DeeBrief review: Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves by Dave Lowry

In this light mystery romp, restaurant critic Dave Lowry doles out an extra big helping of foodie flavour.

Chinese Cooking

“‘And you,’ she said, ‘the aforementioned white guy from Andover, Massachusetts, waltzed into the Eastern Palace here, and they turned over kitchen—wok, stock, and spatula, so to speak—to you?”

Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves, Dave Lowry

Tucker is not your average white, upper-middle-class college dropout. He’s obsessed with Chinese culture, speaks passable Mandarin, cooks traditional Chinese food with the best of them, and his chivalrous instincts have gotten him embroiled with Corinne Chang, who may or may not be involved with diamond thieves. In this light mystery romp, restaurant critic Dave Lowry doles out an extra big helping of foodie flavour.

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Audiobook review: Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Veronica Mars

“’I thought you wanted information, Lamb. I thought you wanted to find these girls.’
He looked at the picture again, a conflicted expression flitting across his face. ‘Do you have any proof that this guy had any part in either disappearance?’
‘No, but he was seen with both girls just before they went missing. That’s enough to get him in for questioning.’
‘Is it? Suddenly you’re some kind of legal scholar?’
‘Uh, yeah.’ She smirked. ‘Suddenly I kind of am.’”

– Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Veronica Mars might have spent the past ten years trying to escape her hometown of Neptune, California, but the irresistible pull of its seedy locals, its salacious scandals, and its deep, dark mysteries has drawn her back in. Veronica Mars began as a short-lived but beloved TV series, where the a plucky teenaged detective helped her single dad in the private eye biz, attempting to solve her best friend’s murder while working through her own deliciously melodramatic problems. Cancelled after three seasons, Veronica found new life as a feature film in 2014, which was funded by eager fans in the most lucrative Kickstarter campaign ever. But if you’re reading this, you probably already know all that.

Picking up shortly after the events of Veronica Mars the movie, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line kicks off a new book series and a new set of mysteries for Veronica to solve. Best of all, the first audiobook is narrated by Veronica herself, actress Kristen Bell. It’s spring break in Neptune, which means booze, bikinis, and 24-hour parties. When the disappearance of college freshman Hayley DeWalt is quickly followed by the disappearance of 16-year-old Aurora Scott, the corrupt and inept Sheriff Dan Lamb dismisses the case as out-of-town party girls who will eventually turn up. The Chamber of Commerce steps in to hire Mars Investigations, and the mystery takes Veronica on a twisty path and a confrontation from her past.

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A review of The Dead in their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce #6) by Alan Bradley

Flavia’s had a hell of a year, finding murdered bodies everywhere from her own garden to the church crypt. She’s met ageing philatelists, ciné folk, fortune tellers, puppeteers, and a flora-archaeologist, all while dealing with being the youngest sister in a family whose mother disappeared when Flavia was only a baby.

Vaulted Arches

“She stuck out a pale hand and touched each of them in turn on the forearm.
As she turned her head Flavia-wards, she gave me 
such a glare!
Feely had the knack of being able to screw one side of her face into a witchlike horror while keeping the other as sweet and demure as any maiden from Tennyson. It was, perhaps, the one thing I envied her.”

– The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, Alan Bradley

The Dead in their Vaulted Arches is a tough book to review without giving too much away. Book five, Speaking from Among the Bones, ended with a major cliffhanger, and this book picks up with a serious plot reveal. Forgive my vagueness, then: I don’t want to ruin the emotional impact for you with spoilers. Within the first chapter, I gasped several times in surprise. In the sixth installment of the wonderfully entertaining Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley, our heroine Flavia is now nearly twelve. She’s had a hell of a year, finding murdered bodies everywhere from her own garden to the church crypt. She’s met ageing philatelists, ciné folk, fortune tellers, puppeteers, and a flora-archaeologist, all while dealing with being the youngest sister in a family whose mother disappeared when Flavia was only a baby.

Old questions are going to be answered in this book, but there’s still plenty of juicy mystery. Who is the young man who gives Flavia a garbled message and then winds up dead beneath the train? Why is Winston Churchill there, and what is his cryptic message to Flavia about? Just what were the elder de Luces up to during World War II? And what do pheasant sandwiches have to do with it all?

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Never to be told: a review of Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye

In Lyndsay Faye’s Seven for a Secret, it is 1840s New York City, where crime, social tensions, and playing-for-keeps politics form a potent, sometimes deadly milieu. And whodunit? is never an easy question in this twisty, brilliantly plotted world.Seven for a Secret

“Whimpering, Varker looked up at Val and made a timid effort to pull his hand free.
We heard a grind of loose bone, followed by a tiny shriek. My throat constricted.
My brother is a dangerous man.
‘I haven’t been paying attention,’ Val remarked in a conversational manner. ‘Damned if there wasn’t something else on my mind. So tell me—what play were you aiming to make with that snapper, drawing it like a heathen without a fair warning?'”

– Seven for a Secret, Lyndsay Faye

In Lyndsay Faye’s Seven for a Secret, it is 1840s New York City, where crime, social tensions, and playing-for-keeps politics form a potent, sometimes deadly milieu. Floods of Irish immigrants are arriving daily to escape the potato famine; people die of starvation with regularity, and there isn’t enough work to go around. Excitement, danger, and various illegalities are the norm, and Timothy Wilde, copper star of the newly minted New York Police Department, is doing his best to figure out whodunit. But whodunit? is never an easy question in this twisty, brilliantly plotted world.

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