by Cynthia Chow & Sandra Murphy
As we get ready to head into the month of March it seemed a perfect time to share a pair of mysteries set at St. Patrick’s Day-Irish Coffee Murder: A collection of three short stories all based on St. Patrick’s Day by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross, and Four Leaf Cleaver: A Country Store Mystery by Maddie Day. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of both 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.
Irish Coffee Murder: A collection of three short stories all based on St. Patrick’s Day by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross
Review by Sandra Murphy
Irish Coffee Murder By Leslie Meier
Lucy Stone is anxious to get out of the newspaper office. The furnace has broken down, and it’s as cold inside as it is outside, or at least it feels that way. When Eileen stops by to talk about Irish dancers, Lucy volunteers to cover the regional contest. As always, the competing dancers all seem friendly, but there are rivalries.
There’s a food drive going on, too, and the rivalries there are more cutthroat than the dancers see. At stake is naming the new homeless shelter. Although the newspaper has been a collection point for the drive, a local realtor puts the paper’s contribution to shame.
When one of the dance moms dies, found in the bathtub, it’s a shock to all. Rumors fly that it was an accident, she fell asleep in the tub and drowned. Others say it was a suicide. The police say it was murder.
Lucy finds a tiny clue that leads her to the killer and a public confrontation.
To think, it all started with too many Irish coffees.
Death of an Irish Coffee Drinker By Lee Hollis
Liddy has booked a comedian for the local theater. Usually closed until the weather clears, she feels the town could use a night full of laughter. What could be better than a hometown boy made good?
Jefferson is a hit although his manager is a pain. Haley, Liddy’s friend, is on the spot to cater the after party, complete with Irish coffees with a secret ingredient. The evening is deemed a success—until Jefferson collapses and his death is declared a homicide.
There are a few suspects: Michelle, a server who is acting weird, Jefferson’s manager whose job may have been in jeopardy, or someone from the past. Haley wants the truth to come out — it wasn’t her brother’s new Irish coffee recipe that killed the comedian.
Recipes are included for Irish Stout Onion Soup, Irish Mudslide for two (includes Jameson Irish Whiskey, Bailey’s, and Kahlua, among other tasty ingredients), Whiskey Ginger, Irish Stew, Randy’s Irish Coffee, and Kelton’s Corned Beef and Cabbage.
Perked Up by Barbara Ross
Julia and her friend Zoey are making Irish coffees with plans to watch a movie and to stay out of the stormy weather. They’re surprised to see Captain George and Julia’s mom already in the living room. When the power goes out, ghost stories are in order. All the better because the story is part of the island history and based on a local family. The Captain barely gets his story underway when there’s a knock on the door — Fee and Vee, sisters from across the road, bearing Irish soda bread.
They know the old story, too, but have a different spin on it than the Captain does. Just as the conversation is heating up, there’s another knock — Gus and Mrs. Gus from the restaurant — and with another opinion on the story altogether. Everyone has a theory. Everyone is sure their theory is the right one.
Next to arrive are Livvie, Julia’s sister, with her two children. Then Livvie’s husband, Scotty, who’s been plowing driveways and parking lots. The last to arrive is Jamie, friend and local cop. He’s able to add details from the police blotter of long ago.
By the time everyone heads home, Julia has in mind a way to find out more about the long ago murder and the identity of the ghost. Don’t miss Vee’s recipe for Irish Soda Bread.
With three murders to solve, recipes to try, and Irish coffees to drink, this book will put you in the St. Paddy’s Day mood for sure. Just hope it doesn’t storm …
Four Leaf Cleaver: A Country Store Mystery by Maddie Day
Review by Cynthia Chow
As the small town of South Lick, Indiana, prepares to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the country store Pans ‘N Pancakes is gearing up for its own holiday celebration. The reality cooking television show “Holiday Hot-Off” has chosen Robbie Jordan’s vintage cooking store and restaurant as the hosting site for a special St. Patrick’s Day Edition, and Robbie is looking forward to this opportunity to promote and enhance her business. Her husband Abe O’Neill is even participating as one of the eight contestants, all of whom must include as an ingredient the sponsoring Hoosier Brewing Company’s Irish Stout. Before the contest even has a chance to start, though, Robbie finds the domineering host Tara Moore in the upstairs B&B room, bludgeoned to death by a cleaver. A four-leaf clover insignia on the murder weapon indicates that the cleaver was brought specifically for the contest, meaning that one of the visiting crew or competitors must have been the culprit.
Having built up a strong relationship with local law enforcement investigators, Robbie is trusted enough to be both a source and an active participant in questioning the visitors in town. Even Robbie has to admit that she has spent an alarming amount of time in Emergency Rooms or at the wrong end of a weapon, but she’s unable to remain on the sidelines when Pans ‘N Pancakes is the crime scene. She soon discovers just how cutthroat a cooking competition can be when accusations are made of recipe stealing and blackmail, with most of the threats leading back to Tara. When a mysterious angel investor steps in and allows the Hot-Off to continue, no one is more surprised than Robbie when she is asked to be the replacement host. When not watching YouTube videos to prepare for her hosting duties, she also conducts a subtle investigation and tries not to focus on just how many of her friends are suddenly awash in baby fever.
As a rabid fan of Top Chef, this mystery satisfies on so many levels. The pace of the cooking and competitiveness of the chefs shines through, as do the descriptions of their tasty creations. The relationship between Robbie and Abe is as strong as ever although they are now struggling with the disappointment of their slow efforts to start a new family. The town of South Lick continues to charm as its characters are given room to grow, both professionally and personally. A trip to a drag queen bar takes Robbie and her friends out of their comfort zones, but shines a light on why someone could have wanted to see Tara dead. This eleventh in the series ends on a high note and allows for further enjoyable exploits but also winds up events with a satisfying conclusion. Recipes included at the end will delight foodie readers looking for a perfect St. Patrick’s Day treat, and the humor and witty dialogue is sure to please cozy mystery fans.
To enter to win a copy of both books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “st. patrick’s day,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 4, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up next week.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.
These are all wonderful authors so I
know the stories will be great.
I like every one of these authors. Thanks for the chance.
Three for one special! Count me in!
I have enjoyed previous books by these authors. Both books sounds delightful!
Great authors. Great new books for Spring!
I love these themed anthologies and the Country Store series too. All excellent authors!
Thanks for the opportunity! tWarner419@aol.com
Fingers crossed that the luck of the Irish is with me for these two great books. Love me some cozies!
Fingers crossed that the luck of the Irish is with me. Two great and cozie books! Thank you for the generous giveaway. ?
We have a winner!