A Lightness of Touch for A Lethal Arrogance

‘A Lethal Arrogance-An Arabella Stewart Historical Mystery Book 3’ by D.S Lang

After returning home from her service as a United States Army Signal Corps operator in the Great War, Arabella Stewart’s goal, to save her family’s resort, seems within reach as the summer season progresses. She and her business partner, Mac MacLendon, look forward to re-establishing a successful championship golf tournament, once the signature event of the resort’s year. Problems arise when one of the contestants, an overbearing snob who has created problems at other competitions, clashes with more than one person. When he is found dead, the victim of a suspicious automobile crash, Bella once again helps Jax Hastings, the town constable and her childhood friend, investigate. As they pursue answers, Bella and Jax find several suspects who might have wanted to make the victim suffer for his lethal arrogance.

I’m not one for wishing I lived in another place and time. For all of the horrors of this world, I’ll take the advancements in medication, standard of living and ease of convenience of the 21st century over the rationing, rickets and shortened life expectancy of the mid-20th century or the powdered wigs and tights of the 19th.

But, if pushed, I would have certainly enjoyed a shot at the Jazz Age. Cocktails, tennis and parties – yeah, I’d have put my back into that particular set of activities.

And it is into this milieu that we Arabellla Stewart and her Scottish business partner and honorary grandfather, Mac MacLendon. Joined by her chum Jax Hastings, the trio fly through the period hunting Cadillacs which plunged into ravines in the best spirit of Raymond Chandler and set out to prove there are dastardly deeds afoot in the best spirit of Lord Peter Wimsey.

This is a pacey, well written crime story of the cozy variety: the dialogue crisp and well written, the plotting tight and convincing and the settings rendered for the reader in clear fashion. It has a lightness of touch to delight the reader.

There are some things which can trip a UK-based reader up. The description of Ballantyne as a resort that has been in the family for 30 years is confusing as this is seen as a long time, whereas this is just about enough time in this country not to be frowned at as a dangerous stranger. Additionally, Jax tends to be a female name which lead to the introduction of that character (or reintroduction as this is Book 3) a small measure of confusion.

But these are mere trifling quibbles which do nothing to take away the joire de verve of the piece and add attractive details to its US setting.

Overall, a very enjoyable read!

Purchase Links

Author Bio –

D.S. Lang, a native Ohioan, has been making up stories since she was a little girl, and she still is! Along the way, she studied English and social studies as an undergrad. After graduate school, she went on to teach government and American history in high school. She also taught English at the junior high, high school, and college levels. In addition, she has worked as a program coordinator, golf shop manager, and online tutor.

Now, she spends much of her time reading, researching, and writing. Most recently, she has delved into the Great War era and the years immediately after it. Her Arabella Stewart Historical Mystery Series was inspired by her Great Uncle Brice who served in the American Expeditionary Force during World War One, and by her love of historical mysteries. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with family and friends, including her dog Izzy.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/Author-DS-Lang-106722091331345

Lay With Pigs – End Up Bacon

‘Mum’s the Word’ by Lorraine Turnbull

When Ann-Marie Ross murders her abusive husband and feeds him to the pigs, she thinks she’s got away with murder and secured the future of her Scottish cider farm. But she soon finds herself having to keep more than one deadly secret to protect those closest to her.
As four women embrace their new-found independence, Ann-Marie is tormented by the threat of discovery.
A darkly comic tale of murder, friendship and Love.

Lorraine Turnbull’s ‘Mum’s the Word’ will probably get listed under the cozy crime or black comedy genre. And this is fair enough. It is darkly comedic, Turnbull has a love of the contrast and ironies of living and it does have the sweet, “oh well, never mind,” aspect which can make cozy crime so easy to read.

What is also has – especially if you’re a reader in rural Scotland who also has to care for an ill, elderly parent – is a sense of dismay at the way that society has trapped the women in this novel.

“Used” is the word which keeps coming to mind: for their inheritances, for their cooking, for their patience, for their bodies. It is a darkly comic novel, but it is just dark in its view of human nature and how society has trapped people in dependency and misery.

This is not to make ‘Mum’s the Word’ sound depressing or po-faced. It is a romp of rare humour and entertainment, with a Glaswegian’s eye for the humour of the macabre detail. After all, there’s more fun at a Glasgow funeral than an Edinburgh wedding. Just ask Ann-Marie Ross…

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mums-Word-Lorraine-Turnbull-ebook/dp/B093C6YXJH

US – https://www.amazon.com/Mums-Word-Lorraine-Turnbull-ebook/dp/B093C6YXJH

Author Bio – Lorraine Turnbull was born in Glasgow where she lived until 2005 when she and her family moved to Cornwall to run a smallholding. She relocated to France in 2017 where she continues to make cider, writes books and learns French.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/LorraineTurnbullAuthor

 Twitter – @LorraineAuthor