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Murder at the Portland Variety by M.J. Zellnik

>> Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Genre: Cozy Mystery / Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 329
Challenges:
A-Z Reading #47 (Z Author)

This is the first in what appears to be only a two book series by a brother/sister writing team (Miriam and Joe Zellnik as M.J. Zellnik). It’s an interesting mix of cozy mystery and historical fiction.

The story is set in Portland, Oregon in 1894 – so it’s interesting to me to read something set in that time period in my hometown. The authors’
website has some pictures of Portland, fashion, theater and others from that era. Those were fun to see – familiar parts of town from back then.

Libby Seale is a young seamstress working in a vaudeville theater making and maintaining costumes. When one of the performers is found dead, Libby just believe the quick conclusion to the case the police do. Soon she finds herself enlisting the help of a young newspaper reporter in town to investigate what really happened to her friend. Along the way the reader also learns what brought Libby to Portland from New York all on her own.

I enjoyed this book a lot. The mix of genres was a new one for me and since it’s set in Portland, many of the locations are familiar to me. According to the authors’ website, the planned series stopped at two books. I do plan to get the second book from the library. I liked Libby and her reporter friend Peter and want to read more of their adventures, even if it is only one more book.

14 comments:

Framed 11/04/2008 5:45 PM  

You have my interest. A mystery and historical ficiton all in one. What could be better?

SuziQoregon 11/05/2008 9:02 AM  

Framed: it's not a 'must read' kind of book, but it's entertaining.

Bookfool 11/05/2008 3:14 PM  

Probably not my thing, but it must be fun to read a mystery set in your hometown!

Booklogged 11/06/2008 9:34 AM  

You know, I put mooched this book to read before our trip because I saw it on your Good Reads as a TBR book. I still haven't read it, but it helps to know you enjoyed it.

SuziQoregon 11/06/2008 11:40 AM  

Bookfool: it is fun.

Booklogged: It's light,but entertaining. It's also a handy title if you need a Z author for an A-X reading challenge.

Vickie 11/06/2008 2:04 PM  

Mind if I crib off of your Z author? = )

SuziQoregon 11/06/2008 2:07 PM  

Vickie: hee hee - have at it. They can be hard to find.

Vickie 11/06/2008 4:51 PM  

I am on a quest....

SuziQoregon 11/06/2008 7:12 PM  

Vickie: I checked http://www.worldcat.org/ and it looks like it's in a few libraries in CO. Check there to see if any of them are in your area.

Lisa 11/07/2008 9:59 AM  

I know the author of this one! (The sister half.)

Sarah M. 11/08/2008 12:36 PM  

This book sounds interesting. I LOVE mysteries, so I am planning to add this to my "TBR" list. Thanks for the review. (I found you via Sat Review)

Mim 11/08/2008 3:33 PM  

Hi! One half of MJ Zellnik here, just popping in to say thanks for the kind words. My brother and I were sad to say farewell to Libby Seale (for the moment, at least). I really enjoyed learning tons about Portland's history as I researched these books. Hope you'll consider reading the sequel, Death at the Rose Paperworks, as well.

SuziQoregon 11/08/2008 8:20 PM  

Lisa: Cool! thanks for stopping by :-)

Sarah: It's an entertaining read. Hope you like it.

Mim: HI!! I love it when authors check in. I'm definitely going to read the second book. Hope you can continue the series some day. It's one that's just enough different from so many of the other cozy series that I really found it to be a fresh change of pace.

Vita 3/19/2013 10:39 AM  

Found this blog because I was looking for MJ Zellnik to see if any more of the series have been published. A Death at the Rose Paperworks is a good read, so hope you've read it, too, or read it. Wish there were more.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

I do moderate comments on posts older than 14 days in order to control spam. I will approve your legitimate comments as soon as I can.

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