mystery

A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery


Author: Daryl Wood Gerber
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-68331-341-0
Pages: 320
Price: $26.99

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Mimi Rousseau is grateful to Bryan Baker, who graciously helped her finance her French bistro. When Bryan asks her to host his niece’s wedding, Mimi is happy to oblige, even though the bride is a famous TV personality. But when Bryan is murdered on the eve of the wedding, Mimi is horrified, especially once she realizes she’s a suspect.

As the local police officer investigates, the guests are all ordered to stay put, since they may have committed the crime. But Mimi isn’t content to just let them relax while he does his job. Instead, she grabs every opportunity she can to question them. Soon, someone is not happy with her meddling and lets her know about it.

Mimi is a nosy woman, and at times her badgering of the guests seemed unusually rude. I had a hard time believing the owner of such a posh establishment would do anything to hurt her business and reputation like that. But ultimately, her efforts do manage to pay off. If the reader can suspend disbelief for those moments, this is a fun, light read. A Deadly Éclair also contains recipes of the French creations mentioned in the story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery, tween

The Mystery Beneath Midville Museum (Cedar Creek Mystery #3)


Author: Anne Loader McGee
Publisher: Vendera Publishing
Genre: Middle grade / Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-936307-40-1
Pages: 156
Price: $9.99

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Mallory Gilmartin is troubled by some unusual events at the Midville Museum. But when she’s hired by one of her classmates to find out why her mother is being laid off from the museum, Mallory knows something fishy is going on. Who is the strange guard that keeps eyeing her suspiciously? What secret activity is happening in the basement? Does the moving ushabti statue have anything to do with it?

Mallory’s extrasensory perception will be called on when an unexpected visitor appears during the night. But how can she solve the mystery while also helping her visitor complete her journey?

The Mystery Beneath Midville Museum is the third book in the Cedar Creek Mystery series featuring Mallory Gilmartin and her friends and family. Mallory is well-known for her ability to pick up things others can’t see or hear. Although it might be nice to read these books in sequence, casual readers will have no trouble following this story without reading the first two books. I highly recommend this fun series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

The Crown Jewel Mystery (A Sherlock Holmes & Lucy James Mystery #4)


Authors: Anna Elliott and Charles Veley
Publisher: Wilton Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-0999119105
Pages: 118
Price: $5.99

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Lucy James is intent on discovering her heritage when she visits the Capital and Counties Bank. While attempting to break into a safe deposit box she believes holds some clues, she and her companion, Johnny Rockefeller, realize the bank is being robbed. But any notion of escaping is quickly thwarted, as the robbers discover them both in the back room.

Time begins to tick as the robbers struggle to complete their mission and begin to panic, threatening to kill everyone in the bank. Lucy knows it will take her quick wits and Johnny’s cooperation to free them all. But will they be able to act in time?

The Crown Jewel Mystery is a quick and fun read, drawing the reader into the story from the opening scene. Even though I picked this book up first, I didn’t feel I missed out on anything important by reading it out of sequence from the others. I didn’t know what to expect of a Sherlock Holmes takeoff story, but I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable this book is. Lucy James is a spunky heroine with a sharp mind of her own, and I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

Girl Ghosted (Penny Wade Mysteries #3)


Author: Lucy English
Publisher: New Sun Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-0692882238
Pages: 296
Price: $12.99

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Penny Wade has decided to give online dating a try. But when her roommate doesn’t come home one evening, it really scares her. Meeting so many strangers can be dangerous, and she needs to be careful. But maybe, just maybe, she’ll meet “the one” for her.

In the midst of her romantic pursuits, Penny is attempting to help a single mom and her two kids. The family has been referred to her office by the school, since the kids are struggling. Their mom suffers from depression, and Penny does all she can to try to get their lives back on track.

I can’t say much more about the mystery without giving too much away, but I found this one took a very long time to develop. This is more of a traditional novel than a true mystery. Those who enjoy deeper character development will enjoy it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

Murder Is Chartered (A Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mystery)


Author: Diane Weiner
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 9781946063120
Pages: 180
Price: $14.95

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Susan Wiles is getting sleepy as she drives home on a winding mountain road, but she’s startled awake when something hits her car. That something turns out to be someone – Melissa Chadwick, the assistant principal from the charter school – and she’s dead. Susan calls her daughter, a detective, who immediately realizes her mom didn’t kill Melissa. She was already dead when she fell from the bridge above.

Several people could have wanted Melissa dead, and Susan puts on her sleuthing cap for another case. But as she gets closer to tracking down the killer, she finds her own life being threatened. Taking chances most sensible people would probably avoid, she finds herself in precarious positions, hoping to come out alive. But her persistence pays off, and justice is served.

Murder Is Chartered is part of the Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mystery series. Since this was the first book I’ve read in the series, I had a hard time keeping track of characters who must have been introduced in prior books, and I wasn’t able to discern much of their stories to date. Susan’s behavior at times became a bit too much for me to believe, and I had a hard time with her recklessness. But readers who are just looking for a lighthearted mystery series will most likely enjoy her wacky investigation.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

Closed Casket


Author: Sophie Hannah
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-0-06-245882-7
Pages: 320
Price: $26.99

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Lady Athelinda Playford has just made a curious change to her last will and testament – one that will certainly infuriate her children. But although it’s highly illogical, she is determined to carry forward with her plans. Her new beneficiary, Joseph Scotcher, is terminally ill, and may die in the very near future.

On the evening of her announcement, a murder is committed – one that makes no sense at all. And someone claims to have witnessed something she can’t possibly have seen or heard. Lady Playford anticipated foul play and had on hand Detective Hercule Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool, who rush to solve the case, as several people had both motive and means to commit this murder. When the official investigator shows up, Poirot’s inquiries are halted, but the Belgian detective doesn’t let this pompous man dictate his actions, and proceeds to unveil the murderer.

Closed Casket kept me guessing, trying to unravel this perplexing case before Poirot revealed everything. However, as Agatha Christie often did, Sophie Hannah keeps some of the important clues off the page, and it’s up to the reader to do the research for themselves. This is an interesting and engaging story, but I prefer mysteries where everything is hidden in plain sight, and the reader has a chance to solve the case, also.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

When Bunnies Go Bad (Pru Marlowe Pet Noir #6)


Author: Clea Simon
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0533-0
Pages: 264
Price: $26.95

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Pru Marlowe is understandably upset when she visits a cottage to see about rabbits chewing through wires and discovers a dead body. She had observed the man the previous evening, and although he made a bad impression, she hardly wanted to see him dead. But soon she has a new concern – where is the little dog that had been barking upon her arrival?

Pru has a unique gift – she can communicate with animals. Not in complete sentences, but in thoughts and impressions she picks up from them. When she finally has the chance to meet the missing Spaniel, and attempts to find out what happened to his owner, nothing he’s telling her makes any sense. Despite the fact she didn’t know the man and doesn’t want to be involved, his family and other acquaintances all seem to want to drag Pru into their business. When she discovers another dead body, she wonders how safe she is, and if she’s doomed to be the next.

When Bunnies Go Bad diverges somewhat from a traditional whodunit. Instead we get to know Pru a bit better, as we see and feel how she intuitively talks to the animals she’s working with. As an animal lover, I found this vicarious communication delightful. I highly recommend this book and the Pru Marlowe Pet Noir series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger