by Sandra Murphy
This week we continue to catch up on our reviews with some more fun mysteries featuring pets, food, and books-Broadcast for Murder by J. C. Eaton, Fishing for Trouble by Elizabeth Logan, Murder in the Margins by Margaret Louden, and On Deadly Tides by Elizabeth Duncan. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 4 books and links to purchase them at the end of each review–you may not be able to see the Amazon links if you have ad blocker on.
Broadcast for Murder by J. C. Eaton
Review by Sandra Murphy
Streetman, the Chi-weenie (Chihuahua/Dachshund mix), is back. His person, Harriet, mother of the ever so patient, Phee, has been asked to host the Booked 4 Murder Mystery Hour live radio show, about murder mystery books, with her friend, Myrna, as co-host. What could possibly go wrong? Knowing her mother, Phee’s sure something will.
Sure enough, Harriet is in the middle of a lengthy introduction when Myrna’s voice can be heard screaming that someone has been murdered. Not sure if it’s part of the show or reality, Phee rushes to the station. It’s real. The program director was stabbed.
When a second murder takes place, there’s no controlling Harriet’s paranoia. There are only two things that will distract her—Streetman and garage sales. Thankfully, there have been some great bargains to be had at pop up sales, new merchandise, still in the box, at bargain prices. Also, Streetman has to have new outfits for the Christmas in July event. He is not a fan.
Phee works as an accountant for a private investigation firm. With more cases than the police department can keep up with, they’ve asked the firm for help with interviews. With more work than the investigators can keep up with, they’ve drafted Phee to help. Although Phee says she’s just an accountant, she quite likes the investigative work. And it keeps Harriet off her back.
This is book seven in the series. Harriet and friends provide non-stop entertainment as long as you’re not the one in charge of corralling them. They do tend to panic at the least little thing, like finding dead bodies and getting death threats. Phee and Marshall now have a solid relationship which is a pleasure to see. I enjoy reading about characters who are not under thirty, in a love triangle, and who ‘just have to know’ what happened. It’s part of Phee’s job, both by way of her employer and you know, because of Harriet and friends. Start with this book but be warned, you’ll want to go back to book one to find out how it all started.
Eaton also writes the Wine Trail mysteries (4).
Fishing for Trouble by Elizabeth Logan
Review by Sandra Murphy
When someone gets sick enough to need an ambulance while sitting at a restaurant, people are going to worry, especially when the cause of death was poisoning. Luckily for the restaurant, the Bear Claw, known as the finest (and only) restaurant in Elkview, Alaska, the young man hadn’t received his order yet, so the food can’t be blamed. He worked for the local fish packing plant, and was there with three other employees, friends of his.
It’s the time of year when there are twenty hours of sunlight in Alaska. With a full staff who are experienced and reliable, Charlie, the Claw’s owner, is able to spend some time away from work to act as an informal investigator for the overworked sheriff. Along with her best friend Annie and Chris, a reporter, they’re able to find out another employee has gone missing, and company officials keep a tight lid on goings on at the plant.
A threatening note, suspicious strangers, and a pleading mother, make Charlie want to know more but also be afraid. Alaska’s a big place and so many things could easily go wrong. In addition to his regular duties, the sheriff is called away for a training class, leaving Charlie, Chris, and Annie to follow leads.
In her personal life, Charlie’s not sure if Chris is a potential boyfriend or just a friend, wondering if her parents are moving to the Lower 48 to retire, and is spoiling her cat Benny with as many toys as she can find to make up for leaving him alone while she works. Who hasn’t done that?
Readers will be anxious to know about the change her parents make and the outcome of the is Chris a boyfriend or friend conundrum. A fun series with a unique setting, and interesting side characters, this tale will satisfy reader’s hunger for a good book.
At the back, find recipes for spicy elk jerky (other lean meats will do), salmon patties, and a classic legal strategy called the Four Dog Defense. Book number one, Mousse and Murder, was reviewed here. Look for book three, Murphy’s Slaw, coming in May 2021, available for pre-order now.
Murder in the Margins by Margaret Louden
Review by Sandra Murphy
Penelope Parish accidentally wrote a best-selling book. No one was more surprised than she. Now her editor expects her not only to do it again but to finish the book by its deadline. Panicked, Penelope can’t pen a word. On a whim, she submits her application to be writer-in-residence for a small bookstore in Upper Chumley-on-Stoke, England. While she hopes the change of scenery will reignite the plot for book two, she’s shocked when her application is chosen. Now, in addition to oddities like blood pudding which is really a sausage, crisps that are really potato chips, and driving on the wrong side of the road, she’s dealing with a long-distance relationship she’s no longer sure she wants.
You’d think a small village like Chumley would be a quiet little burg. After all, you can walk pretty much everywhere. There’s one pub, one nice restaurant, a fish and chips place, the butcher shop, and the post office is inside the sweets shop. The biggest news is the Duke is engaged to be married. The scandal is, his fiancé Charlotte, is American and a romance novelist to boot.
Regina is the local boss-of-everything. She’s a social climber, overbearing, and in charge of the Fest. Unfortunately, this year’s Fest is her last. She’s found dead in the basement of the manor. Eager to find someone besides a neighbor guilty, villagers are quick to point a finger at Charlotte. Penelope is the only person who would understand what it’s like to be an outsider. At Charlotte’s request, Penelope agrees to nose around for clues to prove Charlotte’s innocence. All that Penelope knows about Britain comes from watching episodes of The Crown. Now she’s sort-of-friends with a soon-to-be-duchess!
Penelope is a fun character. She’s appalled at blood pudding, addicted to pasties, in charge of a book club and a writers group. She has a cat, Mrs. Danvers, and new friends. Most of all, she’s away from a judgmental family and a snob boyfriend. I’m hoping for many more adventures with Penelope. After all, as a writer, she understands the TSTL theory many heroines have and studiously avoids it. (TSTL is ‘too stupid to live’, code for main characters who take unnecessary, dangerous risks.)
This is the first book in a new series. Look for book two, Fatal Footnote, coming in July, 2021, available for pre-order now.
As Peg Cochran, she’s written three each of the Gourmet De-Lites mysteries, Cranberry Cove series, Farmer’s Daughter books, and the Murder, She Reported, an historical series set in the ‘30s Manhattan, plus five Lucille mysteries. As Meg London, she’s penned three Sweet Nothing Lingerie books.
On Deadly Tides by Elizabeth Duncan
Review by Sandra Murphy
Penny Brannigan lives in Wales although she’s a transplant from Canada. With her friend, she’s part owner of a manicures and hairstyling salon. A recent attachment that lacked sparks has completely fizzled so she remains happily single.
As a change of scenery, she and an artist friend, Alwynne, travel to North Wales for a painting class with Bill Ward. He was a television star and has reinvented himself as an art teacher. He’s a bit creepy around the ladies.
Alwynne goes up to bed after one drink while Penny stays in the bar for a second. In the crowd, she bumps into Colin Campbell, a wildlife photographer, also a transplanted Canadian. The pair end up sharing a table with young Jessica Graham, a reporter for a New Zealand newspaper. She’s on her first trip abroad to interview Bill Ward, write travel pieces, and to discover any clues she can about the disappearance of a New Zealander several years ago.
On their first plein air painting session, Penny and Alwynne have chosen to paint the famous lighthouse and seascape. Looking for an angle different from her friend’s, Penny notices a horrifying sight—a body at the foot of the cliff. It’s Jessica, and she’s been dead for hours, narrowly missing being swept out to sea.
Although her death is ruled accidental, Penny’s not sure. The position of the body, the fact that Jessica planned to go right to bed, and her comment about solving a cold case murder, together make Penny think there’s more to the girl’s death than first seen.
This is book eleven in the series. Penny is a level-headed woman, happy with her life, and not one to take dangerous risks. With this book, she’s confronted with possibilities she hadn’t imagined. Readers will be anxious to read the next book to see the changes she makes. This is a series I always look forward to reading because of Penny herself and the setting in Wales. A puzzling mystery, characters you’d want as friends, and a potential romance—what more could you ask for?
To enter to win a copy of all 4 books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “2021” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 6, 2021. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT MAY TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.
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