by Sandra Murphy
Here are 3 more mysteries from Kengsington authors for your spring reading-Color Me Murder: The Pen & Ink Mystery by Krista Davis, I Know What You Bid Last Summer: A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery by Sherry Harris, and Murder She Knit: A Knit & Nibble Mystery by Peggy Ehrhart. 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.
Color Me Murder: The Pen & Ink Mystery by Krista Davis
Review by Sandra Murphy
Color Me Read is the bookstore everyone would love to visit. It’s in Georgetown, D.C., Florrie Fox is the manager. At least, that’s her day job. At night, she draws detailed pages that turn into coloring books for adults. The bookstore is owned by Professor John Maxwell, an eccentric man who depends on Florrie to keep things running smoothly.
She’s surprised when the Professor asks for a favor—would she please move into his carriage house and could it be today? It seems his sister and brother-in-law are done dealing with their son and have decided the carriage house would be the perfect spot to get him out of their hair but let him remain close to the family money. The Professor is appalled by the thought.
Florrie agrees and to her delight, finds the carriage house is just about perfect for her and her cat. The garden is wonderful, a great place to draw, and the flowers could be the theme of a new coloring book.
At the store, she meets the nephew she’s displaced and can easily see why no one wants him around. Delbert is obnoxious to everyone but his uncle—there he’s a suck up. The next morning, no one can find Delbert although the urge is not to look too hard. Unfortunately, Florrie is the one to find him. There’s a trap door over a small room and inside is Dead Delbert, shot with an arrow.
The Professor is the obvious suspect since he knew about the trap door and the bow and arrow were displayed in his office. He’s arrested and his only request is that Florrie handle things for him.
Delbert was the kind of guy who could make an enemy just by saying hello, so there are plenty of other suspects to choose from, at least to Florrie’s mind. With the help of the Professor’s butler (such a snob!), she’s able to draw her own conclusions, different than those of the police.
Florrie is a dependable person, not one to take silly risks. Her family can be a bit challenging but in a loving way. Co-workers are the usual—some dependable, some surprising in a pinch, and always one who complains about everything.
This is the first in what I hope will be a long series. I thoroughly enjoyed following Florrie around the shop, into her garden, and watching her figure out the clues. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Florrie likes to bake and has shared her recipe for Blackberry Breakfast Muffins, Raspberry Quick Bread with Vanilla Glaze, and Strawberries and Cream Torte. Unique! Included in the print version is a front and back cover for readers to color.
Krista Davis writes the Domestic Diva series. Look for The Diva Cooks Up a Storm, coming in June. She also writes the Paws and Claws mysteries.
I Know What You Bid Last Summer: A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery by Sherry Harris
Review by Sandra Murphy
Sarah Winston has been an Army wife, moving from place to place for years. Now that she’s found a home she likes, friends, and has her own business running garage sales, she wants to stay. Too bad her husband disagrees and wants to move again. Until that’s resolved, he’s got a new job, states away, and she’s on her own.
Keeping busy helps. In addition to working with overwhelmed families to sell off unwanted items, Sarah sells online and does volunteer work like managing the sports equipment swap at the school. People bring in unused or worn equipment and trade for what they want to try next. To make the event a fundraiser, Sarah set up a silent auction for items like signed jerseys, hockey sticks, and giveaways.
After the other volunteers go home, Sarah’s left alone in the gym to add the finishing touches—getting all the basketballs to stop rolling around, the kid’s hockey sticks to stay upright, and make sure everything is priced. When the lights go out and she hears footsteps behind her, it’s time to hide, but where?
In the dark, she’s knocked to the floor and clobbered. Locked in the equipment room, she waits until it’s quiet again before freeing herself. Luckily, a cop she knows is checking the school on his way to the station, so she’s able to report the attack right away. A quick inventory shows a number of the silent auction items are gone.
Near the end of the day, Sarah opens a locked equipment room door to find the body of Melba Harper, school superintendent, stabbed with a vintage ski pole.
There was only a small window of time when the murder could have taken place. Since the school was locked after Sarah’s attack, who had access? Sarah’s convinced Melba’s death has something to do with the theft but who and why is a total puzzle.
Sarah’s other project is to be the taste tester/secret shopper for Angelo and Rosalie, owners of DiNapoli’s Italian restaurant who entered their lasagna in a cookoff. Angelo thinks if Sarah is his spy, he has a better chance of winning. It works a couple of times, but then the chefs catch on and watch for her, making her undercover work that much harder—and funny.
Sarah still manages to find time to search for the stolen items in online auctions, meet her sexy new neighbor, and find out she’s not nearly so lonely as she expected to be.
This is book five in the popular series. Sarah is a likable character, more self-sufficient than she realizes, and a good friend. The mystery is a good one, keeping readers guessing until the end. Readers will also crave lasagna after the first few chapters. Included in the book are two fun items: Garage Sale Tips about selling food at the event and tips for Setting Up a Pretzel Bar…both delightfully informative.
Murder She Knit: A Knit & Nibble Mystery by Peggy Ehrhart
Review by Sandra Murphy
Pamela Patterson is the editor for Fiber Craft, a magazine all about crafting with fiber art. It keeps her busy, a good thing since her daughter Penny left for college. Now it’s getting close to Thanksgiving and Penny’s first visit home. House cleaning and menu planning are on the schedule.
Pamela’s a knitter and part of the Knit and Nibble club in Arborville, New Jersey, normally a quiet town. Her mornings are routine—coffee and a bit of breakfast, the paper, check email, take a walk. That’s been disrupted by the arrival of a tiny black cat who seems to have adopted her—at least from a distance. Kitty, named Catrina, will eat on the porch but runs when anyone gets close.
The club consists of half-a-dozen members who rotate meetings at their homes. When Pamela runs into Amy, a former friend, she invites her to join them. It’s puzzling when Amy is a no-show, but there must be a reason for her absence.
There is—when Pamela goes out to get the empty cat food dish after everyone has gone, she spots something odd behind the bushes. It’s Amy’s body and apparently she’s been there all evening. Amy has a metal knitting needle sticking out of her chest.
It’s hard to imagine who would want to kill Amy since she just moved to town, but there were problems with her new job that could also affect a club member. One clue is a pair of argyle socks that Amy made, but how could they point to the killer?
Once Pamela meets Amy’s sister, she wonders if Amy’s death was family-related. Her sister is certainly an odd character. And then there’s the mysterious doctor who lived in Amy’s building. Pamela gets all too caught up in figuring out what happened.
This is the first in a new series that promises to be long running. Pamela is someone you’d want for a friend (and you’d ask for her Pecan Pie recipe). Neighbors Bettina and her husband Wilbur (ask for his Chili recipe) add to the mix. A new guy right next door just might add some spice. Don’t forget Catrina, the little cat!
Pamela does share her recipe for Autumn Apple Cake and a pattern for a Bohemian Chic scarf that uses up all the leftover bits of yarn in the craft basket.
To enter to win a copy of all 3 books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “kensington,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 7, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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