prime, but now the hotel is definitely more of a fixer upper than either of them expected. When Evie starts asking questions, the answers she receives are off. The cranky hotel owner say that he has never met Robert, as do many other island inhabitants. Evie finds evidence to contradict them though, specifically framed photos of Robert with various people she meets over the weekend. She can’t be sure what they are all hiding and why.
When a two murders happen at the hotel in quick succession, Evie and Margot are desperate to escape Tregarrick Rock and forget this place and its weird inhabitants ever existed. Their escape is thwarted by the local police when both are named suspects. With all eyes on them, the sisters start searching for answers and find multiple secrets hidden for years, including their own.
Island Sisters Mystery series
- Death at High Tide (2020)
- Danger at the Cove (2021)
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of hotels? What the front desk attendant, concierge, bellman, or housekeeping person is thinking as they check you in, follow you around, or clean up your room? Having spent a fair number of my summer vacations in hotel rooms, I was curious as a child what these people actually did at work and what they thought of everyone they came in contact with on a daily basis. Lucky for me, I found just the book to ease my curiosity: Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality.
Heads in Beds is written by Jacob Tomsky, a pseudonym the author adopted to keep his anonymity since he was, and is still, a member of the hotel industry at the time this book was released. Every hotel he worked for, as well as every person he worked with and each hotel guest, has a pseudonym, allowing Tomsky to go into great detail about everything that happens behind the scenes of hotels.
This book is a hilarious ride through Tomsky’s journey from a valet to manager to front desk attendant. Want to know how to get an upgrade? Tomsky tells you. How to get a late check out? Tomsky again. What about those pesky mini-bars and in-room movie fees? Tomsky knows all about those. He is full of tips and tricks about how to make the most out of whatever hotel stay you’re experiencing. Check out this book for glimpses into the inner workings of the hospitality business, what valets really do in your car, what goes on in empty rooms, and even why you should never turn down a bellman’s help.
This book is also available in the following formats: