05 June 2013

A Clowder of Cozies

A Cookbook Conspiracy (Bibliophile Mystery #7) by Kate Carlisle (Obsidian hardcover, 4 June 2013).

I'm sure I've mentioned that I want to be Brooklyn Wainwright's friend.  She gets to work with rare books, and her whole family is pretty cool,  but especially her sister Savannah, who is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef. 

Savannah's friend, culinary superstar Baxter Cromwell is opening a restaurant in San Francisco, and Savannah asks her sister if she can restore a battered old cookbook for him.  Brooklyn immediately recognizes that it's a
valuable antique, and wants to give it to a museum, but Savannah insists on giving it to the unpleasant Baxter.

Very late on the night of the new restaurant's opening, Brooklyn finds Savannah kneeling beside Baxter's dead body, holding a large knife.  Brooklyn knows her sister is innocent.  Besides, the cookbook Savannah gave Baxter is missing, and Brooklyn is certain that finding it will lead her to the real killer.

Monument to the Dead (Museum Mystery #4) by Sheila Connolly (Berkley Prime Crime  mass market, 4 June 2013).

Another protagonist whose career I envy is Nell Pratt, President of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society.  Nell lives in a charming little cottage in Bryn Mawr, and takes the train into Philadelphia to work every day.  Reading the paper on the ride one morning, she sees the obituary of Adeline
Harrison, a former member of the Society's board.  Not too unexpected, considering that most of them are elderly.

Then her friend, FBI agent James Morrison points out that several prominent members of the local arts community have died in similar ways in recent months.  It went mostly unnoticed because they were all older, but all the deaths had been caused by an overdose of heart medicine. 

James' boss doesn't see a link, so James is investigating on his own at first, and then assisted by Nell.  Can they find the connection -- and the killer -- before another elderly philanthropist is killed?

Mayhem at the Orient Express (League of Literary Ladies Mystery #1) by Kylie Logan (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 4 June 2013).

Bea Cartwright left her life in Manhattan and purchased a large house on South Bass island in Lake Erie, with the intention of turning it into a bed-and-breakfast inn.  But one neighbor's cat keeps "watering" Bea's garden, and the other neighbor plays loud opera music.  After months of squabbling and police reports, the local judge finally orders the three women to learn how to get along by  joining a book club run by his wife, the town librarian. 

None of the three is thrilled about it, but none of them want to go to jail, either.  Then, they run into each other at a new Chinese restaurant, and find the owner lying dead behind the counter.  When the island is rendered incommunicado by a huge blizzard, they realize that the killer could not have left, and might even be one of the guests who took emergency shelter at Bea's inn. 

When the power goes out, the neighbors move in with Bea because she has a backup generator, and they find themselves united in determining the identity of the killer.

This is a promising start to a series with an unusual premise.  The reason Bea left New York is only hinted at until nearly the end of the book, and there is still a lot to learn about her history.  There's no indication of when the next book in the series might be due, but I'm already looking forward to it.

FTC Full Disclosure:  Many thanks to the publisher for the review copies of the above books.

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