A Deadly Eclair by Daryl Wood Gerber

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A Deadly Eclair is the first in a new series by Daryl Wood Gerber.  I enjoy Ms. Gerber’s Cookbook Nook series and her Cheese shop series so I was happy to see another series from her.  This series is set in the Napa Valley and is centered on Mimi who is opening a French Bistro and Inn with a very generous financial help from a benefactor who believed in her ability to make a go of the enterprise.  During her first big event, a guest is murdered and Mimi herself is a suspect.  She takes it upon herself to investigate to clear her name and save her business.  I struggled with this one and I’m not sure I’ll read further in the series.  I didn’t find Mimi a likable character or one who is easy to relate to, but perhaps others, particularly people who like the Napa Valley theme will enjoy this.

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Dead as a Door Knocker & First-Degree Fudge

Dead as a Door Knocker is the first in the A House Flipper Mystery.  Whitney Whitaker is attempting her first flip with the aid of her cousin.  She isn’t new to the industry, she is already a carpenter, property manager and working on her real estate license.  What seems like a no-fail proposition quickly goes south, when a body is discovered on the property.  This was a well thought out mystery with plenty of suspects to think about, an engaging cast of character, and an interesting theme that doesn’t overwhelm the mystery.

First-Degree Fudge is the first in the A Fudge Shop Mystery.  The setting is a fishing town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Ava has set up a Fudge shop in her grandfather’s bait and tackle shop and is trying to make a go of it in her home town after leaving in a cloud of disgrace some years earlier.  As Ava prepares for her grand opening and her first big public event a body is found with a piece of her fudge in their mouth.  Needless to say things don’t look good for Ava’s new business.  Ava’s judgement is more questionable than most cozy mystery sleuths and local law enforcement depiction is more heavy handed here.

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.

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.