February Fever

Murder-by-Month Mystery series #10

By Jess Lourey

ISBN# 9780738742144

Author’s Website: http://www.jesslourey.com

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra


All aboard the Valentine’s Train…

Mira James’s budding relationship with boyfriend Johnny is definitely warming up her winter. But when Johnny is offered an internship he can’t pass up in Portland, Oregon, Mira lets Mrs. Berns talk her into a visit. On the plus side, Mira will be able to take the trip as a tax write-off by attending the International Private Investigator Conference that happens to be going on at the same time. The only drawback for airplane-averse Mira is that Mrs. Berns has booked them on the Valentine Train–a route designed to help singles meet and mingle. Relaxing into the experience with a few glasses of champagne and Mrs. Berns’s encouragement, Mira begins to enjoy herself…until a fellow passenger is murdered.


A fun read. I could not help notice that throughout most of the book, I had a smile upon my face.  I even burst out into laughter periodically.  Mira and Mrs. Berns are hysterical.  I quite enjoyed the scene where Mira has agreed to one dance only with Chad and then a mishap occurs….Mira trips and lands face first …:

“There are some things in this life you can recover from-accidentally forgetting to wear pants on the day you have to give your big speech, sneeze-farting on a first date, maybe even asking a man with a prosthetic if he is armed – but crotch-diving into a strange boy who is crushing on you in a bizarre pocket of silence when a train car full of people are staring at you is a bell you cannot unring”.   

“Trying to convince someone that the truth is a lie is a tricky move, one I call the Reverse Fib.  It should not be attempted by amateurs, but if you find yourself cornered, here is the key rule: the Reverse Fib must itself be at least 50 percent truth because the person you are RFing will already have caught a whiff of honesty, and to lead them away from the original truth, you need to mimic that scent.”

I could not have laughed louder if I tried when I found out (along with Mira of course) what the real meaning of the following was (I could so visualize Mira`s embarrassment and horror upon her discovery):

   “That`s not the right bullet!  You`re never going to git’er if you keep picking the wrong one”.

One bone of contention – the spelling of Doghn`s name….for some reason, that is the only thing that really bugs me about this book!

Another quote which had me smiling…

“We also had a few hundred stir crazy passengers. Forget Valentine`s Train.  This was turning into Murder on the Orient Express meets Lord of the Flies.” 

And don`t forget:

“I suddenly found myself craving a Nut Goodie, my go-to soul soother. It`s a Minnesota candy, and by appearances, was designed by a juvenile who thinks fart jokes are funny (they are). Basically, it`s maple nougat sprinkled with peanuts and dipped in chocolate, shape be damned. I preferred them frozen, and I had a method for eating them.  First, I`d nibble the chocolate and peanuts until I was at the nougaty part, and then I`d chisel off chunks and suck on them, letting the chocolate turn warm and melt, revealing salty peanuts and then finally, the nougat itself, which was as fresh and rich as homemade maple candy.”   …”Mira” …  I came to, awakening from my sugar fantasy to find all three men staring at me.  I smoothed down my skirt, surreptitiously checking for any lady boners. Nope, I was good.”

Of course, in the end, Mira figures out who the murderer is…after all, that is what a mystery is all about.   I was kept guessing until the end as well.  A couple of twists that I did not foresee!  And Mira is reunited with her boyfriend Johnny. 🙂

Jed is a lovable character, whose heart is in the right place.  He is your quintessential “hippy” persona; free spirited, pot smoking, all around good guy. Jed is always happy to provide assistance whenever he can to Mira and Mrs. Berns.  Speaking of Mrs. Berns – she is definitely a character!  Her sense of humor is interesting and she also has some sage advice for Mira.  If only Mira could figure out which is the sage advice and what is ‘hooey’.

Having crossed Canada via train, I could easily sympathize with the patrons of the Valentine Train, being stuck on a train that is not moving due to snow with a murderer on board!  And three PI’s on board!  Having the three interact was intriguing and fun to see how they each approached the murder.  Each with different sleuthing styles.

As a first time reader of Jess Lourey, I was pleasantly surprised to find that her sense of humor combined with the mystery aspect meshed really well with what I am looking for in novels of this genre.  A very entertaining cozy mystery which I most certainly will go back and read the entire series from book one 🙂 .