Wednesday 21 December 2022

A Dog Gone Murder (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper #10) by Elaine Viets

Mystery shopper Josie Marcus catches a new case when the owner of a popular doggy day spa bites the dust and her mother’s friend is collared for the crime…

Josie’s been assigned to sniff around Uncle Bob’s Doggy Day Camp, one of St. Louis’s hottest pet spas. It doesn’t take her long to dig up dirt on the camp’s top dog, “Uncle” Bob Manning himself. Employee Frank Hyzy—Josie’s mom’s new boyfriend—reveals Bob should be in the doghouse for his cruel treatment of the canine customers. But before Josie can write Bob up, someone puts him down…and Frank is the cops’ prime suspect.

While Frank definitely had a bone to pick with the animal abuser, Josie doesn’t believe he murdered Bob. So she must doggedly pursue the investigation on her own and hope she can cage the real killer before they fetch another victim.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I am a huge fan of the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper Mystery series by Elaine Viets and will miss reading about Josie, her family and her knack for solving murders.  Sadly A Dog Gone Murder,  the tenth book in the series, is the last book Viets wrote for the series......but she ends the series REMARKABLY !!!

The Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper Mystery series follows Josie Marcus as she is a single mom living in the flat below her mother Jane.  Josie is raising her daughter Amelia and the mystery shopping job allows her to work flexible hours so that she can be there for Amelia.  As the series progresses Jane continues to get in the middle of murder investigations as well as do the best she can to raise Amelia.  Luckily Josie meets Ted who is a veterinarian when he is called to look at  Amelia's cat Harry.  Ted and Josie fall in love and a few books back they got married.  And in the ninth book, Fixing to Die, they bought a house and move in....after Josie solves a murder that took place in their new home.  

So now in A Dog Gone Murder Josie is hired to look into a few doggy day care businesses and enlisted the help of her mom's dog, Ted's dog and her best friend Alyce's dog.  Unfortunately on one of Josie's visits she goes to ask the owner of Uncle Bob's Doggy Day Camp a few questions on her mystery shopper questionnaire list but finds him unconscious on the floor of his office.  Later that evening while watching the news she learns that Uncle Bob did not make it.  And to make matters worst Frank, the man who moved into Josie's flat below her mother is taken in and arrested for the murder.  Jane is beside herself and asks Josie to please prove his innocence.  So Josie being the good daughter that she is begins to dig into Uncle Bob's past as well as his wife's, employees and a few of their clients.  Unfortunately the suspect list gets longer rather than shorter and it isn't until Josie is face to face alone with the killer than she realizes her mistake.  Luckily she has back-up in a way and the cops show up at exactly the right moment.

Readers will fall in love with Josie, her family and friends, the jobs that she gets hired to mystery shop, and the cases that she gets herself in the middle of.  And the way that Viets ends the series will have readers feeling like they read a romance story with a fairy tale ending...... Thank you Elaine for the great stories allowing me to get lost for hours on end.

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Cowboys and Chaos (Magical Mystery Book Club #3) by Elizabeth Pantley

This is no ordinary book club! When the group chooses a book, they are whisked away from reality to find themselves totally immersed in the story. The characters, the setting, and the murder all come to life. In order to exit the book, they’ll need to solve the mystery and reach The End.

This time, the club chooses a mystery that takes place in a quaint western town – in the old Wild West. That sounds like great fun, until they arrive in the dusty old town in the Arizona desert, among cowboys and saloons. They discover that the outhouse isn’t the worse thing about this trip.

The good news is that Paige, Glo, Zell, Frank, and the other members of the club discover plenty of surprises here, and they have a great time visiting a piece of history. They’ll get to live through many exciting moments as they unravel this cozy mystery story.  (Summary via Goodreads)

MINDBLOWING !!!  That is the best word to describe Cowboys and Chaos by Elizabeth Pantley.  Cowboys and Chaos is the third book in her Magical Mystery Book Club Mystery series and you cannot help but fall in love !!!

In the Magical Mystery Book Club Mystery series Paige and her Aunt Gloria (Glo) are left the Snapdragon Inn in Colorado by Paige's great-grandmother GeeGee.  After they move in they meet one of GeeGee's close friends Zell who introduces them to the enchanced library in the basement.  They soon learn that the three of them along with a few other friends along with the library cat, Frank, will be enbarking on some anmazing adventures.  The group meets and walk around the library, each finding a book wrapped with 7 others of the same book, and they vote on which book the group will read.  Once they have voted one person will begin reading the first page of the book out loud.....then the fog will come in and when it clears the group will be in the book and have to solve the murder in order to return to Colorado.  Luckily no matter where they "travel" to the inn is always there and the same on the inside.  Which is very good for the group in Cowboys and Chaos because they are traveling to the Wild West in the late 1800's to solve The Mystery of Mollie's Disappearance.  Mollie is a saloon girl who disappears without a trace but it is not clear if she is the murdered party or not because the blurb from the book also states that a man is shot...

Once the group walks out of the Inn into the desert of Bandana, Arizona, they are greeted with another that Zell was aware of but keeping secret.  The Mystery of Mollie's Disappreance happens to be the second book in the series with the first book being the one that GeeGee decided to stay into when the murder was solved.  Luckily Paige and Glo were aware that GeeGee had stayed behind in a book but they never thought that they would see her again.  And now they get to work along side her to find out what happened to Mollie.  Another shock is when the ghost of Mollie shows up .... but she doesn't remember much and definitely doesn't know who killed her.

In Cowboys and Chaos the group has their work cut out for them as they go about Bandana trying to find out what they can about Mollie as well as the man they call Blaze who apparently was stealing horses and is rumored to be the man shot but there is no body to confirm that.

Readers will fall in love with this series instantly !!  You will love the characters, the storylines and everything else.  With each new book, Pantley adds more and more surprises and she knows how to keep readers on their toes.  You will thoroughly enjoy the time that you spend inside each of these books...even if you are only sitting on your couch in your living room and not some magical town and place.

Review by Missi M.

Friday 9 December 2022

Christmas Scarf Murder (Irish Village Mystery #8.5) by Carlene O'Connor, Maddie Day, and Peggy Ehrhart

Stocking stuffers like handknit scarves make the coziest of Christmas gifts—unless they’re used as accessories for murder!

When grinchy thefts steal the good cheer at a local nursing home, Siobhan O’Sullivan manages to identify one missing item before Kilbane, Ireland’s Christmas tractor parade—a hideous shamrock scarf wrapped around a very dead body. Now, with her holiday farmhouse bash approaching, Siobhan must dash to stop a deadly Secret Santa from gifting another unwanted surprise.

It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas at Pans ‘N Pancakes, as twelve days of menu specials dazzle hungry locals. But the festivities go cold the instant a diner dies while knitting a brilliant green scarf. With Aunt Adele tied into a murder investigation, it’s all on Robbie Jordan to find out who’s really been naughty or nice in South Lick, Indiana.

Suspects pile up faster than New Jersey snow when frosty-tempered Carys Walnutt is found strangled by a handmade scarf auctioned at Arborville’s tree-lighting ceremony. Between a winning bidder hiding behind the alias “S. Claws” and a victim who deserved coal in her stocking, can Pamela Paterson and the crafty Knit and Nibble ladies freeze a killer’s merry murder plot?  Summary via Goodreads)

Christmas Scarf Murder is a book with three short stories in it by three amazing authors.  Each book has knitting yarn as the main focus in the murder......

CHRISTMAS SCARF MURDER by CARLENE O’CONNOR is the first story in this book.  Newlyweds Siobhan and Macdara work for the Kilbane Garda Station (Garda meaning police) and they are called to the local nursing home when it is reported that there was a robbery.  They find out that five residents had something stolen from their being a very long red scarf.  As they are looking into the robbery, they are called to a local farm where members of the community are decorating tractors that will participate in a tractor parade on Christmas Eve.  One of the people driving a tractor had a very long red scarf on and when he went to drive, the scarf got tangled in the tire pulling him off resulting in his death.

Unfortunately the deceased, Michael Walsh, was not from the area so they have to rely on the few friends he made and his history to try to solve the case.  

Even though there is a murder and robbery, readers can still feel the Christmas spirit within the story as O'Connor provides glimpses throughout the tale.  Readers can easily read this in one lazy afternoon with a hot chocolate and the Christmas tree lite.....or if you want to stay in Ireland longer, space it out.

SCARFED DOWN by MADDIE DAY is the second story in this book and if you're a fan of the Country Store Mystery series you will read this in one sitting for sure !!!

If you are a fan of the Country Store Mystery series, or even if you are not, you will immediately love Scarfed Down.  Robbie Jordan is the main character in this series and she runs Pans 'N Pancakes, a breakfast and lunch establishment with a little store in it.  In the little section designated for selling stuff, Robbie sells the wool yarn that her Aunt Adele makes.  Unfortunately when a member of a little knitting group is found poisoned in her home with a skein of dyed yarn, Aunt Adele is taken to the police station, questioned and on the top of the suspect list.  Also all of the yarn in Pans "N Pancakes is confiscated by the police.  

One thing readers will soon learn about Robbie is that she will do whatever she can for family, especially Aunt Adele.  So it is no surprise that she jumps right into looking into Vicky Chakrabarti's murder and clearing Aunt Adele's good name.

DEATH BY CHRISTMAS SCARF by PEGGY EHRHART is the third and last story in this book and even though I am not familiar with Peggy and her Knit and Nibble Mystery series I was still thoroughly engrossed in this story.  While main character Pamela Paterson and her neighbor Bettina Frazer are getting ready for the Christmas season, they cannot help but wonder who murdered one of the residents of their quaint town of Arborville and with a scarf won at a charity auction ..... luckily Bettina, who works for the local weekly paper, the Advocate, can get away with asking people questions.   And when the police arrest Laurel Lewis the woman who stumbled over Carys's dead body, the two friends know that they have the wrong person....but proving that may be difficult.

Reading Death By Christmas Scarf is a great story to get lost is more of a Christmas story with friends getting ready for and celebrating Christmas with the murder in the background of the story.  

Whether you read each story in order or jump from one to another in a different order, these stories will be a welcome treat from your daily activities or you can end the day curled up with a hot beverage, glass of wine and a snack.  Whichever way you decide to read Christmas Scarf Murder, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 1 December 2022

Steeped in Secrets (A Crystals & CuriosiTEAS Mystery #1) by Lauren Elliott

Flat broke and divorced, intuitive gemologist Shay Myers has changed since leaving her artsy hometown of coastal Bray Harbor sixteen years ago. But when she moves back under strange circumstances, old instincts may be the only key to spilling the tea on a deadly mystery.

Even with her life in ruins in New Mexico, Shay feels uneasy about settling into the small seaside town where she grew up on California’s Monterey Peninsula and taking over an estate bequeathed to her by Bridget Early, a woman she had barely known. Her heightened senses—an empathic gift she’s had since childhood—go into overdrive upon touring Crystals & CuriosiTEAS, Bridget’s eclectic tea and psychic shop brimming with Irish lore and Celtic symbols. They reach a boiling point when Shay looks up to discover a stranger’s body sprawled across the shop’s greenhouse roof . . .

With her new business a crime scene and questions brewing over Bridget’s so-called accidental death, Shay fears she’s also inherited the attention of a killer. The terrifying realization sets her on an impractical investigation for answers aided by her sister, an elusive pure-white German Shepherd, a strikingly handsome pub owner who speaks in a gentle brogue, and a misunderstood young woman with perceptive talents of her own. As Shay struggles to figure out her true purpose in Bray Harbor and the powerful connection she has with the tea shop, she must trust her judgment above all else to identify a ruthless murderer and save herself from becoming victim number three.  (Summary via Goodreads)

WOW  !! WOW !!  WOW !!

Steeped in Secrets by Lauren Elliott will be hard to put down.  This is the firstbook in her new A Crystals & CuriosiTEAS Mystery series and it is an amazing first book !!!  The title perfectly describes the biggest aspect of this series.....SECRETS !!

In Steeped in Secrets readers are introduced to Shayleigh Myers who is moving back to her hometown of Bray Harbor after she finds out her husband has cheated on her in their marriage and their business and left her penniless.  Then she finds out that she has inherited an old tea and psychic business as well as a cottage on the beach.  But she isn't sure that she wants any of it when she is doing the first walk through and they find a dead body on the glass roof of the tea shop.

As Shay digs into why Bridget Early left her the shop and cottage, she cannot help but think there is more to things.  And add the dead body on the roof.  The police identify the dead man as a private investigator from Ireland and he was in Bray Harbor to warn Shay......but Shay has no idea what he could have wanted to warn her from.

As Shay decides what to do with the tea shop she cannot stop thinking about everything !!  And now she has her friend's niece, Tassi, who knew Bridget quite well telling her that she can do the tea readings and everything that Bridget did with research and time.  But does Shay want to go down that path ? Is she even capable of that ??

Steeped in Secrets is a story FULL of SECRETS and readers will LOVE everything about this story.  This is the beginning of a great new series that readers will want more and more of.  There is so much to love within this book and as you read and get to know the people and Bray Harbor you will want to move there and be a part of it all. 

Review by Missi M.