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Murder in the Wine Country
by Janet Finsilver
Redwood Cove is an isolated community in northern California. The wealthy Michael Corrigan, owner of Resorts International, is not the stereotypical rich businessman with cutthroat motives and actions. He is boss to Scott, manager of Redwood Cove Community Center, and to Kelly, manager of Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast. Always looking for ways to help others, especially veterans, Michael is hosting an exclusive event for other wealthy philanthropists with the goal of providing a model of community support that he hopes will inspire them to implement similar programs in their own communities.
Problems have arisen in the little town with the presence of plant poachers who are digging up a certain plant that is popular in China and smuggling them out of the country. In the midst of this event, wardens warn visiting chefs, who are encouraged to forage for edible plants in the area to showcase in their culinary creations, of potential danger from these smugglers. When there is a death, a robbery, and three missing people, Kelly and the Silver Sentinels, a group of seniors who use their skills to help solve crimes, gather at Kelly’s B&B and get to work.
Other mainstay characters are involved in Janet Finsilver’s Murder in the Wine Country. My favorites are Tommy, a sweet boy with Asperger’s, and his Basset hound Fred. Deputy Stanton enjoys spending time with Tommy working on projects and with Tommy’s mom Helen, a widow who works at the inn. There is certainly potential for romance between them in future books. Scott and Kelly also have romantic inclinations, but the author doesn’t rush the characters into relationships. Another interesting character is Julie, a visiting chef who has a service dog Rex, who is not only a faithful companion, but can warn her of an impending epileptic seizure. He plays an important role in the story.
The plot moves along at a nice pace. Kelly’s investigations are successful to the point of putting her in danger of losing her life. The Silver Sentinels are ready to help at a moment’s notice as are other community members who aren’t even involved. The setting is great, but it’s the people who make Redwood Cove the kind of place you might want to live.
I would like to extend my thanks to Netgalley and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #6 in the Kelly Jackson Mystery Series, but as the author provides good support for readers who are just beginning the series, I have no hesitation in recommending it as a standalone.
Publication: April 28, 2020— Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press)
I had my own rescue bag of sorts. Years ago, I had vowed I would always stop to help a loose animal that was in danger, even if it meant missing an important appointment or an airplane flight. This was after watching car after car whiz by a shaking dog stranded on an island of a busy street, no one stopping to help.
Mary handed me a plate with a chocolate brownie studded with chunks of chocolate. Coffee and chocolate, my two favorites. I might recover after all.
For a split second, I considered not saying anything regarding the incident but immediately rejected the thought. He’d asked about the rest of the afternoon. Omitting was a form of lying, and I wouldn’t go there.
Memories and Murder
by Lynn Cahoon
The name of the series, Tourist Trap Mysteries, doesn’t begin to describe this bookish set adequately. Memories and Murder is the latest installment in which Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books and More in little South Cove, drinks coffee, eats sweet treats, and reads her way through relationship and murder issues. There are lots of threads to this plot. Aunt Jackie has called off her engagement to Harrold and gone silent. Deek is a new barista in the coffee shop; he is more perceptive than psychic, despite his heritage. He has great ideas for book clubs and follows through with implementation. Jill juggles investigating a murder and a scam and finds herself in deadly trouble.
The story is told from Jill’s point of view, and first person narration works well here. The pace moves along snappily in this cozy mystery. Don’t be deterred by Memories and Murder being the tenth book in the sequence. Author Lynn Cahoon is a master at bringing readers up to speed on characters and background. In the first chapter you will learn almost everything you need to know to enjoy this book while the storyline gets underway. There is perhaps a little too much description of who ate what, when, and where, but other than feeling like I needed to accompany Jill and her dog Emma on their beach runs, those details were not truly excessive. In fact, I’m looking forward to joining the South Cove family of friends in their next adventure.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #10 in The Tourist Trap Mystery Series, but works well as a standalone.
Publication: November 12, 2019— Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press)
Fighting with my boyfriend had not been one of the things on my to-do list today, but you had to make room for impromptu items.
Operation Harrold Wins Jackie Back was going to work. It had to work. All the best books and movies had a happily ever after. Real life should too.
…he’d assured me that the sun would turn to ice before he left me for her.
Molded 4 Murder
by J.C. Eaton
Sophia (Phee) Kimball is a full-time bookkeeper for Williams Investigations located in Glendale, Arizona. Nate, a retired police officer, moved to Arizona from Minnesota and persuaded Phee to work for his agency. Later he hired Marshall to join the group. They all knew each other from their jobs in Minnesota, but Phee and Marshall now have a romantic relationship. Phee lives close to her mother who, in league with her book club, keeps drama and gossip stirred up in the retirement community of Sun City West.
Phee finds herself drawn into an off-the-books mystery when two ladies she met on an airplane ask her to find out who is pilfering odd items in their resort retirement community. At the same time, Nate and Marshall are called in by local law enforcement as consultants when a semi-retired art teacher is found suffocated. Both mysteries get more complicated as the story progresses forming an intricate web. Not everyone is who they seem to be, and Phee’s favor to the ladies turns deadly. J.C. Eaton’s Molded 4 Murder includes quirky characters, humorous dialogue, investigators who know how to work as a team, and a lot of plot twists. It’s a cozy mystery that will leave you wanting more of the fun and action that this husband/wife writing duo dishes up so well.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #5 in the Sophie Kimball Mystery Series, but could be read as a standalone.
Publication: August 27, 2019—Kensington Books
We’ve got enough sugar cookies to set an entire classroom of kindergartners spinning for hours.
You give up a lot of things when you get old. You shouldn’t have to give up your privacy.
That girl can pick up gossip quicker than a black sweater picks up lint.
The Tale Teller
by Anne Hillerman
Many years ago I read Tony Hillerman’s mysteries, eagerly awaiting the publication of each new one. Then after a hiatus, I rediscovered the Navajo world I had been missing—Shiprock, the Rez, and officers Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito. This time the storyline has been picked up by Anne Hillerman, Tony’s daughter. With eight books to her credit, four of which continue the plot lines established by her father, Anne Hillerman is a formidable successor to her father.
The Tale Teller weaves a plot as complicated as any mystery I have read, using the same main characters Hillerman fans have come to love. The Navajo culture is portrayed accurately including some basic Navajo words to enhance the Native ambiance in the story. The setting is the Four Corners region of the Southwest in all its dusty, gritty heat of July. The characters have just enough predictability to cause readers to smile and nod, but not so much that there are no surprises. In fact, the plot provides so many of those that your head will be spinning trying to keep up.
Lieutenant Leaphorn is hired to discover what happened to some missing donations to the Navajo museum. Bernie and Chee help solve a murder. Sorting out truths from deceptions is never easy, and it certainly isn’t in this mystery with a surprise ending.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to HarperCollins Publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Mystery, Police Procedural
Publication: April 9, 2019—HarperCollins
“My philosophy is when someone says something sweet to me, I believe it. It balances those times someone said something mean and I believed that.”
“They aren’t teaching cursive writing much anymore. My daughter just prints and types. But she’s learning to speak Navajo in class and that’s more important. You can’t expect the schools to do everything.”
Leaphorn knew what it was like to miss someone, how the numbness of shock fades into profound, bone-deep loneliness.
Getting Old Can Hurt You
by Rita Lakin
This is my first opportunity to read a book in the Gladdy Gold Detective Agency Mystery Series. I found it amusing, but not hilarious. The main characters in Getting Old Can Hurt You by Rita Lakin are a group of seniors who consider themselves a detective gang under the leadership of Gladdy. Just as young people are not all alike, neither are these seniors. They run the gamut from down to earth to not quite all there. They are generally up for an adventure even if it is limited by arthritis, pee breaks, and walkers and canes.
A long-lost granddaughter arrives at the senior apartments looking for the grandmother she hates. It seems, however, that she has other plans in mind besides reconnecting with her grandmother. Having survived a difficult childhood, she travels across the country to solve her personal mystery, hiding the fact that she is being followed. Will Gladdy’s gang be able to help her? They are determined to try!
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Severn House for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #8 in the Gladdy Gold Detective Agency Mystery Series. I had no problem understanding the story as a standalone, but readers might enjoy it more with additional background on the characters.
Publication: October 1, 2018—Severn House
We know we’re all in the checkout line for the big deli in the sky, but until then we are totally involved in the Gladdy Gold detective agency. Our motto, “Never Trust Anyone Under Seventy-Five.” Senior Sleuths to Senior Citizen. Our slogan—“We Take Care of Our Own.”
Lola never says much when Hy’s around. There’s only room for one ego.
“When I got older I found my happy hobby. Stealing do-re-mi to help old folks who needed surgery.” Sophie adds, gushing, “You were so good at it. Loved the plastic gun in the pastrami sandwiches.” Izzy blushes, pleased with the compliment. He shrugs. “Jail time reformed me finally, and now you’re caught up. Here I am. I’m looking into another happy hobby.”