by Sunny Frazier
Holiday shopping starts early with these mystery titles for your favorite bibliophiles:
What’s better than Christmas all year around? Vicki Delany has a new series with that theme. As the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, Merry Wilkinson knows how to decorate in Rudolph, NY. She thinks her float in the Santa Claus parade will win best in show. However, Merry’s float is sabotaged and a reporter gets poisoned by a gingerbread cookie. Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen makes a fine present under the tree.
Another new series is A Dickens of a Murder, a Canterville Book Shop Mystery by Joyce and Jim Lavene. The holiday opening of the Canterville Book Shop in Portsmouth, VA, is at a dead standstill when the corpse of Ebenezer Hart is found decorating the roof. Eb opposed the opening of Lisa Wellman and Simon Canterville’s bookstore. Now Lisa’s ex, whom she hasn’t seen in years, is investigating the murder and she finds herself and Simon the primary suspects. It’s the ghost of Charles Dickens who comes to the rescue.
A feline Ebenezer shows up in The Cat of Christmas Past, Kathi Daley’s Whales and Tails Mysteries number six. It’s Christmas on Madrona Island, part of the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington. Fourth generation islander Caitlin Hart and friends have plans for the season until the landlord is set on evicting a family. Cait discovers he plans to evict all the tenants so he can convert the apartment building into condos. Aided by Ebenezer the cat, they try to convince the man to change his mind. Things look hopeless after Cait realizes that an unsolved murder may be behind the man’s gruff exterior.
The Heritage Society of Queensville, Michigan, is re-creating a perfect Victorian Christmas for their Dickens Days festival. Jaymie Leighton, food columnist and vintage cookware collector, sees a chance for promotion and for tourists to sample her homemade goodies. But when the body is found of a woman who predicted her death in journal entries, clues point to the editor’s son. It’s a White Colander Crime, Vintage Kitchen Mystery number five by Victoria Hamilton. Recipes included.
Meanwhile, in Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, the Seaside Knitters are at it again in their 10th outing, Trimmed With Murder by Sally Goldenbaum. Isabel Chambers and gang are knitting ornaments to decorate a tree for the first annual tree-trimming contest. Izzy’s younger brother arrives with a female returning to Sea Harbor to claim an inheritance. Before you know it, her body is found under the trees on the village green. With Izzy’s brother the main suspect in the murder, the Seaside Knitters step in to uncover the truth. Only by peeling away long-buried secrets can they hope to restore joy to the season.
It’s Fixer-Upper Mystery number three when Shannon Hammer is asked to renovate her boyfriend’s Victorian mansion in Lighthouse Cove, CA. But during demolition the fifteen-year-old bones of a girl are discovered. Now Shannon’s cleanup requires solving a cold case. New suspects come out of the woodwork in Crowned and Moldering by Kate Carlisle.
When a wealthy matron leaves her fortune to her dog in Mule Stop, Texas, the town is enraged. Miss Ruffles is a Texas Cattle Cur, known for digging up rose bushes, chasing the UPS man, and terrorizing her owner’s gentlemen callers. Yankee dogsitter Sunny McKillip is new to Texas and it’s an alien world for her. Still, it’s her unwilling mission to keep Miss Ruffles safe, solve a murder and understand the Texas mentality. Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything is a new canine series from Nancy Martin.
In Wagtail, VA, Holly Miller is in charge of running the inn while her grandma is on vacation. The town is throwing a week-long mystery game to pull in tourists, so the inn is full and now a blizzard is on the way. With electricity out, Jack Russell terrier Trixie finds a body. Now he and calico kitten Twinkletoes must put their noses together to sniff out a killer. Murder Most Howl is the third Paws & Claws Mystery for Krista Davis. Recipes for people and pets are included.
The Roundup Crew are dog lovers in Pacific Cove, CA. They meet on Friday nights at a bar to down Doggie Daiquiris, Muttguaritas and Arf D’Oeveres. When the owner mysteriously leaves town, sister Maggie steps in to run the bar. Things get complicated when she finds a body sprawled on the floor and a letter incriminating her sis. Hiding the letter from the detective isn’t a smart move and lands Maggie at the top of the suspect list. The only thing to do is start her own investigation into the Roundup Crew. Yappy Hour is a new series by Diana Orgain.
After marrying Chief Rawlings, restaurant owner and aspiring author Olivia returns to Oyster Bay, NC. The Bayside Book Writers are gearing up for the Coastal Carolina Crime Festival. The festival’s highlight is a celebrity screenwriter and television producer working on a television show in North Carolina. But local ghost stories come to life when a body is found on the beach. Ellery Adams is Writing All the Wrongs in the seventh outing of her Books By the Bay series.
Delivering books to the housebound residents of the Thumb Islands in Connecticut is just one of the duties of library director Lindsey Norris. Two elderly brothers residing in a Victorian house are her favorite patrons until one is killed and the other goes missing. A Likely Story is number six in the Library Lover’s Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay.
Turning 40 spurs columnist Aggie Mundeen to attend a San Antonio university and study the genetics of aging for her column “Stay Young With Aggie.” It’s the discovery of a body and her curiosity that nearly makes her Smart, But Dead in Nancy G. West’s third outing for Aggie.
Omaha PI Dezeray Jackson specializes in uncovering secrets. While working on a cold case of a 13-year-old girl, Dez is forced to confront her feelings about her sister’s unsolved murder. Will messages from beyond the grave help? Hush is the latest by Kori D. Miller and Larry Miller.
She goes by the name Nicole Jones and lives off the grid: no license, passport, or bank account. For 15 years she’s hidden from the world holed up on Block Island, avoiding computers because she knows she’ll be tempted to start hacking again. But her time as a hermit is ending when a man shows up revealing her secrets and destroying her carefully constructed fortress of a life. She needs to dust off dormant computer skills to escape from the island that has become a prison. Hidden is the first in a series by Karen E. Olson.
Talk-show host and amateur sleuth Kit Doyle thinks her mom is being melodramatic when she says she’s written a letter only to be read after she dies. When she dies the next day, Kit is shocked at her mother’s shady past. A second death makes Kit realize someone is determined to stop her from finding out the truth. If Anything Should Happen is a California-based mystery by Bonnie Hearn Hill.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section. Check back every month for Coming Attractions!
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