Sunday 27 September 2020

Hanging Falls (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #6) by Margaret Mizushima


Murder stalks the rugged Colorado high country--and sends Mattie Cobb on a quest to uncover the darkest secrets from her past in the sixth gripping installment of Margaret Mizushima's Timber Creek K-9 mysteries

A deluge has flooded the high ground near Hanging Falls--but heavy rains aren't the only menace descending on Timber Creek. While on a scouting mission to pinpoint trail damage, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo stumble upon a body floating at the edge of a lake. Robo catches human scent, which leads to an enigmatic forest-dweller who quickly becomes suspect number one.

With help from veterinarian Cole Walker, Mattie identifies the victim, and discovers an odd religious cult whose dress and manners harken back to the 19th century. As the list of suspects grows, an unexpected visit from members of Mattie's long-lost family sheds new light on her childhood as they help Mattie piece together details of the fateful night when she was abducted at age two.

The tangled threads of the investigation and family dynamics begin to intertwine--but darkness threatens to claim a new victim before Mattie and Robo can track down the killers.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Captivating is too basic a word to describe Hanging Falls by Margaret Mizushima.  Hanging Falls is the sixth book in her Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series and it is so mezmerizing !!  Readers will find it hard to put it down as it will fascinate and lure you in !!!

Even though this is only the second book in this series that I have read I am still a huge fan !!  There is so much going on in this series that readers may think that they will be lost however Mizushima has a way with words and she gets readers up to date and caught up in the story by the time you've read the first chapter.

Readers will fall in love with main character Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner, immediately.  Mattie is a Deputy in Timber Creek Colorado and her partner is Robo, a trained German Shepherd.  The two are quite a team and very popular in their town.  Mattie is also dating the local veterinarian Cole Walker.  Cole is pretty busy with his clinic as well as raising his two daughters and Mattie is busy with work and she recently reconnected with her sister and grandmother but when the two get together their love and devotion is quite evident.

Right before Mattie is scheduled to take some vacation so that she can visit her sister and grandmother and get reaquainted with them (her family life is something we are learning about with her every installment of this series), she is on a hike with her friend, Glenna, in Hanging Falls and they come across a dead body floating in the water.  So Mattie postpones her travel plans so that she and Robo can work the case.  Little do they know that this case is going to take them down a crazy path !!  

There is so much more that I could tell you about this book, this series, and this great story.....but that is only going to prolong you from going and picking up your own copy and getting lost in this amazing story.  Like I said I have only read 2 of the 6 books in this series and I really would have liked to have read all of them and who knows maybe I will read them, however, you do not have to read them all or in order.  You will immediately get lost in the book as soon as you start reading.  Believe me ...... you will want to thank me but you will not want to stop reading to do so !!!

Review by Missi M. 

Thursday 24 September 2020

Pumpkins, Paws & Murder (A Dickens & Christie Mystery #2) by Kathy Manos Penn


A Cotswolds village—a Fall FĂȘte—TWO four-legged sleuths—and a murder!

Leta Parker is back with her talkative companions—Dickens the dog and Christie the cat.

Though Leta’s still haunted by her tragic loss, moving from Atlanta to the village of Astonbury has given her a new lease on life.

Leta’s days are filled with yoga, book club, walks with Dickens, naps with Christie, and outings with friends. Add preparations for the Astonbury Fall FĂȘte—complete with scarecrows, pumpkins, and costumes—and she’s beyond busy.

All is well until a dead body is discovered on the riverbank, and once again, Leta and her sleuthing girlfriends are drawn into a search for a killer—a search that takes them to Dartmouth on the coast of England.

Will touring Agatha Christie’s summer home help them access their inner Miss Marples?

Will Dickens sniff out clues closer to home? Or will Christie the cat outthink them all?

Discover the answers—and a recipe—in Pumpkins, Paws, & Murder, book two in Kathy Manos Penn’s Cozy Animal Mystery Series.   (Summary via Goodreads)

I became a fan of the Dickens & Christie Mystery series by Kathy Manos Penn when I read the first book in the series, Bells, Tails, & Murder.  I mean how can readers not fall in love with a book where the main character can talk to and understand their cat and dog ???

Main character Leta moved from the United States across the pond to a little village, Astonbury in the Cotswolds in England after her husband Henry passed away.  Within a short time she has made a great circle of friends and seems to be adapting quite well.....that is until she gets involved with murder cases.

In Pumpkins, Paws, & Murder, the second book in this series, the village is getting ready for the Astonbury Fall Fete at The Olde Mill Inn.  A fete is a celebration or festival.  Leta is dressing up as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and her dog, Dickens, is going to be Toto.  There is a lot going on the day of the Fete, as we can all imagine, and it seems like it went off without a hitch.....until the next morning when the body of the magician from the Fete is found behind the Inn on the riverbank.  You would think with Detective Sergeant Gemma living in the cottage behind the Inn that it would be an open and shut case but that is not the way it is.  

Leta and a few of her friends, mainly Wendy and her 90 year old mother Belle, "helped" Gemma solve a murder before so they decide to "help" again.  And when they find out that Trixie, the niece of their friend Beatrix, is on the suspect list, they jump in feet first.  They know that Trixie wouldn't harm anyone but they know that they cannot go on just their word and their impressions of people so they decide to do a little investigating.  And with the Fete having drawn in people from all over, they have their work cut out for them.  And surprisingly Gemma seems to have given in to allowing them to help.

Readers will thoroughly enjoy Pumpkins, Paws & Murder, as well as the first book, in this series.  The author makes it so easy to follow along and even provides a list of the cast of characters at the beginning of the story so that you can go back at any time to get to know someone.  And the fact that Leta can talk to her two pets as well as a few other area animals is such a delight especially if you own cats or dogs and you "talk" to them.  You wll see your animals within them.  I highly recommend getting these books and getting lost in this quaint little village and get ready for the next installment..... I know I am looking forward to November when the third book is being released.......

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 19 September 2020

Bert and Norah: The Nickel Dime Murders by Bernard Burgess

Murder sets the stage for a mystery woven around the undying love between a husband and wife private investigation team. Set under the wide open skies of the upper Mid-west, the beauty and serenity of this expansive country is in stark contrast to the dark side of humanity being pursued by B and N Investigations. Norah's psychic abilities are combined with Bert's intuitive logic and the nose of their exceptional tracking animal, a coyote-wolf hybrid named Missy. Their combined skills make them unusually gifted at finding missing people. However, unusual circumstances draw them into the wake of a cunning and brutal killer. They begin to realize that they alone possess the unique skills to bring this case to a final and suspenseful conclusion. Don't be surprised if you say, "Wow, I did not see that coming!"   (Summary via Goodreads)

At the end of the summary of The Nickel Dime Murders by Bernard Burgess on Goodreads it states ... Don't be surprised if you say, "Wow, I did not see that coming."  When readers get to the last page that is EXACTLY what they are going to say !!!  I am still in shock !!

I have to be very careful with what I share about this book in my review because I really do not want to indicate anything that will potentially ruin the explosive ending ..... 

The Nickel Dime Murders is the first book in the Bert and Norah Mystery series and I was hooked when I opened the book to start reading it and the first chapter is titled "Missy".... seeing as that is my first name I was excited....yeah, I know what a dork !!!  Anyway Bert and his wife Norah have started a private investigative company with 2 unique qualities.  First is Missy... Missy is a coywolf that Bert rescued when she was a newborn and he took her home and raised and trained her and now she helps track missing people by using her great sense of smell.  The second unique quality is that Norah is a psychic and gets visions that help solve cases.

The Nickel Dime Murders starts a multipy states manhunt for 1 or 2 killers, it is unclear the number involved in the killings.  Bert and Norah are hired to find a woman's parents who have been missing for a couple of weeks and the police aren't taking the case seriously.  There is no evidence of foul play, it just looks like the couple got in their vehicle and drove away but the daughter knows that they would not do that for that long of a time.  Bert and Norah take the case and with Norah's visions and Missy's tracking skills, they locate the couple but unfortunately they are too late and it is obvious that they were murdered.  Bert searches the house and the only thing that he finds odd is that there two dimes and a nickel lined up on a dresser and Norah is having visions of the coins.  When the next case they are hired for is very similar to that case, this leads them down a very strange path.......and with Norah's vision and the use of Missy's tracking skills, it is very difficult to involve the local police.  

I strongly encourage, and cannot stress it enough, to readers to go grab your copy of The Nickel Dime Murders by Bernard Burgess.  This book will blow your mind in so many ways !!!  I cannot wait until I open up the second book in this series to see where the road leads Bert, Norah and Missy....wherever it goes, I plan to be along for the ride.

Review by Missi M.

Monday 14 September 2020

Priced to Kill (Second Treasures Mysteries #2) by Margaret Evans

Laura Keene’s adventures in Raging Ford, Minnesota, continue as she struggles to pull her life together and find the truth behind the deaths of her parents. In Volume 2 of the Second Treasures Mysteries, “Priced to Kill,” Laura digs into the history of a beautiful hand-made quilt and discovers it may have been an instrument of death in the past. What she uncovers puts lives in danger, and she is faced with how far the killer is willing to go to keep a perfect crime secret.   (Summary via Goodreads)

I fell in love with the Second Treasures Mystery series by Margaret Evans when I read the first book, Twice Sold Murder.  Evans set the stage beautifully providing the reader with a sturdy background on main character Laura Keene, the town she grew up in, why she moved away in high school after her parents murder and her return to town 11 years later....and, of course, how she got involved in a murder case and helped her longtime friend, Sergeant Connor Fitzpatrick.

In Priced to Kill, the second book in the series, we get to witness Laura and Connor take their relationship to the next level.  They want to catch up on the 11 years that they were apart and move forward, however, with Connor's job and Laura's two jobs, there is never any time for the two to even have a cup of coffee together.  Laura is always looking for items to add to her merchandise and now that tax season is here, she is also using her CPA certifications.  And Connor is struggling to run his police department while his boss is always out of town and the force is already running with fewer employees than they require.

With it being winter and the weather is snowy and cold, Laura has added a makeshift fireplace and has arranged quilts around it to entice shoppers to buy them.  While looking over some quilts in the backroom, Isabella the cat that only Laura can see, refuses to let her get too close to one of the quilts.  This leads Laura to look into the history behind the quilt.

Laura has so much on her plate with running 2 businesses, getting reaquainted with her friends and towns people, taking her relationship with Connor to the next level, looking into the history behind her ancestors as well as her parents death, so looking into the mysterious death of the owner of the quilt shouldn't be any big deal.  Unfortunately when she starts to feel sick and her symptoms are the same as the previous owner of the quilt, Laura dives head first into trouble.......unfortunately this time she drags Connor down with her.

Evans provides readers with a great murder to follow as well as giving readers little bits and pieces of the puzzle behind the murder of Laura's parents.  With each new book in the series, we get to know everyone more and more and want to stay longer and longer in Raging Ford, Minnesota.  Personally I'm thinking about moving there........

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

An Old-Fashioned Drowning: A Hal Johnson Adirondack Mystery by Richard H Nilsen

An Old-Fashioned Drowning: A Hal Johnson Adirondack Mystery
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The past few years, dozens of intrepid folks (ambulatory but with what I suspect are less than healthy mental faculties) rush into the water in the channel between East and West Caroga Lakes for "the Polar Plunge" on Jan. 1. They do this intentionally and with malice of forethought. I witness this event each year. Each year, even though I have Nordic genes and have been accused of preferring a roll in the snow to lying on a hot beach, I still marvel at the people voluntarily rushing into the ice water with screams of supposed delight and happiness. This particular year, the crazy ice water event connected to something sinister, and that's where it got sad, but interesting. Just the kind of thing they'd call me in on... and that's what they did.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I know that I am not alone when I say that I love reading books by local authors who write about the area that you live in.  Richard H. Nilsen is a local (to me) author and the main character in his Hal Johnson Adirondack Mystery series lives on Caroga Lake which is about 45 minutes from where I live.  Although the area that Nilsen writes about is real, the stories are not.

In An Old-Fashioned Drowning Hal and his girlfriend are enjoying the off season on the house they just had built on Caroga Lake.  Hal works in the mental health field as well as his own private investigative business and they both keep him busy.  It may not be exciting but it keeps Hal busy and out of trouble.....usually.  However when he gets a call to have dinner with a recent widow everything changes.

Janet White who is recently widowed because her husband went through some thin ice on the lake while riding his snowmobile insists that there is no way her husband would be anywhere near water or ice where there is a chance that he could drown.  He was very afraid of drowning.  She would like Hal to look into the death because it was ruled an accident.  Janet is friends with Zoe who is dating "The Don".  Don owns the local "gentlemen's club" and Hal knows him from doing work for him in the past.  It also appears that the deceased, Manuel, worked for Don as a collector of people who owed Don money.

While Hal is looking into Manuel's death, another body is found and even though it also looks as accidental, Hal and Don know otherwise.  Now they just have to prove it......

Hal is limited with what he can do and who he can involve seeing as Don's business and dealings can be questionable as to if they are legal and on the up and up......

An Old-Fashioned Drowning is the third book in the Hal Johnson Adirondack Mystery series and the first one that I have had the pleasure of reading.  I will be looking into Nilsen's other books as this book immediately caught my attention and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the area I live in ....and with a twist of murder and shady businesses it was exceptionally exciting !!!

Review by Missi M.

The Key Lime Crime (Key West Food Critic Mystery #10) by Lucy Burdette

The Key Lime Crime (Key West Food Critic Mystery, #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?   (Summary via Goodreads)

The Key Lime Crime is the tenth book in the Key West Food Critic Mystery series by Lucy Burdette and, boy, is it going to whisk you away on a great adventure and you don't even have to leave your living room.

The Key Lime Crime has a very strong main character in Hayley Snow.  Hayley lives in Key West, Florida on a house boat with her good friend Miss Gloria, her new husband, 2 cats and one dog..... Hayley's new husband, not Miss Gloria's.  And Hayley's husband Nathan is a police detective and this is the week between Christmas and New Year's and Key West is going to be busy with tourists flocking to their streets to party !!  And Hayley who works for a food magazine, Key Zest, as a food critic will be following a pie-baking contest where the contestants will be showcasing thier version of the best key lime pie.  So both Hayely and Nathan are going to be very busy during this week, her with the contest, Nathan with working to keep the streets and people to say they both have a full plate about sizes it let's throw Nathan's mother coming to town to visit. into the mix  This, of course, puts a lot of pressure on Hayley seeing as Mrs. Bransford didn't come to the wedding !!!

Luckily Hayley and Nathan are still living with Miss Gloria since their houseboat is still being renovated so Nathan's mom cannot stay with them.  Also luckily Hayley's mother and step-father offer their guest room for her.  Unfortunately before Mrs. Bransford can unpack and get settled, Hayley and Miss Gloria take her on a tour of holiday decorations.....where they come across a dead body on a porch !!!

Adding a murder to the already chaotic week ahead for Hayley and Nathan is nothing they cannot handle....they have been through a lot already but now they have Nathan's mother to worry about.  

Burdette will have readers getting papercuts from turning the pages so quickly.  Adding Nathan's mother to story was an awesome twist and Burdette knows how to weave the story through so many mazes, twists and turns that you will get dizzy.....but it will be a good dizzy !!!  The atmosphere that is created will blow reader's minds and if you don't have a craving for key lime pie after reading this latest book, I'd be very surprised !!  

I love how the story has developed through this series and love the way that it is going.  I am looking forward to seeing where the road leads Hayley, Nathan and Miss Gloria....because you know even though Hayley and Nathan are newlyweds, Miss Gloria will be right there in the middle of them and things !!!

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 3 September 2020

15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery #3) by Christin Brecher

15 Minutes of Flame

As Stella Wright's Nantucket candle store thrives, her knack for solving mysteries burns equally bright--especially when a Halloween haunted house uncovers evidence of a centuries-old murder . . . 

When Stella's friend inherits a creaky, abandoned home in Nantucket, she knows it's the perfect setting for the town's annual Halloween fundraiser. A deserted, boarded-up building on the property--once used as a candle-making shop--adds to the creepy ambiance. But as Stella explores the shack's dilapidated walls, she discovers a terrible secret: the skeleton of a Quaker woman, wrapped in blood-soaked clothing and hidden deep within a stone hearth . . .

While police investigate, Stella wastes no time asking for help from friends with long ties to Nantucket's intricate history. The key to the murder may lie within a scorching 18th century love triangle that pit two best friends against one another over a dubious man. But before the case is solved, another life will be claimed--leaving Stella to wonder who in Nantucket is friend, and who is foe . . .

Praise for Murder's No Votive Confidence

"A charming mystery with believable, likeable characters. Check it out."
--Suspense Magazine
    (Summary via Goodreads)

The Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery series by Christin Brecher is such a fun read !!  The main character, Stella Wright, is a candle maker and has such a strong sense of smell that it helps her when she gets into tough places.  

15 Minutes of Flame, the third book in this series, really tests Stella when she gets permission to use a friend's empty house to use as a haunted house for the Girl Scouts to raise money and in a boarded up shack in the back she finds a skeleton hidden in the wall...... oh the smells that are there !!  

When Stella goes to research the skeleton she finds out that one of the ladies that is in her candle making class, Agnes, is a distant relative to the skeleton, Patience Cooper.  After further digging they find out that Patience was murdered and her best friend Nancy committed suicide after some cash went missing and Patience and her husband disappeared.  Nancy committed suicide by jumping down into a well that her family has left alone and consider it her burial site.  In order to solve Patience's murder and be sure that Nancy did indeed jump down into the well, local police, Andy, invites 2 forensic anthropologists to come to Nantucket to go down the well.  And the owner of the property where the well is located calls in a filmmaker who specializes in this kind of story......

Stella will do anything to solve a murder.....even move into the abandoned house where the first skeleton was found.  Even though she is a candle maker and has to put that first and foremost, she cannot help but want to make her town as safe as possible.

Readers will love this unique way that Stella is able to use her craft for more than making tantalizing smelling candles....and her town and friends don't hurt the appeal !!!  I highly recommend getting lost in this series and maybe light your favorite candle while you get lost in Nantucket with Stella......

Review by Missi M.