Uncle Si’s Secret – M. M. Gornell, Author

August 14, 2009 at 9:57 pm (Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


Uncle Si’s Secret – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Creating Cedar Valley Residence was a dream come true for Belinda Jones and her brother Bernard. They had spent five years making sure each room and suite was perfectly decorated to create a feeling of comfort and welcome. Now it was time to add a new addition, which would create space for more residents and allow Belinda and Bernard to start turning a profit in the near future.

Cedar Valley residents were a hodgepodge of ages and personalities that had all become family to Belinda and Bernard. One special resident was Miss Shirley, who had appeared a year before with a bewildered look on her face, broken glasses perched on her nose, no identification and a pile of cash in her purse. Even after putting ads in the newspaper, talking to the police and tacking fliers on telephone poles, no one knew who she was nor where she had come from. The doctors assured Belinda that Miss Shirley had temporary amnesia and that she would probably come out of it at some point in time. So when Miss Shirley asked for a meeting with Belinda to inform her that her money had run out and she would be moving, Belinda was rightfully concerned. Miss Shirley also told Belinda that she was missing her favorite Chinese print scarf, which Belinda felt had probably been misplaced and would turn up later. But as more residents informed Belinda that they too have missing items, her concern started to grows. Does she really know her residents? Could one of them be a thief? She had to get to the bottom of this thief mystery before it really started hurting business.

Belinda had always thought she would enjoy becoming a detective and had actually helped solve a few minor crimes in the past. So to add to her task of catching the person responsible for items missing from Cedar Valley, she’s approached by Olive Norris. Mrs. Norris comes in hope that Belinda will find enough evidence to free her son Kirby who was arrested for the murder of his wife. The case against Kirby appeared to be an open and shut case. Items of clothing and the gun used to kill Lana Norris were found in Kirby’s car. After meeting with Kirby and hearing his story, Belinda believes in his innocence and decides to take the case. But after another murder is committed, plus an attempt on the life of someone dear to Kirby, Belinda begins to wonder if she has taken on more than she can handle and can she solve this case before anyone else has to die.

Uncle Si’s Secret is full of secrets. M. M. Gornell kept me guessing throughout the whole book. Every time I thought I knew the identity of the thief and the murder, Gornell would surprise me with a new twist proving my theory to be wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Uncle Si’s Secret and I think you will too. I will give you a small clue. The thief will really surprise you.  It sure did me.

Uncle Si's Secret

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Death of a Perfect Man By M.M. Gornell

August 9, 2009 at 11:49 pm (Crime Novels, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , )


DPMSDeath of a Perfect Man

Short Synopsis

 

Jada Beaudine has lost her husband Terry in a tragic and mysterious boating accident–and she badly needs a change.  She leaves her home in Puget Sound to get away from the horror, the memories, and the relentless glare of publicity that surrounded her husband’s death.

Alone, she drives south and by the second evening finds herself taking a wrong turn in the stark Mojave high desert of interior Southern California.  While mesmerized by the bigger-than-life beauty of a desert sunset, she nearly runs out of gas in the middle of nowhere.  Amid mounting apprehension, she manages to find the odd “Red Rock Inn & Café,” a lost, creepy old resort from some other place and time–where, Irina, a strange emerald-eyed woman materializes and convinces her to stay the night.

She’ll check out early in the morning and be on her way, right?

But by morning, events unravel quickly and Jada finds herself pulled straight into the scene of a bizarre murder.  As she reluctantly tries to make sense of this murder, it’s soon followed by yet another.  And all the while, Jada is being followed by people with varied, surprising and even sinister agendas of their own.

Yes, she may have a knack for solving murders—as psychic Irina seems to know—but in this off-kilter scenario, Jada has her own powerful hunch that the next victim will be her.  And every time she tries to leave this otherworldly place, she finds that somehow she can’t

Madeline

M.M. Gornell is a lifetime lover of mysteries of all types, and her favorite novelist is P. D. James.  Besides reading and writing, she is a potter with a fondness for stoneware and reduction firing.

Also a gardener, she is continually searching for desert adaptable plants to nurture–especially rare fruit trees such as Jujube.

M.M. Gornell lives with her husband and assorted canines in California’s high-desert.  You can visit her online at http://www.mmgornell.com, http://www.mmgornell.wordpress.com, and email her directly at mmgornell@earthlink.net.

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Uncle Si’s Secret by M.M. Gornell

August 9, 2009 at 11:39 pm (Crime Novels, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , )


Short Synopsis

Uncle Si's SecretUncle Si’s Secret

Belinda “Bella” Jones and her brother Bernard, owners of the Cedar Valley Residence, have put their hearts, souls, and a ton of cash into this dream endeavor. Now, after five years of hard work, their charming home is almost full of a lovable cast of residents and there’s just one more building addition they want to do.

But then Lana Norris, a beautiful area resident is brutally murdered on Cedar Valley Trail just a few feet from their property line, and their world turns upside down. Things like this don’t happen in Cedar Valley, and their residents are shocked—and afraid. Overnight their happy place has turned into a jumbled, unfamiliar world. Indeed, residents are checking out, belongings are mysteriously disappearing, the county government is on their back about raspberries of all things, and it seems that nothing will be right again until this homicidal maniac is captured.

Quickly, and to everyone’s relief, the police arrest and charge Kirby Norris, Lana’s husband. He has an alibi, but all the physical evidence points his way; and for motive, there’s a million dollar life insurance policy. It’s enough for the DA to indict, arraign, and bring to trial.

But Kirby swears he’s innocent, and so does his mother, the eerily persistent Olive Norris. She engages a slick defense lawyer, but she also calls in Belinda, a past part-time investigator to find the real killer.

Belinda has had several modest successes in the crime arena, and her possibly psychic chef-brother thinks Kirby is innocent, and worse yet, the real killer is still loose and she should take the job. But once Belinda begins, she enters a turning labyrinth that not even she could foresee. Suddenly there’s another gruesome murder, and some sudden surprises, and Belinda knows that she must solve this one fast—before she, or someone dear to her, becomes the next victim.

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