Murder at Morningside ( A Missy DuBois Mystery) by Sandra Bretting — Murder, Mystery & More…

ARC honest review for Kensington Books via NetGalley. A good start to a New series. Missy DuBois, a hat designer with her own boutique, Crowning Glory on the Louisiana’s Great River Road and her clothes designer friend Ambrose, who owns Allure Couture the shop next door to hers. Are invited to attend the wedding that they […]

via Murder at Morningside ( A Missy DuBois Mystery) by Sandra Bretting — Murder, Mystery & More…

Murder at Morningside ( A Missy DuBois Mystery) by Sandra Bretting

sb morningside

ARC honest review for Kensington Books via NetGalley.

A good start to a New series.

Missy DuBois, a hat designer with her own boutique, Crowning Glory on the Louisiana’s Great River Road and her clothes designer friend Ambrose, who owns Allure Couture the shop next door to hers.  Are invited to attend the wedding that they both designed for at Morningside Plantation.

Only to have the bride-to-be drop down dead before reaching the alter!

And Missy decides that she need to find answers.

I enjoyed this first outing of Missy DuBois, and can’t wait to sample the next book that is due out.

A light, entertaining mystery.  Well written.  With a set of characters that you would like to see more of.

4 Stars****

******

Hat designer Missy DuBois opened her shop, Crowning Glory, along Louisiana’s Great River Road to cater to the sophisticated Southern bride. But bless her heart, who knew creating stylish wedding veils would lead to murder?

Hired to craft a veil for a socialite getting married at Morningside Plantation means Missy can bask in the height of antebellum atmosphere. But when the bride is found dead in a women’s bathroom, Missy the milliner finds herself entangled in one unfashionable murder. With the list of suspects thicker than the sweltering Louisiana heat, including a gaggle of bridesmaids shedding nary a tear and a family with no shortage of enemies, it seems anyone at the mansion may have done away with the bride-to-be. While Missy has Southern charm to spare, she’s going to need more than manners and a manicure to put a hat pin on this murderous affair . . .

 

The ‘Golden Age’ of ‘cozy’ crime

 

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If you like or love the Big 4 Queens of Crime, Dame Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham and Dame Ngaio Marsh…then you are already reading ‘Golden Age’ ‘cozy’ detective fiction!

The ‘Golden Age’ period is normally stated as between the 1920’s to the 1930’s.  But many practitioners continued their books through to the 60’s and some beyond (mainly Dame Ngaio Marsh who continued her Roderick Alleyn series right up to her death in the 1980’s).

For me, there should have been 5 Queens of Crime…the last one should have been Patricia Wentworth, creator of the Miss Maud Silver mysteries.  32 books in the series, that went from the late 1920’s to her death in 1960.  She also wrote as many ‘one offs’ and sub series over a 40 year period.  Personally I love the Miss Silver series, and I think they are well worth reading.

From the British contingent you have the big 4 queens (and yes, though Ngaio Marsh was a New Zealander, which is part of the British Common Wealth/Empire, hence her being made a Dame, she also spent half her life time living in the UK), plus Patricia Wentworth.  But you also have great practitioners of the likes of John Rhode/Miles Burton’s Dr Lancelot Priestley and Desmond Merrion series, Nicholas Blake’s Nigel Strangeways series, Edmund Crispin’s Gervase Fen mysteries, Anthony Gilbert’s Arthur Crook series, plus J. J. Connington’s Sir Clinton Driffield series.  Also American author who lived in the UK for 30+ years and created his Sir Henry Merrivale series and Dr Gideon Fell mysteries, under his own name of John Dickson Carr and as Carter Dickson.

Also from the USA came the writers like, Stuart Palmer’s Miss Hildegarde Withers, Leslie Ford’s Grace Latham & Colonel John Primrose, Frances & Richard Lockridge’s Mr & Mrs North, D. B. Olsen’s Rachel Murdock, Frances Crane’s Pat & Jean Abbott, Elizabeth Daly’s Henry Gamage, and Phoebe Atwood Taylor/Alice Tilton’s Asey Mayo and Leonadis Witherall mysteries and Ellery Queen’s Ellery Queen mysteries.

Just to mention a few.  And the ones that I mainly read.

There are many, many more authors from both the UK and the USA that I haven’t mentioned, as the list would be endless!

But you will notice that there were just as many male authors as the females back in the ‘Golden Age’.

Some of these series are going through a reissue period.  Like John Rhode/Miles Burton, some are being reprinted from the British Library Crime Classic collection.  Nicholas Blake, Edmund Crispin, Stuart Palmer, Frances & Richard Lockridge, in most formats, some also in audio.  And the Patricia Wentworth non Miss Silver mysteries have been reissued in the last few months.  Her Miss Silver books have never gone out of publication.   And J. J. Connington, Anthony Gilbert & John Dickson Carr are being reissued by The Murder Room in ebook.

Sadly the only ones I haven’t seen yet in reissue, are the Carter Dickson, Leslie Ford and the D. B. Olsen books.  The Elizabeth Daly books, some have been republished in paperback and are still available.  Carter Dickson did have a reissue period back in the 1990’s of a few books, but disappeared again.

All are well worth reading (in my opinion) 🙂

I will try, at some point to do blog pieces on all of them.  Highlighting each author and why I like/love their books.  All with a reading lists.

 

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The Final Tap (Living History Museum #2) by Amanda Flowers

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ARC honest review for Midnight Ink books via NetGalley.

This is the second book in Amanda Flowers ‘Living History Museum’ mysteries, but the first one that I have read in this series.

For Kelsey Cambridge life is hectic enough juggling Barton Farm, the Maple Sugar Festival, a 5 year old, an ex and his fiancée…let alone a dead body in the maple grove!

I enjoyed the book.  She has created a nice set of characters, and the plot was well balanced and written.

4 Stars****

******

March on Barton Farm can only mean one thing: maple sugar season. To combat the winter slump, resilient director Kelsey Cambridge organizes a Maple Sugar Festival, complete with school visits, pancake breakfasts, and tree tapping classes. Kelsey hires curmudgeonly maple sugar expert Dr. Conrad Beeson to teach the classes, despite misgivings over his unpleasant demeanour. It’s a decision she ends up regretting when, before the first tree can be tapped for sap, Dr. Beeson turns up dead.

The maple sugar expert’s death threatens to shut down not only the Maple Sugar Festival, but also Barton Farm itself. Kelsey must solve Dr. Beeson’s murder to escape the increasingly sticky situation.

Killer Cocktail (Nic & Nigel Mystery #2) by Tracey Kiely

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ARC honest review for Midnight Ink Books via NetGalley.

This is the second book in Tracey Kiely’s,  Nic & Nigel mysteries.  But the first one that I have read.

Tracey has given a modern twist on the Nick & Nora Charles Mystery, The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett.

A very light and entertaining read.  Well written, with a good plot and characters.  Glad that I have brought the first book in this series to read.

4 Stars****

******

Former detective Nic and well-heeled wag Nigel star in their own Hollywood whodunit

Walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards with a bow-tied Bullmastiff draws Nic and Nigel Martini plenty of attention from the press. But that’s nothing compared to the attention they receive at the A-list after party, when Hollywood royalty learn they’ve discovered behind-the-scenes footage from an acclaimed film that left one of its stars dead.

Returning home after the party, Nic and Nigel find their house in shambles and their employee DeDee Evans beaten within an inch of her life. And when the weapon used to pummel DeDee implicates a beloved actress, Nic and Nigel drink and banter their way into a modern-day version of a golden-age crime caper.

 

All Murders Final! (Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery #3) by Sherry Harris

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ARC honest review for Kensington Books via NetGalley.

This was my first introduction to the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series.  Whoever would have thought garage sales could be murder!

From finding a dead body on the first page, to the explosive finish.  This book is a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.

I loved everything about this book, and will be getting the previous ones into my TBR pile.

5 Stars*****

Her Next Sale

When Sarah Winston started the virtual garage sale, it seemed like a keystroke of genius and the next logical step in her business. No more collapsing card tables and rainy-day washouts. But what began as a fun way to run garage sales during the long New England winter has become a nightmare of managing people and putting out fires. Online, she can avoid the crowds–but not the crazies.

May Be Her Last

She certainly never bargained on dealing with frightening threats. And when a client is murdered, it’s time for Sarah to swallow her pride and seek the help of her ex–C.J. Hooker, chief of police. Forging a tense alliance, they search–online and off–for the killer. But solving this crime before someone else gets tagged seems virtually impossible…

 

Design For Dying (Lillian Frost & Edith Head #1) by Renee Patrick

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ARC honest review for Macmillan-Tor/Forge books via NetGalley.

A New series with a dream team of Lillian Frost (Department Store Assistant) and Edith Head (clothes designer at Paramount Pictures), set in the late 1930’s Hollywood setting.  With star studded cameo appearances.

I loved the easy flow of the book, with it’s likable main characters.  A well plotted and written story, with it’s twists and turns…a bit like Barbara Stanwycks driving! 😀

5 Stars*****

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This debut is the first in a series of riveting behind-the-scenes mysteries from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Los Angeles, 1937. Lillian Frost has traded dreams of stardom for security as a department store salesgirl . . . until she discovers she’s a suspect in the murder of her former roommate, Ruby Carroll. Party girl Ruby died wearing a gown she stole from the wardrobe department at Paramount Pictures, domain of Edith Head.

Edith has yet to win the first of her eight Academy Awards; right now she’s barely hanging on to her job, and a scandal is the last thing she needs. To clear Lillian’s name and save Edith’s career, the two women join forces.

Unraveling the mystery pits them against a Hungarian princess on the lam, a hotshot director on the make, and a private investigator who’s not on the level. All they have going for them are dogged determination, assists from the likes of Bob Hope and Barbara Stanwyck, and a killer sense of style. In show business, that just might be enough.

Bossa Novas. Bikinis, and Bad Ends (Happy Hoofers Mystery #4) by Mary McHugh

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ARC honest review for Kensington Books via NetGalley.

This is the 4th book in the Happy Hoofers series, and the five 50’ish ladies have been invited to dance at the Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro.  But all is not gay and happy on this beach paradise playground of Brazil.  The staff at the Copacabana Palace hotel are dropping dead like flies…and not from the heat!

And ‘Happy Hoofer’ Pat is feeling the heat more than the other ladies of the group.

This is the first book that I have read in this series…and I loved the descriptions of the locations visited by the ladies, the food and Pat’s travel tips.

I’m glad that I have a couple of the earlier books on my Kindle, so that I can catch up with their previous adventures.

4 Stars****

*******

Murder’s a showstopper…

The fancy-footed Happy Hoofers–Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini– are kicking off Carnival by entertaining posh guests at the most elegant hotel in Rio de Janeiro. Stunning beaches and spectacular views abound. But the party is cut short for the fab five when their alluring Brazilian companion is found dead in her room, without a clue as to what killed her.

As the samba-loving sleuths sift the evidence, they realize that even in beautiful Rio, murder can set the stage–and steal the show…

Includes Travel Tips And Tasty Recipes

Operation Goodwood (Mirabelle Bevan #5) by Sara Sheridan

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

In this, the 5th adventure for Mirabelle Bevan finds Mirabelle caught in a fire from the flat above hers.  She is rescued, but the new owner isn’t!  Did the dashing racing driver Dougie Beaumont commit suicide as believed or is there more to it.  Mirabelle has to know for her own piece of mind.

I enjoyed the twists and turns in this well written and researched story from Sara Sheridan.

4 Stars****

******

1955. When Mirabelle Bevan is rescued from a fire at her home on the Brighton seafront she’s lucky to escape unharmed – but the blaze takes the life of her neighbour, Dougie Beaumont, a dashing and successful racing driver living in the flat above. It soon becomes clear that this was arson, raising questions about the young man’s death that Mirabelle can’t resist investigating further. With her curiosity piqued and on the trail of a potential killer she finds herself taking on the mysterious world of Fleet Street with its long lunches and dodgy deals as well as the glamorous motor racing world at Goodwood.

It gradually becomes clear to Mirabelle that Dougie Beaumont’s life was not as above-board as it first seemed and that this talented man had many secrets, hidden when he was alive by his international lifestyle where he was constantly on the move. Then, when a second shocking murder takes place, Mirabelle’s pursuit is frustrated first by Dougie’s well-connected and suspicious family and then by the official investigation – led by her would-be lover Superintendent McGregor. With the help of her colleague at McGuigan & McGuigan Debt Recovery, Vesta, and some of her ex-intelligence service connections, Mirabelle discovers the dark secrets of the glamorous racing driver have ramifications far beyond the English coastline.

What’s a ‘Cozy’ Mystery?

What’s a ‘Cozy’ mystery?

Well for many of us that read the ‘Cozy’ genre of murder/mysteries, would say that these books contain NO blood, guts and gore!

Most readers of this genre have had their fill of bgg (blood, guts & gore), from the tv shows, movies that contain bgg on our screens all of the time…and in books too!  Most of us want escapism from our day to day life, not the harsh reality that we have to live in todays world.

Crime is part of our daily world…unfortunate but true.  And so some of us like to escape those realities, by reading a lighter fiction that isn’t going to give us nightmares!

These books are light entertainment, humorous, with characters you can follow through a series of books about their lives and love life (if any).  Characters that you would like to meet and be friends with in real life…except that they have a very bad habit of falling over dead bodies! 😀

The ‘Cozy’ genre really started in the ‘Golden Age’ (1920’s to the 1960’s), with pioneers like Dame Agatha Christie, Dame Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham.

I will go into the subject of ‘Golden Age’ mysteries in a future blog.

With settings in country houses or exclusive resorts…death is never too far away!  Some are private detectives, some amateur detectives, and some are police investigators.  But in all cases, after chasing red herrings and ending up down dead ends…they sniff out the clues and end up getting their man, woman or both.

Today’s protagonists come from all walks of life, and have all types of hobbies…but crime is never too far away!  With friends and pets helping out in their investigations…solving the crime by the skin of their teeth.

So if you are fed up with all the books, tv and movies with bgg…come try and fall in love with the ‘cozy’ genre.