Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Of Murder and Men (Cat Latimer Mystery #3) by Lynn Cahoon



Of Murder and Men (Cat Latimer Mystery, #3)
Love is in the air in Aspen Hills, and it’s making a terrible mess of Cat Latimer’s writers’ retreat—especially when blood stains the plot . . .

Ever since her business partner, Shauna, fell for a wealthy landowner in town, Cat has been working double time to keep her writers’ retreat running. And with the January session almost underway, that spells trouble. As if scheduling mishaps aren’t disastrous enough, Shauna skips out on kitchen duties one morning, forcing Cat to serve unsuspecting guests store-bought muffins . . .

But best laid plans really go awry when Shauna discovers her beau missing from their bed. When his body later turns up in the horse barn, they quickly find out the victim’s scandalous lifestyle left many dying for revenge. While balancing an eccentric group of aspiring writers and a suspect list for the record books, Cat soon finds herself on the heels of a killer—and authoring her most deadly conclusion yet . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)



Okay so in the first book in the Cat Latimer Mystery series by Lynn Cahoon a guest of the writer's retreat was murdered and in the second book of the series someone from the town was murdered but a guest of the retreat was involved.  And in both of those books Cat was trying to wrap her head around her ex-husband Michael's death.  So in the third book, Of Murder and Men, it should be smooth sailing .....right ????

Well most everything with the guests for the retreat do run smoothly, actually pretty well.  Cat has a group of writer's that get along and have fun when they are not getting their word count in for the day.  And one of the guests, Shirley ( a retired Alaskan cop ) seems to be getting along very well with Uncle Pete....and providing her expert job experience looking into Michael's death.

Unfortunately death does hit the writer's retreat and it hits very close to home.  Shauna's very rich on/off boyfriend, Kevin, has finally made up his mind with their relationship and pops the question !!  But before she can decide what she wants to do he is found dead in the horse barn on his elaborate estate.  

When the cause of death is determined that he was poisoned and Shauna was the one to cook him his last meal, Uncle Peter has a lot of questions.  Even though everyone knows that Shauna wouldn't do anything to hurt anyone, Cat still feels the need to find out who did kill Kevin.

Cat always has her hands full running the writer's retreats but always makes time to help others out and when her best friend needs her, she will stop at nothing to be there for her.....

Of Murder and Men is my FAVORITE book so far in this series  !!  Not only are we really getting to know Cat, the business, the town and it's residents but we finally see closure in Michael's murder.  Even though there is closure, I'm sure that will not be the end of the Michael aspect of the books.  Especially seeing as Cat found out some things at the bank and through Dante, Michael's college friend who happens to be a member of a mob family.  I look forward to where Cahoon is going to take this part of the story.

There is so much to say about Of Murder and Men and Lynn Cahoon but as with a lot of my reviews, I really only want to give you the extra push needed for you to pick up the book and find out for yourself what is going on in the story.  I highly recommend that with the Cat Latimer series......there are so many things to love about Aspen Hills with only one thing to dislike.....that it's not a real place.  But hey it's a great place to visit with Cahoon and you don't have to leave the comfort of your couch.....

Review by Missi S.










Monday, 27 November 2017

Fatality by Firelight (Cat Latimer Mystery #2) by Lynn Cahoon



Fatality by Firelight (Cat Latimer Mystery, #2)
Cat Latimer’s Colorado bed-and-breakfast plays host to writers from all over. But murder is distinctly unwelcome . . .

To kick off a winter writing retreat, Cat and her handyman boyfriend, Seth, escort the aspiring authors to a nearby ski resort, hoping some fresh cold air will wake up their creative muses. But instead of hitting the slopes, they hit the bar—and before long, a tipsy romance novelist named Christina is keeping herself warm with a local ski bum who might have neglected to tell her about his upcoming wedding.

Next thing Cat knows, her uncle, the town sheriff, informs her that the young man’s been found dead in a hot tub—and Christina shows up crying and covered in blood. Now, between a murder mystery, the theft of a rare Hemingway edition, and the arrival of a black-clad stranger in snowy Aspen Hills, Cat’s afraid everything’s going downhill . . .
   (Summary via Goodreads)




Fatality by Firelight is the second book in the Cat Latimer Mystery book series by Lynn Cahoon and it is the second writer's retreat for Cat, Shauna and Seth.  Catherine Latimer was willed the big house in 
Colorado by her ex-husband Michael and with the help of her friend Shauna and her high school, current boyfriend, Seth she has turned it into a writer's retreat bed and breakfast.  For one week a month the house is opened up to authors who spend the week writing, visiting the college library, participating in seminars and receiving insights from Cat who is a published author.

On the first day of this retreat Cat and Seth take the guests on a skiing trip to the nearby resort.  While Cat and Seth are enjoying the day racing each other down the mountain, the guests have taken to the bar instead.  Christina, a romance author,  has caught the eye of local boy Tommy and the two have no problem showing some PDA at the resort.   Unfortunately Tommy is engaged to Brit, a bartender in town.  When Tommy is found stabbed to death in a hot tub at the resort and Christina was the last to see him alive and has Tommy's blood on her clothes, things at the retreat heat up !!


Luckily for Christina Cat's uncle Pete is the police chief and on top of everything and if he isn't Cat is....


Valuable Hemingway books are stolen from the library, mobster children are students at the college, Cat is trying to go through Michael's study for clues to his death and closure, they are trying to run a successful writer's retreat, and Cat wants to find out who killed Tommy and keep Christina safe.....All in a day's work for Cat and company.


You will instantly love Cat, Shauna and Seth !!  You will want to spend lots of time in the kitchen with the girls and sit on the couch in Cat's office on the third floor.  The relationships in the story between Cat and Shauna, Cat and Seth, the writing guests for the week are uniquely written and you will long for relationships like these.  

And I must mention the special hot chocolate and the food that Shauna prepares throughout the story....yummy !!  You will be so engrossed in reading this book, that you might find yourself smelling the chocolate.....

I am a HUGE fan of Lynn Cahoon and the Cat Latimer Mystery series and cannot wait to get lost in another of the writer's retreats........I know it's going to be a treat !!!!

Review by Missi S.







   








Monday, 20 November 2017

The Body on the T (Sgt. Windflower Mystery #2) by Mike Martin


The Body on the T (Sgt. Windflower Mystery, #2)
The Body on the T is the second book in the Windflower mystery series and it follows up on the highly acclaimed premiere, The Walker on the Cape. The story begins when a body washes up on a beach near Grand Bank, Newfoundland. There is no identification on the body and few clues to identify who the person was or where they came from. The case becomes the responsibility of Sgt. Winston Windflower of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and his trusted side-kick, Corporal Eddie Tizzard.

But this is just the beginning. There is also a devastating accident on the highway and another suspicious death to deal with. Throw in a rogue police officer and an international drug ring operating in the waters off the coast and Windflower’s peaceful world is turned upside down. This time Windflower’s adventures take him to the scenic town of Burin where Captain Cook once patrolled the waters looking for French mercenaries. And to historic St. John’s where he faces down an armed suspect on a parking garage rooftop in the midst of a busy downtown evening.

Along the way Windflower also continues to enjoy the food and home-style hospitality of this part of the world. Cod tongues, pan seared scallops and even figgy duff become part of his diet, and his long list of favourite foods. Windflower may be a long way from his Cree home in Northern Alberta but he has found a new place to love in the fog and mist of Newfoundland.  (Summary via Goodreads)



The Body on the T is the second book in the Sgt. Windflower mystery series and boy is it a GOOD one !!!  If you have read The Walker on the Cape, the first book in this series, you have met Windflower and have gotten to know him and his little town.  If not, that is okay.  Mike Martin brings you up to speed rather quickly....hee hee.

In The Body on the T you are introduced to a dead body right away....unfortunately who the person was is not known immediately as they have no identification or recoqnized as a local.  Before Windflower can identify the body, it is transferred out of his jurisdiction.  Windflower is also asked to leave Grand Bank for a few months to work on a case in Marystown that has to do with the Harvey Brenton case that we read about in the first book.

While Windflower is getting things ready in Grand Bank for his temporary move to Marystown, he has to suspend one of his Constables, Claude LaPierre, another body is found floating in the harbour and his girlfriend, Sheila, is in a head on collision.  One "good" thing is that they know that the body found floating is Roger Buffet, a heavy drinker who owed Brenton a lot of money.  

Windflower leaves everything in the capable hands of Corporal Eddie Tizzard who seems to know a little bit about everything which can be good and bad but he always seems to come out on top.  

Once Windflower is settled in Marystown he finds out that the dead body found on the T that was transferred is Jean-Marc Guibert who was working for Brenton but recruited by the drug enforcement team to provide inside intelligence and he also learns that LaPierre is involved in the drug distribution network and the case that Windflower was brought in for.

Windflower has a lot on his plate with the case and Sheila's accident.  Sheila is transferred to a hospital closer to Marystown which is good for Windflower, he is able to visit her daily.  

There is so much more that I could tell you about the case, Windflower, Sheila, Tizzard, LaPierre and the offer that Windflower gets later in the story (tiny spoiler) but to read it in it's fullest is the best way to do it !!

I will tell you that you will LOVE the growing relationship between Windflower and Sheila, you will wish you had Tizzard's energy and you will love the person that Windflower is, as a Mountie, a boyfriend, a friend, and as just a good human being.  And the devotion he has to the job and Sheila will warm your insides ......

So grab a cup of tea and a biscuit, settle in your comfy chair and take a little trip and hang out with Windflower and enjoy the ride.......

Review by Missi S.







Friday, 17 November 2017

A Deadly Éclair (A French Bistro Mystery #1) by Daryl Wood Gerber


A Deadly Éclair (A French Bistro Mystery, #1)

It's always been Mimi Rousseau's dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she's been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband's tremendous debt. Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she's able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn's first wedding ever. 
The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan's half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners' dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an eclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan's will. 
Now it's up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Eclair, the scrumptious series debut by Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber.  (Summady via Goodreads)



A French Bistro Mystery series by Daryl Wood Gerber is going to be one of my favorite series !!  With her debut book, A Deadly Eclair, I have fallen in love with everything in the story !!  

You have Mimi who owns the bistro and inn where she runs the bistro and her best friend, Jo, manages the inn.   And all of this is possible because Bryan saw something promising in Mimi and invested in her dream.  Not only does Bryan see something special in Mimi he also wants to help her succeed.  It only seems fitting that the first wedding held at the inn is a famous talk show host to a well known jeweler.  The bride also happens to be the daughter of Bryan's half brother so that should help things run smoothly.  

Unfortunately things don't go as planned at the out-of-towners dinner gathering the night before the wedding and even worse when the bride goes out running early the next morning and finds Bryan dead on the patio of the bistro with an eclair stuffed in his mouth.  To make matters worse, if that is possible, Mimi is the main suspect when it is discovered that Bryan was lured there by a text message from her cell phone !!!

While Mimi tries to resume business as usual and keep all the wedding guests comfortable, she also questions everyone trying to solve Bryan's murder, clear her name, and keep her business afloat.

A Deadly Eclair has a wonderful cast of characters, some you fall in love with instantly.....like Mimi's best friend Jo who runs the inn effortlessly and is always there for Mimi no matter what.  You also will love the hostess, Heather, who has a thing for aliens but is more than capable of being the hostess with the mostest.  And there are also Sergeant Tyson Daly and the gardener Raymond who went to school with Mimi, Mimi's mother who owns a vineyard as well as Nash who sells wine and also has a crush on Mimi.

And let's not overlook that this ALL takes place in a wonderful place Napa Valley which is full of jazz music, gourmet food, lucious wine, refreshing gardens and mouth dropping artwork.....

My only recommendation before picking this book up to get lost in it is to grab a nice glass of wine, some cheese and crackers, a comfy blanket and settle back.....once you open up the book, you won't want to leave......


Review by Missi S.






Thursday, 16 November 2017

Much Ado About Murder (Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery #3) by Elizabeth J. Duncan



Much Ado About Murder (Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery #3)
Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the latest performance of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, Much Ado About Nothing. The company's steady growth enables them to cast star British actress Audrey Ashley, who arrives on scene to play the lead role of Beatrice. But things immediately get more complicated when Audrey insists the company replace the current director with new, up and coming British director Edmund Albright. 

Edmund plans to change the popular romantic comedy, which alienates several people associated with the production. And the list of people he upsets only grows: the laid off former director, the hotel owner's secretary, and even Audrey herself. Just as Edmund's plans are about to come to fruition, his body is discovered on his sofa, holding a gun in his hand. His death is quickly ruled a suicide but Charlotte thinks otherwise. Why would Edmund, on the brink of greatness, kill himself? And in such an American way? 

With a whole cast of characters to investigate, Charlotte is determined to unmask each one before it's final curtain call on the whole production in award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan's third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery, Much Ado About Murder.  (Summary via Goodreads)


I might be a tad partial to Much Ado About Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan because it is A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery and I live in upstate New York.  But whatever reason you choose to read Much Ado About Murder, I am quite certain that you will love it !!


Even though this is the third book in the series and I haven't had the pleasure of reading the previous two, I was able to pick it up and breeze right through it.  As soon as I started reading, I was lost in the Catskills....  The story is so fun !!!  You have a theater company attached to a grand hotel with three bungalows and the bungalows are housed by the director of the current play, the main star of the current play and Charlotte, the costume designer and her police officer boyfriend.

Unfortunately the current Shakespeare play has trouble from the start with the director leaving abruptly and unable to return and then his replacement, Edmind, is found dead in his bungalow as a result of an apparent suicide.  But as they say in show business the show must go on so with a third director they continue with rehearsals.  

Charlotte and her friend Paula, who is on the board of directors for the theatre have a hard time accepting that Edmund would commit suicide.  He was very passionate about the play and the direction he was taking it, it just didn't fit that he would kill himself.

Charlotte and Paula dig into their own investigation and try to find out who killed Edmund and why.  But with a cast of over-eager actors and a very eager replacement director, how will they narrow down the list of suspects ???  

Much Ado About Murder was such a treat to read, Duncan has a way with her writing that you feel like you are right there walking along side Charlotte as she walks the paths along the grounds and you can almost taste the gin and tonic that she makes when she gets together with Paula.....

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Dead of Winter (Lily Dale Mystery #3) by Wendy Corsi Staub


Dead of Winter (Lily Dale Mystery, #3 & Lily Dale, #7)
Just as a murderer dumps his corpse into the lake across Valley View in Lily Dale, Bella Jordan happens to be at her window, not quite realizing what she's seeing. Unbeknownst to her, the killer spots her silhouette and prowls straight to her door. That is, until he's interrupted by a black cat. A superstitious gambler, he takes off, but Bella's seen too much, and he vows to return. 

Jiffy Arden, a neighborhood kid looking for the black cat and stumbling across the killer, begins to have premonitions of being kidnapped during the season's first snowstorm. Sure enough, when it strikes, he vanishes, never arriving home from the bus stop. While her son, Max, believes Jiffy has been kidnapped, Bella is convinced he's just wandered off as he typically does... until a body shows up in the lake. 

Now everyone is pulling out all the stops to find the missing child, identify the victim, and collar the killer. And fast, because he's coming for Bella next in Dead of Winter  (Summary via Goodreads)




I could not stop reading this book !!!!  As soon as I started reading Dead of Winter by Wendy Corsi Staub I was hooked !!!  Even though this is the third book in the Lily Dale Mystery series and the first one that I read, it didn't matter.  I was introduced to everyone in town like it was the first book.  Staub's writing allows the reader to pick up the book and before you even finish the first chapter you are at home in this little lakeside community with all its wacky residents !!

The main character focus is on Bella and her young son Max as they are new to Lily Dale (yes Lily Dale is the name of the area , it's not the name of a character).  Bella and Max moved there recently after her husband passed away and she ends up running the Valley View Manor on the lake.  They were brought to the Valley View Manor by Chance (a cat) and ended up staying.

One unique thing about Dead of Winter is that Lily Dale is full of spiritualists.  Most of Bella's neighbors are mediums that see and talk to the dead..... even her son's 6 year old best friend, Jiffy.  This doesn't give the reader a "spooky" feeling because the way that it is written is comical at times and, well, the rest just seems to make sense.

Don't get me wrong....there is a murder in the middle of the night and the killer dumps the victim over a rowboat in the lake....and Bella is caught looking out the window by the killer....and Jiffy just happens to run into the killer outside the Valley View Manor......and the victim just happens to be from a very impressive gang of theives.....and to make it all even better Lily Dale is hit with a tremendous snowstorm....

OMG I want to read it again !!!  That's how good Dead of Winter is !!  I sat on my couch reading it from start to finish !!  Once you get to a certain point in the story (I won't tell you where...) you CANNOT put the book down.....you can't !!  I challenge you to try !!  Believe me when you get to that point, and you will know it when you get there, you mind as well cancel whatever you had planned for the rest of the day.

Dead of Winter is set in a very interesting lakeside community with such interesting people .... I could go on and on regarding the residents, dead and alive, but you should read it for yourself !!

After reading Dead of Winter, I can tell you that I will be going back and reading the rest of the Lily Dale series......

Review by Missi S.






  







Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Walker on the Cape (Sgt. Windfower Mystery #1) by Mike Martin


The Walker on the Cape (Sgt. Windflower Mystery, #1)

A man's body is found in a small fishing community on the East Coast. First, everyone thinks it's a heart attack or stroke but then it's discovered that he was poisoned. Who would do this and why? Finding that out falls to Winston Windflower and his side-kick Eddie Tizzard. Along the way, they discover there are many more secrets hidden in this small community and powerful people who want to keep it that way.  (Summary via Goodreads)

EPIC FINISH !!!

The Walker on the Cape by Mike Martin is the first in his Sgt. Windflower Mystery series and it starts the series off epically !!!

One of the things that I love about this book and this series is that it is set in Canada.  It is always interesting to read stories set in other areas from your own so that you can learn about those areas as you read a good story.  Even the simply differences like calling a police officer Constable and reading how everyone drinks tea instead of coffee are nice touches in a book.

In the Walker on the Cape you meet Sergeant Winston Windflower who lives in a small community that is shook by the death of Elias Martin.  Elias Martin is an elderly man who, since his wife's death, has kept to himself.  When he is found on the Cape by two hikers, his death is ruled suspicious after the police find evidence at his residence.  Who would want to kill Martin ?  

Windflower's investigation leads him to a very powerful and corrupt businessman, Harvey Brenton whose wife, Marge, was Martin's girlfriend many years ago.  But when Brenton is shot to death and Marge and Martin's nephew, James both admit to the crime, Windflower has more questions than answers.....

There are many characters and relationships that you will love to read about and follow in this series.  I for one cannot wait to dig into the next book and ride along with Windflower.....

Review by Missi S.