by Sunny Frazier
Don’t count winter out just yet! Here, for your reading pleasure, are several “yummy” mysteries with recipes, debut mysteries, and stories set all over the USA, Mexico, and across the Pond.
Author Carlene O’Neil finds the California Central Valley Ripe For Murder in Book 2 of her Cypress Cove Mystery. When Penny is approached to invest in a new train line through wine country, Penny and her winery manager go to a lavish resort to hear the details. Her neighbor’s daughter is also there flirting with married investors. When one of the investors’ wives is murdered, the girl, who was seen fighting with the woman, is the prime suspect. Penny starts sniffing out the real suspect—and discovers that her fellow potential investors have been savoring more than their share of deadly secrets.
Meanwhile, in Charleston, SC, catering a show at Heart’s Desire Jewelry means jewelers, museums, and private collectors will be there to sip some of Theodosia’s blends from the Indigo Tea Shop. The party is crashed by muggers who steal the precious gems. The thieves leave shattered glass, scattered gemstones, and a dead body in their wake. Theo can’t help but intercede when the aunt of the victim begs for help in figuring out who committed the brutal burglary. Though the FBI believes this daring “smash and grab” is the work of an international gang of jewel thieves, Theo is convinced that the felon is someone much closer to home. Laura Childs invites you to enjoy Book 17 Devonshire Scream in her Tea Shop Mystery, and the recipes and tea time tips included.
In the first Popcorn Shop mystery, Rebecca Anderson never intended to open a popcorn shop. But after a failed marriage to a celebrity chef, she’s returned to her hometown of Grand Lake, Ohio, with her poodle Sprocket to start “POPS.” A family friend who has been like a grandmother to Rebecca owns the chocolate shop next door. When the woman’s niece discovers her on the floor of her chocolate shop, the local sheriff thinks it’s a robbery gone wrong. As suspects start ‘popping’ up all over, Rebecca is determined to turn up the heat and bring the killer to justice in a jiffy! Kernel of Truth by Kristi Abbott includes popcorn related recipes.
More recipes are found in Death of a Bacon Heiress, Book 7 in the Haley Powell Food and Cocktails Mysteries by Lee Hollis. For Maine columnist Hayley Powell, becoming a local culinary celebrity opens lots of doors. When she is invited to do a cooking demo on a popular talk show, it’s a welcome distraction from her empty nest blues. Fame has its perks like when a bacon heiress offers Hayley a writing job. Hayley’s good fortune fizzles when the woman is found dead, and a wealth of enemies has Hayley trimming the fat off a list of suspects.
The New York Berkshires seem to be ripe for mysteries. It’s Out of the Dying Pan for Talia Marby when her new business, Fry Me a Sliver, expands beyond fish and chips to become one of the best eateries in the Berkshires of NY. But the owner of a neighboring boutique makes a stink and nurses a grudge. When the owner is found strangled with Talia’s scarf around her neck, Talia’s fryer finds herself in hot oil. To clear her name, she investigates and discovers surprises as well as a suspicion that someone had a good reason to want the victim dead. This is Book 2 in Deep Fried Mysteries by Linda Reilly.
Another mystery set in the Berkshires is When Bunnies Go Bad, Book 6 of the Pru Marlowe Pet Noir by Clea Simon. When a wealthy, obnoxious tourist and his ski bunny girlfriend surface in Pru Marlowe’s town, she knows she should stay out of their way. The animal psychic has to focus on the more immediate concern of a rabbit named Henry who is acting out, hiding, and avoids responding to Pru. It’s not until Pru discovers the tourist murdered and his girlfriend’s spaniel falls to her care that she gets dragged into a complicated case of crime and punishment. Pru will be lucky to escape by a ‘hare.’
B&B owner Bea Cartwright has taken on the responsibility of taking meals to nuns who are on retreat at the picturesque South Bass Island on Lake Erie. Peace is shattered when one of the nuns is found at the water’s edge—murdered. When a second nun is killed, Bea and the other members of the League of Literary Ladies start to wonder about eerie parallels with the Agatha Christie mystery classic. And Then There Were Nuns is Book 4 in the League of Literary Ladies by Kylie Logan.
The library in Shadow Bend, Missouri, closed years ago because of budgetary problems. When a wealthy benefactor offers to reopen it, five-and-dime store owner Devereaux Sinclair is thrilled. She’s not so excited when she discovers the donor is her runaway mother’s latest husband. Dev suspects their intentions aren’t as noble as they appear, but before she finds what they’re up to, the man turns up dead and all clues point to his wife. Denise Swanson puts her pro-tag on Book 5 Between a Book and a Hard Place of A Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery.
Can you really go home again? When P.I. Savannah Reid fled McGill, Georgia, everyone figured she wouldn’t be back. But Savannah makes a triumphant return with her handsome husband on her arm, ready to face the past at her 25th high school reunion. When her old nemesis shows she hasn’t changed, Savannah rises to the challenge. But the woman’s body shows up in the swamp, and everyone is ready to pin Savannah for murder. Savannah’s Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency comes to her rescue, but it’s hard keeping their boss out of jail. It’s the ultimate high school redemption in G.A. McKevett’s Killer Reunion, Book 21 of Savannah Reid Mystery.
Erica Bloom is in no rush to return to Otter Lake, New Hampshire, and her mother’s spiritual retreat for women. Her new-age-y, well-meaning mother is losing her grip on the business, and needs Erica’s help. Since her return, her former bullies are turning up dead, and her reappearance makes her a prime suspect. To make matters worse, the town sheriff just happens to be Erica’s old nemesis. Skinny Dipping With Murder is the debut series of Otter Lake Mystery by Auralee Wallace.
When Hayden Kent’s mentor and friend discovers her son’s body, dressed in full scuba gear, washed up on Pigeon Key, Florida, she needs Hayden’s paralegal and dive skills to unravel the mystery. He’d discovered a sunken Spanish galleon, and rumors that he hit the mother lode ran through the Keys like wildfire. Hayden’s dive on the treasure site uncovers gold and clues that his death was no accident. When two different wills are delivered to the courthouse, the suspect list grows and danger escalates for Hayden. It’s Death By Sunken Treasure, Book 2 of Hayden Kent Mystery by Kait Carson.
One of three from the Pacific Northwest is in Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge, the windsurfing capital of the world, and reporter Meg Reed is stoked to cover the King of the Hook event for a Portland magazine. Before the competition gets under way, Meg has a chance to try some windsurfing on her own. She spots a body snagged on the rocks, a celebrity windsurfer. It’s soon clear his death was no accident as he had plenty of enemies. Meg dives in to discover who wiped out the windsurfer in Silenced in the Surf, Book 3 in Pacific Northwest Mystery by Kate Dyer-Seeley.
Again in the Pacific Northwest, horse trainer Annie Carson rescued a thoroughbred from a roadside accident which left the driver dead. After rehabilitating the injured animal at her Carson Stables ranch on the Olympic Peninsula, Annie delivers the horse to the owner only to find she’s dead. Coincidence? Annie decides to track down the killer in Reining in Murder, Book 1 of Leigh Hearon’s Carson Stables Mystery.
Last in the Pacific Northwest, Book 26, Emma Lord finds out that deputies are going to dig up the dumpsite in Alpine, Washington, to see if a long-missing body will be found. She wants to find out if her hunch has paid off. Sure enough, a decomposed body is discovered—just not the one she expected. It takes more digging to find out who the man is and why he was buried there six years ago. The only clue is a belt buckle with a peace symbol. Emma and her sheriff husband experience The Alpine Zen in Mary Daheim’s latest.
Meanwhile, South of the Border, in Marla Cooper’s debut mystery, Terror in Taffeta, wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is wrapping up a destination wedding in the colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar pledging their eternal love. Just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids collapses. She hasn’t just fainted; she’s dead. When the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the mother-of-bride demands that Kelsey fix the matter. Although investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the woman could be a career-killer. Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, another dead body, and a rekindled romance.
Across the Pond, Delaney Nichols moves to Edinburgh, Scotland, to start a job at The Cracked Spine bookshop. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime because she’ll be working with a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes. Also working at the Cracked Spine are Rosie with tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; Edwin, who is enigmatic and mysterious; and Tom, the bartender next door who looks hot in a kilt. A precious artifact goes missing, and Edwin’s sister is murdered. With a possible connection, Delaney gets sleuthing. The Cracked Spine is Book 1 in the Scottish Bookshop Mysteries by Paige Shelton.
Time to get our hands dirty with Marty Wingate’s Book 4 of the Potting Shed Mystery, The Skeleton Garden. Texas transplant Pru Parke has put down roots in England, but never dreamed she’d live in a grand place such as Greenoak. When her former employer offers Pru and her husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, the use of his estate, she jumps at the chance because her brother also works there as a gardener. The removal of a tree stump turns up the wreckage of a World War II German fighter plane and a pile of bones. A rival from her brother’s past creates even more upheaval.
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