Book review: Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces

  • Title and author:  Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #5) by Iain Reading
  • Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Date published:  February 14, 2015
  • Pages:  238
  • Genre:  mystery / thriller / women sleuths / YA fiction

Book description:

Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces is the eagerly anticipated fifth instalment of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency book series. This series features the intrepid teenage seaplane pilot and amateur detective Kitty Hawk as she continues in the footsteps of Nancy Drew and Amelia Earhart on her epic flight around the world. (But why is she wearing a superhero costume?!?)

After meeting up with an old friend in the eternal city of Rome, Kitty Hawk unexpectedly stumbles (almost literally) into a bizarre mystery involving creepy disembodied voices, secret hidden rooms, unbreakable mathematical codes, ominous chain-smoking strangers and an array of plundered artworks by such famous masters as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Vincent van Gogh – all of it wrapped up and entwined in an enigmatic riddle hanging in plain sight right in front of everyone’s noses. With the help of friends both old and new, Kitty Hawk follows a trail of cryptic clues that leads her on a breathless tour across a quintessentially European landscape – from ancient Roman Italy to the darkest corners of Germany, Austria and beyond.

As with the previous books in the series, this new installment is perfect for firing the imaginations of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history, this exhilarating adventure will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they attempt to help Kitty Hawk try and solve the extraordinarily bizarre Mystery of the Masterpieces.

There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5).

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

For more information, go to http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/

Buy the book:   Amazon    Barnes & Noble

About the author:

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club.

To learn more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/

Connect with the author:    Website    Facebook    Twitter    Kitty Hawk Website

REVIEW:  

Kitty is now in Rome where she will be meeting Charlie, her friend from Alaska.  A chance encounter with a thief, a walnut vendor and a scraped leg launch both of them into a totally unexpected international intrigue.  We are introduced to Matteo and his two sisters, Vega and Giulia.

As Charlie and Kitty are getting to know their new Italian friends, Kitty is admiring the paintings in their home.  After having just visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, she has a “feeling” that these paintings may be authentic.  No way.  Yes way.  Not only are the paintings authentic but the “plot thickens” as Matteo’s house is broken into and they discover that their father’s home has a secret room housing a radio and transmitter which is still transmitting code.

As with all Iain Readings books, we explore history, literature, art, music and this time cryptography.  It was fascinating to learn how codes are written and deciphered.  We were also taken on a tour of Dachau and learn some interesting details about Nazi Germany.

I just visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam recently and could relate to everything they were talking about in the book. As with the first four books, this book is divided into 54 short chapters which makes reading this book such a breeze (mind you, you probably won’t want to put it down – it’s way too exciting!)

Another super interesting Kitty Hawk mystery that will keep up well past your bedtime!  I’m sad that there isn’t another book in the series.  I’m sooo hooked!

Book review: In This Grave Hour: (Maisie Dobbs Series #13) by Jacqueline Winspear

About In This Grave Hour

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper (March 14, 2017)

“A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander.”†ó Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air, on Maisie Dobbs

Sunday September 3rd 1939. At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain’s declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs’ flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.

In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered. And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the last war,” a new kind of refugee – an evacuee from London – appears in Maisie’s life. The little girl billeted at Maisie’s home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know who the child belongs to or who might have put her on the ìOperation Pied Piper evacuee train. They know only that her name is Anna.

As Maisie’s search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come. Britain is approaching its gravest hour – and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.

Purchase Links for In This Grave Hour

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Jacqueline WinspearAbout Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series, which includes†In†This Grave Hour,Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, and eight other novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller and a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

Find out more about Jacqueline at her website, www.jacquelinewinspear.com, and find her on Facebook.

REVIEW:

WW II is looming and Maisie and her fellow Londoners are preparing for life under siege from the Germans.  Sandra and Billy, Maisie’s employees are back again at Maisie’s newly renovated office and she has re-opened her business as a private investigator.  She soon receives a request to solve a murder from an unusual source, a secret service officer from Belgium.  She needs to prevent further murders and pulls in a few favours from Scotland Yard to assist her as she must tread lightly when investigating in diplomatic circles.

At the same time, children are being sent out of London to be billeted in the countryside for safety reasons.  Several children are lodged at Chelstone, Maisie’s home outside of London.  A little dark skinned girl mysteriously appears with a group of boys and no one has been able to identify who she is or where she came from. Maisie is drawn to this little girl whose name is Anna and is determined to find her family.   Maisie’s father, Frankie and his wife Brenda are beginning to worry that Maisie is developing a stronger than normal attachment to Anna and don’t want her to be hurt when her family is found.

I really loved the way the author uses language that was common to the era. Several of the expressions were quite amusing and the characters that we know from the previous novels appear in this one as well. It’s been a pleasure to follow Maisie from a young girl to a mature woman, through one war and now into another.  I suspect there is another story in the works and can’t wait to read about happens next.

Book review: Journey to Munich: (Maisie Dobbs Series #12) by Jacqueline Winspear

  • Publisher:  Harper Collins
  • Publication date:  March 29, 2016
  • Genre:  mystery / crime / detective / suspense
  • Pages:  309

Description:

Working with the British Secret Service on an undercover mission, Maisie Dobbs is sent to Hitler’s Germany in this thrilling tale of danger and intrigue—the twelfth novel in Jacqueline Winspear’s New York Times bestselling “series that seems to get better with each entry” (Wall Street Journal).

It’s early 1938, and Maisie Dobbs is back in England. On a fine yet chilly morning, as she walks towards Fitzroy Square—a place of many memories—she is intercepted by Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane of the Secret Service. The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member. Because the man’s wife is bedridden and his daughter has been killed in an accident, the Secret Service wants Maisie—who bears a striking resemblance to the daughter—to retrieve the man from Dachau, on the outskirts of Munich.

The British government is not alone in its interest in Maisie’s travel plans. Her nemesis—the man she holds responsible for her husband’s death—has learned of her journey, and is also desperate for her help.

Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, Maisie encounters unexpected dangers—and finds herself questioning whether it’s time to return to the work she loved. But the Secret Service may have other ideas. . . .

Buy the book:   Amazon    Barnes & Noble   Harper Collins

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series, which includes In This Grave Hour, Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, and eight other novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller and a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

Connect with the author:  Website   Facebook 

REVIEW:

This a very different storyline from the other Maisie Dobb novels. Maisie has returned to England after a brief sojourn in Gibraltar and Spain. She is grieving the loss of her husband and unborn child and is at odds with herself, especially as she no longer runs her investigation agency. Her longtime and closest friend Priscilla takes Maisie under wing as Maisie tries to come to terms with her life.

An unusual request from the British government presents itself as Maisie is requested to go to Germany on a special assignment. Her skills as an investigator and psychologist will prove to be her greatest assets. Her cut-and-dry assignment spirals out of control and she must rely on her “secret service” training to protect herself. She unexpectedly finds that she becomes a pawn in an international game of cat-and-mouse between Hitler’s henchman and Great Britain.

This segment of the Maisie Dobbs novels was one of the most intense so far.