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Thirteen Diamonds (Lillian Morgan Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Alan Cook
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99

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Book Description

Lillian Morgan is bored with life in a retirement community, but she gets more excitement than she hoped for when a fellow resident drops dead at the bridge table--while holding a perfect hand of thirteen diamonds. Intrigued by the astronomical odds against this happening, she uses her mathematical background plus assistance from her beautiful granddaughter and friends to prove that a murder was committed--but not everybody wants her to find the murderer.

Editorial Reviews


I really enjoyed this book because the protagonist is different from any
other...The writing is energetic and very funny, which is also
a good way to describe Lillian.
--Robyn Glazer, Pipl Profiles

From the Author

My novels don't usually star crime fighting professionals. The protagonist is everyman--or woman--thrown into a situation new to him or her, involving suspense, and often murder. They must rely on their wits and newfound courage to put their shattered worlds back together. The partial exception to the amateur theme is Run into Trouble, in which Drake and Melody are former undercover operatives.

I use both male and female protagonists, and in some cases, a combination. Following is a one-liner about the sex of the protagonist(s) and theme in each of my mysteries:

Dangerous Wind--(Carol Golden)--female--trying to stop world chaos.
Relatively Dead--(Carol Golden)--female--finding relatives who are dying and possibly scamming.
Forget to Remember--(Carol Golden)--female--amnesia mystery. Facing the world as a non-person.
Run into Trouble--couple--the Cold War turns hot on the California coast.
Honeymoon for Three
--(Gary Blanchard)--couple--honeymooners with a stalker.
The Hayloft--(Gary Blanchard)--male--murder in high school in the fifties.
Hotline to Murder--couple--murder on a crisis hotline.
Aces and Knaves--male--murder in San Francisco.
Catch a Falling Knife--(Lillian Morgan)--female--sexual harassment and murder in college.
Thirteen Diamonds--(Lillian Morgan)--female--murder in a retirement community.

Series? Carol Golden is the protagonist in Dangerous Wind, Forget to Remember and Relatively Dead. Gary Blanchard is featured as the protagonist in The Hayloft, and ten years later, in Honeymoon for Three. Lillian Morgan, a retired math professor, is the protagonist in Thirteen Diamonds and Catch a Falling Knife.

Product Details

  • File Size: 331 KB
  • Print Length: 172 pages
  • Publisher: FirstPublish; 1 edition (October 15, 2000)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,088 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read July 22, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Prior reviews have summarized the plot of this book so I'll only add that it is a fine mystery. Lillian, the protagonist, is a sharp, feisty and likeable retiree. Except for the villian and the villian's pawns, all the characters are attractive. Lillian's Watson, Tess, of the bad feet, is clever, practical and a true friend. There's even a sub-plot of a romance between Lillian's granddaughter and a bartender/student. We have plenty of suspects, lots of motives, and a scary ending. I neither play bridge nor understand math, except as it pertains to dollars and cents, but that fact didn't prevent me from finding this a very entertaining way to spend an evening.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thirteen Diamonds December 8, 2000
By A Customer
I don't have any trouble sleeping, but I did keep the night light burning late finishing this unusual mystery. Alan Cook has concocted an intriguing plot that keeps you turning the pages, not only to solve the crime (What IS the crime??)but also to figure out the puzzles he skillfully weaves into the story. (His heroine is a retired math professor). The setting isn't the international jet set scene, not is it the courtroom. Cook instead chooses a posh retirement community where the resident roster reads like a Who Was Who in America.(Do you recognize yourself?) Your stereotypes will crash as Cook details with accuracy and humour the shennanigans among the current inhabitants of the digs as he leads us down the investigative path. Besides writing a book that is just a great and easy read,Cook has achieved a wonderful characterization of the heroine not so much through description of her but through her dialogue and its tone. She is a pistol, and reminded me of Miss Marple as she goes about her dry witted and relentless pursuit of the scoundrel. You'll like her, and cheer her on even as her more conservative counterparts try to put the brakes on her activites. Keep an eye on this budding novelist; he's finding his voice!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thirteen Diamonds August 11, 2006
Cook has told a masterful murder mystery in the improbable setting of an assisted living facility that will break any stereotypical viewpoints you may have about the people who reside in them. Very humorous in spots. Great interplay between sleuth mother and exasperated son.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good January 8, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There are so many pitfalls into which the "old lady in a senior community" sub-genre can fall, some of which nag at enjoyment of this book, that I was surprised that the book rose above its flaws to be an interesting and, at times, a gripping, entertainment. So, the leading elder-lady was at times unbearably nosy, a true "NOSY PARKER", a menace to all the innocents who surrounded here, often entering into unbelievable situations, difficult to like, etc., somehow, the author finally made it all gel, and we are able to take her as she is.
This is the first of a series, the Lillian Morgan (senior lady, former Math Professor), which should improve now that the character is introduced and, presumably, the author is freed to concentrate more on plotting and strengthening her character.
Good for most readers of "cozy" mysteries.
(Of course most specific comments had to be omitted to preserve the mystery from being unwrapped before the reader has opened the book.)
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By SkiBum
This book wasn't bad; it was just very disappointing after the intriguing setting, unique sleuth, etc. The "detective" is an elderly retired mathematics professor from Duke University, and the plot includes several fascinating math puzzles (with solutions at the back of the book). Although the world's worst mathematician (and unable to solve even the simplest math puzzle), I was fascinated by that. And, as a huge fan of Miss Marple who also loves Emma Lathen's elderly John Thatcher, I was prepared to greatly enjoy this elderly sleuth and setting -- but I didn't. Although neither expecting nor wanting stark realism in mysteries, and fully prepared to suspend disbelief (as a child, I loved fairy tales, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeannie), even I found the plot hopelessly and unbelievably convoluted. But if you're not expecting another Agatha Christie or Emma Lathen, and want a light, simple read, you'll probably enjoy it greatly ... the math puzzles, alone, make it a worthwhile, intriguing read. I'm probably grading it too harshly because of my passion for Christie and Lathen ... Hopefully, this is the first book in a series, and its successors will have more believable solutions.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It! March 19, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book. It was funny, suspensful, and intriguing. Loved the Senior Center setting and Lillian Morgan character. In fact, as soon as I finished, I purchased Alan Cook's other Lillian Morgan mystery, "Catch a Falling Knife" and plan to read it right away.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great lead character, great setting, so-so plot December 7, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this book - Lillian is a trip as are her associates in the retirement community. The book reminds us that older folks are mostly us but just a bit slower or creaky. It's like with kids - they're small, not stupid - only this time it's they're old, not retarded. Cook handles the characters and the setting especially well but the plot is pretty standard fare. Chances are you will enjoy the book - and for 99 cents, it's a terrific bargain. Would have offered five stars but predictable plot dropped it one. For those who care, not a profanity to be found and minimal violence.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read
Fast paced and mysterious. Kept you thinking and the characters were fun and love able. It was a quick story to follow
Published 10 months ago by Laura Kaye Janese
4.0 out of 5 stars Young sleuths beware, these retirees sink their teeth in and don't let...
An interesting mystery at a retirement community. Give a senior a mystery to solve and some will surely sink their teeth into it--or it may come back and bite them! Read more
Published 16 months ago by Betty Gelean
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what the doctor ordered!
I really liked this book. It was suspenseful, funny and well written. I have admired and enjoyed a variety of mystery authors whose books required more concentration. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Yvonne L Swanson
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder in a retirement community is a quietly told tale
The story opens on a weekly bridge game at the Silver Acres retirement community in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. There are three tables with four players each. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Pat Browning
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
What a refreshing book. Some of the story was a little hard to take, but over all a good mystery, had you in suspense until the end.
Published on March 7, 2013 by CW
5.0 out of 5 stars murder at bridge
Someone has murdered a Nobel prize winner who now lives at a retirement home and plays bridge. He gets a hand of 13 diamonds and is poisoned at the bridge table. Read more
Published on March 29, 2012 by M. Poller
4.0 out of 5 stars NICE, QUICK READ
Enjoyable read with pretty good character development....the font was kind of irritating and maybe there's a way to fix that I'm unaware of. Read more
Published on March 21, 2012 by D. C. James
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick read
This is a good beach read. It's quick and does not go into all the details but has a moving plot.
Published on March 12, 2012 by Kris M
4.0 out of 5 stars A cosy mystery set in a retirement home.
To me, this is a new venue for mysteries and I really enjoy the fresh location. I also appreciate that the author knows that elders still can be sharp, wise and daring.
Published on February 1, 2012 by Ann
3.0 out of 5 stars I loved this cozy!
I was surprised to discover the author was male. He realy seemed to embody the elderly female protagonist. I loved this so much, I bought the next mystery. Big mistake. Read more
Published on June 8, 2011 by baltomd
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More About the Author

After spending more than a quarter of a century as a pioneer in the computer industry, Alan Cook is well into his second career as a writer.

Alan's short story, "Checkpoint Charlie," has been included in the anthology, "Mystery Writers of America Presents Ice Cold: Tales of Intrigue from the Cold War," edited by Jeffery Deaver and Raymond Benson.

His latest book for young people is the second Matthew and Mason adventure, "Pictureland," that takes place in a dystopian world behind a painting on their wall. The first Matthew and Mason adventure is "Dancing with Bulls," that takes place at Knossos Palace on the island of Crete, 4,000 years ago. It is illustrated by Janelle Carbajal.

Alan has written a number of mysteries, including the Carol Golden amnesia novels: "Hit that Blot," "Dangerous Wind," "Relatively Dead" and "Forget to Remember." He has also written "Run into Trouble," "Honeymoon for Three,"The Hayloft," "Hotline to Murder," "Catch a Falling Knife" and "Thirteen Diamonds." "Run into Trouble" received a Silver Quill award from the American Authors Association and was named Top Pacific West book by Readers Choice. "Honeymoon for Three" received a Silver Quill award from the American Authors Association and was named Top Mountain West book by Readers Choice. Alan's short story, 'Hot Days, Cold Nights,' appears in the Mystery Writers of America anthology, "A Hot and Sultry Night for Crime," edited by Jeffery Deaver.

Alan splits his time between writing and walking, another passion. His inspirational book, "Walking the World: Memories and Adventures," has information and adventure in equal parts. It has been named one of the 'Top 10 Walking Memoirs and Tales of Long Walks' by the walking website, He is also the author of "Walking to Denver," a light-hearted fictional account of a walk he did. "Freedom's Light: Quotations from History's Champions of Freedom," contains quotations from some of our favorite historical figures about personal freedom. And "The Saga of Bill the Hermit" is a narrative poem about a hermit who decides that the single life isn't all it's cracked up to be. Alan lives with his wife, Bonny, on a hill in Southern California.

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