Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Embroidered Corpse (Belinda Lawrence Murder Mystery #2) by Brian Kavanagh

The Embroidered Corpse (a Belinda Lawrence Mystery)

Two startling murders that replicate the death of a mediaeval English king and the discovery of a mysterious ancient tapestry lead Belinda Lawrence and her associate Hazel Whitby into a vortex of suspense involving a bizarre religious cult, an enigmatic academic, a group of monks devoted to aggression and clues to a thrilling conspiracy nearly a thousand years old.
It is the murder of a local villager that ensnares Belinda and Hazel in this web of intrigue and as they follow up each clue they little realise that their own lives are in danger. Each perilous turn brings them closer to an electrifying climax and imminent death. Following on from Capable of Murder, this is the second in the Belinda Lawrence Mystery Series and continues the lively young Australian's adventures in England with the same degree of wicked humour and heart-stopping excitement.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

I fell in love with Belinda Lawrence in the first Belinda Lawrence Mystery book, Capable of Murder and couldn't wait to read the next installment in this series.  And let me tell you The Embroidered Corpse did NOT disappoint !!!

Brian Kavanagh knows how to capture the readers attention and holding it from the first page until the last word !!  And the twists, turns and secrets that unfold will have the reader turning pages as fast as they can.  There are so many things going on that keep the reader focused and you cannot help but fall in love with everything surrounding Belinda, her friends and the things that she stumbles across.

As I said I love Belinda....and I love her friends and her cottage and especially the situations that she gets into.  Who would think that attending an auction with her friend Hazel would lead her down a dark road involving an old tapestry ?  Well that is exactly what happens in The Embroidered Corpse and one's imagination cannot even begin to amount to the degree of storytelling that Kavanagh is quite capable of !!!  

I suggest that you don't even give it any thought other than to pick the book up and open it to begin reading an amazingly captivating and exciting journey...... I predict you will also become a fan of this series !!!

Review by Missi S.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Death and a Pot of Chowder (A Maine Murder Mystery #1) by Cornelia Kidd

Death and a Pot of Chowder (A Maine Murder Mystery #1)
Maine’s Quarry Island has a tight-knit community that’s built on a rock-solid foundation of family, tradition and hard work. But even on this small island, where everyone knows their neighbors, there are secrets that no one would dare to whisper. 

Anna Winslow, her husband Burt and their teenage son have deep roots on Quarry Island. Burt and his brother, Carl, are lobstermen, just like their father and grandfather before them. And while some things on the island never seem to change, Anna’s life is about to take some drastically unexpected turns. First, Anna discovers that she has a younger sister, Izzie Jordan. Then, on the day she drives to Portland to meet Izzie for the first time, Carl’s lobster boat is found abandoned and adrift. Later that evening, his corpse is discovered—but he didn’t drown. 

Whether it was an accident or murder, Carl’s sudden death has plunged Anna’s existence into deadly waters. Despite barely knowing one another and coming from very different backgrounds, Anna and Izzie unite to find the killer. With their family in crisis, the sisters strive to uncover the secrets hidden in Quarry Island—and, perhaps, the ones buried within their own hearts. 

Sure to be an intoxicating read for fans of Sarah Graves and Leslie Meier, Death and a Pot of Chowder is the first Maine Murder mystery by Cornelia Kidd.  (Summary via Goodreads)

What a great start to a new series !!!  Death and a Pot of Chowder by Cornelia Kidd really sets the stage for an amazing and strong series !!

Living in New York, I grew up vacationing in New Hampshire and our family always took day trips into Maine. So with Death and a Pot of Chowder centered in Maine, I was already a fan but after reading it, I would have to say that I can honestly admit that I am a groupie !!  

Death and a Pot of Chowder is centered on an island which is so cool plus it focuses on one family.  Even though it is focused on one family, Anna, her husband, Burt and their son Jake, and the loss of Burt's brother, you are introduced to a sister Anna just finds out she has and everyone on the island are very close.  Some maybe too close.....but that makes the story even better !!!!

One thing I also loved with this book is that before each chapter Kidd provides the reader with a little history from books written back in the early ages such as this one that begins Chapter 6 :
     "Hospitality is an art as well as a virtue."  
       ---The Epicure's Year Book and Table Companion by Blanchard Jerrold.  
            London: Bradbury, Evans and Co., 1868.  

The sayings are fun little tidbits of how things occurred many, many years ago and some even can still be related to today. 

Death and a Pot of Chowder is a book you will fall in love with....from Anna and her family to the neighbors to the have love, commitment, secrets, old and new relationships, old and new friendships.......and it always helps when there's a murder to have a retired detective living next door !!!

For so many reasons I loved this book and look forward to reading as many Maine Murder Mystery books as Kidd can create......I'm sure you will agree when you finish reading Death and a Pot of Chowder.....

Review by Missi S. 

Friday, 1 June 2018

For Sale By Killer (Cindy York #3) by Catherine Bruns

For Sale By Killer (Cindy York, #3)
From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes a delightfully deadly new Cindy York Mystery...

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Words for Cindy York to live by. The struggling real estate agent, full-time mother, and part-time sleuth has been having a tough winter and is desperate for a juicy commission. When she stumbles across a quaint mansion that's "For Sale by Owner," she can hardly believe her luck. Percy Rodgers is anxious to move and immediately hires Cindy as his agent. But when she shares the exciting news with boss and best bud, Jacques Forte, he tells her that Mr. Rodgers neighborhood is a dangerous place to play, since the man just served 20 years for murdering his wife. Before Cindy can axe the deal, she stumbles over another dead body inside the house and is swept up in family drama, resentment, and decade old secrets that someone will kill to keep. If Cindy isn’t careful, this may end up being one deal that really is to die for.

Cindy York Mysteries:
Killer Transaction – book #1
Priced to Kill – book #2
For Sale By Killer – book #3

What critics are saying:
"Lock up your house before you begin Killer Transaction. You'll want no interruptions once you start this fast-paced tale of murder, family issues, and competitive real estate sales. A quick, enjoyable read!"
—Nancy J. Cohen, bestselling author of the Bad Hair Day Mysteries
"Catherine Bruns closes the deal with this fantastic cozy. I loved everything about this story from the characters to the plot, the setting and the pace. I cannot wait to see what adventures Cindy gets up to next. If you enjoy your cozy with strong heroines and interesting circumstances this is a must read."
—Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick!

"Ms. Bruns is an excellent writer—her style was definitely to get out of the way and let this reader enjoy the experience."
—The Kindle Book Review
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Cindy York is someone to admire !!  She is a devoted mother....a loving wife....committed to her job as a real estate agent.....always there for her best friend....willing to go above and beyond for the people she loves not to mention helping those in need.

Cindy York is the main character in the Cindy York Mystery series written by Catherine Bruns and For Sale by Killer is the third book in this amazing series.  Cindy and her best friend/boss, Jacques are always there for each other and in For Sale by Killer you will see just how there for each other they are !!  Even though Cindy just gave birth to her fourth child and it was a C-section, that will not stop her from getting the listing on a million dollar Victorian mansion.  But nothing in her years of experience or training can prepare her for what happens .......

Before she can get a signature on paper to list the home for sale, she finds out that the owner is a convicted killer.  He insists that he did not kill his wife and Cindy believes him !!  While Cindy tries to sell the house, she finds herself looking for clues and trying to solve the murder.......  Even when it seems that Cindy doesn't have it together, she fools the reader and amazes us all. 

Bruns will have you captivated from the second you pick up For Sale by Killer until you read the last word.  And the way she spins the story with all the twists and turns will have you longing for more......

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Murder in the Locked Library (Book Retreat Mysteries #4) by Ellery Adams

Murder in the Locked Library (Book Retreat Mysteries, #4)
Welcome to Storyton Hall, Virginia, where book lovers travel from near and far to enjoy the singular comforts of the Agatha Christie Tea Room, where they can discuss the merits of their favorite authors no matter how deadly the topic . . .

With her twins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway, back in school, Jane Steward can finally focus on her work again—managing Storyton Hall, and breaking ground on the resort’s latest attraction: a luxurious, relaxing spa named in honor of Walt Whitman. But when the earth is dug up to start laying the spa’s foundation, something else comes to the surface—a collection of unusual bones and the ragged remnants of a very old book. The attendees of the Rare Book Conference are eager to assist Jane with this unexpected historical mystery—until a visitor meets an untimely end in the Henry James Library. As the questions—and suspects—start stacking up, Jane will have to uncover a killer before more unhappy endings ensue . . .
   (Summary via Goodreads)

A secret library.....a Guardian to that library....specially trained employees......a hidden key in a necklace....old books.....murder...... So much to captivate the reader when you pick up Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams.

Jane Steward has so much responsibility, not only with the sole responsibility of raising her twin sons but the responsibility of running Storyton Hall and then to add skeletal remains and a deceased guest of the resort, one can only wonder how she does it.  But once the reader gets into the book, you can see that Jane is a very strong woman with a devoted family, staff and community and you soon realize that there is nothing that she cannot handle.

A first for me reading a cozy mystery was how the author honored the deceased.....
"The sheriff usually tipped his hat to show his respect for Jane, but when he saw Bart's immobile body and his slack but ruddy face, he removed his hat and pressed it against his chest.  Phelps followed suit, and the two men paused for a moment to recognize that a fellow human being had passed from this world to the next before they both donned their hats again and approached the emergency medical crew."
I was very impressed with Adams for the level of respect that was shown to the deceased in how she wrote the above paragraph.  It allows the reader more feeling into the story.

There was so much in Murder in the Locked Library to entertain and intrigue the reader that it's no mystery how the reader gets to the end so quickly.  I, for one, am a huge fan of Ellery Adams and look forward to visiting Storyton Hall whenever I can.

Review by Missi S.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Flowers and Foul Play (A Magic Garden Mystery #1) by Amanda Flower

Flowers and Foul Play (A Magic Garden Mystery #1)
Fiona Knox lost her fiancé and her flower shop—but when she flies to Scotland to inherit her godfather’s cottage and possibly magical walled garden, she may lose her life as well when she’s swept into a murder investigation.

Florist Fiona Knox’s life isn’t smelling so sweet these days. Her fiancé left her for their cake decorator. Then, her flower shop wilted after a chain florist opened next door. So when her godfather, Ian MacCallister, leaves her a cottage in the Scottish Highlands, Fiona jumps on the next plane to Edinburgh. Ian, after all, is the one who taught her to love flowers. But when Ian’s elderly caretaker Hamish MacGregor shows her to the cottage upon her arrival, she finds the once resplendent grounds of Duncreigan in a dreadful shambles—with a dead body in the garden.

Minutes into her arrival, Fiona is already being questioned by the handsome Chief Inspector Neil Craig and getting her passport seized. But it’s Craig’s fixation on Uncle Ian’s loyal caretaker, Hamish, as a prime suspect, that really makes her worried. As Fiona strolls the town, she quickly realizes there are a whole bouquet of suspects much more likely to have killed Alastair Croft, the dead lawyer who seems to have had more enemies than friends.

Now it’s up to Fiona to clear Hamish’s name before it’s too late in Flowers and Foul Play, national bestselling author Amanda Flower’s enchanting first Magic Garden mystery.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

A cozy mystery with a magical garden....that is a first !!!  And the story is set is Scotland !!  I love stories set in seems like if there is going to be a magical garden, it would be in Scotland.  Maybe it is just me but after you read Flowers and Foul Play by Amanda Flower you may agree with me.

Once you start reading Flowers and Foul Play you will be in a trance.  How can you not be ?  You travel from Tennessee with Fiona after she learns that she inherited her godfathers cottage and land.  And on this land just happens to be the magical garden.  However, Fiona doesn't know the extent of the magic and that it is linked to her, or actually she is linked to it.  

But before she can enjoy the garden, she has to solve a murder !!  That's right.  Hours after she arrives in Scotland she is walking the garden and finds a dead body !!!  And when it is found to be her godfather's attorney and the prime suspect is her godfather's longtime friend and caretaker of the garden, Fiona digs deep into finding the real murderer.  What a way to meet the neighbors !!!!

Flowers and Foul Play is the perfect book to get lost in for a while.  It will take you away to a magical place and bring your imagination alive !!  I highly recommend reading it and taking a journey without leaving your couch !!

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Motto for Murder (Merry Wrath #6) by Leslie Langtry

Motto for Murder (Merry Wrath #6)
For ex-CIA Agent turned Girl Scout troop leader, Merry Wrath, planning a wedding is infinitely more terrifying than the time she was a mole in Carlos the Armadillo’s drug cartel. To make matters worse, while plagued by insomnia (brought on by diabolical details that include bizarre things like "boutonnieres") Merry and her cat, Philby, witness a midnight murder next door. 

Or do they? With her record of sleeplessness, everyone from her fiancé, Rex, to her Girl Scout troop are questioning her sanity. And when strange incidents of arson start popping up all over Who’s There, Iowa and a mysterious woman vanishes, Merry begins to believe her neighbors are foreign spies. 

Throw in meeting her fiancé’s odd twin sisters, late night visits with Mr. Fancy Pants—the King Vulture at the zoo—and a scary sleep study, and Merry wonders if she’s in danger of losing her mind…or her life.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Motto For Murder is the first book in the Merry Wrath Mystery series by Leslie Langtry that I have read and BOY have I been missing out !!!  I instantly fell in love with Merry and her two cats !!!  Motto For Murder is the sixth book in this series and even though it was the first one that I have read, I was not lost at all !!  Langtry gets the reader up to speed instantly and you fall into the story immediately.

Main character Merry Wrath is a former CIA-spy living in her hometown with her two cats.  She lives across the street from her detective fiance Rex and runs a Girl Scout Troop with her best friend.  And if all that isn't fun enough, Merry is trying to plan her wedding but her insomnia is playing tricks on her......or is it ??

In Motto For Murder she thinks she sees her new neighbors carrying a dead body into thier house.  And when she learns that a woman working for her vetenerian is missing, her CIA skills have her drawing crazy conclusions !!!  

Oh and Merry also meets Rex's twin sisters who recently opened up a Taxidermy shop in town where they dress up dead animals in weird costumes and weird settings.  And when she learns that the missing woman left her beloved cat with the sisters to have stuffed and hasn't picked it up yet, Merry is in full CIA mode......

Motto For Murder was such a FUN read !!  So many different things than most readers aren't use to that it makes for a fast read also.  You cannot put the book down because you really want to make sure that Merry is sane and on the right track.

Review by Missi S.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Dying to Call You (A Dead-End Job Mystery Book 3) by Elaine Viets

Dying to Call You (A Dead-End Job Mystery Book 3)

From Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author Elaine Viets—the thrilling mystery series about one woman trying to make a living... while other people are making a killing.

Still living under the radar in Fort Lauderdale due to her refusal to pay her ex-husband’s spousal support, Helen Hawthorne’s latest workaday job might just be the lowest rung on the employment ladder—telemarketing. She’s spending her hours interrupting dinners and disturbing slumbers, and in return hearing curses and extremely rude suggestions.

Then, while Helen is conducting a phone survey with the wealthy Henry “Hank” Asporth, he puts the receiver down without hanging up…and Helen can’t believe what she hears next. She can just make out a man and a woman arguing, a short scream cut off by a horrible choking sound, then an eerie silence followed by a final “click.”

Convinced she just heard a murder being committed—but with no solid proof—Helen is driven to find out what really happened with Hank and the mystery woman. But if she’s not careful, she just might end up holding a dead line of her own…

Praise for the Dead-End Job Mysteries by Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author Elaine Viets

“A stubborn and intelligent heroine, a wonderful South Florida setting, and a cast of more-or-less lethal bimbos...I loved this book.”—Charlaine Harris
“Brave Viets preps by actually working the jobs she describes in loving and hilarious detail, giving her offbeat series a healthy balance between the banal and the bizarre.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Laugh-out-loud comedy with enough twists and turns to make it to the top of the mystery bestseller charts.” —Florida Today
“Fans of Janet Evanovich and Parnell Hall will appreciate Viets’s humor.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Wit, murder, and sunshine . . . it must be Florida. I love this new series.”—Nancy Pickard
“A heroine with a sense of humor and a gift for snappy dialogue.”—Jane Heller  (Summary via Goodreads)

I love the Dead-End Job Mystery series by Elaine Viets.  Each book in this series is so fun !!  

Dying to Call You is the third book in this series and if you are reading them along with me, you are obvious a fan of the main character, Helen and you also feel like you are a resident of the Coronado Tropic Apartments.

Dying to Call You has Helen working as a telemarketer and you really get a good glimpse of how awful it is to be on the other end of the phone.....especially when Helen hears a woman being murdered !!  Of course in true Helen style, she cannot let it go, even when the police "investigate" and tell her there was no crime committed.  Helen knows what she heard and knows that she cannot just go on making calls.  

The path that Helen goes down to solve this case is unlike anything you can Viets can imagine and write these stories is amazing to me.  Viets will have you turning the pages faster than you can hang up on a telelmarketer and then she will have you wanting to apologize for your actions.....  

Review by Missi S.