Widow’s Wreath By Cynthia Riggs

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Widow’s Wreath is a departure from the previous Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries. Victoria finds herself the reluctant host to a wedding extravaganza for a young relative. In setting up for the reception, a body is found in Victoria’s cellar. When the groom (who thinks he is marrying a rich heiress) calls off the wedding after finding his fiancé is as broke as he is! And she’s not exactly heartbroken once she learns he has no money, either. The groom is a narcissist and it seems everyone would like to murder him. There is very little of the charm of the previous books in the series and Victoria seems rather overwhelmed most of the time. The groom’s family is all Italian mafia with revenge, family honor, and a disowned son.

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Lost Books and Old Bones By Paige Shelton

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Delaney is from Kansas, but now lives in Edinburgh and works at a local bookstore, curating the owner’s hidden and unusual collection. She’s settled in by this third book in the series and has made friends with a few medical students. When one girl is found murdered right outside the bookstore, Delaney becomes involved. What does the girl’s death have to do with the history of Burke and Hare, murderers from the past who killed to provide corpses for the medical college? Always a delightful 0series, this is an enjoyable visit to Edinburgh with a true cozy feel.

Bishop’s Pawn By Steve Berry

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In The Bishop’s Pawn, we go back to Cotton Malone’s first job for Stephanie as a Justice Dept agent. Thrown into a situation with insufficient background and information, Cotton is quickly in over his head. A double eagle worth millions, files of FBI secrets, a Cuban thug who worked for the FBI, and a former friend of Martin Luther King, Jr all add up to a very dangerous situation. The book centers around the enmity between Hoover and King. Was there a conspiracy to murder King? Who was involved? This book did have a lot of the political history of the civil rights movement, which made the story move a little slower, but was interesting.

Raspberry Danish Murder By Joanne Fluke

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Hannah’s newlywed husband, Ross, has disappeared and now his assistant dies after eating poisoned candy delivered to Ross’s desk. Is PJ the intended victim or were the candies meant for Ross? I enjoyed the story, but found the descriptions of food took up way too much of the book. The reason for the disappearance of Ross ended up being a real shocker! Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Murder in Thistlecross By Amy M. Reade

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Eilidh is living in Wales in a castle as manager and assistant to Annabel, the owner of the castle. Annabel is estranged from her three adult sons due to the abuse they endured from their father. She invites them for a weekend to attempt a reconciliation, but soon there are three murders. Murder in Thistlecross is a modern gothic tale. The setting, the characters, and the conflict were well-done and the end was very satisfying.

The Last Thing She Ever Did By Gregg Olsen

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Well-written, but so very dark and disturbing. Not a book to enjoy, but to read in the way that we watch disaster or tragedies unfold on the news…horrible, but we can’t look away. After a night of cramming for an exam (fueled by drugs), Liz backs into the neighbor’s three-year-old boy. Does she call for help? No, she puts the boy on the work table in the garage, cleans up the evidence and drives off to her exam. She tells her husband what she has done, and does he do the right thing? Of course not. These are not sympathetic characters…in fact, none of the characters are likable. Rather depressing.

Claws for Concern By Miranda James

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Charlie and his Maine coon cat, Diesel, are looking into a cold case involving a cousin (by marriage). Charlie never even knew his uncle had a son, so meeting Bill is a major surprise. When he learns Bill is an alcoholic and suspected of killing an entire family twenty years before, Charlie doesn’t know what to think. Then Bill is deliberately run down and now Charlie wants to know why. A true crime mystery writer has approached Charlie about using his experiences in a new book and they team up to investigate the cold case. The identities of the murderer is not too much of a surprise, but the story is enjoyable. Diesel especially is a great character!

City of Endless Night By Preston and Child

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In City of Endless Night, Preston and Child have recaptured the feel of the first Pendergast novels. Pendergast is more human and vulnerable, less invincible than previously, but that simply adds more depth to his character. From the first chapter, I was hooked on the mystery. A decapitated body of a young socialite is found by two young boys. Soon, a sleazy attorney for the mob is found murdered and decapitated. Are the killings related? Set aside a day for reading, because once you start this book, you won’t be able to put it down!

Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake By Sarah Graves

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Sarah Graves has moved Jake Tiptree and her best friend Ellie to a new series..Death by Chocolate Mysteries. Jake has most of the renovations completed on her old house and she and Ellie have opened a bake shop called the Chocolate Moose. (Love the name!) Soon Jake discovers a body in their shop and Ellie is the only suspect. Between baking cheesecake for an auction, preparing for a coming hurricane, worrying about her father’s recent heart attack and why she hasn’t heard from her son Sam, Jake is investigating the murder. Lots of action and activity keep this book moving quickly and the pages turning! Grab a chocolate cookie, a cup of coffee and enjoy!

Not a Creature Was Purring By Krista Davis

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Not a Creature Was Purring is the 5th book in the Paws & Claws Mystery series, but the first I have read. What a delight to discover this series! Holmes is coming home to Wagstail, Va to celebrate Christmas…and his engagement. Holly, his former girlfriend is trying to be supportive, but his fiancée is a horrible, spoiled rich girl and the rest of her family is just as bad. When Holly finds a body, everyone is under suspicion. A clever, cozy mystery set in a wonderful town that knows how to truly celebrate Christmas, this was the perfect story for the season!