Death Al Dente (Food-lovers' Village Mystery #1) by Leslie Budewitz (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 6 August 2013).
Erin Murphy moves back to her hometown of Jewel Bay, Montana to run her family's century-old general store, Murphy's Mercantile. In order to keep up with the locavore nature of the town, known as Food-lovers' Village), she decides to turn it into a boutique food market specializing in local goods.
Her grand debut is a town festival she organizes, called Festa di Pasta, highlighting the town's culinary delicacies, including her mother Francesca's Italian goodies. But the event is barely underway when Erin's predecessor, Claudette, is found dead behind the shop. And rumors have begun to circulate that Francesca's wonderful recipes we stolen from the previous manager, implicating her in Claudette's murder.
Erin is a strong, smart protagonist and the reader learns a lot about Montana's slow-food community. This is a fun, quick read for mystery-loving foodies!
Pall in the Family (Family Fortune Mystery #1) by Dawn Eastman (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 6 August 2013).
Love this title!!
Big-city cop Clytemnestra (Clyde) Fortune returns to the bosom of her family in small-town Michigan to recuperate from an injury. Crystal Haven is known for its population of psychics and mediums, and the Fortune family is one of the oldest in town.
She's left her hometown in the first place because she didn't trust her own psychic abilities, but despite running a dog-walking business to keep herself occupied, she finds herself drawn into her family's drama. Another local psychic is violently killed, and since Clyde is the one to find her -- and her distressed Shih Tzu, her family puts pressure on her to use her talents -- cop, psychic, or both -- to identify the killer.
This is another fun mystery, complicated by the fact that the investigating detective is an old flame of Clyde's.
Cloche and Dagger ( Hat Shop Mystery #1) by Jenn McKinlay (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 6 August 2013).
After an embarrassing break-up with a married man, Scarlett hops on a plane to London to stay with her cousin Viv, who runs an upscale millinery shop called Mim's Whims. The shop was bequeathed to both cousins by their beloved grandmother, and Viv thinks it just might be time for Scarlett to join the business.
But when Scarlett arrives at the airport, Viv is nowhere to be found; it's the shop's business manager Harrison Wentworth who comes to collect her. Although it's not unheard of for Viv to disappear without warning, Scarlett has a bad feeling this time. This feeling grows when one of their customer's is found dead, wearing only the hat Viv made for her.
Scarlett is certain that her cousin has nothing to do with the murder... but where is she?
Scarlett is a refreshingly real protagonist, who, after realizing that the man she loves won't leave his wife, deals with him in an impulsive an impressive manner. And, like many of us, she doesn't recognize the adult version of someone she knew as a child. There are some laugh-out-loud moments in this entertaining mystery.
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for the review copies of the above books.