Category Archives: Cozy Mystery Week

TSS: Wrapping up Cozy Mystery Week!

CozyMystery2013Well, this has certainly been a hectic and crazy week. My grandfather passed away last Friday so we traveled to West Virginia for his services. It was a beautiful trip, listening to other people talk about how my grandfather changed their life. Grandpa was always my Superman – there was really nothing he couldn’t do – but it was so moving to see that he played this role for so many other people.

I contemplated postponing Cozy Mystery Week due to his passing, but he was the sort of man that wouldn’t want us to alter our lives to much, or be too sad, at his passing. He would want us continue doing what we love, and talking about books is what I love!  So, here is a wrap-up of Cozy Mystery Week. Feel free to comment and mention some of your favorite series!

It’s snowing outside today and I plan on doing nothing but curling up with a book! I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!

Cozy Mystery Week: The Thrill of the Haunt (Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries) by E. J. Copperman

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  • Series: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (November 5, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0425252396
  • Source: Author

Alison Kerby is used to a house full of spirits.  The guest house she recently purchased is home to a handful of spirits, one being her own father. Tourists have been flocking to her guest house in hopes of witnessing spiritual activity.  While Alison has never publicly accepted her role as the town’s “ghost lady” she does appreciate the money that comes from these tours.   Alison is forced to juggle these spiritual performances with the various private investigation cases that seem to fall into her lap. When the town’s resident homeless man, Everett,  comes to Alison for help in ridding himself of unwanted and unseen ghosts, she’s had enough.  All she wants to do is focus on fixing up her Victorian guest home, giving guests an experience they won’t soon forget.

When Everett is found murdered in a gas station men’s room, Alison is shocked beyond belief. She’s even more stunned when her nemesis hires her to investigate Everett’s death. Now juggling two P.I. cases, Alison can’t even begin to focus on the renovations required at her guest house or her own personal life.  She finds herself not only concerned about the health and safety of the living but the ongoing existence of the spirits she’s come to consider as family.

This is my first experience with this cozy mystery series and I’m enamored!  While it is the fifth book in a series, I had no problem in catching up.  The author does a fantastic job of providing adequate backstory that will give readers to to the series enough details to continue without confusion.  Alison’s character is endearing, despite the fact she is hesitant to live up to her powers and acknowledge that the rumors spread about her ghost, I mean guest, house are true.  Additionally, Copperman so perfectly converging two story lines. Never could have I imagined that they were connected. Honestly, I was shocked as it all came together so perfectly in the end!

I definitely plan on catching up with this series, starting from the beginning! I look forward to watching the characters evolve, watching the crazy antics of Alison’s resident spirits as they interact with the living. Yet another supernatural cozy mystery to add to my list of favorites! Highly recommended.

 

Cozy Mystery Week: Witch Way To Murder by Shirley Damsgaard

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  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; English Language edition (August 30, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 0060793481
  • Source: Library

Ophelia Jensen is a small-town librarian who refuses to acknowledge her psychic powers.  She moved to this small town after an incident from her past left her with severe post-traumatic stress syndrome.  Her grandmother, Abby, sees know reason to deny or hide her peers.  While Abby doesn’t come right out and admit to being a witch, she’s comfortable in her powers and appreciates what they offer.  Despite all her attempts to separate herself from her super-sensory abilities, dreams keep making their way into Ophelia’s subconscious, forcing her to focus to track down the identity of a young woman who frequents her dreams.

When a dead body is found in the woods behind her home, Ophelia can’t help but get involved in the investigation. Closely following her is Rick Davis, a stranger who has come to town to reportedly investigate a series of chemical thefts in town.  Something dark and dangerous is amiss and, despite all her attempts to rebuke her powers, Ophelia gets sucked in. With the help of Abby, the two must use their combined energies to bring justice to the small town.

As you may have noticed, I’m drawn to  cozy mysteries with a tinge of supernatural. Going in, I was expecting a light, simple read. Surprisingly,  Witch Way To Murder had much more depth to it than I could have ever expected. The backstory the author reveals about Ophelia’s past was just enough to provide explanation as to some of her behavior without detailing too much.  If readers are anything like me, I’m desperate to know more about Ophelia’s youth and the incident that forced her to abandon her powers.

Additionally, since I was born in the Appalachian myself, I truly appreciated that the author chose to focus on the natural, old-school form of magic and witchcraft native to this part of the country.  I’m really looking forward to learning more about the abilities that Ophelia and Abby share!

This series was recommended to me after I solicited cozy mystery series to feature this week. I’m genuinely interested in catching up with all the subsequent titles (6 in total).  If you are looking for a truly engaging supernatural cozy mystery, this is the series for you. Highly recommended.

Cozy Mystery Week:How to Murder a Millionaire: A Blackbird Sisters Mystery by Nancy Martin

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  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (October 1, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 0451207246
  • Source: Personal copy

When Nora Blackbird’s parents flee the country, evading tax-collectors, they leave Nora and her sisters with mounds of debt. Their property is divided among the three Blackbird sisters: Emma is gifted the art collection, Libby the furniture collection and Nora, the family land and property that has been in the family for generations. Unfortunately, with this property comes a two million dollar tax bill. Nora is forced to find a job. As a former socialite, this is a completely foreign concept to Nora. Reluctantly, she accepts a job as a columnist for the society page after a family friend takes pity on her.

Still desperate to find funds to pay off the tax debt, Nora sells a portion of the family land only to find it has been converted to a monster truck dealership. Her sisters are shocked when they learn of the property sale, forgetting that they property they were handed down by their parents didn’t have any debt attached to it.

Things can’t possibly get any worse (you know they do anytime you hear/read that statement). Yet when Nora attends a party that evening, she discovers the body of Rory Penderghast, the family friend that gave Nora her job. Nora is obviously devastated and, when her curiosity gets the best of her, begins her own little investigation into Rory’s death.

How to Murder a Millionaire is an incredibly witty cozy mystery. The dialogue between the Blackbird sisters is downright hilarious. At first, i thought I would be turned off by Nora’s attitude as a former snobby socialite but found that she did have a genuine interest in finding the culprit behind her dear friend’s death.

This series is lighthearted, perfect for someone wanting to curl up with a light and easy read.  I guarantee these books will become an “old favorite,” books you pick up, knowing you are going to have a tremendously rewarding reading experience.  Highly recommended!

Cozy Mystery Week Day 2: Rosemary and Crime by Gail Oust

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  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 17, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1250011043
  • Source: Publisher

Piper Prescott, recently divorced, opted to use all the money she received in the settlement to follow her lifelong dream: opening a spice shop, Spice it Up!, in her small Georgia town. For the grand opening, Piper arranged for a local chef to do a cooking demo in her store. When she finds this chef murdered, however, all her plans are ruined. To make matters worse, since she handled the murder weapon, a knife, she’s the prime suspect.

Making matters worse, the brand new police Chief Wyatt McBride happens to be the arch nemesis of her ex-husband, CJ. McBride is desperate to make a name for himself and Piper feels he will do whatever it takes to solve this case. Desperate to uncover the identity of the true killer, Piper enlists her best friend, Reba Mae Johnson, and the duo do a bit of investigating on their own.  As she gets closer to finding more answers, Piper realizes that she is the killer’s next intended victim. Will she (and her beloved spice shop!) survive long enough to bring the killer to justice?

Rosemary and Crime is an adorable and captivating Southern cozy mystery. Reading Piper’s descriptions of spices and the dishes she uses them in had my mouth watering from page one! Additionally, the small Southern town full of charm and outrageous antics had me giggling.  The characters were lively and engaging, particularly Piper! I admit to rooting for her from the beginning! Her husband divorced her after over twenty years of marriage and instead of wallowing in depression, Piper follows her life-long dream! Add a truly intriguing murder to the spin and you have the recipe for a truly delightful new cozy mystery series!

This is a must-read for any fan of culinary mysteries! Highly, highly recommended!

Kicking Off Cozy Mystery Week: Family Skeleton Series by Leigh Perry

CozyMystery2013I’m thrilled that Cozy Mystery Week is finally here! Honestly, I use this feature as an excuse to make time to discover new cozy mystery series as well as give some attention to some of my long-time favorites!

Today, we’re kicking off with a new cozy mystery series by Leigh Perry, the Skeleton in the Family series:

  • Series: A Family Skeleton Mystery (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (September 3, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0425255840
  • Source: Library

Georgia Thackery and her daughter, Madison, are used to picking up and moving relatively frequently.  This time, however, they find themselves back at Georgia’s childhood home after she lands a job at the local college. This certainly isn’t what Georgia aspired to be doing as working as an adjunct professor doesn’t give her the prestige and reputation she desires. Yet when money is tight she’s willing to do what she can to get by.

Since her parents, tenured professors, are on sabbatical, Georgia and Madison have their home to themselves. Well, unless you count the skeleton, Sid, who has been in the Thackery family since Georgia was a young girl. Sid is not your typical skeleton. He walks, talks and has a pretty outrageous sense of humor.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t remember anything about his life before his demise. He spends most of his time in the attic or hidden in a bureau so he isn’t discovered.

When Sid asks to go to a local anime convention so he can get out of the house for a bit, Georgia can’t say no. Dressed in costume, Sid is able to blend in with the crowd.  There, however, he spots a woman that sends chills down his spine. Desperate to know who he was when he was living, he calls upon Georgia for help. Together, they find out how Sid may be connected to this woman.  When she turns up dead, however, Sid and Georgia become involved in a murder investigation as well!

I find I’m drawn to cozy mysteries with a supernatural element to them. Needless to say, A Skeleton in the Family meets this criteria! In investigating the murder, the reader has the opportunity to learn about Sid’s life and identity. Perry does an outstanding job of explaining how Sid came to be. Additionally, she created incredibly endearing characters in Georgia, Madison and Sid. This is a series I really look forward to following!

Check back tomorrow as I feature yet another cozy mystery series!

Introducing Cozy Mystery Week 2013

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The fall/winter months are times of year best spent curled up with a blanket and a nice book. Even better, a cozy mystery! Cozies are certainly one of my favorite types of books that, unfortunately, I don’t have the opportunity to read as much a I’d like. So, what better reason to read about them than a week-long celebration of cozy mysteries?

During the first week of December, before the holiday hustle and bustle takes over my life, I will feature my favorite cozy mystery series. Each day I will focus on a favorite series of mine, both new and old.  A fan of cozies yourself? Join me! Link up below or indicate your interest in the comments below. Also, I’ll create a link-up the beginning of cozy mystery week,  so feel free to link up any cozy mystery posts you’ve written. The best part? They can be from any time period, not only Cozy Mystery week.

So, get your comfortable reading spot, a nice warm blanket, a cozy mystery or two, and join me for Cozy Mystery Week!

 

Cozy Mystery Week: The Wrap Up!

The first annual Cozy Mystery week has come to an end. I certainly enjoyed it; I hope you have to. I learned a lot this week, mainly that one week isn’t enough to feature all the cozy mystery series I love. So, I do hope to make this an annual event at the very least. Certainly, Cozy Mystery Week isn’t the only time I’ll devote to reading cozy mysteries! I discovered so many new series this week that I cannot wait to dive into. Additionally, I have a few series I still want to feature, so stay tuned for more!

Before I share some of the series that are new to me, let’s do a quick recap of the week:

Now, on to the series I discovered via other Cozy Mystery posts:

Juliet Blackwell’s Haunted Home Renovation Series
Karen Olson’s Tattoo Shop Mysteries
Robin Paige’s Sir Charles Sheridan Series
Rosemary Harris’ Dirty Business Mysteries
Victoria Laurie’s Ghost Hunter Mysteries & Psychic Eye Mysteries
Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity Series
Jenn McKinlay’s Library Lover Mysteries

These are just a small representation of all the series I’ve discovered this week! What about you? Any favorite cozy mysteries you’d like to share?

Also, don’t forget to link up your cozy mystery post! It doesn’t have to be from the last week. As long as it involves cozy mysteries, feel free to link it up!

Finally, thank you all for participating (putting up with) Cozy Mystery Week. This week has reminded me of how much I love reading cozy mysteries!

Cozy Mystery Week Day Seven: Review-Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Original edition (November 27, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1451684649
  • Source: Publisher

Karen Nash is a small-town librarian in Minnesota. She’s preparing to embark upon a dream trip to London with the love of her mid-life, Dave. Just a few hours before their flight, Dave calls and breaks things off with Karen, their four-year relationship ending in a matter of minutes. Obviously, Karen is shattered. Taking a few minutes to collect herself, she thinks about all the time and effort she has put into this trip and decides to go…without Dave.

Arriving at the airport with less than an hour to spare, Karen is shocked to find Dave boarding the plane. To make matters worse, he isn’t alone; a skinny, young attractive woman is at his side. Fuming, Karen realizes that the best revenge would be to continue with the trip as planned.

Upon arrival in London, Karen retreats to the bed and breakfast she reserved for their stay, only after following Dave and his young honey to the hotel where they are staying. Obviously, she’s completely shattered to find out the true cause of the breakup, but she’s in London! A city she has dreamed of visiting and she intends on making the most of it. The owner of the bed and breakfast is the incredibly charming Caldwell Perkins, a book lover like herself. Her room is full of classics she can’t wait to devour. Still upset about what happened with Dave, she agrees to join Caldwell on a trip to the local pub. There, she gets slammed, not realizing the beer served in England is a bit more potent than American beer. She finds herself talking to a brooding, mysterious stranger, telling him what happened with Dave, perhaps maybe wishing he were dead…

The next morning, Karen awakes and finds another guest of the B&B sitting a chair, a copy of the classic Milne book,Winnie the Pooh,draped across his leg. Karen believes he is sleeping but unfortunately soon realizes he is dead. Was his death natural or was it murder? Karen, obsessed with mysteries, can’t help but get involved, at the same time wondering if that strange man she spoke with in the pub the other night truly intended on following through her wish to kill Dave…

Since Cozy Mystery Week is drawing to an end, I thought it would be appropriate to feature a brand new cozy series. Killer Librarian is the first in a new series. A truly stunning debut, this cozy has a whole host of characteristics I absolutely love as a reader including an absolutely gorgeous setting, a bit of mystery, characters who share my love of books and, ok, a little romance. Karen’s character is a true delight. She’s an intelligent, witty librarian who believes her live can’t get any better when in actuality it can’t get much worse. Readers can’t help but feel sympathy for her, ultimately wanting the very best for her.

The setting! I can’t help but talk endlessly about the beautiful setting Kirwin portrays. Having never visited London myself, Kirwin portrays a setting so vivid that I feel as though it’s a city I’ve known all my life. She picks up on cultural differences between the United States and England (i.e. back yard vs. back garden, book store vs. book shops, etc.). At one point on the novel, Karen visits Hay On Wye, a small village overflowing with book shops. Hello? A bit of heaven on earth.

While nothing yet has been announced about subsequent titles in this series, I cannot wait to read more about Karen, the killer librarian. Highly recommended.

 

Cozy Mystery Week Day Six: The Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle

You may recognize the author of today’s featured series, the Coffeehouse Mysteries, from a series I featured earlier this week. In addition to today’s series, she writes the Haunted Bookshop series under her pen name, Alice Kimberly. It’s really no surprise that I enjoy the Coffeehouse Mysteries as well for many of the things I love about her other work is duplicated in this series.

Also, admittedly, I have an obsession/addiction to coffee. As Coyle so eloquently puts it in the first book in this series, On What Grounds, when you find that perfect cup of coffee, you make yourself vulnerable, for once you no longer have access to that coffee, you’re screwed. So true, so true.

Imagine that perfectly brewed cup of coffee…but in written form. Hard to imagine? Well, Coyle does an outstanding job of putting in written word the beauty and essence the glorious hot beverage that is coffee. Oh, and throw a bit of crime into the mix and you have a wonderfully addictive series.

The main character, Clare Cosi, left her job as manager the historic Village Blend coffeehouse in New York’s Greenwich Village when her marriage ended. She escaped the memories of her marriage and fled to the New Jersey suburbs. Ten years later, however, her daughter Joy is off on her own and Clare’s life has become quiet and, frankly, quite dull. When the eccentric, elderly owner of the coffeehouse calls her and offers her job to her once again, Clare can’t resist. Little did she know what she was getting into. Deaths of employees, customers, and prominent socialites are just the tip of a mess that Clare finds herself immersed in. Running this coffeehouse is her passion and therefore she is willing to do whatever it takes to maintain the prestigious reputation the coffeehouse has upheld for so many years.

In addition to being a truly remarkable and addictive cozy mystery series, Coyle educates readers a great deal about coffee. She does this so expertly that readers don’t even realize how much they are learning until they find themselves quoting names of particularly delicious (and expensive!) coffee varieties. She goes beyond the basics of coffee, yet it is so engrained within the storyline that it is unnoticeable on the surface.Additionally, Coyle excels at capturing the New York setting, both in descriptions of the physical landmarks as well as the culture of the surrounding residents.

The recipes…how I loved all the recipes! Coyle includes a few recipes in each volume as well as on her web site. Fans of coffee lovers and foodies alike will truly enjoy this series!

Out of all the cozy series I’ve read this is probably the longest series (twelve books in total) it is by far the most addictive one. When I started this series nine years ago, I happened to pick up a copy of the first book. Just the first book. It was pure torture that I had to wait a year for the release of the next book. Readers just discovering this series are in luck having the ability to have the entire series at hand. I warn you, however: don’t just pick up the first book…grab the second as well. Like coffee, this series is so addictive you will want to have the next one on hand!

 

About the author:

Cleo Coyle is the pseudonym of Alice Alfonsi, who collaborates with her husband, Marc Cerasini, to write the Coffeehouse Mysteries and The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, both of which are national bestselling series for Penguin’s Berkley Prime Crime.