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 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 A View to a Kilt by Kaitlyn Dunnett

The latest Liss MacCrimmon Scottish mystery, A View to a Kilt, by Kaitlyn Dunnett was a great story, though as a pet lover I mourned the loss of Lumpkin, Liss’ long time pet who passed between the last book in the series and this one. A sad fact of life we who give our hearts to four legged friends must inevitably face. Glenora, Liss’ younger female cat, who seems to be channeling Lumpkin in the form of imitating his behaviors, plays prominently in this story.

When a body is found close to home, the identity of the murder victim a complete surprise, Liss has a more compelling than usual reason to seek the identity of the killer. Her investigation involves a trip to Florida with her mother and some other risky ventures, cause for concern as usual for husband Dan, her police chief friend, the new and not so friendly state police detective. . . but they do understand this case is way more personal for Liss and her family than the other cases she has taken on over the years.

What Liss discovers involves a happening which has implications for everyone in town. Can she convince the town’s selectmen – and selectwoman – to change their plans – without risking her own life – again and again?

I don’t believe I would be tempted to attend the March Madness Mud Season Sale, a special event in the town of Moosetookalook, Maine, where this series is set. But it seems to be a popular event in spite of the fact that the competitions really do involve the participants becoming covered in mud. It serves as the story’s climactic scene. A second murder nearly occurs the day of the event, before the initial crime is solved and Moosetookalook returns to normal, for now.

A fun virtual visit to a small town in rural Maine and a cast of characters I’ve loved for many years. Can’t wait to see what happens next to this family who founded a Scottish Emporium which reminds me of a real Scottish specialty store I used to visit near Quechee, Vermont. Such fun to browse the selection of everything from expensive kilts to small fluffy souvenir sheep made of real wool. Oh, and they had the cutest flock of sheep outside! Our little dog was fascinated by them. I digress . . .but it’s such fun to reminisce.

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 Overkilt by Kaitlyn Dunnett – A Liss MacKrimmon Scottish Mystery

The New Age Pilgrims dominate the tale, Overkilt, by Kaitlyn Dunnett. Apparently the cultlike group has lived outside the borders of the town of Moosetookalook Maine throughout the story series but I don’t believe they’ve been mentioned previously.

These Maine based mysteries have been among my favorite cozies for many years. This one didn’t intrigue me when it began, but the plot intensified consistently and continued to twist until nearly the last page.

Dan, Liss’ most often even tempered husband, loses his composure and nearly throttles a surprising person. The town’s female sheriff must reign him in, but she understands and shares his concern about the growing threat to peace and harmony in the village and business at the shops that line the street.

When one of the New Age Pilgrims becomes a murder victim, Liss is forced to do her best to solve the puzzle in order to exonerate friend and family suspects. All amid adjusting to her parents’ return to Moosetookalook from years of living in Arizona, the early online Christmas rush at her Scottish Emporium, and plans for Thanksgiving with Dan, her parents, Aunt Margaret, and Lumpkin and Glenora, her feline family.

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. . .

Book Review of How to Knit a Murder

I did have a difficult time keeping up with character identities in this fast flowing story, but a helpful guide was provided inside the front cover.

I picked up How to Knit a Murder  by Sally Goldenbaum on a day when I was mentally “down” and it delivered what M.C. Beaton mentioned as her reason for writing fiction – “to give someone a good time on a bad day”.

I do my best to make that my motto as I compose my own stories also.

The Cape Ann area is an inspirational place for me, so I immediately loved the setting of this book’s charming fictional village, which holds secrets and conflicts just as do all places of human habitation.

In this entertaining cozy, a group of close friends who share a passion for felines and knitting solve a murder, exonerate and welcome a former resident and schoolmate.

It was a bit unsettling to realize the identity of the murderer, but isn’t it always for those of us who empathize with everyone?

A lovely story which conveys the reminder that the imprint of childhood experiences, especially those involving strong emotions, can stay with us always.

How we deal with these powerful, sometimes terribly upsetting memories is up to us.

The Perfect Present for Mothers Who Love Mysteries

Only a few short weeks remain until Mother’s Day. Do you have a vague idea of what you’re going to give the mother(s) in your life or are you still clueless?

What better gift for mothers who love to relax with a good read than a book about the day?  Mother’s Day Murder (Lucy Stone, Book 15) one of Lesie Meier’s great creations would be a perfect choice.

Leslie’s main character Lucy Stone (named for a real life lady who was a leader in the cause for women’s rights) is a down to earth mother and now grandmother who works for the little local paper in the small Maine town where she resides.

The demands of keeping her family happy while holding down a job, being civically active, and solving murders mirrors the lives of most of we women of today. She’s fun, thoughtful, creative, and insightful. I’ve followed the Lucy Stone Series all the way through, watching her children mature and take off on lives of their own. I hope the series continues so we can see how Lucy evolves as she enters a new life stage.

Happy Mothers Day in advance to all My Readers!

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Book Review of Glow of Death, a Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery – By Jane K. Cleland

Cats, Books, Mystery Books,

Lecture
via Daily Prompt: Lecture

Perhaps I should attend a lecture on the proper way to review books – learning from the experiences of others is a valued way to improve one’s own talents. But just now I’m too busy reading books I love and hoping to share them with others who like the same kind of cozies I do. – In addition to my other personal and professional responsibilities.

So I hope that readers are ok for now with the fact that I share my honest impression of books with you- my online friends, in the same natural manner I would use with “in person” friends.

So here’s my review of  Glow of Death: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery (Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries): My latest favorite from Jane K. Cleland, set in my very favorite place to visit in person, Southern Coastal New England:

It took me a while to read this one. A bit longer than most cozies, it seems, but the plot held the reader’s interest the entire time.

A complex winding plot with some unexpected suspense at the end.   I must admit I got a little lost for a time, keeping track of characters and plot twists, but that was okay.

A tiffany lamp was the star of the story. I learned some details of how to tell a real one from a reproduction, but it does require an expert to be sure. If an item has enough value, people will find a way to accurately make copies.

This one was stolen, replaced with a fake, and Josie was challenged with finding the real one, and finding the murderer of the lady with whom she had met to appraise the lamp. Well, maybe. That’s all I’m saying

I learned a bit about tomato cultivation, as a side character did nothing but tend to her plants it seemed, each time Josie passed her home. It seemed a bit repetitive, but I would love the meet the character in person, very pleasant and a great sense of style.

Josie finds romance with her cop boyfriend who’s out of town assignment finally comes to an end and they can spend more time together. And Hank, the watch cat of Prescott Antiques gains a new friend.

If you find antiques fascinating, love cats, and the New England Coast, and appreciate an assortment of interesting characters, all entwined into a detailed plot you will enjoy this story.

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Book Review of X Marks the Scot by Kaitlyn Dunnett

X Marks the Scot (Liss MacCrimmon Mystery)

Liss Maccrimmon – Ruskin serves as the focus of this installment in the Liss MacCrimmon  Scottish Mystery Series. Liss is the proprietor of Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium, a business started by her father and Aunt Margaret in the nineteen fifties.

A trip to Canada with Liss’ Aunt Margaret, the discovery of a dead body and several break-ins pepper the pursuit of the map’s significance. It’s at first not apparent whether the events are related to the map or not, but it soon becomes clear that others are aware of the treasure map as well.

A Shirley Temple lookalike and professed scholar, Benny Beamer, who is seeking material for the historical publication she is planning to further her career plays prominently in the tale as do those involved with The Chadwick Mansion, the estate where Liss believes the treasure map leads.

The antics of Lumpkin and Glenora, Liss’ cats, and Dandi and Dondi, Aunt Margaret’s Scottish Terriers (what else!) entertain animal loving readers like myself. And then there’s the attraction of Liss’s handsome husband Dan who, in addition to assisting his family’s businesses, Ruskin Construction, and The Spruces, a historic hotel his father restored and reopened, is a craftsman who creates specialty “puzzle tables”.

Liss’ friend Sherri Campbell, the local Chief of Police, as always assists in solving the mystery and strives to keep Liss safe, but in the end, Liss takes a risk and confronts her suspect, making for a suspenseful conclusion to the story. Will Liss survive this confrontation? Read and see.

A subplot has Liss worried about why her aging parents are returning to Maine after many years of living in Arizona.

Kaitly Dunnett is one of my very favorite creators of cozies. The style and characterization of this series has always resonated with me. It’s been very inspirational in the composition of my own cozy mystery manuscript, Black Cats, Schemes, and Childhood Dreams, which is nearing completion.

I highly recommend  X Marks the Scot and all the earlier works in the series.

To learn more, click the link below:

X Marks the Scot (Liss MacCrimmon Mystery)

Kilt Dead

Scone Cold Dead

A Wee Christmas Homicide

The Corpse Wore Tartan

Scotched

Bagpipes, Brides, and Homicides

Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones

Ho-Ho-Homicide

The Scottie Barked at Midnight

Kilt at the Highland Games

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X Marks the Scot (Liss MacCrimmon Mystery)