August Mystery Catch Up!

Aug 15, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

This week we have another great group of mysteries for your August reading-Death on Windmill Way: A Hamptons Murder Mystery by Carrie Doyle, Knot of This World: A Quilting Mystery by Mary Marks, Mums and Mayhem: A Magic Garden Mystery by Amanda Flower, Murder in a Scottish Shire: A Scottish Shire Mystery by Traci Hall, and The Fate of a Flapper: The Speakeasy Murders by Susanna Calkins. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 5 books and links to purchase them at the end of each review–you may not be able to see the Amazon links if you have ad blocker on.

Death on Windmill Way: A Hamptons Murder Mystery by Carrie Doyle
Review by Sandra Murphy

Antonia Bingham is the latest owner of the Windmill Inn. She’s not crazy about the actual inn-keeping part but loves the restaurant and creating new dishes. Renovations ran over budget as they always do but adding on her must-haves like a period, carved desk where guests check in, shipped from England, and budget overruns don’t begin to describe the amount of money she’s spent.

Things are going pretty well when a rumor starts. It seems previous owners of the inn have died suddenly and under mysterious circumstances. Although Gordon, the owner before her, supposedly had a heart attack, rumor has it that his death had something to do with a bee sting—in December? The more Antonia researches, the more believable the stories are. Is she next? She’s already moved from the West Coast to the Hamptons to get away from her past. Will her future haunt her as well?

To say Gordon was not well liked is an understatement. He was pretty much hated. Even his girlfriend, who is now claiming she was his common law wife, didn’t like him all that much. She swears there was another will, leaving everything to her. His sister disagreed, and she sold the inn to Antonia. Another owner swears Gordon stole the inn from her, buying it for back taxes. The most surprising thing about his death is that it didn’t happen sooner.

This is book one of four. Antonia is a likable character, determined to find out the truth about the deaths, and not a little spooked to think she might join them sooner rather than later. Her beach-walking friendship with a movie star adds a bit of the glam of the Hamptons to the story.

Look for a review of Death on Lily Pond Lane, second in the series, coming soon.

Knot of This World: A Quilting Mystery by Mary Marks
Review by Sandra Murphy

Martha Rose and the rest of the Tuesday Quilters have missed Birdie while she’s been on an extended honeymoon. Now she’s back and has exciting news—at least she thinks so. The others are appalled at her decision.

She’s home to sell her house, all of her possessions and is ready to live out her retirement in what can only be described as a cult although she disagrees. She’s seeking enlightenment and a way to live pain-free. So what if she has to give the organization all of her money?

The more Martha researches, the more she’s sure the Mystical Feather Society is a scam. Of course, she can’t just blurt that out to a friend so she suggests they take Birdie’s RV on a road trip so the other members of the group can see for themselves. Birdie’s husband Denver agrees to drive. Along for the ride are Paulina and Monsoor, psychics, hoping to debunk Royal, the son of Natasha St. Germain, founder of the society because he’s strayed far from her original ideal and goals.

On arrival, no one’s around. Exploring, they find a large building with glass walls where a group of thirty people are meditating or holding a séance. The unsettling part is a number of them are nude. It’s a clothing optional retreat!

Returning to the RV, they are astounded to find Royal inside. He’s not waiting for them. He’s dead. Based on three gunshot wounds to his chest, it’s safe to say it was murder.

After that, it’s a matter of uncovering layer after layer of secrets. Several members have disappeared over the years, thought to have returned home or moved on. Sadly, their unmarked graves on the property prove otherwise.

This is the eighth book in the series. Martha Rose is a delightful character. She loves to quilt, hosts a weekly Shabbat dinner, and lives life fully despite having fibromyalgia. Crusher, Martha’s fiancé, is the most laid-back man, especially for a federal agent. Her recently discovered sister is wealthy, chic, and tactless. Jazz and Zsa Zsa, his Maltese, are always a delight when they show up to quilt and gossip.

In the end, Martha comes to a life changing decision that will make book nine one of the best yet. Look for tips on making a memory quilt at the back of the book.

Mums and Mayhem: A Magic Garden Mystery by Amanda Flower
Review by Sandra Murphy

The residents of Bellewick, Aberdeen, Scotland, are excited to learn Barley McFee, world-famous fiddle player, is returning to his hometown for a homecoming concert.

Fiona Knox, florist, is one of the overworked volunteers. It’s not like she doesn’t have anything else to do. There’s her shop to run, her sister living nearby with an unsuitable boyfriend, and their parents, who don’t know about the boyfriend, are due to land at the airport any minute. They also don’t know her sister wants to marry him and live in Scotland, rather than return home and take over the family plant nursery. Neil Craig is the chief inspector of the County Aberdeen Police. Her mom and dad don’t know he’s Fiona’s love interest. So much news, so little of it welcome. Fiona’s pretty sure her parents have a secret to share as well. Whether it’s good or bad news is anybody’s guess.

Fiona gets to meet Barney and asks if he remembers her father. When her parents arrive, she asks her dad the same question. Both say no, odd for such a small village.

Fiona inherited a cottage and a magical garden from her godfather. Following the murder, she’s horrified to see plants shriveling and dying. Someone has broken into the walled garden and cut the most important flower.

Despite disagreements within the band, the first half of the concert goes well. During their break, Barley retires to his tour bus. After intermission, Barley fails to return. Fiona is sent to fetch him. What she finds is his body, obviously murdered.

Neil is in charge of the investigation. Fiona’s dad and Barley talked in the bus during intermission. He may have been the last one to see Barley alive. Neil’s interrogation of her dad makes Fiona furious. She’s going to investigate to save her dad. Just remember, everyone has secrets, and they’re all starting to come out.

This is the third book in the series. Fiona is getting used to the magical garden and life in Bellewick. Her sister is a trial most of the time, going all in on anything new that catches her short attention span. Fiona’s relationship with Neil is progressing, could be better if she’d stop finding murder victims. The magical garden is a character itself, but it doesn’t intrude on the story, instead enhances it.

Flower, a most prolific writer, also pens the Magical Bookshop mysteries (4, reviewed here), the India Hayes books (2), the Appleseed Creek Amish mysteries (4), Andi Boggs series (young adult, 4), the Living History Museum series (3, reviewed here), the Amish Candy Shop books, (7, reviewed here), the Amish Matchmaker spinoff (1, reviewed here), and Dead End Detective, a Piper and Porter debut, launching on August 25, available for pre-order now.

Murder in a Scottish Shire: A Scottish Shire Mystery by Traci Hall
Review by Sandra Murphy

Paislee Shaw has had some ups and downs in her life. An unwed mother at eighteen, she moved in with her grandmother who taught her to knit. Now she’s inherited the yarn shop and sells Scottish yarns and finished goods to visiting tourists as well as customers online. Her son, Brody, now ten, sometimes acts like he’s the grownup. Their Scottish terrier, Wallace, rounds out the family.

A yarn delivery is scheduled for nine o’clock, so the plan is to unlock the shop, race to get Brody to school on time, go back to the shop to unpack the yarn, and at half past, meet with Ilsa, a former employee who wants to be rehired. Of course, that went kaput. Two people are at the shop’s front door. One is her grandfather who she hasn’t seen for five years. The other is a handsome police detective who says her grandfather’s now homeless, so she wouldn’t mind taking him in, right?

The day just gets worse. Needed yarn won’t come until the next day, grandfather makes sure she knows he doesn’t want her help in spite of having nowhere else to go, Brody’s late for school, and Ilsa is a no-show. Grandfather is homeless because he lived with his son who has now disappeared. Paislee feels like life as she knew is gone, too. As if things couldn’t get worse, her landlord drops by to tell her he’s sold the building, and she has thirty days to relocate.

When Paislee checks on Ilsa, she finds Ilsa’s body instead. In trying to find out who would harm the girl, Paislee discovers Ilsa isn’t the nice girl she appeared to be. Paislee may have been the only one who liked her.

This is the first in a new series that shows a lot of promise. Everyone speaks with a Scottish accent which is easy to decipher and adds to the story. Paislee is someone you’d like to know and who could show you how to knit or just sell you a handmade sweater instead. Roby shows a lot of maturity for a ten-year-old and has a great sense of humor. Wallace, the Scottie, is the perfect addition to the story. Grandfather starts as a real pain, but soon enough, a working relationship is in place.

The mystery is a good one with plenty of clues, motives and suspects to choose from. The subplot of grandfather’s missing son is not solved so readers will look forward to book two to find out what happened there.

Under the name Traci Wilton, she also writes seaside romances and the Salem B&B series.

The Fate of a Flapper: The Speakeasy Murders by Susanna Calkins
Review by Sandra Murphy

It’s 1929, and Gina Ricci has several jobs. She lives with and keeps house for her papa who has been ill, works several hours a day in the drugstore, and at the right time, slips downstairs to the Third Door, a speakeasy, changes clothes, and becomes the cigars, cigarettes, cigarillos girl. As if that’s not enough, she serves drinks, and when Neddy, the piano player is on break, works the record player while Lulu and Jade perform.

The stock market has been fluctuating but it always bounces back so no one is too worried. It’s the number of bombs going off throughout Chicago that causes concern, almost one hundred, in places as mild as ice cream parlors, although the parlors, like the drugstore, might be a front for another speakeasy.

Liquor is illegal, but the coppers are willing to look the other way for a price. It’s sad, though, to see boys as young as ten, in their raggedy clothes, selling newspapers for a penny. If you get close enough you can smell the booze on their breath and spot a cigar in their pocket.

Fruma and Adelaide have picked up George and Daniel. The foursome leaves, Fruma not looking so good. The next day, Gina gets a phone call from her cousin Nancy, a patrol officer for the Chicago Police Department. “Bring your camera and get a move on!”

Nancy’s got ambition and wants her own set of crime scene photos. To Gina’s dismay, the victim is Fruma, who it turns out, is Adelaide’s roommate. While it could be an accidental, if it turns out to be alcohol poisoning, the speakeasy will be in trouble. Nancy has printed her own business cards and added Gina’s phone number, making her an unofficial part of the investigation.

Mysterious strangers, rumors of mobsters, all those bombs, and more than one dead body keep the story moving along. Gina is a great character, practical, level-headed, while a bit headlong. Roarke is a possible love interest, but there’s a complication that seems insurmountable. The speakeasy gives a closeup look at how adaptable people were to make a living, all with the looming stock market crash in the background. Second in the series, it’s a great choice for a good mystery and enjoyable read.

Murder Knocks Twice is the first book.

To enter to win a copy of all 5 mysteries, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “august,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 22, 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 MAY TAKE MUCH 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 Podcasts, and Spotify. A new episode went up last 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. Another great collection! Count me in!

  2. Great selection of books. I want to read them all.

  3. Love this line up! Thanks for the chance to win!

  4. Love the chance to win! This is a duplicate entry, I forgot my email before.

  5. I would love to win all five of these books. I’ve read the ARC of Death on Windmill Way but would rather have a regular clean copy for my library

  6. Awesome giveaway! Would love to read all five. Thanks for the chance.

  7. Wow, awesome collection! I would love to be the lucky winner! Thanks for the chance! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. Thanks for the opportunity, would love to get all of these! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  9. What a bunch of great reviews- Thanks for always giving us the best of the best!
    Kelly Braun

  10. Wonderful feature. Thanks for this great giveaway.

  11. What a great collection! I’d love to win! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  12. This looks like great reading. Thank you…

  13. We have a winner!


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