Eggnog Cream & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 12 By Susan Gillard

Eggnog Cream & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 12  By Susan Gillard

Christmas is swiftly approaching Oceanside, Florida and a secret Santa is giving out gifts to some members of the community. No one knows who he is but the gifts are wonderful except for the gift given to grouchy old Ben Grimes. Ben received a set of candlesticks but there was poison on them so when he cut his hand on the sticks’ sharper areas the poison got into his bloodstream and killed him.

Heather Shepherd and her best friend, Amy Givens, were asked to help solve the murder because of their P.I. status. The dynamic duo has a lot of suspects to deal with.

Ben Grimes was not a likable man. During this Holiday Season he was basically a Scrooge. No one cared him especially his neighbors. The house on one side of him couldn’t even be rented because he made life so miserable for anyone who dared to live there. The home on the other side of him was inhabited by Mrs. Kurtshed who did her level best to ignore her neighbor.

But someone offed Mr. Grimes so Heather and Amy go to the Key West Key News office to speak with reporter, Hope Penwell, who was writing articles about the Secret Santa. Hope agreed to let the P.I.s see all the information she gathered.

Things start to get scary when Santa gives a gift to Heather, a pair of slippers that she asked for in her donut shop. Who would be listening to her conversation about what she wanted for Christmas except for all the customers who were eating there?

After investigating some more Heather discovered that everyone who received a gift from Santa received the gift that they wished for. The card that came with the gift was lovely but had squiggly lines on them which was really a map leading to where they would be when they received their gift.

Okay, this was getting strange. Who killed Ben Grimes? Was it the Secret Santa; was it one of Mr. Grimes’ many haters; was it the woman who owned the dog that Ben Grimes bit when the the dog walked on his lawn; was it his next door neighbor; was it a reporter; was it one of Heather’s donut loving fans who visited her donut shop every day? No one knows at this point but the murder will soon be solved because Heater and Amy are on the case with a yummy donut in each hand,

“Eggnog Cream & Murder” is the 12th book in the Oceanside Cozy Mystery Series by Susan Gillard and it’s a good story with the Christmas/Holiday Season approaching.

This series is rated PG so the whole family can indulge in a good mystery. The characters are all likeable and friendly, except for the murderer of course, and reading the books will always make you yen for a donut.

So snuggle up in front of a fire with some hot chocolate and a donut and enjoy this new installment to this fantastic series.

To see more reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page.

 

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Spiced Maple & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 11 by Susan Gillard

Spiced Maple & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 11  by Susan Gillard

Amy Givens is kind of tired of just helping Heather Shepherd in the donut shop and helping to solve murders. She’s a little restless and wants to do something for herself. Being a great best friend, Heather agree to help Amy find her true calling with the help of some yummy donuts.

Amy always liked art and drawing so she found an art studio where she could draw and do some sculpturing. The owner, Kendall Dakwa, seems like a nice woman and Amy hopes that Kendall can be her mentor.

A fight between two artists breaks out at the studio each accusing the other of stealing material they needed to make a sculpture. One of the artists, Tricia Mollins has to look for another item to use as s her sculpture so Kendall agrees to keep the studio open for her to continue working once she finds something she can use. But the next day Tricia is found murdered in the art studio. She was impaled on the top of a Christmas tree sculptor. Some was strong enough to throw her on to it and kill her but who? Could it be Ray, the man she was arguing with earlier in the day or possibly Kendall. Kendall was supposed to meet Amy the night of the murder and never showed up.

Now Heather and Amy are helping to investigate and readers of this series know that these two P.I.’s always find the bad guy.

“Spiced Maple & Murder” is the eleventh in author Susan Gillard’s Oceanside Cozy series. Like all the others it’s a fun, easy read filled with lots of action and love between all the characters. Another book not to be missed.

See other reviews of Susan’s book on her page.

The Thrill of the Haunt by E. J. Copperman

The Thrill of the Haunt by E. J. Copperman

I’m a reader. I’d read all day long if everyday things like shopping, doing laundry, and cleaning the apartment didn’t get in the way, not that I clean my apartment all that often. My home is filled with books, thousands of them. I also have a regular Kindle and two Kindle Fires filled with books, thousands of them. So why do I end up trolling my library for something new to read when I have have so much reading material at my fingertips? I troll the library to find that one in a million author who I’ve never read before and who will remind me of why I love the written word so much. This is how I discovered author E. J. Copperman.

The first book I read by this author was “Spouse on Haunted Hill.” The book cover said it was a part of the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series. I like ghosts, it kind of sounded like a cozy, kind of, so I figured I’d borrow it and give this author a try. The book wasn’t the first in the series but I’m rather smart so I was sure I could figure out what happened in the earlier novels.

I read the book and found myself obsessed with the series and the characters. Just this morning I finished reading “The Thrill of the Haunt.” This is the fifth book in the series and I’ve yet to read the first. No big deal, I’ll get to it.

Let me tell you a little something about the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series. It follows Alison Kerby who owns a guesthouse in New Jersey, right by the shore. It’s not a bed a breakfast because Alison doesn’t cook but she can steer you to a great nearby Jersey diner if you feel the need to eat.

Alison was married to “The Swine” until he took off to California with his young tootsie leaving Alison to care for their daughter, Melissa. Alison’s mom, Loretta, lives nearby and comes to the guesthouse to show Melissa how to cook since Alison can barely boil water, although opening a carton of Edy’s ice cream is a breeze for her. A gal after my own heart.

Paul and Maxi live in the guesthouse with Alison and Melissa. Paul was a private investigator hired to protect Maxi but Paul was new to the game and failed miserably when both he and Maxi were killed in the house. Alison then bought it and Paul and Maxi came along with the mortgage. They are live-in ghosts.

Not everyone can see and hear ghosts. Can you? Alison can, and Melissa can, and Loretta can but not too many others. It’s all in the genes. Alison is known as “the ghost lady” in town since she advertises her guest house as being haunted but no one really believes that. Paul also persuaded Alison to get her P.I. license so he can, in a roundabout way, still be a private investigator.

Alison’s father, who died, also visits the guesthouse to make sure Alison, Melissa, and the house itself are in fine working order. Every so often there are other non living visitors. Paul summons the spirits when Alison needs some ghostly advice. Alison calls it using the “ghosternet.”

That’s the background in a nutshell. In “The Thrill of the Haunt” Alison has two cases. In the first case a wife hires her to follow her husband to see if he’s cheating. The wife doesn’t want a divorce just some leverage to hold over his head but she needs proof.

In the second case Alison has to figure out who killed, Everett, the town’s homeless man. Everett’s body was found in a locked gas station bathroom. Word on the street has it that a ghost killed Everett so who better to find the murdering spook than “the ghost lady?”

This is a wild and wonderfully funny book. Author E. J. Copperman knows exactly how to write as a person living in New Jersey. New Jerseyans can be very sarcastic. I know since I have a good friend living there and, being a Brooklynite, I know quite a bit about the art of sarcasm myself.

When I started the series I was floored at how good the author was able to weave in a great murder/mystery with lots of humor. The writing had such a nice female touch that I thought the author was a woman. Silly me. E. J. Copperman is a man. Definitely fooled me there.

The murder mystery story is top notch. I didn’t figure out the ending to either case until the last 25 pages when the author basically spelled it out. I love when I can’t figure out who done it within the first 50 pages and if I’m still wondering close to 300 pages in I’m in heaven.

The author weaves a terrific mystery with a good deal of humor and sarcasm and best of all each book in the series is a stand-alone. Start with any novel in the series and you won’t be missing out on a thing. Okay, maybe in one book you meet a ghostly character and then in the next one you read, an earlier book, the character is alive and kicking but that’s no biggie. The author does a good job in filling you in.

E.J. Copperman has quite a few series out there and I’ve started reading a book in one of his others and I have a hold at the library for two books from yet a third series. Thankfully  a new installment in the Haunted Guesthouse series will be out in January of 2018. When can I preorder it?

Like every book in the Haunted Guesthouse series “The Thrill of the Haunt” will leave you trying to solve a terrific murder/mystery, laughing at Alison’s narrative, and kind of wishing you had your own live in ghostly friends. If you like cozies this series fits the bill too although its story line is more complicated than your average cozy and there are no recipes included.

E. J. Copperman’s books will grab you from the first page.

thrill of haunt

 

Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #3) by Susan Bernhardt

Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #3) by Susan Bernhardt

It’s summertime in Sudbury Falls but the living is far from easy for Kay Driscoll. Her son, Andy, is getting married in under a week and the reception is being held at Kay’s home. Her husband, Phil, isn’t doing all that much to help with all the chores that need to be done. If anything, he’s adding on to Kay’s work load.

Phil’s cousin, Loren, is in the hospital and someone has to take care of his 12 year-old daughter, Janey, until Janey’s mother arrives in town to pick her up. Of course Phil agrees to take the girl into their home but Kay knows she will be the one watching her for the time she’ll be with them.

Janey is not the easiest of kids to like but then again most 12 year-old children are hard to deal with. But Kay is expecting two hundred people for the wedding reception and has to make sure the house is in good order, decorations are in place, and the catering will be perfection. All Phil has to deal with is rehearsals for his band because they will be entertaining.

A few days after the wedding Kay, Phil, Janey, and her friends are at the July 4th fireworks display when they they think they hear gunshots. A book club member, James, is found dead in the sand. The police think he killed himself but Kay believes otherwise.

No one loved James as much as James loved himself. He was having affairs with numerous women who adored him and he also just started a new job that he loved. Life seemed to be going his way. Kay felt that James had absolutely no reason to commit suicide no matter what the police thought.

But James was not well liked. He was rude to people, made crude comments, basically stole his new job from another man, and many of his love interests were married women and their husbands probably didn’t appreciate James showing that kind of attention to their wives. In other words, there’s a huge list of people who would love to see James dead.

Kay didn’t like James either but she did want justice to be served so she started investigating his death along with her friends Deidre and Elizabeth. Investigating came easy to Kay and she helped solve other murders in her town but asking questions made her a target to the murderer and put her life in danger.  

Between weddings, taking care of 12 year-old Janey, being a loving wife and mother, and watching out for her life Kay has her hands full this summer. It was summertime but the living was far from easy.

“Murder by Fireworks” is the third Kay Driscoll novel is this excellent series by Susan Bernhardt. I’ve read them all and each book is better than the previous one. This is my favorite of the three.

Ms. Bernhardt is becoming a wonderful mystery writer. Through reading all her books, not only the Kay Driscoll series, I’ve seen how the author honed in on her craft. It’s obvious that she takes her time thinking about story lines and how the plot leads to the bad guy. The stories are well-thought out and complicated. The murderer is not someone you would suspect by page 50 and her explanations for why the murder was done forms a near perfect murder/mystery.

Do not expect a simple cozy while reading this. “Murder by Fireworks” is up there with most any other good mystery novel. The book isn’t just for women and I’m sure it would appeal to any mystery lover.

The characters are wonderful and that includes the character of the Town of Sudbury Falls. It makes city dwellers, like myself, wish they lived in a small town where everyone knows your name, people you can share the joy of holidays with and are willing to help out with a crises at a moment’s notice.

While Reading any of Susan Bernhardt’s books you’ll find yourself engrossed in a good mystery and you won’t want to stop it reading until the mystery solved.

Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of any book in the Kay Driscoll Series and discover what a good writer this author is.

For more about Susan Bernhardt’s books please see Susan’s section on my blog.

murder fireworks

The Blue Virgin (Nora Tierney Mysteries #1) by M.K. Graff

The Blue Virgin (Nora Tierney Mysteries #1) by M.K. Graff

Nora Tierney is an American writer living in England. She’s single and pregnant but don’t feel sorry for her about that. Nora is a strong woman who not only has a book to finish but is also looking for a murderer.

Her close friend, Val Rogan, is the main and only suspect of a recent murder. Former model, Bryn Wallace, was found killed in her apartment. The police believe that Val is the sole suspect because she and Bryn were lovers and were about to move in together. The two had a small argument, more like a disagreement, that night but they solved the problem within minutes. Val left Bryn’s apartment but shortly after wards someone else came in and killed Bryn. Unfortunately, Val was the only person witnesses saw or heard with Bryn that evening so the police believe that she’s the killer.

Nora is infuriated with the police department and plans on finding out who the real murderer is. The police are not happy with Nora interfering, the new man in Nora’s life isn’t thrilled with Nora’s involvement, and everyone is concerned about the pregnancy but Nora is not going to allow her good friend to wind up taking the blame for a murder she had nothing to do with. Val loved Bryn and would never harm her and all Nora has to do is to prove that to the police which is easier said than done. But when more murders happen Nora has to do something to get Val off the hook so she plans to investigate on her own no matter the objections of her friends and the police.

The Blue Virgin by M.K. Graff is the first in the Nora Tierney Mystery Series and it’s a wonderful beginning. The plot line is well thought out and you will not figure out who the bad guy is until the very end.

Nora is a good lead character along with all her friends who are willing to help her out and protect her when she needs them. England is also a wonderful character. Author M.K. Graff knows the history of this country, especially Oxford, and takes readers on a tour of the magical land. Learning a little history within a murder mystery is always fun and gets me into the feel of the area.

I’d say that the novel is cozy-like but much more complicated than your usual run of the mill cozy. Nora is not an investigator by trade but is doing it, like all cozy heroines, to help out a friend in need. M.K. Graff is a  wonderful writer and adds so much more to the novel’s narration than the typical cozy writer, not that I have anything against cozy writers. I’m a true fan of the genre.

Visit Nora is jolly ol’ England, have a spot of tea and a few shortbread cookies and let yourself be swept away into this captivating series.

Kneaded to Death (A Bread Shop Mystery #1) by Winnie Archer

Kneaded to Death (A Bread Shop Mystery #1) by Winnie Archer

Ivy Culpepper returned to her home town of Santa Linda, California after living in Texas for a while. Her mother, a school teacher, was run over by a car in the school’s parking lot and Ivy wanted to be back home with her father and brother to mourn their loss. Things weren’t all that great in Texas where she divorced her cheating husband and the death of her mother was more than she could stand.

For six months Ivy didn’t know what to do with herself. All she thought about was her mom until she decided to take a bread baking class at Santa Linda’s best Mexican bread bakery, Yeast of Eden. There she found a good friend in the bakery’s owner and the rest of the women who loved bread as much as she did that they also wanted to learn the secrets of baking it.

But as she became more involved in the community she also found out some secrets. One husband and wife were trying to bully the people on their street to make changes in their houses to suit the historicalness of that block. This couple has also been breaking into houses looking for something but no one knows exactly what.

Ivy has also met a man who co-owns a shop across from Yeast of Eden and is threatening the bakery’s owner.

And she’s also met her first true love who left Santa Linda when he and Ivy were dating when they were teens thus breaking her heart. He has returned to California to help his mother in running their family restaurant after his father died.

At the first bread baking class one of the women gets a phone call and excuses herself to take it. A few minutes later she is found dead in her car, poisoned according to the police. Everyone is devastated with their friend’s murder and Ivy, the bakery owner, and another women, decide to investigate. But the investigation makes a big turn when Ivy discovers that somehow the death of her mother, six months earlier, is connected to this recent murder. Was Ivy’s mother intentionally killed to cover up something? No one knows for sure but now, more than ever, Ivy is going to find out the truth no matter what anyone says, even if it puts her life in danger.

“Kneaded to Death” by Winnie Archer is the first in the Bread Shop Mystery Series and let’s just say I’ll be reading the second. This is a good cozy with a complicated murder mystery. The plot line is well thought out and the characters are great especially Yeast of Eden’s owner and her sisters.

Ms. Archer did a terrific job in making readers to first not trust some of the suspects and then having us change our minds about them. And even when you find out what actually happened you don’t hate the murderer.

I’ve read my fair share of cozies and have seen main characters baking cakes, cookies, and donuts but never a bread baker. I liked it. Who doesn’t like bread? Author Winnie Archer knows her bread and describes the bread and the baking techniques so beautifully I wanted to run out and take a bread baking course while stuffing my face with a crispy baguette.

“Kneaded to Death” is one good story and shouldn’t be missed especially if you’ve read your share of cozies like me. The story is good, the writing is excellent, and the plot is complicated enough to keep you wondering what happened and why. Don’t miss out on this novel.

Peaches and Cream Murder: A Donut Hole Cozy – Book 41 by Susan Gillard

Peaches and Cream Murder: A Donut Hole Cozy – Book 41 by Susan Gillard

Heather Shepherd and her baking assistants from her popular bakery, Donut Delights finally got home after their vacation in Florida. All of Hillside, Texas is happy to have the bakery open again so they can once again dine on Heather’s donut delights. No one is happier than long time client Eva Schneider who has brought her friend Carly LaFonte.

Carly is not in a good mood and Eva explains that Carly has lost her  favorite sterling silver necklace. But Eva’s friend is not a nice person and even Eva says that she doesn’t trust her.

But before Heather can think much about mean Carly her husband, Police Detective Ryan Shepherd, calls and tells Heather that yet another murder has taken place in their home town. This time the victim is Shane Price who owns the Tourism Depot. Heather leaves for the store to investigate the murder as she is hired by the Hillside Police Department to work with them as a consultant.

There is a broken window at the back of the store and Heather thinks that this might be the place where the murderer entered but Ryan tells her that the spray pattern of the glass proves otherwise. He also believes that the crime scene was tampered with because there is no evidence at all. It’s almost as if the killer cleaned up after himself.

Shane’s wife and ex beauty queen, Hannah, is on the suspect list because she doesn’t seem all that upset over the death of her husband, is more concerned about his will, and she had a quick alibi for the time he was killed.

Tristan Turner, who worked for Shane and found his body, is also on the suspect list as is another of Shane’s employees, Jean LaFonte, who supposedly had been having an affair with Shane. Making things more interesting is that Jean is also the granddaughter of Eva’s friend, Carly.

Heather and her friend, Amy Givens, investigates and finds out a few things. Shane and Tristan argued all the time; others also believe that Jean was having an affair with her Shane; and Carly is getting very defensive about her granddaughter and is loudly warning Heather to stay away from Jean.

So many suspects but Heather and Amy will help the Hillside Police find the killer while still creating some luscious donuts in their free time.

“Peaches and Cream Murder” by Susan Gillard is the 41st installment of her Donut Hole Cozy Mystery Series and of course it’s another good one. All the usual characters are present and accounted for and ready to help Heather in any way possible.

This is a cute series and each book can be read in a day. The murders are interesting and easy to follow. No wonder Ms. Gillard has such a huge fan base. Yet another Donut Hole Mystery not to be missed.

“I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.”

To see other reviews of Susan’s books see Susan’s section on my blog.