Russian Roulette by E. E. Smith

Posted August 20, 2014 in Book Review / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Russian Roulette by E. E. SmithRussian Roulette by E.E. Smith
Series: Alexis Smith #3
Also in this series: Death by Misadventure, Bad Blood, Prescription for Murder
Published by Phoenix International on April 18th 2014
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 203
Format: ARC
Source: ARC from publisher
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five-stars

Back in Sacramento again, where the sign on the door of her detective agency reads ALEXIS J. SMITH—Discreet Inquiries, Lexie finds that her old room at Mrs. Snidely's Establishment for Young Ladies (a fancy name for a boardinghouse) has been let to someone else while she was away on a case in England. The new tenant is supposedly a ballerina, and a defector from the Russian Bolshoi, seeking political asylum in this country. But is she? Lexie doubts the story and begins to investigate, determined to get at the truth, while ignoring the danger to herself. 
With that case successfully concluded, she is free to accept another assignment from her friend Inspector Harry Hawkins at Scotland Yard. The case sounds bizarre from the beginning, but gets more so with each turn of events. It seems that a Russian count, a nephew of the late Tzar Nicholas II, is living in exile in Oxfordshire, with his young American bride. In Harry's opinion, the countess is more than a little mad, demanding that Scotland Yard recover her dog, a Russian wolfhound, which she claims has been stolen by—of all people—Humphrey Bogart! It will take all of Lexie's skill and unflinching determination to connect the dots, right up to the deadly conclusion.

Main Points
Writing Style:
I still love the style. It just gets better with each book. I also laughed a lot more in this one than the others. However, there were still some repetitions. Some things never change.
Plot:
Another double mystery! These are getting quite fun. Of course, they always sound so dangerous, but then they happen and you remember, ‘oh, that’s right, Lexie can handle anything’ and it’s all right. Honestly I think these mysteries are really toned down. The bad guys are pretty lenient, and she’s pretty lenient on them. But then sometimes something comes out of nowhere! I actually really did not expect the ending. It was perhaps a bit harsh, in stark contrast with the lenient ending of the first mystery in this book. But when you think about it, it was probably the only thing that could have ‘resolved’ the situation. I don’t want to give too much away.
Lexie’s more tender side came out in this book. When she caught a boy defacing property for a school bully who had forced him to do it, she taught him self defense and didn’t press charges. That made me really happy.
Of course, the situation between Lexie and Harry wasn’t quite as tender. She still doesn’t trust him completely, and they barely spoke at all in this book. Somewhat disappointing! I expect them to get their act together soon.
Another disappointment was the chatterbox Mrs. Snidely, her landlord. She revealed some really important information she shouldn’t have, on more than one occasion! Lexie was smart to stop telling her everything. She really can’t keep her mouth shut and it’s a hazard.
Good vs. Bad
Good:
  • plot
  • characters
  • setting
  • mystery
  • writing
Less than perfect:
  • romance
Bottom Line
The series just keeps getting better and better. Another double mystery in this one, and they certainly seem to be getting more dangerous! More people are beginning to have questionable trustworthiness, and Lexie still manages to keep her cool and handle things well. She’s quite good at her job. I love reading about her solving mysteries. Would I read more by this author? Yes. Would I recommend this to others? Yes.

About E.E. Smith

E. E. Smith lives close to her native San Francisco where, after many years as a playwright, she now writes books and short stories instead of plays. One story was published in Writers’ Forum: Britain’s Best Magazine for Writers, in 2006. The play, WARTIME RECIPES, first performed in Oklahoma City in 1998, was reprised there in 2010. Her first novel, BOARDINGHOUSE STEW, was published in 2009, and the New Edition published in 2011. The second novel, TIMES LIKE THESE, was also published in 2011, and IN LOVE AND WAR, a memoir, was published in 2012. She debuted as a mystery writer with Death by Misadventure in 2013. At least three more books in the series will follow in 2014 and beyond

Rating
Plot
five-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
five-stars
Setting
four-half-stars
Romance
two-half-stars
Cover
four-stars
Ending
five-stars
Overall: five-stars

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2 Comments on "Russian Roulette by E. E. Smith"

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Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf
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This sounds really interesting! I love the sound of the wonderful double (!) mystery because I love when books puzzle my mind and keep me on my feet guessing, and this sounds like it does a great job of that. It’s a shame the romance was a bit lackluster though, but I’m glad everything else was good enough to keep it to a 5 star rating. :) BRILLIANT</b review Alicia – thanks for sharing! <3

Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf
Guest

Oops…sorry about that extra bold text! Forget to put the ending “>” on the bold element! :|

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