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Lady Blues: forget-me-not: A Gus LeGarde…
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Lady Blues: forget-me-not: A Gus LeGarde Mystery (LeGarde Mysteries)

by Aaron Paul Lazar

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Take a touch of history. Add a dose of mystery. Throw in a romance between two very unlikely people. Mix with another sweet romance, along with a murder, and you have a story that will hold you spellbound until the final words.

LADY BLUES: forget-me-not, by Award Winning Author Aaron Paul Lazar follows Gus LeGarde from the Gus LeGarde Mysteries Series and his family through the daily activities of a normal family, although their lives are anything but normal. Gus, who teaches music appreciation at the college, delights in helping others. He’s a romantic and wants to see everyone happy. Gus encounters some interesting characters in his daily life. There’s the music man that lives in the nursing home who can’t remember who he is, but has a picture of a woman named Bella that may hold the answer to his identity. But something suspicious is going on at the nursing home, and Gus soon finds himself involved in a possible murder. And that’s just part of a busy day in Gus’s life.

The author keeps you guessing what will happen next, and he throws in a few surprises along the way. For history lovers, LADY BLUES includes a bit about Glenn Miller. What? You never heard of him? Then you need to read this book for sure. And if you’re looking for a good mystery, you’ll find it here. The author describes both the characters and the setting so realistically that you feel like you’re there, with the people, hearing and seeing the same things they are. So pick up a copy and enter the world of Gus LeGarde and family. You’ll be glad you did.
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  beverlyjean | Sep 14, 2014 |
Oh what a lovely, wholesome joy it is to take in the sunshine alongside music professor Gus LeGarde! All worries fall away, just being with him as he enjoys the simple little pleasures life has to offer. Food: “For almost a year, I’d been devouring Milka chocolate bars… We’d bought enough for an army, and I considered it my personal challenge to devour one ever night.” Dogs: “Max thumped his tail on the grass and nuzzled me with a wet nose… I stroked his ears and rested back on my elbows on the warm grass.” Family: “There was something about those sweet little faces, their soft hands and kisses, their incessant noise and joyful shrieks that made me feel whole and alive.”

Yet, at a moments notice Gus snaps out of his relaxed mood, and the mood alternates from soothing to suspenseful when an emergency presents itself. Here is is, leaping to rescue Lily, a Korean woman trapped in a burning house: “The black cloud rolled with a vengeance now, completely clouding my vision. I struggled to breathe and reached for the stairway rail, trying to balance.” Or on another call to action, “With vengeance and absolutely no remorse, I swung again, this time at the back of his head. I put all I had into the blow.” These changes in mood drive us through the twists and turns of the story, trusting all the while that all will end on an upswing note, and we will find ourselves with Gus at a cozy place in the end.

Note the respect and warm-hearted affection with which Gus describes Kip Sterling, the elderly Alzheimer’s stricken man known as ‘the music man’, whom he meets in a local nursing home : “Deep character lines etched his face, offset by dark blue eyes that drifted to days forgotten.” Looking at Kip, Gus is touched by the mystery of a mind disappearing. Could Bella, Kip’s first and only love, still be alive? Would he, Gus, find her and bring her before Kip in time? Will the old man have the opportunity to say to her, “My Bella. Oh my God. My Bella,” before the memory of love fades completely away?

Five stars. ( )
  Uvi_Poznansky | Jul 8, 2014 |
I’m already hooked on author Aaron Paul Lazar’s Gus LeGarde mysteries, and this one is another great addition to the series. As always, music plays its role in the story, and plays it most evocatively, as an elderly Alzheimer’s patient exhibits that quirk of memory whereby past music is more real than present pain. But octogenarian Kip's present pain is soon being alleviated by a new drug. Gus is privy to his delightful awakening, with memories of World War II and Bella and the Blues. Could this man’s past even hold the key to answering a long-studied mystery?

The Genesee valley is beautifully described, with evocative scenery, and an honest sense of friction between Gus’s feelings for his well-tended garden, and the stark failed landscaping of cheap business practices. But business practice will affect more than the landscape in this tale. Small-town disaster leaves a quiet woman homeless. Small-business troubles leave an old man sliding back into forgetfulness. And small tendrils of concern grow into serious investigation and serious danger as Gus takes charge.

I love the characters of these stories, drawn with enough depth that they can change and grow from novel to novel while still feeling like well-remembered friends. But there’s no need to read the earlier novels before enjoying this one. Start wherever you choose, wander in the valley’s sunshine and scenery, rest in its small-town homeliness, meet Gus, make friends with Sig and co, and watch love grow.

Disclosure: I was delighted to read a copy of this novel before its release, and again afterward. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Mar 10, 2014 |
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