Category Archives: Cozy Mystery
A Deadly Chapter
Castle Bookshop Mystery Series, Book 3
Thousand Islands bookseller Shelby Cox is caught between a lethal rock and a hardheaded newcomer in Essie Lang’s third Castle Bookshop mystery, a must-read for fans of Lorna Barrett and Vicki Delany.
Wake up on a houseboat, moored in scenic Alexandria Bay, New York. Ride the gentle waves to work at quaint Bayside Books, where you spend your days supplying literature and conversation to the charming locals and seasonal tourists. Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? Except bookseller Shelby Cox has already sleuthed two murders from Bayside Books’s home base on Blye Island, one of New York State’s famed Thousand Islands. And this time, mayhem knocks right on Shelby’s waterside door when she finds a body lodged between the side of her houseboat and the dock, his skull shattered.
The victim is no local, but Shelby can’t shake the feeling she’s seen him before. Twice, in fact–that’s how many times he’s dropped into Bayside Books asking about an enigmatic woman who lived on Blye Island many years before. The last time? The day before he was found. But the poor man obviously was killed elsewhere, so who brought him down to the bay, and why?
When the victim’s daughter hits town demanding answers, Shelby takes the case, despite Police Chief Tekla Stone’s usual reservations. But she uncovers more suspects than there are pages in War and Peace, and Shelby can expect no peace–except the peace of the grave–unless she can turn the page on this grisly mystery. (
Living on a houseboat is a calm and serene way of life. Starting your day on the beautiful Alexandria Bay can’t help but to give the beginning of your day the best start it can have. Shelby is living the life. Until a dead body is found floating next to where you live. That definitely changes the outcome of the day.
One can never say that Shelby is not passionate about the small town in which she lives, as she is constantly reminded not to get involved in police business. This one hits too close to home and Shelby can’t help but to get down to the bottom of what’s going on.
A Deadly Chapter is book three of the Castle Bookshop Mysteries. I have come to enjoy Shelby’s way of finding out things that not just anyone could seem to find out. Shelby’s got some personal things happening as this mystery is underfoot. More than just a dead body is going on and Shelby does what she does best and somehow juggles at all and ends up finding the answers in the end. This is such a charming setting with wonderfully written characters. So much personality shines through each and everyone of them. Miss Lang definitely has a way of transporting you to a cozy little town within the pages of the series. I love how every day issues are added in with the mystery to make it seem a bit more real. I very much enjoy the series and A Deadly Chapter definitely stands up to the rest of the series.
Mums and Mayham
A Magic Garden Mystery, Book 3
A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden’s left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox’s father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona’s blood be spilt?
World-famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in blustery Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for a grand homecoming concert organized by jeweler Bernice Brennan. Fiona Knox, owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop, is starting to regret volunteering to help with the concert. Bernice is an exacting taskmaster, and Fiona has enough tension dealing with her parents, who have traveled from Tennessee to visit Fi and her younger sister, Isla, and to reveal a secret about Fi’s birth. But when Barley is found dead in his trailer during the concert’s intermission, and his death is shockingly tied to Fiona’s father, Fiona discovers there are more secrets surrounding her family than she realized.
Much to the chagrin of handsome Neil Craig, Chief Inspector of the County Aberdeen Police, Fiona delves into the case to clear her father’s name. To make matters worse, Fiona learns that Duncreigan, the magical garden that she inherited from her godfather, is dying. At some point during the concert, someone broke into the garden and cut the centuries-old climbing rose–the source of the garden’s magic–from the standing stone.
The stakes are higher than ever and Fiona could lose all that she’s grown unless she’s able to dispel this terrible curse and dig up the truth–fast.
A sweet touch of romance, some family drama,a bit of magic and a twisted mystery wrapped all in one. Mums and Mayhem is an entertaining read.
Fiona Knox has more than a little going on. She’s part of the merchant Society preparing for a major concert in their little town, dealing with a dead body in her garden, someone trying to sabotage her garden and family secrets that she can’t seem to find the answer she needs. A flower shop owner who has a knack for solving mysteries and the holder of a legacy that she doesn’t quite understand. Fiona is smart, funny and just beginning to see what this new life of hers in Scotland is all about. Yet dead bodies have a tendency to fall within her path.
As the mystery unfolds this one hits a little too close to home as the family secrets unfold and answers Fiona has been waiting for our revealed. The characters drive the story with their charm, personality and charisma making it very difficult for the reader to guess who done it on this one. Author Amanda Flower adds just enough of a magical touch to keep the story very interesting without making it a full-blown paranormal. The magical garden series is quite magical and this latest installment of Mums and Mayhem it’s a wonderful addition to this cute and sweet series.
The Key Lime Crime
A Key West Food Critic Mystery, Book 10
National bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s tenth Key West Food Critic mystery is piping hot with pie-enthusiasts and murder suspects.
When a fierce rivalry between key lime pie bakers leads to a pastry chef’s murder, food critic Hayley Snow is fit to be pied.
During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the year-round population of Key West, Florida, faces a tsunami of tourists and snowbirds. It doesn’t help that outrageously wealthy key lime pie aficionado David Sloan has persuaded the city to host his pie-baking contest. Every pie purveyor on the island is out to win the coveted Key Lime Key to the City and Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow is on the scene to report it.
Meanwhile, Hayley’s home life is turning more tart than sweet. Hayley’s new hubby, police detective Nathan Bransford, announces that her intimidating mother-in-law is bearing down on the island for a surprise visit. Hayley offers to escort Nathan’s crusty mom on the iconic Conch Train Tour of the island’s holiday lights, but it becomes a recipe for disaster when they find a corpse among the glittering palm trees and fantastic flamingos. The victim–Au Citron Vert’s controversial new pastry chef–was a frontrunner in Sloan’s contest.
It’s bad enough that Hayley’s too-curious mother-in-law is cooking up trouble. Now, the murderer is out to take a slice out of Hayley. Can she handle the heat of a killer’s kitchen?
Holidays, key lime pie and murder, The Key Lime Crime is a deliciously entertaining cozy mystery.
As if life isn’t crazy enough for food critic and newlywed Hayley Snow with it being Christmas in the beautiful Key West, there is a Key Lime Pie contest that every baker in town is trying to win and she is a judge. All the while trying to finish out her articles for the remainder of the year. Toss in a surprise visit from her new mother-in-law that turns her into a tour guide that has them stumbling upon a dead body. I believe the day just got worse.
Key Lime Crime is a funny and entertaining cozy mystery. If you are not craving several slices of key lime pie by the time you’re reading then somethings just not right. Hayley is a wonderful character that readers can relate with. She smart, charming, in love and a good person. She’s still becoming comfortable in her new married life, as many readers can relate to. Hayley navigates the reader through an interesting and twisting plot that keeps you guessing. You see significant character growth within one book. As being a primary romance reader that is something I see frequently within romance but not quite so much in cozies. I definitely enjoyed that factor of the book. This is a long going series that fortunately I stumbled upon and was able to pick up at book 10 and didn’t feel like I was left out from anything of previous books. Author Lucy Burdette twisted a fantastic mystery well giving you fantastic descriptions of every possible Way of having Keylime pie. I very much enjoyed Key Lime Crime. I look forward to going back to previous books in the series and truly getting to know these characters.
A Colorado Wine Mystery, Book 1
A young winery owner won’t let one sour grape ruin the bunch in the first installment of this exciting cozy mystery series.
Parker Valentine has always dreamed of opening her own winery in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. But she gets more than she bargained for when a food and wine critic unexpectedly shows up at Vino Valentine on opening day. A negative review could be fatal for her business, and not only does he seem to hate her chardonnay, he also collapses and dies shortly after drinking it.
Although Parker hoped that the attendees would put a cork in it, soon her winery is at the center of a social media firestorm. With #killerchardonnay trending online, Parker’s business is in danger of closing, and she has no choice but to investigate the murder herself.
To restore her reputation, catch a killer, and keep her struggling business open, Parker needs only one thing: some good proof.
Parker Valentine is about to see her dream come true. Her winery Vino Valentine, is opening its door. The wine is ready to flow, allowing Parker’s talent shine through grapes and fruits she blends. Opening day is not quite what Parker envisioned when a local food and wine critic unexpectedly stumbles into Vino Valentine. Not being too found of Parker’s Chardonnay, Mr. Critic doesn’t manage to stumble his way back out of the winery when he ends up dead on the floor. Creating the hashtag #killerchardonnay. Parker is caught in the middle of a hot mess as she instantly goes from a new business owner to one trying to save her business.
Parker rocks! I love how she approached everything that was happening around her. She was smooth, just like her wines. She could’ve fallen apart at many points in time yet she held her head high and made it her mission to get to the bottom of it. The descriptions of the wines alone make me wanna run to my local vineyard and see if I can find something even remotely close. I could totally see myself hanging out at the Vino Valentine. The mystery is well written. The story flows easy and just when you think you have it figured out, nope. Kate Lansing throws that twist that changes the game. The story flows so easily and the characters entertain and intrigue before you know it you have become fully invested in Parker. Killer Chardonnay is a mystery, with a good deal of suspense and a great heaping of romance added in. We all know I love the romance, Ms. Lansing blended it perfectly making it an enjoyable part of the story.
Killer Chardonnay is an easy lighthearted enjoyable cozy mystery that is just the beginning to what I’m sure is going to be a fantastic series.
The cat, Zin!!!! That cat, any cat owner will completely understand.
Pumpkin Spice Peril
A Cupcake Bakery Mystery, Book 12
In the twelfth Cupcake Bakery Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay, the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew follows the clever crumb trail of a killer who’s anything but cookie-cutter.
Life is all sugar and spice for the Fairy Tale Cupcake bakers–Melanie Cooper is engaged to the delectable Joe DeLaura, Angie Harper and her husband Tate are savoring married life, and the bakery is bustling with happy customers. Until one of their most valued cupcake connoisseurs ends up dead.
Local glass artist and cupcake lover Rene Fischer-Klein has always suffered from a wide variety of health issues. In an effort to cheer her up, her doting husband, Peter, brings her a four-pack of her favorite cupcakes every week. But when the police discover that Rene has been poisoned, there’s no sugarcoating the fact that the last things she ate were the bakery’s signature pumpkin spice cupcakes! With their lives and bakery at stake, it’s up to Mel and Angie to find out who poisoned their artist friend and why, before their future is frosted for good.
Pumpkin Spice Peril is an entertaining and light read that brings out the laughs.
Mel’s life is surrounded by sweetness on so many levels. She has a bakery that produces the best cupcakes in town, her best friend and business owner is happily married and Mel herself is riding the wave to the happiness that is wedded bliss. Life just may be on the verge of perfect for our lovely cupcake baker.
Mel’s cake goes flat when her good friend and client, Rene is in a state unlike she’s ever seen before and becomes a victim of murder. Now Who could think the delectable goodness that is cupcakes or their maker could be anyway responsible for this tragedy has lost her mind.
Mel and her gang at Fairy Tale Cupcakes bake up a few laughs while a few of them find themselves asking questions, causing questions or chasing after answers. Mel has once again found her way smack in the middle of a murder investigation and no lack of sweetness will slow her down to figure out the who and why.
Jenn McKinlay’s Pumpkin Spice Peril is like walking into your local neighborhood bakery and visiting with friends that you’ve known forever. Even if you’ve just met them. Ms. McKinlay gives readers wonderful characters blooming with personality and charm, in a fun, warm and welcome setting. Pumpkin Spice Peril is a light hearted read yet the plot is solid and will make you think. Not to mention if you don’t want a cupcake by chapter 3 you probably don’t like sweets. I have not read this entire series and the titles that I have read were in no sense of order whatsoever, Pumpkin Spice Peril is a treat for the new reader or those that have been following for a while.
Dead in the Doorway
A House-Flipper Mystery, Book 2
Dead in the Doorway is the second in a delightful cozy series from Diane Kelly set in Nashville—where the real estate market is to die for.
A HOUSE WITH GOOD BONES. . .
Whitney Whitaker has scored the perfect piece of real estate: a ramshackle white Colonial at the top of a hill with views of downtown Nashville. What more could a self-taught home-improvement maven and occasional house-flipper ask for? Ideally, the property of Whitney’s dreams would not have come with a dead body blocking the entrance to the foyer. But Whitney, always quick to take heavy-duty matters into her own hands, also happens to be a skilled amateur sleuth. So that helps.
AND SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET.
Who is this older woman—and how did her corpse end up at the bottom of the staircase of this locked, unoccupied house? That is what Whitney, along with the support of her wood-working cousin Buck, Detective Collin Flynn, and, of course, feline partner-in-crime Sawdust, intends to find out. Her friendly-neighbor investigation takes a sharp turn, however, when Whitney discovers that the house’s former owner was a gourmet baker whose secret recipe for peach pie was to die for—perhaps literally. Now it’s up to Whitney to learn the truth about what happened before she loses this killer real-estate deal . . . and the killer comes knocking at her door.
Dead in the Doorway is a fast paced cozy read embedded with humor and wit. Diane Kelly thoroughly entertains her readers with fantastic main characters, a solid plot and a peach pie to die for.
Whitney Whitaker is a busy woman. Property manager, Carpenter and flips houses on the side. She is a lady that knows how to get things done, has a good head on her shoulders and is genuine to the core. I enjoyed her relationship with her Uncle Buck. The back and forth banter between the two is comical and entertaining. They are a solid team and it shows. The chapters from the cats, Sawdust, point of view are priceless. That is a wonderful addition to the story, as Sawdust is in tow Whitney quite a bit. The flip house neighbors were a lively bunch that kept the story interesting. Another enjoyment of the story was seeing the house come together. Ms. Kelly balances the details of the restoration of the house without going overboard, yet has a reader interested in the outcome of not only the mystery of what this house is gonna look like at the end.
Dead in the Doorway takes the saying this pie is to die for to a whole new meaning. Diane Kelly has wrapped home improvement, some delectable eats, a little bit of romance and a well spun mystery into an enjoyable and entertaining cozy read. Whitney is a wonderful lead character. She’s smart and funny and adds so much personality to the story. Ms. Kelly twisted the story well as I had no clue who had done it yet should have known from the clues she is giving us. Dead in the Doorway was much more enjoyable than I expected and I give my highest props to the Author for her enjoyable tail.
Death on the Page
A Castle Bookshop Mystery, Book 2
Thousand Islands bookstore owner Shelby Cox sleuths the slaying of a true-crime writer who may have learned too much about a murder case that should have stayed shut.
There are a thousand stories in New York’s scenic Thousand Islands, and Bayside Books co-owner Shelby Cox stocks them all. But lately, the Blye Island bookseller’s life is more about investigation than inventory. True-crime writer Savannah Page caps off two successful signings at Bayside Books with a night in Blye Castle. She’s there to research Joe Cabana, a colorful Prohibition-era mobster who owned the castle–until he was found dead in the island Grotto.
But crime becomes all too true for Savannah. Her body turns up the next morning, in a secret passage at the bottom of the stairs. The last thing Shelby Cox wants is to sleuth another murder, but she’s intrigued about how a killer could have reached the island after hours. She’s not at a lack for suspects either. It could have been anyone from Savannah’s fiancé, Liam Kennelly, who argued with her the evening before, to island caretaker Matthew Kessler, recently cleared of his wife’s murder. Can Shelby keep regular store hours, elude the police chief, and assemble the clues into a hard-bound case without getting permanently shelved?
I will admit when I read the description of this book and the setting was a bookstore within a castle I knew I had to read it. What reader doesn’t love a bookstore? Add in the fabulous setting of the castle you had me from the get go. Now when you add a compelling Plot that involves a true crime writer getting murdered inside said castle and you have more than peaked my interest.
The second installment of the Castle Bookshop Mystery, Death on the Page is an interesting and enjoyable read. Shelby Cox, co owner of the Thousand Island book stores and has the nose of a sleuth, host a signing for crime writer Savannah Page, and she get more than her pages worth when the lady of the hour ends up murder inside the glorious castle. Shelby don’t necessarily want to help, yet she can’t seem to keep herself away from this binding murder.
Essie Lang knows how to catch her readers attention in more ways than one. The setting draws you into a beautiful place, the well-developed characters make the company fun and entertaining and then she gives you a plot that is well paced and keeps you attention fully in the book. Shelby and her aunt Edie are together. Shelby is a natural at sleuthing and entertaining while she does it. This is my first read by Miss Lang and I will tell you I was highly impressed.
Revenge Is Sweet
Vintage Sweets Mysteries, Book 1
In the picturesque tourist town of Fredericksburg, Texas, Tally Holt has opened a new candy store with a vintage twist . . .but there’s no sugar-coating a nasty case of murder . . .
Tally Holt has poured her heart, soul, and bank account into Tally’s Olde Tyme Sweets, specializing in her grandmother’s delicious recipes. Tally’s homemade Mallomars, Twinkies, fudges, and taffy are a hit with visiting tourists—and with Yolanda Bella, the flamboyant owner of Bella’s Baskets next door. But both shops encounter a sour surprise when local handyman Gene Faust is found dead in Tally’s kitchen, stabbed with Yolanda’s scissors.
The mayor’s adopted son, Gene was a handsome Casanova with a bad habit of borrowing money from the women he wooed. It’s a sticky situation for Yolanda, who was one of his marks. There are plenty of other likely culprits among Fredericksburg’s female population, and even among Gene’s family. But unless Tally can figure out who finally had their fill of Gene’s sweet-talking ways, Yolanda—and both their fledgling businesses—may be destined for a bitter end . . .
From the sweets of the old time candy store to Nigel, the main coon cat, to the way the mystery unfolded, Revenge is Sweet is a promising start to this new series.
Kaye George will definitely make your mouth water with all the wonderful confections that Tally Holt creates. She will also get your mind churning with mystery that is contained within Revenge is Sweet. Tally and Yolanda are a trip together. You can tell they are still finding their way, but they both have potential. With that said, there are many Aspects of the story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love this little town. The descriptions of the confections are truly mouthwatering. There’s a lot of personality lying just under the surface that I felt needs to pop out a little bit more. Like the characters I mentioned above I feel this series has a lot of potential. We just had it for you shortcomings along the way. Revenge is Sweet is a good start to what could be a pretty awesome and yummy series.
Lavender Blue Murder
A Tea Shop Mystery, Book 21
Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.
But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor’s lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.
His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.
As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald’s daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a séance. All the while Theodosia worries if she’s made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.
Theodosia was an interesting character that is thoroughly enjoyable. She has personality for days and is easily able to capture the reader’s attention. She has heart and spunk. She has a keen eye and has learned how to ask the right questions. Theodosia is not your average southern lady. And I truly love that about her. She has charm and elegance yet isn’t afraid to jump in and get dirty when she has to.
Lavender Blue Murder was a fun and entertaining mystery. From the opening pages of the shooting party, to two crazy tragedies happening within hours, to the formalities followed when serving tea, to the lavish tea parties themselves and A tea shop owner solving a murder mystery. Laura Childs has something amazing going on with this series. From the British traditions of hunting and shooting and the tea services, to the lavish descriptions of Charleston, one could easily feel like they are visiting a very different place and not reading the pages of a book.
As with any long running series a reader can expect to see bonds between characters. I loved Theodosia, Drayton and Haley. You can tell by their interactions that they go way beyond employee and boss. The friendship they Cher is a highlight of the book. They are fun characters thus making fun times. I Love that I came in at book number 21 in the series and didn’t feel like I missed anything didn’t get a recap of 20 other books in the process.
Lavender Blue Murder is my first adventure into Laura Child’s Tea Shop mysteries and will not be my last. With more than a helping of Southern charm, a well plotted mystery and a cast of characters that keep everything interesting.