If you follow my blog at all, you know I am a cozy mystery lover. I do enjoy a good amateur sleuth, the characters and settings of these stories. This year I also found a couple to match up with my seasonal reading in both Autumn and Christmas books. If you are looking for a good cozy to pick up, see if any of these strike your fancy.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder (Catering Hall Mystery #3) by Maria DiRico, Devon Sorvari (Narrator)
Published October 26th 2021 by Kensington Publishing Corporation, Tantor Audio
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I enjoyed my most recent visit to Belle View catering hall in Queens, New York. Mia Carina is busy organizing events including a full nativity birthday party for a one year old and a sweet sixteen for a drama queen. Add to all of this, the reappearance of her estranged mother, her friend Jamie finding out he was adopted and the sudden appearance of a biological brother, Lorenzo as well as the Astoria Christmas decorating contest that her grandma is determined to win. Mia doesn’t have a second to herself, but when Lorenzo is found dead in the lawn ornaments, she jumps into the investigation when Jamie’s brother becomes a suspect.
This book is part of my Christmas reading and it is nice to have a few mysteries in the mix. I love the characters in this book. Think stereotypical mobsters, big hair and huge families and you will understand why this humorous series is becoming a favourite of mine. Cammie works with Mia and they are great friends. She has an in with Detective Pete (her ex-husband who wants to get back together) and is able to share things with Mia. They always provide some comic relief. I mentioned Mia’s mother and she plays an important part in this story. I hope she sticks around in future books. This book has mobsters coming out of the woodwork, with the death of Lorenzo. So many suspects (it seems no one liked him), and lots of twists had me constantly changing my mind. I loved the ending of this story that had me sitting up in my seat when the final reveal/showdown occurs. I never would have guessed. There is a little bit of a romantic attraction beginning and we shall see if anything develops between Mia and Shane in future books. Well done Maria DiRico! If you enjoy cozies with quirky and fun characters, great mysteries and well developed plots, then pick up this series, especially this Christmas outing. I did a read/listen with this book and both formats were enjoyable. Devon Sorvari narrated this story and does a great job with it. The pacing and expression were right on and the various voices allowed me to identify the speaker. I have listened to other books she has narrated and enjoyed them all. I will not hesitate to listen to more of her work. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
A Pumpkin Spice Killing (Farm-to-Fork Mystery #5.5) by Lynn Cahoon
Published July 6th 2021 by Lyrical Press
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Several times a year, Angie Turner plans a team building retreat for her staff at the County Seat. This year they take on a charity project and find themselves at a military veteran’s home, where it’s their job to get the home up to code by doing repairs, painting, and cleaning etc. After arriving at the home, Angie makes friends with one of the veterans who wants to make amends with a son he hasn’t seen in years. Angie also gets a hunch something isn’t right at the home and the owner keeps trying to get them to leave. What is really happening at the veteran’s home?
I enjoy these novellas that follow the staff on their quarterly team building activities. They always seem to find a mystery. 😀 This mystery is one that is certainly timely and realistic and I enjoyed seeing how the team was going to solve this one. The characters are all wonderful and I do enjoy Bleak, the newest staff member, in fact, she is involved in the final showdown. Although this is a novella, I felt this story was well developed with just enough twists, clues and red herrings. I loved how Randy’s story turns out. Another great addition to the Farm-to-Fork Mystery series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork (Haunted Craft Fair Mystery #3) by Rose Pressey Betancourt
Published December 29th 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork is the third book in A Haunted Craft Fair Mystery series. Celeste Cabot is an artist who travels from craft fair to craft fair to sell her paintings. The latest fair is on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate, a magnificent mansion in Asheville, North Carolina, Celeste and her little Chihuahua, Van Gogh have arrived in their pink and white trailer to meet her family. While touring the mansion, her family is kicked out due to a disturbance, but she needs to return to find her wallet. What she finds is a dead body, and the fact that a valuable painting is missing. Once again Celeste is under suspicion due to finding the body. Can she find the real killer?
Our protagonist, Celeste, has an interesting talent. She sees things in her paintings that are clues to solve the murders she is involved with. She is also visited by ghosts and her role is to help them find what they need to cross over. In this book she meets the ghost of one of the Vanderbilts. He doesn’t remember much so they don’t know what to look for. He does help Celeste in some investigation though. Celeste’s family is involved in this story and her Granny is hilarious. I also liked the detective that helps her out, even though it is not his jurisdiction. This was a well written story, with some twists and some laughs. I did figure out the culprit rather early, but I enjoyed how the investigation played out.
Death Gone A-Rye (A Bread Shop Mystery #6) by Winnie Archer
Published April 27th 2021 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I have been working my way through the Bread Shop Mystery series and with the next one coming out this month, I wanted to read this one first. I enjoy this series set in small town Santa Sofia, on the northern California coast. Vincent van Dough focaccia is being touted on Instagram as the best thing since sliced bread, and bakers all over are artistically recreating the painting using bread and other food items. Yeast of Eden is creating their own Vincent van Dough focaccia for the school’s spring fling. It is also Billy and Emmaline’s wedding so there is a lot going on. While getting ready to leave on their honeymoon, the police captain that will be in charge while Chief Emmaline is away, takes a call to find out that the local school board president has been murdered. Of course Ivy steps in to help, but he doesn’t want her help or intrusion.
The victim in this book was not well liked at all. There were so many suspects, but the captain zeroed in on Miguel, Ivy’s boyfriend. All the regulars were here including Mrs. Brandford (Penelope/Penny) and Olaya. Once again, Penelope surprises Ivy and the reader with some of her skills and knowledge. This book also deals with issues surrounding immigration and illegal workers, which was actually quite sad. Olaya is the owner of the bread shop, and she is so smart and a great character. I loved the sound of her focaccia in this one. This book kept me guessing throughout most of the book, but I did figure out the killer before the reveal. That did not affect my enjoyment of the story at all. This was a fun cozy mystery with a well written plot. The characters are well developed and really drive this series. If you love cozy mysteries with food and great characters then I recommend you pick up this book or any in the series.