Sunday, October 02, 2016

Three "Cozy Mysteries" for Light Reading, New This Fall, from Colette London, Alex Erickson, and Vickie Fee (Kensington)

The last week of September was filled with newly released books, and I'm scrambling to catch up! Here are three enjoyable and entertaining "cozy" mysteries from Kensington to stack at the bedside table or beside an armchair and enjoy in the autumn evenings ahead.

Colette London's "Chocolate Whisperer" series always includes tasty insight into the dark-to-milky dessert treats that chocolate honors. In THE SEMI-SWEET HEREAFTER, Hayden Mundy Moore;s career as an ultra-discrete chocolate whisperer -- helping clients fix their baked goods, truffles, and in this case, cooking shows -- takes her to London to assist the owner of a chocolate patisserie. But when very British client Phoebe Wright lands in the midst of a murder scandal involving her hunky hubbie, Hayden's quickly relying on her other skill, the one her recent other adventures (Criminal Confections and Dangerously Dark) have unexpectedly nurtured: investigating crime. Tangling up Hayden's life further are the two romantic men of mystery who support her career (and who thought sending her to London would get her own of trouble). A lively tale, and one where the reader may be able to work out the crime and criminal a hair's-breadth before the amateur sleuth does (perfect!). (PS: Colette London is a pen name for Lisa Plumley.)

Alex Erickson (a pen name for Eric S. Moore) was new to me this autumn, but his "Bookstore Café series is in its third title with DEATH BY PUMPKIN SPICE. Forget the bookstore aspect, and there's not much of the café experience involved, either -- business owner Krissy Hancock, insecure about her working-class background at a very fancy upscale Halloween costume party she's invited to, finds herself actively investigating the murder of someone costumed like Marilyn Monroe while past boyfriend Officer Paul Dalton and party date William Foster take up space in her thinking and her blushing body. The mystery resolves triumphantly, but the tangle of romance only gets more complicated. Light and frothy reading, good to escape raking the leaves if you like!

Vickie Fee (apparently not a pen name!) moves into the second in her "Liv and Di in Dixie" mystery series with party planner Liv McKay in Dixie, Tennessee, for IT'S YOUR PARTY, DIE IF YOU WANT TO. Liv's party planning extends to a riverboat gambling engagement party, preceded by a businesswomen's retreat where a returned-to-town ghost hunter and her film crew arrive along with a corpse. Motives abound, and red herrings and many twists carry Liv toward a Southern-style finale. You'll need to stick with the story to follow the plot, which is complicated; the gals' support network is cute, and the settings are charming. Party-planning tips conclude the book.

All of these have sequels in the works, so if you get hooked by a character, better settle in for the long run with Kensington's abundant lists of books to come.

Looking for more mystery reviews, from cozy to very dark? Browse the Kingdom Books mysteries review blog here.

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