The Big Brush-off (A Jake & Laura Mystery #4)
The irresistible Jake & Laura return in Michael Murphy's witty, fast-paced mystery series—perfect for readers of Dorothy Cannell and Christopher Fowler. In The Big Brush-off, the charming and indomitable duo heads to the Midwest to solve a chilling cold case of a young girl's murder.Blackie Doyle is dying. That's what Jake Donovan's literary agent tells him. Sales are falling, and the rough draft of Jake's latest Blackie novel doesn't look promising. Maybe Jake has been distracted by a recent barrage of real-life homicides, or by his marriage to the beautiful up-and-coming actress Laura Wilson, now slated for a part opposite Clark Gable himself. Whatever the reason, Jake decides to return to his roots. Which is why he and Laura hop the next train to the small town in Pennsylvania where Jake once worked as a Pinkerton detective.Ten years ago, the murder of a teenage girl interrupted life in quiet, God-fearing Hanover. The unsolved case has always gnawed at Jake, and it seems no coincidence that as soon as he starts digging up old ghosts, he's once again writing like a dervish. Nor is it surprising that some townfolk would rather see the truth stay buried—and maybe even Jake and Laura with it. But the glamorous crime-solving pair refuse to leave before sorting through a bevy of suspects—and at long last nailing the one who almost got away with the not-so-perfect crime.Praise for Michael Murphy's Jake & Laura mysteries“Glittering with a hint of Nick and Nora, Michael Murphy's 1930s Manhattan provides a witty setting for murder and mayhem.”—Mary Daheim, bestselling author of The Alpine Yeoman, on The Yankee Club“[Jake and Laura] are fun, witty, and charming, and [All That Glitters] is filled with the same kind of 1930s Hollywood glamour that made the film of The Thin Man such a classic.”—Popcorn Reads“The third installment in Murphy's series is just as much fun as the first. The mystery is full of twists with an ample amount of red herrings, suspects, and action.”—Mystery Please!, on Wings in the Dark

The Big Brush-off (A Jake & Laura Mystery #4) Details

TitleThe Big Brush-off (A Jake & Laura Mystery #4)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 9th, 2016
PublisherAlibi
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical Mystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Crime

The Big Brush-off (A Jake & Laura Mystery #4) Review

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    Jack & Laura are back in a new adventure!In this book, Jack and Laura travel to Hanover, Pennsylvania, because Jack needs somewhere where he can start a new Blackie Doyle book. His agent Mildred has strictly told him that he must write a really good book or less his contract won't be renewed. But Jack also has another reason for choosing Hanover as the town to stay as he writes his first chapters. Jack's last case for Pinkerton was in Hanover. And, the last case is a case that he has never f Jack & Laura are back in a new adventure!In this book, Jack and Laura travel to Hanover, Pennsylvania, because Jack needs somewhere where he can start a new Blackie Doyle book. His agent Mildred has strictly told him that he must write a really good book or less his contract won't be renewed. But Jack also has another reason for choosing Hanover as the town to stay as he writes his first chapters. Jack's last case for Pinkerton was in Hanover. And, the last case is a case that he has never forgotten because it was never solved. A young woman was killed and her killer was never caught. Could Jack after ten years finally find the killer? It was great to return to the 30s and once again read another Jack & Laura mystery. For one thing, I love movies from this period and the fact that Laura is an actress that's working with some of the biggest names of the time is marvelous. And, that she seems to have a past history with William Powell is interesting. Now she is slated to star against Clark Gable, unfortunately, he was never in this book. But perhaps in the next book...The mystery of a murdered teenager girl is tragic, especially since the killer has never been caught. And, now the time is running out for the girl's mother who is dying. But taking on this case is not easy for Jack, most of the townspeople want him to quit trying to find the killer and open up old wounds and he has a very important book to write. But he is not the one to give up.This is the kind of charming adventure book I love to read. I do wish that it had been more Hollywood stars in this book. I love cameos from known actors. And, the one I'm most looking to see beside William Power is Humphrey Bogart. I know, Laura is going to star alongside Clark Gable, and that will be interesting. But. Bogart in this series, well wouldn't it be perfect when you think about what kind of movies he starred in?One thing I really enjoyed was getting to know Mildred, Jack's agent, better. She has always been a tough dame, but learning more about her and her life really made me like her very much. This was a good book, I liked the case more than the last book, probably because it was more personal for Jack and also because it was not easy to figure out who the killer was. 3.5 starsI want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
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  • The Shayne-Train
    January 1, 1970
    Another amazingly-written home run for Michael Murphy. This series does not lose any of its cool as it progresses. Jake and Laura are back with a vengeance, this time cleaning up some things Jake left unfinished from his old Pinkerton days.I said in the review of book #3 that it doesn't matter where these books are set, that the characters bring noir excitement and thrilling whodunits with them where ever they go. I was proved o so very right by this installment, set in a small bucolic town, far Another amazingly-written home run for Michael Murphy. This series does not lose any of its cool as it progresses. Jake and Laura are back with a vengeance, this time cleaning up some things Jake left unfinished from his old Pinkerton days.I said in the review of book #3 that it doesn't matter where these books are set, that the characters bring noir excitement and thrilling whodunits with them where ever they go. I was proved o so very right by this installment, set in a small bucolic town, far from the grime, glitz, and beauty of previous locales.I await the next book with barely contained excitement. More, Mr. Murphy, I demand MORE!
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  • Sophia
    January 1, 1970
    I am so grateful to have this book pointed out to me or I might not have encountered this delightful historical mystery series involving the colorful and brilliant detecting pair, Jake and Laura. The author drew me in to their mid-1930's era world where this newly married pair brush shoulders with iconic historical figures of the time in their respective roles of best-selling writer and movie starlet making them even more exciting mystery solvers. Hard-boiled detective fiction meets cheeky roman I am so grateful to have this book pointed out to me or I might not have encountered this delightful historical mystery series involving the colorful and brilliant detecting pair, Jake and Laura. The author drew me in to their mid-1930's era world where this newly married pair brush shoulders with iconic historical figures of the time in their respective roles of best-selling writer and movie starlet making them even more exciting mystery solvers. Hard-boiled detective fiction meets cheeky romantic comedy in this superbly written series.This was book four, but I had no trouble diving into this latest of Jake & Laura's adventures into detection. My only disappointment was having only just discovered them, but that can be fixed when I go back for the earlier books that cover the beginnings of their pairing as a couple and a detecting pair.The story opens with Jake and Laura in NYC city while she is between films and Jake must meet his editor over his lack-luster start to the latest Blackie Doyle book. They are also there to rest and see old friends. Jake loves his wife and is so very proud and supportive of her as an actress who has achieved success, but he also is struggling balancing supporting her career while doing well at his own. His writing has suffered and now he is on the verge of losing his contract if he can't reconnect with his character and the world of his book. He is given an ultimatum from his editor.Besides, Jake's need to focus on the latest book, he is approached by people from his past. His last case as a Pinkerton detective weighs heavily on him because he had to walk away to take care of his dying dad. The case was handed over to others, but remains unsolved ten years later. Laura knows him so well and determines that they will head to small-town Hanover, PA for Jake to write his book with less distractions and she can poke about to see what might turn up in the unsolved murder. Jake knows better than to tell Laura not to look into the young girl's murder and finds that his attention is divided between his book and the case.I enjoyed this slow burn mystery that had a broader focus than a detective solving a murder. There is the ongoing story of Jake and Laura's relationship as they figure out how to find balance in their life together, reconciling the past, and immersing in the story surrounding the mystery. It was neat that Jake's writing of the Blackie Doyle hard-boiled detective stories wasn't just brushed over and that Laura's career situation had some limelight, too. They banter and are a charismatic pair. Loved Jake as the narrator and how he saw the world around him including his witty and beautiful wife.Time was taken to introduce the old case when the young girl Katie was killed, the players that are all still around, and the setting. The small-town characters were well-drawn. I particularly enjoyed the dynamics of life at the inn where Jake and Laura stayed. Freddie the son of the proprietor was a hoot.The mystery itself was a cozy one compared to others in the series since it's a cold case one. I found myself guessing at the solution until near the end. I enjoy it when I am kept baffled like that.As to the time period, the authentic feel of setting, society, dialogue, and the fun inclusion of known figures was a definite plus.All in all, this was an abso-fab introduction for me to a new series to love. I have already added the whole series to my list and look forward to finding time catching up on Jake and Laura from the beginning. I recommend this series to those who enjoy historical mysteries, but particularly those who enjoy following along with a charming, romantic detective team to solve them.My thanks to Random House for providing the book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Elaine
    January 1, 1970
    The brilliant writing continues by this highly talented mystery writer! This author has a witty, era appropriate writing style which draws the reader into the time and scenarios, making you feel as though you are there witnessing and partaking in events. There are references to people and events from that time (though not as many as in earlier novels) and it all blends superbly to make this a fantastic murder mystery that keeps you guessing.In this story, Jake and Laura are married and Laura is The brilliant writing continues by this highly talented mystery writer! This author has a witty, era appropriate writing style which draws the reader into the time and scenarios, making you feel as though you are there witnessing and partaking in events. There are references to people and events from that time (though not as many as in earlier novels) and it all blends superbly to make this a fantastic murder mystery that keeps you guessing.In this story, Jake and Laura are married and Laura is proving to be highly successful in Hollywood films whilst Jake’s writing has deteriorated to the point that his publisher is giving him a last chance to produce a new novel worthy of his talent. At the same time, he is reminded of his last case as a Pinkerton Detective, the murder of a teenage girl that remains unsolved. The victim’s mother is terminally ill and hopes Jake will resume his investigations and discover the perpetrator before she dies. When the couple stay in the small town where the murder happened to attend the memorial service in her honour they are greeted with very mixed reactions as many people seem reluctant to discuss the past and discover the murderer in their midst.The novel has all the angst and turmoil, twists and turns, red herrings, danger and adversity packed into an enthralling, intriguing investigation. As the couple work independently and together, there are other issues, too as their relationship and work both impact on events. With a convoluted, well developed plot and great characters, it is a tumultuous, astounding story which I have no hesitation in highly recommending, a must for anyone who enjoys murder mysteries and thrillers!Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for this, an honest review.
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  • Marlene
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published at Reading RealityBy this point in Jake and Laura’s life, and the Jake and Laura mystery series, our heroes have come a long way from their hard-knocks childhoods in Queens.And while the fame and fortune is wonderful, it unfortunately also means that Jake Donovan seems to have lost his ability to channel Blackie Doyle, the struggling private eye who is the hero of his best-selling mystery series.At the beginning, Jake was Blackie, a former cop and former Pinkerton detective Originally published at Reading RealityBy this point in Jake and Laura’s life, and the Jake and Laura mystery series, our heroes have come a long way from their hard-knocks childhoods in Queens.And while the fame and fortune is wonderful, it unfortunately also means that Jake Donovan seems to have lost his ability to channel Blackie Doyle, the struggling private eye who is the hero of his best-selling mystery series.At the beginning, Jake was Blackie, a former cop and former Pinkerton detective who did his best to get justice, or at least closure, for clients who were every bit as down on their luck as Blackie. And Jake.But now that Jake’s wife Laura is a Hollywood star, Jake and Laura are living the high life. And Jake has been too caught up in taking care of Laura to take care of his own career.It takes a wake-up visit to his literary agent to make Jake see that something has to change. He either needs to find Blackie again, or give up his career and settle for a well-heeled life as “Mr. Wilson”. Jake loves his wife, and he is pretty understanding that her Hollywood career, while it lasts, will make her much more famous than his literary career ever will him. But he’s not willing to go through life as just her appendage, either.So, Jake (and Blackie) do what so many struggling detectives do when they can’t get back on track. Jake and Laura return to the small town in Pennsylvania where Jake worked his last case as a Pinkerton. A case that he spectacularly failed to solve.Jake’s life took a different track after leaving Hanover, Pennsylvania, and leaving Mary Caldwell in the lurch over the murder of her teenaged daughter. Now Mary is dying, and Jake needs a place to find Blackie again. What Jake isn’t willing to admit is that he needs to close that case to get Blackie back on track.As Jake gets reacquainted with the town, and Laura pokes her nose into the town’s gossip circuit, too many people attempt to run them out of town, with or without a rail. In the intervening 10 years, the former suspects have become the mainstays of the struggling town, and no one wants to see their gravy train disrupted.Can Jake and Laura figure out who the killer is before someone kills them by mistake?Escape Rating B+: This entry in the series is every bit as much fun as the previous books (start with The Yankee Club to get the flavor of where Jake and Laura began). But The Big Brush-Off is a bit different. In the earlier books, especially All That Glitters: A Jake & Laura Mystery and Wings in the Dark: A Jake & Laura Mystery, the author inserts real historical personages and events into the mystery in order to cement the 1930s setting.The Big Brush-Off takes place almost entirely in Hanover. The most famous person in Hanover is Laura. So in this case the author uses telegrams from Hollywood and discussions of Laura’s next film, (possibly co-starring with Clark Gable!), as a way of establishing the period. And it works.This story is in one of the classic detective genre tropes. The detective goes back to solve the case that got away. He thinks he’s providing closure to someone else, but in reality he is redeeming himself. Jake needs to find the killer to move on with his own life. It’s an added benefit that Mary gets to see her daughter’s killer brought to justice before she herself dies, and that the innocent suspects see the cloud of suspicion removed from their lives.Because Jake and Laura have done well financially, the Depression hasn’t affected them much. Part of the way that the author establishes the setting in The Big Brush-Off is that Jake sees just how much the Depression has taken away from what he remembered as a lovely and prosperous little town.It’s terrific to see the way that Jake and Laura work together. He lays most of the groundwork, but Laura is the one who gets closest to figuring out who the killer is. And even then, she’s just slightly off target.Speaking of Jake and Laura working together, one of the things that is very well done is the way that Jake expresses his need to have a career of his own without resorting to stereotypes, sexist or otherwise. His worthfulness, or worthlessness, is never dependent on Laura or her career. At the same time he supports her absolutely. and never tries to cut her down to make himself feel better. While that attitude may be more 21st century than early 20th, it still felt good.
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    Yay, Jake and Laura are back. There's not a lot of name dropping this time as the scene is set in a small town. They are the ones who's names are being dropped. This time, Jake's novels are becoming lackluster and he's being asked to look into a ten year old cold case. And no one in this small town wants a ten year old murder being brought back up.Of course, Jake and Laura are their gracious selves, and conduct their lives inn the Hollywood way they've come to live by. Laura is being pestered to Yay, Jake and Laura are back. There's not a lot of name dropping this time as the scene is set in a small town. They are the ones who's names are being dropped. This time, Jake's novels are becoming lackluster and he's being asked to look into a ten year old cold case. And no one in this small town wants a ten year old murder being brought back up.Of course, Jake and Laura are their gracious selves, and conduct their lives inn the Hollywood way they've come to live by. Laura is being pestered to go back to LA, but will have nothing to do with it. She is going to help Jake figure out this mystery. Hollywood will wait for her, she says throwing back her scarf. HA!!So it's another fun journey with one of my favorite couples while they try to figure out which of their four suspects killed a teenage girl ten years ago. As always, the story was entertaining, fun and enjoyable. I always look forward to Jake and Laura and now have to sit back and patiently wait for the next one. Thanks to Random House/Alibi for approving my request, to Michael Murphy for reminding me and to Net Galley for providing me with the free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. You simply must read this series dahling! HA!
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    The story takes place in the 1930’s during the days of gumshoes, dames, wise guys and broads, using a reliable formula in Ellery Queen fashion. My first foray into the world of Mike Murphy’s Jake & Laura Mysteries was an enjoyable one. Multiple suspects with plausible motives along with some red herrings thrown in kept me guessing until the end. Crime-fighting Jake and Laura make for unlikely team but turn out to be perfect partners as they race against time to solve a 10-year old cold case The story takes place in the 1930’s during the days of gumshoes, dames, wise guys and broads, using a reliable formula in Ellery Queen fashion. My first foray into the world of Mike Murphy’s Jake & Laura Mysteries was an enjoyable one. Multiple suspects with plausible motives along with some red herrings thrown in kept me guessing until the end. Crime-fighting Jake and Laura make for unlikely team but turn out to be perfect partners as they race against time to solve a 10-year old cold case as a favor to the victim’s dying mother.
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  • Linda Baker
    January 1, 1970
    Everything seems to be going Laura's way in her acting career. She has a couple of big movies under her belt and is in demand for even more prestigious projects. On the other hand, Jake's writing career is in danger. Despite several best-sellers his editor, Mildred, feels that Jake has lost touch with his gumshoe hero, Blackie Doyle. She has rejected his rough draft of the first few chapters of a new book and demanded a re-write. He has one chance to prove himself or lose his contract with Empir Everything seems to be going Laura's way in her acting career. She has a couple of big movies under her belt and is in demand for even more prestigious projects. On the other hand, Jake's writing career is in danger. Despite several best-sellers his editor, Mildred, feels that Jake has lost touch with his gumshoe hero, Blackie Doyle. She has rejected his rough draft of the first few chapters of a new book and demanded a re-write. He has one chance to prove himself or lose his contract with Empire Publishing.Jake thinks that returning to his roots as a Pinkerton Detective may give him the boost that he needs. One case has always been at the back of his mind; that of teenage Katie Caldwell. Katie was murdered in her own bedroom ten years earlier. Jake had worked on the case then but was called away when his father suffered a stroke. Now Katie's mother is asking him to take another look.There were plenty of suspects at the time, most of whom are still around in the small town of Hanover, PA. Jake and Laura hop a train to Hanover, but surprisingly, no one is very interested in solving the case and some are actively opposed.Anyone with a weakness for the screwball comedies and crime films of the 1930's (like me) should enjoy the Jake and Laura Mysteries. The couple is very well off in an era when most Americans are not, but neither has forgotten their hard-scrabble beginnings. They are well aware of how lucky they have both been. The Big Brush-Off is well grounded with lots of period detail and two likable protagonists, and a mystery with plenty of twists and turns. I highly recommend the series for fans of historical mysteries and those who enjoy "Nick and Nora Charles" type banter.Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Alibi for an advance digital copy in return for an honest review.RATING- 4 Stars
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    A Hollywood Couple Solve a Small Town MysteryTen years ago, Jake left Hanover, Pennsylvania with the unsolved murder of a teenage girl behind him. His father had a stroke and needed him. Today with his writing career on the skids, Jake is faced with the mother of the girl. She's dying and wants him to come back and solve the case to give her closure. Jake is undecided. Laura has just finished a film and needs to return to Hollywood, and he needs to work on his novel, but the desire to finish the A Hollywood Couple Solve a Small Town MysteryTen years ago, Jake left Hanover, Pennsylvania with the unsolved murder of a teenage girl behind him. His father had a stroke and needed him. Today with his writing career on the skids, Jake is faced with the mother of the girl. She's dying and wants him to come back and solve the case to give her closure. Jake is undecided. Laura has just finished a film and needs to return to Hollywood, and he needs to work on his novel, but the desire to finish the case is very strong. At Laura's insistence, they return to Hanover to find a very different town. It's the height of the depression and the town isn't too pleased at the idea of the murder investigation being reopened. Jake and Laura are wonderful characters. They are a good husband and wife team, loving and supporting each other. The setting is true to the era. Jake remembers the town as a prosperous small town with happy, friendly residents. When he returns, the town is shabby and the residents surly. I very much enjoyed the book. It was like watching an old movie. The mystery was all right, but the real emphasis was on the interesting characters. If you like cozy mysteries this is a good one. I received the book from Alibi for this review.
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  • Lisa B.
    January 1, 1970
    Jack is a former detective turned author. His writing career has hit a bit of a road block, and he needs to get his mojo back. Jake is married to Laura, an actress. Laura’s career has really taken off and she’s in hot demand. Jake’s publisher thinks he needs to escape the Hollywood high life in order to get his writing career back on track. To do this, Jake and Laura return to small town Hanover. Together they work to solve a murder mystery that Jake had to walk away from 10 years earlier withou Jack is a former detective turned author. His writing career has hit a bit of a road block, and he needs to get his mojo back. Jake is married to Laura, an actress. Laura’s career has really taken off and she’s in hot demand. Jake’s publisher thinks he needs to escape the Hollywood high life in order to get his writing career back on track. To do this, Jake and Laura return to small town Hanover. Together they work to solve a murder mystery that Jake had to walk away from 10 years earlier without finding the killer.This was a fun read! Light, fast paced, funny and good suspense. I really liked both Jake and Laura. They work well together and have each others backs. Both are smart and quick witted. The story is written in the time of gumshoes and dames and in my mind I was seeing Humphey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.I jumped into this series at book #4 and still found this to be an enjoyable read. I definitely want to keep up with future adventures of these two very likeable characters.Many thanks to Alibi Publishing, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.
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  • Barb
    January 1, 1970
    Blackie Doyle's life is in danger and only Jake can save him. This latest installment in the Jake & Laura series finds them returning to Jake's roots in Hanover, Pennsylvania, where he once worked for the famous Pinkerton Agency. While he tries to close the books on an unsolved crime from years ago, Blackie's fate hangs in the balance. I can't think of a better way to end the year than by reading more about one of my favorite literary crime-solving teams, and this year was no exception. I lo Blackie Doyle's life is in danger and only Jake can save him. This latest installment in the Jake & Laura series finds them returning to Jake's roots in Hanover, Pennsylvania, where he once worked for the famous Pinkerton Agency. While he tries to close the books on an unsolved crime from years ago, Blackie's fate hangs in the balance. I can't think of a better way to end the year than by reading more about one of my favorite literary crime-solving teams, and this year was no exception. I love the way Jake and Laura work together, and the way Mr. Murphy adds historical detail and characters to make the story even better. I was pleasantly surprised that this book is set primarily in Hanover, PA, which is close to where I live. Who doesn't enjoy reading a book set near home? I look forward to finding out where the next book in this series takes us readers :)I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • PopcornReads
    January 1, 1970
    You may recall that I read Book #2 in Michael Murphy’s Depression Era mystery series, All That Glitters, first and liked it so much that I went back and read Book #1, The Yankee Club. Now Book #3 is out, The Big Brush-Off, and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of shenanigans our ex-Pinkerton agent turned mystery author and Broadway-turned-Hollywood starlet would get into next. If you haven’t read Books #1 or #2, links to our reviews of those appear at the end of this article. If you like clever r You may recall that I read Book #2 in Michael Murphy’s Depression Era mystery series, All That Glitters, first and liked it so much that I went back and read Book #1, The Yankee Club. Now Book #3 is out, The Big Brush-Off, and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of shenanigans our ex-Pinkerton agent turned mystery author and Broadway-turned-Hollywood starlet would get into next. If you haven’t read Books #1 or #2, links to our reviews of those appear at the end of this article. If you like clever repartee mixed with a fun historical whodunit and a bit of glamour mixed in then this series is going to make your day. Read the rest of my review at http://popcornreads.com/?p=8917.
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  • Jay Williams
    January 1, 1970
    Each of the Jake and Laura books is a great read, and this is one of the best. The scene shifts from the glamour of Hollywood to New York and rural Pennsylvania, Embedded in a great mystery surrounding a decade-old crime is an analysis of the relationship Jake has to the world and to Laura, as his convictions are tested. It is definitely a deeper insight into Jake than previous books in this series.
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  • Katherine
    January 1, 1970
    Net galley!Awesome! Please keep them coming Michael Murphy! Looking forward to what comes next for Jake & Laura!
  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    Though these books do not push any boundaries, they are fun to read. The characters are well-drawn and fit in perfectly to the millieu.
  • James William
    January 1, 1970
    A Michael Murphy Jake & Laura mystery always takes me to a time when problems could be solved with a right cross or a quick wit.
  • Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.5 of 5Over the course of the last two years I've read and reviewed over 200 books. I would say that most of them have been better than average and I've read some that have really interested me in some new authors and/or series'. But one of my absolute favorites is the 'Jake & Laura Mystery' series by Michael Murphy. I will drop everything to read a Jake & Laura story.But every series has its ups and downs. The mark of a This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.5 of 5Over the course of the last two years I've read and reviewed over 200 books. I would say that most of them have been better than average and I've read some that have really interested me in some new authors and/or series'. But one of my absolute favorites is the 'Jake & Laura Mystery' series by Michael Murphy. I will drop everything to read a Jake & Laura story.But every series has its ups and downs. The mark of a true fan is one who sticks with a series through the bumps and still finds the positive points in the book. That's how I see this book.Jake Donovan's "Blackie Doyle" book series sales are slipping. Jake's editor dismisses the latest manuscript and tells him he needs to start over but he really needs to focus and get back to what made Blackie Doyle so popular in the first place. So Jake and his famous-actress-wife Laura get on a train and head for a small Pennsylvania town where Jake once worked as a Pinkerton man. The town still has a murder case that's gone unsolved for a decade. A murder case that Jake once worked on. And on the anniversary of the murder of the teen-aged girl, there are some who hope Jake can finally solve the crime, but too many who seem to be doing everything they can to stop the investigation. But what Jake really wants to do is write his next best-seller.This fourth book in the Jake & Laura Mystery series takes on much more of a classic 'who-dunnit' mystery, which is just a little bit of a departure for the series. Heading to a small town to solve a ten-year old murder ... no famous actors or musicians or politicians or socialites ... with some folks who almost come out of Mayberry is a departure, not just for the reader, but for Jake and Laura, too.This reads like a cozy mystery. Although there is a murder, it happened ten years ago, and the leading suspects back then are still around and Jake still hasn't ruled them out - even though one of them, a reverend, is the one asking Jake to solve the case. Nothing too terrible happens here ... some threats, some bullying, but the biggest danger is whether or not Jake's new manuscript will become a bestseller.While I can't really help but compare it to the other books in the series, even if we look at it as a stand-alone novel, there are a few small issues I have with this volume. First, it was pretty clear to me who the culprit was going to be. I am not the most educated mystery reader (I've often been surprised by mystery resolutions where others report on how evident it was early on). But mostly, I was a little tired of reading, over and over, Jake telling people he was not there to solve the mystery, but to write his book. It felt as though every character he met he had to tell them the same thing. It is one of the memories I take away with me after reading the book, which is not the way we want to leave a book.The irony is not lost on me that a book about a writer who needs to 'return to his roots' or to put his character back into the sorts of situations that he's most famous for, is precisely the same situation that I feel Michael Murphy is in here. Part of the great appeal of the Jake and Laura books has been the famous historical figures with whom they've rubbed elbows. Whether it's giving song advice to a famous song writer, or aviation advice to a famous aviator, Jake and Laura really shine when they complement great historical figures and have a mystery to solve.Also, we left Jake and Laura at the end of the last book on the verge of something big, something like a world war, and the potential for some really dramatic mysteries.This book feels like an interlude - like something that could have been written at any time to have on hand. Still, I consider myself a fan of Jake and Laura and I'll read any of their mysteries. This current installment may not be in keeping with what has already been established, but it's still a good story with good characters. It's just a little leaner than the others to date.Looking for a good book? The Big Brush-Off by Michael Murphy is the latest in the Jake and Laura Mystery series, which departs from the usual high drama and famous figures stories of the previous books If you don't mind a cozy mystery with a tough writer/detective and his famous actress wife, then this is the right book for you.I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Angie Boyter
    January 1, 1970
    Best-selling mystery writer Jake Donovan has (at least) two problems. Ten years ago, in 1925, he had to leave his last case as a Pinkerton detective unsolved when he was called to the bedside of his dying father. The teen-aged victim’s mother is now terminally ill herself and asks Jake to resume investigating her daughter’s murder, which she says none of the authorities is interested in solving. In addition, Jake’s editor tells him that his series is getting stale; his sales are slumping; and th Best-selling mystery writer Jake Donovan has (at least) two problems. Ten years ago, in 1925, he had to leave his last case as a Pinkerton detective unsolved when he was called to the bedside of his dying father. The teen-aged victim’s mother is now terminally ill herself and asks Jake to resume investigating her daughter’s murder, which she says none of the authorities is interested in solving. In addition, Jake’s editor tells him that his series is getting stale; his sales are slumping; and the publisher is not willing to offer him a new contract unless he shows them a manuscript with promise. Jake and his movie-star wife Laura (who is facing some important career decisions herself) visit Hanover, PA, to give Jake a quiet environment in which to write and to take another look at the unsolved mystery.Having read The Yankee Club, the first book in the Jake and Laura series, I was very pleased to see that The Big Brush-off seemed to capitalize on the elements of the first book that I liked but eliminated what I had not enjoyed. Book one was appropriately described as a “noir” detective mystery, and the nasty violence in it, even from Jake, turned me off. The violence was missing from this book, which had almost more of a “cozy” mystery feel, especially the setting in a small town with a limited number of characters. I had enjoyed the characters in the first book, and personalities were explored more in The Big Brush-off. Jake and Laura’s love is very clear, as they each worry about the other’s challenges as well as their own and make plans for future family life. They come across as decent folks. Jake may be a tough-minded writer and detective, but he can still say things like, “as a boy, I always placed priests on a pedestal, and the older I got, many of them met my expectations.” There are also enjoyable portrayals of the citizens of Hanover, like teen-aged Freddy, son of the owner of the Hanover Inn, who seems to observe a lot that goes on in his town.Murphy depicts the 1930s era very well. Obviously, there are sobering examples of the hardships people experienced during the Depression, but there are also nice small details that flesh out the picture. I especially noted the reference to the “simple mahogany dresser” in the murder victim’s bedroom, which put me in mind of the mahogany furniture throughout my grandparents’ homes and so many other homes of the period.I was enjoying the characters and the setting so much that I realized the book was about half over and there had not been a lot of progress in the investigation. Murphy soon rectified that situation, however, and delivered a much more plausible situation and resolution than he did in The Yankee Club. I correctly identified the killer but not so early that it spoiled the book, a good device for a writer---to make the reader feel smart but not cheated.Since I did not yet read books 2 and 3 in the series, I do not know what they were like, but based on the changes from Book 1 I can’t help but wonder whether we have a situation of an author writing what he knows---in this case an author rejuvenating a series that is going stale. If so, I can happily report success for both Jake and Michael.NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an objective review.
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  • Bree Garcia
    January 1, 1970
    I know I say this every time (maybe it's just in my head or to my cat), but this was my favorite one. Everything has been going easy for Jake and Laura, and that was so hard to take, especially since these are written during the Great Depression. But neither of these two have had easy lives, so I didn't begrudge them having a good life now. Honestly, they've been living in a whirlwind of love and celebrities, so their happy existence was kind of background noise.Until this one.Jake gets the memo I know I say this every time (maybe it's just in my head or to my cat), but this was my favorite one. Everything has been going easy for Jake and Laura, and that was so hard to take, especially since these are written during the Great Depression. But neither of these two have had easy lives, so I didn't begrudge them having a good life now. Honestly, they've been living in a whirlwind of love and celebrities, so their happy existence was kind of background noise.Until this one.Jake gets the memo that his books are dying because he's out of touch with Blackie Doyle. Laura is on the brink of becoming the next Hollywood starlet. Through this, Jake is asked to come back to a town he never thought he'd see again, a place where a young girl was murdered, a place that holds an unsolved murder case.I think what I really loved about this story is that it felt like an old-fashioned mystery: who did it? Of course, the rest of the Jake and Laura mysteries have been like that, but this one had so many characters and I don't know how many times I said, oh, this person must have done it! It was so much fun unraveling the mystery alongside Jake and Laura, and even though I was WAY wrong, it just made the surprise that much sweeter.What I super enjoy about the writing is Laura. She could be the stereotypical Hollywood girl, but she's not. She demands respect from everyone she encounters, because they usually think that she's just some "dish" and not worthy of their time. She surprises a lot of people (mostly men...okay, all men), and reading about their reactions toward her are some of the funniest scenes in these novels. The respect she demands is well earned, too, because she is just as smart as Jake and uses everything she has in order to help. Even though she's probably concerned with her career (who wouldn't be?), she puts it aside to help Jake because she knows what he's going through since she went through it herself, albeit not in the writing realm. She also stands up for herself when she thinks she's been wronged, and even though sometimes it's not what she thinks, her stubbornness is truly something to be admired. I might be saying that because I would react the same way, but still. She's worked hard for what she has and she makes sure that everyone knows it. She doesn't want people to think that she only made it on a pretty face.Jake, obviously, is awesome, as always. Cool, calm, and collected...well, for the most part.Seriously, if you haven't jumped on these books, do it now. I'm not begging; I'm demanding. They're so much fun and a quick read, but there's so much to them. Jake and Laura have this relationship that is simultaneously adorable and enviable, and they work together so well. These mysteries are true in every sense of the word, complete with red herrings, suspects, and plenty of action.
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  • Eustacia Tan
    January 1, 1970
    A writer and a mystery? Yes please!The Big Brush-Off is billed as a "Jake and Laura mystery". It's also book four in the series, which explains how some things about the relationship between Jake and Laura felt like there was previous history the reader was expected to know. However, the plot itself can definitely stand alone.Basically, Jake has had his latest manuscript rejected, and has to deliver a completely new, fantastic couple of first chapters before he can think about getting another co A writer and a mystery? Yes please!The Big Brush-Off is billed as a "Jake and Laura mystery". It's also book four in the series, which explains how some things about the relationship between Jake and Laura felt like there was previous history the reader was expected to know. However, the plot itself can definitely stand alone.Basically, Jake has had his latest manuscript rejected, and has to deliver a completely new, fantastic couple of first chapters before he can think about getting another contract. So, he and Laura (Hollywood star) head over to Hanover, a small town which holds an unsolved murder that Jake regrets. Despite telling himself that he's here to write a novel and attend a memorial service, he still ends up investigating the case.This was a fun and easy read. The chapters pretty much flew by, and I finished this book in a day (probably because it's not very long - about 200 pages on my kindle). Jake and Laura are fun characters, and the town of Hanover is pleasingly complicated - there's the sheriff, who Jake remembers as a good law enforcement officer, but some have pegged as the murderer, and there were the three prime suspects, all of whom seemingly want him to solve the murder.At one point in time, I even wondered if this was going to be a Murder of Roger Ackroyd scenario, with Jake as the real murder (hence the unsolved case). But, this wasn't the case.Sadly, the denouement lacked a bit of punch. The actual arrest scene was exciting, but the way Jake realised who the murderer was lacked excitement. I think it's because Jake came to this mostly through a hunch, rather than by discovering any new evidence, or finding inconsistencies in something someone said. Perhaps I'm too used to the mysteries of Ace Attorney and Agatha Christie.Overall, this was a fun read. Jake and Laura are a charming couple, and I loved reading their adventure. Plus, it's fun to have a writer as a character - I just wish I could churn out chapters like he did (and not just during NaNoWriMo)!Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review.This review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile
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  • Jennifer Ritter
    January 1, 1970
    The Big Brush-off is number four in Michael Murphy's Jake and Laura mystery series. Although this is a part of a series it is a stand alone with enough information to understand continuity but not so much as to be redundant for a series enthusiast.In this tale, it is 1935 and we find mystery writer Jake Donovan and his movie starlet wife Laura Wilson in New York City where Laura is just wrapping up shooting on her latest movie. While in New York, Jake is meeting with his publisher, Mildred, to d The Big Brush-off is number four in Michael Murphy's Jake and Laura mystery series. Although this is a part of a series it is a stand alone with enough information to understand continuity but not so much as to be redundant for a series enthusiast.In this tale, it is 1935 and we find mystery writer Jake Donovan and his movie starlet wife Laura Wilson in New York City where Laura is just wrapping up shooting on her latest movie. While in New York, Jake is meeting with his publisher, Mildred, to discuss the chapters he has sent her of his latest Blacky Doyle mystery. But the meeting doesn't go exactly as Jake had planned and he has ninety days to present new chapters or his writing career may just be over.As if that isn't enough of a downer, while in New York the dying mother of the teenage victim he investigated in his final Pinkerton case visits him, asking him to please reopen the case, she needs closure before she dies. The ten year memorial service will be held in small town Hanover, Pennsylvania in just a short time. Jake does not vow to reopen the case, but does promise to attend the ceremony.With the movie finished and time on their hands, Jake and Laura travel to Hanover on the premise that it is a nice quiet place for Jake to work on his new novel. However, when they arrive in Hanover they don't exactly receive a warm welcome. In fact they are faced by those that strongly encourage them to leave. Ironically, the ones that perhaps should want them out of town are the ones that ask Jake to investigate and remove the shadow of doubt that has followed them ever since Katie's murder.Fast paced and witty, Jake and Laura tag team to investigate, ruffle a few feathers, and ultimately bring justice for a girl lost too soon and her mother grieving for too long. Kudos to Mr. Murphy for a delightful read and an intriguing mystery series. He takes his place next to the likes of Dashiell Hammett.
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  • Scott Parsons
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed Michael Murphy's first Jake and Laura mystery noir, The Yankee Club. I was less impressed by the next two because it seemed like Jake was floating through the foppery of Hollywood and the glitter of Hawaii. He seemed to have lost the substance of the character in the Yankee Club.In The Big Brush-Off Jake and Laura have returned to New York for a little while. In a meeting with his editor, Jake is told he is about to lose his publishing contract unless he re-energizes his detective Blac I enjoyed Michael Murphy's first Jake and Laura mystery noir, The Yankee Club. I was less impressed by the next two because it seemed like Jake was floating through the foppery of Hollywood and the glitter of Hawaii. He seemed to have lost the substance of the character in the Yankee Club.In The Big Brush-Off Jake and Laura have returned to New York for a little while. In a meeting with his editor, Jake is told he is about to lose his publishing contract unless he re-energizes his detective Blackie Doyle with some pith and purpose. He is a given a short deadline to show he is up to the task.Meanwhile Jake is visited by an old priest and an elderly lady who is dying. She is the mother of a woman whose murder Jake was investigating when he left the Pinkerton detective agency ten years in a small town and headed for the lights of the big city. The murder is unsolved. Jake makes no commitment to reopen the case but he and Laura agree to attend the tenth Memorial Service.They decide that Jake can work on his new Blackie Doyle caper there and so off they go. Needless to say they both start snooping around and questioning old suspects. And Jake finds his writer's essence again and the investigation proceeds in tandem with Jake composing the rebirth of Blackie Doyle as a detective who cares. After several false starts they find the killer, someone who was not a suspect in the initial investigation.In this novel Murphy has recaptured the spark that drove Jake in The Yankee Club. My copy was an ARC provided via NetGalley
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  • Bill
    January 1, 1970
    1935. The Great Depression and massive numbers of Americans are still out of work despite Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal recovery programs, and Jake’s writing career may join the breadlines as well.Of course his wife’s – Laura’s – film career is booming with an offer from the hottest Hollywood producer of the time.And then Jake meets his past. Ten years before, he left his last Pinkerton case unsolved as he hurriedly left at news of his dad’s stroke to care of him – this unsolved case, a recurrin 1935. The Great Depression and massive numbers of Americans are still out of work despite Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal recovery programs, and Jake’s writing career may join the breadlines as well.Of course his wife’s – Laura’s – film career is booming with an offer from the hottest Hollywood producer of the time.And then Jake meets his past. Ten years before, he left his last Pinkerton case unsolved as he hurriedly left at news of his dad’s stroke to care of him – this unsolved case, a recurring nightmare now of the battered teenage girl – and then his nightmare becomes real.A priest from the small town where he left the murdered girl’s case unsolved comes to New York with the girl’s mother – she’s dying – and her last wish is to have her daughter’s killer unmasked.But Jake has a book to write – he’s been given 90 days to come up with something better than what had been rejected by his publisher and Laura has an offer she shouldn’t refuse out in Hollywood – do they really have time to travel to a small town in Pennsylvania to see if they can solve a killing 10 years old?You’ll have to grab a copy of this latest Jake and Laura from one of the best living mystery writers we have – but before you do, grab your snacks, hit the john, turn off your phone and…you might have to call in ‘sick’ at work or burn the lights late – this is one page turner you’ll hate to put down for anything! If you don’t believe me, I’ll eat the book!
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  • John Purvis
    January 1, 1970
    "The Big Brush-off" was published in 2016 and was written by Michael Murphy (http://mjmurphy.com). Mr. Murphy has published several previous books. This is the 4th of the books in his "Jake & Laura Mysteries". I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The setting of this Mystery is a small town in 1935 Pennsylvania. The primary characters are Jake Donovan, former private investigator "The Big Brush-off" was published in 2016 and was written by Michael Murphy (http://mjmurphy.com). Mr. Murphy has published several previous books. This is the 4th of the books in his "Jake & Laura Mysteries". I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The setting of this Mystery is a small town in 1935 Pennsylvania. The primary characters are Jake Donovan, former private investigator and now mystery author, and his wife Laura Wilson, movie star. Donovan and Wilson are drawn in to investigating the last case Donovan had as a Pinkerton Detective. Donovan's writing is struggling and he travels to a small town in Pennsylvania to both work on his next novel and attend a memorial for the young girl who was the victim in his last Pinkerton case Nearly 10 years earlier. As the investigation continues, Donovan and Wilson find that there is no lack of those that oppose the investigation. Pressed by the need of Wilson to get back to Hollywood and Donovan to finish his novel, the team has little time to find the murderer. I enjoyed the 5 hours I spent reading this 237 page Mystery. I have read the previous novels published in this series and have enjoyed them all. I like the 1930s period aspect of these novels. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to 4) out of 5. Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at http://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/.
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  • Robert D
    January 1, 1970
    Perhaps one of the best Jake and Laura books. This is a must read if you enjoy the Thin Man movie series or the Boston Blackie movie series.Things have been going great since Jake Donovan reunited with his one true love, Laura Wilson. His writing career took off, Laura's acting career has made it big, occasionally he's had to solve a mystery or two that have cropped up. But overall, life could not be better for the two, they have money and fame during the depression. Then Jake's editor tells him Perhaps one of the best Jake and Laura books. This is a must read if you enjoy the Thin Man movie series or the Boston Blackie movie series.Things have been going great since Jake Donovan reunited with his one true love, Laura Wilson. His writing career took off, Laura's acting career has made it big, occasionally he's had to solve a mystery or two that have cropped up. But overall, life could not be better for the two, they have money and fame during the depression. Then Jake's editor tells him the bad news. The last Blackie Doyle book didn't sell well, the publishers are not going to offer him another book contract. Jake is given a 90 day deadline to write something better. But to complicate matters it's the 10 anniversary of his last case as a Pinkerton, a case he walked away from and left unsolved. He wants nothing to do with the case, despite the victim's mother's plea and Laura's idea to look into it. Jake knows he must write his next novel, but the only idea for finding a good place to get back to his routes and write a good mystery happens to be in the town where his last case took place.
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    An enjoyable read set in 1935.Prohibition has ended, the Depression is devastating the country and Amelia Earhart has just flown solo from Hawaii to the US West Coast.As a successful author of the Blackie Doyle PI series, Jake Donovan’s latest book is rejected by his publisher. Mildred says he’s lost touch with his character now that his wife Laura Wilson’s acting career has made her a Hollywood name.While in NYC Mary Caldwell, whose teenage daughter Katie’s murder was never solved, asks Jake to An enjoyable read set in 1935.Prohibition has ended, the Depression is devastating the country and Amelia Earhart has just flown solo from Hawaii to the US West Coast.As a successful author of the Blackie Doyle PI series, Jake Donovan’s latest book is rejected by his publisher. Mildred says he’s lost touch with his character now that his wife Laura Wilson’s acting career has made her a Hollywood name.While in NYC Mary Caldwell, whose teenage daughter Katie’s murder was never solved, asks Jake to come back to Hanover and finish the investigation he abandoned due to family issues.Jake needs a quiet place to rewrite his next Doyle novel so he & Laura go to Hanover to attend the 10 yr memorial of Kate’s murder as well as the town’s Founders’ Day event. While there, Jake & Laura investigate Katie’s murder in a town hard hit by the Depression where many are resentful of their money and fame.I loved the era speech pattern, “I stood and stretched, my back popping like dice in a tumbler”, and “bushy mustache so thick he could’ve used it to paint a room”.The secondary characters are people who feel real.
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  • Susan Johnston
    January 1, 1970
    I've enjoyed all the books of the series but this one is my favourite so far. Laura and Jake are back in NYC as she finished her latest film and Jake teeters on the brink of losing his career.Ther latest Blackie Doyle book wasn't up to snuff and the new manuscript he has submitted is rejected by his editor. Jake is ready to quit but Laura understands what he has forfeited to support her career and is determined to help him find his muse.Oddly enough, it comes to him when his is involved again in I've enjoyed all the books of the series but this one is my favourite so far. Laura and Jake are back in NYC as she finished her latest film and Jake teeters on the brink of losing his career.Ther latest Blackie Doyle book wasn't up to snuff and the new manuscript he has submitted is rejected by his editor. Jake is ready to quit but Laura understands what he has forfeited to support her career and is determined to help him find his muse.Oddly enough, it comes to him when his is involved again in his last case as a Pinkerton. He never found the killer and he knows he failed.This story has it all. It is good detective work but it also is not as frothy as the previous books and has more gravitas. It probably comes from the nature of the crime he is investigating but it also stems from the self examination both he and Laura must do as he struggles to regain his momentum and she cannot afford to lose hers.This is a series that should be followed sequentially in order to enjoy the character development. It definitely earns two paws up and five purrs.
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  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    This was a new author for me. Jake Donovan's career is at a low ebb. His publisher has declined to offer a new contract for his mystery series. Laura's career is at its peak and she has it make. She is looking at a contract with a well-known leading man. Jake wants a quiet place where he can resurrect his character. The Duo selected Hanover, Pennsylvania, a small town where Jake left his last case unsolved. It is a murder of a teenager. The suspects are the boyfriend, a teacher and the priest. T This was a new author for me. Jake Donovan's career is at a low ebb. His publisher has declined to offer a new contract for his mystery series. Laura's career is at its peak and she has it make. She is looking at a contract with a well-known leading man. Jake wants a quiet place where he can resurrect his character. The Duo selected Hanover, Pennsylvania, a small town where Jake left his last case unsolved. It is a murder of a teenager. The suspects are the boyfriend, a teacher and the priest. They can add the sheriff. Jake and Laura planned to attend a 10 year memorial on the slaying. I found the plot predictable and characters were poorly developed. MORE RESEARCH would add to the story. It seems a few of the early Hollywood stars names were used to add more credibility to the background. The ending might surprise you.Disclosure: I received a free copy from Alibi through NetGalley for an honest review. I would like to thank them for this opportunity to read and review the book.The opinions are my own.
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  • Pia
    January 1, 1970
    This book is such a good read! It has all of the elements I like: a lovely and beautiful detective couple, a good murder, interesting characters and lots of glamour. And to top it off, there's the name dropping. Joan Crawford, Clark Gable or Dashiell Hammett, anyone?Book 4 in the Jake and Laura series, set in the dazzling 30's, the book tells the story of Jake, a writer who is in a slump while his actor wife Laura is on her way to the top.When an old cold case returns to haunt Jake's life, they This book is such a good read! It has all of the elements I like: a lovely and beautiful detective couple, a good murder, interesting characters and lots of glamour. And to top it off, there's the name dropping. Joan Crawford, Clark Gable or Dashiell Hammett, anyone?Book 4 in the Jake and Laura series, set in the dazzling 30's, the book tells the story of Jake, a writer who is in a slump while his actor wife Laura is on her way to the top.When an old cold case returns to haunt Jake's life, they embark on a second honeymoon that will double as a writing retreat and a chance to solve the murder of a young girl.Fun, light (but in a good way, of course) I now have the 3 first books of the series on my reading list, and I'm waiting for the 5th one.I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Nancy Neumann
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley for a copy for review.I have enjoyed the Jake and Laura Mysteries from the very beginning, but, I think that this entry was probably my favorite. In the past, I've felt that the brushes with celebrity often intruded upon the plot and, sometimes, the relationship between Jake and Laura. Michael Murphy chose to remove most of the celebrity element from this story and, as result, we see Jake at his gumshoe best aided by his ever capable partner, Laura.Jake revisits an old case a Thanks to NetGalley for a copy for review.I have enjoyed the Jake and Laura Mysteries from the very beginning, but, I think that this entry was probably my favorite. In the past, I've felt that the brushes with celebrity often intruded upon the plot and, sometimes, the relationship between Jake and Laura. Michael Murphy chose to remove most of the celebrity element from this story and, as result, we see Jake at his gumshoe best aided by his ever capable partner, Laura.Jake revisits an old case as much to relieve some of the guilt he felt at never solving it as to revive his concept of Blackie Doyle, his literary alter-ego. In the end, the case gets solved and Blackie gets revived, but it is the route the author takes that makes this an enjoyable read.If you enjoy old noir type crime fiction, go find Jake and Laura. They continue to entertain.
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