May Day Murder (Whitstable Pearl Mystery #3) by Julie Wassmer

jw mayday

ARC honest review for Little, Brown Book Group UK, via NetGalley.

The 3rd book in the Pearl Nolan, Whitstable Pearl series.

Pearl is faced with the death of a has-been Hollywood actress, who has returned to Whitstable (her birthplace) to open the May Day Celebrations.  Who is found stabbed and wrapped around the May Pole.

I love the characters created for this series.  The twists and turns in the plot.  A well crafted mystery, that will delight all ‘Cozy’ mystery readers.

5 Stars*****

******

It’s springtime and Whitstable is emerging from hibernation.

While neither the restaurant nor detective agency is too busy, Pearl resolves to spend some time at the family allotment. But her best friend, Nathan, has persuaded one of his favourite actresses to open the May Day festivities at Whitstable Castle and involves Pearl in his plans.

Like Pearl, Faye Marlowe is a Whitstable native, but having left the town more than two decades ago, the star has been living in the South of France since her agent’s phone stopped ringing. Charming but ‘sensitive’, she arrives with a small entourage and though her presence in the town causes a stir Pearl’s mother Dolly remains unimpressed, choosing to remember Faye Marlow when she was plain old Frankie Murray, the daughter of a local whelk merchant.

Nathan soon realises he has made a mistake with this invitation and his doubts are confirmed when Faye is nowhere to be found on the morning of May Day. And as ‘Jack in the Green’ puts on his impressive costume to lead the parade, the actress’s dead body is discovered – tethered to the maypole on the Castle grounds . . . and so it’s left to Pearl and DCI Mike McGuire to unravel the mystery of the May Day murder.

 

Antiques Slay Ride (A Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery #6.5) by Barbara Allan

ba slay ride

Not everything is serene in Serenity this Christmas, in this ‘Trash ‘n’ Treasure’ mystery E-Book exclusive.

And there is something in Santa’s sleigh that no one wants to unwrap!

That is unless you are Vivian Borne, who has a nose for antiques and an even bigger nose for Murder!  Along with her daughter Brandy and blind shih tzu Sushi, who likes nothing better than sniffing out dead bodies!

The ‘Trash ‘n’ Treasure’ books are fun and funny mysteries to read, with interplay from both mother and daughter, with refereeing from the Editor.

Barbara Allan’s tongue-in-cheek mysteries are a delight to read.

5 Stars*****

******

Ho Ho Homicide The Christmas rush is on as Brandy Borne and her quaintly quirky mother, Vivian, sniff out plum collectibles for resale, only to find the owner of a Santa’s workshop worth of treasures has received some deadly tidings. It’s beginning to look a lot like murder…but who wanted the deceased closed for the holidays-permanently? Maybe a rival antiques dealer, a Grinch who collects Christmas? Or the victim’s suspiciously frosty stepchildren? Brandy and Vivian check their list of who’s been naughty or nice, but it may take a Christmas miracle-and some help from Sushi, their elfin shih tzu-to tie a bow around the season’s most wanted killer!

DON’T MISS BRANDY BORNE’S TIPS ON ANTIQUES!

A Ghostly Gift (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries #1.5) by Angie Fox

AF GIFT

This novella comes after Verity Long’s first adventures as a Southern Ghost Hunter – Southern Spirits.

This is a really lovely short story.

Verity Long doesn’t want to see ghosts, and she’d rather not let anyone know her little secret, either. But when a restless spirit stirs up trouble in her friend’s resale shop, Verity and her very new, very dead gangster friend team up to learn what is really happening.

They discover an age-old secret, and must learn the truth behind a mysterious disappearance…before it’s too late.

5 Stars*****

The Semester of our Discontent (Lila Maclean Mystery #1) by Cynthia Kuhn

ck semester

ARC honest review for Henery Press via NetGalley.

A killer stalks the hallowed halls of Stonedale University.   And Lila Maclean, newly appointed professor at the university is thrown in the deep end, when her cousin Calista is accused of murder.

With all the back biting and back stabbing, who knew academia could be murder!

I really enjoyed this, the first book in the Lila Maclean Mysteries.  With all the twists and turns, it will keep you guessing right until the end!

5 Stars*****

*****

English professor Lila Maclean is thrilled about her new job at prestigious Stonedale University until she finds one of her colleagues dead. She soon learns that everyone, from the chancellor to the detective working the case, believes Lila—or someone she is protecting—may be responsible for the horrific event, so she assigns herself the task of identifying the killer.

More attacks on professors follow, the only connection a curious symbol at each of the crime scenes. Putting her scholarly skills to the test, Lila gathers evidence, but her search is complicated by an unexpected nemesis, a suspicious investigator, and an ominous secret society. Rather than earning an “A” for effort, she receives a threat featuring the mysterious emblem and must act quickly to avoid failing her assignment … and becoming the next victim.

 

Why Mermaids Sing (Sebastian St. Cyr #3) by C. S. Harris

csh mermaids

In this, the third instalment of C. S. Harris’s Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries.  She has weaved her magic to the tune of a John Donne poem, so that the jigsaw pieces click into place perfectly.

Although I am mostly a ‘cozy’ mystery reader, C. S, Harris’s talent as a storyteller draws me back time and time again.

The Sebastian St. Cyr books are not to be missed.  Savour them and enjoy!

5 Stars*****

*****

Murder has jarred London’s elite. The sons of prominent families have been found at dawn in public places, partially butchered, with strange objects stuffed in their mouths. Once again, the local magistrate turns to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, for help. Moving from the gritty world of London’s docks to the drawing rooms of Mayfair, Sebastian confronts his most puzzling—and disturbing—case yet.

Picture Miss Seeton (Heron Carvic’s Miss Seeton #1) by Heron Carvic

hc picture seeton

Meet retired art teacher Miss Emily D. Seeton, a gentle parody of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.

If you can follow the conversations of Miss Marple, you will love Miss Seeton!

Heron Carvic’s Miss Seeton books are a joy to read from start to finish.  As Miss Seeton wrecks havoc in the Kent countryside.

I’m glad to see these classic mysteries back in circulation once more.  I love them.

Further adventures of Miss Emily D. Seeton.

Book #2 – Miss Seeton Draws the Line. – May 2016

Book #3 – Witch Miss Seeton. – June 2016

Hopefully Farrago are set to re-publish all 22 books.

5 Stars*****

ARC honest review for Farrago via NetGalley.

*****

When Miss Seeton walks out of a performance of Carmen and witnesses a real-life stabbing, all she can recall is a shadowy figure. But how could even she have guessed that her latest artistic endeavour is a picture-perfect portrait of the killer? Her caricature, however, puts her in a perilous position, for back at her rustic cottage in Plummergen, she’s fated to be a sitting duck . . . for murder most foul!

Meet Miss Emily D. Seeton
Retired art teacher Miss Seeton steps in where Scotland Yard stumbles. Armed with only her sketch pad and umbrella, she is every inch an eccentric English spinster and the most lovable and unlikely master of detection.

 

Death in the Tunnel (Desmond Merrion #13) by Miles Burton

mb death tunnel

ARC honest review for British Library Crime Classics published by Poisoned Pen Press Via NetGalley.

I’m really glad that Poisoned Pen Press have been able to republish these vintage classics.

Cecil John Charles Street was a most prolific writer.  Writing under the pen names of John Rhode (Dr Priestley Mysteries) and Miles Burton (Desmond Merrion Mysteries).

I enjoyed this Desmond Merrion mystery.

Did Sir Wilfred Saxonby commit suicide or was he murdered?  Follow Inspector Arnold of Scotland Yard and wealthy amateur expert in criminology Desmond Merrion to discover the answers in this puzzle.

4 Stars****

*****

On a dark November evening, Sir Wilfred Saxonby is travelling alone in the 5 o clock train from Cannon Street, in a locked compartment. The train slows and stops inside a tunnel; and by the time it emerges again minutes later, Sir Wilfred has been shot dead, his heart pierced by a single bullet. Suicide seems to be the answer, even though no reason can be found. Inspector Arnold of Scotland Yard thinks again when he learns that a mysterious red light in the tunnel caused the train to slow down. Finding himself stumped by the puzzle, Arnold consults his friend Desmond Merrion, a wealthy amateur expert in criminology. To Merrion it seems that the dead man fell victim to a complex conspiracy but the investigators are puzzled about the conspirators motives, as well as their identities. Can there be a connection with Sir Wilfred s seemingly untroubled family life, his highly successful business, or his high-handed and unforgiving personality? And what is the significance of the wallet found on the corpse, and the bank notes that it contained?”

 

Penguin Random House are cutting their Cozy Mysteries

berkley

Dear Berkley PG,

Thank you for replying to Linda Langford’s message.

But many of us on ‘Save Our Cozies’ fb page, still have concerns and no answers have been forth coming from yourselves.

Firstly, you state that “you share our love of the cozy mysteries”, but at last count on our verified list (the ones that we know of at the moment), you have cancelled 23 series…that seems an awful lot to be going all at one time…why, so many?  And for what reason?

Now can you understand our concerns.

Secondly, you say that you want to bring ‘Cozy’ mysteries to a bigger audience with a ‘new’ dedicated website/message/newsletter. Why close the ones that you have in place at the moment? Why now?

Shouldn’t you have been advertising ALL your publications years ago. Not just the ones that you class as ‘Best Seller’?

Unfortunately ‘Best Selling’ authors don’t start off as ‘Best Selling’ authors!

Also on the grapevine (and it’s a Big grapevine!) we hear that you have also made huge job cuts within the ‘cozy’ departments. Why and for what reason?

And please don’t tell us to save money. Not when the company is worth over 62 billion dollars!

Thirdly, if PRH is looking to get onto the ‘trend’ of plowing all their money into a few books each year, ‘trying’ to make them ‘Best Sellers’, like the movie industry is doing…they are jumping on the wrong boat!

The Big movies are centred on a mostly male audience.

Book buying and reading is mostly 80% the female population. And they are not about to jump ship on what they like reading…just because that’s what PRH want.

Obviously the upstairs think-tank must be mostly male, who haven’t got a clue about women!

They are loyal to there favorite authors and will follow them anywhere they go (including all the ones that you have cancelled!)…and lets face it, it’s not going to stop at 23 as you haven’t finished culling the series that you think ‘don’t make the grade’!

Remember, ladies are your biggest customers…and at the moment, you are royally peeing them off.

Regards Ian, reader (40 years of cozy mysteries) and reviewer for NetGalley (although not any from Berkley Prime Crime books, as I live in the UK and we are not allowed them, as we don’t read cozies in the UK, do we!).

Oh, and another thing.

Hardbacks are lovely, for libraries. Unfortunately most of us BUYING public have to wait then for the paperback edition to come out, which more affordable to our pockets. The reason your Kindle editions aren’t doing too well, is because you charge as much for the Kindle edition as you do for the paperback.

Oh, so which are we the buyers going to go for….hmmm, I think paperback!

So if you want more sales on the Kindle front…lower the price! Lower the price and you will see you sales go up by leaps and bounds!

Agatha Raisin: Hell’s Bells by M. C. Beaton

mcb hells

Short, sweet and concise.

Still an enjoyable read.

4 Stars****

******

Widowed Mary Bolton, like Miss Jean Brodie, considers herself in her prime. Not satisfied with car boot sales, dances at the bowling club and reading to the elderly, she throws herself into bellringing with gusto – much to the annoyance of her neighbours. But when the industrious Mary is found swinging from a bell rope, Jessica Brand – who only days before had threatened to strangle Mary with the very same rope – fears she will be accused. There’s nothing left to do but call in private detective Agatha Raisin to untangle the web of sex, money, deceit … and murder.

Ten Days In August by Kate McMurray

km 10 day august

ARC honest review for Lyrical Press/Kensington Books via NetGalley.

From the Lower East Side to uptown Manhattan, a curious detective searches for clues on the sidewalks of New York—and finds a secret world of forbidden love that’s too hot to handle…

I really enjoyed the way Kate McMurray interweaved the historical events of 1896 New York heat wave, with a murder/mystery and romance.

And what it was like for men at that period in time, to have forbidden love.

4 Stars****

*****

New York City, 1896. As the temperatures rise, so does the crime rate. At the peak of this sizzling heat wave, police inspector Hank Brandt is called to investigate the scandalous murder of a male prostitute. His colleagues think he should drop the case, but Hank’s interest is piqued, especially when he meets the intriguing key witness: a beautiful female impersonator named Nicholas Sharp.

As a nightclub performer living on the fringes of society, Nicky is reluctant to place his trust in a cop—even one as handsome as Hank. With Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt cracking down on vice in the city, Nicky’s afraid that getting involved could end his career. But when he realizes his life is in danger—and Hank is his strongest ally—the two men hit the streets together to solve the crime. From the tawdry tenements of the Lower East Side to the moneyed mansions of Fifth Avenue, Nicky and Hank are determined to uncover the truth. But when things start heating up between them, it’s not just their lives on the line. It’s their love…