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A Stranger’s Game–from the boardroom to a boardgame

A Stranger’s Game

by Colleen Coble

Torie Berg introduces herself at Jekyll Island Club Resort as their new IT specialist. In reality, as the daughter of the owner of a huge resort chain, she spent her early childhood there. After eighteen years she has returned to find out what happened to her best friend Lisbeth who recently died while tracking down leads on Torie’s mother’s death.

Someone recognizes Torie and wants her to abandon her investigation. Who knows how far this creepy person will go in intimidating her and what their motive might be. Is it personal or does it have anything to do with the war games the Navy is conducting? Is Torie getting too close to the truth or does this involve the many important visitors the hotel is expecting for a major financial meeting?

Joe Abbott trains dolphins to intercept saboteurs and lives at the resort with his eight year old daughter Hailey in exchange for providing security. He is caught up in issues with the Navy when Simon, a dolphin he is training, catches a diver planting a bomb. As Torie’s neighbor on Jekyll Island, Joe becomes involved in protecting her from a mysterious stalker. He has not been interested in dating in the three years since his wife died, but he is attracted to Torie and she is drawn to his daughter Hailey as they share a sense of loss that both experienced in losing their mothers as children.

A Stranger’s Game is a fast-paced mystery that includes some psychological creepiness and suspense, but not enough for me to classify it as a thriller. It has a touch of clean romance, but the emphasis is on the plot. The Jekyll Island Club Resort setting is critical to the story. The characters are allowed to develop as the story progresses. The novel contains adventure and three major plot lines along with cross threads that give the book both color and cohesion. I did not guess the identity of the criminals behind the detailed plotting of various crimes or those who executed the plans. Well done! Colleen Coble has created a standalone that will send you looking for more of her books.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery, Christian Fiction, Romantic Suspense

Notes: Standalone

Publication: January 4, 2022—Thomas Nelson Fiction

Memorable Lines:

“It’s hard to understand even for adults. But evil things happen to all of us, honey. Hard things, bad things. We don’t understand and a lot of the time, we can’t understand because we aren’t God. When those times come—and they come to everyone—all we can do is trust that God loves us.”

“By its very nature, life involves loss. If we stop taking chances, stop living our lives, we might as well crawl in the grave and let someone kick the dirt over us. Real life is worth the risk.”

The reserve she’d donned all her life had made ruts through her soul, tracks she followed like a mule plodding a well-worn trail.

A Tourist’s Guide to Murder–Sam and “the girls” invade Britain

A Tourist’s Guide to Murder

by V.M. Burns

Samantha Washington (Sam) is the owner of a mystery bookshop in North Harbor and has just landed a three book deal with a publishing house. She will spend the next week in England doing research for the British historic cozy mystery she is writing. She is slated for a mystery tour accompanied by her Nana Jo and Nana’s three best friends from the Shady Acres Retirement Village. Of the four senior citizens, not a one meets the stereotype of frail, little old ladies. They have a reputation for helping Sam solve mysteries that come her way through interviews, eavesdropping, feminine wiles, deduction, and the occasional use of martial arts as two of them have blackbelts. They keep the plot moving and the reader laughing.

There are complications just in reaching London with jet lag and no luggage, but that’s only the beginning of their troubles. The owner of the tour company is murdered, but the police, oddly, are not investigating. Unfortunately, there is another murder, and one of the assigned detectives is “as bright as a burned-out light bulb” and “a few sandwiches short of a picnic.” It’s time for Sam, Nana Jo, and “the girls” to join forces to discover the truth.

In order to free up her conscious mind when stymied in her investigations, Sam spends time when she can’t sleep or between tour stops writing her own mystery. Although the book she is writing takes place in 1939, Sam is able to use elements in the murders she is currently investigating and apply the principles to her own mystery with great success. When the flow of the contemporary mystery was first interrupted with this secondary story, I was a little miffed because I wanted the action to continue in the primary story. By the time I reached the next transition to 1939, however, I was anxious to read about the progress made in Sam’s own whodunit. The character Sam’s writing seems a little stilted at first, compared to the rest of the book, but that is perhaps due to the titles of “Lord” and “Lady” still being used along with formalities involved with a household of servants and adherence to etiquette rules. It is quite a contrast to our contemporary society.

I enjoyed Sam’s eagerness in visiting The Grand Hotel in Torquay where Agatha Christie honeymooned in 1914 and the Torquay Museum that displays the famous author’s memorabilia and items from movies based on her books. Next they went to Greenway, Christie’s home in Devon where she wrote many of her books. Sam “fangirled” on the tour of the house taking many pictures and drooling over first editions. Because of the two murders, the itinerary for the trip had to be revised several times, but most of the highlights are still included, and the group is able to visit several places that were alleged to be the settings or inspiration of mysteries by authors like Dorothy L. Sayers and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

If you like cozy mysteries, you can’t get any more “bookish” than V.M. Burns’ A Tourist’s Guide to Murder. It has two plots within the same book, a tour of significant literary locations, a writer-sleuth, and a mystery bookstore. It’s not heaven, but it’s pretty close. The tour intentionally lays on some misdirection, and there are red herrings in both plots to keep you guessing. The retirement home group is anything but retiring: they bring to minds phrases like “more fun than a barrel of monkeys” and “herding cats.” I want to read more from this series.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. #6 in the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. This was my first book in this series and I had no problem reading it as a standalone.
2. There are many reasons to read this book, but one of them should not be the two cute toy poodles on the cover. They belong to Sam, but she doesn’t take them with her to England, so they are only briefly mentioned in the book.

Publication: January 26, 2021—Kensington

Memorable Lines:

Lady Clara’s cheeks flamed and her eyes flashed. After a split second, she gave the captain a smile and then stomped down hard on his foot. “Oooph.” Captain Jessup bent over in pain. “Dear me, was that your foot?” Lady Clara said in a voice that oozed sweetness.

Nana Jo glanced at Hannah. “I don’t know about your national health care system, but in the United States, the pharmaceutical companies are running the whole country, and they’ve got a pill for everything.”

“Let’s face it, Stinky Pitt couldn’t find a killer who was standing naked in the middle of the street with a neon sign over his head.” Nana Jo and the girls nodded. Hannah looked confused. “Stinky Pitt?” Ruby Mae looks up from her knitting. “He’s the local detective in North Harbor, Michigan.” “Not the sharpest knife in the drawer?” “I’ve got sharper spoons.”

Murder in a Teacup–who had the opportunity to murder?

Murder in a Teacup

by Vicki Delany

The Locality: Cape Cod Bay in North Augusta, Massachusetts
The Setting: Victoria-on-Sea, a B&B owned by the elderly Rose Campbell
Tea by the Sea, a tearoom on the B&B property operated by Rose’s granddaughter Lily Roberts
Friends: Bernie, AKA the Princess Warrior, a frustrated writer
Simon McCracken, horticulturalist from England hired as a temporary gardener
Pets: Rose’s cat Robbie
Lily’s Labradoodle, Éclair

Vicki Delany’s Murder in a Teacup centers around a family reunion with events at both businesses. The organizer is Heather, a very wealthy, young, New York widow who is paying all expenses for the trip for her grandmother and her estranged, greedy family—her father, mother, brother and his wife and their two teenagers—all from Idaho. Also included in the fun are Heather’s brother-in-law and his wife. No one seems to know that the other side of the family is invited. If you look up “dysfunctional” in the dictionary, you will probably find this family listed as an example.

There is a death that is possibly attributable to something served at one of the establishments. That is bad news for both businesses when the police shut down the tearoom. Not only are cancellations necessary, but social media is going to have a field day. Lily cooks for both facilities. Rose and Lily desperately need to be open as they depend on summer tourist income to get them through the winter. The further complication is that the murderer must still be at the B&B and is probably part of the family.

I kept changing my mind as to who the murderer is: an easy thing to do with so many unlikable characters. Pulling together possible motives is easier than pinpointing opportunity once the method of murder is discovered. The identity reveal comes as a shock to the characters and to the reader.

There are subplots that add interest. Lily’s life has an intense pace as she puts in 12-14 hour days seven days a week struggling to make both businesses succeed. Bernie gave up her Manhattan job as a forensic accountant to become a writer but is having trouble settling into her new profession. There are the barest beginnings of a romance for both young ladies. The pets are ever-present but don’t participate much in the action. I enjoyed watching the conflict between the two detectives on the case play out. One is lazy and fumbling. His counterpart is sharp and cares. Both are limited in what information they can share with Lily and the others making it more difficult for Lily, Rose, and Bernie in their informal investigations, but they persist anyway.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. #2 in the Tea by the Sea Mystery Series, but is excellent as a standalone as the author provides all needed background information while diving into the current story.
2. Recipes at the end of the book include Chocolate Chip Cookies for children’s tea, Shortbread Cookies, and Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches.

Publication: July 21, 2021—Kensington

Memorable Lines:

Plump orange and raisin scones in the middle, perfectly cut sandwiches on the bottom, delicious sweets on the top: a carefully controlled explosion of color, shape, and flavor.

Matt was a true-crime writer, successful enough to have been able to buy his family property when his father wanted to sell it, but not successful enough to be able to pay for all the renovations it needed.

“Stay!” Her ears dropped, her face crumbled, her tail drooped. Slowly, ever so slowly, she crawled under the table and sat down. She let out a mighty sigh and stared at me through enormous liquid brown eyes. “Drama queen,” I said as I bent over and reached under the table to give her an affectionate pat.

Death by the Finish Line–bikers can be nice guys

Death by the Finish Line

by Alexis Morgan

Abby has an unlikely partner, Gil, as she chairs the committee that is organizing Snowberry Creek’s Founder’s Day charity run. Gil is a die-hard biker who runs a motorcycle maintenance shop with his brother Gary. Gil, a veteran, has a rough exterior, but Abby discovers in him excellent organizational skills developed during his time in the military and a surprisingly soft side.

Abby and Gil plan the run down to the last detail and recruit a group of capable volunteers. What they didn’t count on was a murder along the way and charges filed against Gary. This is not the first murder Abby is too close to since she moved to Snowberry Creek. With urgings from her boyfriend Tripp and the police chief Gage, Abby tries hard to stay out of the investigation, but Gary needs help and clues keep coming her way.

The plot of Death by the Finish Line is complex with lots of complications. Abby is a likable main character. She and Tripp are trying to work out just what their relationship is and if the “L” word should be a part of it. The romance, however, is only a sideline and does not cloud the mystery aspects. Abby’s lovable mastiff mix Zeke plays a big role in the story and in Abby’s life.

For most of the book, it would be hard to predict who the criminal is, but as the plot churns quickly towards a denouement, the reader becomes aware of the perpetrator, but not the motive. Abby is somewhat naive as she focuses on helping people, and the reader will surely be screaming “No, Abby, don’t do it! Watch out.” Finally beginning to sense danger, Abby makes a smart move as the plot reaches its climax. In the aftermath, Abby is surprised with a personal, non-romantic, decision that will leave you smiling. For the cozy mystery reader, Death at the Finish Line is another satisfying trip to Snowberry Creek where life should be slow-paced and uneventful, but rarely is.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: # 5 in the Abby McCree Mystery Series, but can be read as a standalone.

Publication: December 28, 2021—Kensington

Memorable Lines:

“The mayor’s assistant is a lovely woman, so warm and friendly. At the same time, she has an absolutely terrifying ability to convince someone that they want nothing more in life than to help organize a charity run.”

She’d barely been able to dress herself at this hour, but Tripp was clean shaven, his dark hair neatly combed, and his dark eyes sparkled with good humor. He looked irritatingly chirpy, but then he was a morning person. Lucky for him, he had other redeeming characteristics to make up for that one serious shortcoming.

Tripp insisted that Zeke’s loyalty could be bought with two treats and a pat on the head, but that wasn’t always true. While there weren’t many people the big dog didn’t like, the few exceptions had all turned out to be bad news.

Death by Intermission–cozy mystery with a mastiff mix

Death by Intermission

by Alexis Morgan

I had been looking forward to reading another book in the Abby McCree Mystery Series and was not disappointed in Alexis Morgan’s Death by Intermission. Abby, a relative newcomer to Snowberry Creek, already has a reputation as a “murder magnet.” She doesn’t go looking for trouble when she and her tenant/boyfriend Tripp attend the local movie-in-the-park event, but she discovers more than trash during the clean up session after the movie.

There are new interesting characters involved in the excitement in this plot. Abby’s mother, Phoebe, is staying with her for an extended visit, and the two clash in ways they never had before as they find a need to establish boundaries with each other. After all, when is flashing the porch light on a couple saying goodnight appropriate when everyone involved is an adult over age thirty?

Owen is another newcomer to town. He has opened a barbecue restaurant. Owen is dating Phoebe, and she explodes in his defense when Gage, the local police chief, holds him for suspicion of murder. A knife from his restaurant was the murder weapon.

We are also introduced to Jada, a college student working for Owen. Jada finds herself in the middle of the murder investigation. Has she lied to the police? Why is her godfather taking a sudden interest in her? Why was she fired from her former job at the insurance agency that had been managed by her father, and why did the new agent refuse to give her father’s personal possessions to her?

I must mention Abby’s mastiff mix Zeke. Weighing in at almost one hundred pounds, he is her companion and protector, and he is a good judge of character. He adds much fun and interest to the book.

There are so many tangled threads in this plot. Abby, Phoebe, and Jada find themselves in physical danger, and Tripp, Owen, and Gage, who share a common military background, are called upon to defend them. The complications don’t unravel themselves; it takes action from the group to discover and overwhelm the criminal.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #4 in the Abby McCree Mystery Series, but excellent as a standalone.

Publication: January 26, 2021—Kensington

Memorable Lines:

“So bottom line, you’re willing to put up with two testy women and a slobbery dog because you’re hungry and haven’t made it to the store recently.” “Pretty much.”

“Come on, everyone, let’s head inside.” With his uncanny sense of who needed him the most, Zeke remained right by Jada’s side all the way into the kitchen and then parked himself right at her feet with his big head taking up most of her lap.

On the surface, it seemed simple. Nothing could go wrong. Right?

Killer Comfort Food–family you choose

Killer Comfort Food

by Lynn Cahoon

There are lots of threads in Lynn Cahoon’s Killer Comfort Food. Angie Turner is a chef who owns the County Seat restaurant in River Vista along with her friend Felicia, a pastry chef who also excels in front end management of the restaurant. Angie’s initial problem is that a developer wants to buy her beloved home for a soybean plant. Complications arise as Barb, owner of the Red Eye bar, needs her help in finding her missing daughter Susan from whom she is also estranged. Susan had every reason to not just disappear, but an argument with her husband causes suspicions to lie heavily on his shoulders.

There are many other threads in this complex plot, but through them all are two shining themes. Frequently in her books, Cahoon stresses the importance of family, especially the kind of family created by people who have bonded together as a work unit or as a community. She also mentions family heritage a lot in this book, including recipes, relationships, the land worked by a family, and the memories forged there. The other theme is generosity as Angie and her friends go out of their way to support each other and extend that same kindness to people they don’t know.

Lynn Cahoon is one of my go-to authors for cozy mysteries You can even start one of her series in progress as she excels at providing background information. I recommend both this book and this series.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. #5 in the Farm-to-Fork Mystery Series, but great as a standalone.
2. Cahoon reached back through the memories of her childhood and included the recipe for Quick Cookies, a cookie that requires a few minutes on the stovetop, but no baking.

Publication: January 5, 2021—Kensington

Memorable Lines:

“No worrying. Not yet. Save your worry for tomorrow.”

“Hate’s a strong word. I just want Todd sent to live on the surface of the sun so I don’t have to think about him ever again.”

…she was surrounded by people who cooked when they were nervous and who also knew that food made everything just a little more bearable.

A Room With a Roux–all-round, feel-good, Christmas mystery

A Room With a Roux

by Sarah Fox

For anyone still enjoying the lingering spirit of Christmas, I heartily recommend Sarah Fox’s A Room with a Roux. Although nothing about the cover or title suggest a holiday tale, it emits wintery, Christmas vibes from its beginning. The scene is set as our main characters Marley and Brett travel from their beach home to Holly Lodge nestled in the mountains. It is a small, quiet, isolated, snowy retreat that makes the perfect backdrop for a Christmas murder mystery.

Marley, owner of the Flip Side restaurant, and Brett, summer landscaper and winter construction worker, have only been married three months so there is a lot of sweet romance in their interactions. Their weekend getaway gets cut short by a murder. They leave as soon as they can, but Marley’s penchant for getting to the truth is activated when other Holly Lodge guests retreat to her town of Wildwood Cove. Then most of them return to Holly Lodge for a memorial service where they are snowed in for a “locked room” type of scenario.

Marley works hard to uncover the murderer before she or someone else becomes a second victim. There are many possibilities, but none seem to have a strong enough motivation to provoke murder.

Along the way, we get to know the characters. Brett and Marley are nice, generous, and community minded. There is a side story that demonstrates this spirit well when a mini-mystery emerges as ornaments disappear repeatedly at the Festival of Trees. Join Marley and Brett as they enjoy each other’s company along with lots of cups of hot chocolate in a wintry atmosphere. The author has a talented touch in stopping the chapters at just the right point to make the reader shout “one more chapter.”

Read a few days after Christmas, A Room With a Roux, is probably my favorite read of this Christmas season—likable characters, wonderful atmosphere, just the right touch of adventure, and a well-plotted mystery. This cozy mystery is a winner!

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. #7 in the Pancake House Mystery Series, but you would have absolutely no problems reading it as a standalone!
2. Tempting recipes end the book: Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze, Cinnamon Pancakes, and Gingerbread Muffins.

Publication: January 12, 2021—Kensington

Memorable Lines:

I suspected he enjoyed stirring up trouble for his own amusement, and I couldn’t help but dislike him for it.

I tore off the paper, already knowing that the best present was having the company of my husband and two closest friends.

Time seemed to pass at an excruciatingly slow pace. At first I watched everyone by the light of the fire and candles, searching their faces for any sign of guilt, even as I pretended not to be studying them. After a while, it became more and more difficult to keep my eyes open, despite my worries about a killer being among us.

Sleigh Bell Tower–multifaceted plot

Sleigh Bell Tower

by James J. Cudney

Amateur sleuth and college professor, Kellan Ayrwick, and his girlfriend, Sheriff April Montague, are joined by his daughter Emma, his ward and cousin Ulan, and April’s brother Augie to become a unified household despite the slight disapproval of Kellan’s spunky grandmother Nana D. If you choose to read Sleigh Bell Tower, be prepared for one of the most complicated plots and web of characters you could hope for in a cozy mystery. Perhaps, more importantly, author James J. Cudney never misses a beat. He tosses the reader into a whirlwind of complications, but manages to sort it all out in the end with nary a mistake, an omission, or a crossing of clues. I never would have guessed the culprit.

As always with the Braxton Campus Mysteries, there is a lot of sarcasm and humor. The scene where the extended family drives around looking at Christmas lights is superbly funny; Nana D’s interactions with her grandson unfailingly provide a good time.

Another attraction in this particular book is the way April and Kellan work at combining Jewish and Christian holiday traditions. As a couple, they devise a gifting game of sorts. They work off of the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” alternating the giver and tying each gift into the song. I enjoyed reading what each one devised and how they competed to find the best gifts for each other. I did have to wonder how they found the time and energy to select and purchase these creative gifts while managing their new family, the holidays and this intense murder investigation. It probably could work because Kellan is on a work hiatus between semesters AND they bought a lot of restaurant food!

Cudney sent my head spinning with characters and conflicts for most of the book. Then he delighted me with a conclusion in which Kellan took a page from Agatha Christie’s playbook with great success. The ending has some warm fuzzies that made me smile, and as always, the author concludes with a hook that will surely draw the reader into the next book in the series.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: I recommend Sleigh Bell Tower which is #8 in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, but not as a standalone. There is so much rich character background that plays into each book in the series that it would be hard to thoroughly appreciate this book on its own.

Publication: December 20, 2021—Next Chapter

Memorable Lines:

My grandmother, on the other hand, continued to run a profitable organic farm, serve as the mayor of our fine county, and make it her business to know everyone else’s business. Where she found the energy baffled us all.

“Mm… the cusp of nineteen is definitely elderly. We should look into long-term-care facilities soon, huh?”

I had a mystery to solve. A killer to capture. Agatha Christie would be proud of me this year!

Legally Blind Luck–uncovering the truth

Legally Blind Luck

by James J. Cudney

The discoveries, surprises, and twists just keep coming in the seventh novel in James J. Cudney’s cozy mystery series. In Legally Blind Luck there are a number of mysterious new characters including a blind woman with a bodyguard. Kellan, the main character, discovers a murder victim just as an art exhibit is scheduled to open on campus. An art treasure, supposedly bearing a curse, disappears. Kellan’s uncle who died a few months prior to the exhibit might have been involved. These events seem to be tied into South Africa’s history of apartheid. Kellan and his girlfriend April, a sheriff, have to search out the murderer and untangle relationship webs to keep Kellan and his family safe.

The many characters in the book are described in great detail. The plot moves quickly enough, but it is easy for me to get bogged down as I try to recall the characters as they reappear. Fortunately, the author, recognizing that this could be a problem, includes a descriptive character list at the beginning of the book. As usual, Kellan’s Nana D plays a role in providing humor as she and her grandson lovingly tease each other. The conclusion of the book holds many surprises that I absolutely did not see coming as well as some major hooks to draw the reader into the next book in the series.

I would like to extend my thanks to author James J. Cudney and to Gumshoe (Next Chapter) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #7 in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series. It could be read as a standalone, but the author recommends “reading the series in order because of the side stories and character progression.” I agree with him, and I have enjoyed each book.

Publication: April 15, 2020—Next Chapter

Memorable Lines:

I’d mostly felt lost and ignored, so I kept to myself—bookish nerd met prankster met Curious George.

Dr. Myriam Castle delivered a uniquely special brand of cantankerous poppycock that was best left ignored if you valued your sanity.

“I might believe her personality is on par with Nurse Ratched and Lizzie Borden, but I don’t doubt her love for you.”

A Deadly Edition–much anticipated wedding

A Deadly Edition

by Victoria Gilbert

Although A Deadly Edition is plot driven, the importance of the characters should not be understated. Some of these characters are regulars from the previous three books in the series, but author Victoria Gilbert handily reintroduces each one. There are also a number of new characters who converge on Taylorsford for the much anticipated garden wedding of Amy Webber, the town’s head librarian, and Richer Muir, a dance instructor at Clarion University.

We dive into the seamy side of the upper crust with those who make their fortunes from the sales of art and books with a few frauds and forgeries thrown in. These same collectors and dealers could have ties to the even more dangerous world of drugs.

A murder precipitates Amy’s investigation that she hangs on to like a pit bull, hardly having time for her wedding preparations. As a consummate researcher, she uncovers motives for a number of people. Some are close to her, making her inquiries more painful. She is, for the most part, upfront with Brad, Chief Deputy, who both warns her for her own safety and appreciates her contributions.

A Deadly Edition has a strong plot with lots of threads. We follow Amy’s investigation and reasoning as she works through the many red herrings thrown in. The surprising climax has action, and then the book closes with a kinder and gentler focus on family and friends.

I had one irritation with the book. There were twelve instances of various characters responding to another with a light-hearted salute—usually called “mock salute,” but sometimes employing other adjectives. Seven different characters use the little salute so it isn’t one character’s trademark gesture. This repetition was definitely a minor annoyance; other readers might not even notice it. It certainly does not affect my recommendation of this quite involved cozy mystery.

I would like to extend my thanks to Netgalley and to Crooked Lane Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #4 in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery Series, but would be fine as a standalone.

Publication: December 8, 2020—Crooked Lane Books

Memorable Lines:

Sometimes chocolate is the only thing standing between me and murder.

I needed to find a way to untangle the sticky threads of coincidence that seemed to be entrapping the truth.

“And one thing I’ve learned, after all these years, is that there are many kinds of love. Not all of them end in marriage, or are even romantic, but all can mean quite a lot. Or at least”—he released my hand and sat back, his focus shifting to the stage—“enough.”

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