by Cynthia Chow,
& Sandra Murphy
Here is another fun group of mysteries for your spring reading-No Charm Intended: A Cora Crafts Mystery by Mollie Cox Bryan, A Good Day to Buy: A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery by Sherry Harris, Occult and Battery: A Bay Island Psychic Mystery by Lena Gregory, and Called to Justice: A Quaker Midwife Mystery by Edith Maxwell. 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.
No Charm Intended: A Cora Crafts Mystery by Mollie Cox Bryan
Review by Sandra Murphy
Cora Chevalier is hosting a wildcrafting weekend. That means instead of an intensive workshop on one craft, participants get to try their hand at several different things. It’s designed to build a community, let women relax and take time for themselves while learning something new.
Jane, a sculptor, is Cora’s sidekick. She has a daughter who loves her nanny, Gracie. When Grace goes missing, everyone assumes she was kidnapped—except maybe the police. Gracie’s boyfriend Paul is sure she’s still alive but has no proof. He and a friend, Henry, are going to look for her since the police are no help.
When Henry disappears too, the tension ramps up as Cora gets involved. Paul’s evicted and Cora asks him to stay at her B&B/crafting house, much to Jane’s dismay. Like it or not, the guests get involved to varying degrees. It seems Henry and Gracie had one thing in common—an online virtual reality game.
Meanwhile, Ruby is teaching classes about herbs and wildflowers, Jane is showing the women how to find and use clay to make pendants, and Cora is trying to keep it all together, including a potential love life with Adrian who is due back in town soon.
Liv, one of the crafters, is good with computers too. She can find the dark net, where anything goes. After playing the game in order to find clues, Liv gets texted threats and is afraid what happened to Henry and Gracie, will also happen to her.
This is the second book in the Cora Crafts Mystery series. Cora doesn’t always think before doing, but she is tempered by Jane’s caution. With each craft weekend, she gets better at her business. She and Jane are close friends, and Ruby adds a touch of crankiness to balance them out.
At the back of the book, find tips on pressing flowers for bookmarks, making pom poms, coffee filter paper flowers, painting rocks, creating flower impressions on clay, and making polymer clay charms. Bryan also writes the Cumberland Creek mysteries.
A Good Day to Buy: A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery by Sherry Harris
Review by Sandra Murphy
Sarah Winston can fix you up with your garage sale, from deciding what to sell, how much you’ll get, and providing everything you need to let go of your stuff. Of course, not every sale runs smoothly, especially when the seller turns up dead in the garage, his wife by his side, knocked out.
There’s a man running from the scene, but he manages to get away. An awful lot of people are at the sale so suspects are many. The dead man seemed to be such a nice guy, so what’s the motive?
Sarah gets a huge surprise when she opens her door to find Luke, her estranged brother. It’s been a long time since she’s seen him, and there have only been a couple of phone calls in between. He says he’s investigating for an article he’s writing and will be able to explain soon. Sarah hopes so because Luke’s fingerprints are found at the scene, along with a big envelope of cash. It’s even worse because Sarah’s ex-husband, CJ, is a cop. They’re trying to get back together and withholding a secret this big could jeopardize that.
It’s soon apparent that Sarah will have to poke around herself. CJ is not sharing information about Luke and also has his nose out of joint because Sarah is talking to and sharing dinner with Seth, the DA who is obviously crazy about her. Sarah thinks of him as a friend only because she’s already chosen CJ—again.
Sarah is not one to put herself into dangerous spots although she does end up in some anyway. She’s a former military wife, living near the base, which gives readers a fresh venue for the mystery and the author an ever-changing cast of characters and suspects.
Just when Sarah thinks she has everything figured out, a life changing surprise comes out of nowhere. What will she decide? Readers will have to wait for the next book to find out. It’s easy to get invested in her life so the wait will feel like a long one!
This is book four in the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series which promises to be long running. That’s good for readers because Sarah becomes a friend more than a character. At the back of the book, she shares tips for garage sales when you don’t have someone like her to work with.
Occult and Battery: A Bay Island Psychic Mystery by Lena Gregory
Review by Cynthia Chow
Cass Donovan may not have psychic powers, but she is intent on making her Magical Musings psychic shop a success. Winter is hitting New York’s tiny Bay Island hard, chasing away tourists and placing her business at risk. To keep her herbal, crystal, and psychic store running, Cass is hosting a psychic reading event at the Madison Estate before it opens as a newly renovated bed-and-breakfast. Supposedly haunted by the cursed Madison family, Cass believes that it will be the perfect partnership between Magical Musings and the Wellington family’s investment company. The psychic weekend is off to a bumpy start when Cass’s ex-husband and new fiancé arrive as guests, a storm takes out power, and the most dissenting Wellington relative is found hanging in the cupola.
Cass is the first to suspect that Conrad Wellington did not commit suicide, and with the threat of having to return booking fees, she is determined to investigate and protect her reputation. Cass’s best friends Bee Maxwell and Stephanie Lawrence may not entirely buy her reasoning, but they are willing to help her break into rooms and undercover Wellington secrets if it means keeping Cass on the island. Cass could use the advice of Luke, a detective whose work schedule on the mainland has kept him out of her life for the past month, with her own commitment issues are not making connections any easier. Her guilt of failing one of her patients may have caused Cass to leave her psychiatric practice, but the skills she learned at reading body language and their subconscious cues prove essential in both her new business and her investigations. Another body, a possible concussion, and her ex-husband’s continual involvement place her mental health, not to mention her life, in dire jeopardy.
This second in the Bay Island Psychic Mystery series succeeds in blending Cass’s detective efforts with her “psychic” readings of suspects and witnesses. Although she can’t explain the occasional foreboding feeling or the strange apparition that appeared during a séance, Cass relies on her intuition and mental acuity to provide her clients with crystals, herbs, and some much-needed affirmations. She could use some advice herself when dealing with her aptly named Leonberger puppy Beast, who continues to eat furniture and is completely unaware of his massive size. Beast and Cass’s friends ensure a laugh-filled romp of a mystery, with added intrigue from her mystical and psychological knowledge. A traditional gathering-of-the-suspects has the twist of being made at a psychic reading session, providing a solution that will be as surprising to the reader as it is to Cass. She may not believe in the paranormal, but when her “intuitions” are combined with the support of her friends, Cass is sure to outsmart the most greedy and deceptive criminals.
Called to Justice: A Quaker Midwife Mystery by Edith Maxwell
Review Doward Wilson
Meet Rose Carroll, a midwife in Amesbury, Massachusetts! It is1888, and Rose is busy attending the deliveries of new babies born to women of varying financial and social backgrounds. Amesbury is home to cloth mills employing young girls. During the Independence Day celebrations, a 17 year old girl confides to Rose that she is pregnant but won’t say who the father is. Rose knows that Hannah Reed is a fellow Quaker who works at the Hamilton Mill with her niece, Faith, and is far from her family. Assuring Hannah that she will find a solution, Rose sends her off with a group of young Quaker friends to enjoy the festivities. That evening, Rose and David Dodge, her doctor suitor, are enjoying the fireworks display when a commotion arises close to them, and a doctor is called for. Rose and David find young Hannah on the ground, bleeding out from a gunshot wound. Rose is devastated when Hannah dies in her arms and vows to find out what happened.
When fellow Quaker, Akwasi Ayensu, a former slave and now a successful business owner, is targeted as the main suspect, Rose doesn’t believe he is responsible. Appealing to her friend Kevin, who is the detective on the case, doesn’t help because he is being pressured by his boss and the testimony of a prominent citizen. When Rose learns that the citizen is Lester Colby, the manager of the mill where both Hannah and her niece work, Rose becomes suspicious of his motives. Faith had told her Aunt Rose that she had witnessed Lester and another man exchanging a large amount of money on the mill floor.
Nora, Hannah’s roommate at the ladies boarding house, insists that Hannah was stealing from her. Then we have the young Quaker man that Hannah was seeing until she refused to see him again. Was the murderer one of these people or someone else? Working to free Akwasi puts Rose in the path of danger, but she is determined to learn the truth about all those involved in Hannah’s life. To complicate things further, Rose’s romance with David encounters resistance from his unfriendly and conniving mother.
This is the second book in the Quaker Midwife Mystery series, and I will be going back to read the first one while I wait for the third one to come out. The characters are so real that you feel their hopes, dreams, happiness, and anguish in every sentence. The historical background and midwife scenes bring the story to life so well, that you actually experience what life was like in 1888. Add in the wonderfully twisted murder plot, and you won’t stop until the surprising and heart stopping final reveal. This series is for all cozy mystery readers, not just those who enjoy historical ones.
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 “april books,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 6, 2017. 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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