Tag Archive for mystery

Leslie Budewitz – Killing Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery)

Leslie BudewitzLeslie Budewitz – Killing Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery)

Leslie Budewitz wrote Killing Thyme. It is the third book in the Spice Shop Mystery series. The is a series after this diyhomegoddess’s own heart.  I hope to get to read more. It’s a unique place, a unique sleuth, and loads of fun.

The Characters

I like the idea of the repeating cast introductions at the beginning of the book. That way you have an idea of who is in the story except for the murderers, victims and suspects. The characters are described pretty well, so you can imagine what they look like.

Pepper Reece (no, that is not her real name, but only her BFF, and probably her ex know what her real name is) is a great character. She is struggling with her spice shop she purchased after leaving the corporate world. She stumbles through the mysteries, finding clues and red herrings by accident and on purpose. Just like a true amateur sleuth should. I like that she is not “perfect”, she fails all over the place. 

Tag Buhner is the cop you love to hate. He’s Pepper’s ex. He’s a hottie who seems to be obsessed with her. Why is it the ex-husbands are always falling over the wives. It is happening a lot lately; I think it is getting overdone.

The other cops (yes, there are more than one!) Spencer and Tracy are the annoying cops we love in this kind of mystery. They have different personalities, and their emotions are definitely shown.

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Sherry Harris – Tagged for Death (A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery)

Sherry HarrisSHERRY HARRIS – TAGGED FOR DEATH

Sherry Harris ‘Tagged for Death’ is the first in a new mystery series, based on the garage sale angle. Something I had not seen done before, and I liked the concept. A total stranger at Barnes and Noble pointed out the series when I was looking for something new to check out.

Characters

The characters were fully developed. I felt like I knew them, or wanted to get to know them. Sarah was fun. Going from a military wife to a civilian without the military status connection is hard to do. She had to become strong rather quickly, and used her friends (both military and civilian) to get grounded. 

CJ was an interesting character. Putting the military and police persona together was extremely strong. I liked the interactions between him and Sarah. 

The base characters were your standard military, which may set you off, but believe me, the way these characters were portrayed is on point. The actual military and the spouse sector are totally different, and it was portrayed well.

Dialogue

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SHOT IN THE DARK BY CLEO COYLE

Cleo CoyleShot In The Dark by Cleo Coyle

Shot in the Dark, by Cleo Coyle is the 17th book in the Coffeehouse Mystery series. I have been in love with this series since it started back in 2003. This is one of those I don’t want to end. Let me tell you why.

The Setting Description

The descriptions in the books are very well written. There is enough detail to where you feel the energy of the city, and think you can see what is going on. And yet there isn’t so much that you was to jump paragraphs to get back to the story.

The Characters

The characters have been developed over the series. They are growing, not just being the same in each book. My favorites?

Matteo Allegro is one jerk that you hate and love at the same time. He’s protective of his family, but a bit smothering. 

Detective Franco of the police force is coming into his own. He’s in love with Claire and Matteo’s daughter. Matteo wants nothing to do with that! He is trying to do the right thing, but sometimes people just get in the way.

The baristas Dante and Esther are the best. They are recurring characters that are creative, alive, fun, and you want to be their friends.

And let’s not forget the stars, Claire and Mike. Anyone who has read a single episode of this series can see they belong together. But Cleo Coyle is not pushing them together right away, she’s dragging out the tension in the romance.

The Dialogue

The dialogue for each character is unique. No two talk the same. No two are mirror images. Even without dialogue tags, you can usually tell who is speaking, because of the quirks and such of the characters. They sounded like real people from all walks of life.

The Plot

What I liked about this plot is that it isn’t a rehash of the other plots. The backstory is not the same in each of the books either. So you aren’t hearing the same story over and over again. 

The one thing I liked about this plot, is Mike (Claire’s fiancé) kind of took a back seat in the story. Most cozies you have the amateur sleuth and the police hooking up together all the time. But Cleo Coyle did this one different. The amateur sleuth took control of the situation. Most of the cops were taking a back seat to her sleuthing. Which makes you want to root for the sleuth more. Come on, girl, you can solve this on your own!

The plot had serious depth to it. It wasn’t just 5 people, one dog and a cat as suspects. The story, and its subplots were well thought out, were interconnected, and made for some serious thinking of what was going on.

The red herrings and clues were on the money. There were enough of each to make me keep changing my mind about who the killer was. The killer was a surprise to me, but as soon as things started getting explained, I had the “ah ha” moment. There was no, ‘what do you mean?’ or ‘that doesn’t sound right!’ questions.

The one thing I gritted my teeth at was the subplot between Franco and Joy. The man is a police detective. I automatically thought he was undercover, but both Joy and Claire thought he might be cheating. No!!!!

Cleo Coyle

Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones with Vanilla Lemon Glaze

Bonus Recipes

FYI, each of Cleo Coyle’s books have recipes. And we aren’t talking just desserts. Simple, fancy, main course, dessert, even drinks! 

And yes, I did test one of the recipes in this book, as I try to in all culinary mysteries. I made the Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones with Vanilla Lemon Glaze. Yum!

More Information

You can read my post that show the list of all the novels in the series, as well as some basic background here.

And check out Cleo’s website here.

The Verdict

I have never had one of these books I didn’t like. I’m pretty tough on giving 5 stars, but this one definitely earned a 5 star review from me! 

Libby Klein – Class Reunions Are Murder 

Libby Klein

Bear with me diyhomegoddesses while you read this review about Libby Klein and the first Poppy McAllister book. The book came out a few months ago. I picked it up because of the title. I mean, come on! How many of us think this about our class reunions?

The Gist of the Story

The story is set in Jersey; New Jersey for those of you not in the know. That’s what people in that region call it. At least they used to. It’s about Poppy McAllister, a recent widow who is avoiding life, and her mother-in-law Georgina, who wants control of her son’s widow even after he’s dead. That’s normal, right? She is kind of pushed into going to the reunion by the few friends she had in school. That happens, right?

Poppy is someone I relate to. The gal is big, redheaded, and beautiful (paraphrasing Queen Latifah in Hairspray)! She goes to the reunion, and it’s like she’s back in high school again, with the allegedly cool kids making fun of her. She finds a dead body at the reunion, the body of the most popular girl in school, Barbie. Barbie? Really? Now if that isn’t the name of the queen of the class who pushed everyone around, I don’t know what is. 

Amber (!), the local cop and member of the class, is insistent on proving Poppy guilty of murder. Hmm, another popular girl here. Something snaps in Poppy, and she wakes up to fight for her freedom. Yay, Poppy! She spends the book trying to question people, sneaking around, getting into trouble (typical cozy), and generally being a woman who just woke up from a long sleep to find out she has life left in her.

Meanwhile, she meets up with her high school love, a cute Italian coffee shop owner, and is trying to keep her Aunt Ginny from being sent to a nursing home because she’s “too old to be by herself”.

The Review of Libby Klein – Class Reunions Are Murder

The characters are fully developed. You get descriptions, and they seem to fit their names. She must have taken a lot of time to create them. I had trouble finding flat characters. Poppy is tough, yet gentle. Aunt Ginny is a firecracker. Her friends are faithful. Figaro the cat is a drama queen! The popular crowd was shown the way we don’t see them in school; they love each other but are backbiters even amongst themselves. Her characters are unique, fun, and all around real.

The descriptions are pretty good. Libby Klein does not just breeze over them, and does not go overboard either. Most of her setting descriptions are about buildings, you get just a glimpse of the outdoors weather. Well, the bulk of the story is inside, so that’s fine.

The dialogue is snappy. There wasn’t much dialogue that was added fluff. There are lots of sayings in this book that most people have used, but few authors will add. This made the characters seem more real to me. There is attitude in this book that I don’t see in a lot of others. Not that other authors aren’t real. But Libby Klein made her characters the blue collar, Jerseyan people they are. Like Aunt Ginny’s response to the reunion dress. “I need a drink.” Some people may be off-putting by this talk, but I love it.

The story is hilarious. I read it while commuting, and people would stare at me when I laughed out loud! Snide comments, funny innuendos, descriptions. 

The clues were there. The red herrings were in abundance. Twists and turns? Absolutely! The way Poppy changed her mind about the killer’s identity is typical cozy fashion. The only thing different from the classic cozy was it was a bit longer than normal.

The Verdict

This gets 4.5 stars! If you like snarky humor, this story is for you. Libby Klein has a unique voice that needs to be heard, read, shared, and enjoyed.

Her next story, Midnight Snacks are Murder comes out the end of July. You can find out more about Libby Klein here.

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