my error. yes, even i have been known to make them. i read ann b. ross's miss julia rocks the cradle thinking it was a murder mystery. it came to me as a gift in a box full of other murder mysteries. why wouldn't i think so? guilt by association.
even though i kept waiting for the murder that never happened (one man does die from a heart attack), i couldn't help but be charmed by miss julia and her household: her husband sam, her ex-husband's mistress hazel marie, and hazel marie's husband, the son, little lloyd, who hazel marie had with miss julia's husband, all knowledgeable and all around helper lillian, her daughter, and the new twins (those who miss julia rocks). i think there was another woman in there someplace. anyway, it is one delightful house full.
there are two slight mysteries. the first one, referred to above, is who is the dead man found in the tool shed? the second one is who has been stealing miss julia's checks and money from her bank account? these are secondary plots when compared with all of the excitement going on in the household of miss julia, this proper, middle aged, southern lady.
as best i can count, this is the thirteenth novel in this north carolina series. it is published by viking and is 210 pages.
writing hints from ms. ross are: she does all of her writing in the morning. she writes five days a week, and says, as all authors do, if you want to be a writer, you have to write. and good news for many, she does not use outlines.
on the other hand, there is no question but that james patterson's cross fire is a murder mystery. i've lost count, but there are six to twelve murders, definitely not heart attacks, as one murderer carves math formulas into his victim's bodies. another works with the precision of the navy seals we've been reading about and admiring lately.
again, it is part of a well developed series. cross fire is the seventeenth book in the series, and is not the newest. it says on the cover that 'alex cross gets married-and kyle craig is back.' no never mind. you do not have to be familiar with the series or read this in order with the other alex cross novels. it stands alone. and stand well. it was bill clinton who said that james patterson is his favorite author. maybe he said his favorite novel writer, as i'm sure clinton did and does more serious reading.
the novels starts with kyle craig, alex cross's one time friend turned arch enemy, getting so much plastic surgery in cuba that he has no trouble taking over the job of a well known f.b.i. stalwart max segal. somehow he is assigned to the same case, alex cross is working on, the murders by snipers of so-called respectable bad guys all over d.c.
little, brown, and co. are the publishers. the novel is 356 pages.
we'll have to re-define genres. there is no way that miss julia rocks thecradle and cross fire can be fit under the same rubric, though both are enjoyable and written by authors with a sure hand.