More Mysteries For Your Fall Reading TBR: Cats, Books, Magic, and England

Nov 13, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze, Pets, Sandra Murphy

by Cynthia Chow
& Sandra Murphy

This week we have even more fun mysteries to add to your TBR list-Chapter and Curse: The Cambridge Bookshop Mystery Series by Elizabeth Penney, Hooked on a Feline: A Magical Cats Mystery by Sofie Kelly, and Murder in an English Glade: A Beryl and Edwina Mystery by Jessica Ellicott. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 3 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.

Chapter and Curse: The Cambridge Bookshop Mystery Series by Elizabeth Penney
Review by Cynthia Chow

When the letter arrives from Cambridge, England, it’s just what Molly and her mother Nina Kimball needed. Budget cuts were eliminating Molly’s job as an assistant librarian, and the death of her father had left a vacuum in his widow’s and Molly’s lives. So they are both ready to take up the offer from Nina’s Aunt Violet to come to England to help run her Thomas Marlowe—Manuscripts & Folios bookshop.

Molly doesn’t know much about her mother’s estranged British family, but she does know that she wants to keep the bookstore out of the hands of her mother’s cousin Clive, who is planning to sell the shop to a big franchise bookstore. Along with helping Violet to pay off part of a loan, the Kimball women organize an inaugural author reading event, Persephone Reads. Famous author Persephone Brightwell will be reading from her latest retrospective collection, and it will be something of a reunion for her and a few other village women who all attended St. Hildegard’s college together. The night ends in tragedy, though, when Myrtle Marsh is found murdered, stabbed to death with one of Aunt Violet’s pink knitting needles.

Fearing that the murder is also an attempt to frame her aunt and ruin the bookshop, Molly begins looking into the pasts that tied the women together. It doesn’t take long to discover that Myrtle was running her own blackmailing scheme over much of the village, forcing them to pay up or have their secrets revealed to the world. Helping Molly to adjust to the quirks of language and cuisine (cottage pie is essentially a beef shepherd pie) is the neighboring bike shop owner Kieran Scott. Not only does he happen to be undeniably hunky, Kieran is also the son of a Lord and Cambridge’s Just Eligible Bachelor. Molly can’t help but feel intimidated when she sees the paparazzi shots of them together even if he’s distanced himself as the Second Son. A former MI6 agent who drives an Aston Martin, an abundance of coffee (Molly is still an American, after all) and scones, and research at the Wren Library ensure that Molly will have her own British Mystery Experience.

This first in the series is an absolute charmer that blends in a little family drama with booklore within a cozy British village setting. While experienced mystery readers may detect signs of the culprit early, that quickly becomes complicated when Molly discovers more victims of Myrtle’s schemes. Molly’s introduction to her mother’s British family folds out gradually throughout the novel, and it allows Molly to see a version of Nina who gave up so much for love and is learning to move on. Aunt Violet’s instruction on examining and evaluating valuable books is fascinating and fun, especially when it comes to an envious print of the Wizard of Oz. The relationships between the women are skillfully developed and heartwarming, with the hint of romance between Molly and Kieran and added delight. Anglophiles, bibliophiles, and mystery lovers will adore this introduction to Molly Kimball and the Marlowe bookshop.

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).

Hooked on a Feline: A Magical Cats Mystery by Sofie Kelly
Review by Sandra Murphy

Librarian Kathleen and her police detective boyfriend Marcus have managed to attend a concert without interruption. Their friends are there and one of their favorite singers is back on stage after a long absence—with a surprise in store for the audience. Best. Night. Ever. They even run into the group at the diner when stopping by for a midnight snack. It was truly a night to remember which made things even worse when a band member was found dead.

He was a likable guy, enjoyed everything he did to the max, including a new interest: genealogy. He’d been stopping by the library to research his family tree at least once a week. It’s first assumed that he interrupted a burglary, but nothing was taken and there was no sign of a break in. When it’s determined to be a murder, it causes Kathleen to rethink an accidental death several months before. That too, proves to be a homicide.

Who could have had a motive for both murders, the ability to carry out the plan, and access to the victims? It’s a puzzle Kathleen wants to solve before another death occurs. With the help of Owen and Hercules, her magical cats, she gets closer to the truth, until it all becomes apparent—just a little too late.

This is book thirteen in the series. I love the antics of Owen and Hercules. They are magical but in a way cat lovers will understand is possible. The relationship she has with Marcus is loving and respectful. Kathleen makes the library a place you’d love to visit and once there, you’d love to stay all day. I look forward to more adventures for Owen and Hercules—and the humans, too.

Murder in an English Glade: A Beryl and Edwina Mystery by Jessica Ellicott
Review by Sandra Murphy

Beryl and Edwina met at boarding school. Edwina went on to become a proper English lady of poorer circumstances and cared for her mother. Beryl became a well-known adventuress, traveling the world, living like a gypsy, between husbands, of course. Through a happy accident, the pair meet up again years later and formed a detective agency. Edwina knows how to show tact with the monied who are always impressed with Beryl’s daring lifestyle if not her more blunt attitude.

Constance Maitland hires them to pretend to investigate her daughter-in-law, Ursula, who is hostess to an artist’s retreat. A poor relation has the firm belief Ursula is cheating on her new husband with one of the artists. If Edwina and Beryl will pretend to investigate, they can give assurances there’s no cause for alarm and stop possible rumors. When a painter is found dead, the very man who was suspected to be Ursula’s dalliance, Edwina and Beryl have to find the killer, too. Since no one liked the man, especially not as much as he liked himself, the list is long.

Beryl is a brash American, and Edwina is a properly brought up Englishwoman. While on the face of it, they should have nothing in common; in reality, they get along quite well. Beryl’s ‘dash off without a thought daring’ attitude is balanced by Edwina’s strict adherence to do ‘what is expected.’ Beryl prods Edwina to try new things; Edwina reins in Beryl’s speak before thinking traits.

For a small town, Walmsley Parva has enough crime to keep their detective agency busy. Readers will appreciate that. Just remember, if you go to visit, and if Beryl offers to drive, find other transportation or close your eyes and pray you arrive at your destination in one piece. There is no in between.

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 “fall” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 20, 2021. 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 this 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. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are 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. What a trio! Count me in!

  2. More books to add to my list! Love the Magical Cats series.

  3. I would love to read all three of these cozy mysteries. I love discovering authors and series that are new to me. Reading is such a joy!

  4. Three great new Reads. Adding to my TBR list.

  5. Thanks for the article. All of these books sound so good.

  6. Would love to win these.
    All are new series for me.
    thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot0com

  7. Great books. Thanks for the chance.

  8. I’d love to win all three. They all sound great.

  9. As a cozy mystery fan, I would love to Win! Thanks so much for the chance!!

  10. As a cozy mystery fan, I would love to win! Thanks so much for the chance!

  11. We have a winner!


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