by Sunny Frazier
Details at the end of this column on how to win a copy of Murder Has Nine Lives by Laura Levine from a past Coming Attractions column.
We say good-bye to a well-loved series, hello to the Farmer’s Daughter, and celebrate Christmas just a wee bit early. Looking for recipes? Have we got books for you!
Margaret Coel is wrapping up her Wind River Reservations Mysteries with book 20, Winter’s Child. In the middle of a blizzard an abandoned baby is found on the doorstep. Nobody claims her for five years, but the couple is afraid they will be found out when they enroll her into school. They go to a lawyer who enlists Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden for help. When the attorney is run down by a truck and killed, Vicky and Father John O’Malley uncover one of the darkest secrets in the reservation’s history.
Also marking 20 is Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen series, Christmas Caramel Murder. In Lake Eden, Minnesota, the holidays have arrived, and Hannah and Lisa are supplying goodies for the town’s production of A Christmas Carol. Before anyone can say, “Bah, humbug!” Mrs. Claus is found dead in the snow. Suspects pile up while a murderer remains on the loose. It might take the ghosts of Christmas past to wrap up this mystery. The book includes a dozen holiday recipes from The Cookie Jar!
No Farm, No Foul is the first in the Farmer’s Daughter Mystery series by Peg Cochran. Set on a farm in Lovett, Michigan, Shelby McDonald runs a lifestyle and cooking blog. She posts recipes, gardening tips, and her experiences raising two kids and running a farm. Her peaceful life is shattered when the minister’s wife is murdered on the farm, and the local veterinarian is the prime suspect. Shelby digs in to find the murderer, and she’ll have to move fast before someone else buys the farm. The book includes delicious recipes.
It’s High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides for the Happy Hoofers Mystery in their fifth caper. They’ve scored a gig at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall with the Rockettes, but when a diva is found dead under the stage, there’s a lineup of suspects. Between rehearsals and sightseeing, the troupe has to sort things out before another victim kicks the bucket. Mary McHugh includes cooking tips and recipes.
The Christmas holidays are one of caterer Lilah Drake’s favorite times of the year in Pine Haven, Illinois. But Lilah’s Yuletide cheer ends when she sees the murder of a Santa in a school parking lot. Kris Kringle had a long list of people who might have wanted him dead, and Lilah will have to team up with a detective she was once romantically involved with to unwrap the mystery. Some people are Cheddar Off Dead according to author Julia Buckley in the second Undercover Dish Mystery.
From Christmas we go to Halloween. It’s Your Party, Die if You Want To is the second Liv and Di In Dixie Mystery by Vickie Fee. Between a riverboat engagement party and a murder mystery dinner for charity, party planner Liv McKay is feeling more flustered than festive in Dixie, Tennessee. When the body of a party girl with a thing for married men is found in the cemetery, any scorned wife or lover could be the killer. As Liv and Di dig up the truth their efforts are hampered by a killer with a haunting vendetta.
After discovering her mystical heritage and being adopted by feline Alistair, artist Annabelle Britton makes Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her home. She needs to figure out her new abilities and host her grandmother on a visit to the town and her old coven after 30 years. Being a witch isn’t a steady income, so Annabelle takes a job painting murals for a new coffee house. Spooky sounds and strange happenings convince the owners that their new shop is haunted. They want Annabelle and her coven to evict the restless spirit. She’s certain the hauntings are just hocus pocus until a search reveals hidden smugglers’ tunnels beneath the shop—and a dead body. By Familiar Means is the second book in the Witch’s Cat Mysteries by Delia James.
It’s Murder at the Witching Hour when Kailani Pope is asked to serve as a bridesmaid for her friend’s wedding. The weeklong event, which ends with a costumed wedding ceremony on Halloween night, is being held on an island only reached by boat. When a tropical storm hits and one of the groomsmen turns up dead, the list of suspects includes the mummy in the kitchen, the best man dressed as Frankenstein, the blind butler, the sexy vampire, and one of the spooky guests. This is the third in the Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mystery Series by Kathi Daley.
Will past murders at Crozat Plantation B&B spell the death of their beloved estate? The Crozat’s survived the scandal, but now there’s a bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana. Maggie Crozat’s nemesis, the chief of police, is marrying her co-worker, and Maggie reluctantly agrees to be the maid of honor. Just days before the wedding, the body of the bride’s cousin is found on the bayou. With the bride-to-be the primary suspect, Maggie has to keep her out of jail. Body on the Bayou is the second in Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country Mystery series.
Miranda James is Digging Up the Dirt in the third Southern Ladies Mystery series. An’gel and Dickce Ducote are busy with plans for the Athena, Mississippi, Garden Club’s spring tour of grand old homes. The other club members aren’t much help; they are all a-flutter with a dashing and unmarried bachelor who is back to restore his family mansion. Things turn deadly serious when a body turns up on the estate after a storm. The remains might belong to the man’s long-lost sister-in-law, who everyone thought ran off with him. Now An’gel and Dickce will need to get their hands dirty if they hope to reveal a killer’s deep-buried motives before someone else’s name is mud.
Leslee Stanton Nix, aka “Nixy,” thought moving to small-town Lilyvale, Arkansas, would be boring, but keeping up with her aunt and housemates, known as Silver Six, is exciting and exasperating. To kick off the grand opening of their craft shop, Nixy and the Silver Six invite a friend to teach a gourd painting. When the instructor’s ex crashes the class with his new fiancée, who later turns up dead, Nixy and the Silver Six have to find the killer. Nancy Haddock offers her second in the Silver Six Crafty Mysteries, Paint the Town Dead.
A sustainable winery in Long Island becomes the backdrop for murder in Dandelion Dead by Chrystle Fiedler. Solving crimes comes naturally to amateur sleuth Willow McQuade, who owns Nature’s Way Market & Café. Her medicinal herb garden is a hit, she’s in love with an ex-cop and animal rescuer, and teaches seminars about edible plants and natural remedies. Everything changes when Willow’s old boyfriend ask her to cater a party at Pure, their new organic vineyard, and someone tries to poison him, but kills the wrong person. The truth may be a bitter vintage to swallow. This is the fourth in the Natural Remedies series.
When Senior Editor Val Cameron’s curator best friend returns from an abbey in England, she invites Val to see a priceless relic that has mysteriously found its way into her carry-on. But by the time Val arrives at the museum, her friend has been murdered and the relic is gone. Val learns that a young monk at the abbey has also been murdered, too. What dark purpose is attached to the relic? When Val discovers her apartment has been broken into, New York feels like a place she no longer knows. Now she has to unmask a killer who will stop at nothing to fulfill an ambitious plan. A Killer’s Guide to Good Works is the second in the Val Cameron Mystery series by Shelley Costa.
In the second book in the Postmistress Mystery series, Cancelled by Murder by Jean Flowers, Cassie Miller returned to her sleepy hometown to start over as the new postmistress. With a massive storm about to hit North Ashcot, Massachusetts, Cassie is forced to close up the post office along with the rest of the local business owners who are battening down the hatches. Although the storm is not as bad as predicted, a shop owner is found dead, seemingly killed by a fallen branch. But the police determine that her death wasn’t due to foul weather, but with foul play. When the widowed husband asks Cassie to help solve his wife’s murder, she vows to find the killer before another innocent victim is taken by storm.
From Massachusetts we go to Shadows on a Morning in Maine. Antique print dealer Maggie Summer has taken a sabbatical from her college teaching job and moved to the coast of Maine to run an antique mall with her significant other. She’s hoping to adopt, but the troubled girl only shows affection for harbor seals which remind her of her “real mother.” Then someone starts shooting the seals and a fisherman is murdered. Maggie wonders if moving to Maine is the biggest mistake of her life. This is the eighth in the Shadows Antique Print Mystery series by Lea Wait.
Merry Wrath saw danger as a former CIA agent, but nothing prepared her for an overnight Mommy and Me lock-in with her Waukegan, Iowa, Girl Scout troop. There’s movies, dodgeball, four cats, a baby…and a dead body. When the mysterious corpse’s identity is revealed, Merry and her former handler realize they might have a domestic terrorist situation on their hands. Merry uses her skills to track down a killer. Between the demanding President of the United States, the world’s second largest snail collection, and an incident with pink hair dye, Merry has her work cut out for her. Can she stop an attack before it begins? Or will this be a Movie Night Murder without a happy ending? Leslie Langtry keeps us on the edge of our seats in the fourth Merry Wrath mystery.
Zen student and stunt double Darcy Lott is thrilled to be reunited with her brother who disappeared 20 years ago. But bringing him home to San Francisco turns to fear when she learns that he has become the victim of escalating attacks. He has no idea who is targeting him, and Darcy is determined to find out before the attacks turn deadly. But when Darcy searches his apartment, what she discovers makes her wonder if she really knows her brother anymore or trusts him. Susan Dunlap takes us Out of Nowhere in the sixth Darcy Lott mystery.
Chocolate whisperer Hayden Mundy Moore is in London to lend her expertise to chocolaterie-pâtisserie Primrose. When a famous culinary bad boy is found dead under suspicious circumstances in her lodgings, Hayden’s eagerness not to be involved makes her the prime suspect in the ensuing investigation. Colette London gives us The Semi-Sweet Hereafter, third in the Chocolate Whisperer Mystery series.
To enter to win a copy of Murder Has Nine Lives by Laura Levine from a past Coming Attractions column-simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “christmas attractions” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen after September 3, 2016. U.S. residents only.
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