John Lamb writes a very well developed story line involving interesting and smart characters. This is not a traditional cozy in the sense that the main character, Brad, is a retired Inspector from the San Franisco Police Department. In fact, Mr. Lamb pokes a little fun at a cozy mystery his wife is reading that is solved by a woman with a talking dog. :o)
The world of the Teddy Bear Collector is introduced in a way that is easy to understand and Mr. Lamb doesn't beat you over the head with it. Some cozies seem to expect you to be an expert in the field before you can read the book, but not this one.
I think that since Mr. Lamb is a retired Inspector, his portrayal of the local Sheriff's Department is a little bit more realistic than in the traditional cozy. He doesn't paint the whole department to be the typical "bumbling" idiots that couldn't solve the case without a civilian sleuth.
Overall a wonderful story with great character development. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
Generally I am not a big fan of cozies, but I did enjoy this book because of the author's writing style. He is a wee bit sarcastic, and occasionally pokes gentle fun at the cozy genre. I also like the fact that the protagonist is a retired detective - it makes this book somewhat more plausible that other cozy series. I recommend this book for both cozy-lovers and general mystery fans.
I found that I really cared what happened with Brad and Ash the main characters. That compeled me to keep turning the pages until I finished the story. I'm looking forward to the next book in what promises to be a fun series.
This novel is full of delightfully sleazy bad guys, plot twists and surprises, and an accurate, detailed depiction of police and detective work that stays interesting and never becomes pedantic. It's a very satisfying read. And yes, there are teddy bears. I'm sure teddy bear fans will be delighted. I certainly was even though I wouldn't even know how to stuff one let alone sew one!
Skillfully blends elements of the traditional cozy with the gritty instincts of a tough but tender ex-homicide detective -- Ellen Byerrum
Well done, intriguing mystery... very enjoyable read
I thought this book was a very good read. No humor like I like but it was not a book I could not read before bed and have nightmares. It had enough suspence in it for me and I already ordered the second book. The main people were very likeable.
Took a chance on this one because I, too, am a teddy bear maker who has done teddy bear shows. What a hoot!!! This was truly enjoyable, full of clever twists and turns. I highly recommend this author and this series to everyone for a fun read. I've already read the next three in the series and am looking forward eagerly to the 5th one. Enjoy!!
A "cozy" mystery written by a man??? And about teddy bears???
Just HAD to see what he'd do with it.
One reviewer wrote: "Skillfully blends elements of the traditional cozy with the gritty instincts of a tough but tender ex-homicide detective...." She's right. Absolutely delightful. I ordered the next two in the series just to keep the fun coming.
I really enjoyed this book--the writing style is different, the fact that the main character is a man and a "cop". Characters were well written and I really like Brad and Ash--looking forward to learning more about some of te supporting characters, esp. Sergei. Looking forward to the next one already!
First Line: It was just before dawn on Saturday morning, the first day of October, and I again awoke to find myself in a strange bedroom... only this time my wife, Ashleigh, was gone.
I almost stopped reading this book after a few pages when I deduced the Bad Guys. However, it didn't take much persuasion for me to continue reading because of the voice of the main character. Brad Lyon is a former San Francisco police officer who was seriously wounded and forced to take early retirement. Retirement just happened to take him and his wife, Ashleigh, from "the world's largest unfenced lunatic asylum" (Brad's description of San Francisco) to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Brad's wife makes teddy bears, and the two of them are ready to load up the truck and take all the bears to the Shenandoah Valley Teddy Bear Extravaganza where the Mourning Bear-- made to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic-- will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Before Brad can even get in the driver's seat, he finds the body of a man in the river, and once he and his wife make it to the Extravaganza, he learns that the Mourning Bear is missing. Add to all this the fact that there are strange goings-on in the small town of Remmelkemp Mill, Virginia, and Brad has his hands full.
I am so glad I kept reading The Mournful Teddy. I fell in love with Brad and his wisecracks and the fact that there are at least 900 reasons why he's madly in love with his wife of twenty-six years. I liked his wife Ashleigh because she's one talented lady who loves her husband just as much in return and also for the fact that she's a policeman's wife-- level-headed, full of common sense, and definitely not the type to sit around wringing her hands.
Although I'd deduced very early on whodunit, the "how" was definitely convoluted and fun to try to untangle. I wish there'd been a bit more about teddy bears and collecting, but you know what? If I have to make a choice between teddy bear lore and Brad and Ashleigh, I'm going to choose Brad and Ashleigh. They're marvelous characters, and I definitely plan to read more of this series.
This little Virginia town at the foot of the Shenandoah Valley is a regular hot bed of illicit activity. Let's see, the sheriff couldn't be bothered to investigate a suspicious death, even though retired San Francisco cop, Brad Lyon flat out told him and showed him the proof. The local pastor is selling stolen merchandise at his monthly flea markets right across the street from the sheriff's office. If any of the cops question the sheriff's orders, they are immediately fired for insubordination. Oh yeah, can you say corrupt cop? It really hits the fan when the sheriff's son, Sergeant Trent gives Brad and his wife a ticket for running a red light that was green and then threatens Ashleigh. Brad has every intention of letting all the mysteries slide until this incident, then he was out for blood.
An entertaining and rather exciting hunt follows with many twists and even a few surprises. Definitely a series I will be continuing.
The Mournful Teddy is the first in the A Bear Collectors Mystery series. The series centers around retired San Francisco police officer Brad Lyons and wife Ashleigh. After suffering a crippling leg injury that forced him to leave the force, Brad and Ash move back to her hometown of Remmelkemp Mill, VA in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.
Ash is an avid teddy bear collector and has begun to design and sew her own bears with Brad's assistance. The couple is very excited to attend the Shenandoah Valley Teddy Bear Extravaganza where Ash will be displaying her very own Susannah bear. The highlight of the Extravaganza is going to be the auction of the Mournful Teddy, the rare Steiff bear made to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic.
The morning of the Bear Show, Brad and his Old English Sheepdog Kitch discover a body floating face down in the creek behind their house. Brad's suspicions arise when responding Police Chief Holcombe and Pastor Poole barely look at the body and claim they don't recognize the man and that he died from drowning. Brad can clearly see that the man had been strangled and then thrown into the water.
Ash is overjoyed when Susannah wins Best in Show and is approached by the owner of Boston Bears, who would like to market her bear for their toy company. But, spirits are dampened when the Mourning Teddy goes missing.
Brad and Ash with the help of Deputy Tina Barron set out to uncover the connection between the dead man and the Teddy Bear. In the course of their investigations they discover there is a great deal of corruption and evil lying under the surface of the idyllic little town.
I really enjoyed this book, it offered everything a good cozy should. The mystery was captivating, the cast of characters were well developed and of course the bears left me smiling. I'll definitely be reading the next in the series.
This book is pretty much as you'd expect from the cover. It is a good mystery, but a little on the light and fluffy side. If you're looking for a quick little entertaining diversion, this is just right. If you want more substance to your mysteries, you should probably pass.
I don't read too many cozy mysteries that are written from a mans point of view but this one is very entertaining and fun.