Friday 30 April 2021

Murder Returns to the Precipice by Penny Goetjen

Granddaughter of the inn’s matriarch, Elizabeth Pennington saw to every intricate detail in the renovation of the popular seaside destination after a deadly hurricane nearly destroyed it. When the body of a female guest is discovered in the newly opened fitness center, it appears to be a tragic accident that threatens to taint the grand reopening. But as police investigate, it becomes painfully clear it’s something more sinister. Is there a killer in their midst? Has the inn’s dark past resurfaced?

See why critics and readers alike are raving about the suspense novels of multi national award-winning storyteller Penny Goetjen. 

“An endlessly delightful tale and band of characters...”
--Kirkus Reviews 

“A richly textured mystery that’s both charmingly atmospheric and cunningly staged. Be forewarned: Like the coastal waters of Maine, this story will lull you in with its seeming tranquility only to sweep you away in the undercurrent….” 
--John Valeri, Criminal Element

WINNER in the Indie Excellence Book Awards for Regional Fiction: Northeast.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Murder Returns to the Precipice by Penny Goetjen is the third book in her Precipice series and having read the previous two I felt like I was returning home for a visit.  I fell in love with Elizabeth Pennington and everything surrounding her life....except maybe the number of dead bodies she comes across.  And when you begin reading Murder Returns to the Precipice you don't have to read past the first page before the first dead body is found.....

Elizabeth grew up at the Pennington Point Inn in Maine with her grandmother but when a hurricane hit and she lost her grandmother, she walked away and went back to Conneticut and her work as an interior designer.  But a few years later she returns to the inn and begins renovations to reopen it up.  Luckily for Elizabeth her boyfriend Kurt has moved there with her to help run the inn leaving his work with the FBI.  Unfortunately shortly after reopening the inn, Elizabeth finds a guest dead in the new fitness room, she learns that she failed to pay past taxes and the inn may be heading to foreclosure, her ex-friend Rashelle returns, she gets a disturbing letter regarding Kurt and a possible fiance and she gets a clue to what becomes a scavenger hunt form an old friend of her grandmother's.

To say Elizabeth has a lot on her plate is stating the obvious but there is nothing that she cannot face and overcome so she bears down and gets to work......

Readers will love the books in this series because the storyline is so addicting and the people are lovable...even when they shouldn't be.  The setting of the story will explode in the readers mind and you will not want to leave.  I have such a vivid picture of the inn and it's surrounding areas along with the people that they feel so real....even if it is all in my head.  Goetjen has such a unique talent in her story telling that you will be a fan instantly !!

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 29 April 2021

Death on Bull Path (Hamptons Murder Mysteries #4) by Carrie Doyle


After the craziness of August, the end of summer is supposed to bring peace and tranquility to the posh seaside enclave of East Hampton, New York. Antonia Bingham, chef and proprietor of the town’s prestigious Windmill Inn, has been lining up new recipes to try in the quiet, golden days of September, and looks forward to putting murder and mayhem behind her so she can focus on herself and her business. But when a Labor Day visit by two slick Wall Streeters ends with their gruesome deaths in a summer rental house, Antonia is pulled back to the dark side. With mysterious guests (and possible suspects) popping in and out of the inn, Antonia has no choice but to put back on her sleuthing cap and try to decipher who butchered these men. Wading through social media, the local nightclub scene, share houses, and other unfamiliar haunts of the young and glamorous is an eye-opener for Antonia—and a major time commitment. And the timing couldn't be worse, because Nick Darrow, Antonia’s movie star crush, is back in town, available and ready for a commitment...while Antonia’s sinister ex-husband is making his presence known in her life again, too. The high season may be over but Antonia has never been busier, juggling work and crime—and fighting for her own life, too.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I am so glad that I took the time to read the Hamptons Murder Mystery series books by Carrie Doyle back to back.  I felt like I was on a continuous trip with my friends and we had a great and exciting time with a few murders in the mix.

Death on Bull Path is the fourth book in the series and by now we know that the main character Antonia Bingham is a very smart and busy person.  However, no matter how busy she is, she always makes time to help out when there is a murder.  Antonia left California and moved to the Hamptons and bought the Windmill Inn which is an inn and restaurant.  She loves being in the kitchen making amazing food for the people that come to eat at the inn but she cannot help but get drawn into the mystery surrounding a murder case.  This may stem from being married to a police officer back in California....even though he was a very abusive and controlling person that even though they are divorced and she moved far away, he still gets under her skin.

In Death on Bull Path Antonia gets involved in a double murder case when she learns that the two gentlemen that were killed had been in the bar hours before being murdered.  And, of course, she gets pulled in deeper by her partner in crime, Larry Lipper.  Larry is actually the crime reporter for the local paper and he thinks that Antonia needs him to solve the cases where she doesn't seem to really need anyone's help.

While Antonia and Larry are looking into the double murders, Antonia finds out that her ex-husband, Phillip, is in town and was in the inn.... just when her friendship with actor Nick Darrow might be moving forward.

Readers cannot help but fall in love with this series and all the little stories that are continuous throughout the books and all the new murders that occur with each new book.  Readers will love to see Antonia and the inn succeeding and see how she handles every aspect of her life.  Readers will love the level of danger and the relationships among Antonia and the people in her life.  Readers will definitley want to pack a bag and hop in the car and head to the Windmill Inn and rent a room for a while.  Luckily we can return there with the first four books in the series and keep an eye out for the next book to be released and we don't have to worry about what to pack and all we have to do is go to our comfy seat with a snack and get taken away......

Review by Missi M.


Death on West End Road (Hamptons Murder Mysteries #3) by Carrie Doyle

Like a basket of warm cinnamon buns, an unsolved crime is something that Hamptons innkeeper and sleuth Antonia Bingham just can't resist. Despite a busy high-season schedule and an inn booked to capacity, Antonia has agreed to investigate a cold case in her beloved adopted hometown, East Hampton, NY: the killing of Susie Whitaker, whose brutal 1990 slaying on a tennis court in the poshest part of town was never solved. And the person who has hired Antonia? Prime suspect Pauline Framingham, a manipulative pharmaceutical heiress from a powerful family. As Antonia attempts to unravel the mysteries of the past she unearths even darker secrets and ultimately wonders if it would have been best to let sleeping dogs lie. To make matters worse, past acquaintances and love interests reappear in the Hamptons, disrupting Antonia's world and causing her to scurry to the fridge for comfort. Death on West End Road is the third book in the Hamptons Murder Mystery Series. Along with a colorful cast of supporting characters, the beating heart of the book is Antonia Bingham, restaurateur, gourmand, and nosy carb-lover.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Death on West End Road by Carrie Doyle is the third book in the Hamptons Murder Mystery series and I have to say I think this one is my far.  I am taking the time to read all four of the books that have been written in this series in order back to back and I just love the series for a number of reasons.

The Hamptons Murder Mystery series has one very unique difference from other cozy mysteries.  This difference really makes the series stand out.  The difference is that the police or detectives are not a main aspect.  The main character tries to stay as far away from them as possible .... and I tthink she does a very good job of it.

Main character Antonia Bingham owns the Windmill Inn in the East Hamptons in New York.  The inn consists of a restaurant and rooms to rent.  Antonia lives in a small apartment, her friend and father figure Joseph lives in a second apartment upstairs and the two of them seem to get roped into solving murders.  Okay Antonia more than Joseph but he gets involved by doing research and being Antonia's sounding board.

In Death on West End Road Antonia is approached by Pauline Framingham to look into a cold case.  Pauline is from a powerful family in town and when she was a teenager one of her closest friends was murdered on the family's tennis court and the case has never been solved.  Most people back then believed that Pauline murdered her friend Susie and the family paid to have it covered up.  But Pauline insists that she is innocent and wants Antonia to finally solve the case and bring closure to everyone involved.  Unfortunately Antonia learns that Pauline has lied about quite a lot of things and finds it hard to not think of her as the killer.  

Antonia with the help of Joseph and Larry Lipper, the crime reporter for the local newspaper, decides to look into Susie's case and begin to interview everyone that was a part of the group of friends back then.  They soon learn that everyone is still afraid of Pauline and are not completely honest with Antonia.    

When people start leaving town and a restraining order is about to placed on Antonia for interferring, Antonia decides to stop investigating and put all her energy into the inn where it should be.  But something keeps pulling her into Susie's case........

Death on West End Road is a remarkable story to read.  Readers are drawn into the story immediately and will also want to see justice for Susie.  Reading about a cold case is always an interesting read and seeing the case in fresh eyes always helps and Antonia is relentless is getting the killer and bringing justice to those who need it.  I was hooked as soon as I started reading the first book in this series, Death on Windmill Way and cannot wait to dig into Death on Bull Path......

Review by Missi M.

Death on Lily Pond Lane (Hamptons Murder Mysteries #2) by Carrie Doyle


Another murder in the Hamptons, from a New York Times bestselling author Carrie Doyle.

Springtime in the Hamptons comes late, but it's worth it! Brisk walks on the bright chilly beach, cinnamon buns at tea time, blooming forsythia and...murder?

East Hampton innkeeper and chef Antonia Bingham has settled in to town and taken on extra work as an estate manager, giving her entree her into some of the area's most glamorous homes. Once inside, Antonia checks the heat, looks for leaks or damage, and finds the occasional dead body. Since the police can't be trusted, it's up to Antonia--a modern day Miss Marple, with an overly enthusiastic adoration of carbs and a kamikaze love-life--to put her skills of deduction to use.

Agatha Christie and Louise Penny fans should nestle in with a steaming mug of their favorite tea and get ready to peek behind the gates of the mansions of the Hamptons, as Antonia Bingham solves another shocking and devastating murder in Death on Lily Pond Lane, the second book in New York Times and USA Todaybest-selling author Carrie Doyle's Hamptons Murder Mystery series.

The Hamptons are known for beautiful beaches, luxurious living, millionaire mansions, and now...murder .  (Summary via Goodreads)

I became a fan of the Hamptons Murder Mystery series by Carrie Doyle when I read the first book in this series, Death on Windmill Way and Doyle obtained a fan for life after I completed the second book, Death on Lily Pond Lane.

Antonia Bingham is a very busy person, she owns The Windmill Inn which is an inn and a restaurant but in Death on Lily Pond Lane she has also taken on the job of estate manager.  She has a few houses on Lily Pond Lane that she checks a few times a week and is there for delivers as the owners of these beautiful massive mansions are only in the Hamptons a few months, usually in the summer.

While Antonia is checking the Masterson's house after a friend of their son Luke's was staying there doing some work, she finds out that Warner didn't leave the day before as planned.  Unfortunately when Antonia goes looking for him to ask him why he has extended his visit, she finds him dead in a bathroom.  It appears that Warner fell and died as a result of an accident but Antonia is not convinced.

Antonia begins looking into what Warner was working on and finds out that it was a documentary exposing some down and dirty secrets of some of the wealthy residents of the East Hamptons.  While Antonia tries to organize a suspect list and narrow it down, there is another death and this time it is definitely murder !!

Readers will be on the edge of their seats while they get lost in Death on Lily Pond Lane.  You will be powerless to stop will have to know what is going on and try to help Antonia solve these murders.  

I thoroughly enjoy reading this series and love that Antonia keeps away from the police because she has a bad past with them so she keeps away from them at all costs.  In this series it is just Antonia, with the help of her father figure Joseph, working out the clues and finding out who the killer is and then allowing the police to get involved.  This is a unique approach to cozies and one that I believe readers will enjoy.  I know I have enjoyed these fist two books in the series and cannot wait another minute to start the third book, Death on West End Road.  I encourage you to get your copies and catch up !!

Review by Missi M.

Death on Windmill Way (Hamptons Murder Mysteries #1) by Carrie Doyle

Murder in the Hamptons, from a New York Times bestselling author Carrie Doyle.

Cozy mystery fans and lovers of Louise Penny, Agatha Christie and Alexander McCall Smith should prepare a hearty snack and snuggle in for this compelling page-turner by best-selling author Carrie Doyle. Mouth-watering food descriptions, nail-biting scenes of suspense, a winning heroine, and a captivating cast of characters pack the launch of this series, one that's sure to entertain readers for years to come.

The Hamptons are known for beautiful beaches, luxurious living, millionaire mansions, and now...murder! Antonia Bingham, a renowned chef and the new owner of East Hampton's Windmill Inn, escaped to the Hamptons to get away from a harrowing past. Yet now she finds herself in more danger than ever when she discovers the inn's previous owners may have been the victims of murder. Will her overly inquisitive personality be her downfall as she digs up secrets in her attempt to solve the crime?

The Hamptons are known for beautiful beaches, luxurious living, millionaire mansions, and now...murder!  (Summary via Goodreads)

Death on Windmill Way by Carrie Doyle is the first book in the Hamptons Murder Mystery series and it sets the stage beautifully !!

In Death on Windmill Way main character Antonia Bingham buys the Windmill Inn after the previous owner dies.  Antonia moves from California to the Hamptons in New York after her best friend Genevieve convinces her to buy the inn.  So Antonia moves and spends a lot of money redoing the inn and upgrading the kitchen so that it can also have a restaurant in it.

After the inn has been open for a few months Antonia learns that the previous owner, Gordon, may not have had a heart attack like people believed but that he was murdered and then when Biddy, another previous owner is found dead in her home, Antonia starts to wonder if she is doomed.  

Antonia knows that she should be focusing on running the restaurant and inn but she cannot seem to get the deaths off her mind.  With the help of Joseph, one of her regular customers who she looks up to as a father figure, they do their own investigating.  Unfortunately there are a lot of people on the list....Gordon's sister, Gordon's girlfriend, a few employees he fired all have reasons to want to get rid of Gordon.  But finding out a common denominator in Biddy's death may not be so easy........

Death on Windmill Way will grab the reader's attention immediately and you will not be able to stop until you get to the end.  One thing readers will enjoy about this book is that the police are no where on the radar.  Because Gordon's death waas ruled a heart attack there is no open murder case to investigate.  The fact that Antonia does all of the investigating without getting in the police's way is a pleasant change from other cozy mystery stories where the main character and the police collide constantly.  And the way that Doyle writes the story will have the reader m=not even missing the police at all.

I highly recommend reading Death on Windmill Way and I for one cannot wait to dig into Death on Lily Pond Lane to see what happens next in this little quiet town......

Review by Missi M.

Friday 16 April 2021

The Sign of Death (A Victorian Book Club Mystery #2) by Callie Hutton

USA Today bestselling author Callie Hutton returns with her second Victorian Book Club mystery, in which Lady Amy and Lord William sleuth the death of a teetotaler who took a fatal dunk in the drink. 

Bath, England, 1891. Mr. James Harding was a lot of things--businessman, well-to-do, probable scoundrel--but a drinker he most assuredly was not. So when Harding is believed to have drunkenly fallen to his death into the icy River Avon, Lord William Wethington is immediately suspicious. Finding Lord William's name on a letter in the victim's pocket, the local constabulary summons William to identify the victim. Police detectives learn that William had been one of Harding's business clients--and undoubtedly not the only client the dead man had cheated. 
William entreats Lady Amy Lovell, a fellow member of the Mystery Book Club of Bath, to help him deduce what really happened to the late Mr. Harding. Lady Amy, a celebrated mystery author herself, once called on William to help her solve a real-life mystery, and now she fully intends to return the favor. But it won't be easy. 
Practically every one of Harding's many clients had ample reason to want to do him in. And there's precious little time to narrow down the list: William and Amy soon become prime suspects themselves when the police discover them ruffling through files in Harding's house. Lady Amy will have to be as clever as her characters if she's to save William from the gallows...and herself from Harding's real killer.   (Summary via Goodreads)

I love reading mystery books set back in time....a time when they didn't have computers or DNA or anything that makes solving crimes technical.  I enjoy reading how the police, detectives and the innocent parties being charged go about solving the murder.  And Callie Hutton knows how to keep the readers attention from the first page until the very last word in her Victorian Book Club Mystery series.

The Sign of Death is the second book in this series and main character Lord William finds out that his man of business, James Harding, is found dead in the river with his business card on him.  William tries to explain to the two detectives that he had nothing to do with the death but they do not believe him.  And after looking into things it is discovered that the deceased had forged William's name on investment documents and it appears that he was stealing from William.  William also soon learns that there is a list of people who Harding was either stealing from or blackmailing....

Knowing that there are more likely candidates for committing the crime William with the help of a close friend, Lady Amy, decide to look into his death when the detectives determine that William is their main suspect.  

The Sign of Death is more than just a cozy mystery..... While William and Amy are going around town trying to decreetly learn more about James and his life, they find that he wasn't a very nice guy and was blackmailing some people in town and a few of them belong to the book club that William and Amy attend every week.  Readers will also follow along with the story of Amy being a published mystery author under a different name, a name that people assume is a male.  And Amy has been keeping this secret because her father does not want people to know what she is doing.  Also in The Sign of Death William's mother decides to move in with him and Amy has to deal with her father and brother coming to stay with her for a whie due to business they have in town.  And Amy and her father are having some trouble with the publishing company that handles her books because they want her to attend a book fair at the same bookstore she attends her weekely book club meetings.

With everything going on readers cannot help but be drawn to the story to see how everything unfolds.  And boy oh boy when you get to the end, you will be flappergasted at the turn of events !!!  The way that Hutton orchestrates things is magical and I'm sure this series will be one that you will want to keep your eyes open for the next book so that you can return to see what trouble William and Amy can get into ......

Review by Missi M.

Monday 12 April 2021

Dying in Style (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper #1) by Elaine Viets

Suburban single mom, Josie Marcus, loves being a secret shopper. But when she’s framed for the murder of a famous handbag designer, Josie discovers that secret sleuth might be a better fit…

Josie’s excited about her latest assignment: mystery shopping the stores of St. Louis’s premier handbag designer, Danessa Celedine. A stunning socialite who frequently makes headlines with her hot Russian lover, Serge, Danessa sells exquisite purses to the rich and famous for a small fortune. Unfortunately, the Celedine shops aren’t nearly as dazzling as their clientele and Josie’s negative report could kill a lucrative deal to sell the handbag empire. Danessa swears it will also cost Josie her career.

Businesses often live and die by Josie’s reviews, but when Danessa and Serge are found murdered, she’s suddenly linked to an actual homicide…as the chief suspect! Now, Josie will need all her secret shopper subterfuge to investigate the crimes, clear her name, and stop the killer from claiming another fashion victim.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Dying in Style is the first book in the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper Mystery series by Elaine Viets and it sets the stage nicely for the series.  Main character Josie Marcus is a single mom to her 9 year-old daughter Amelia but she has a lot of help from her mother, Jane.  The three live is a duplex with Jane living above Josie and Amelia.  Josie's job as a mystery shopper allows her to work around her schedule mostly so that she can be there for her daughter.  Josie feels that she does a great job being fair to the places and the people that she is looking into until one job threatens everything !!

Josie is given the assignment to shop at three of the Danessa shops in three different malls.  This is a high end accessory store featuring very expensive purses made by a high profile member of society, Danessa Celedine.  Danessa is known for her purses as well as her donations to charities all over the St. Louis area.  She is also in the spotlight a lot because of her relationship with a Russian God by the name of Serge.  After Josie visits the three stores, she finds that none of them hold up to the high standard that they should and Danessa is in the middle of a deal to sell them for $50 million.  She warns her boss Harry before she sends in the reports that they are not good but he encourages her to send them as is.  The next day Josie is called into the office and confronted by Danessa herself.  Danessa claims that the reports are incorrect and wants them changed but Josie won't do it which leads to a heated argument with threats made.  

Before Josie can get another assignment Danessa and Serge are found dead....Serge at the house they shared and Danessa at one of the stores that Josie visited.  When her fingerprints are found at the store, the detectives in charge of the case do not believe her story.  Josie, with the help of her best friend, Alyce, decides she needs to find out who killed the power couple before her daughter loses her mom to jail.

I am a huge fan of Elaine Viets and I LOVED her Dead-End Job Mystery series and after reading this first book in this series, I am sure that I will be thoroughly engrossed in it.  Viets know how to put words to paper attracting readers and you cannot help but fall for the characters and want to see them get out of the messes they get into.

Review by Missi M.


Thursday 1 April 2021

Fresh Brewed Murder (A Ground Rules Mystery #1) by Emmeline Duncan, Kelly Garrett

Portland is famous for its rain, hipsters, craft beers . . . and coffee. Sage Caplin has high hopes for her coffee cart, Ground Rules, which she runs with her business partner, Harley—a genius at roasting beans and devising new blends. That’s essential in a city where locals have intensely strong opinions about cappuccino versus macchiato—especially in the case of one of Sage’s very first customers. . . .

Sage finds the man’s body in front of her cart, a fatal slash across his neck. There’s been plenty of anger in the air, from longtime vendors annoyed at Ground Rules taking a coveted spot in the food truck lot, to protesters demonstrating against a new high-rise. But who was mad enough to commit murder? Sage is already fending off trouble in the form of her estranged, con-artist mother, who’s trying to trickle back into her life. But when Sage’s very own box cutter is discovered to be the murder weapon, she needs to focus on finding the killer fast—before her business, and her life, come to a bitter end. . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

Before you start reading Fresh Brewed Murder by Emmeline Duncan, jump to the recipes in the back and make yourself a are going to want to have a nice tasty coffee while you read this book !!  Fresh Brewed Murder is the first book in this caffeine packed series and Duncan knows how to put the words to paper to keep the reader plugging along.....

In Fresh Brewed Murder main character Sage Caplin and her business partner and friend, Harley, are opening up Ground Rules, a food truck specializing in tasty coffee related drinks that Harley roasts the beans herself.  They are opening up their food cart in the Rail Yard, a lot owned by Sage's great-uncle Jimmy.  There are a handful of other food carts there and the people seem to welcome Sage and Harley into their little group.  Unfortunately a few days after they moved into the Rail Yard Sage shows up to work and finds a dead body in front of her cart.....and it is a guy that has been getting coffee from her.  It turns out that the man killed is the developer of the construction sight across the street from the Rail Yard and he had a bad experience with Sage's mother who Sage hasn't seen in over 10 years.   Sage also learns that Gabby, a homeless teenager that has been coming around the Rail Yard was the daughter of the deceased.

Sage has her hands full trying to make Ground Rules a success and now she has to prove to the detectives that she had nothing to do with the murder even if something from her food truck was the murder weapon.  She also wants to find the real killer to help Gabby have some closure.

Readers cannot help but love Fresh Brewed Murder !!  As soon as I started reading it I had no problem picturing everything in my head.  I could see the Rail Yard, Sage's house, Uncle Jimmy's bar, The Tav, and everything else as clear as a cloudless sunny day.  And the friendships and relationships will keep the reader turning the page....especially the love triangle Sage gets herself into.  And Duncan has set the stage quite nicely for future books in the series....there are so many directions Duncan can take the story and I, for one, cannot wait to see where the road leads Sage and her group......

Review by Missi M.