Strawberry Frosted & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 39 by Susan Gillard

Strawberry Frosted & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 39 by Susan Gillard

All of Heather Shepherd’s baking assistants were having a bad day. One just broke up with her boyfriend, another assistant’s boyfriend had to work late all the time, another had a dental problem, and another didn’t get the part in a play he wanted to be in. It was hard getting them to focus on Heather’s newest donut, Strawberry Frosted.

The day not get any better when Heather’s friend, Josh, had problems finding an assistant for his son to be opened new restaurant. Amy Given’s, Heather’s best friend, still believes that the building the restaurant is going to be in is cursed because people were previously found murdered in it.

Finally, Josh found the perfect chef’s assistant, Kenneth Cooke, who had some great recipes and was eager to start working. Josh was thrilled that Kenneth was going to start early the next day.

That next morning,, as Josh was speaking to Kenneth on the phone the conversation suddenly stopped. It sounded like someone hit Kenneth with a watermelon. Josh asked Heather and Amy to please find his new assistant and see if he was okay.

The two friends soon found the man laying on the beach. Someone hit him over the head with a rock and killed him. Kenneth was new to Key West and no one knew him  so who would want to kill him and for what reason?

The police thought that Josh murdered Kenneth in a rage since Josh does have some anger issues. Is Josh going to be a murder suspect for the second time since he moved to Florida?

But the police found something interesting about Kenneth Cooke. That wasn’t his real name. He was really Ben Ouster from upstate New York.

Ben had owned a restaurant there but got into some trouble. One man was poisoned by eating the food in Ben’s restaurant and died. Several other diners were put in the hospital. Ben did not have to go to jail but he soon left the community and changed his name. But did one of the diners or a family member of the dead man find Ben in Key West and kill the chef in revenge? Heather and Amy, with some help with the police, will find out what really happened to Kenneth/Ben.

“Strawberry Frosted & Murder” is the 39th in author Susan Gillard’s  Oceanside Cozy Mystery Series. The plot is different with twists and turns. All the regular characters are around making this yet another good mystery in this delightful series.

“I received an ARC of this book prior to publication and I voluntarily review it and my opinions are my own.”

To see other reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page on my blog.

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Stars, Stripes & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 38 by Susan Gillard

Stars, Stripes & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 38 by Susan Gillard

The Fourth of July is just a few days away and Heather Shepherd has created the perfect donut to celebrate the big day, the Red, White, and Blue Baked Coke Donut.

The whole community of Key West, Florida was excited about all the fun that was planned for the Fourth. Unfortunately, murder crept its way in to put a damper on everyone’s good time.

When an explosion was heard on the beach everyone ran to see what happened. It was there they found Gary Ozmore laying on the sand, dead and burned from the fireworks he was setting up for the festivities. For years Gary did the fireworks display. He also had a band that played for everyone. No one could believe that Gary made a mistake that would kill him, he’d been doing the fireworks for too long and was very careful.

Upon investigation it was soon discovered that someone fooled around with the remote ignition button and killed Gary. But who would do that? He was a well-liked man and had no enemies.

Heather, her best friend, bakery assistant, and fellow P.I., Amy Givens, along with the police department, start to investigate and they soon found some suspects. Could the murderer have been one of Gary’s band members who might have been jealous of him? Could it have been one of the people who spoke to Gary as he was setting up the display on the beach? Was it a neighbor who Gary asked to watch the fireworks when he left for a few minutes, or was it the wife of one of the town’s officials? It could have been any of them or someone else but Heather is determined to find the guilty culprit so the rest of Key West would be able to celebrate the nation’s birthday.

Stars, Stripes & Murder” is the 38th book in author Susan Gillard’s Oceanside Cozy Mystery Series and it’s a real blast. All the usual characters are there helping Heather to not only solve the murder but to partake of her delicious donuts.

The book is fun even though there is that murder to solve but everything turns out for the best at the end.

This a terrific novel to read on the beach during a heat wave waiting for your town’s fireworks display to begin.

“I received an ARC of this book prior to publication and I voluntarily review it and my opinions are my own.”

To see other reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page on my blog.

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Sugar Donuts & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 37 by Susan Gillard

Sugar Donuts & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 37 by Susan Gillard

Donut baker/P.I., Heather Shepherd is thrilled that her 12 year-old daughter, Lilly, is becoming such a good writer. The girl was invited to read her newest detective dinosaur story at Bernadette’s Beach Books writer’s workshop. Heather, of course baked some tasty treats, sugar donuts, for the workshop.

But something soon took the joy out of the occasion. Heather and her best friend, Amy Givens, finds out that a lawyer’s office is on fire and that one their friends, Fireman Frank, was injured in the blaze. They go to the fire with one of Heather’s assistants, Janae, who is also Frank’s girlfriend.

Frank escaped with an injured leg when something fell on it during the fire and he was sent to the hospital. But Frank was also felt very guilty. A woman was in the office during the fire and was killed and Frank felt that he didn’t do enough to save her.

On investigation it was soon learned that the dead woman was Muriel Malloy who worked as a legal assistant at Thaddeus Fisher’s law office. The police soon believe that Muriel’s death was an accident but since the fire was arson her death now became a murder investigation.

Muriel was very well liked by Thaddeus and the other legal assistant, Roger Gretchen. In fact no one could think of a reason why would want to see Muriel dead. Detective Ryan Shepherd thinks that whomever set the office on fire might have been trying to destroy some of the office files and had no idea that Muriel was still in there.

But who would want to destroy the files and for what reason and was Muriel involved somehow? Thaddeus Fisher was very upset when he heard of her death. He said she was his best assistant which made his other assistant, Roger Gretchen, jealous but was he jealous enough to want to kill Muriel and make it look like someone wanted to destroy the office?

Since the law firm dealt with divorce cases could one of the clients have been angry at the Thaddeus because of a loss of a divorce proceeding? A few other suspects came to mind like the Taylor’s and the McNeil’s. One of them might have believed that they did not get enough money from the divorce and blamed Thaddeus.

Alan Grift was another suspect. Thaddeus Fisher lost Grift’s divorce proceeding and the client blamed the lawyer even though Alan Grift was cheating on his wife.

But maybe someone did want to murder Muriel after all. Could it have been it her husband?

Another murder investigation for Heather and Amy to solve and with the help of giving out their yummy donuts the arsonist will soon be in handcuffs.

Sugar Donuts & Murder” by Susan Gillard is the 37th book in the Oceanside Cozy Mystery Series. Like all the previous books this one is just as entertaining and filled with all the regular characters. The series is fun to read and great for all ages. Author Susan Gillard has written yet another winner.

“I received an ARC of this book prior to publication and I voluntarily review it and my opinions are my own.”

To see other reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page on my blog.

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Culinary Cozy Murder Compilation 2: Books 6-10 of An Oceanside Cozy Series (An Oceanside Cozy Mystery) by Susan Gillard

Culinary Cozy Murder Compilation 2: Books 6-10 of An Oceanside Cozy Series (An Oceanside Cozy Mystery) by Susan Gillard

Need to catch up with author Susan Gillard’s Oceanside Cozy Series? Well, here’s a new compilation of books 6 – 10. It’s a wonderful way to read or reread all the early murder investigations that Heather Shepherd and her friends solved.

Caramel Apple & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 6 – In “Caramel Apple & Murder” Heather Shepherd and her friends find a dead body as they were bicycling on a bike tour around their new home in Florida. The dead man, a bartender, was left in the middle of the trail where anyone could have found him. He was stabbed to death and then his fingers were broken after he was killed. Detective Smith, who is supposed to be retiring very soon, thinks that this murder could be related to the murder of a nurse two years earlier. He asks Heather, Heather’s husband, Ryan who will be taking Smith’s place as detective after retiring, and Amy Givens, Heather’s P.I. assistant, to help find the murderer and to see if the two murders were done by the same person.

Coffee Cake & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 7 – Things were going pretty well with Heather Shepherd and her family and friends in Key West, Florida. Her husband Ryan finally started working as a police detective and the donut shop was coming along until Heather realized that online donut sales were slipping. She saw that a coffee shop owner in Salem, Massachusetts ordered some donuts for a Halloween event she was catering and said that Heather’s donuts were terrible! Heather’s donuts terrible? That couldn’t be so she and her best friend, Amy Givens, gets on a plane to Massachusetts to find out why the shop owner though the donuts warranted such a bad review.

The first time they went to speak with the owner they had to run out when the woman threw the donuts Heather and Amy wanted to give her. The next time they went to speak with her they found the owner dead and suddenly Amy and Heather were the prime suspects. So they decided they better investigate on their own to figure out who poisoned the coffee shop owner.

Mulled Cider & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 8  – Heather Shepherd and her friend, Amy Givens, have their hands full in Key West Florida. Their bookstore owner friend has been finding love poems in some of her books and has no idea who is writing them or who the poems are for so she asks Heather and Amy for some help solving this problem.

On another front, Heather’s husband, Ryan, is having a problem of his own. Another murder has hit Key West and he wants to solve it with just himself and his partner so that the Chief of Police knows that Ryan is a good detective but Ryan is having a hard time doing that without Heather and Amy’s help.

The owner of a cupcake shop was found stabbed to death. Heather and Amy are a little stressed out because the shop reminds them of Heather’s donut shop. As they investigate with Ryan, who has finally to agreed let them help, the awesome P.I. duo find out that the cupcake shop owner kept a ruby in the flour that she makes her cupcakes with. Why is this ruby hidden in the flour and who gave it to her. Was it her boyfriend or one of her three assistants and if not them, then who and does this gem of a discovery have anything to do with her murder?

Pumpkin Pie Brulee & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 9  – No one likes to cook Thanksgiving dinner even Heather Shepherd donut maker par excellence. Heather is making a pre Thanksgiving dinner, minus the turkey, just to see if she can make all the side dishes. She can’t. Her husband, police detective Ryan Shepherd, calls her to help him with something that she can do, help investigate a murder.

Craig Caulfield was killed while deep frying a turkey. It seems like the oil shot up hurting the chef and putting the yard on fire. This might have been an accident since deep frying a turkey can be dangerous, but everyone thinks that it might have been murder. Craig’s wife, Jocelyn said that he was a very careful chef and was always responsible when he cooked. One of their sons, Chris, was helping him and was lucky not to have been killed and ended up in the hospital from his burns.

Everyone thinks that this was no accident but a homicide and that someone killed the chef, but who? Was it wife, Jocelyn or some other family member? Heather and her best friend, Amy Givens, will find out the truth and solve the case.

Cranberry Glazed & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 10 – Heather Shepherd and her best friend and fellow P.I., Amy Givens, are excited when Jamie, Amy’s boyfriend’s mobile dog grooming van finally opens. The grooming van is a huge success on its opening day but Jamie ends up with a small problem named Miss Marshmallow. Miss Marshmallow’s owner, Melanie Grayson, left the little dog to be groomed so she could run some errands but the owner never returned. Amy thought that Jamie was lying and just wanted her to fall in love with the cute dog and keep her but Jamie’s story about the owner was true.

Amy and Jamie kept Miss Marshmallow overnight and it was not easy. The little dog was a real diva and refused to eat.

Heather and Amy decide to look for the little dog’s owner and they found her strangled in a palm tree grove,

On investigating the murder the P.I.’s and the police detective, Ryan, Heather’s hubby, discover that Melanie worked at an architecture firm and recently moved to Florida from Atlanta. But why would someone murder her and who? Was it one of the people working with her or was it someone from Atlanta? There’s nothing left to do but to investigate and find out.

“I received an ARC of this book prior to publication and I voluntarily review it and my opinions are my own.”

To see other reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page on my blog.

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Banana Nut & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 36 By Susan Gillard

Banana Nut & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 36 By Susan Gillard

It was a miracle. Heather Shepherd and her best pal, Amy Givens, actually had a little bit of spare time on their hands. Donut Delights was practically running on it’s own with all of Heather’s assistants rocking and rolling and baking the donuts. Best of all, there weren’t any recent murders in Key West, Florida so when their older friends Eva, Leila, and Vincent asked them to look into some robberies at the Sunny Shores Retirement Home, the two bakers/P.I.’s were glad to help out.

Joy Cromwell, a friend of Eva and Leila, live at the retirement home and she recently discovered that some of her jewelry and money had been stolen. The same thing had also happened to a few other women living at the home so Heather and Amy decided to help out and find the thief.

When the two women got to the home they found Joy and asked her and some other residents some questions and Amy, joking around, said that the gardener was the thief. That joke was far from funny because the Heather and Amy soon found the gardener, Grant Jenkins, dead, hit over the head with a garden hoe.

Mr. Jenkins worked at the retirement home for seven years and was very well liked by the people who lived there. He did his best to plant the types of flowers that had the different colors that the residents liked. Basically, the gardener had no enemies. The only reason Heather could think of as to why he was killed was that he saw the thief and was murdered because of that.

The Sunny Shores Retirement Home was also a hot bed for romance. Lots of the residents would get together for some innocent adult mischief and not all the romance involved just residents. Vincent’s twin brother, Vernon, visited the home multiple times a week to spread some sunshine to the ladies living there. But every time Vernon was visited money or jewelry were reported missing. Was it any wonder that Vernon was now the prime suspect in this case?

Vernon swore he didn’t steal or hurt anyone, except for the hearts of some of the women, and Vernon’s brother, Vincent didn’t see his twin as a murderer or a thief.

So who killed the gardener and who stole the money and jewels? Did just one person do this or were two people involved? Heather and Amy are on the case looking for clues.

“Banana Nut & Murder” is the 36th installment of author Susan Gillard’s Oceanside Cozy Mystery Series. It’s a fun read with all the usual characters around. Heather’s newest donut, Banana Nut, helps her make friends with all the suspects she interrogates. How could anyone lie with a mouth full of a yummy donut treat?

The only problem I have is that he book needs more editing. Not that you can’t read the story but the problems are distracting and slows down the reading pace.

Other than that “Banana Nut & Murder” is a good book for all cozy lovers. Another gem in the Oceanside Series collection.

“I received an ARC of this book prior to publication and I voluntarily review it and my opinions are my own.”

To see other reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page on my blog.

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Mint Chocolate Crunch & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 35 (Volume 35) by Susan Gillard

Mint Chocolate Crunch & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 35 (Volume 35) by Susan Gillard

There’s a mutiny going on in Key West, Florida. Well, okay, maybe not quite a mutiny but the shop owners on the street where Heather Shepherd owns her donut bakery, Donut Delights, are certainly up at arms. A new store is about to open and it’s a bait shop. All the shop owners, especially Mr. Rankle who who’s the proprietor of Sun and Fun Novelties, are really on the warpath. Him and most of the other store owners are afraid that with the new bait store opening the rest of the street might start of smell of fish. They’re also afraid that some of the creepy crawlers will escape and wander around frightening all their customers away. The bait shop isn’t even close to the shore so whoever buys the bait will walk around and into the other stores on the street. No one wants their book store or bakery smelling like bait.

It seems like none of the store owners, even friendly bookshop owner, Bernadette, doesn’t want this new place to open. But Heather and best friend Amy Givens, although not really too thrilled with a bait shop so close, plan to visit the new place and give the owner a box of Heather’s newest donut creation, mint chocolate crunch donuts.

They arrive at the not yet opened store and find the door ajar. The two go in and get a strange feeling. Uh, oh. Heather calls out to inform the new owner that they want to say hello and share some donuts. No answer. The two women go to the back of the store and find a man lying dead  on the floor covered with a huge piece of wood where a giant fish had been mounted. The wall trophy crushed the man! Was this yet another murder in Key West?

Heather contacts her husband, Detective Ryan Shepherd to start investigating.

What’s really freaking out Heather Amy is that the store where the bait shop will open is the site of a former seafood restaurant. There was a murder at this restaurant when Heather and her friends first moved to Key West. It was the site of Heather and Amy’s first murder investigation where Heather was a suspect. Amy is sure that the site is cursed!

As the investigation proceeds everyone learns that the murdered man is indeed bait shop owner, Barry Banes. He just moved to Florida from Oregon and doesn’t have any family in the area.

Even though the city approved the bait shop his store neighbors filed numerous complaints about him and the shop, and now he’s dead.

At first Ryan, Heather, and Amy thought that the huge fish trophy might have accidentally fallen on him but upon further investigation they noticed that the rope holding the trophy was not ripped or torn but it looked like it was cut. Furthermore, there were blood stains a distance away from where the body was found which leads everyone to believe that the man was killed in one spot and then dragged under the trophy, the trophy rope was then cut making it look like the huge fish killed Barry accidentally. Oh, someone really planned this murder, but who, and why?

Could one of Heather’s neighbor’s been so upset with the bait shop opening to actually kill? Could it have been their good friend, bookstore owner, Bernadette? Barry Banes was not a very nice man. He came to Bernadette’s store, asking her out, and then said some very rune thing to her, like what his plans for her were. Bernadette was disgusted and told him to leave. Then he sent her some equally rude  messages. He also sent her a note asking if she was ready for their second date!

Bernadette didn’t tell the police about this because she was ashamed and thought she had done something wrong. Of course she did not lead the man on but she was embarrassed just the same.

Someone murdered the awful bait shop owner and Heather and her friends will get to the bottom of it.

“Mint Chocolate Crunch & Murder” is the 35th novel in Author Susan Gillard’s  Oceanside Cozy Mystery Series. I particularly liked this one quite a bit because Ms. Gillard gently brought up the recent real world issue of the #MeToo movement. Without preaching, the author let her fans know that her fictional characters face the same problems that real people do. After reading many of Susan Gillard’s cozy series this is the first time that she introduced such a sensitive issue. Not that murder isn’t sensitive but adding yet another issue to her book was fairly brave of her. All of Ms. Gillard’s cozies are acceptable reading for all ages, even this one.

“Mint Chocolate Crunch & Murder” is still a terrific cozy with just a tad of edginess. I hope the author continues to add more real life issues in her books. She does it tastefully and the subject matter does not get in the way of a fun cozy mystery.

“I received an ARC of this book prior to publication and I voluntarily review it and my opinions are my own.”

To see other reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page on my blog.

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Mint Fudge & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 34 by Susan Gillard

Residents of Key West, Florida are excited by the upcoming  S.A.N.D. (Sand And Nautical Debris) Sandcastle Competition. There are many categories but the big category this year is to make a sandcastle so large that a person can walk into it. The previous year sandcastle builder/hardware store worker, Mac Dugan, built such a castle. Everyone was so intrigued with it that now this became the newest category in the competition.

But things never went as planned when Mac was found murdered in the sand castle he was making for this years’ competition. He was found under all the sand with just his feet sticking out of the mound.

Police Detective Ryan Shepherd asked his wife, donut maker/private investigator, Heather,  to help him and his partner solve the murder. Heather’s best friend and partner, Amy Givens, was also going to lend a hand.

As the investigation proceeded they found out that Mac was hit over the head with a shovel and then the shovel was used to destroy his sandcastle.

The two P.I. friends started interviewing people to find out why this crime was committed. Mac was a likable man where even kids enjoyed talking with him. He was also a very talented sandcastle builder and won most of the categories his castles were entered in during previous years of the competition. But why was he killed? Maybe it was because there was going to be a $10,000 grand prize for the winner and someone did not want Mac to win all that money. Or there might have been another reason for his demise. Whatever the reason may be, Heather, Amy, with the help of Ryan, will find out who the killer is and the reason.

“Mint Fudge & Murder” is author Susan Gillard’s 34th book in her wildly popular Oceanside Cozy Mystery Series. The series is enticing, filled with friends, murder, donuts, and even some comedy. The author keeps her fans informed on the personal lives of all her recurring characters.

This is another winner of a book. Ms. Gillard should be commended for her dedication to the series and to all the fans that love her characters.

“I received an ARC of this book prior to publication and I voluntarily review it and my opinions are my own.”

To see other reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page on my blog.

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