WA Secretary of State Blogs

The Impersonator, by Mary Miley

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 Posted in Washington Reads | Comments Off on The Impersonator, by Mary Miley

miley impersonatorThe Impersonator: A Mystery. By Mary Miley. (New York: Minotaur Books, 2014. 320 pp.)
(A Roaring Twenties Mystery, Book 1)

Recommendation by:
Carolyn Petersen, Assistant Program Manager, Library Development, Tumwater, WA.

Mary Miley’s Impersonator deserved to win the Minotaur Books/Mystery writers’ of America First Crime Novel competition.  The murder mystery begins with the heroine of the book, vaudevillian Leah Randall approached by a man who greets her as his long lost niece, heiress to a timber fortune. Beckett invites her to impersonate his niece and split the fortune due when the absent Jessie Carr turns  21.  Circumstances force Leah to accept Beckett’s offer. After  being tutored in the family history, Leah journeys to the Oregon coast to meet the family and begin her impersonation. A murdered woman’s body is discovered by the side of the road as Leah drives in the from the railroad station to the family mansion.  This is the first of several and Leah realizes that if she doesn’t uncover the serial murderer, she may well fall victim to him.

Descriptions of vaudeville, the life in a privileged family, and the vivid characterizations of life in a small Oregon coastal town as well as life in Portland in the 1920’s were accurate and fascinating. I’m hoping that this is the beginning of a murder series featuring the resourceful and independent Leah Randall

ISBN-10: 1250051371

ISBN-13: 978-1250051370

The Hamlet Trap

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 Posted in Washington Reads | Comments Off on The Hamlet Trap

HamletThe Hamlet Trap. By Kate Wilhelm. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987.)

Recommendation submitted by:
Will Stuivenga, Cooperative Projects Manager, Washington State Library, Tumwater, WA.

For the mystery fan who is also a theater buff, this is the perfect book! Set in Ashland, Oregon, not in the famous Shakespeare Festival proper, but in another nearby theater that specializes in anything other than the Bard, two people end up dead, and police suspicion falls on Ginnie, the talented set designer, who also just happens to be the theater’s owner/producer/impresario’s niece. A retired New York City detective and his Ph.D. psychologist wife are sent in to find the true culprit, and save the day. Well written, with great character development, as per usual with author Kate Wilhelm, this NW mystery is just the ticket for anyone who might have overlooked it back when it first came out.

ISBN: 0-312-94000-9

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 813.6 WILWELM 1987
Available as an eBook, or as a Braille edition.
Not available as a talking book.

Paranormal mystery surrounds tragedy in Gregg Olsen’s Envy

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 Posted in Washington Reads | Comments Off on Paranormal mystery surrounds tragedy in Gregg Olsen’s Envy

Envy: An Empty Coffin Novel (Book 1). By Gregg Olsen. New York : Splinter, 2011. 285 p.

Recommendation by:
Rand Simmons, Acting Washington State Librarian, Tumwater, WA.

It begins with a suicide. A young girl, Katelyn, depressed and lonely, slips into a tub of water. Or, was it murder?
Katelyn’s childhood friends, Hayley and Taylor Ryan suspect the latter and set about to prove it so. The twins are the children of a true crime writer and a psychiatric nurse. But, they have gifts beyond those they have learned from dinner table conversation.

Set in Port Gamble, Washington author Gregg Olsen explores the dark side of this company town. The first in Olsen’s Empty Coffin series this is a good read for teens, especially girls ages 15-16. It may well appeal to a wider audience of murder mystery lovers.

Once you’ve read Envy you will hunger for the next in the series, Betrayal.

Editor’s Note: This book was selected by the Washington State Library for the 2012 National Book Festival, held in Washington D. C.

ISBN-10: 1402789572

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 813.6 OLSEN 2011
Available as an eReader edition and as a downloadable talking book.
Not available as a Braille edition.

Arson, cursed bones, and an old fridge make for intrigue in Breach of Duty

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 Posted in Washington Reads | Comments Off on Arson, cursed bones, and an old fridge make for intrigue in Breach of Duty

Breach of Duty: A J.P. Beaumont Mystery. By J.A. Jance. (New York: Avon Books, 1999. 384 p.)

Recommendation submitted by:
Will Stuivenga, Cooperative Projects Manager, Washington State Library, Tumwater, WA.

This is mystery writer J.A. Jance’s 14th Seattle-based J.P. Beaumont police procedural. In it, Beaumont is investigating the arson murder of a woman whose death would not have been particularly noteworthy, if $300,000 had not been found hidden in an old refrigerator in her garage.

Meanwhile, a Native American woman, who happens to be a professor of physics at the University of Washington, shows up and warns Beaumont and his partner of a powerful curse. It seems that someone has stolen the bones of an important shaman and bad things start happening to those who handle them, as predicted.

Meantime the chief of police retires, and his replacement is a co-worker of Beaumont whose dislike for him is heartily reciprocated. Oh, and did I mention that Beaumont’s current partner, Sue Danielson by name, divorced mother of two, is worried because her deadbeat ex is coming to town?

Talk about a plot with lots of complications and disparate story lines! Jance weaves all of these lines together throughout various seedy locations of the greater Seattle area. For those who enjoy well-written – if slightly superficial – police-procedural style mysteries set in Seattle, J.A. Jance and J.P. Beaumont could easily become a habit!


ISBN: 0-380-97406-1

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 813.6 JANCE 1999.
Available in eReader, Braille, Large Type and Audiobook (Cassette, Digital Book) editions

Head to the San Juans with “The Search”

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 Posted in Washington Reads | Comments Off on Head to the San Juans with “The Search”

The Search.  By Nora Roberts. New York : G.P. Putnam’s Sons, ©2010. 488 p.

Recommendation by:
Carolyn Petersen, CLRS Project Manager, Tumwater, WA.

Best selling author Nora Roberts moves to the San Juan Islands for another reliable romantic suspense novel.  Her protagonist trains police and search & rescue dogs on Orcas Island.  Fiona moved to the island after she had barely survived an attack from a serial killer. When a copycat killer arrives on the  island with her in his sights, Fiona needs the help of all the friends she has made on the Island to survive.

If you are a Roberts fan, you will appreciate her trademark banter and the sensuous romance she weaves so well into her stories.  The dogs bring the heroine and her hero together.  This is a good entry book for those who haven’t picked up previously read any of Roberts contemporary romance titles.  Pleasant reading.

ISBN-13: 978-0399156571

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 813.6 ROBERTS 2010.
Available in eReader and Talking Book editions.
Not available in a Braille edition.