Vultures at Twilight is a rather fine murder mystery I m fond of murder mysteries Also, it is set in Connecticut, which isn t too far from where I live, and I am very fond of that state, too This is a good start and with leading ladies who are close to my age, this story has three strikes in its favor right off the bat Good show Lil, Lillian Campbell, was born, raised, wedded, widowed, and raised two girls who no longer live in Grenville, Connecticut We see most of this story through her eyes, her heart, and her sense of place She has a great deal feeling for her best friend Ada, which comes from hidden sensitivities and remembered attractions towards women However, that was not to be considered or pursued and she had loving feelings toward her husband plus very strong feelings towards her town and community, which has comforted her for decades Ada Strauss moved with her husband to Glenville s Pilgrim s Progress gated community for the fairly well off Lil is a next door neighbor and they have become very close friends These are our two amateur sleuths who assist the state police investigator Detective Mattie Perez from the homicide division since a rash of murders have recently plagued sleepy, quiet Glenville Ada is Jewish and Lil is Episcopalian but they go to each other s services because they are such good friends and it has become part of their weekly activities We share Lil s growing awareness that she feels a good deal for Ada than just friendship Yet, it is Ada who kisses Lil first at a really appropriate moment with a heart felt I ve wanted to do that for a long time that was just perfectly magnificent Three cheers for Ada who is one spunky, really smart lady, loving grandmother, and just about the best friend one could hope for From my standpoint, the end of story crisis and conclusion was somewhat obvious, but not a real detraction from the overall book, plot, and wonderfully warm friendship for our sleuthing duo I really enjoyed this book and I am somewhat of a murder mystery aficionado so I feel qualified to forgive the author for an end of book shortcut Oh by the way, the Vultures are antique dealers that are everywhere in Grenville, CT taking advantage of older folks and their precious heirlooms nasty business However, this deserves a thumbs up from me for both the story and the warning to families NOTE This book was provided by the author for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews. I first learned of this series when it was listed with mysteries having women over the age of 50 as crime solvers Lil and Ada are a good team when a series of murders upsets life in their town of antique shops. Liked the mystery, and I also liked that some chapters were first person from one character, but third person for others But, as always, was so annoyed by the behavior of one of the characters that I nearly put the book down SPOILER If there is a series of murders in your small town, and you start getting threatening phone calls saying you re next , WHY in the name of sweet fancy pancakes would you not tell your friend the nice detective about them And then why, knowing that this person knows right where you are, would you get in your car and go out driving, alone, at night, in a terrible storm Sheesh Also, and I realize this is silly, but the author should have asked some women what it feels like to wear heels Any woman could have told him that it doesn t make your calves and ankles burn It makes the balls of your feet and your toes hurt long before you would ever get to burny ankles. Wonderful I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller.The story of murder, mystery murky antique dealings grabs you, and keeps you interested and guessing til the end It shows the dark hidden underbelly of small town life, without being too gratuitous And it s quite a quick read, having a bit of a cozy mystery feel to it in places.But the main selling point are the two main characters Lil Ada They are a truly delightful duo.I ve already ordered the next in the series. Something Wicked Has Come To Grenville Connecticut, A Town Famous For Antiques And The Systematic Fleecing Of Its Well Heeled Elders As They Down Size, Sicken And Die Clearly, Someone Is Unhappy With The Status Quo As High End Antique Dealers Are Being Murdered In Gruesome Yet Fitting Ways When A Severed Finger Shows Up At The Friday Night Auction, Unlikely Heroines Lil Campbell And Ada Strauss Have To Wonder Where S The Rest Of The Body A Question That Leads To Festering Small Town Secrets, And The Unraveling Of A Mystery That Shows All Is Not Well In A Town Famed For Its Postcard Perfect New England Charm For Lil And Ada, Long Time Friends And Neighbors, The Murders Take A Personal Turn As Unspeakable Accusations Are Raised Against Lil S Dead Husband And She Becomes The Focus Of The Killer S Rage And To Make Things Worse Or Better The Two Friends Are Forced To Confront Powerful Feelings For One Another That Threaten Their Idyllic Lives Middle age murder mysteryThis one is a nicely written story, a lot seems geared to an over 50 audience Many of the details are very relatable Emphasis on antiques and collectibles Are possessions worth dying for Another book read. The little town of Glenville, Connecticut is famous for two things its myriad antique shops and its aging population Both subjects are given a lot of thought in this first mystery featuring retired widows Lil Campbell and Ada Strauss The two met eight years before as neighbors in an upscale retirement community and remained close through the deaths of both partners When the story opens, death is upon them again because a close friend and neighbor has just died, leaving Ada executor of her will This is made difficult by the dead woman s vulture like family, who want the estate liquidated quickly, despite the great value of their mother s antique collection Ada consents in good faith, despite the fact that she is worried about having to put her own 91 year old mother in an assisted care facility down the road But then one of the antique appraisers Ada hires to value the collection is murdered and another disappears It seems that even her best friend Lil may be in danger But from who And for what reason It hits home to her that her friendship of many years may be turning into something.Atkins crisp prose dominates the book, with only a couple of plodding bumps I really enjoyed his descriptions of the various antique stores and his opinions of antique dealers But think about it as Lil and Ada have to a huge retirement community is one that feeds antique dealers, but how far will they go to obtain these treasured relics As the police detective Mattie Perez who is sent in to solve the murders says,The real industry is old people, isn t it There seems to be a systematic stripping away of a person s worldly goods like cows being processed for slaughterIt is the beginning of an expose on the retirement industry that may be furthered in the next book In the meantime, we get to meet Lil s and Ada s families and compare them with the vultures who hover around the elderly and dying, hoping for morsels And what we see might not be exactly what Lil or Ada would have wanted us to see.Lil Campbell is the only one in the book whose eyes we see directly through Several other characters including Ada are given to us in the third person There is never a problem figuring out what is going on quite the contrary It just seems clunky and less artistic or effective than it could have been As far as I can determine, Atkins is the first man to be selected as a Lambda Award Finalist in Lesbian Mystery Based on my enjoyment of Vultures at Twilight, he probably deserved it Give this one somewhere around a 3.7 and buy the next one as an e book while the price is right Note I read a used copy of the first hardback printing of this novel.Another Note See my full reviews of over 250 other Lesbian Mystery novels at This book is a decent enough mystery about a spate of murders in the genteel antique business of a Connecticut town, and two spunky women from the local upscale retirement community who help solve it The women are sixtyish I m not sure if that qualifies as late middle age or early old age and both widows, and are likable, if not especially interesting, protagonists And as one of them demonstrates at the ending, being too stupid to live and needing to be rescued from the bad guy isn t just for young folks any The vulture reference in the title refers to the people who swoop in to prey on the old and help divest them of their worldly goods In real life, vultures are completely inoffensive birds who do us all a favor as part of nature s clean up crew They ve gotten a completely bum rap in the symbolism department As for the book itself, if you re the sort of person who likes to check a dozen mysteries out of the library and read them at the rate of one or two a day on a book binge as I have been known to do , go ahead and add this one to the pile Otherwise, you might want to skip it unless you re really into antiques Which I m not. Ada and Lil are both widows and live in a retirement village in Grenville, Connecticut After a friend dies and leaves Ada to handle her estate, she gets drawn into the investigation of a string of murders of antique dealers in the area I really enjoyed the interaction between Ada and Lil They re best friends who ve become to one another over the years of close friendship It s rare in the lesbian or mystery genre to have women in their 50s and 60s as the main characters I liked the fact that they both had strong back stories, but knew that life isn t over just because one gets a few years under the belt I also liked Ada s relationship with her grandson The mystery is solid and the characters very interesting The only strange thing was the shifting of point of view, being first person for Lil, but third for Ada Still, I found it great start to a new series.
Charles Atkins Welcome to my author page I m a board certified psychiatrist, author, and professional speaker I write both fiction and non fiction, including the Barrett Conyors forensic thriller series as well as books on Alzheimer s and Bipolar Disorder My newest series is set in Connecticut and features two female sleuths, who fall in love with one another The first VULTURES AT TWILIGHT S
- 224 pages
- Vultures at Twilight (Campbell & Strauss Mysteries #1)
- Charles Atkins
- 16 April 2017 Charles Atkins