Well, I know it’s the end of June, because we are approaching the Fourth of July AND because it is hotter and more humid here in San Antonio than it was last month. Even without looking at the calendar, I could have guessed Fourth of July is right around the corner because last night I heard the first (illegal!) firecrackers – off in the distance. The other time firecrackers go off this much is when we are approaching New Year’s Eve, and it is a little cooler during that time of year. (OK, I’m underestimating the degree of cold here during the winter months!)
Since it is the end of June, I will ask you ALL, did you read a particularly good Cozy Mystery during June? If you did, please let us know about it (or them if you read more than one really good Cozy Mystery). And, please tell us why you are recommending the Cozy Mystery book(s), since the rest of us would really like to know, which will help us decide whether we want to read that author’s work, or not.
What Cozy Mystery book (or author) have you read during June 2014, and why did you enjoy it (or him/her)?
Here are the current recommended authors who some of you have read this past month:
Catherine Aird: Inspector Sloan Mystery Series (Police Procedural)
Jeffrey Allen: Stay at Home Dad Mystery Series
M.C. Beaton (aka Marion Chesney): The Skeleton in the Closet (Stand Alone)
Eileen Brady: Kate Turner Mystery Series (book #1 Muzzled)
Emily Brightwell: Mrs. Jeffries Mystery Series
Duffy Brown: Consignment Shop Mystery Series
Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib): Key West Food Critic Mystery Series
Lynn Cahoon: Tourist Trap Mystery Series
Dorothy Cannell: Florence Norris Mystery Series
Kate Carlisle: Bibliophile Mystery Series
Chris Cavender (aka Jessica Beck, Elizabeth Bright, Melissa Glazer, Casey Mayes, Tim Myers, & D.B. Morgan): Pizza Lovers Mystery Series
Laura Childs: Tea Shop Mystery Series
Edie Claire: Leigh Koslow Mystery Series
John Clement & Blaize Clement: Dixie Hemingway Mystery Series
Nancy Coco (aka Nancy J. Parra): Candy-Coated Mystery Series
Kate Collins: Flower Shop Mystery Series
Sheila Connolly (aka Sarah Atwell): Museum Mystery Series
Amanda Cooper (aka Victoria Hamilton & Donna Lea Simpson ): Teapot Collector Mystery Series
Isis Crawford (aka Barbara Block): Mysteries with Recipes Mystery Series
Jessie Crockett: Granite State Mystery Series
Diane Mott Davidson: Goldy Bear Mystery Series
Krista Davis: Paws and Claws Mystery Series
Krista Davis: Domestic Diva Mystery Series
Jana DeLeon: Miss Fortune Mystery Series
Hannah Dennison: Honeychurch Hall Mystery Series
Jo Dereske: Miss Zukas Mystery Series
Dawn Eastman: Family Fortune Mystery Series
Christy Fifield (aka Christy Evans): Haunted Souvenir Shop Mystery Series
Shelley Freydont: Celebration Bay Mystery Series
Erle Stanley Gardner: Perry Mason Mystery Series
Celina Grace: Asharton Manor Mysteries (novella #1 Death at the Manor)
M.K. Graff: Nora Tierney Mystery Series – The Scarlet Wench – Book #3 (book #1 The Blue Virgin)
Kerry Greenwood: Corinna Chapman Mystery Series
Janice Hamrick: Jocelyn Shore Mystery Series
David Handler: Berger & Mitry Mystery Series
Tessa Harris: Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mystery Series (book #1 The Anatomist’s Apprentice)
Joan Hess (aka Joan Hadley): Claire Malloy Mystery Series
Julie Hyzy: Manor of Murder Mystery Series
J.A. Jance: Ali Reynolds Mystery Series
Annie Knox (aka Wendy Lyn Watson): Pet Boutique Mystery Series
John J. Lamb: Bear Collector’s Mystery Series
Joyce and Jim Lavene (aka J.J. Cook & Ellie Grant): Peggy Lee Garden Mystery Series
Kylie Logan (aka Miranda Bliss & Casey Daniels): League of Literary Ladies Mystery Series
Meg London (aka Peg Cochran): Sweet Nothings Lingerie Mystery Series
Charlotte MacLeod (aka Alisa Craig): Peter Shandy Mystery Series
Molly MacRae: Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery Series
Alyssa Maxwell: Gilded Newport Mystery Series
Judy McCoy: Dog Walker Mystery Series
G. A. McKevett: Savannah Reid Mystery Series
Staci McLaughlin: Blossom Valley Mystery Series
Ruth Moose: Beth McKenzie Mystery Series (book #1 Doing It at the Dixie Dew)
Spencer Quinn (aka Peter Abrahams): Chet and Bernie Mystery Series (Not Cozy, but they are terrific!)
Hannah Reed (aka Deb Baker): Queen Bee Mystery Series
Ann B. Ross: Miss Julia Mystery Series
Sofie Ryan (aka Sofie Kelly): Second Chance Cat Mystery Series
Sarah R. Shaber: Professor Simon Shaw Mystery Series
Alexander McCall Smith: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Mystery Series
Karen Rose Smith: Caprice De Luca Mystery Series
Denise Swanson: Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery Series
Victoria Thompson: Gaslight Mystery Series
Elaine Viets: Dead End Job Mystery Series
Heather Webber (aka Heather Blake): Nina Quinn Mystery Series
♦To access more Cozy Mystery Books Recommendations, click on this link♦
P.S. While I try to respond to all of the comments that are made on the Cozy Mystery blog, I generally don’t respond to the comments on these monthly recommendation entries. I do, however, list the recommended books that come via the Cozy Mystery blog’s comments!
I finished the Bear Collector’s Series this month. This is one of my favorite series. Even though they are about Teddy Bears they are not very cuddly. The mysteries are good and I really like the characters. The sleuth and his wife have a wonderful relationship. The only downside is that there are only 5 in the series. I wish he would write more. Enjoy
I read many, many books this month. I enjoyed catching up on the Peggy Lee series by Joyce and Jim Lavene. I also read the first two books by Janice Hamrick and I’m looking forward to more books in this series. Paws for Murder by Annie Knox was a fun read and I didn’t figure out the culprit too soon. (I liked the ice cream shop series that she wrote under a different name and was sorry that it stopped after just three books.) My favorite book this month was The Book Stops Here by Kate Carlisle. Her books are always good but this one was especially enjoyable since Brooklyn was working on an Antiques Roadshow type program with lots of backstage intrigue.
I just read “To Fetch a Thief” by Spencer Quinn. I don’t know if it’s cozy, but I am hooked on these books narrated by Chet, the canine partner of Bernie, a private eye. Chet is easily distracted but often saves the day.
My favorite cozy book read this month was:
Miss Zukas and the Library Murders by Jo Dereske. From a couple of monthly recommendations thought I would enjoy reading about this librarian. Miss Zukas is prim, proper, set in her ways, and I am now hooked on reading the rest of the series (was fortunate to find all but 2 at a used book store). My favorite passage from the book follows as I, also, learned why I don’t care to ride in elevators ……..
“Helma had a dislike of elevators -she wouldn’t quite go so far as to say fear – but a genuine discomfort for the way one was shut in a space the size of a closet and randomly moved up and down: no doorknobs, no windows,no way out, just faith that some distant mechanism was hauling the box properly between floors and would really disembowel itself because a button the size of a bottle cap had been pushed.” Best description ever of an elevator.
HI Danna and all I read two and a half books this month. I have read the Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries as well as a Catered Murder by Isis Crawford. I love the characters of Bernie and Libby Simmons so ordered whole series. I am currently half way thru Mrs. Jeffries Dusts for Clues and as well as 118 pages into A Slice of Murder by Chris Cavender. It is a Pizza lovers Mystery and Pizza is my comfort food so really enjoy this series as well. I will be reading more next month but right now we are getting house cleaned and ready for family coming for two weeks from out of state so housework and such comes first. They arrive on the second and wont leave until the 15th so hope I can read more after they get here and things calm down.
Here are my choices for this month:
Muzzled by Eileen Brady introduces readers to Veterinarian Kate Turner, a very likable lead character. Kate signs a contract to take over a vet clinic in upstate NY for a year while the clinic’s owner takes an extended vacation. Kate splits her time between the office and making house calls. During one of her home visits, she finds an elderly couple dead. Although the deaths are ruled murder/suicide, Kate isn’t so sure. When another person is shot, Kate is convinced the ruling is wrong and starts asking questions.
I enjoyed this debut. The mystery, with some twists and surprises thrown in, is a good one. It kept me guessing, and I didn’t figure it out until very close to the end (and one part I didn’t figure out at all!). The secondary characters caught my interest, and as an animal lover, I enjoyed traveling with Kate as she met with her pet clients and the people who love them. As a veterinarian, the author knows her subject.
An interesting side note: Muzzled won the 2013 Discover Mystery Award sponsored by Poisoned Pen Press. Earlene Fowler (author of the Benni Harper Series) was the celebrity judge.
Independence Slay by Shelley Freydont is Book 3 in the Celebration Bay Mystery Series (not counting the novella). This is a fun series with likable characters and a great setting. Celebration Bay is a town that lives up to its name; the town celebrates special days, harvest festivals, holidays—well, you name it, the townspeople celebrate it. Thanks to Event Coordinator Liv Montgomery, Celebration Bay is quickly becoming a tourist destination. During a Revolutionary War reenactment, a man is murdered and a sweet young man who is a bit limited becomes a person of interest. Liv and her friends set out to prove he didn’t kill the victim.
I always enjoy my visits with Liv, Ted, Chaz, and the gang. Independence Slay is a well-written story that contains believable dialogue and a strong protagonist. The conversations between Chaz and Liv are entertaining, and I’d like to see the two of them get together. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Fourth!!
I didn’t read anything this month but I added to my to be read pile with a trip to barnes and noble. All the above authors listed I read all of them. Hi Alfred
First, two sort of related topic comments …………………..
Oft discussed on this blog are the ‘seasonal/theme’ cozies. Danna, too, has said she enjoys reading Christmas cozies in Nov/Dec., winter cozies in Jan/Feb, etc., etc. In addition, many of us have talked about how we enjoy the characters in our favorite series. I’m always looking forward (generally waiting for a year) to the next book in an enjoyable on-going series.
HERE’S THE DILEMMA …….what if a book in a series you enjoy is released with a Christmas theme in June?? Do you read it now because you’ve been waiting for the next ‘installment’? OR, do you wait for 6 months to enjoy the ambiance of the Christmas season?
That’s exactly what happened when I automatically picked up ‘The Diva Wraps It Up’ (released 6/3), by Krista Davis. Since it’s a series I follow, I didn’t even bother reading the story description. When I started reading the first page, I realized it has a Christmas theme! What’s with that?
I haven’t read it yet. But whether one does or doesn’t read it in the summer, probably will depend on how much patience one has. I’m thinking about a ‘Christmas in July’ read (perhaps around the 7/22, 7/23, 7/24 time frame). Since in the last book there was some ‘relationship’ uncertainty in a subplot, I assume this will be a continuing storyline in the new book. We’ll see………………..I’m not a real patient person.
FYI (interesting ‘author(s)’ factoid): I wanted to mention something I just became aware of in the past few days. I was looking at ‘Engaged in Murder” by Nancy Parra and noticed that on the title page it stated, ‘Copyright 2014 by Julie Hyzy’. I thought that was really strange, since I was quite sure that Nancy Parra and Julie Hyzy weren’t the same person. I sent an email to Nancy Parra and asked about the discrepancy. Kudos to her for a quick response.
She said they are ‘co-partners’ for the first three books of the new Perfect Proposals mystery series. It was J. Hyzy’s idea, but she didn’t have time to write the books. Evidently Hyzy provides the outline for each story in this series. Then Nancy Parra develops the characters and the story, generally following the outline.
My June recommendations……………
The Book Stops Here — Kate Carlisle
I’ve enjoyed all the books of this series (often recommended on this blog) and this book is particularly engrossing. On occasion, it gets weighted down with technical details, but they are easily bypassed if the reader wants to move on. Brooklyn Wainwright (lead character) takes a three week position as a book appraiser for an antique TV show. There are two separate story lines, one involving a murder. The other is a crime attempting to disable/injure the host of the program. The crimes are unrelated, so the reader is following two different storylines.
This story has so many twists, turns, and suspense throughout that it keeps the reader glued to the pages. We’ve all enjoyed Brooklyn’s bizarre and quirky family/friends in Dharma, but they aren’t in this book (except for a brief appearance by her mother). However, there’s a whole slew of new and fascinating characters. The only mainstay is Derek (English boyfriend, security expert). Of course, most of these characters are temporary, exclusive to this story. It looks like one very interesting (possibly permanent) character is Alex, a new next door neighbor. She has so many layers of complexity. Hope we see much more of her!
The ending is a complete stunner! There is no way! no how!, anyone can figure out the resolution to the murder mystery before the final pages. WOW!
As always, I look forward to the next book in this series. However, it appears this author will release the first book in a new series (Fixer-Upper Mystery) in November. Carlisle is such a skilled story teller that I’ll certainly try her new series, too.
Razing the Dead – Sheila Connolly
For those blog readers who like historical fiction, this book is for you. Although it’s set in today’s world, there is a focus on the Revolutionary War as fought in this area near Philadelphia. Connolly has done a lot of research for this book. This story can be read as a stand alone even though it’s the 5th book of the series. Connolly does a great job of explaining the characters (without too much repetition for the reader who has read the books sequentially), so it’s easy for the new reader to grasp the essence of the relationships. In addition, the story mainly centers around new characters.
A wealthy real estate developer has asked Nell Pratt, president of a Philadelphia museum, to research the history of some land he plans to develop. A local government employee is found murdered on this plot of land. The police then discover human skeletons buried on the site, thus the need to delve into the past to find a connection between the deaths.
I really enjoyed this book, as I do all of Connolly’s books. This is probably the best book of this particular series. It has wonderful well developed characters. In addition, the relationship between Nell and her FBI boyfriend (James) has several hurdles to overcome. As this relationship story develops, much light is shone on Nell’s past family tribulations. It’s a fascinating side story, keeping the reader turning the pages to find out what’s going to happen with this couple.
Tempest in a Teapot — Amanda Cooper
I like to try a new series (or more) each month. Most important to me are the characters. If I don’t like them, I don’t even give the mystery a chance. When I started reading this book, I knew right away I REALLY liked these characters. They are so diverse (some quirky) with much depth and complexity. This author has developed these characters very well. After Sophie Taylor’s (protagonist) New York restaurant fails, she moves to the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY where her grandmother (Nana) owns and runs a tea house. She has spent her childhood summers there and felt this was her home. Her family background adds a complicated, yet intriguing, aspect to the story.
I noticed an ‘inconsistency’ to the story (not a drawback, just a ‘possible’ error in detail). I mention it because it’s mentioned not just once, but a couple of times in the story. Sophie reminisces about the summer she spent in Gracious Grove when she turned 16 in July. She said it was the summer before her senior year in high school. HUH? Did she start kindergarten at just a few months over 4 yrs. old? Or, was she of such high intellect that she skipped a grade? At any rate, most everywhere in the US, the student is 17 before their senior year, usually graduating when they are 18 or about to be 18. In Sophie’s case she was just 16 (assuming she graduated in May/June) when she graduated from high school.
In the story, a prominent citizen is poisoned. The murder involves political kickbacks, possible illegalities, and a complex land development project. There are twists, turns, and tangled situations. This is all designed for a multi-layered plot and a well written mystery with a very surprising ending. There’s a possible future romance with an English Lit. professor (former summer teenage boyfriend).
This author also writes under the name of Victoria Hamilton (Vintage Kitchen mysteries). Both of these names are pseudonyms for Donna Lea Simpson (under which she writes a historical romance/mystery/gothic series – Lady Ann mysteries plus other romance novels).
Independence Slay – Shelley Freydont
Events planner Liv Montgomery and her coworker Ted find a murdered man in the mansion where fireworks and a Revolutionary War reenactment are taking place during July 4th festivities. This is such an enjoyable series with quick wit/dialogue spread throughout the book. The characters are very engaging, some with secretive backgrounds. Liv is obviously a smart and zealous character. And, what’s not to like about her landlords – two retired school teachers? They provide intellect and insight. Chaz, newspaper owner, has several (mostly unrevealed) internal problems, but is likely the future romantic interest. Frankly, I think the ‘romantic’ storyline is progressing wa-a-a-a-y too slowly. But we’re finally learning a little (very little) more about him. The story is fast paced and difficult to put down. Enjoy and have a HAPPY 4th!!
I always enjoy reading your book recommendations. You’ve introduced me to lots of new books to read. Thanks so much! I read with interest about the ‘inconsistency’ you found in Tempest in a Teapot (this one is in my TBR pile). I laughed because it brought back lots of memories for me. I was 16 going into my senior year in high school. The summer before I was to enter kindergarten, the school system decided to test all students (this occurred a LONG LONG time ago). I guess I did OK (I must have been stellar at building with blocks–LOL) because they put me in 1st grade instead of kindergarten. At the time, my parents thought this was great–they did eventually decide it wasn’t their best decision. I was always a year behind the other students: when everyone started dating, I was a year too young, driving–a year too young, using make-up–a year too young. Well, you get the picture. So…just wanted you to know that going into your senior year in high school at 16 is possible. Looking forward to your July recommendations.
Linda, see how brilliant you are? You did skip a grade – kindergarten!! How did you ever learn to tie your shoes? Actually, I say that because my daughter was a self taught early reader. She was reading books in kindergarten (her reading level was a couple grades ahead). I’ll always remember the report card that came home from her teacher. Nothing was said about her reading, but there was a ‘negative’ comment that she couldn’t yet tie her shoes! I said, “I’ll get her shoes with velcro.”
I see we often times like the same books, so I usually get the ones you recommend. I will read Muzzled by Eileen Brady. Thanks.
Oh, MJ, that’s a great story!! You made me laugh. Thanks for responding. Hope you enjoy Muzzled.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
MJ, that teacher sounds like she/he was totally burnt-out and should have retired years ago!
She was the ‘grandmotherly’ type, well into her 60’s. She focused on the social part of kindergarten rather then the academic part. It was only 1/2 day kindergarten. Luckily for my daughter, she enjoyed learning/exploring on her own and didn’t need much direction (parents can still help at the 5 yr. old level!). Frankly, since she was such a ‘bookworm’, she needed the social aspects/play time this kindergarten year provided, so all was not lost.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
MJ, well, I guess if she got them socially ready for the first grade, all was not lost. However, it does seem like a positive word here and there can sometimes be the exact thing a child can use >>> socially! (My old report cards always had things like “Danna sure enjoys talking.” which I probably misconstrued as a positive thing back before I became a teacher!)
Lynn T. says
This month I read a book that surprised me by how much I liked it. You expect or hope to like a book or you wouldn’t chose it to read. When a book exceeds your expectations, then that is special I think.
The book is The Pall in the Family by Dawn Eastman. What I like about the book was the zany characters and the humor. Clyde has quit her job as a policewomen and has returned home. She now walks dogs. She is funny and her descriptions of events and her family has me laughing more than any recent book I have read. Her mother is a tarot card reader, her aunt is a pet psychic who Clyde has her doubts about . Her sidekick is her nephew who had quite a few humorous moments. Her dad stays out of the way and listens to the police scanner. The featured dogs were a part of the family. It was a funny engaging cozy mystery. I have pre-ordered the next book Be Careful What You Witch For.
The other good read was a book that I have been waiting for it to be published. It is The Scarlet Wench by M.K.Graff. It is the 3rd book in her series with Nora Tierney who is an American and lives in England. This series has great character development, interesting locations (Oxford and Lake District) and very good plots or story lines. Reader who like English cozy mysteries should enjoy this contemporary English cozy series. .
I started June with two Perry Mason (more quasi-pulp I guess, but for me – mystery): “Sleepwalker’s niece”, really well-written and smooth plot plus “The case of curious bride” – highly recommended, as almost all humongous series by Erle Stanley Gardner.
From Perry, I switched to cozy:
– Sarah R. Shaber’s “Bug funeral” and “Shell game” – while the second one was exceptionally interesting case and different approach to the whole Simon’s story, I liked the first one far more better, because of ghostly undercurrent;
– Krista Davis “The Diva Wraps it Up” – loved the Christmas-themed installment about Sophie and her gang of friends, I wished to be able to ‘un-read’ it and have it spared for Christmas period :);
– Krista Davis “Murder, She Barked” – the first part in a newer series by the author of Divas adventures. Here we have lovable new characters and setting, more slow-paced but action-packed story and really, really good mystery. Cannot wait till December’s new installment of the series;
– And just three days ago I completed Julie Hyzy’s “Grace takes off”. I must say – I kept on waiting for the body to appear looong in this part of Manor House Mystery. This time it was suspense-y story and that shifted Grace’s adventures slightly, but I still was happy to meet everyone I knew before, like toady Frances or lovely couple – Bruce and Scott.
Now I’m sitting with “A Pint of Murder” by Charlotte MacLeod and I’m still not certain whether I will warm-up to the story and its characters or just finish it and move to awaiting “Death by Inferior Design” by Leslie Caine.
Anyways – I hope You ALL have at least one book that stayed in your heart, as in my case “Murder, she barked”.
I like Charlotte MacLeod. My favorite series of hers is the Peter Shandy series. “Rest You Merry” is the first. You fall in love with the wacky characters.
Thanks for that info, I really still cannot get into the mood with this series I began. I’ll jump now to Amazon and try to find it 🙂
A friend recommended Craig Johnson who writes the “Longmire” series, the first one took awhile to get through becuase i was comparing it to the TV series. But the second and third went really quick and I am ready to find more.
Are the TV shows based straight off the novels? Or are they “based on the characters/situations” of the novels?
I LOVE the series and would like to read the books, but not so much if I’ll be reading and know the end of the mystery b/c I saw it on the show.
Hi Rebl8, I am a big fan of Craig Johnson’s “Longmire” series! The books are very different from the television series – which I watch and like. I find the books are more centered on Walt’s spirituality and his connection to the Cheyenne culture. I really like that the books are set in a vast, open, nearly lonely place, but the story’s growth happens inside of Walt’s mind. But for me, not so much a cozy. Makes me question too much!
Thanks to this Cozy Mystery site I have been introduced to the books by Kate Collins: “staring” Abby Knight. I only have two more to read in this series and have enjoyed them . The characters are well defined, and likable. Ms. Collins’s Abby does explain a tiny bit of history in the beginning of each book but it is so much fun to read from Book # 1 to get the absolute feelings about the characters. Thank you. Danna!!!
Mary Ann says
I’ve been racing my way through Heather Webber’s Nina Quinn cozies this month. Nina owns her own landscaping business but is always being pulled into mystery adventures thanks to her friends and family. There is a strong cast of characters that just grows stronger with each book. There is lots of humor and a bit of danger. It’s almost like reading a day time soap 🙂
Hi Mary Ann,
I love the Nina Quinn series, too. It is one of my favorites! The characters are wonderful, the mysteries are always interesting, and the humor makes reading these books so enjoyable. Can’t wait for the next book to come out–I think it is due out some time this winter.
Margaret Anne says
I have actually had a fairly productive reading month. We recently moved, and are having some difficulty getting our cable and internet hooked up. The plus side of having no technology to distract me is I have been doing more reading!
This is not a new book, but I read Never Buried: Volume 1 by Edie Claire. This is the first Leigh Koslow mystery, and I absolutely loved it. Leigh is very easy to relate to, and the book was humorous without being over the top. I look forward to reading additional mysteries in the series. An additional selling feature: the Kindle version of the first mystery is free.
I also read Murder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell. I recently visited Newport, so I loved that the murder was set in a house I had recently toured. At first, I was a little skeptical of how a cozy would incorporate Vanderbilt relations and still be lighthearted. However, the author makes it work!
In the midst of moving, I read Live Free or Die (The Granite State Mysteries) by Jessie Crockett. It was the perfect distraction from the stress of packing and unpacking.
Karen L. says
I read these books in June:
Strangled Prose by Joan Hess
Web of Evil by J.A. Jance
Lana’i of the Tiger by JoAnn Bassett
Lethal Bayou Beauty by Jana DeLeon
Never Sorry by Edie Claire
The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott Davidson
Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs
I like them all for different reasons, but what they have in common is that they feature sleuths are all strong brave women. I also have enjoyed the different settings from Pennsylvania to Hawaii.
Hi Danna I have been anxiously awaiting this day because I had some good reads this month After watching the DVD about P. L. Travers and Walt Disney, I read a good biography of her. It was amazing how closely the movie paralleled her life.Another author I enjoy not a mystery but a good story teller is Dorothy Benton Frank. Her new book “The Hurricane Sisters” was in keeping with my expectations. A non semi mystery that I read is “The Romanov Sisters”.I never realized how much was known about them and their execution. Finally the best book I read led me into a new series. It seems as if i always read the last book in a series and then I go back and read the others in order. The author is David Handler.After I finished “Coal Black Asphalt…”,I realized it was part of a series and what a series . It set in CT near where I live and everything is familiar. He takes old ideas and gives them a new twist.They are just GREAT stories.
There is a cozy mystery one-off (not part of a series) written by M.C. Beaton titled, The Skeleton in the Closet. I can’t get enough of M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series and was lucky to find another good mystery written by her. The Skeleton in the Closet is extremely well-written and full of interesting characters and twists. I laughed throughout the entire book and even more telling is that my dry husband did as well.
Stash Empress says
I’ll start with the last two books I read & work my way backwards (in case we run out of month first 😉
Dorothy Cannell — Murder at Mullings
Alyssa Maxwell – -Murder at the Breakers (Gilded Newport mystery)
I guess you can tell I’m missing Downton Abbey, since they both have that flavor & I enjoyed them thoroughly. They’re both new series — at least I hope Mullings is going to be followed by more Florence Norris books. I do miss the Ellie Haskell books (and those two elderly detective sisters that intersected with Ellie’s universe sometimes as well) for their lovable zany characters. The Florence Norris book also has some loveable characters, but this is a more serious series, no zanies in this one. Still, both lovely summer reads.
The other book I read this week was Krista Davis — Murder She Barked – (Paws & Claws mystery) — another new series, I enjoyed very much even though I’m not a pet person & its definitely a pet theme (the whole town is a pet resort — can’t get more pet theme than that!) — but still some good characters, loveable sleuth, loveable cat & dog & a really good mystery (I really didn’t guess this one at all — which is quite the novelty since I frequently guess “whodunnit” even before the first body drops 😉
kylie logan mayhem at the orient express
My June reading goes as follows:
A Slice of Murder – Chris Cavender
Pepperoni Pizza Can Be Murder – Chris Cavender
The Diva Wraps it Up – Krista Davis
Foul Play at The Fair – Shelley Freydont
Cold Turkey (novella) – Shelley Freydont
Silent Knife – Shelley Freydont
Independence Slay – Shelley Freydont
Staged to Death – Karen Rose Smith
From books to TV:
Starting Sunday, June 29 Endeavour Morse returns to PBS. Also July 27, 8 pm ET Hercuole Pirot’s David Suchet returns in two, new episodes on MASTERPIECE Mystery.
In my enthusiasm for David Handler, I forgot to mention that I read Catherine Aird’s newest book.Her 2 chief characters never change and never seem to suffer the “angst” of some police in police procedurals. They are like old friends.
“Heavenly Pleasures” by Kerry Greenwood — great, and as usual, plenty of witty commentary by Corinna, the accountant-turned-master baker.
“Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs” by Blaize Clement — started it and it wasn’t so familiar, then I remembered I had read it, but I READ IT AGAIN. A rarity for me. “Dixie Hemingway” has such an enjoyable, conversational character voice!
Stash Empress says
Some more of my list for this month:
Margaret Addison — Murder At Ashgrove House, the first in the Rose Simpson mystery series, another enjoyable Downton Abbey type of read, though the murder doesn’t occur till exactly halfway into the book, and I think that by the time you get there, its a wonder that there’s anyone who *doesn’t* know who the murderer is… the author does really give you lots of obvious clues, I think you’re *supposed* to know, while waiting for the police to figure it out…? But I really enjoyed it & plan to get the next one (borrowed free on Kindle with Amazon Prime) as soon as I can (first of the next calendar month is how it works.. very silly .. one book per month… what kind of “library is that????) The next book in the series is titled Murder at Dareswick hall, in case anyone is interested.
G. A. McKevett — Killer Physique (Savannah Reid mystery)
I love the Savvannah Reid series, love the strong,smart, sassy, savvy & oversized sleuth. Love her southern belle manners & accent — and would love to be invited for dinner, sounds like her southern cooking is to die for!
Alexander McCall Smith — The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series) — Another comforting cozy series, takes place in slower paced culture with different values than our western culture, its always a soothing read.
Staci McLaughlin — All Natural Murder
Staci McLaughlin — Green Living Can Be Deadly (Blossom Valley Mystery series)
These are fun reads — just enough zaniness but not too far out there. The sleuth is someone most of us can relate too — all this healthy living just gets too much at times & you just need to sneak out for some good old fashioned junk food now & then!
Jeffrey Allen — Stay At Home Dead
Jeffrey Allen — Popped Off (Stay at Home Dad Mystery)
This is an interesting series in that the sleuths in cozies are usually women — so here the sleuth is a man — but a stay at home dad, so its like he’s pulling a double here — both Mr. Mom & Mr. Mom Sleuth. Some fun characters here too & the plots just enough “out there” to be fun.
Lynn Cahoon — Guidebook to Murder (Tourist Trap Mystery)
This is a new series & I really enjoyed it & TOTALLY didn’t see the ending coming (and that’s saying quite a lot!) — really looking forward to the next book in this series coming out at the end of next month.
Elaine Viets — Catnapped (Dead End Job Mystery)
The Dead End Job series is one of my all time favorites. Love the zany characters, love the crazy dead end jobs — although now that Helen is married, the dead end jobs are only taken in the course of her investigations — not to stay alive, like previously, but still totally LOVE this series (this is one of the sleuths I’d love to live next door to!)
Janice Hamrick — Death on Tour (Jocelyn Shore series)
This series was new to me & I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to say that a large part of the enjoyment was the “vacation in strange land” factor — so I don’t know if the rest of the books in the series will be as good, being set back in the good old USA, as they are. I will find out though!
Ann B. Ross — Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover (Miss Julia series)
Just can’t get enough of Miss Julia & her cast of characters. Nuff said.
Denise Swanson — Dead Between the Lines (Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery) I really like this series, though this is another one of those where I *wish* she’d pick *one* boyfriend (you know, there’s the boyfriend whose a cop & the one whose not?) And the ending took me totally by surprise, which again, is saying quite a lot for a cozy — I SO DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!
Hannah Reed — Beewitched (Queen Bee Mystery)
Wacky characters, fun read. Love this series.
Juliet Blackwell — Home For The Haunting (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery) Ok, this one I saw the murderer a mile off… not that the author gave it away, but when you’ve read as many cozies as I have, sometimes you just “recognize” what must have happened. That said, it was a really enjoyable read. While I’m not really “into” paranormals, there are some cozy paranormals that I do enjoy & this is one of those series.
Sheila Connoly — Buried In a Bog
Sheila Connoly –Scandal in Skibbereen (County Cork Mystery series) This is another new series. I really loved the first one, Buried In a Bog because it had that added element of American traveling in a strange country & everything is new & unfamiliar to her & we see it through her eyes. In the second one, she’s already living there & not a stranger anymore, but it was still a great read. I really like this series & looking forward to the next installment.
Meg London — A Fatal Slip (Sweet Nothings Mystery)
Alyse Carlson — Keeping Mum (Garden Society Mystery)
Not related, just another two series I’m following & enjoying each new installment.
Simon Brett– The Strangling on the Stage (Fethering Mystery)
Simon Brett — A Decent Interval (Charles Paris Mystery)
There’s something strangely compelling about Simon Brett’s characters & I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. In themselves, they’re probably not people you’d look at twice or have anything in common with if they moved onto your block. Yet the books are gripping & you’re really rooting for the sleuths — even when you know that Charles Paris is going to continue drinking & his career will never get out of the gutter & he’ll never get his wife back — yet you just can’t somehow help liking him & knowing that he *will* solve the mystery — even if that’s the only thing he’ll ever be successful at. Same with the ladies in the Fethering series — while Jude is a bit more interesting, you just can’t imagine ANYONE finding Carol interesting — and yet you know that when the two get together, interesting things WILL happen (and I just wish they’d finally tell us Jude’s last name, but I have a feeling that’s never going to happen!)
I also read the first 3 in the Mrs. Jeffrie’s series over the weekend, except that at 3:30am I discovered that the back of the omnibus edition is missing about 10 pages, so I left off about 30 pages to the end & plan to finish it off on Tuesday when Amazon sends my new copy.
To comfort myself, I started the newest Aunt Dimity, which is the ultimate in cozy comfort reading.
Stash Empress says
PS — these were just the books I really liked — I didn’t list the ones I wasn’t so thrilled with!
Stash Empress, I really enjoyed how you described Simon Brett’s Fethering Mysteries with Carol and Jude. A couple of months ago I read The Torso in the Town and Carol sneaked a peek at Jude’s mail and saw two names …Jude Nichol and Mrs. J. Metauris which just caused Carol to have more questions about her last name. I’m wanting to read the next book in the series soon, however, each month there are so many good recommendations from fellow cosy readers I’m feeling somewhat overwhelmed…in a good way..to pick the next book to read.
This month, I read several first books in series, starting with Murder at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison. I wasn’t sure at first whether this was a series, but I checked her website where she reports that she is finishing up the second book in the series (as well as the fifth Vicki Hill book). After the death of her father, Kat Stanford is prepared to fulfill his dying wish to take care of her mother and plans on opening an antique shop with her. However, she soon discovers her mother has bought the carriage house at Honeychurch Hall. There is a murder mystery to be solved, but there is also the fun of watching Kat discover that she doesn’t really know her mother.
Another first book I read was Doing It at the Dixie Dew. It was the winner of the 2013 Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Competition for
Best First Traditional Mystery Novel. It is a delightfully quirky book (the protagonist’s neighbor has a rabbit named Robert Redford because that is as close to the actor as she is likely to get) and full of Southern charm.
Sofie Ryan (who is also Sofie Kelly) has a new series, the Second Chance Cat Mystery series beginning with The Whole Cat and Caboodle. The heroine, Sarah, wants to let the police solve the murder, but her grandmother’s friends are determined to find the murderer, and Sarah gets dragged in trying to protect them.
In All Fudged Up, Allie Murphy had planned to learn from her grandfather as she started taking over the hotel and fudge shop that had been in the family for generations and his unexpected death does not stop her from moving forward with her plans. Finding the dead body of her grandfather’s rival makes reopening the hotel more difficult. Allie has to deal with the fact that she is not a local and that townspeople are taking sides (with ribbons!) as to whether she killed him. I’m looking forward to Allie’s further adventures in future Candy-Coated Mysteries by Nancy Coco (who is also Nancy J Parra).
Like Janice, I enjoyed the first book in the Pet Boutique Mystery series (Paws for Murder) by Annie Knox. I had not realized that she was also Wendy Lyn Watson, as I was also sad that there were no more Mystery a la Mode books. Hopefully this series lasts longer.
Looking at the other books I read this month – I seem to have hit the third book for several series, with the exception of the Key West Food Critic Mysteries where I read the fourth book. Murder with Ganache has Haley Snow dealing with her extended family in town for her best friend’s wedding and having to cope with more assignments from work. I was reading this book at dinner and just had to have Key Lime Pie for dessert.
I enjoyed A Fatal Slip by Meg London, although much of the action moved away from the Sweet Nothings Lingerie shop. Someone from Aunt Arabella’s past is murdered and Emma must clear her name, while dealing with Arabella’s memory problems.
I welcomed a return visit to the Haunted Souvenir Shop in Murder Sends a Postcard by Christy Fifield. I enjoyed catching up with the Glory and her friends and learning more about Jake’s background. My one quibble is that I liked the murder victim – I recognize it was important to the plot as Glory met and liked her and therefore didn’t believe that she overdosed and so works to solve the murder – but I prefer when the murder victim is someone unpleasant (this is after all cozy mystery fiction – not real life – we can choose our victims).
Finally, I spent time in Savannah with Reagan, her Aunt Kiki and a cast of characters as Reagan’s mother (Guillotine Gloria) is running for alderman and accused of murdering her political rival in Pearls and Poison by Duffy Brown (a Consignment Shop mystery). Reagan has to solve the mystery just stop her mother (who has terrible color sense) from reorganizing the consignment shop!
I’m rereading the Inspector Bone series by Susannah Stacey and also have particular enjoyed the books by Sally Goldenbaum and Joanne Dobson this month.
I really like Frank Smith’s series about DCI Neil Paget. They are British police procedurals and are very good. The first one is Acts of Vengeance.
I discovered two new series in June which I am loving.
The first was the Asharton Manor Mysteries by Celina Grace. It’s a brand new series and Celina Grace is publishing them as a series of novellas – it seems like one a month so far. They’re all mini-mysteries that take place in different eras of history at Asharton Manor, a stately home in England. The first, Death at the Manor, I absolutely loved the sleuths: Joan Hart and Verity, both working as maids, Joan at Asharton and Verity in London. It takes place in 1929 and has a very Upstairs Downstairs feel. Joan, with Verity’s help, solves the mysterious murder of the lady of the house as well as learns some spooky things about Asharton’s history. The second novella, A Prescription for Death, takes place 20 years later, after WW2, when Asharton is a convalescent home for soldiers. Vivian, the amateur sleuth, is working as a volunteer nurse and solves the mysterious “suicide” of one of her charges. Joan Hart from the first story even makes a cameo of sorts. If you like historical mysteries, especially of the stately home ilk, I highly recommend. And it turns out the author is doing a full length novel series soon starring Joan and Verity from the 20s story, which I really look forward to as they were my favorite characters.
I also discovered the Dr Silkstone series by Tessa Harris. I started with what is the 3rd book, The Devil’s Breath, and was captivated. Dr Silkstone is an American doctor living in Britain in the late 18th century, and he becomes intertwined in the lives of a landed family. In this book he is investigating events that occur during a terrible summer where England was covered in a poisonous cloud – all true, it turns out, and a result of a volcano eruption near Iceland. I never knew about this, so that alone grabbed me but Harris manages to weave such a thrilling piece around the fear and weird circumstances that the deadly event caused. Chapter Two of this book – when the cloud invades – could be a short story all on its own. Riveting. I’m now reading an ARC of the next book, The Lazarus Curse, and the writing is still terrific. I won this copy and was compelled to read it next, but can’t wait to go back and start the series. I’ve been piecing together past events, but it seems best to start at the beginning – lots of history is referred to within the stories.
(I also loved Tempest in a Teapot by Amanda Cooper, but have nothing to add to the already great reviews of it.)
I just finished Victoria Thompson’s 1st Gaslight mystery, Murder on Astor Place. I loved it! Can’t wait to read the rest of the series. I also enjoyed another one of the Charleston Tea shop mysteries.
I have read books from 2 different series that I enjoy.
Greed In Paradise by Deborah Brown (Paradise mystery series). It’s set in south FL,between Miami and the Keys.
The second series is Jean Harrinton’s Murder by Design. I read Killer Kitchens. The main character is an interior designer (not decorator!). Set in PA.
And to update the book list for Troy Soos ( Mickey Rawlings baseball mysteries series). He has a new book, The Tomb that Ruth Built.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Deb, thanks for telling us about Deborah Brown and Jean Harrington.
Also, I updated Troy Soos’ baseball mystery series. Thank you.
Oops, my bad the locale for the Murder by Design series is Naples,FL not PA. I’m reading too many cozies! LoL