Pair of Fun Mysteries For Your Spring Reading

Mar 28, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

This week we have another pair of fun mysteries for your spring reading list-Murder in an Irish Cottage: An Irish Village Mystery by Carlene O’Connor and Murder Makes Scents: Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery by Christin Brecher. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of both books, along with links you can use to purchase them. If you have ad blocker on you won’t see the Amazon links at the end of each review.

Murder in an Irish Cottage: An Irish Village Mystery by Carlene O’Connor
Review by Sandra Murphy

Siobhan O’Sullivan and Macdara Flannery are engaged although no one but the two of them knows about it. They are both garda (police officers) in Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland. Dara would like to tell the world. Siobhan would like to savor it for a while first, especially as it might cause problems on the job.

In addition to being a garda, she’s part of Naomi’s Bistro, now mostly in the hands of her five brothers and sisters, who have varying degrees of involvement. With family so important to her, she’s willing to use her vacation days to travel to a small village after a frantic call from Dara’s cousin Jane since his family matters, too. Jane says there’s a problem with her mother Ellen, a cranky and hard to get along with woman under the best of circumstances.

Jane is blind and used to things being in their proper place. She says she was at a conference in Dublin and returned home to find her mother on the bed. Ellen is dressed up, hands folded neatly, and very dead. Beside the bed is a broken tea cup. Was it a suicide, murder, or an accidental death? Siobhan notices clues that point to murder.

There are more questions than answers. Siobhan and Dara have no official standing in this jurisdiction but are trying to help behind the scenes. It helps, and hurts, that Siobhan went to garda school with Danny, the local garda who is working on the case.

The villagers are certain Ellen was killed because she lived in a cursed cottage. There are fairy rings made up of mushrooms or stones, located near fairy trees (hawthorns), and fairies like their privacy. When a cottage is built on the path fairies would take from the tree to the ring, trouble ensues. Ellen is not the first occupant to die. By popular demand, the villagers think the cottage should be torn down to restore the fairies’ pathway. Being stubborn, Ellen refused to move.

Suspects include a mysterious boyfriend, a limo driver, a peeping Tom, disgruntled neighbors, and members of a painting class. Siobhan has her hands full managing Dara’s jealousy, his defense of family, the villagers, and Jane’s lies and snarkiness. Siobhan’s family visits during her now working holiday with the younger ones eager to help. When Ellen’s sister, aka Dara’s mother, shows up, things really get complicated. As crabby and particular as Ellen was, she was the nice sister.

This is book five in the series. Siobhan is a good investigator, loves her job, loves Dara, and adores her quirky family. Dara is the perfect man for her as long as he doesn’t try to be bossy. Her family can be trying but her love for them shows. As her life changes, so do theirs. This is a series I always look forward to reading.

Murder Makes Scents: Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery by Christin Brecher
Review by Sandra Murphy

Stella Wright is a candlemaker with her own store in Nantucket. Discovering new scents is an inherited talent. Her mother, Millie, explores to world to do just that. She and Stella don’t get to spend a lot of time together as a result so attending a perfume industry conference in Paris together is a treat.

Toward the end of the conference, they witness the death of a man who was stabbed in the back. That ends the conference a bit early so Millie has time to enjoy Nantucket and extend her visit with Stella. Unfortunately, she is not fond of Stella’s cat, Tinker, who is determined to make a good impression and a new friend.

One of Tinker’s attempts leads to a fall and loss of memory for Millie. Troubles continue as the candle shop is broken into, a note is left saying Millie has a secret formula, and her life is in danger if she doesn’t turn over the formula.

Not knowing who to trust, Stella fumbles to find out the truth. There’s an FBI agent, a reunion, a reunion attendee who is very interested in Millie, visitors at the B&B, and more. In fact, any stranger in town is now a suspect.

For fans of tales where an unsuspecting person is drawn into international intrigue, this book has it all. Threats, missing persons, misdirection, red herrings, clues, villainous criminals, and more, all will have readers turning the pages to see what happens next.

While most mysteries necessitate a suspension of belief to some degree, this story requires readers throw reality out the window as Stella takes on a faceless international criminal, tries to save her mom, find the formula, deal with a boyfriend, and still run her business, often with humorous results.

This is book two in the series with Murder’s No Votive Confidence, the first.

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 “spring reading,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 4, 2020. 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 WILL TAKE LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

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.

You can use this link to purchase any of these books from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. A Murder of Crows, edited by Sandra Murphy (a popular title so you need her name to search), has twenty-one cozy stories. Each features the collective name of an animal and a crime. The animals range from tarantulas, koalas, wolves, bears, jellyfish, toads, cats, dogs, alpaca, goats, penguins and more. No animals were harmed. The people weren’t so lucky. Available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

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.


  1. wonderful feature and giveaway. Setting is ideal and books a treat.

  2. Great couple of books! Count me in!

  3. I’ve been reading the series by Carlene.
    Christin’s would be a new series.
    would love both. thanks

  4. Would love to read both books. Thanks for the chance.

  5. I like the Irish Village series. The Candle series is new to me but it sounds really good.

  6. I selected Carlene O’Connor as our March mystery author for my mystery reading group. I enjoyed the first two in this series so far.

    I have not heard about, but will look for Cristen Brecher.

    karen94066 at aol dot com

  7. We have a winner!


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