Death in Paris by Emilia Bernhard

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Death in Paris is a lovely slice of life for an American ex-pat living in Paris.  The sleuths are a pair of friends who decide to investigate the death of one of their ex-boyfriends under what appears to them, but no one else as suspicious circumstances.  Rachel and her best friend Magda insert themselves into the upper crust world of financier Edgar Bowen  as they try to work out how and why he died.

The novel does an extremely good job of painting a picture of Paris.  There are a great deal of sensory details and explanations of why people like Rachel are attracted to it and then remain there.  There is definitely a well developed sense of place.  The same attention is also given to the details in describing the characters and giving you a sense of who all of them were to Edgar.  There is a lot of detail throughout this novel.  A good read for traditional mystery fans.

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No Good Tea Goes Unpunished & The Stone Circle

No Good Tea Goes Unpunished is book 2 in the A Seaside Cafe Mystery.  Everly is organizing a wedding on the beach for a former classmate and her wealthy fiance.  The wedding seems to be a success until someone ends up dead, done in with the knife intended to cut the cake.  Everly can’t help but stick her nose in as the bride is a friend and strange things keep happening to draw her into the mystery.  Great mystery plot and a couple interesting side plots, one a budding romance, the other involving Everly’s Aunts, their beekeeping business and bee conservation.  Very good cozy mystery read.

The Stone Circle is book 11 in the Ruth Galloway Mystery Series.  I really think this is one of the better installments in the series.  Revisiting shades of Erik the Viking, from earlier books and  the earlier cases.  I do think reading this series in order would make the reader appreciate it more, but you could probably read it as a stand alone if you wanted to.  Ruth is called to examine some remains found in a Stone Circle at the same time that DCI Nelson begins getting letters again regarding a cold case.  Then another body is found and this one is definitely not from the Iron Age.  The letters keep coming and Nelson and his team have to try to solve a case complicated by obvious connections to an already dead suspect.  There is the ongoing subplot of the love triangle between Ruth, Nelson and Michelle.  Cathbad and Judy’s family also feature prominently in this installment.  Very good mystery read.

Read Herring Hunt by V.M. Burns

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This is book two in the A Mystery Bookshop Mystery series.  Samantha Washington is running her mystery bookshop with the help of her grandmother Nana Jo and her college student employee, Dawson.  When Dawson’s ex-girlfriend is murdered and he finds himself in the frame, Samantha and Nana Jo investigate to clear his name. Plenty of a suspects, a timely plot involving sports team members and violence,  and great recurring characters.  I am really enjoying this cozy mystery series and look forward to reading more.

Treacherous Strand by Andrea Carter

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This is the second Inishowen Mystery I have read by Andrea Carter and I am really enjoying her writing and the world on the Inishowen Penisula, somewhat isolated and insular, where even someone who has been there a number of years is an outsider.  Solicitor Benedicta “Ben” O’Keefe feels responsible when a client apparently commits suicide and therefore continues to prod for a more exhaustive investigation, even when everyone else seems happy to call it suicide and close the case.  The more Ben uncovers about Ben and her traumatic past, the more she is sure that her death was not by her own hand.  Ben, as a solicitor sleuth, is a well drawn intelligent female lead.  There is a very good balance in the interactions between Ben and the police.  Themes of religious zealotry, trauma, and secrets (and the damage they can do) are all represented here.  I have to admit I was surprised at the reveal, not at the who, but at the why and I am still not certain that entirely worked for me, but still a quite good read.  Well paced, intriguing mystery read.

Read and Buried by Eva Gates

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I received a free copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

In Read and Buried, we find ourselves back at the beloved Lighthouse library which is in the midst of some needed restoration work.  The restoration work uncovers a hidden box from the Civil War era.  Everyone is chomping at the bit to examine the contents and figure out what they mean, is it a treasure map? a diary? a coded message? important documents from the war time?  One of the members of the historical society ends up dead and that makes deciphering the contents of the box even more urgent.

Lucy works to solve the case with her cat Charlie,  her boyfriend, the Mayor of the town, Connor, and  several of the other recurring characters from the series including her sometime nemesis, Louise Jane.  There are more than a handful of suspects here and it is definitely an interesting case with ties to an artifact from the past.  A fast paced cozy mystery with wonderful setting of a Library in a Lighthouse on the Outer Banks.

The Candy Cane Caper & So the Doves

I received both of these titles in exchange for fair reviews from NetGalley.

 

The Candy Cane Caper is the 13th book in the A Culinary Mystery Series by Josi S. Kipack.  I have not read any of the previous books, but I found that I was able to pick up and enjoy this book without the benefit of the knowing all the backstory of the family and the town.  Sadie is a former private detective and a baker, who is preparing for the holiday season.  As part of her preparations, she is visiting a friend in a nursing home, who happens to own a very rare collection of ornaments.  When some of the ornaments go missing, Sadie puts herself on the case to retrieve them to give her friend one final joyous holiday.  An unusual mystery in that the central crime is theft, not murder.  There are plenty of suspects and clues and it is an intriguing case.  Well paced cozy mystery with a fun holiday theme.

So the Doves involves a journalist called back to the area where his mother lives to report on a body that has been discovered.  The body’s discovery is initially thought to have some political implications or perhaps be linked to a missing policeman.  As Marcus has returned to the scene of his youth, the story alternates between present day, and 1989, when Marcus was a child expelled from his posh school and the disappearance of his friend, Melanie.

The child Marcus and the story line told through his eyes is a little naive or vague, I suppose it is to highlight that our memories from childhood are not exactly as things really were.  Perhaps we don’t really understand every thing that was really happening around us and as such our recall was not accurate and our judgement of events can be called into question.  The modern day story involves Marcus’s career and his big expose that has been cast into doubt.  It also concerns his relationship with his mother and his relationships in general.  I don’t really want to say anything more because this is a layered book with the reader needing to make inferences and connections as they go along.  The themes explored most obviously throughout are memory, guilt, shame, and secrets.

 

Last Pen Standing & No Cats Allowed

I received a copy of Last Pen Standing from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

Last Pen Standing is the first in a new series, the A Stationery Shop Mystery Series, by Vivian Conroy.  This series is set in scenic Montana.  Delta is just moving to Montana as the new co-owner of a stationery store business with her friend Hazel from college.  Hazel has also moved her troubled brother Finn to the small town for a fresh start and soon the three of them find themselves embroiled in a open murder case.  Hazel, desperate to clear her business partner and  Finn, seeks the help of a group of the store’s crafting customers and an ex-cop with his retired K-9. A fun group of characters and a beautiful setting added to a well constructed mystery plot make for a really well done cozy mystery!

No Cats Allowed is installment number 7 in the A Cat in the Stacks series with librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon Diesel.  In this book, there is a new interim library director who seems bent on making everyone in the library miserable, so much so that when he ends up being murdered there is quite a long list of possible suspects.  Charlie uses his research skills and his contacts to investigate.  Meanwhile, in Charlie’s personal life his relationships continues to develop, his son is getting married and he is looking forward to being a grandfather.  This was a great outing in this series, we see a lot of growth in Charlie’s character over the course of this book.  I am looking forward to the next book in this series!