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!

The Blood of an Englishman & The Missing Dough

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The Blood of an Englishman is number 25 in the Agatha Raisin series. In this installment, Agatha finds herself dragged along by Mrs. Bloxby to an amateur dramatics night that ends with a rather gruesome murder.  Agatha gets hired to investigate to clear the chief suspects name. The regular cast of recurring characters appears here with Charles, James, Toni, and the Bloxby’s. I found this installment to be a bit darker and less humorous than usual.  This was a good read,  just not one of my favorites in the series.

The Missing Dough is book 6 in the Pizza Lovers series by Chris Cavender.  the series surrounds two sister sleuths Maddie and Eleanor running a pizza parlor together after the death of Eleanor’s husband.  In this installment, Maddie’s ex-husband comes to town only to get himself murdered, putting Maddie, Eleanor and their respective significant others  right in the middle of the case.  This installment had plenty of suspects and clues to keep the reader engaged in the story, but the strength of the this series is always the relationships between the sisters and their  group of friends/co-workers/neighbors.

 

Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

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This is book 9 in the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series.  I had stopped reading these for a while because I wasn’t sure I was so happy with the tone of the love triangle.  But I have heard that the triangle resolves at some point and  a friend encouraged me to pick them back up so I have started reading the series again.  This was a really good installment in the the series.  Hannah is a judge at Fair baking contest and when one of the other judges is murdered and Hannah is the one to find her body,  she finds herself right in the middle of an investigation.

Norman is still working on the dream house.  Mike has proposed and is hoping for an answer and Hannah’s mother seems to have a secret of her own.  The mystery is well paced and has a variety suspects for the reader to consider.  I liked everything about this from the mystery story line, to the interactions between the recurring characters, to the theme elements (recipes/cooking and baking references).  I am happy that I picked the series back up again and I will continue to read it.