More April Penguins

Apr 25, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Cynthia Chow
& Sandra Murphy

We are ending this month with three more fun mysteries from Penguin-Shadow of a Spout by Amanda Cooper, The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco: A Book Club Mystery by Laura DiSilverio, and A Fright to the Death: A Family Fortune Mystery by Dawn Eastman. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 3, plus a link to purchase them.

Shadow of a Spout by Amanda Cooper
Review by Sandra Murphy

This is the first time Rose and Laverne have been able to leave the tea shop at the same time thanks to Rose’s granddaughter Sophie. You’d think it would be safe for Rose, Laverne, her dad, Malcolm, his friend Horace (both in their nineties), and the rest of the Silver Spouts teapot collectors to attend a convention only an hour away. Even with mild-mannered teapotters, there’s always something to argue about. If you add in Thelma, she who stirs up trouble just for something to do, well then, things are going to get interesting.

Zunia wormed her way into Orlando Pettigrew’s affections, destroyed his marriage to Dahlia, and then railroaded her way into the top spot of president of the New York state division of the International Tea Pot Collectors Society. On the way up, she stomped over Rhiannon who withdrew from the race. Some suspect blackmail was involved.
Rose has taken her old metal teapot, found in a sale, one of three or four teapots to be appraised by Zunia. All the owners are told their teapots are worthless. Zunia even gets the country of origin wrong on one of them—and it’s marked on the bottom of the pot! How in the world did she get to be president? book

The convention’s been held at the Stone and Scone Inn for years now but the quality is lacking this year, as servers are incompetent and the cooks, untrained. Bertie, he’s in charge, is a nervous wreck. Zunia may change the venue for the next convention and what will happen to the Inn then? Business hasn’t been what it used to be.
Back home, Sophie runs the shop with her usual efficiency. Dana is there to help and Cissy too, when she’s not out with her true love. Speaking of love, is Sophie ever going to get anywhere with Jason? Things just start to look promising but they’re always interrupted.

When Zunia’s body is found near the elevator with Rose’s dented metal teapot next to her bashed head, it’s Sophie to the rescue. Dana and Cissy are along, Dana for company and Cissy because, as usual, Thelma is over the top dramatic about the whole thing.

One of the detectives is Laverne’s nephew but because of their relationship, he can’t work the case, only observe. That’s both a plus and a minus. For Dana, it’s a definite plus, as in she’s definitely interested—he is a handsome guy, treats his elders right, and has good manners.

Suspects? There are many. The women whose teapots Zunia declared worthless, Rose whose tea pot was with the body, Rhiannon who she ousted as a presidential contender, Pastor Frank who was infatuated with Zunia and swears they were going to be married as soon as she dumped Orlando, Orlando of course, Dahlia (the ex) who was in the area and pretty much anyone who ever met Zunia.

This is the second book in the series (Tempest in a Teapot was reviewed for KRL) and the characters are going strong. It was nice to get to know Rose and Laverne away from the shop and see Sophie, Dana, and Cissy out of their usual element. Information about teapots is scattered throughout the book without ever interfering with the story. The mystery is a good one with plenty of suspects to choose from so readers can change their minds often and still be surprised. Sophie shares the recipe for Cherry Blossom cookies, what used to be called Thumbprint cookies. There’s also a guide on the types of tea and how best to steep them.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra’s short stories on UnTreed Reads including her new one Bananas Foster. Sandy’s latest short story “The Tater Tot Caper” is one of eleven stories in The Killer Wore Cranberry: Fourths of Mayhem. The annual Thanksgiving anthology has eleven stories and this year, includes recipes. And it’s on sale! Available in all e-versions and in print.

The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco: A Book Club Mystery By Laura DiSilverio
Review by Cynthia Chow

Only an optimist would choose to wear a white linen suit in ninety-degree weather, but event planner Amy-Faye Johnson was in a positive mood. That ends quickly when she rescues a stray kitten, is doused in water as a reward, and discovers that her new client is planning to marry Amy-Faye’s ex-boyfriend. Whom Amy-Faye hadn’t actually considered to be an ex yet. Sigh.

Normally Amy-Faye would have her Readaholics book club for support, but any consolation she might receive ends when she discovers a fellow member poisoned in her home. The police decide that Ivy Donner committed suicide, but with the exception of Ivy’s loser, drug-smoking brother, no one else truly believes that Ivy was depressed enough to take her own life. The Heaven Police Department’s Chief of Detectives – a unit consisting of one detective – Lindell Hart, may be charming, but there is nothing appealing about his orders to the Readaholics to stay out of his

The Colorado town recently changed its name from Walter’s Ford to Heaven in order to appeal to tourists (who could resist literally getting married in Heaven?) but there’s very little angelic action occurring within the city administration. An assistant to the CFO, Ivy was having an affair with her boss, while yet another staffer stood poised as a replacement. Fellow Readaholic Maud Bell is more than ready to jump in on the investigation, but considering that she is already over-flowing with conspiracy theories, she may not be the most reliable force. Supportive, but equally problematic for Amy-Faye, is that is her best friend Brooke is discouraging any acts that might rock her own politically ambitious husband’s path to power.

While Amy-Faye attempts to ignore her emotional upheaval and plan the wedding for a man she may still love, she still has to fulfill her duties as an event planner for children’s parties and an offsite city event. When a Boy Scout picnic is threatened by a potentially disastrous act of sabotage, Amy-Faye enlists all of her small-town contacts to find her friend’s killer. While the Readaholic’s latest book selection is Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, Amy-Faye embraces the WWKMD philosophy; namely, What Would Kinsey Milhone Do?

The author of two other series, as well as writing under the names Ella Barrick and Lila Dare, DiSilverio introduces yet another very fun mystery series sure to please mystery and book-loving fans. DiSilverio perfectly captures the small town atmosphere and the eccentric – but never absurd – personalities who inhabit it. The conclusion reflects how the Readaholic’s selection plays into the solution, but it is utilized so slyly that the reveal is still a surprise. This is a novel where the reader is as invested in the growth of the heroine as in the mystery, but both elements guarantee that readers be will left yearning for more.

A Fright to the Death: A Family Fortune Mystery By Dawn Eastman
Review by Cynthia Chow

“Secret staircases, a ghost, a blizzard – the knitting is the icing on the cake!”

It would be hard for Clyde to blame Phillip “Mac” McKenzie for jinxing their perfect getaway to Mexico, but considering how enmeshed she becomes in her superstitious hometown of Crystal Haven, it’s unavoidable. Clyde “Clytemnestra” Fortune is on leave after a shooting had her questioning both her professional skills as a police detective and her intuition. With six months to decide whether to stay in Crystal Haven or return to her job in Ann Arbor, Clyde definitely needed this romantic vacation with Mac and a break from her over-involved family.

When a snowstorm cancels their flight out of Chicago, the couple is forced to take refuge at Carlisle Castle, an 1800s mansion recently converted into a hotel. Unfortunately, there’s a reason that this sanctuary popped into Mac’s head, as the Castle is also hosting a knitting conference being attended by Clyde’s mother, Clyde’s Aunt Vi, and Mac’s mother Lucille. With their fantasy romance circling the drain, the only thing that could doom them further is a murder; which of course occurs to the very unlikable co-owner of the hotel. book

With the roads blocked and power cut off, it’s up to homicide detective Mac, and Clyde, to take control over the investigation and attempt to corral the guests. A self-proclaimed pet psychic, Aunt Vi is more than willing to lend her unsolicited investigative skills, and keeping her uninvolved requires more effort than it’s worth. So, with neither Mac nor Clyde having official jurisdiction, they attempt to solve this locked-in mystery in a castle that already has its own historical murder mystery and ghost.

The characters truly carry this mystery, as they all have well-developed back stories and interactions with our detectives. Surprisingly, Clyde’s burgeoning psychic skills, that provide her with visions and allow her to locate lost objects, plays far less into her investigation than her practical police abilities. Aunt Vi can border on being intrusive, but any irritation one might have with her is countered by her surprising insight and cleverness. Full of humor, clever dialogue, and the charming Fortune family, Eastman ensures that readers will enjoy her twist on the locked-in mystery.

To enter to win a copy of all 3 Penguins, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “More April,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 2, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Click on this link to purchase any of these books:

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).


  1. thank you for the another great selection for the giveaway!!!

  2. Awesome giveaway!These are three must reads on my wishlist. Would LOVE to win! Fingers crossed!
    scouts579 (at) aol (dot) com

  3. The cozy mysteries sounds like fun books! Thank you for the giveaway.

  4. What a wonderful chance for some good reading! They all sound like good reads!

  5. All three of these are new to me so I’d love to win them.
    Be a good way to try out some new series (new to me).

  6. Each one sounds like it would be an enjoyable read – pick me!!!!

  7. Thanks for such a wonderful offer, they all look like GREAT reads!

  8. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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