Anastasia Travels to Barcelona—and Winds Up Kidnapped! #TuesdayTravels @Anasleuth

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Anastasia Travels to Barcelona—and Winds Up Kidnapped!

by Anastasia Pollack

A few years ago author Lois Winston traveled to Barcelona, and I tagged along, at least in my imagination and hers. Of course, Lois being Lois, she didn’t exactly let me enjoy the trip. Somehow, thanks to her, I wound up getting kidnapped. Lois then turned my harrowing experience into Mosaic Mayhem, one of the three Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mysteries, featured in Crafty Crimes.

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, is a gem of a city that sits on the Mediterranean. It’s founding is steeped in legend heralding back to the time of the Romans. Today it contains one of Europe’s best-preserved Gothic-era medieval city centers as well as the whimsical creations of Antoni Gaudi’s Modernista style architecture and modern skyscrapers.

la sagrada familia

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

La Sagrada Família, a basilica that looks like it was constructed from wet sand dripping from the heavens, is the most visited tourist attraction in all of Spain. Begun in 1882, the design and construction were taken over by Gaudi a year later, and it’s still under construction today. (If you look at the upper right of the top photo, you’ll see a crane from the construction site.)

Parc Guell

Parc Guell, Barcelona

While working on La Sagrada Família, Gaudi lived in a house situated in Parc Güell, a masterpiece of municipal gardens, mosaic-clad terrace walls, and fanciful architectural elements reminiscent of the witch’s house from Hansel and Gretel.

Parc Guell mosaic terrace

Parc Guell mosaic terrace, Barcelona, Spain

La Rambla is a tree-lined pedestrian boulevard filled with shops and restaurants that runs for three-quarters of a mile through the heart of Barcelona from Plaça de Catalunya to the harbor.

La Rambla

La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is also home to many wonderful museums, including Museu Picasso which houses an incredible collection of Picasso’s early work and plays a pivotal role in Mosaic Mayhem.

Crafty Crimes Bundle

Crafty Crimes

An anthology of three Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mysteries, companions to the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series.

Crewel Intentions

Crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack receives a desperate phone call from former American Woman fashion editor Erica Milano. Erica is now in Witness Protection and living under a new identity in Western Pennsylvania. But someone is stalking her, and Erica has compelling reasons why she can’t go to the police or notify her Witsec handlers. Anastasia is the only person she can trust to help her, and she knows Anastasia won’t let her down. After all, Erica once saved Anastasia’s life. But will Anastasia be able to return the favor before the stalker strikes?

Mosaic Mayhem

So much for a romantic getaway…When cash-strapped mom and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack is offered an all-expense paid three-day trip to Barcelona, her only worries are whether her passport is still valid and arranging care for her semi-invalid mother-in-law during her absence. However, within hours of landing in Europe, she finds herself staring down the barrel of a gun and needing to convince a Spanish crime syndicate they’ve got the wrong person. Why do people on both sides of the Atlantic keep trying to kill this pear-shaped, middle-aged single mom, and magazine crafts editor?

Patchwork Peril

After rescuing her elderly neighbor Rosalie’s quilts from a rainstorm, crafts editor Anastasia Pollack discovers Rosalie unconscious at the bottom of her basement stairs. Rosalie’s estranged niece Jane arrives to care for her during her recovery, but Rosalie suspects Jane’s motives are less than altruistic, going so far as to accuse Jane of trying to kill her. Is Rosalie’s paranoia a result of her head injury, or is there something more to her accusations? And can Anastasia uncover the truth before it’s too late?

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About My Author:

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

How To Connect with Lois online:

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog:
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Book Review Club: Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey #mystery #review

Brat Farrar
by Josephine Tey
First Published in 1949
Audio book narrated by Carole Boyd

audiobook cover

Dear FCC: I’d heard of this book for a long time, but had never read it. Then offered it as a Daily Deal for a substantial discount, so I bought a copy to listen to, and I’m so glad I did.

Logline from product description: “What begins as a ploy to claim an inheritance ends with the impostor’s life hanging in the balance.”

Brat Farrar bears an astonishing resemblance to the Ashby family of Latchetts estate near the south coast of England. They are preparing to celebrate the 21st birthday of heir Simon, whose elder twin brother committed suicide eight years ago at the age of 13.

Then we meet Brat (aka Bartholomew Farrell) an English orphan newly arrived home from the US. While strolling the streets of London, he is invited to lunch by a stranger, Alex Loding, nee Ledingham, an actor and black sheep who has an intimate knowledge of Ashby family affairs. Due to Brat’s uncanny resemblance to the Ashbys, Alex convinces him to pretend to be Patrick, whom they will say ran off rather than committing suicide. Brat almost does the right thing in saying no, until Alex mentions the Ashby horse farm. Brat is horse mad after spending time on a ranch in Texas. Though he has a moral compass, he succumbs to the temptation to be around prime English horse flesh. Alex coaches him on all things Ashby in return for Brat’s promise to share some of the inheritance with Alex.

What follows is a character study / mystery probing into the events of eight years ago that leads to a dramatic black moment. All is fully resolved at the end, of course.

twins cover

I like this cover showing the two young men, but with one in black and white.

I loved this book. Brat is a fascinating, three-dimensional character, and other than Simon, the Ashbys are charming, particularly the nine-year-old twins. The setting evokes a time and place that must have existed when the book was written, but seems quaint and idyllic to the modern reader. Except for the family secrets, of course.

My only criticism is that her time line really didn’t add up for the late 1940’s setting. I couldn’t figure out how some of the events in the past could have happened, given the history of WWII, but gave up trying to figure it out. It’s as if World War II never occurred other than one offhand comment late in the story. But that’s the history nerd in me. That one nitpick aside, I really loved this book.

As always, click on the graphic below for more great reviews in the Barrie Summy Book Review Club.


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