Tag: Cozy Mystery

Braking For Bodies Book Review

Cozy Mystery

Braking for Bodies by Duffy Brown is the second release of the cycle path mysteries. This cozy murder mystery series takes place on Mackinac Island. For those lucky enough to experience the lilac festival on this motor vehicle-less, history-laden island, Braking For Bodies will bring back scent-filled memories.

Protagonist

Evie Bloomfield, formerly of Chicago, has survived her first winter on Mackinac Island and is gearing up for the swell of visitors to the island for the lilac festival. Her artistic flair adds interest to the bikes rented from Ruby’s Bikes. And her ‘Black Cloud” has her braking smack into the dead body of a blackmailer.

Since the accident occurs at The Grand Hotel during one of the peak tourist weeks, Evie easily convinces the locals to stage the murder as a planned event. Thus, the Peepster’s death creates the basis of a murder mystery whodunit for vacationers. Hope is this will not scare people off the island. Because ‘like’ all tourist destinations, tourism is the bread and butter for Mackinac Island.

Romance Abounds

A side plot in Braking For Bodies is the wedding of island residents Rudy and Irma. Rudy was the prime suspect in the first of the cycle path mysteries and Irma is the mom of Police Chief Sutter. Not surprising, Nate Sutter is Evie’s love interest. But will they ever connect?

Evie’s Black Cloud follows the wedding pair as well as the murder. And Evie herself.

Publisher Criticism re: Braking For Bodies

The biggest criticism for Braking for Bodies belongs to the publisher, Penguin Random House, more than the author. The paperback purchased at The Island Bookstore (on Mackinac Island) has a synopsis that is erroneous. Completely wrong. The blurb on the back has the heroine hailing from Los Angeles. But really the victim as well as several suspects originate from the City of Angels. Do publishing houses even pay attention to their product? Perhaps the author should share in the responsibility as well.

Back Cover of Braking For Bodies with erroneous info.

Braking For Bodies

I enjoyed Braking For Bodies. The backdrop of Mackinac Island is accurate and brings the island resort to life.  However, I think this is a series best read from the beginning. So, I suggest finding a copy of Geared For The Grave before reading Braking For Bodies. And I plan to look for the next in the series, Tandem Demise on my next trip to the library. This cozy mystery is a fun easy read just perfect for a stressful summer.

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles Book Review

Mac ‘N’ Ivy

Lorena McCourtney is keeping busy and That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles is her latest release. The book, part of the Mac ’N’ Ivy series picks up the narrative after the two lovebirds finish their honeymoon. They are still looking for a place to park the RV and settle down. But the requirement of no murder in the vicinity keeps thwarting the silver fox and his Brillo gray bride.

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles Plot

Mac and Ivy motor to San Isolde, California in search of a permanent home and as a favor to a new acquaintance met along the coast of Mexico. Blake Houston is concerned about his eccentric Aunt Eleanor and her questionable boyfriend.

Shortly after arriving, Ivy and Eleanor-who now prefers Elena- stumble upon the body of Miles, the boyfriend now fiancé. Thence, the sleuthing begins for the newlyweds. Of course, McCourtney weaves many zany characters into her storyline. Elena perhaps the oddest of all.

There are twists and turns and Ivy and Elena clash on fortune telling; cookie reading signs, as performed by Nicole. Nicole’s ex-husband is a prime suspect and he is a nephew of the victim. McCourtney uses misdirection to keep the reader guessing.

Christian Fiction and Cozy Mystery

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles is a mixed genre. The book offers up murder and mayhem alongside Christianity. This combination works because the characters do not come across as preachy. The tone is a traditional approach versus an evangelical push. Plus, Mac and Ivy come across as humans not saints.

Recommendation

I recommend this zany story. My husband downloaded the ebook over the Christmas weekend and I read it during our snowy New Year’s Day. We both enjoyed the light hearted escape.

Previous reviews of McCourtney’s work include Invisible and In Plain Sight, both part of the Ivy Malone series. Additionally, Blue Moon, part of the Stanton series appeared in Econogal reviews. The Ivy Malone series segued into the Mac ‘N’ Ivy series of which That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles was a 2021 release. Mac is a great balance for the “Invisible” LOL.

Lorena McCourtney is a master of both misdirection-a key component of a good mystery- and of bringing characters to life. Even those characters that are terminated before the story begins. I envy her character development. Even tertiary characters “breathe.” During this ongoing time of uncertainty, McCourtney’s books are a welcome diversion. That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles is a worthwhile entertainment.

The Quiche and the Dead Book Review

Kirsten Weiss is the author of multiple series, including the Pie Town mysteries of which The Quiche and the Dead is the first publication. Valentine (Val) Harris is the owner of Pie Town. She is a recent transplant to San Nicholas. She followed her fiancé to the small town; only to be jilted once her life savings were invested.

Val is barely making ends meet and sleeping in a closet at the restaurant when tragedy strikes. One of her best customers, Joe, owner of the nearby comic store drops dead after eating a breakfast quiche. An interesting cast of characters, including employees Charlene and Petronella, along with a handful of leading citizens, among them Val’s ex-fiancé, make solving the death tricky.

Quiche and the Dead Flouting the Law

As is often the case with cozy mysteries, Val and her cohort Charlene don’t necessarily operate within the legal boundaries. The two do a little “entering” of Joe’s house seeking clues. Joe himself was a bit of an armchair Sherlock Holmes. So the two believe his sudden death is linked with one of his cases.

Their madcap antics solve Joe’s “cases” one by one. Along the way they have more than one run-in with local authorities Officer Carmichael and Detective Shaw. Weiss has developed her characters well. I will be interested to see how relationships develop in subsequent books from this cozy mystery series.

Kirsten Weiss

Weiss is a prolific writer. She has numerous books across several genres. Additionally, she is a blogger with a user friendly website.

Her writing encompasses mystery, magic, and both urban and historical fantasy. Individuals may wish to become members of the Raven(ous) Society via her website and receive free content. She also has courses in various types of witchcraft (including kitchen) which you must be 18 to access. Click here for Ms. Weiss’ website.

Ms. Weiss’ The Quiche and the Dead is my first experience with the writer. Since I like cozy mysteries I will look for successive stories in the Pie Town series. I checked this book out on Libby.

 

 

The Blue Moon Book Review

If you like good old fashioned mysteries without the mayhem of murder, you will love The Blue Moon by Lorena McCourtney. This entertaining tale revolves around the mystery of a necklace which may or may not be known as the Blue Moon.

The Blue Moon Plot

The novel opens with the discovery of a beautiful necklace by protagonist Abby Stanton. Apparently, the jewelry had been taped to the underneath of a desk drawer. Thus, the mystery begins. Abby wants to track down the rightful owner.

This proves difficult. Multiple people step forward once a value is attached to the necklace. Apparently, an appraisal of three million brings out many. Even rumors of a curse do not slow the number of presumptive owners.

Among the many claimants are a couple of dangerous types. They are not working together, but as rivals. One even dognaps Mary Stanton’s service dog.

Characters in The Blue Moon

Abby and her sister Mary figure prominently as independent women. Both also have a romantic interest featured in the story. But as this is a work of Christian fiction, the relationships are earnest not steamy.

The two sisters face danger head on. Finnegan the service dog aids in his own rescue. But the theme is one of intellectual feats versus action packed adventure.

Pacific Northwest

The setting for the novel is the Pacific Northwest. Travel is just as likely by boat as by car. This factors into the story line on several fronts. McCourtney brings the area to life through her descriptions of the climate and topography.

Christian Fiction

The Blue Moon is a bit more scriptural than other books by Lorena McCourtney. As this is the first book featuring the Stanton sisters’ that I have read, I do not know if this is the norm. Passages of scripture are weaved throughout the novel in addition to the lead characters’ upstanding moral characteristics.

Overall, The Blue Moon reminded me a bit of the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries I read as a child. The two men who died prior to the start of the story were NOT murdered. Truly, the plot revolves around the mysterious appearance of the Blue Moon necklace and its ownership.

Christian fiction may not be for everyone, but it has been soothing to my soul during these stressful times of uncertainty and unrest. I read this book through the Libby App. The book is enjoyable and an easy read.