Tag Archives: Random House

Book Review: The Crepes of Wrath – A Pancake House Mystery

Crepes of WrathThe Crêpes of Wrath

A Pancake House Mystery

by Sarah Fox

Random House Publishing Group – Alibi

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher in connection with NetGalley in return for my review. Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

Marley is no stranger to Wildwood Cove. Her favorite cousin, Jimmy and his wife live there and own a popular breakfast restaurant, The Flipside Pancake House. She hasn’t been in the quaint little town as much as she would have liked since Jimmy’s wife passed away but her job in Seattle kept her away. But Jimmy’s recent bout with pneumonia landed him in the hospital so Marley stepped in to help.

Then the unimaginable happened. Cousin Jimmy died the day he was released from the hospital. Was it a tragic accident or murder? Marley was suspicious as were the local police. Soon foul play was confirmed. But what motive could anyone have to murder a beloved member of the quaint little village? Unfortunately, suspects started coming out of the woodwork.

Could it have been an old love interest of Jimmy’s? Or perhaps someone who wanted to shut down the popular restaurant? Or maybe one of the residents lusted after the beautiful old home on the perfect piece of property he lived in? Or even worse – could Jimmy’s less than legal past have caught up with him and was he the upstanding citizen everyone believed him to be?

Determined to find out what happened to Jimmy and dispel any rumors that were swirling around his death, Marley decides to do a bit of investigating on her own. Between a couple of gentleman friends that have popped up expectantly and the time she is spending at the restaurant that she now is in charge of, she quietly starts probing. Unfortunately, the killer is looking for something that he or she thinks is either in Jimmy’s home or the restaurant. Marley is in the way so will she become the next target?

Sarah Fox’s cozy mystery has all the elements I love. An unlikely detective, a few handsome men and an interesting setting round out a perfect cozy and The Crepes of Wrath has all of them. She also adds a few yummy sounding recipes to the end of the book, which I can’t wait to try. Seriously, who would not love to have Bacon Cheddar Waffles for breakfast on a Sunday Morning?

The Crepes of Wrath is the first in Fox’s Pancake House Mystery Series and the first book I have read by this author. I recommend it to anyone that enjoys a cozy mystery. Her other books include three titles in her Music Lover’s Mystery Series. Watch for the release of The Crepes of Wrath on September 20, 2016 or pre-order from Penguin Random House, Amazon, Google Play or Barnes & Nobel. It is a fun, fast cozy mystery perfect for fall.

 

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: Maggie Dove by Susan Breen – Christian Cozy Keeps Readers Guessing

Maggie DoveMaggie Dove

By Susan Breen

Maggie Dove has suffered loss in her life. She lost her husband, and then her daughter died in an accident a few years later. She finds comfort in her church family, her friends and the man that once was the boy her daughter loved. Living in her childhood home brings a type of peace and belonging to her. Until the neighbor next door decides he hates the tree in her front yard and wants to either cut it down or move it.

That is the last straw for Maggie. She is willing to fight for her tree to the death. That is until her irritating neighbor is found dead under it. His wife blames Maggie, even though the cause of death is a heart attack. Or is it?

She is even more upset when someone she cares about seems to be in the Police Chief’s radar as a suspect. When she goes to the nursing home to talk to her best friend, Winifred; Maggie gets a bit upset that she doesn’t even seem to be listening. To be fair, Winifred is having a bad time. The once vibrant woman, wife of no less than four husbands, has become so crippled with disease she cannot move without effort and pain. Even though the women have been friends for over fifty years, there were times they didn’t exactly see eye to eye, but this visit ends up being the bee in Maggie’s bonnet to do something about finding the real killer since the Chief doesn’t even seem to be looking for him or her.

Maggie begins her own investigation by talking to people in her hometown that she thinks might have had a reason to kill her neighbor. She is comfortable digging around for clues since everyone knows her as well as she knows them. Unfortunately, she pokes more than one bear, but just can’t stop. Will she be the next victim?

Maggie Dove is a great character. She is the kind of person you would want in your corner. She loves her Sunday School class. Most of them, especially the naughtiest ones, have been on the receiving end of her love and kindness. She professes her faith, yet struggles with doubts at times. Her imperfections are part of her charm.

This is the second book Susan Breen has written. The first is a work of Literary Fiction entitled The Fiction Class. Maggie Dove is her second novel and first mystery. It reads like the first of a series of cozy mysteries so I am going to be watching for the next adventures of Maggie Dove. While it is fair to say the values of the characters are Christian based, this is not a religious book. I found it quite enjoyable and honestly did not know who the killer was until the last chapter.

Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Random House Chatter Box Monthly Mystery that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: Goodbye Ms. Chips – Perfect Cozy British Mystery

Goodbye Ms. ChipsMs Chips
by Dorothy Cannell

Goodbye Ms. Chips, an Ellie Haskell mystery, begins with Ellie going back to school. Not grad school or a university, but the boarding school she attended as a girl. She has mixed emotions about returning. Her schooling was marred by witnessing something she should not have. The event weighs heavy on her mind even though she is an accomplished woman with a loving husband and children.

The reason the headmistress called for Ellie is that there has been a robbery and she needs Ellie’s keen observation skills and her proven ability to solve mysteries to help. The object in question is a missing trophy, the Loverly Cup. The Cup is traditionally passed to the championship lacrosse team each year and has been held by St. Roberta’s Boarding School for ages. Unfortunately they did not win this year and must pass the missing trophy to the new winning school during the dedication of the new gymnasium. It must be found before the event.

Ellie may have had misgivings about going back to a school she had mixed emotions about, but her dear friend Dorcas Critchley is now teaching there and Ellie feels compelled to help. Little did she know there is more afoot than the missing Loverly Cup. Deception abounds with double crossing students and arrogant acquaintances from Ellie’s past throwing monkey wrenches in her investigation at every turn. When an accident occurs, Ellie is suspicious of foul play, but can she prove it?

This is the 12th book in the Ellie Haskell Mystery Series. Ellie is an interior designer who is married to a professional chef and cookbook author. Her partner in solving crime is her housekeeper, Mrs. Malloy who arrives late to this investigation due to family visiting. Cannell’s description of Mrs. Malloy is priceless and instantly gives the reader a mental picture that will pop up when she enters a scene.

There is nothing better than a tightly written cozy mystery with engaging characters and a solid plot. There were so many characters with secrets, I did not figure out the culprit until the last pages. Cannell writes a perfect British cozy with delightful characters, twists, turns and a liberal sprinkling of humor. This is the first one I’ve read in this series and it reads perfectly as a stand-alone novel.

Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Random House Books that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, books, cozy mystery, Mystery, Random House, Random House Publishing - Alibi

Book Review: Death at a Fixer-Upper – Real Estate to Die For!

Death at a Fixer UpperDeath at a Fixer-Upper
by Sarah T. Hobart

The ink is barely dry on Sam Turner’s new real estate agent license as she heads out to view a vintage home for sale. Unfortunately she has to tour the once grand home with Biddie McCracken, a crabby colleague at Home Sweet Home Realty. The tour is dampened by the state of the once opulent home. It would be a toss-up between renovation and complete demolition and starting over – but that is up to the future buyer.

The century old estate has the lines of the grand dame she used to be, along with secrets held quietly within for many generations. Unfortunately, these secrets may be worth killing for. In fact, they have already.

After the bizarre walk through with Biddie, Sam can’t believe her good fortune. She has three offers within a matter of days for a home that has only been marginally cared for over the last several years by a faithful housekeeper and her young daughter.

Sam is excited at the prospect of selling the old place. Being a single mother in a small town hasn’t been easy. Raising her now teenage son has been a loving challenge but Sam has no regrets. Now that she is doing better financially, she is excited and scared to be purchasing a home of their own now. This sale will really help. Unfortunately for her, buyers start turning up dead.

Determined to make this sale, Sam does a bit of investigating on her own. But soon she finds out the cutthroat real estate market doesn’t hold a candle to real killers. Hopefully she can still get out of this sale alive.

Hobart writes a perfect cozy mystery. It is a fun, fast-paced, interesting book with enough twists and turns to keep mystery lovers turning the pages to see what happens to Sam next. There were enough suspects to keep me guessing until the final chapter, which I absolutely love.

Kudos to Hobart for the great descriptive text in Death at a Fixer-Upper. It flowed naturally, but put you right in that old crumbling estate, the “vintage-… read ancient” VW camper she drives or any other setting in the book.

All of the main characters are well rounded and I felt like I knew them. Sam would be someone I’d go to lunch with, or maybe just stop for some chocolate and caffeine – I totally get where she is coming from.  I’ve worked with snarky people like some of the competing realtors. Sam’s friends, son and family are all cut from the same cloth as people I actually know. This made the book come alive for me.

Death at a Fixer-Upper. is the third book in Sarah T. Hobart’s Home Sweet Home Mystery Series. It is the first one I’ve read and works perfectly as a stand-alone mystery.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Random House Books House Party that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

9 Comments

Filed under Book Review, books, cozy mystery, Mystery, Random House, Random House Publishing - Alibi, Writer & Book Reviewer

Book Review: The Skeleton Garden – Airplanes, bodies, gardening..Great Mystery!

The Skeleton GardenThe Skeleton Garden (Potting Shed Mystery #4) 
by Marty Wingate

Long lost brother and sister, Simon and Pru are reunited in adulthood. Pru was raised by their parents in the United States, while Simon was left behind in England to be raised by his mother’s relatives, Birdie and George Parke. He was told his parents died in a car accident. Even though he was brought up in a loving home, to find out his family left him behind had a devastating effect on him to say the least.

Pru  and her new husband Christopher move to Chelsea to spend a year house sitting and working on a proper English garden. The current gardener is actually her brother, and she is thrilled to share her love of gardening with him, but everything isn’t coming up roses. She and her husband settle in, she in the garden, Christopher working with the local police but there are skeletons in the garden, both figuratively and literally .

Things are not always sweetness and light between brother and sister, they are learning to get along as siblings and gardeners. Simon is thrilled to be chosen to show off the garden in an upcoming issue of a very prestigious gardening magazine, but Pru has a bad feeling about the whole idea. There is so much to do the pair wonder how it will be possible to get done. Then Christopher’s teenage nephew is sent to live with them because he got in a bit of trouble and his parents want him to be removed from the situation. Orlando isn’t too keen on working in the garden. As a matter of fact, Pru spends more time fixing the problems he creates by taking short cuts.

Things change for everyone when a plane from the war and a skeleton is found buried in the garden. Christopher is working the investigation to see if they can find the identity of the bones. Then one of the locals winds up dead in the garden, this crime casts suspicion on almost everyone in the village.

Pru can’t help herself – she has too many questions and not enough answers so she quietly talks to the people she has become close to hoping to help Christopher crack the case. But will this happen without more murders?

This is the fourth Potting Shed Mystery, but the first one I’ve read. It worked perfectly well as a standalone novel. I was not confused about the characters and their relationship to each other.

I love the cast of characters. They were interesting and well developed. Pru’s relationships with her husband, brother, friends and cook brought so much life to her character I felt like having a cup of tea with her telling her everything would be ok! Evelyn, the cook, has a hard shell, but inside she is a soft, caring woman who loves her husband Peachey. I want her to cook for me, the recipes she whipped up while the other characters moved in and out of her kitchen sounded delicious.

Wingate wrote a solid mystery with as many twists and turns as an English garden maze. I enjoyed every minute of this book and will seek out the previous books in this series.

Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from House Party that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

Leave a comment

Filed under cooking, England, family, history, House Party, Mystery