You know you have just finished a true Cozy when immediately after the last chapter you find supplemental appendices with such subjects as “The Briar Creek Library Guide to Crafternoons,” a reader’s guide for a completely unrelated book (except that the characters in the Cozy read the book as part of their book group), “Lindsey’s Knitting Pattern for a Rolled Hat,” and, not one, but two recipes. After all, where else but at the end of a Cozy Mystery would you not be surprised to find such additions to the book?
All of this, and more, can be found in Jenn McKinlay‘s first book in her Library Lover’s Mystery Series, Books Can Be Deceiving, the next book in my series of posts discussing some of the most popular and recommended Cozy series. Jenn McKinlay is actually on this list twice now. In 2016, I wrote about the first book in her Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series, Sprinkle With Murder. If you’d like to read what I said back then about Sprinkle With Murder, please click here.
Books Can Be Deceiving begins not long after Lindsey Norris has moved to Briar Creek to be the head of the public library. Briar Creek is a quaint, small town on the shore of Connecticut. Not too surprisingly, Lindsey had recently broken up with her fiance and had lost her job due to budget cuts at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. She landed on her feet, however, partly due to her best friend Beth’s help. Beth now works for Lindsey as the children’s librarian. Lindsey has a landlord, Mary, who runs a seafood restaurant in downtown Briar Creek (hence the recipe for Chowder in the appendices of the book). And, Lindsey runs a weekly reading group that combines crafting with reading – hence, the “…Guide to Crafternoons.”
Of course, a Cozy being a Cozy, there is soon a murder, and the small-town chief of police (who is something of a dunderhead) jumps to the wrong conclusion and suspects Lindsey’s best friend of being involved. Lindsey (and others) are soon deeply involved in running their own investigation; and, they won’t rest until the real culprit is found and brought to justice.
Reading Books Can Be Deceiving reminded me of just why I was drawn to Cozies so many years ago. The setting is attractive and charming. I wish I lived there or at least had the chance to visit Briar Creek. The people have taken to Lindsey quickly, even though real small towns are probably much more suspicious of “outsiders.” But, the worlds Cozies are set in sure seem more attractive than the real ones do sometimes.
Lindsey is young and bright and has a lot to offer the town. She makes friends easily, and the possibilities for romance are never far away. And, the mystery is interesting and multifaceted.
There are good reasons why Jenn McKinlay (who also writes as Josie Belle & Lucy Lawrence) has so many successful series going (six). The Library Lover’s Mystery Series already has twelve entries (and this is not her longest series!) Her writing style is fluid, her settings are charming and her mysteries are interesting. I highly recommend Books Can Be Deceiving.
If you’re interested in seeing more highlights of some of the most recommended or popular Cozy Mystery authors/series, visit the Most Popular & Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.