Three Cozies…

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Claire Donally’s Sunny and Shadow Mystery series until I picked up book 5 series, Catch as Cat Can.  Shadow is a great snarky counterpoint to even keeled Sunny.  There is a great deal of humor in Shadow’s thoughts about the behavior of all the two legs in his life.  This mystery involves witness protection, gangsters, loan sharking, and more in the small fishing village in Maine.  Mike, Sunny’s Dad, is still a recurring presence in Sunny’s life and the series, along with her boss, Ollie, and boyfriend, Will.  A great cozy, particularly for cat lovers!

The Cakes of Wrath is another good installment in this New Orleans based series by Jacklyn Brady.  An antique necklace, an old curse, and a shameful past, all come together to drag Rita Lucero into the middle of a suspicious death.  Putting her self at risk to investigate the connections, Rita finds out more than she expected about her mother-in-law, her co-workers, and the building that houses her business, Zydeco Cakes.  A great installment in this cozy series.

I read the first in the A Love or Money Mystery Series quite a while ago and honestly couldn’t understand what would be done about the theme for a series.  I did really enjoy the first book in this series, however this second one didn’t really work for me.  Instead of a wedding/dating type show, it is one of those survival type reality TV shows.  Perhaps this would work for fans of those type of shows.

 

Killing Thyme by Leslie Budewitz

28504473

This is the third installment in the Spice Shop Mystery series.  Pepper  finds herself embroiled in a mystery from her mother’s past.  The mystery concerns not only Pepper but her mother, father, and her best friend Kristin.  A woman has returned to Pike Place Market and she has connections to an old unsolved crime.  When she ends up dead, Pepper investigates to be sure her mother does not end up in the detective’s line of sight.  An interesting mystery that connects both to the days of hippies, and “peace, love and flowers” and to today in the colorful setting of the Pike Place Market.  Fun cozy in a very good series.

A Murder for the Books

35286383  I picked this up at my local library after seeing a post about it on Goodreads.  The mystery was good (although I guessed who the villain(s) were).  I enjoyed it through to the end.  I found Amy, the protagonist, likable and very real seeming.

 

Amy has returned to her Aunt’s home, giving up her university library position to take a job in the local public library.  The small town is having the classic battle with the developer who is trying to swoop in and push out the old.  When a library patron is murdered in the archives room, Amy gets sucked into the mystery and uncovers links to her family’s past.  The only part I found weak was the romance.  The romantic lead, Richard Muir, doesn’t really sweep me off my feet.  Very promising start to a new series.

A Ghost in the Machine

150936

This is the last in the Chief Inspector Barnaby Mystery books, which the TV show Midsomer Murders is based on.  It was a really good mystery with many threads and stories that needed to be connected together.  You have Mallory and Kate with their horrid daughter Polly,  Bennie, the faithful companion and then the neighbors, the psychic connection, the accounting firm, and of course Barnaby, Troy and Cully.  There is a great deal going on here to keep the reader guessing.  A much more in-depth story line than usually appears on the shows.  I am a big fan of the TV show, but I will say that I liked this book, in particular, in the series  more.  There is more examination of the character’s inner lives and motivations which drive their actions.  Themes of greed, honesty, and family are all well represented.  Great final book in the series.

As the Pig Turns & Death of Yesterday

Two more M.C. Beaton books as I work my way through books left in both the Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin series.

As the Pig Turns sees the death of a police officer in a particularly gruesome (for Agatha books) style.  The entire book has a somewhat darker turn than other Agatha Raisin books.  I really enjoyed it and thought perhaps it reflects Agatha’s aging and maturation after everything she has been through in the first 20 or so books. The police officer’s death and life leads Agatha on a twisting, turning race through a multitude of suspects.  Leading for a little bit to a jaunt to Las Vegas for Toni and Agatha.  This book also sees the return of Simon, along with the other regularly recurring characters, such as Charles Fraith, Roy Silver, and Mrs. Bloxby.  Very good, although darker, installment in the Agatha Raisin series.

Death of Yesterday sees Hamish investigating a murder and then complicating his life by attempting to date the relative of a suspect, all in the vain desire to forget about the lovely Priscilla Halburton-Smythe.  The first victim is a bit of a drama queen, who saw something she shouldn’t and then there is a flurry of murderous activity to cover up crimes.  Mistaken identity, blackmail, and greed drive a great story line in this book in the series.  Hamish is also reconnected with another love interest, the reporter, Elspeth Grant.  A quick, good read with lots going on in it.  From the crimes themselves, to Hamish’s ongoing fight to save his beloved police station from attacks by Blair, and his complicated love interests, there is plenty here to entertain the reader.

Cookies and Scream

19486425  This is book 5 in the A Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery.  I really enjoy this series for the relationships that occur on the pages.  Olivia and Maddie are great as friends and business partners in the shop.  Olivia and her adventurous mother, who is always up for learning and trying new things.  In this installment, Olivia returns from vacation to find that a woman has selected her to sell her valuable antique cutter collection.  When the seller dies unexpectedly, Olivia uncovers mysteries in the woman’s past and connections to others in the town.  This was a fun cozy mystery with great characters and an interesting setting.

All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris

28220808

I used to read and greatly enjoy the Aurora Teagarden mystery series years ago when it was first written.  There were 8 books written from 1990 to 2003.  When True Blood, the Southern Vampire Series based TV show, became very popular Charlaine Harris turned her attention to that series. I remember reading interviews that stated that she would not be writing any more Aurora Teagarden mysteries.

Fast forward to today and there are two more Teagarden mysteries, probably spurred by the interest in the Hallmark Mystery Movies based on the series.  I was happy to see new books in the series and picked this one up.  Unfortunately I found this to be a disappointment after the earlier books. The character, Roe,  seems to have changed and the story pacing was uneven.  I feel like the charm from the earlier books is no longer evident.

The Spook in the Stacks & Holiday Grind

I am working my way back through my FictFact account.  Trying to finish series that I had lost track of with the influx of new ones.   These are two more great cozy mystery series, that I was able to get the next book I needed from the library.

The Spook in the Stacks is book 4 in the A Lighthouse Library Mystery series by Eva Gates. I love the setting for this series, a library in a lighthouse on the Outer Banks.  I took a vacation there a long time ago and it is really a beautiful place.  Lucy Richardson not only works as a librarian at the lighthouse, she also lives there in a tiny apartment on the upper floors, it sounds just divine to me!

In this installment, the library is up for receiving a substantial donation in the form of cash and a collection of historical documents.  The donor visits the library several times to try to make his decision.  One of those visits, someone leaves in a body bag.  Lucy is desperate to protect the library’s reputation and solve the murder.  This is all occurring while Connor is busy with his election campaign to remain mayor of the town.  This is a great installment in a really entertaining series.

Holiday Grind is a Christmas installment of Cleo Coyle’s A Coffeehouse Mystery series.  Clare Cosi is determined to discover who murdered her friend and customer, Alf, a traveling Santa.  She enlists the help of Esther, one of her employees and even her ex-husband tags along for some of the events.  Her romance with Mike Quinn is still buzzing along nicely, even though they both have busy lives.  Whiffs of blackmail, insurance scams, loan sharking and just general skullduggery are blended together  with  great characters and an awesome setting, like one of the Coffeehouse’s custom drinks.  This is another great installment in the series.

Live and Let Chai & The Whole Enchilada

 

Live and Let Chai was an impulse buy from Barnes and Noble for me and I was really happy that I picked it up.  Everly Swan has returned home after leaving for culinary school and romance.  She’s opening a beachfront tea, as in iced tea, shop using secret Swan family recipes handed down through the generations.  When a customer dies after drinking one of her teas, Everly’s whole business and home is put at risk.  She investigates to clear her name, butting heads with the new detective in town the whole way.  Well written, fully fleshed out characters, with an interesting mystery plot, I will definitely read the next in this series when it comes out in February 2019.

I have put off reading The Whole Enchilada for a long time because I really didn’t want the Goldy series to end.  This was written in such a way to provide nice closure for this long running series, a giant among the food based mysteries.  The recurring characters are in evidence here and the mystery is interesting  and fun to read. A surprising  change in life occurs for Goldy and Tom in this book, one that I wasn’t expecting.   All in all a bittersweet farewell to a cozy character that I  related to and loved reading about over the years.  If you haven’t read this series, I’d suggest going back to the beginning and starting with book 1.

A Trio of Cozies

I’ll admit to being shallow, it was the cover of Natural Thorn Killer that grabbed me.  It really stood out from the other mysteries on the shelf at Barnes and Noble.  The second thing of interest to me is the setting, Portland, Oregon, my birthplace.  And the third thing, it didn’t really need a third, were the Swedish touches.  I’ve been taking Swedish on Duolingo and loved seeing the Swedish words included in the text.

Britta returns to her Aunt’s home and floral design studio and wine shop after a bad marriage.  There is a bad guy developer looking to buy up the character filled neighborhood and replace it with new higher-end buildings.  He ends up murdered right in the flower shop, dropping Britta into the middle of the investigation.  There is a lot going on in this first book of the series besides the murder investigation and a good-sized cast of characters that make up the community.  I enjoyed this first in a new cozy series and will read more in the series.

Busy Body is the next book for me in the Agatha Raisin series.  In this one, a PITA Health and Safety officer meets an untimely demise.  The chief suspect hires Agatha’s agency to clear her name.  Meanwhile Agatha takes on a new detective, Simon, who partners up with Toni to help solve the case.  Agatha’s team ends up putting themselves in danger to solve the crime.  Appearances from series regulars, Charles, James, and Roy Silver add fun to the story.  A fun installment in the series.

I have started back on the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke.  I checked in with my Fictfact account and picked up where I left off with Peach Cobbler Murder.  I really am glad that I’ve picked up this series again.  In this book, Hannah has competition in the form of a new bakery in town cutting into her business.  When the competitor ends up dead, Hannah needs to clear her name and jumps into the investigation.  Along with the murder investigation, there are romance story lines for Hannah and her mother.  Enjoyable cozy mystery with a great setting and familiar characters.