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Murder, Romance, And An Inconvenient Doctor

Though I’m not very good at figuring out a good whodunit, I always enjoy trying. The Pier (iUniverse, $15.95) offered good material for my armchair sleuthing. Louisville author Bill Noel’s second installment in the Folly Beach Mystery series revisits Chris Landrum, a new retiree who has just settled into his South Carolina home after moving from Kentucky. Landrum had hoped for a quiet, uneventful retirement with plenty of time to pursue photography. However, after solving a crime before the local police, Landrum earned quite a reputation among the quirky island residents. Now, when a Charleston antique dealer’s body washes ashore, the police immediately deem it a suicide, but friends of the victim aren’t convinced. Much to his dismay, Landrum is back to his detective work. Was it murder? Landrum’s own life may be in danger if he uncovers the truth.

Much like Chris Landrum, Nick Stewart relocates to make some life changes in Sleepy Valley (Tate Publishing, $18.99), by Kentucky Summers author Tim Callahan. Stewart’s marriage has just ended, and he feels the need for quiet solitude. Leaving his Chicago life behind, Stewart plans to start over in Sleepy Valley, a village just outside the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Quiet solitude is apparently not on the agenda, though, of the friendly village folk who insist on getting to know the newcomer. With two women in pursuit and a new puppy who also wants all his attention, Stewart’s life is anything but solitary. He soon discovers that God’s plan for him is far different than his own. I found it interesting, and sometimes humorous, to read a romance written from a male perspective, giving us girls a look at perhaps what men wish women would say or do.

Joan Sanderson is the middle child, the rational one, the calm one, the one who does what others expect of her in Stuck in the Middle (Revell, $13.99), by Frankfort author Virginia Smith. She’s 25, single, and living with her mother and grandmother in the family home in Danville. Her career as manager of a furniture rental store isn’t exciting, but it is comfortable. Joan’s grandmother is quickly becoming less independent so when a doctor moves in next door, Joan hopes he will help look after her. She just didn’t expect him to be so attractive…or so outspoken about his faith. Her routine life may just get shaken up a bit, but what will be affected more, her social life or her faith as the doctor urges her to examine her own beliefs?

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