Halloween and Other Horrors with Liv McKay by Vickie Fee

It's Your Party, Die If You Want toOctober is shaping up to be scary busy for my party planning business, Liv 4 Fun, with a riverboat gambler-theme engagement party for seventy-five people and a city-wide, multi-venue spooky Halloween fundraiser for charity to cap off the month. I had hopes the annual Dixie businesswomen’s retreat this weekend would be a respite for me before crunch time—but it isn’t exactly turning out that way.

Morgan Robison, president of the Professional Women’s Association of Dixie, known as PWAD for short and commonly referred to as pee wad, has assigned me the task of looking after our guest speaker for the retreat. Lucinda Grable, who grew up in Dixie and had been Morgan’s college roommate at Ole Miss, is now a TV celebrity with her own popular ghost-hunting show. I foolishly thought it might be fun to meet her and hear about her ghost-hunting exploits. If I’d only known, I would have run faster than snagged pantyhose.

Morgan’s a vice-president at Dixie Savings and Loan, with her main qualification being that her daddy owns the bank. But Morgan really excelled at a couple of things: telling other people what to do, and making time with other women’s husbands and boyfriends. Both of these talents mean there are lots of people in town who don’t much care for her. So when a few other PWAD members and I stumble over her dead body on the grounds of the retreat center, there are suspects aplenty.

With Morgan turning up up dead just after Lucinda and her ghost-hunting crew had led us on an excursion in a neglected, little family cemetery, a couple of the ladies imagine there may be some otherworldly element involved. But when Sheriff Dave arrests their friend for murder, the pair’s suspicions move from ghosts to ghost hunters. And the reality TV diva threatens to call the law on them unless I can get her newfound “stalkers” to behave.

I’ve really tried to stay out of the murder investigation this time around. The last time there were murders in Dixie, the FBI started eyeing my husband and father-in-law as possible suspects. I had no choice but to try to point the sheriff in the right direction. While I’m not happy Morgan was murdered, she was neither kith nor kin to me.

However, Lucinda’s stalkers are beginning to make me wonder if Dave has locked up the wrong person for murder. Lucinda’s personal assistant appears to have caused Di and me to have a little accident —and the sheriff seems totally disinclined to look at other suspects. So I’m left with no choice but to track a killer with my trusty sidekick, Di Souther.

By the way, Di would not appreciate being referred to as my sidekick, so maybe I should dub her my partner in crime-solving instead. Either way when it comes to unraveling a murder mystery the two of us fancy ourselves to be a little bit Thelma and Louise but, truth be told, Lucy and Ethel would probably be closer to the truth. Still when the two of us go looking for a killer we usually find one—much to the consternation of Sheriff Dave, who is also Di’s somewhat complicated love interest.

You can read more about killer parties, Southern charm—and murder in It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To, the second book in the Liv and Di in Dixie mystery series, published by Kensington. Great timing for a fun Halloween read.

Between a riverboat gambler-theme engagement party and a murder mystery dinner for charity, Dixie, Tennessee, party planner Liv McKay is far too frenzied to feel festive. Add to the mix her duties at the annual businesswomen’s retreat and the antics of a celebrity ghost-hunting diva, and Liv’s schedule is turning out to be the scariest thing about this Halloween—especially when the ladies stumble across a dead body in a cemetery. . .

Morgan Robison was a party girl with a penchant for married men and stirring up a cauldron of drama. Any number of scorned wives or frightened philanderers could be behind her death. As Liv and her best friend, Di, set out to dig up the truth, they’ll face the unexpected and find their efforts hampered by a killer with one seriously haunting vendetta. . .

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About the author
Vickie Fee grew up on a steady diet of Nancy Drew, daydreams and sweet iced tea. She has a journalism degree and spent many years as a reporter covering small Southern towns populated with colorful characters, much like those in her books’ fictional town of Dixie, Tennessee. She’s a past president of the Malice in Memphis chapter of Sisters in Crime and current member of the Wisconsin Sisters in Crime and Guppies Chapter. She’s currently at work on the next book in the Liv and Di in Dixie mystery series. Connect with Vickie at vickiefee.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To. US and Canadian entries only, please. The giveaway will end October 1, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

Monday Morning Headaches with Detective Aaron White by LynDee Walker

Lethal LifestylesDays that start with a ringing phone seldom turn out well.

I fumbled for the nightstand, a dull pain in my ribs when I reached too far reminding me that I’m not twenty-five anymore.

Thirty-one years in uniform, and I’ve been shot twice. The first time, I was back to tossing my baby girl in the air four weeks later. This time, seven months have ticked by and I still wince when I raise my arm too high.

Finding my cell phone, I cracked an eyeball at the clock.

Four forty-eight.

“White,” I grunted, putting the thing somewhere in the vicinity of my ear.

“You’ll be getting a visit from a Sheriff Jim Rutledge this morning, detective. He had a murder out in Augusta County this weekend that’s of particular interest to some important people,” Deputy City Manager Matt Finderman, more commonly known as the Mayor’s favorite lackey, barked without so much as a “sorry for the ungodly hour.”

I sighed, patting an apology on my wife’s shoulder and sliding out of bed. Finderman made everything sound like high-level espionage, usually for no reason.

“Good morning to you, too, Matt,” I said, pulling the bedroom door closed and padding toward the kitchen in bare feet. “Why don’t you go ahead and tell me what this guy wants while I get some coffee?”

“What he wants isn’t nearly as important as who he needs to talk to.”

I flipped the switch on my Mr. Coffee and took a seat on a wooden barstool, the smell coming from the burbling machine chasing enough cobwebs from the corners of my brain for me to get good and annoyed. Who wakes people up before five in the morning to be cryptic?

I waited for him to elaborate. He didn’t.

“And who would that be?” I didn’t even try to keep the irritation out of my tone.

“Grant Parker.” He stopped again, and I drummed my fingers on the countertop. Both my daughters were home from college for the summer, currently at war over a boy. I had enough drama in my life with that nonsense.

Rubbing my temple with my free hand, I felt a massive headache coming my way. “Grant Parker. The sports columnist, Grant Parker?”

“By the end of the day, he’ll be the murder suspect Grant Parker.” Finderman waited a beat, plowing on when I didn’t take his bait. “You will assign the best homicide detective in your department to help Rutledge with anything he needs. You will have Parker hauled in for questioning, and you,” there went the pausing again, “will handle Nichelle Clarke.”

The big vein in my temple throbbed under my fingers.

Yep. Headache dead ahead.

“Who’s the victim?” I’ve met plenty of murderers, and couldn’t think of much that might push Grant Parker over that particular cliff.

“Mitch Burke.”

Well. Much besides that.

It hadn’t even been a week since Parker’s boss called me in an uncharacteristic panic. Because of Burke.


Scrubbing my free hand over my face, I wondered just exactly what I was about to get pulled into.

“I expect to find Grant Parker in a jail cell by this time tomorrow, detective.” Finderman snapped. “Help Rutledge get his man. And keep your nosy reporter friend in line.”

I touched the end button without bothering to respond, dropping the phone to the tabletop.

Could Parker be mixed up in Burke’s death?

Tough one. Maybe.

But if City Hall wanted Nichelle out of the way, something was shady. Figuring out what without tipping my hand was the tricky part, since my job as the public information officer meant people recorded just about everything I said.

But for Nichelle, I’d find a way. My fingers brushed across the still-pink scar over my ribs. I’d never trusted a reporter so completely. And last time I checked, Finderman and his cronies hadn’t saved my life last Fall.

I shuffled back to the coffee maker and filled a Richmond Police Officers’ Association mug, checking the clock. Five-oh-four.

Nichelle would be done with her morning news meeting by nine.

That gave me four hours to study up on Mitch Burke and Grant Parker. And why the Mayor might want Parker behind bars.

Thanks so much for having me and Detective White today, Dru Ann! I have some goodies for your readers: TWO commenters will win the Headlines in High Heels e-book of their choice.

Lethal Lifestyles is the sixth book in the Headlines in High Heels mystery series, published by Henery Press, September 2016.

Wedding bells are ringing at the Richmond Telegraph, and maid of honor Nichelle Clarke is determined to give her friends the perfect fairytale beginning to their happily ever after. So when a corpse crashes rehearsal weekend, Nichelle ditches her wedding coordinator shoes for her crime reporter ones, and a little poking around turns up a big problem: the victim and the groom have a history, and it’s not a pretty one.

Evidence against groom Grant Parker piles up, leaving Nichelle wishing a hostile bridesmaid was still her biggest worry as she tries to fend off Richmond’s favorite TV reporter—and her own scheming publisher. At odds with the cops, her beloved editor, and the ticking clock, Nichelle races to uncover the truth and save the day before this perfect wedding turns into a funeral.

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About the author
LynDee Walker is the author of the national bestselling Headlines in High Heels mystery series, beginning with the LynDeeAgatha Award-nominated Front Page Fatality (2013).

Before she started writing mysteries, LynDee was an award-winning journalist. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the U.S.

She adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear. Connect with LynDee at lyndeewalker.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway will end September 30, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of Amanda Doucette by Barbara Fradkin

Fire in the StarsIn my life, no two days are alike. Especially not now, when I am actually between lives. For over ten years I have worked as an international aid worker in different parts of Asia and Africa. It suited my restless spirit, my love of adventure, and my compassion for others. I loved the work and the people I met – their food, their culture and music, their humour and courage – but a year ago a terrifying encounter with a band of thugs waving AK47s left my health and sanity in tatters. Back in Canada, my safe haven, I retreated to my aunt’s country cabin to heal my wounds and to figure out whether I would ever have the courage to go back into the line of fire. Increasingly, aid workers are soft targets for every terrorist group trying to be the toughest on the block.

An experience like that forever puts you on the other side of an abyss from ordinary people, so I’ve been feeling pretty rootless, directionless, and alone. My parents live a nice, safe life inside the ivory tower of their university careers, and after ten years as a nomad, I have dozens of friends around the world but none at home. I really have nothing but my lime green motorcycle, which gives me the freedom to roam – and escape – and Kaylee, my exuberant Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, who makes me laugh and keeps me safe.

For a year I’ve worked on a daily rhythm that includes fitness training, biking, therapy, yoga, and mindful meditation. I always delighted in cuisine from all over the world, but I’ve never had much patience for cooking. This past year, I’ve tried to impose some discipline on my diet. I’ve inched towards health, but the cabin days have been long and lonely. As it healed, my spirit grew restless for fun and adventure again, so when my friend and fellow trauma survivor, Phil Cousins, wrote to invite me on a wild Newfoundland adventure of whales, icebergs, and mountain hikes, I bought Kaylee a custom bike trailer, threw some clothes in a bag, and set off.

This first story, FIRE IN THE STARS, opens as I stand on the top deck of the ferry, getting my first glimpse of the rugged Newfoundland coast. I’m excited but worried. I haven’t heard from Phil in days, and I don’t know where to meet him. Newfoundland is a big place, with eleven thousand miles of coastline and millions of mountains and trees. More importantly, his wife tells me that he left home the day before with his young son in tow. The young son had not been in our plans; I love the boy, but this was to be a journey of catharsis and healing, not a family outing. Perhaps even more than me, Phil has been damaged by our ordeal, and I know he can go to some very dark places inside. Not places you would take an eleven year-old boy, if you were thinking at all clearly.

So I feared for Phil, and for his son, as I embarked on my trip across Newfoundland in search of him. The ensuing days were full of twists and harrowing adventures as the mystery of his disappearance deepened. I found out that pain and danger don’t just erupt in faraway lands ravaged by war and poverty, but can bump up against the quiet, almost deserted shores of Canada as well. But I also found the beginnings of a path forward. A path that stays true to my spirit and my dreams, but hopefully keeps me safe. Although no two days are ever likely to be the same.

Fire In The Stars is the first book in the NEW Amanda Doucette mystery series, published by Dundurn Press, September 2016.

A former aid worker returns home haunted by her time in Africa and channels her pain into a murder investigation that’s all too personal.

After surviving a horrific trauma in Nigeria, international aid worker Amanda Doucette returns to Canada to rebuild her life and her shaken ideals. There, the once-passionate, adventurous woman needs all her strength and ingenuity when a friend and fellow survivor goes missing along with his son.

A trained first-aid and crisis responder, Doucette ― always accompanied by her beloved dog Kaylee ― joins forces with RCMP officer Chris Tymko to discover the truth about the disappearance. Their search leads them to the Great Northern Peninsula, a rugged landscape of Viking history, icebergs, whales, and fierce ocean storms. Elsewhere, a body gets hauled up in a fisherman’s net, and evidence is mounting of an unsettling connection with Amanda’s search for her friend. Fradkin writes evocatively of the beautiful, often hostile, Newfoundland landscape where Amanda soon finds herself fighting for her very survival.

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Meet the author
Barbara Fradkin is a retired child psychologist with a fascination for why we turn bad. Besides her short stories and easy-read short novels, she is best known for her gritty, psychological Inspector Green series, which has received two Arthur Ellis Best Novel Awards. She is now embarking on a new mystery suspense series featuring former international aid worker Amanda Doucette, who battles her own traumatic past to help people in trouble. Connect with Barbara at www.barbarafradkin.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Fire in the Stars. US and Canadian entries only, please. The giveaway will end September 29, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of Mary Louise by Mary McHugh

High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and HomicidesWho would have thought I’d be dancing at Radio City Music Hall in New York City with the Rockettes? I’ve loved them since I was a little girl, when my mother would take me to see them dance between movies and shorts and westerns at that incredible theater.

Now my four friends – Tina, a bridal magazine editor, Gini, a documentary film maker, Janice, an actress and director, and Pat, a family therapist — and I were hired to dance with the Rockettes in their Christmas show. We were going to dress up in Santa jackets and hats, and be part of their “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” number. Sounded like the best job we’d ever had, even better than dancing on a cruise ship in Russia, on a luxury train in Spain, a bateau mouche in Paris or at the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro.

It turned out to be the hardest work we’ve ever done. Those Rockettes don’t fool around. They work their toes off achieving the perfection the audience sees at every show. We were all out of shape and it took every ounce of strength we had to keep up with them. We practiced for hours, which didn’t always make my husband George happy when I got home to New Jersey too late to fix him dinner. He grumbled and groused about my dancing, which he wished I would stop doing. I could never make him understand how important it was to me, how much dancing meant to me.

As if the hard work and George’s complaining weren’t enough, three of the Rockettes were killed. Somehow the killer thought I knew more than I did, and my life was in danger several times in the book I narrated about all this, High Kicks, Hot Chocolate and Homicide. If you’ve been following the adventures of me and my four friends through the first four Happy Hoofer books, you will want to know how I escaped.

In between murders, I cooked, so there are lots of recipes in this book, which is a cozy mystery that welcomes good food. If you get this book, you will learn how to make: Lobster salad, salmon with anchovies, crabcakes, snickerdoodles, veal piccata, croque madame, veal cordon bleu, blanquette de veau, oatmeal pancakes, spaghetti with swordfish in tomato sauce, trout and bacon, vinaigrette salad dressing, cheese puffs, and pastry shells with caviar.

There’s also a cat named Ranger who is a heroine in our story.

Join me in New York and visit the Frick museum, the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park. Ride a horse-drawn carriage through the park with me and see the John Lennon memorial. Take a boat ride around the end of the island in Tina’s fiance’s yacht. Listen to the music in Washington Square. You’ll feel like you’re in New York, savoring its variety, its beauty, its excitement. A little too much excitement for me when the killer closes in, I must say.

Are you up for it?

High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides is the fifth book in the Happy Hoofers mystery series, published by Kensington, August 2016.

Murder takes center stage . . .

It’s a Christmas miracle for the Happy Hoofers—Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini. They’ve scored a gig at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall with the legendary Rockettes, complete with sexy Santa suits and microphones on their shoes. But when a dazzling diva of a dancer is found dead under the stage, there’s quite a lineup of suspects. In between rehearsals and seasonal sightseeing—and the discovery of a multi-talented, multi-colored cat—the toe-tapping troupe has to sort out the intrigue before another victim kicks the bucket . . .

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About the author
Mary McHugh has published 27 books, most recently the first four books in her Happy Hoofer series of cozy murder mysteries for Kensington Books.

She worked for The New York Times, and her article, “Telling Jack,” in the Sunday Times magazine was nominated for an award for best personal essay by the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Her book “Special Siblings: Growing Up with Someone with a Disability,” was awarded a prize for Special Recognition of a National Project by the Arc of New Jersey.

She worked as an articles editor at three national magazines and was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and seniorwomen.com.

Visit Mary at www.marymchugh.org.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides. U.S. residents only, please. The giveaway will end September 28, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

Bouchercon 2016 Recap


Bouchercon 2016: Blood On The Bayou
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Date: September 15 – 18, 2016

Bouchercon is the world’s finest annual crime fiction event, bringing together more than 1,500 authors, fans, publishers, reviewers, booksellers, editors, and every other part of the community for a fantastic four-day event.

I arrived in New Orleans a couple of days before the start of the convention to get in some sightseeing. First on the agenda was a 2-hour highlights tour of New Orleans. We stopped at Willies for our first taste of New Orleans foods eating Chicken Fingers and it was delicious. Then onto our tour where we saw the sights and sounds of New Orleans that included a stop at St. Louis Cemetery #3, a stop in City Park where we had our first taste of beignets amid a thunderstorm and lightening. Then off to tour Katrina and it’s aftermath. Our final meal of the day was at Creole House where I had the Taste Of The Bayou which is a combination of bayou traditions: Chicken & Andouille Gumbo, Crawfish Etouffée, Red Beans & Rice and Cajun Jambalaya.

The next day we walked to the Aquarium only to find it closed. Then we took the railroad to Jackson Square. We strolled in several of the stores on our way to Café du Monde. We sat in Jackson Square Park and enjoyed the shade and then headed back to the hotel. We had lunch at Palace Café and for our evening meal, we went to Mimi’s for TAPAS. I always wanted to know what it was. I sampled the duck, salmon and broccoli, and steak; I didn’t even look at mushroom plate. Then back to hotel for conversations with other early Bouchercon attendees.

Tuesday was my day to volunteer, so I helped stack books for the Book Bazaar and was impressed with how it was set-up. Then we took a trip to Central Grocery, home of the Original Muffuletta Sandwich. A traditional-style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone. Then a group of use headed to Napoleon House where I. ATE. ALLIGATOR. It was very gamey but good as I ate all of it while left the regular sausage on my plate.

Wednesday, I went on another on another 2-hour tour, this time St. Louis Cemetery #1, where we saw plenty of mausoleum and shrines. We even saw the tomb that actor Nicholas Cage has built. Then it was off the the BOLO Books soiree where we dined on appetizing snacks and imbibed Lemoncello. A good time was had by all.

Thursday was the first official day of the convention and my panel was at noon. We were given a 3-section room and I was surprised that it filled up as it did. The opening ceremony featured the guest arriving on floats. That was fun.

Saturday I attended Ellen Byron’s book launch for Body on the Bayou at Hall-Barnett Gallery where the appetizers were appetizing and the drinks flowing. Another good time was had.

I could tell you more, but I don’t remember much, but these pictures highlight my first trip to New Orleans. Enjoy!

*** SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2016 ***














*** MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2016 ***








*** TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 ***















*** WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2016 ***














img_2522Nicholas Cage’s tomb












*** THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 ***











*** FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 ***













*** SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 ***


















*** SOCKS ***




Have you ever attended a reader/author convention?

My Musing ~ Death By Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson

Death By Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson is the third book in the “Bookstore Café” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, September 27 2016

Death by Pumpkin SpiceBookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . .

As if a run-in with an old flame and a failed marriage proposal weren’t enough to horrify Krissy for one night, a woman is found strangled to death in a room filled with ominous jack-o’-lanterns. All signs suggest a crime of passion—but when the hostess’s jewelry disappears, malevolent intentions seem way more likely . . .

With the estate on lockdown and a killer roaming the halls, Krissy must help Officer Paul Dalton investigate each nook, cranny, and guest for answers—while also confronting a few demons of her own. Someone has lots of skeletons in the closet, and Krissy better tread lightly to expose them . . .

Once again, the author delivered a likable story that had a comfortable tone and the pacing made it easy to follow the story from beginning to end. The light drama pulled me in immediately and quickly became a page-turner as I had to know what happens next. The author did a good job in presenting this engaging mystery with some surprising twists that kept me involved in all aspects in the telling of this whodunit. With a good plot and good conversations, this was a good read in this pleasantly appealing series.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) book from publisher.

My Musing ~ Murder of a Cranky Catnapper by Denise Swanson

Murder of a Cranky Catnapper by Denise Swanson is the 19th book in the “Scumble River” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, September 2016

murder-of-a-cranky-catnapperIn the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Murder of an Open Book, a school psychologist has her hands full after a school board sourpuss meets a bitter end. . .

With her morning sickness finally abated, Skye Denison Boyd is ready to pounce on the pertinent problems she faces as Scumble River School’s psychologist. After trying almost every trick in the book to aid a handful of socially awkward fourth grade boys, Skye opts for the innovative approach of pet therapy with the assistance of the local vet, a Siberian husky, and a Maine coon cat.

Unfortunately the first session only breeds disaster and draws the ire of cantankerous school board member Palmer Lynch. But Skye’s worry over the episode changes to dread after Lynch is found dead in his home with the therapy cat hidden in his garage. With a clowder of questions unleashed, Skye finds herself dealing with a killer who isn’t pussyfooting around. . .

In the latest visit to Scumble River, a man is murdered and subsequent criminal activities seems to be connected or are they? That is what is found in this intriguing fast-paced and action packed drama that faces Wally, Skye and the Scumble River PD. The multi-plot mystery was well-written and set-up nicely with most of the leads playing pivotal roles that led to the closure of these criminal acts. The author did a very good job in ferreting information needed to solve all that transpired. With suspects abounding, it wasn’t clear who was involved until that critical junction when it all made sense and I enjoyed watching Skye put it all together. The Dooziers, once again, make an appearance and of course, it’s as entertaining as it can be when this dysfunction family enters the scene. This is one of the best books in this endearing series and I love that the author continues to keep this series fresh and engaging.

My Musing ~ No Farm, No Foul by Peg Cochran

No Farm, No Foul by Peg Cochran is the first book in the NEW “Farmer’s Daughter” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, September 2016

No Farm No FoulFirst in the Farmer’s Daughter mystery series set on a picturesque farm in Michigan, where Shelby McDonald runs a popular lifestyle and cooking blog, from the national bestselling author of the Cranberry Cove Mysteries.

On her blog, The Farmer’s Daughter, Shelby McDonald is growing her audience as she posts recipes, gardening tips, and her experiences raising two kids and running Love Blossom Farm in the small western Michigan town of Lovett.

Working the farm is demanding but peaceful—until that peace is shattered when the minister’s wife is murdered on Shelby’s property during a fund-raiser for a local church. But the manure really hits the fan when Shelby’s good friend veterinarian Kelly Thacker emerges as the prime suspect. Shelby decides to dig in and find the murderer by herself. As more suspects crop up, she’ll have to move fast—before someone else buys the farm. . . .

When murder occurs in her mudroom, Shelby becomes a reluctant amateur sleuth determined to find the person responsible for murdering Prudence and threatening her and her family.

I love a story that has a comfortable tone where everything that transpires warmed my heart as I followed Shelby through her motions as she seeks out answers to the murder. The author did a great job in presenting this mystery that kept me glued to the pages as I had to know what happens next. The pacing was evenly set until that crucial moment when the tempo increased as this drama reached the climax and the killer was revealed. That part had my heart racing. Very good job. I love the cast that includes Shelby, Bert, Kelly and her children. There’s also two gentlemen vying for her affection and I really hope this does not become a triangle. Boasting a great cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a feel good atmosphere, I can’t wait to read the next book in this delightfully charming series.

My Musing ~ Cancelled by Murder by by Jean Flowers

Cancelled by Murder by Jean Flowers is the second book in the “Postmistress” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, September 2016

Cancelled by MurderCassie Miller returned to her sleepy hometown in the Berkshires to start over as the new postmistress. But she soon finds that dead letters are nothing compared to murder victims. . .

With a massive storm about to hit North Ashcot, Massachusetts, threatening floods and widespread wind damage, Cassie is forced to close up the post office along with the rest of the local business owners and residents, who are battening down the hatches and bracing themselves for the worst.

Although the storm proves not to be as bad as predicted, fabric shop owner Daisy Harmon is found dead, seemingly killed by a fallen branch. But the police quickly determine that her death had nothing to do with foul weather and everything to do with foul play. After Daisy’s widowed husband approaches her to help solve his wife’s murder, Cassie vows to find the killer before another innocent victim is taken by storm.

This was an exciting and fun read that I enjoyed. Once again, Cassie is involved in looking for clues into the murder in this fast-paced and well-written drama. The plot was nicely divided with details that included plenty of suspects and some surprising twists and turns that ratcheted the telling of this tale up a notch. Cassie proves to be one determined amateur sleuth, all for the betterment of her small town. The author does a terrific job with setting up this mystery with great narrative, engaging dialogue with a small-town feel. The characters are lovable and friendly and I can’t wait to read the next book in this pleasantly appealing series.

My Musing ~ Cheddar Off Dead by Julia Buckley

Cheddar Off Dead by Julia Buckley is the second book in the “Undercover Dish” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, September 2016

Chedder Off DeadCaterer and cook Lilah Drake is up to her elbows in deadly trouble in the latest mystery from the author of The Big Chili. . .

The Christmas holidays are one of Lilah’s favorite times of the year, filled with friends, family, and, of course, tons of food orders for her Covered Dish clients. But Lilah’s Yuletide cheer ends when she sees a most Grinch-like crime: the murder of a Santa in a school parking lot.

It turns out the deceased Kris Kringle was a complicated tangle of naughty and nice, with a long list of people who might have wanted him dead. And whoever did the deed wants to make sure that Lilah keeps quiet. Now, Lilah will have to team up with her former fling, Detective Jay Parker, to unwrap the mysteries of a deadly Christmas killer and stay alive long enough to ring in the New Year. . .

Julia has done it again by delivering an engaging and entertaining whodunit that was hard to put down. The pacing was perfectly paired with how well this story was written with a comfortable tone and narrative that put me smack dab in the middle of all the action. The author did a great job with setting this drama up in a manner that kept me intrigued with suspects here and there and plot twists that sneaked upon me, spinning a web of deceit that enhanced the telling of this tale. This was a fun read that boasts a wonderful cast of characters and enjoyable conversations.