Over the last week, I have listened to several cozy mystery books while outside working in my yard. At one time or another I received each of these books from the publisher via Netgalley or Edelweiss, but I listened to each of them using Hoopla, Scribd or one from the publisher. I enjoyed them all and with the exception of one narrator, I would not hesitate to listen to them again. The ratings and opinions shared are my own.
Murder at the Taffy Shop (Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery #2) by Maddie Day, Rachel Dulude (Narrator)
Published March 30th 2021 by Tantor Audio
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I love Maddie Day’s cozy Country Store Mysteries and while this one is very different, her humour and wonderful characters are present in this series as well. Protagonist, Mackenzie “Mac” Almeida, owns a local bicycle shop and is well liked in her home town. She is member of the Cozy Capers Book Group who read cozy mysteries and meet in the lighthouse, where Mac’s brother lives, for their bookclub. They have also solved a mystery in the last book, so you know they are going to get involved in whatever crime pops up in Murder at the Taffy Shop. This book has one of the members, Salty Taffy Shop owner Gin, being the main suspect when a local woman, Beverly Ruchart is found dead in front of her shop. She has been poisoned and although she has a lot of people that do not like her, Gin is the one the police are interested. It seems someone is trying to frame her, but who and why?
Mac is a great protagonist as she is smart and is great at sorting out clues and putting things together. Her other bookclub members make an appearance in this one and they also help to gather information to sort out what is happening. Mac’s niece, Cokey does not have as big a role in this book, but she steals whatever scenes she is in. Of course whenever there are pets in Maddie Day’s books, you know they are going to play a huge part in the story. Belle, Mac’s parrot is a hoot. She can talk, a lot, and it doesn’t take long for her to mimic new words and phrases. What I love is how appropriate she is when she speaks up. I often figure out the culprits in these stories before the final reveal, but not this time. The showdown was exciting and nail biting, but Belle comes through to save the day. This is a well-plotted mystery, with enough suspects and red herrings to keep this reader invested in the story. The humour and likable characters were icing on the cake. I definitely recommend this book and series. The narration by Rachel Dulude was wonderful. I have listened to several books she has narrated and her expression and intonation are right on. Her pacing is good and I am able to recognize the various voices in the story. A voice actress that I do not hesitate to listen to.
Peach Clobbered (Georgia B&B #1) by Anna Gerard, Jane Oppenheimer (Narrator)
Published July 30th 2019 by Dreamscape Media
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Peach Clobbered is the first in the Georgia B&B mysteries. It is set in quaint Cymbeline, Georgia but being a small town doesn’t mean you aren’t going to have crime. Nina Fleet (pronunced Nie -na) has moved to Cymbeline after being there for a visit and seeing a home for sale that she fell in love with. Her plan is to turn it into a B&B, but before she has a chance to put her plans into action, the previous owner’s nephew, Harry Wescott, shows up with a letter stating that he was supposed to get the house when she died. It is hard to take anyone seriously when they are wearing a penguin suit. Next thing Nina knows, she has a group of nuns staying with her as the convent they have been renting is being torn down and turned into a golfing community. Of course what is a cozy mystery without a murder. When Nina and the nuns are protesting outside the developers office, someone screams and it turns out the Penguin has been stabbed. It is not Harry, the nephew, but the hated developer. Things heat up as Nina helps to solve the crime to get the nuns and herself off the hook. Then of course is the question of who the intended victim really was.
Nina is a spunky and funny main character. She loves her new town and is accepted quite readily. She is getting over a divorce and is very likable and relatable. The secondary characters act some quirkiness to the story, especially the nuns. They are a hoot, but again, seem real. I felt so bad for them, many knowing no other home. To hear the sadness about losing their goats was heartbreaking. Then there is Harry. He is handsome and actually quite nice, but being a down on his luck actor, the penguin gig made me laugh out loud. The setting is idyllic for a cozy. A sweet, quaint town that is undergoing growing pains and has a seedy side, just not well known. The mystery was a good one. Lots of questions, red herrings and many suspects depending on who the intended victim was and the motive behind it. I did not figure this one out and was surprised but satisfied with the reveal. I was quite happy with this first book in a new series and with the first three already published, I will be checking them out shortly. I definitely recommend this one to cozy mystery lovers. The audiobook was narrated by talented Jane Oppenheimer. I really enjoy her narration with her beautiful and expressive voice. She is able to give a unique voice to a long list of diverse characters, including male voices. I will not hesitate to listen to books she narrates.
Ripe for Vengeance (A Greenhouse Mystery #5) by Wendy Tyson, Laural Merlington (Narrator)
Published November 5th 2019 by Dreamscape Media
I enjoy the Greenhouse Mystery series with its small town, healthy living vibe and wonderful cast of characters. This story has a group of friends of Megan’s beau, the handsome veterinarian Dr. Denver Finn coming to town for a corporate volunteer event. The corporate retreat has the team mentoring troubled kids from a nearby school during a hiking and camping trip. When one of Denver’s friends is murdered, Megan is on the case. It seems that Denver’s aunt is the main suspect’s foster mother. He is a troubled youth having witnessed his father kill his mother, but everyone who knows him is sure that he is not violent. Megan begins to nose around and ask questions as well as offer Dillon the opportunity to work on her farm with her grandmother. When Megan’s grandmother becomes a target, things heat up.
This story is a bit slow moving, but the characters and the story held my attention. I loved the addition of the pot-bellied pig that they rescued and named Camilla. We get to know about the relationships and how they affect the plot and storyline. There were not a lot of suspects, in fact, none at first, so this made Megan’s investigation even more important to cracking the case. We learn a bit about the school, their purpose, and how the wealthy can buy what they need or want. This was a bit more serious than many of the cozy mysteries I read, but there was a solid mystery and our protagonist, Megan, does save the day and solve the case. I do recommend this book, but will say that this was not the most enjoyable of this series. The narrator, Laural Merlington took some getting used to. Her voice is a bit dry and I had to speed the book up quite a bit to get it to a spot where I enjoyed the narration.
Nothing Bundt Trouble (A Bakeshop Mystery #11) by Ellie Alexander, Emily Durante (Narrator)
Published March 1st 2021 by Tantor Audio
Nothing Bundt Trouble by Ellie Alexander was a great addition to the Bakeshop Mystery series. This book is not centered much on Torte, which was okay, it was a very character based mystery. In this book Jules discovers her father’s old journal in the basement of her childhood home, which talks about an unsolved murder from the 80s. With the help of Lance and the Professor, she becomes determined to solve the cold case. It is a trip down memory lane for both Jules and the Professor.
The setting of Ashland, Oregon is wonderful. With the Shakespeare Festival gearing up and all the other Shakespeare related businesses getting ready for the tourist season, Jules is lucky to have such a wonderful staff to run Torte while she works to solve this case. She loves learning about her parent’s romance and the beginnings of Torte. Solving a cold case isn’t easy, but Lance gets into the case and helps Jules with her sleuthing. Most of the people who were around at the time and mentioned in the journal are still in the area, so it is easy for Jules and Lance to sneakily get information from them. This book was a bit different from others in this series, but the plot is unique and the characters are well-written. The mystery kept me engaged and the final reveal was a well-kept secret. I figured it out at the same time Jules did and the final showdown was tense and entertaining. This is a culinary cozy and I love the wonderful descriptions of food and the recipes included. The town, the characters and their relationships make this a series that I look forward to each release. I have listened to the last few books in this series, all narrated by Emily Durante. She has a pleasant reading voice for the basic narration and gives the characters recognizable voices. She adds the right amount of expression and feeling to her characters making her a narrator that I enjoy.