Monday, February 5, 2018

Murder on the Rocks (A Red Carpet Catering Mystery #5) by Shawn Reilly Simmons

Three Characters gather for a meeting and breakfast and end up in the middle of a robbery. They are set to work on a Movie. Arlena will star, another will offer set advice and Penelope runs the catering. Nadia, who offers tennis advice,is hurt by an attack during the holdup but the real nasty stuff for the friends will start once they relocate to Vermont.

Penelope's boyfriend is apparently a long- time character and works for the Police Department.  Joey, with a new Partner, is tracking down the thugs while Penny and he stay in contact as much as they can. The Director insists the Catering Unit work with Conservation so they are not allowed to use plastic anything. They are out in the Country so far Penelope cannot even get service for her phone. She is also assigned to morning yoga. Her Catering Assistant starts a romance with the Brother who directs the Movie. Add a family argument over a farm and all kinds of sightings of a mystery man and you have a real "who dunnit!"

I had not read any of these books before so I have to admit I was lost part of the time. I definitely feel you want to read these in order. They have a lot of action and are easily read in one night. Joey and Penny have an ongoing romance that readers will build on... a fun read.


Shawn Reilly Simmons has cooked up something rocky this time, and it’s going to be a delicious read.

After surviving a brazen attack at one of her favorite local cafes, Penelope Sutherland is ready to escape the big city and head to her next film set. She and her Red Carpet Catering crew set up their kitchen on location in the tranquil mountains of Vermont.

But peace and quiet aren’t on the menu.

It starts to get hot when a series of accidents befall the celebrity tennis pro consulting on the film. Then mix in an uptight director, an isolated location, and a quirky bunch of locals with secrets of their own and that’s a recipe for disaster.

Penelope soon suspects a connection between the cafe attack and the incidents on set, and you know what comes next. She must uncover the truth before her goose gets cooked.

This page-turner is serving up the coziest of entertainment, and you do not want to miss it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Curses, Boiled Again! by Shari Randall

 I looked at this Title and knew I had to read it. Come on, who wouldn't smile? The Lobster on the Front just added more humor as did the almost 1950's illustration look to the Cover. This is a well- plotted book with a few twists easily finished in one night.

Aunt Gully, Owner of the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack, entered a contest with her famous lobster roll. The Contest is televised and has footage. Along with three other entrants she watches in horror as the Judges show all the symptoms of poison. Each of the four Restaurant Finalists are under suspicion until the Police can find the guilty party. How much competition and jealousy among the Finalists I will leave you to read and enjoy. Because the plot builds a first- class, cozy mystery. The actual Detective work will be done by Allie, one of Gully's nieces, along with her Sister Lorelei. Oops, she prefers to be called Lorel. But I don't want to forget Allie's best friend, Verity, who runs a vintage clothing store with an eye for couture and drives a 1962 DeSoto with fins.

Mystery fans will like the twists in the plot and the warmth of the background. I mean how do you beat the Ocean for scenery? The driving question throughout the plot... would they overcome the rumors of food poisoning? Would they find the Lobster Libber? Yes, this has one and a lot of other surprises going on. Allie will have to find the key to it all and Readers will delightedly follow right along beside her.

Welcome to the seaside hamlet of Mystic Bay, where the fish is always fresh, the folks are ever-friendly, and murder is on a roll. . .
Allie Larkin was living her dream as a ballet dancer when a bad fall put her out of business. Now she’s back home in Mystic Bay to heal a broken ankle while also helping her dear Aunt Gully get her Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack off the ground. Nothing would help Gully more than winning the local food festival’s Best Lobster Roll contest. The competition is sure to be killer—especially after one of the contest judges dies after eating a roll from one of Gully’s biggest rivals.

Soon, all eyes fall on Gully as the prime suspect. Allie may only have one good leg to stand on, but she’s not going to let her aunt go down for a crime she never could have cooked up. Can Allie, along with her devoted crew of friends, family, and customers, find a way to trap the killer and claw herself out of this hard-boiled murder case?

Shari Randall:

A native New Englander, Shari loves hanging out with the gang at the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack in fictional Mystic Bay, Connecticut, where the lobster rolls are delicious, the company’s good, and murder’s always on the menu.

When she’s not committing murder (on the page, of course), Shari enjoys walking the beach near her house, traveling, reading, visiting her globe-trotting children, and dancing. She’s currently trying to talk her husband into a tango class.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Murder for Christmas (Mordecai Tremaine Book One) by Francis Duncan

This book was written in the 1940's but it has a lovely, almost- Victorian turn of phrase. Mordecai Tremaine has a great interest in the study of mankind. His host, who met him at a Party, sent him an invitation to share an old- fashioned Christmas at his home. The Manor House is set in an English Village complete with a set of eccentric characters. Now what could be more perfect for a mystery?

Mordecai is a sentimental Man in his 60's who harbors a desire to see romance in the World. That led to his amusing habit of reading Romance Stories. It was quite a new twist for a Detective and he keeps his habit hidden. I had a good chuckle out of it.

I happen to be partial to Mysteries of this Era and in particular the English Manor House mysteries. The Characters are a little confusing at first but soon become clear as to their place in the story. So if you like the older Mysteries and I will enjoy this one.


When Mordecai Tremaine arrives at the country retreat of one Benedict Grame on Christmas Eve, he discovers that the revelries are in full swing in the sleepy village of Sherbroome—but so too are tensions amongst the assortment of guests.
When midnight strikes, the partygoers discover that presents aren't the only things nestled under the tree...there's a dead body too. A dead body that bears a striking resemblance to Father Christmas. With the snow falling and suspicions flying, it's up to Mordecai to sniff out the culprit—and prevent anyone else from getting murder for Christmas.
Murder for Christmas is a festive mystery for the holiday season: mulled wine, mince pies... and murder.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Witchs' Tree: an Agatha Raisin Mystery

M.C. Beaton writes a biting, humorous mystery with her newest book, The Witch's Tree. The descriptions are often hilarious and so are the quips. That does not preclude the book from moving at a fast pace. Nor the murders from being serious. By chapter three I was both amused, hooked and could feel the eeriness of a good, cozy- mystery.

Sir Edward Chumble and his wife Tiffany felt it necessary to invite the Vicar and his wife to dinner. This should naturally be blamed on Agatha Christie for her wonderful descriptions of village life.  When driving home Rory and Molly Devere find the first body hanging from a tree and from the looks of it more horror to add to the village that has become a nightmare to the Vicar's wife. But one of Beaton's shining qualities is her ability to add humor to a dark situation. 

By the time Agatha Raisin gets hired by Sir Edward Chumble she is once again in the thick of it with her sometime boyfriend Sir Charles Fraith. Favorite characters are still in the picture and I like the Agatha Raisin... Beaton portrays in this her 28th Book in the series. Although I had not read any of the books before now I had watched the TV Series. The book stands alone you can start anywhere in the series and pick up enough to enjoy it.

A Witch's Coven adds a little bit more October fun. That and Agatha on the hunt again determined to root out everyone's secret makes for an enjoyable read.
I enjoyed the quirky characters and the dialog very much. I will certainly be an Agatha fan after this and I rated the book five stars.


The Witches’ Tree continues the tradition in M. C. Beaton's beloved Agatha Raisin mystery series—now a hit show on Acorn TV and public television.

Cotswolds inhabitants are used to inclement weather, but the night sky is especially foggy as Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They strain to see the road ahead—and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster, has been murdered—and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime.

Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, to tell the truth, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But Sumpton Harcourt is a small and private village, she finds—a place that poses more questions than answers. And when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation—and even her life. That the village has its own coven of witches certainly doesn't make her feel any better...

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

Anna Lee Huber writes a fast- paced mystery set after World War I. The story holds you from the very first page with its wonderful descriptions. The tension increases from chapter to chapter with a touch of the Gothic. A cryptic Message has been sent to the Widow of an Officer killed on the front. It alludes to the fact he may have been a Traitor. Her trip to find the truth is the beginning of a dangerous mission. But one she feels she must go on...

The Guests are all invited to an Engagement Party, set on Umbersea Island, complete with a Castle and estate grounds.
Many of the men were from the same unit overseas, the unlucky Thirtieth- overrun by the Germans. It seems an odd beginning to the festivities as several are still stamped with the bitterness of War. Then the deaths begin...without Verity having any idea why or who is behind this. But as she is stranded on the island... it will become life or death to find out what is going on... and play along. Is it a form of revenge or is there a crazed Killer among the group?

This story has great interlocking characters. Some you like... others you feel sorry for...but as the bodies pile up it becomes a question of truth.
This book captivated me from the first page. I read it in one sitting. I could not go to bed until I found out what happened. Huber writes with a consistent tension that keeps you hooked. If you like historical mysteries then I highly recommend this one.

The Great War is over, but in this captivating new mystery from award-winning author Anna Lee Huber, one young widow discovers the real intrigue has only just begun . . .
England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. Determined to dull her pain with revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew. 

Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was. It’s a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception . . .

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Christmas Peril (A Theater Cop Mystery ) by J.A. Hennrikus

J.A. Hennrikus writes a good- little- mystery in time for an early Christmas read. The heart of the story is the mystery, not the jingle of bells or even the town. The past is only a reference to the people and to Sully herself. But, the plot is strong and any number of people could be the perpetrator. I like stories like that and those which tie up neatly at the end.
Sully, has left the Police Force and is a General Manager for a Theater group. She is also involved in a murder. Peter Whitehall, a distant relative, and  a leading Citizen of the Town is found dead. Sully, is drawn into helping when she is asked by the murdered man's Lawyer. He also happens to be her ex-Husband. But can she stay out of trouble as the bodies start dropping?

There are quite a few little sub-plots in the story. One is her ex-husband which leaves the door open to a reunion and romance. Another is the play and all the Actors with their various quirks and problems.  But the pieces tie together well and there are likeable characters which keep you reading. All together a nice mystery for a cozy night of reading.


Sully Must Get Her Childhood Friend Off the Naughty List Before They’re Both Scrooged
When Edwina “Sully” Sullivan’s life imploded, she left behind her job on the police force and her unfaithful husband to start a new life as the general manager of her hometown theater, the Cliffside Theater Company.
For five years, she focused on budgets instead of crime and kept the Cliffside running alongside its mercurial artistic director. But when her childhood friend is suspected of killing his father, no one is looking for another culprit. So, in between keeping A Christmas Carol on budget and Scrooge sober, Sully dusts off her investigative skills to find a murderer. Her two lives collide when her ex-husband arrives on the scene to play lawyer and she’s forced to confront her past in order to save her present.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Black Plumes by Margery Allingham

Margery Allingham writes a beautifully crafted story of murder.  The twists and turns lead you to a smooth conclusion. You think!  But as with other great Mysteries of hers, I became so enamored of the characters I missed the last clue. That only added to the enjoyment. Her writing is deeply entrenched in another Era similar to Dorothy L.  Sayers, but that makes the flow of her words lovely.  Each chapter keeps you firmly turning the page.

Francis Ivory has come to her Grandmother for help.  There is something unnatural and fishy going on in the family business.  Her Brother-in-law is trying to force her to marry against her wishes and his own terror is impinging on the family business.  Her Step-Sister is a hysteric and in bed most of the time.  She either is very frail or scared to death.  Francis decides to take on a fiancĂ©e, who can at least protect her from an unwanted marriage.  But can he protect her from the Murders that begin at the family Home?  Death is walking those hallways.

The interaction between the characters is very strong.  Gabrielle, the Matriarch of the family is either very shrewd and capable of murder- or facing senility. At times I suspected both.  That is the beauty of Allingham’s writing. And between the hysteria there is some very real terror going on.  People are dying. The Author is a master at projecting suspense to the Reader.  The tension is carried from Chapter to Chapter as it always is in a good mystery.  I highly enjoyed this Mystery and I am giving it five stars.

The slashing of a valuable painting at the renowned Ivory Gallery in London, one of the most prestigious art galleries in the world – followed by the murder of the proprietor’s son-in-law, Robert, sets the stage for another finely tuned Allingham mystery. The proprietor’s mother, 90-year-old Gabrielle Ivory, holds the key to the web of intrigue and danger that permeates the gallery.

Gabrielle Ivory was once a society beauty. But now, nearing 90, she’s largely disregarded by the younger members of the Ivory clan, who like to imagine Granny as rather a relic of a dead era. That’s a mistake, and it’s not their only one. A series of malicious attacks is threatening the Ivory Gallery in London. Robert Ivory and his high-strung wife, frantic to preserve the status-quo, want to chalk it all up to practical jokes gone wrong. But Gabrielle is not inclined to collude in this delusion.

A brilliant standalone mystery from the author of the beloved Campion books. Golden Age Crime at its intriguing best.