Book Review of Irish Parade Murder by Leslie Meier

I truly don’t know where to begin. This Lucy Stone Mystery, Irish Parade Murder by Leslie Meier is a masterpiece containing all the things I’ve wanted to say about happenings of the past year. Everything that’s been in the news and in my thoughts. Well, except for COVID.

Yes, it’s a mystery, but it’s also a bit of a commentary. The plight of newspapers in today’s times. The DNA tests that discover unknown siblings. Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements (Don’t all lives matter?” asks Lucy’s daughter.)

The newspaper happenings and a new staff member have Lucy and Phyllis, her co-worker a bit upset, though thankfully the paper is kept alive by the new arrangement. Corruption in law enforcement is an issue that creates risk when Lucy and the new reporter investigate.

Bill, Lucy’s husband’s father passes away. His mother makes a trip to Maine. An unfamiliar, apparent family member appears to complicate matters.

A man dies in an accident/murder. Lucy investigates. Eventually, she finds herself in a precarious situation. Will there be a Cinderella ending? Or are there too many complications?

Leslie’s Lucy Stone books just keep getting better. I thank her for putting my thoughts into words at so many spots within this book.

Book Review of The Angels’ Share by Ellen Crosby

Some mystery series’, as some television shows, lose the interest of readers/viewers over the years. Plot concepts become less compelling, more unrealistic. Not so with Ellen Crosby’s Wine Country Mysteries.

The Angels’ Share, the tenth in the series is the most captivating of them all, in my opinion. A lesson in history, food for thought regarding some intriguing controversies, in addition to a compelling murder mystery.

A local mega-wealthy nonagenarian art and artifact collector is murdered shortly after conversing with Lucie Montgomery, Virginia winery owner and main character. The conversation occurred privately, at an annual event at his expansive estate.

Was the culprit a member of the aging man’s family? A Washington Tribune associate upset with his plans to sell the paper? Someone from the community with an unknown motive? Lucie, as usual, must solve the mystery, as she and her family, fiancee’ and winemaker, Quinn, brother Eli and his family, and the winery staff prepare for the holiday season.

The dead man was a Freemason, who planned to share a history shattering revelation at an upcoming meeting. During his conversation with Lucie he made a request she was unable to fulfill, due to lack of knowledge of the location of a historic item reportedly owned by Lucie’s ancestors.

The most fascinating part of the story is Lucie’s pursuit of the truth regarding the question of whether Shakespeare or Francis Bacon was responsible for the writings attributed to Shakespeare.

Her quest for hidden papers which might reveal the truth about the mystery lead her to a lockbox, at the local bank, and a search of local historical sites. She also engaged in conversation with researchers at Historic Jamestowne and at the Folger library, where many original copies of Shakespearian plays are located.

The Dust Bunny Project, and the fact that Shakespearean classic, The Tempest may be based on the wreck of The Sea Venture, a ship on its way to Jamestowne, are fascinating. As the future advances, we gain more tools for learning about the past.

I do hope Shakespeare really did write “Shakespeare”, not Francis Bacon. The name “Shakespeare” sounds much more literary. I do believe in revealing the truth if it’s proven beyond doubt, but it’s sad so many cherished beliefs have been blown to bits in recent times.

History buffs, mystery lovers, wine aficianados, will find something to love in this story. The relationship between Quinn and Lucie continues to develop, delighting fans of romance, also. Can’t wait for the next book.

Escape-Hatch Novels for Current Times — Books for Animal Lovers

Cats, Books, Mystery Books,

First we have a pandemic. Then along comes a nationwide protest over a heinous act, the protests being usurped by rioters. We need a portal into a world of peace, a portal that, unfortunately, doesn’t exist. What we do have, however, is the escape-hatch novel. The escape-hatch novel has no room for serial murderers lurking […]

Escape-Hatch Novels for Current Times — Books for Animal Lovers

Ran across this great list of cozies featuring animals – those soothing creatures that help us endure stress best. Hope you enjoy – Penny Here’s the link for Animal Lover Books the source blog.

Amish fiction isn’t my favorite, so I haven’t read Criminally Cocoa, but Amanda Flower is a great, highly talented author. Discovered this Easter related title in her candy shop mystery series. If you love Amish fiction, I highly recommend any series by Amanda.

I do wish she would bring back her original non-Amish series set in an Ohio college town. But this Easter tale should be entertaining.

With a spotted pig, a chocolate bunny, the New York City skyline on the cover, I imagine this is quite a story.

Book Review of Easter Bunny Murder by Leslie Meier

picture of leslie meier easter bunny murder book

I read Easter Bunny Murder many years ago, but the mostly holiday based Lucy Stone Mysteries by Leslie Meier are features of every special season. These lovely cozies are comforting traditions to re-read any time of the year, whether borrowed from the library or purchased to keep and treasure. I picked up a paperback version of this one at a used book store recently.

A man dressed as the Easter Bunny really is murdered in this tale. The killing takes place at a planned community Easter egg hunt on a posh estate on the Maine Coast.

The victim’s grandmother has been changing her habits and main character Lucy wonders if her behavior and that of her heirs has anything to do with the murder.

Lucy, a middle aged writer for a small town in Maine’s weekly newspaper, married to a carpenter, and with four children, must take care of herself and her family as she tries to trace the killer’s identity from a “basket of suspects”. Will she identify him or her in time to save future victims – and herself – from his – or her – wrath?

I know, it sounds like a tragic scene. A murder at an Easter event for children. But we know it’s fiction and the story is so enchantingly written that it ends up being cute and humorous, for the most part, instead of terrifying.

It’s a great spring escape for those who enjoy cozies featuring family, the realities of modern life, a good mystery plot. Pick one up at a new or used book shop, or order one from the internet. It was published in 2013, but it’s evergreen.

Book Review of Invitation Only Murder by Leslie Meier

Wow. That’s my first reaction on finishing Invitation Only Murder, by Leslie Meier, the 2019 edition of one of my very favorite Maine based mystery series’.

Lucy Stone, the heroine, spent many years and story plots raising her son and three daughters and working at The Pennysaver, a small newspaper in a modest seaside town in Maine. Now that her children are grown, the stories have branched out from her farmhouse home to include some exotic locations.

This one’s setting isn’t exotic but it’s off the grid. I’ve always wanted to spend time on an island off the coast of Maine, but am having second thoughts after reading this fantastic horror story.

Lucy signs up to spend time on the island of a wealthy businessman, with his family and the native islanders and others who work for him. She plans to write a story about the venture for The Pennysaver, but she never bargained for the murder mystery and kidnapping and the near escape from death she experiences.

The happenings are so far fetched they’re beyond belief by the book’s ending. But the suspense and the pace made it impossible to stop reading. The story includes some good information on the terrain and wildlife of a Maine island.. A secondary plot of great interest, involving Zoe, Lucy’s youngest daughter, begins before Lucy leaves for the island, comes to a surprising conclusion when she returns.

I’ll never miss the chance of a visit with my friend Lucy, though the plots have changed a lot, as everything in life must, whether I like it or not.

You probably won’t be able to put this one down. A great reading choice for a late winter’s evening.

Book Review of A Crime of a Different Stripe by Sally Goldenbaum

It took me a while to finish this tale. Intricate details of a network of friends living on the enchanting peninsula of Cape Ann, Massachusetts are featured in A Crime of a Different Stripe.

I’ve read a mystery in this cozy series previously, featuring the friends and pets residing in the neighborhood of “The Seaside Knitters Society”. The stories are charming. They feature pets, quaint shops and cafes, coastal settings, the perfect combination for a pleasant adventure.

Sally Goldenbaum even included a custom designed baby hat pattern for knitting lovers, inside the back cover of the book.

I’m not much of a knitter, but I did pretty much unravel the plot to this story on my own, about three-fourths of the way through. Nevertheless it gave me a great excuse to mingle in my mind with those in the fictional town of Sea Harbor – what a lovely name. An award-winning photographer and a professional yoga teacher play prominently but that’s all I’m saying about the plot. You’ll want to spend a few gray winter days reading it yourself.

I’ve been to Cape Ann, and also set a story there myself – it was published! A unique place. The real setting and the ones crafted with artistic lincense.

Book Review of Something Borrowed, Something Mewed by Bethany Blake

Perhaps it was only because I’ve been lacking sufficient sleep recently, but I had a difficult time keeping track of human and animal characters in this topsy turvy tale, entitled Something Borrowed, Something Mewed. I enjoyed an earlier Bethany Blake “Lucky paws pet sitting mystery”. Loved the cute cast of people and pets and their interesting antics.

This one opens into a scene of preparations for Daphne Templeton’s sister Piper’s wedding. The well-laid plans are knocked off kilter when the wedding planner ends up dead in a fountain. Snowdrop, the murder victim’s poodle, and Socrates, Daphne’s Basset, tag along with pet sitter Daphne through the days following the incident, riding in her old VW Van as the murder plot is unraveled.

A lover of pets and old hippie vans, that’s one of my favorite features of these stories. Tinkleston, Daphne’s “catastrophe prone cat” in her own words, plays a role in the tale too.

A surprise romantic event awaits at the close of the story. (No peeking). One thing is certain; you’ll never suffer boredom as you venture through this book’s pages, but you’d better stay on your toes to keep track of the happenings.

There are bonus recipes for tasty treats at the back of the book that will tempt your pets. (There’s one for people too.)       

Check it out if you’re seeking a fun and quite eventful read, or a gift for a pet lover on your list.    

Book Review of Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay

Just finished Hitting the Books – Jenn McKinlay’s great title. Yes the title is great – reminding us this book is an installment in the library lover’s mystery series – but so is the story. . .

My emotions are still roller-coastering following the nail-biting drama of several scenes where main character, librarian Lindsey Norris, her significant other, and law enforcement friends, not to mention her beloved canine, Heathcliff, are threatened with death at the hands of . . . well I won’t give away the suspects’ identities . . .

If you enjoy romance, sleuthing, libraries, threats of danger, happy endings – not for everyone, but for the main characters. This could be your next enjoyable read.

And the bonus is – there is inspiration at the end, for planning your own “crafternoon” – a book discussion get together featuring a light gourmet meal and a fun, easy craft project. – Plus even a snipped of Jenn’s latest contemporary romance tale.

Jenn McKinlay is a fluent author with four great series’ under her belt. Wow, that’s impressive. I’m still working on my first . . . along with reading everyone else’s stories and other responsibilities. . .

Book Review of A Fatal Fiction by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Mikki Lincoln, seventy year old retired junior high school teacher turned freelance editor is making her life exciting by investigating a murder again. The scariest part of A Fatal Fiction for me was when she jumps from a seven foot high roof in order to “escape” her nephew’s detection.

(You have to read the story to find out why.)

Lenape Hollow, in the Catskill area of New York state is the setting. It’s Mikki’s hometown, where she’s spending her later years, after moving back from Maine. A dispute over a long-closed resort is the focus of much of the story, the setting for some of the scenes relating to the murder mystery.

Mikki is editing the memoirs of the elderly daughter of the proprietor of the resort back in its heydey, when an array of famous people stayed there. I’m not sure the previous sentence is grammatically correct, but I’m sure Mikki – or Kaitlyn Dunnett . . . could tell me.

The trivia regarding grammar at the end of the book was a treat. This is the third mystery in the “Deadly Edits” series.

I enjoyed reading the detaiils of Mikki’s mundane but satisfying lifestyle, as well as the complex plot structure and the dramatic conclusion.

The cover of this copy is lovely too – books in prettily bound covers on a shelf, with an inset featuring Calpurnia, Mikki’s calico cat eying birds outside, against a background of purple Catskill Mountains and the lovely hues of the sky above them. In the foreground, manuscript pages flutter onto a table.

Looks like a perfect setting to me. I must get back to my “in process” cozy mystery manuscript. So many writing projects, so little time. . .