Sunday 27 June 2021

Rapier Wit by Jennifer Oakley Denslow

When an extra body turns up backstage, Quanah High School’s production of Romeo and Juliet is in trouble. Small-town high school teacher Regina Murphy has to stop directing and muster up her amateur sleuthing skills to find out who killed stern math teacher Robert Slayton, an ex-military man whose classroom demeanor has made him the center of conflicts with students, parents, and other faculty. Against the advice of Sheriff Mac Snyder, Reggie balances her day job initiating students into the mysteries of the dangling participle, explaining why stage right is the audience’s left, and confronting plagiarists to protect her students and make sure the curtain goes up on time.  (Summary via Goodreads)

In Rapier Wit by Jennifer Oakley Denslow main character Regina Murphy has a pretty good life.  She has a job she loves as a high school drama teacher at Quanah High School, has some close friends, a crush on the Sheriff and a sometimes loving cat to come home to.  But all that changes when a dead body is found back stage after rehearsals one day.....

Regina's drama class is rehearsing for their Romeo and Juliet production when she finds out that Chris, the student playing Romeo, is being taken out of the play by his very strict ex-military father who is also a teacher at Quanah High School.  Unfortunately before Regina can talk to his father to try to talk him out of taking Chris out of the play, he is found murdered back stage.

Regina and her friend Lenore who is also a teacher do some sluething of their own but when another person is found dead at the school, and Regina is threatened by a student, they don't know what to do.  They want to stop whoever is behind the murders and make their school and students safe again but they also don't want to meet the murderer face to face.  However when the Sheriff arrests Chris for the murder of his father, Regina knows he did not do it but proving it will be difficult......

Readers cannot help but fall in love with Rapier Wit instantly.  The characters are so relatable and the storyline will grab your attention instantly.  Readers will feel like they are back in high school roaming the halls trying to get to class on time.....hopefully the only difference from your own experience and the story is the murders....

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 22 June 2021

Beyond a Reasonable Donut (Deputy Donut Mystery #5) by Ginger Bolton

Selling her corn fritters at a carnival, Deputy Donut CafĂ© owner Emily Westhill faces off against a murderer who doesn’t play fair . . .

Emily and her assistant, Nina, are looking forward to manning the Deputy Donut tent at the Faker’s Dozen Carnival in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin—a festival held on Friday the thirteenth to celebrate good and bad luck. But Emily has barely dropped the corn fritters in oil when bad luck boils up. First, their bucket of confectioner’s sugar disappears—and then while a mime creates a distraction, a magician robs their cash register.

After the carnival, their misfortune continues. Emily discovers that someone has broken into artist Nina’s loft and vandalized a large painting in progress with the bucket of stolen sugar, which is now on the head of the mime, who seems to have been suffocated. Emily would bet Nina was the intended victim, but the cops think Nina silenced the mime. Now Emily must catch the killer white-handed—before someone else kicks the bucket ... (Summary via Goodreads)

Beyond A Reasonable Donut by Ginger Bolton is the fifth book in her Deputy Donut Mystery series and no matter if you've read the previous five or if your reading this book as your first in this series, you will not be lost or missing anything.  

Beyond A Reasonable Donut has main character Emily Westhill and Nina, one of her employees, working at the Faker's Dozen Carnival.  This carnival showcases all the ways that a person can experience bad luck and little do they know that Nina is going to end up in a heaping pile of bad luck !!  While at the carnival running their Deputy Donut booth, a magician and a mime seem to work together to steal from the register.  Luckily Nina is able to shut the magician's hand in the cash register drawer but he does get away with some money.  Nina takes off chasing the magician and the mime but loses them.  Unfortunately she yells a threat at them and when the mime is found dead in her apartment later than night, Nina is the main suspect.  After the police learn some things that Nina has kept secret, they arrest her for the murder.

Everyone knows that Nina would never hurt anyone, let alone kill someone and Emily is determined to find the real murderer and get Nina out of jail.  Unfortunately for Emily there are a number of likely candidates on her list, however, it seems that everyone is keeping secrets.....

The Deputy Donut Mystery series is a fun packed series to read.  You have the Deputy Donut shop that Emily and her father-in-law own and run.  The shop is designed so that Emily can bring her cat, who the shop is named after, to work.  Emily and Tom have two valuable employees, Nina and Jocelyn.  Even though Emily's husband Alec is deceased she is still very close to her in-law's as well as Alec's partner, Brent and some of the other policemen and EMT's.  Emily's only flaw is that she gets herself in the middle of a police investigation...only because she knows the person arrested didn't commit the crime.

And in Beyond a Reasonable Donut besides the murder and Nina's being arrested, Emily is getting ready to celebrate two close friends, Samantha and Hooligan, getting married and everyone is hoping that Nina will be freed and out in time for the wedding.....but Emily has to figure out the real murderer first.....

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 17 June 2021

A Canvas of Deceit by Margaret Evans

 “I buy art,” the charming Michael O’Halloran told Emma Bishop at her art studio in Carmel, California. But was that all he did, Emma wondered when some of her priceless works went missing and Michael disappeared. When two government agents come looking for him, Bishop travels to Budapest to find O’Halloran to see if he has stolen more than her heart. A Canvas of Deceit is a fast-paced tale of grand theft and deception.  (Summary via Amazon)

If you have a free afternoon or an hour or two to kill, I encourage you to grab the novella A Canvas of Deceit by Margaret Evans.  The story will capture your attention immediately and you will breeze through the pages quickly.

A Canvas of Deceit is about Emma Bishop and her art studio.  Her grandmother left her a house, a lot of art and some money so she opened up a gallery.  She has Derek, her gallery director, who helps her out and when they find out some artwork was stolen, Derek is right there to help her get through it.  Unfortunately the theft occurred right after she met Michael O'Halloran, an attractive and attentive stranger.  But when two federal agents come asking questions about Michael, Emma is at a loss because she doesn't want the man who stole her heart to be the same person who stole her artwork.

When Michael goes to Budapest a numbr of times in a short period of time, Emma follows him to see if he will lead her to the stolen artwork.......but what she finds out is not what she expected at all !!

Evans twists the story is a way that readers will not see the outcome !!  She will have you on the edge of your seat and even though it is a short story, it is full to the max with entertainment !!

Review by Missi M.


Sunday 13 June 2021

The Art of Betrayal (Kate Hamilton Mysteries #3) by Connie Berry

In Connie Berry's third Kate Hamilton mystery, American antique dealer Kate Hamilton's spring is cut short when a body turns up at the May Fair pageant. 

Spring is a magical time in England--bluebells massing along the woodland paths, primrose and wild thyme dotting the meadows. Antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is spending the month of May in the Suffolk village of Long Barston, enjoying precious time with Detective Inspector Tom Mallory. While attending the May Fair, the annual pageant based on a well-known Anglo-Saxon folktale, a body turns up in the middle of the festivities.

Kate is even more shocked when she learns the murder took place in antiquity shop owner Ivor Tweedy's stockroom and a valuable Chinese pottery jar that she had been tasked with finding a buyer for has been stolen. Ivor may be ruined. Insurance won't cover a fraction of the loss.

As Tom leads the investigation, Kate begins to see puzzling parallels between the murder and local legends. The more she learns, the more convinced she is that the solution to both crimes lies in the misty depths of Anglo-Saxon history and a generations-old pattern of betrayal. It's up to Kate to unravel this Celtic knot of lies and deception to save Ivor's business.  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Art of Betrayal by Connie Berry is the third book in her Kate Hamilton Mystery series and even if this is the first book you pick up in the series, you will have no problem catching on quickly.  The Art of Betrayal could be a stand alone book leaving the reader to miss nothing.

The Art of Betrayal follows Kate Hamilton as she is on an extended visit to Suffolk village of Long Barston helping her friend and father figure Ivor Tweedy in his antique store, The Cabinet of Curiosities.  Ivor is having hip surgery so he has asked her to be there to take care of the business while he is laid up.  Of course Kate agreed to do it as she has developed a relationship with her boyfriend, Detective Inspector Tom Mallory who lives there as well.  Even though she lives in Ohio and has her own antique business there to deal with, she has left that in the capable hands of her mother and friend so that she can stay in England to help Ivor and see where her relationship with Tom will go. 

While tending the store a woman comes in with a very valuable antique and specifically wants Ivor to handle the sale of it.  Unfortunately soon after leaving the piece with Kate, the store is broken into, the piece is missing and the woman is murdered.  When they look into the woman's history, they find a mansion full of valuable antiques, missing jewelry, and a lot of questions.  The woman had been a recluse for over 18 years after her husband died for which she blamed their daughter and she sent her daughter away to live with an aunt.  Kate is asked by the police to go through the house and inventory the antiques but it doesn't stop there with Kate.  She cannot help but look into the family history and try to find the daughter.

Readers will be drawn into this mysterious story and will be along side Kate throughout the entire ordeal.  Kate has a lot of great friendships in Long Barston as well as the relationship you see throughout with her mother.  And we cannot help wondering what Kate will do about her growing feelings for Tom......and the way that Berry ends the story readers will be counting the days until the next installment in this series to see what develops.  

Review by Missi M.

Sunday 6 June 2021

Pint of No Return (Ice Cream Shop Mystery #1) by Dana Mentink

The first in new dessert cozy mystery series! A murder in town is bound to shake things up...

After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she's left one of ex's businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad's life seems to be churning along smoothly.

That is, until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad's fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it's going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Pint of No Return by Dana Mentink is the perfect debut for her new Ice Cream Shop Mystery series.  Mentink lays the story down so nicely and you cannot help but fall in love with the town of Upper Sprocket, Oregon, the people and the history of the main character is one you won't soon forget !!

Trinidad Jones moves to Upper Sprocket after her ex-husband goes to jail and she learns that he left her a building there.  Unfortunately not only did she learn that her husband was an embezzler but was also a cheater and he has two other ex-wives residing in the same town.  But seeing as she has nothing else to lose and wants a clean start, she packs up her belongings and her dog Noodles and moves to her ex-husband's hometown and starts to remodel the building he left her to open up the Shimmy and Shake Shop.  

But while still in the remodeling stage she finds her business neighbor Kevin Heartly, the Popcorn King, dead in his shop.....and even worse the Chief of Police is the sister of her ex-husband and the main suspect is another ex-wife, Juliette, that Trinidad recently met and instantly liked.

Even though Trinidad has a lot on her plate to accomplish before opening up the Shimmy and Shake Shop for the Fourth of July weekend, she is pulled to trying to prove Juliette's innocence.  Even though they just met, she knows deep down that someone else killed Kevin.....but how to figure that out in a town she just moved to and she is still getting to know it and everyone in it ?  Luckily she meets brothers Quinn and Doug when she goes to their nut farm for an order and they become fast friends.  Quinn becomes a huge asset in Trinidad's life professionally and personally but all she can focus on is getting Juliette out of jail.

Trinidad slowly puts the pieces of the puzzle together and thinks she is one step in front of the real killer when something very destructive to her business happens nearly killing her and Noodles.....

Readers will fall in love with Pint of No Return and will want to continue returning to Upper Sprocket whenever they can.  There is so much to love in this series..... the quaint little town, the people in the town, Trinidad's fancy shakes that just reading the description will have you gaining weight, the little house that she lives in that you can clearly picture in your head, the growing relationships as Trinidad gets to know the people, even Noodles the dog is so unique you want to hug him !!  I did not want the book to end even though I wanted to know who killed Kevin.  I am so glad that Trinidad didn't give up, pack up and go live with her family in Miami.....oh and readers will LOVE Papa Luis and his swanky personality !!

Review by Missi M.


Thursday 3 June 2021

Safe Harbour: The Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series Book 10 by Mike Martin

Welcome back to Sgt. Windflower Mysteries, where there’s always something good cooking and another seat at the table. Sgt. Windflower is on a special assignment in St. John’s and adjusting to life in the big city. He is navigating traffic, a difficult boss at work and what seems like an epidemic of missing girls. He becomes more interested when he discovers that one of the girls is from Grand Bank. Then a girl approaches his RCMP van one night and he is pulled into the underlife of the capital city.

Safe Harbour is a twirling, swirling mystery in the foggy streets of one of the oldest cities in North America. There are outlaw biker gangs and overwhelmed local police officers, who need the sharp eye and keen mind of Sgt. Windflower to help them cut through the haze and find the answers to the riddle of the missing teenagers hiding in plain sight of the authorities. A story of a man and his family growing up together with plenty of good food, old and new friends. Share the joy and heartbreak of living so close to the Atlantic Ocean.  (Summary via Amazon)

I am a huge fan of Mike Martin and his Sgt. Windflower Mystery series and I could not wait to dive into this tenth book in the series, Safe Harbour.  

Safe Harbour has a lot of changes in Sgt. Winston Windflower's life.  He has taken a temporary job in St. John's as a public outreach coordinator with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for a year while his wife, Sheila, returns to school to receive her MBA.  They moved from Grand Bank leaving their friends and life behind so that Sheila could get her degree and Windflower supports her wholeheartedly.....even if he finds the new job not to his liking.

Windflower and Sheila have a daughter, Amelia Louise, their dog Lady, cat Molly and they are fostering Stella who they helped when her mother died and fell in love with instantly.  They have a full plate when it comes to just the family but they work well together and actually make it all look effortless.

While they are adjusting to their new home and responsibilities, Windflower is drawn into a case involving some missing girls.  He has seen posters around town while he and Lady are out walking and it pulls at his heartstrings.  Things get more intense when he finds out how many are missing and all the towns involved.  And Windflower gets pulled in when one of the girls is from Grand Bank and they learn that the biker gangs are involved and its more than just missing involves drugs and looks like a biker gang war is brewing....

No matter what job Windflower has, whether it is for the RCMP or making dinner or getting the girls ready for bed or even taking Lady for a walk, he gives it 110% and in this tenth book that is exaclty the case.  Windflower cannot help but feel emotional when he thinks about the missing girls as he looks at Amelia Louise and Stella and he is determined to get the girls home safe and sound back with their families and the bad guys locked up where they belong.....unfortunately when one girl dies, it hits him hard.

I love reading these books and getting lost in the story.  It doesn't matter what is going on in the story, the reader will be thoroughly entertained and turning the pages as fast as their eyes can absorb the words and their fingers can turn the pages.  Readers cannot help but love Windflower and his family and his rituals and the way he is there to help everyone.  Readers will also love the family dynamic and the way Windflower and Sheila work together and how they complement each other and their relationship.

Martin does a great job of teasing the reader and hinting to where the story will be heading in the next installment of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series and I cannot wait !!!

Review by Missi M.