St. Patrick’s Day 2023 has come and gone and I enjoyed a few cozy mysteries to help celebrate. As well as eating Corned Beef and Cabbage, I also lifted a glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream over ice while I read and listened to some cozies by a few of my favorite authors, in my favorite series.

Irish Coffee Murder by Leslie Meier (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #28.5), Lee Hollis (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #15.5), Barbara Ross (Maine Clambake Mystery #10.5)

Published January 31st 2023 by Kensington Cozies

4.5 Stars:

I really enjoy these holiday anthologies from Kensington Publishing. Three of the cozy mysteries I enjoy make an appearance and it was nice to catch up with some of my favorite characters. In these anthologies the author is given a theme and they write a story using it. Each story in this book deals with a mystery set around or caused by Irish Coffee. As well, all of these novellas is set in Maine, although different towns along the coast. I usually have a hands down favorite when I read these anthologies, but I enjoyed all the stories and it is hard to pick just one to highlight. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, or would like a taste of a few different series, I recommend you pick this one up along with an Irish Coffee and enjoy.

First up was Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone in the story referred to in the title, Irish Coffee Murder. Part-time reporter Lucy is covering a group of Irish Step Dancing students on their way to international competitions. She meets with the mothers and can easily see that they are extremely competitive on their daughter’s behalf. When one of them is found dead, it becomes the question as to whether it was suicide or another mother did her in. This is the longest story in the book and I enjoyed it. As in any competition sport, there is an ugly side and Lucy finds out all about it. There were several suspects and motives that kept me guessing.

Death of an Irish Coffee Drinker by Lee Hollis is a short story from the Food & Cocktails Mysteries. A local comedian is set to perform in Bar Harbor and Liddy asks Hayley to cater. Hayley’s brother, who owns the local bar, Drinks Like a Fish, will throw in the drinks for an after party, Irish Coffee being the highlight. At the last minute Hayley scrambles to find another server when her brother’s employee calls in sick. When a drink of Irish Whisky finds the guest of honor dying, Hayley scrambles to find the killer and take the pressure off her brother and herself. This was a fun mystery and another that kept me guessing. I thought the actual murder, once solved was very interesting and not one I had seen often. If you follow this series, you will know that there are little vignettes within the story from Hayley’s column.

The final story, Perked Up by Barbara Ross is from one of my top three cozy mysteries. We catch up with Julia Snowdon in Bar Harbor, Maine after she has moved back home with her mother following her breakup with her longtime boyfriend, Chris. This story is set on St. Patrick’s evening during a storm. The power goes out in town and many of the locals meet at Julia’s mother’s house, drink some Irish Coffee and discuss a mystery from the past. As more people arrive, there are different perspectives of the same story, with different suspects. Who really killed old Hugh O’Hara? Did someone get away with murder all those years ago? Who is the ghost that wanders the old mansion? I liked this cold case mystery and the fact that with wonderful investigative skills, memories from other people and great friends to accompany her, Julia figures out the mystery.

Four Leaf Cleaver (A Country Store Mystery #11) by Maddie Day 

Published January 31st 2023 by Kensington Cozies

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Country Store Mystery series is another of my favorites. I love checking in on Robbie Jordan and all her family, friends, and fellow townsfolk in South Lick, Indiana. It is close to St. Patrick’s Day and Robbie’s Pans and Pancakes is hosting a televised cooking competition. Before the cameras even start rolling, producer Tara O’Hara Moore is found upstairs in her B&B room, apparently bludgeoned by the heavy hilt of a cleaver left by her side. Who wanted Tara dead? Will the show go on? Once again, Robbie is right in the middle of a murder and local police lieutenant Buck Bird is there to do the real work.

I enjoy this series for a lot of reasons and all were present in Four Leaf Cleaver. Robbie is a great protagonist. She is recently married, still running her restaurant/store, and is a great stepmom. She is smart, intuitive, caring, a great boss and friend as well as a snoop. Buck is one of my favorite characters. He seems to be a bit of a laid back hayseed, but that helps with is investigations. He loves to eat Robbie’s food, pick her brain and his sayings are a hoot. We didn’t see as much of Robbie’s employees in this one, but they were there for her to bounce ideas off of. There were several suspects, some interesting characters, a few twists and a great reveal. Of course with all of her books, there are some delicious sounding recipes included. This was a fun story to take me into spring with all the clover, shamrocks and green needed. Another winner in the Country Store Mysteries.