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End of March Mystery Catch Up

IN THE March 30 ISSUE

FROM THE 2019 Articles,
andCynthia Chow,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andPets,
andSandra Murphy
SECTIONS

by Sandra Murphy
& Cynthia Chow

This week we have another fun catch up group of mysteries-Something Read, Something Dead: A Lighthouse Library Mystery by Eva Gates, Murder, She Meowed: A Pawsitively Organic Mystery by Liz Mugavero, Mrs. Jeffries Delivers the Goods: Mrs. Jeffries series by Emily Brightwell, and Angels and Alibis: A Sister Lou Mystery by Olivia Matthews. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 4 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.

Something Read, Something Dead: A Lighthouse Library Mystery by Eva Gates
Review by Cynthia Chow

For Lucy Richardson’s cousin Josie O’Malley, the words to embody her perfect wedding are “small and simple.” They are well on their way towards that goal just a month before the ceremony, with the reception to take place at the groom’s Outer Banks, North Carolina restaurant, the church booked for eighty guests, cupcakes ordered, and the wedding dress purchased. Even the reception is to be a low-key event held at Lucy’s Lighthouse Library, where she works and lives. Unfortunately, the unexpected early arrival of Josie’s imperious Grandma Gloria and her “Louisiana Mafia” send all of their plans into a state of upheaval, as she brings along not just her own plans but her brother’s granddaughter Mirabelle, who hopes to use the wedding to jumpstart her own event planning business. As much as Lucy attempts to preserve the original vision, Josie’s will quickly crumbles as she is bulldozed into an over-the-top extravaganza. The wedding isn’t alone in having its budget explode, as a seemingly minor crack in the Lighthouse Library may end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs. mystery

The bridal shower thrown at the Lighthouse Library looks to be the only surviving remnant of the original ceremony, but none of the plans included Mirabelle collapsing dead at the party’s end. No one would blame Josie for going Bridezilla on her flirtatious, attention-hungry relative, but Lucy knows that her beloved cousin was incapable of putting poison in gluten-free cupcakes. The investigating Detective Yarmouth isn’t as sure, and with a blogger reporting on the bridal meltdowns, Lucy is determined to see that Josie walks down the aisle towards her groom and not into a jail cell. Tracking down vengeful ex-girlfriends and disgruntled employees seems easy in comparison to figuring out a way to fundraise enough money to save her beloved Lighthouse Library.

The novels by the prolific author Eva Gates/Vicki Delany all showcase characters with whom readers quickly grow to love and would want to know as friends. There’s no better feeling here than when seeing Lucy stand up for Josie and preserve the initial “small and simple” design, and it’s genuinely delightful when they attempt to bait and switch Grandma Gloria. Lucy’s own relationship with mayor Connor McNeil hits a bit of a bump as the board of the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library decides on whether to invest in repairs or allow certain factions see its ultimate closure. The extravagance, fun, and stress of wedding planning proves to be an excellent setting for a murder, especially when it’s combined with these wry, likable, and always entertaining characters. The reality of supporting an aging building will have book-lovers appreciating libraries all the more, and readers will truly be rooting for Lucy and her unique Lighthouse Library.

Murder, She Meowed: A Pawsitively Organic Mystery by Liz Mugavero
Review by Cynthia Chow

If only everyone had listened to Kristan “Stan” Connor, they would never have gotten into so much trouble. Newly-engaged Stan was the one who adamantly opposed any form of bachelorette party, but her sister Caitlyn threw a fit at the thought of not being able to throw an over-the-top event filled with streamers and strippers. Now, they’ve got a dead exotic dancer stuffed in a fake wedding cake and Stan’s Pawsitively Organic pet patisserie bakery is closed off as a crime scene. When it’s discovered that the deceased stripper was her own farm produce deliveryman Perry Puck, even Stan’s future sister-in-law, Connecticut State Police Sergeant Jessie Pasquale, can’t keep Stan from investigating and meddling in the murder.

mysteryDiscovering how the heir to a profitable upscale grocery chain became a party stripper is far preferable to dealing with her mother Patricia, whose vision for Stan’s wedding bears no resemblance to her own plan for an intimate ceremony held in fiancé Jake McSwigg’s family pub. The “gifts” of a wedding planner and a wedding gown are but the beginning of Patricia’s overwhelming and domineering involvement in Stan’s nuptials, and it’s going to take all the strength she has to resist the temptation to abandon all hope and elope. Fortunately, Jake, his sister Brenna, and Stan’s best friend Nikki will be around to lend support and the strength to stand against the force of her own female relatives, although they also tend to become accomplices in her detecting endeavors. While this more than exasperates Jessie, even she has to admit that Stan proves surprisingly effective in utilizing her pet-friendly treats to coax out confessions and information.

There’s nothing more entertaining than vicariously experiencing wedding planning, especially when it goes wrong. It’s hard not to feel sympathetic for Stan as she faces down her mother, yet the author skillfully balances out both sides by revealing Patricia’s misguided but well-intentioned efforts. Stan and Nikki’s surveillance into the questionable stripper business reveals unexpected results, yet a further swerve in the plot delivers a realistic yet surprising conclusion. Through it all Stan and Jake are comforted by their growing family of four-footed companions, whose number has increased through their involvement in murder. A Maine Coon, schnoodle, shepherd mix, and pit pull are a part of Stan’s family and enthusiastic test subjects for her baking experiments, with recipes included as a bonus treat for pet-spoiling readers (Strawberry Biscuits, Coconut-Carob Cookies, Peanut Butter and Bacon Homemade Dog Treats). This seventh in the series is as skillfully written and humorous as the first, and will have fans devoted to seeing a happy future for the pet-loving heroine. The plot and themes are always taken as seriously as the reverence for animals, balancing out this wonderfully fun and exuberant mystery series.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Mrs. Jeffries Delivers the Goods: Mrs. Jeffries series by Emily Brightwell
Review by Sandra Murphy

The Lighterman’s Ball remembers those who have lost their lives on barges, ships, and canals. Pierce and Son hosts the fancy dinner, this year with champagne and in a proper hall, an upgrade from the usual pint and pub.

The event is also a chance to introduce the new members of the board of directors. One is Stephen Bremmer, universally disliked, including by his wife. The annual toast is given, lights are turned off for two minutes to honor the dead, and then the meal resumes—or at least that was the schedule. An electric light sparked, the lights came on, and Bremmer choked and died, not the way anyone wanted the evening to go—except, well, the one who person planned it. mystery

What could be a natural death is quickly ruled a poisoning by Dr. Bosworth, who is also a police surgeon, what would be called a medical examiner today. Also present is Wiggins, footman to Inspector Witherspoon who, with the highest solve record for homicides, is assigned the case.

Unbeknownst to Witherspoon, he’s had help in solving his many cases. Everyone, from his housekeeper to the maids, is fascinated and help find clues. The gentry won’t speak to the police. Servants always know what’s going on in the house and are willing to chat with others of their station. Mrs. Jeffries lets Inspector Witherspoon believe the solution was his alone.

Bremmer used his wife as a personal bank, blackmailed people as a form of income, and embarrassed others as entertainment. The suspect list would have been long but with the lights out for less than two minutes, who had time to slip him the poison without being noticed? This proves to be one of the more challenging cases Witherspoon and his secret helpers have encountered.

Mrs. Jeffries is comfortable sipping sherry with the Inspector, clever at passing along information, and talented at arranging the clues into the proper solution. Readers can only imagine what Mrs. Jeffries could accomplish if she had Google, a cell phone, and a car! The rest of her investigators are equally intriguing. Wiggins can wheedle bits and bobs from maids while Cook has her sources come to the kitchen for a cuppa and a chat.

This is the thirty-seventh book in the popular series. There are also six anthologies featuring Mrs. Jefferies. There’s no need to read them in order, although having read quite a few, I find myself wanting to go back to where it all began and binge read them all.


?
Angels and Alibis: A Sister Lou Mystery by Olivia Matthews
Review by Sandra Murphy

Sister Lou, her nephew Chris, and his girlfriend Shari are back in investigative mode. Shari’s a reporter and naturally curious. The Mayor herself has asked for Sister Lou’s help in solving a series of threats, a death, and political shenanigans. Although reluctant to get involved, Sister Lou agrees.

After asking for help, the Mayor is a most uncooperative victim. She’s been receiving odd and threatening notes but doesn’t want to call in the police. She refuses to have bodyguards. She does not want to look weak to her opponents.mystery

Finally convinced, the Mayor agrees to have Diego, a newspaperman she knew years ago, drive her to and from work. She also concedes her home is not safe and stays at the mother house at the convent.

Between explaining Lent to Shari, getting ready for Easter, and solving the crime, Sister Lou has her hands full. Add Sister Mathilda’s unbound curiosity and penchant for gossip, and it’s hard to keep a secret. And secrets will always come out.

My only problem with the book is an excessive amount of description. Writers are told to add the five senses (taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell) to the page, but it’s not necessary to describe each person, their clothing, and their background or quirks in every scene. It distracted me from the mystery. I enjoy the series but don’t need to know the color of everyone’s shoes.

This is the third book in the series (#2, Peril and Prayer was reviewed here).

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 “march catch up,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 6, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. 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 iTunes and Google Play. A new episode goes up this 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:
mysteriousgalaxylogo

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won’t see coming.

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.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Taylor R. Williams March 30, 2019 at 9:39am

Awesome – a 4 book giveaway – thank you so much

Reply

2 Paula Adams
Twitter: @qnofdnile
March 30, 2019 at 2:36pm

4 great reads. I would love to win. Cozy mysteries have the best covers. Thank you for this chance. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

Reply

3 Gram March 30, 2019 at 2:50pm

What a wonderful selection of books!

Reply

4 DOWARD WILSON March 31, 2019 at 7:14am

I would love to win these wonderful books.

Reply

5 Jaime Minter March 31, 2019 at 8:25am

I’d be so excited to win these. They all look like great reads. Thanks for the chance! JL_minter@hotmail.com

Reply

6 Amanda L March 31, 2019 at 11:33am

They all sound like great reads! I’ve only read one of these authors, but the others are in my TBR list. Thanks for the March summary and the giveaway!

Reply

7 Anne March 31, 2019 at 3:00pm

Thanks for this generous giveaway. The books are all fascinating and intriguing. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Reply

8 Carol Knudtson April 1, 2019 at 7:46am

Thanks for the contest! Great books! ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

Reply

9 Robin Coxon April 1, 2019 at 12:22pm

These four are great books by all-star authors. They will provide amble entertainment for readers to enjoy. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

Reply

10 Dianne Casey April 1, 2019 at 12:35pm

Great selection of books. Would enjoy reading all of them. Thanks for the chance.
diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

Reply

11 Marilyn
Twitter: @MarilynWatson18
April 2, 2019 at 1:20am

Wow this is a fun and great mystery batch of books. Thank you for the chance.
Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

Reply

12 Mary Holshouser April 4, 2019 at 10:12am

I can catch up with the newest from
several of my favorite stories and
get into a couple new series.
thanks for the chance
txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

Reply

13 Lorie
Twitter: @mysteryrat
April 22, 2019 at 10:32am

We have a winner!

Reply

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