I’ve never meet a brownie I didn’t love. Or a cheese doodle. Or a French fry. Which means I have a tendency to gain weight, especially since a tutor I had as a child always gave me cookies when we had our reading lessons and I quickly learned to eat and read at the same time.
There were two advantages to having the nasty virus we’ve been trading back and forth this winter: I felt absolved of guilt for slacking off on my housework (pet care was non-negotiable according to my clowder and pack); and I also felt free to huddle under the covers and read all day. One of the books I read over the weekend was Shelved Under Murder, which involves one of my favorite places – a library – and adds a community festival, art, and murder to the index.
Librarian Amy Webber lives with her long-widowed aunt in a sedate Virginia Mountain town where she runs the local library, which is, like many small town libraries, short on funds and long on strange characters. One of the characters is a reclusive artist who is going to donate paintings to the library’s sale at the festival; unfortunately Amy finds the artist dead and the artist’s husband, a less well-known artist, is missing. Two of Amy’s late uncle’s paintings may be offered in place of the dead artist’s work but some people are a bit too eager to get a peek at his oeuvre. While clues are being sorted and secrets come to light, there is another murder. And all along the way romances are checked out, shelved, mended, re-shelved, and renewed.
I quite enjoyed Shelved Under Murder but quickly figured out that it was the second story in the series because of the constant mentions of events in the first, including who the villain of that story was. Anyone who wants to get maximum enjoyment from the series (and I do hope there are more) should start with the first book, A Murder for the Books.
Now I’m feeling better and have left the library stacks for a church – a cathedral no less – in Jeanne M. Dams new Dorothy Martin mystery Crisis at the Cathedral. It’s a bit of a thriller and I hope it ends well.
Required disclaimer: I was provided an advance reader’s Kindle copy of the book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, which is what this is. If you are interested in reading the book and you click on the book’s title in this blog, I may get a few pennies to help fund my reading habit. #ShelvedUnderMurder #NetGalley #CrisisAtTheCathedral
Once every few years, the knitting bug bites me and I dig out the tote with my yarn and patterns. Sometimes I start a new project and other times I pick up the stitches on an old project, like the teddy bears I’ve become rather adept at producing. What? You can knit more than sweaters and caps, you know. The urge is often quelled, though, by the help my clowder of cats is determined to give me, and I pick up a book to read instead.
Murder She Knit attracted me with its cover showing a black cat and yarn, since I’ve had experience with the combination of knitting and cats, but both had a rather minor, though important, roles in the story.
Pamela is a widow with a somewhat empty nest since her daughter is away at college, though there is that stray cat she feeds and her Knit & Nibble group. With the group meeting at her house, Pamela is happy that an old friend will be joining them – happy until she finds her friend’s body in the hedge, stabbed by a knitting needle, while hunting for a feral cat’s bowl. She and her best friend cast about for a solution, wondering if one of the knitting group could be the culprit. In the midst of knitting, crocheting, dealing with odd neighbors and a visiting daughter, and making tasty treats, the pair follow the pattern and unravel a yarn mystery as well as uncover a killer.
It’s a cozy involving food, so there are recipes at the end as well as some advice for beginning knitters. I’m hoping to see more of the cat and perhaps some interesting knitting patterns in the next in the series which, yes, I plan to read.
Required disclaimer: I was provided an advance reader’s Kindle copy of the book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, which is what this is. If you are interested in reading the book and you click on the title link in this blog, I may get a few pennies to help fund my reading habit. #MurderSheKnit #NetGalley
I was lucky it was my day off today because I was too sick to go to work. The creeping cold is seeping out of my head and down towards my lungs – sniffle-cough-sniffff. Since it’s also a grey rainy day, I’ve been craving comfort food, like the chocolate pudding my grandmother used to make for me when I was sick, and resisting the urge to find solace in calories.
All this made Carbs and Cadavers, a re-release of a mystery written by Ellery Adams and originally published under the nom de plume JB Stanley, the perfect read for the day.
James, our hero, is a fat, divorced, and lonely librarian who joins a diet supper club of other less-than-slender people – the Flab Five. He’s hoping to gain friends and lose pounds but he certainly doesn’t expect to nearly lose his life tracking down a murderer.
The themes of friendship and temptation run strong through the book, something the author excels at, and the characters and their flaws were a welcome relief from some of the too-perfect heroines we often find in cozy mysteries. The second in the series, Fit to Die, has also been re-released and will head to the top of my TBR pile.
In the meantime, I’m going to make a bowl of air-popped popcorn, chase it with coffee and Benadryl, and try very hard not to think about chocolate pudding.
Required disclaimer: I was provided an advance reader’s Kindle copy of the book through NetGalleyNote in exchange for an honest review, which is what this is. If you are interested in reading the book and you click on its title in this blog, I may get a few pennies to help fund my reading habit. #Carbs&cadavers #NetGalley
There are days when you don’t feel well and just want to huddle under a blanket with a comfortable read. This time I picked Southern Discomfort by Caroline Fardig off my digital shelf. It’s the start of a news series by the author of the popular Java Jive mysteries.
Despite an overused title, Southern Discomfort is a bit different from the usual paranormal cozy. It does have a plucky heroine, but Quinn tries desperately not to rush in blindly, and she’s the one who doesn’t see the resident ghost at the B&B she runs with her sister and grandfather, and she doesn’t believe that they do, either. The plot flows well, the language is clean, there are nice bits of Savannah lore, and the rocky beginning of a romance. Oh, and a murder is solved as well.
The victim was a surly character who isn’t missed by many, leaving a nice number of suspects. I picked out whodunnit fairly early but there was enough misdirection that I was second-guessing myself and happy at the end that I’d figured it out instead of irritated that it was so obvious.
There are the requisite comfortably quirky characters and I’m hoping to see more of the grandfather in future books. The mother, though, could be replaced with a cat – she was annoying.
All in all, it was good book to read while I endure a head cold and I’ll be looking for the future books in the series to read even when I feel well.
Required disclaimer: I was provided an advance reader’s Kindle copy of the book through NetGalleyNote in exchange for an honest review, which is what this is. If you are interested in reading the book and you click on the title link in this blog, I may get a few pennies to help fund my reading habit. #SouthernDiscomfort #NetGalley
Sometimes, when you need to retreat from the world, it’s good to visit an old friend – like Amelia Peabody Emerson in Deeds of the Disturber.
Unlike most of the books in the series, this one isn’t set in Egypt. Instead, it follows the family back to England where they encounter foul deeds, including murder, at the museum while caring at home for Peabody’s unlovely nephew and niece.
I missed being in Egypt, and Abdullah, and the Master Criminal Sethos. London seemed so much stodgier, though not less fraught with danger, than the desert around the pyramids. But that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book. I did, immensely.
It’s just the late Elizabeth Peters, who in real life was Dr. Barbara Mertz with a degree in Egyptology, made the pyramids, hotels, wadis, and alleys of Egypt so real that could feel the desert heat and smell the stink of unwashed donkeys (at least unwashed until Peabody got her hands on them.
If all of this has you wondering instead of nodding your head knowingly, you might want to start your adventures with Peabody and Emerson with the first book of the series, The Crocodile on the Sandbank.
…but I plan to find some as I explore the worlds of cozy mysteries, nibble on some brownies, sip a little coffee, and assure the cats that their supper has not been forgotten.
I began reading mysteries as a child, devouring the Nancy Drew series before moving on to Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers, and oh so many others. I explored locked rooms, found my way through classic puzzlers, processed procedurals, and finally, with a sigh of relief, wrapped myself in cozy mysteries.
I still read other types of mysteries with some history, biography, and fantasy thrown in for variety, but there is nothing so comforting as a good cozy. I take mine with chocolate, a cup or two of coffee, and a purring cat. How do you take yours?