Book Review of Destination: Mystery!

An Anthology from Dark House Books edited by Andrew MacRae


While the world and his wife are away on vacation in August, I am stuck at home. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t whisk myself away on an imaginary tour of the best holiday destinations available with this well-seasoned collection of murders and mysteries.

I thoroughly enjoyed this weekend read and I hope you will too. Rather than post spoilers, instead I wanted to share a few of my favorite lines from each. This is no mean feat since the temptation to include a vital clue when spotted is almost irresistible, but here goes.


Arch Rivals by Jack Bates is set on Mackinac Island on Lake Huron:-

“New job, Vic? Jessie asked albeit flirtatiously even though Mirabelle wasn’t one for adverbs.”

Death in the Crease by Wenda Morrone takes place in Copper Falls Ski Resort in Montana

“Erin seemed overeager again. Kip gave her a little headshake, frowning. Get on the same page, people, conspirators were supposed to conspire.”

Plastic Paddies by Rosemary McCracken story is settled in Dublin, Ireland.

“Ma’amoul,” Des said. “Middle Eastern sweets.”

“Not what I’d expected in Ireland,” I said.

Des inclined his head. “Ireland is quite cosmopolitan these days.”

To Put the Monster in its Place by JoAnne Lucas Lake Hughes

“She’d been carrying her flip flops in her hand and now flung them down in the dirt near me. Of course, kinda hard to sneak in with flip flops beating out an announcement.”

Critical Mass by Vinnie Hansen hidden in plain sight of the Santa Cruz coast with more than a couple of witty one-liners.

“You can’t be May Knight,” Hedra pronounced with a dramatic flip of her hand. “Too monosyllabic. Audiences will mistake your name for an evening in May. Use Maybelline.”

Alien by Charlene D’Avanzo on Maine’s rocky coast.

“The cup and saucer Nasim placed in front of me was half the usual size and elegant—black with gold leaf trim. She poured ebony coffee that smelled of cardamom. A plate of dates, some flatbread, and a bowl of hummus sat the middle of the table.”

Pearls of Wisdom by Su Kopil, is set in Charleston, South Carolina

“She had more important things to do like watch the dandelions grow, keep the pile of books on her armchair from teetering over, and there was her dumb cat, Clover, who insisted on being hand fed one kibble at a time.”

Blood Lines by Dennis Palumbo whisks the reader away to the Bahamas, high on my wish list.

“She sat in the overstuffed chair, sunlight splintered into dusty streams by the thick blinds.”

Tis the Season by Caroline Taylor takes us to Carolina coast to a far chillier time of year.

“Sam would not make a very good detective. Oh, he’s all right as the town’s only year-round policeman, but his curiosity quotient is sorely deficient.”

Murder in the Middle of a Battlefield by Brenda Seabrooke happens over in Front Royal, Virginia.

“I didn’t notice the stillness of the room, the unexplained chill, the sudden air current that sucked the curtains into the closed windows and belled them out again.”

Unhappy Trails by John Hegenberger in the State of Ohio.

“That night, I dined alone on pinot grigio and frozen pizza, watched The Big Lombowski and took my headache off to bed.”

The Bride Wore Gold A New Orleans Wedding by Margaret S Hamilton says it all.

“There will be wedding cake,” one of the grandmothers said. “But first, we’re going to have some New Orleans bourbon bread pudding.” She smacked her lips with anticipation.”

Mess with the Bull, Get the Horn by Michael Terlecki’s story is situated in Las Vegas.

“These guys are programmers like me, but they’ve taken it to a whole new level. These guys graduated magna cum laude from The University of Geek, with a PhD in pattern spotting.”

Wrestling with the Noontime Demon by Warren Bull in the Chihuahuan Desert, Mexico.

“You’re pretty ballsy for a little old man in a dress,” said Parker. “But I don’t believe in your God. So there.”

The Letter B by Bern Sy Moss transports the reader to Door County, Wisconsin.

“I was surprised. Grandpa Angelo made it clear he wasn’t pleased with my career choice. He constantly berated me with, ‘Nice girls aren’t detectives and detectives aren’t nice girls.”

Where are you going? By Herschel Cozine finds our final destination at

“During the off-season, the press started up again with speculations about the fate of Jeff Lisbon. Ther supermarket tabloids ran headlines that claimed all sorts of child things about him. ‘Lisbon captured by space aliens. Jeff Lisbon Found in Mental Home in Miami. And one of the most outrageous headlines: Jeff Lisbon has sex change operation in Brazil.’”

Looking back over this before posting, I notice a food theme emerging. That’s the trouble with reading a great book, we forget to eat, too engrossed in meaty stories. I feel this anthology would benefit from a map but there wasn’t one in my e-book download, besides, everyone has the Internet, right?

I would like to thank the authors for increasing my vocabulary with two new words: sniled and Bullsmotch.

But don’t feel too bad for me on my staycation, after all, if you have to be stuck somewhere, where better than sunny [36 degrees Celsius / 97 Fahrenheit ] California?

This book is also available from Amazon


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