Jun 28, 2011

Book Reviews: A Clutch of Cozy Mysteries

I have been enjoying these cozy mysteries from Berkley Publishing, review copies sent by the publisher. What a bonanza for summer reading! Here are my comments on the books.

Title: The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
Release date: July 5, 2011

Comments: In this cute Southern cozy, the Darling Dahlias are a group of women in Alabama in the 1930s who have formed a garden club, and the "naked ladies" is the nickname given to a type of lily that sheds its flowers and leaves and comes up as a naked stalk, only to bloom again in a few days. The title could also refer to the Naughty and Nice Sisters, dancers from the Ziegfeld Frolic, who suddenly show up in town.

"So this woman is incognito," she said, buttering a piece of hot corn bread. "I guess that means she doesn't want anybody in town to know that she was in vaudeville." (ch. 4)

The Dahlias set out to uncover their secrets, and the novel gives the reader the added bonus of gardening information, southern style recipes and some good old fashioned household cleaning tips.

Title: Unraveled by Maggie Sefton
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
Release date: June 7, 2011

Comments: A group of friends near Fort Connor, Colorado welcome Eustace Freemont, a writer of Old West history, who has come to town to do research on "modern" outlaws of the West, namely the big shots in real estate and energy development. Kelly Flynn, a CPA and a member of the local knitting club, accompanies her real estate friend Jennifer to visit a ranch and find the real estate developer/owner shot and killed. She becomes involved in finding out if it was suicide or a crime,and who might be responsible.

Jennifer looked up, her brown eyes huge. "Oh, my gawd! I can't believe we've walked in on another corpse. Kelly...we can't come into the canyon together anymore. Not alone, anyway." (ch. 3)

A knitting pattern for a summer tee, a recipe for Yummy Chocolate Cake, and  the story of Kelly's love interest add to the spiciness of the book. I would have preferred "proper introductions" to the many friends of Kelly's, however, as they enter the story only through conversation and speech. I kept track of them by taking notes!

Title: Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Release date: July 5, 2011

Comments:  Lindsey Norris is director of the Briar Creek Public Library in Connecticut, trying to help one of her librarians, Beth, to get her children's book published. The chance arrives when a well known editor, Sydney Carlisle, visits the town. Sydney is really the editor for Beth's boyfriend, well-known writer Rick Eckman, who lives on a nearby island off the Connecticut coast. Rick, however, is adamant that Beth's book is not good enough to be published.
When Rick is murdered, the police suspect Beth as she was the one who found his body and the one with the most obvious motive. Lindsey thinks otherwise and sets out to prove it, with a little help from her current love interest, Capt. Mike Sullivan.

"Chief Daniels," he said."He's going to take the shortest route from point A to point B and completely disregard anything that doesn't fit into his preconceived notion of what happened." (ch. 9)

I really enjoyed this Library Lover's mystery, being a big library fan myself.

Title: How to Moon a Cat by Rebecca M. Hale
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Release date: July 5, 2011

Comments:  This is the third in the Cats and Curios Mystery series but the first read of the series for me. History buffs interested in California's Gold Rush era will enjoy this mystery that begins with the finding of a California flag and a toy bear in a deceased collector's stash, hidden behind the walls of his old apartment, and discovered by his neice and the curious paws of a cat.

This toy bear might well be a clue to one of Oscar's hidden treasures, I thought excitedly. I flipped the paper flag over and read the message printed on the opposite side.
Shiny gold lettering typed out  the words: NEVADA CITY, CALIFORNIA. (ch. 4)

Other people are searching for the treasure too, and there is danger in Nevada City! Definitely a lot of research went into this cozy!


Jenn McKinlay said...

Thanks for the lovely review, Book
Dilettante. I am very excited for this book to be out!

Staci said...

Those were too much fun...made me want to get a copy of each one and plunk myself in a chair outside tomorrow and make my son wait on me all day!!

Veens said...

That is a lovely set of cozies you have got. I especially liked the 1st one :)

Anonymous said...

What a great set of reviews. They do sound like perfect light reading for the summer.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I haven't read any cozies in a while, but I use to enjoy them. These sound like fun summer reads.

Tina said...

Enjoyed your recap....I'm starting my own personal "cozy-thon" today and already have a stack of 42 sitting on my shelves, waiting to be picked. I'm putting most review/'serious' reading on hold for the next two months and kicking back to enjoy an old fashioned summer of brain candy reading.

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