Thursday, October 1, 2015

Book Review: Dead with the Wind by Miranda James (Southern Ladies Mysteries #2)



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters in a story filled with tension
Cons: None worth dwelling on
The Bottom Line:
Family wedding
Drama, not celebration
Great story for us




Celebration Turns to Tragedy

There so many great sounding series out there it is almost impossible to keep up with all of them.  That’s why when an author I keep meaning to read starts a second series, I often find myself reading that series first.  It’s a way for me to at least be caught up on one of their series.  I can now say I am up to date on Miranda James’ Southern Ladies Mysteries, and based on how much I loved Dead with the Wind, I am hoping to get to more of this author’s books soon.

Miranda (really a pen name for Dean James) spun this series off from the hugely popular Cat in the Stacks mysteries.  I’ve only read the first in that series, but that hasn’t affected my enjoyment of these books at all.  This series focuses on sisters An’gel and Dickce Ducote, two elderly spinsters who own an estate in Athena, Mississippi.  In the first book, they take in a young college student named Benjy as well as a dog, Peanut, and a cat, Endora.

In this book, An’gel and Dickce are thrilled to be heading down to Louisiana for the wedding of their cousin’s granddaughter.  Since they haven’t seen this cousin or her family in several years, they head down a few days early, looking forward to spending some time catching up before the main event.

However, when they arrive, they find the household in constant strife.  The bride-to-be makes most bridezillas look sane, and her behavior is taking a toll on the entire family.  The tension leads to one tragedy before a series of bad thunderstorms moves through the area.  In the aftermath of the storm, a body is found dead outside.  While some are quick to say the person was a victim of the storm, An’gel and Dickce think that doesn’t fit all the facts.  Can these two sisters figure out what really happened?

This book brings the conflict from the very beginning, and it doesn’t stop until we reach the climax.  I was always disappointed when I had to set the book down, and would pick it up again as soon as I could to figure out what was happening.  The tension builds to a wonderfully creative climax.  I did feel like the climax was a bit rushed, but everything was explained to my satisfaction, and the clues and red herrings throughout the book all make sense.

The characters are great as well.  In addition to An’gel and Dickce, Benjy and the two pets go along on this trip.  I love all five of these characters, so spending time with them again was a true pleasure.  The cast of new characters are strong as well.  A couple of them were a little weak early on, but by the end they were all well developed.  I could see several of them as the killer, which helped keep me turning pages as I reached the climax.

This book is a little unique in the cozy market because it is told in third person from multiple points of view.  A majority of the book is told from An’gel’s point of view, but we get scenes from Dickce’s point of view and even a few from Benjy’s viewpoint.  In the end, things these characters learn apart contribute to the solution of the mystery, and I like this approach because it is something different.

If Agatha Christie were alive writing mysteries set in the American South, she’d be writing this series.  We’ve got the mansion filled with characters that have motive.  There’s the unlikely sleuths.  And there are great twists to the story along the way.  All of these are hallmarks of her stories.  While these elements of the mystery might be familiar, the book itself is fresh and fun.  I loved how these elements were used in this story.

So if you are looking for a mystery filled with tension and puzzle, pick up Dead with the Wind.  Like me, you’ll be anxiously waiting for these Southern Ladies to have another case soon.

Enjoy more Southern life and murder with the rest of the Southern Ladies Mysteries.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

GIVEAWAY:

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Thursday, October 8th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 10/8.

15 comments:

  1. I love, love this series! Hoping that I might win! Thank you!
    afarage at earthlink net

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  2. would love to have this book-will get from the library if I don't win-will certainly read it!

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  3. This series is new to me. Your synopsis is intriguing and I would love to read it. Thanks for this. deepotter@peoplepc.com. Della

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  4. I love both Miranda James series and am looking forward to reading this installment. Thanks for the giveaway. dmskrug3@hotmail.com

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  5. I enjoyed your review -- I have not read any Miranda James yet, but would love to start! Thanks for the giveaway~ bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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  6. Great post. I do love this series and have started the Cats in the Stacks series. Thanks for the chance to win. doward1952@yahoo.com

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  7. Thanks for the review, it sounds good!

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

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  8. Thanks for your review! Sounds like a winner.

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

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  9. Really enjoyed the first book, can't wait to read this one. I still love Diesel but I like how he did the character cross over for this new series.
    yellowwyytch@yahoo.com

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  10. I enjoyed the first one. Glad the next one is even better.

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

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  11. There's just something about elderly spinsters...and the South...and cats. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  12. sounds like a great book stoeser1@pie.midco.net

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. I've read many of Dean James' earlier books. Thanks for a chance to win one of his newest.
    elainehroberson@gmail.com

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  15. I really enjoy this author and have read all the books except this one. Would love to win it.
    ayoungson@yahoo.com

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