by Sunny Frazier
Make sure to ask Santa to bring you these Christmas reads when you write to him. And maybe he’ll bring you a shelter pet after you read four mysteries with that theme. Plus, start the New Year with three new series. Enjoy your presents!
The reason you need to purchase Sleigh Bells and Sleuthing is because the money will rescue animals from Good Fortune Farm Refuge, a no kill animal refuge located in Alabama. The book contains sixteen cozy mystery novellas featuring female sleuths. To learn more about the shelter go to www.goodfortunefarmrefuge.org.
Harmony Carson works in her brother’s bar and volunteers at the local animal shelter. She also volunteers for the search and rescue team. The town of Rescue, Alaska, is busy decorating and full of holiday cheer until a murder dampens spirits. Harmony has the uncanny ability to “see” the person needing rescue and channels their fear and pain. Now she needs to use her gift to find a killer. Kathi Daley is Finding Christmas in her fourth Rescue Alaska series.
Whisker Jog, New Hampshire, celebrates Christmas with the annual holiday cookie competition. Lara Caphart, who runs the High Cliff Shelter for Cats, wants a new category: pet-friendly cookies. But when a woman filling in as judge dies after sampling someone’s cookies, Lara’s idea is put on hold. The victim was the town’s despised former home EC teacher. The main suspect is a woman who wanted the bake-off’s cash prize. Clues point to a cat with blue eyes who looks like Lara’s Ragdoll. Has the killer committed the purr-fect crime? Claws for Celebration is Linda Reilly’s third Cat Lady Mystery.
Jill Gardner has volunteered her shop, Coffee, Books, and More, to host a Christmas adopt-a-pet event in South Covey, California. A terrier named Baby needs a forever home after his owner died of a heart attack. With few clues to go on, even finding the name of Baby’s human is a daunting task. But there’s no challenge too big for Jill this holiday season. Santa Puppy is a short novel (less than 100 pages) in the Tourist Trap Mysteries by Lynn Cahoon.
Also in Crystal Cover, California, Jenna Hart loves the holidays. But just as she’s decorating the Cookbook Nook, her sister appears, complaining her husband has been more naughty than nice. Then her father’s good friend Jake shows up telling her a friend was impaled on a tree star and trussed with Christmas lights. Jenna makes a list of suspects and checks it twice: Jake’s long-lost sister, his Grinch of a neighbor, and a stamp collector who covets Jake’s most treasured piece. When Jake himself is poisoned and nearly dies, Jenna puts Christmas on hold to investigate. Wreath Between the Lines is Daryl Wood Gerber’s seventh Cookbook Nook and includes holiday recipes.
Over at the quaint shopping district called Victoria Square, Katie Bonner, who manages Artisan’s Alley, hears about a murder while with the victim’s mother. The dead woman left a trail of men behind but few clues. A broken teacup leads to one of the suspects, but before Katie can check it out, she’s attacked. Yule Be Dead by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson is the fifth of the Victorian Square Mysteries.
In the eighth Crackleberry Club Mysteries, the town is putting on A Christmas Carol. Playing Scrooge is an attorney who is much like his character. When the Ghost of Christmas Past stabs him during rehearsal, it’s Suzanne who chases him out the door but loses him in the alley. Suzanne is co-owner of the Crackleberry Club combo diner/craft store/bookshop. The suspect list is long and includes a disgruntled partner, a former secretary who was harassed, even the ex of another co-owner of the café. Laura Childs offers this chilling whodunit, Eggs on Ice.
START A NEW SERIES FOR NEW YEARS Here are three new series to check out. It’s One Taste Too Many for Sarah Blair. Divorced, she swaps luxury for a studio apartment and a receptionist job at a law firm. She’s got a Siamese named RahRah and terrible cooking skills, unlike her chef twin. When Sarah’s ex is possibly poisoned by sis’s rhubarb crisp and dies, Sarah needs to crack the case. Debra H. Goldstein gives a great start to her series and easy recipes as well.
From pastries to a bookshop/bar, Wine and Punishment is Sarah Fox’s first Literary Pub Mystery. Sadie Coleman has lost her job in Boston due to a merger and her boyfriend due to a gambling addiction. Her solution is to start her life over in Shady Creek, Vermont. She buys an old grist mill pub and turns it into the Inkwell, a spot to attract tourists, regulars, and readers. Her ex shows up, trying for another chance. When he’s found dead near the pub and then an antique shop catches fire, it’s clear there’s a criminal in the town. Sadie, her aunt and patrons of the Inkwell band together to catch a killer.
Single mom Lilly Carisen has her plate full with her jewelry shop, a mother in bad health, two teens, a deadbeat ex while holding down a job as president of the Chamber of Commerce in Juniper Junction. The last thing she needs is a dead body on the floor of her shop. When a second body turns up, Lilly is a suspect. She needs to figure out who the killer is before she becomes the next victim. The Worst Noel is the first in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mysteries by Amy M. Reade.
In Lottawatah, Oklahoma, Brianna Sullivan fears pregnancy has affected her psychic abilities. When her mom’s boyfriend and Brianna’s boss is kidnapped, plus a respected member of the community is found dead, this medium hasn’t got a clue. She also discovers morning sickness makes It hard to fight crime and the ghosts only talk in riddles. All Brianna can count on is her intuition, her bulldog Leon, and old-fashion detective work. Gone Fishing in Lottawatah is Evelyn David’s fourteenth in the Brianna Sullivan Mysteries.
BEST OF THE REST
E. J. Cooperman—Hostess with the Ghostess–A Haunted Gatehouse Mystery #9
Barbara Ross—Steamed Open–Maine Clambake #7
Betty Hechtman—Hooks Can Be Deceiving–A Crochet Mystery #13–crochet patterns and sweet recipes included!
J.C. Eaton—Botched for Murder—Sophi Kimball Mystery #4
Ellie Alexander—Live and Let Pie—A Bakeshop Mystery #9
Patrica Smiley–The Second Goodbye—Pacific Homicide Mysteries #2
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. Check back every month for Coming Attractions! Don’t forget to to check out for our mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local authors.
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