Monday, 25 January 2021

A Curious Incident (Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #6) by Vicki Delany

 

It's up to Gemma and Jayne to root out the killer in national bestselling author Vicki Delany's sixth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery when the winner of a garden tour trophy is left pushing up daisies. 

"I am not a Consulting Detective," Gemma Doyle reluctantly tells 10-year-old Lauren Tierney, when the little girl comes to the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium to beg Gemma to find her missing cat, Snowball. Gemma might not be able to follow the clues to find the cat, but her dog Violet follows her nose to locate the missing kitten in a neighbor's garden shed. Gemma and Violet proudly return Snowball to her grateful owner, and Gemma basks in praise for a job well done. But a few days later Lauren is back with ten dollars in hand, wanting to once again hire a consulting detective, and this time for a far bigger job: Her mother has been accused of murdering her garden club rival.
Sheila Tierney's garden, which everyone said was the one to beat for the West London Garden Club trophy, had been vandalized the night before the club's early summer tour. Sheila confronted her former friend and gardening partner Anna Wentworth in a towering rage, and the women nearly came to blows. Later that night, after having won the trophy for best garden, Anna is found murdered and Sheila Tierney is the police's prime suspect. 
Despite herself, and despite the disapproval of her police detective boyfriend Ryan Ashburton, the game is once again afoot, and Gemma finds herself and Jayne Wilson using their powers of deduction to ponder yet another curious incident.   (Summary via Goodreads)


A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany is the sixth book in her Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series and main character Gemma Doyle has obtained quite a reputation.  Even though she is a business woman co-owning two businesses, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium and Mrs. Hudson's Tearoom next store she cannot help that is she is a stickler for detail and when there is a murder in her quaint little seaside town of West London, Massachusetts she gets involved.  And in A Curious Incident she is on the "job" in two cases.  First a little girl Lauren comes into the bookstore asking Gemma to find her lost cat Snowball to which Gemma accidentally does find.  However the next case is a tough case and, of course, the police do not want Gemma anywhere near anything relating to the case.

The town is getting ready for the West London Garden Club summer tour and the night before the tour and judging is to take place the top contender's garden is vandalized.  And the owner of that garden just happens to be Lauren's mom, Sheila.  And the second contender in the contest is found murdered in the park !!!  To make matters worse a heated arguement between the deceased, Anna, and Sheila was witnessed by quite a few people so Sheila is taken in for questioning.

Lauren, who is just 11 years old wants to hire Gemma to look into the case and find the person who killed Anna because she doesn't think her mom did it.  Gemma insists that she cannot help Lauren and tries to put it on the police as saying it is their job to do so.  Unfortunately Gemma cannot turn off her overactive brain and she cannot stop thinking about the case.  And when someone close to her is hurt but Gemma was the intended target, she throws all caution to the wind and turns her thinking cap on full speed !!

Readers cannot help but fall in love with the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series.  There is so much to love....from the two businesses that revolve around Sherlock Holmes to the relationships and friendships of the characters and, of course, the cases that Gemma gets involved in and the tension between her and the police.  Readers will love Gemma and Jayne's relationship and there is another relationship developing that readers will literally cry at the end of the book over.....but don't worry it will be a good, happy cry !!


Review by Missi M.




Monday, 18 January 2021

Death in Wine Country (Wine & Dine Mysteries #5) by Gemma Halliday

 From #1 Amazon & New York Times bestselling author Gemma Halliday comes murder, mirth, and mouth-watering delicacies in the next novel in the USA Today bestselling Wine & Dine Mysteries! 

While Emmy Oak started her culinary career as a personal chef to the stars, she's perfectly content to now be back home at her family's Oak Valley Vineyards, running the small but plucky winery. However, when one of her past clients—soap opera star Carrie Cross—purchases a vacation home in Wine Country, Emmy is happy to cater her housewarming party. Only, what starts as a Hollywood- worthy affair ends in tragedy, as one of Carrie's costar guests is killed, and everyone is a suspect. 


Detective Christopher Grant immediately sets his sights on Carrie's husband, and this time Emmy isn't so sure the tall, dark, and too-handsome-for-her-own-good detective is wrong. She has her own suspicions about the former child actor and his wife's costar. But when a blackmail scheme, a wealthy estranged family, and a shifty cowboy from the wrong side of the tracks enter the scene, Emmy realizes Carrie's husband isn't the only person with reason to want the victim dead. As the danger mounts, the suspects multiply, and things heat up between Emmy and Grant, the killer homes in on a new target...and this is one party Emmy may not be leaving alive! 

**Simple and delicious recipes and affordable wine pairings included!** 

"Ms. Halliday is the undisputed queen of the genre." 
Fresh Fiction 

"I rank A Sip Before Dying as one of my favorite fun reads. I say to Gemma Halliday, well done!" 
The Book Breeze 

"The Wine & Dine Mystery series is a definite to read and keep an eye out for more to follow." 
Cozy Mystery Book Review 

Wine & Dine Mysteries: 
A Sip Before Dying – book #1 
Chocolate Covered Death – book #2 
Victim in the Vineyard – book #3 
Marriage, Merlot & Murder – book #4 
Death in Wine Country – book #5 
Fashion, RosĂ© & Foul Play – book #6 

Rating: This story does not contain any graphic violence, language, or sexual encounters. Its rating would be similar to PG-13 or what you would find on a Hallmark Channel movie or TV series.   (Summary via Goodreads)


The Wine and Dine Mystery series by Gemma Halliday is an absolute must read !!  This is an awesome series to completely get lost in....

Death in Wine Country is the fifth book in this series and if you are caught up and a fan, it is like going home to visit family and friends.  Even though there is a murder involved, readers cannot help but get swept away in the area and the people.

In Death in Wine Country main character Emmy Oak's old world and new worlds are colliding.  Emmy moved back home to Sonoma from Los Angeles to help run her family vineyard and in this latest book her friend from Los Angeles, actress Carrie Cross and her husband Bert just bought a vacation home in wine country and Emmy is catering their housewarming party which is going to be hosting co-stars of Carrie's from her soap opera show, Carefree Hearts, as well as people involved in the show.   Unfortunately when Emmy is getting ready to leave after the party, Carrie's dog gets out and heads right for the barn where Dante the wild horse is.  When she chases after the dog, she not only catches the dog but finds a dead body..... Harper, a co-star on the soap opera who just happened to be written off the show recently and who Carrie claimed was like a sister to her.

Emmy knows that she should be focusing on the vineyard but she cannot help but get drawn to the case and want to find out who killed Harper and why.  Also she would do anything for her old friend Carrie.  And when Detective Grant has his eye on Bert, Carrie's husband, all thoughts of the vineyard are ignored.

Death in Wine Country has a GREAT storyline with a long list of likely suspects....unfortunately the killer will not be on the reader's radar.  To which I would highly recommend readers just sit back, relax with a snack and a drink, and enjoy the story....and let Emmy and the detective do what they do best.  Oh and on a side note.... Emmy and Detective Grant are finally taking their "relationship" to the next step...or half step.  I know this is a cozy mystery and not a romance but readers can enjoy both and we do in this series for sure !!!


Review by Missi M.

Monday, 11 January 2021

Checked Out (A Dead-End Job Mystery #14) by Elaine Viets

Shhh...in the newest hardcover in the national bestselling Dead-End Job Mystery series, Helen Hawthorne quietly goes undercover at a local library to search for a missing masterpiece.

Wealthy socialite Elizabeth Cateman Kingsley has hired Helen to find a missing John Singer Sargent painting, owned by her late father. After his death, many of Davis Cateman’s books were donated to the Flora Park library, and his daughter suspects the small watercolor—worth millions—was tucked away inside one of those dusty tomes.

To search the stacks, Helen applies for a position as a library volunteer and discovers the library director has a catalog of complaints—from a mischievous calico cat named Paris to the mysterious disappearance of various items that some of the more imaginative staff are attributing to a ghost haunting the building.

While her husband Phil sticks his neck out to find a missing necklace, Helen is on her own with no one to lend her a hand. When a dead body turns up in a parking lot, it appears someone is willing to go to any lengths to keep the treasure in the library quiet. Now Helen is bound and determined to find the killer as well as the painting—before she’s taken out of circulation herself.
   (Summary via Goodreads)


I have been a fan of the Dead-End Job Mystery series by Elaine Viets since reading the first book, Shop Till You Drop, and every time I read the next book I fall in love a little deeper.  And I think I am going to have to go on record and say that Checked Out, the fourteenth book is my favorite !! I have probably said that with previous books but I cannot help but change my mind with the next book in the series.

As the books grow in number the characters grow and develop more and more and the storyline just keeps getting better and better.  In the early books main character Helen had to take dead-end cash paying jobs so that she stayed under the radar since she divorced her cheating husband and vowed that he would never receive another penny from her as was awarded him during their divorce proceedings.  So she ran away and ended up in Florida.....

Living in Florida she was forced to take these dead-end jobs to pay her bills but she always got caught up in murder cases....then she got to know her next door neighbor Phil at her apartment complex, they fell in love, got married and opened up their own private investigation agency.  They also LOVE their apartment manager, Margery, most of the other tenants and have a lot of fun !!

In Checked Out both Helen and Phil have cases that they are working on.  Phil is going undercover as a gardener for a wealthy couple who had a birthday party for their daughter turning 21.  They gave her a very expensive necklace then left the house so she could party for a bunch of friends.  The next morning the necklace and family golf cart were missing.  So Phil was hired to find out what happened to both...the owners think that someone on the staff did it.  Helen is hired by another wealthy individual whose father had donated his massive library collection to the town library.  But he was known to place important paperwork inside the books and a valuable painting that was willed to the daughter is missing and feared was placed inside a book.  So Helen is going overcover at the library as a volunteer so that she can go through the boxes of books.

Helen's case becomes more difficult when she finds a homeless woman living in the library who claims she found the painting and has hid it for safekeeping until she returns from a job interview but gets run down in the parking lot at the business she was to be interviewed at.  Now Helen not only has to search the library looking for the painting but she has to find a killer !!!

There is so much going on to keep readers attention in this book as well as the whole series.  Readers will love the way that Helen grows throughout the books.  And readers cannot help but enjoy the relationships, especially between Helen and Phil.  Also the friendships with Margery and Peggy are so fun to read about as well.  

I highly recommend getting into this series and cannot wait to open up the fifteenth and final book in this series, The Art of Murder.


Review by Missi M.




Friday, 8 January 2021

A Perfect Storm (Sgt. Windflower Mysteries #9) by Mike Martin

Sgt. Windflower is back, untangling another swirling mystery, this one bringing the meth crisis and biker gangs to the quiet Newfoundland town of Grand Bank, feeling the sting of their deadly tentacles reaching all the way from the United States. He’s working with his familiar crew of RCMP characters — but wait, are some of the faces changing? There are new challenges for Jones, an unknown side of Smithson reveals itself, and what ever happened to Tizzard? In the midst of putting the pieces of the puzzle together, Windflower and his beloved Sheila also find themselves navigating sorrows and surprises on the family front. As always, there’s still great food and even better friends in the beautiful and often fog-filled community of Grand Bank. Come back to Newfoundland and Labrador for A Perfect Storm, another excellent Windflower adventure.   (Summary via Goodreads)


I am a huge fan of Mike Martin and his Sgt. Windflower Mystery series.  I have read all of the books in this series, to date, and while I was in the middle of reading A Perfect Storm, the ninth book, I actually had to reach out to the author.  Before I could read any more I had to know if this was the last book in this series.  When you are as invested in a series as I am with this particular one, you develop feelings....and I had a terrible feeling that I was reading the last of the Windflower's story.  A Perfect Storm just had that kind of feeling to me....and if it was the last, I needed to get the right mindset to continue.  And I cannot tell you how overjoyed I was when Martin responded with the news that there would be at least 2 more books coming in 2021 !!!

In A Perfect Storm readers are hanging out with an awesome family, Sgt. Winston Windflower, his wife Sheila who is also the Mayor and their adorable daughter, Amelia Louise in their quaint little town of Grand Bank in Canada.  Windflower works for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and he has a great staff and they all come together to protect and serve their town.  Sheila is the Mayor of Grand Bank but she is getting near the end of her term and she has chosen to not continue in the political field.  Windflower has also been struggling with if he wants to stay where he is professionally.  

A Perfect Storm has a lot going on with Windflower and Sheila in their personal and professional lives and some things make it seem like the author is writing in a way to end things on more clearer terms....but luckily he is just setting the stage for the next chapter in their lives.  

A Perfect Storm addresses big crimes in Grand Banks and the surrounding areas.  Drugs, gangs and death are a big storyline in this book but luckily everything gets sorted out and all the bad people end up where they should.  There are also a lot of changes happening at the detachment, most of them good but maybe one will be hard for readers to handle at first.  And readers will be forced to deal with a few big changes in Windflower's life, and one will be very hard for readers to accept. ( I am still having a hard time with it. )

A Perfect Storm is probably the most emotional book so far in this series for readers who have read all the previous books and who have grown to love and respect the characters.  I, for one, truly love Eddie Tizzard !!  I cannot get enough of this character.  I love all the storylines surrounding him and look forward to where the story takes him.  Also there are a lot of things with Windflower and Sheila that I am looking forward to in their storylines and Martin hints at a few BIG ones at the end of this book.....leaving readers in the best way possible....WANTING MORE !!!  And I am so happy to know that there will be more to come for the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series !!!  I am NOT done with these books.....I feel like they are my family and I love when I can escape to Grand Bank, or wherever they are, and visit for a while.


Review by Missi M.




Wednesday, 6 January 2021

A Deadly Edition (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #5) by Victoria Gilbert

 "Til death do us part" could be closer than the bride realizes in Victoria Gilbert's tantalizing fifth Blue Ridge Library mystery.

The pursuit to acquire a rare illustrated book turns deadly, and on the eve of her upcoming wedding, library director Amy Webber is drawn into a web of treachery and betrayal that could derail her happy day—and maybe just claim her life.

Planning a wedding can be murder—sometimes literally. At a party celebrating their upcoming nuptials, Taylorsford, Virginia library director Amy Webber and her fiancĂ© Richard Muir discover the body of art dealer Oscar Selvaggio—a bitter rival of their host, Kurt Kendrick.

Both had been in a heated battle to purchase a rare illustrated volume created by William Morris's Kelmscott Press, so suspicion immediately falls upon Kurt. Amy knows that Kurt has a closet-full of skeletons from his past—but she can't believe he's guilty of murder.

Amidst an avalanche of wedding preparations, Amy begins an investigation with the help of her aunt Lydia Talbot and the new mayor of Taylorsford, Sunshine "Sunny" Fields. Much to Lydia's dismay, her boyfriend, art expert Hugh Chen, becomes convinced of Kurt's guilt and launches an investigation of his own. As the case hits painfully close to home, the stakes become impossibly high—and the danger all too real.  (Summary via Goodreads)


What a great cast of characters in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series by Victoria Gilbert !!  

A Deadly Edition is the fifth book in this series and a lot of going on !!!  Main character Amy Webber is getting ready to marry her fiance Richard Muir and they are in the final stages of planning the big day !!  Unfortunately while celebrating their upcoming wedding at the house of family friend Kurt Kendrick, an uninvited guest is found dead in a shed on the expansive property.... and the bride and groom are the ones who found the body !!  The body is learned to be a rival of Kurt's, Oscar Selvaggio.  Oscar is an art dealer and he is bidding on a rare book that Kurt is also interested in and bidding on as well.  

When it is ruled that Oscar was murdered by poison it raises the question as to who could have done it knowing that Oscar was not invited to the party and just showed up with his assistant.  There were a number of people who were seen mixing drinks and some who admitted to giving Oscar a drink but they all also deny poisoning him.

Amy should be focusing on the wedding and her happily ever after but being a librarian and one who likes puzzles and doing research, it is with no stretch of the imagination that she is going to look into Oscar, his background as well as those suspected of killing him.  One thing that Amy does not like is that her mysterious younger brother shows up saying his is on vacation from his more mysterious job and will be in town until the wedding.  And when he disappears for a few days without telling anyone and no one can reach him, she cannot help but wonder if he could have had something to do with Oscar's death.

Gilbert provides readers with a vast set of likely suspects in A Deadly Edition and one cannot help but be thoroughly taken in by the story.  Readers will not only want to continue reading to find out who killed Oscar and why but they will want to continue reading until the end to see if Amy and Richard get to the altar and say "I do".......


Review by Missi M.
 



Sunday, 3 January 2021

Calamity at Kryme Cottage: A Belinda Lawrence Mystery (Belinda Lawrence Mystery #8) by Brian Kavanagh

A mysterious woman in black, appears at night.
Arriving in horse and carriage.
Stays at Kyrme Cottage, then at night – disappears.
She always wears black lace.
Abbey Combe's new Vicar vanishes overnight.
A corpse found buried in the garden.
Murder in Richmond Park.
And the link with Jane Austen!

These mysteries confront amateur sleuths, Belinda Lawrence and Hazel Whitby in the Somerset village of Milford.
Among the eccentrics is the shadowy Madam Malefic.

She's nuttier than any fruit cake Escoffier ever baked.  (Summary via Goodreads)


I cannot lie, nor would I really even want to, so when I say that I am a HUGE fan of Brian Kavanagh and his Belinda Lawrence Mystery series, you can 100% believe me !!

Calamity at Kryme Cottage is the eighth book in this series and having read all of the books, I am very familiar with Belinda, her life, her friends and her experiences but Kavanagh knows how to always bring the shock factor into his books.

In Calamity at Kryme Cottage Belinda's business partner and friend, Hazel is staying with Belinda while she has some renovations done to her apartment.  At the same time a new neighbor moves in next door and the small village of Milford also has a new Vicar.  While they are getting use to all of these new changes, a lot of people are showing an intense interest in an abandoned, run down property, the Kryme Cottage.  Little do they know that this place holds very old secrets, secrets some are looking to uncover while others will do anything to keep secret....even kill for !!

Belinda and Hazel are again pulled into the middle of all of the chaos and won't stop until they figure out what is going on and when a body is found buried in Belinda's garden, they will stop at nothing to find out who it is and why they were murdered and buried in her garden.

The Belinda Lawrence Mystery series books can be read in one sitting or readers can read them slower to make them last.  Even though they can be read in one sitting does not take away the fact that they are packed with explosive stories and captivating situations.  Once you open one of these books, you are taken away to Milford and sitting with Belinda and Hazel in front of the fireplace sipping on a cocktail discussing the day.  I highly recommend getting lost in this amazing series !!


Review by Missi M.


Saturday, 2 January 2021

Watch Her (Hester Thursby Mystery #3) by Edwin Hill

 

“Quirky characters complement the suspenseful plot. Readers will agree that a failing school makes a grade-A mystery.” —Publishers Weekly

“Complex…a masterly mystery.” —Kirkus Reviews

Fans of Ruth Ware and B.A. Paris won’t want to miss this complex psychological thriller from an acclaimed author about a powerful Boston family desperate to keep their darkest secrets from coming to light. 


While attending a gala at Prescott University’s lavish new campus, Hester Thursby and fellow guest, Detective Angela White, are called to the home of the college’s owners, Tucker and Jennifer Matson. Jennifer claims that someone broke into Pinebank, their secluded mansion on the banks of Jamaica Pond. The more Hester and Angela investigate, the less they believe Jennifer’s story, leaving Hester to wonder why she would lie.

When Hester is asked by the college’s general manager to locate some missing alumni, she employs her research skills on the family and their for-profit university. Between financial transgressions, a long-ago tragedy, and rumors of infidelity, it’s clear that the Matsons aren’t immune to scandal or mishap. But when one of the missing students turns up dead, the mystery takes on new urgency.

Hester is edging closer to the truth, but as a decades-old secret collides with new lies, a killer grows more determined to keep the past buried with the dead. . . .

“Hits that elusive sweet spot yet again with an impeccable blend of intelligent and relatable characters confronted with a dangerous and complex crime in a fascinating setting. Hill masterfully ratchets up the tension until it's impossible to look away. Hester Thursby fans will not be disappointed!” —Karen Dionne, award-winning bestselling author of The Wicked Sister

“Suspenseful…a grade-A mystery.”— 
Publishers Weekly  (Summary via Goodreads)


INTENSE !!  I have said it before after reading one of the books in the Hester Thursby Mystery series by Edwin Hill and it is still the best word to describe the third book in this series, Watch Her.

Main character Hester Thursby has a complicated life....and some of it is with her own doing and thinking.  She has a great man in her life, Morgan and together they have built a loving family life for his niece Kate who they are raising for his sister.  They both have good jobs. Hester is a librarian and occasionally finds missing people and Morgan is a veterinarian and they have a house full of dogs.  They also have a tenant and friend Jamie who is a design intern at Prescott University.  Hester is also friends with Detective Angela White but the line is often crossed when there is an investigation ....

In Watch Her readers get to know the family responsible for the Prescott University and all the students attending it.  Hester is approached by Maxine Pawlikowski, the general manager of the college as well as a friend of the family, to look into finding some students on a list when things do not add up.  She thinks that Gavin Dean has something to do with it but she needs prove.  Maxine has been friends with Jennifer Matson and her husband Tucker for years.  She helped raise their daughter Vanessa and would do anything for them.  Vanessa is the President of Prescott University and her husband Gavin is the CFO.  Her parents trust Vanessa to handle everything and if she can't they know Maxine is there to step in.

Prescott University and the Matson family have deep, dark secrets....some of them stem from years ago when Vanessa was 4 years old and they have been hiding them since.  Unfortunately when Maxine asks Hester to look into the list of students, three of the students are hard to find....this sets everyone on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and more secrets.  How far will people go to keep these secrets from getting out ??  The rollercoaster goes off track when one of the students is found murdered in her apartment.  This will make Hester more motivated to find out what is going on at Prescott University.

Hill will draw readers in immediately and he makes it so easy to follow along with the characters as he dedicates each chapter to a different person and their life and involvement with Prescott University.  By doing this readers will be able to stay on top of things and not get lost even when you get to the explosive parts of the story.  I thoroughly enjoy this series and love that the chapters are broken down per person so that you get to really know the characters and their involvement.

And it wouldn't be Edwin Hill's style to not provide readers with a few surprises and an intense storyline.  He insures that readers love the characters and guarantees that they are fans and will return with every new book he writes.


Review by Missi M.