This review appeared in the October 1, 2020 issue of Booklist..
As a big fan of Joanne Fluke’s cozy mystery series featuring cookie baker Hannah Swenson and her family in Lake Eden, Minnesota, I was thrilled to review her latest mystery, Christmas Cupcake Murder. Although part of the series, this book takes place before Hannah solves her first missing person’s case and before her mother, Delores, opens an antique store with her friend, Carrie Rhodes.
When Hannah finds an injured man on the floor of a vacant building that her mother is renting to house her antiques, she learns that he’s had a blow to the head that’s rendered him with memory loss. Determined to help the man, who seems to identify with the name “Joe” and is experienced with furniture repair and restoration, Hannah begins a search to find his family. When “Joe” befriends Freddie, the intellectually disabled man who helps at the hospital, he recalls that he has a brother with a similar condition. As Hannah follows further clues about “Joe,” she discovers that someone attempted to murder him. The mystery is finally solved by locating a recipe in a library book.
At the end of nearly every chapter of this fun story are delicious holiday recipes. There is also a handy index at the back. Don’t miss this charming cozy mystery that will also satisfy your sweet tooth.
We celebrate International Cozy Mystery day on September 15, the birthday of Agatha Christie. For those who don’t know what a cozy mystery is, it’s the type of writing that Ms. Christie was famous for. It involves murder of the less gory kind and an absence of explicit sex and violence. It usually takes place in a small town. There can be recipes or pets as central themes in the mystery along with an off-scene murder to solve and a cast of quirky characters with interesting professions.
I write a cozy mystery series called. Cobble Cove mysteries, for the name of the fictional town in which they are set. It includes a librarian and a library cat. A reviewer of the first book of the series, A Stone’s Throw, termed the story, “Agatha Christie meets a small town librarian.”
My recent standalone mystery, Sea Scope, was reviewed as “Imagine Agatha Christie Writing a Psychological Thriller.”
People enjoy reading cozy mysteries because they become familiar with the characters and like the settings. Some of my favorite cozies feature cats, as do mine. I’ve enjoyed fellow Cat Writer’s Association members books such as Carole Nelson Douglas‘ Midnight Louis series, Shirley Rousseau’s Joe Grey tales, and, Mollie Hunt’s Crazy Cat Lady series. For food-related mysteries, I like Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swenson mysteries. Mary Feliz, who provided some of the graphics included in this post, is a fellow Sisters-in-Crime member, and also a cozy mystery author who writes the Maggie McDonald series that features a Golden Retriever. Another SINC member, Marilyn Levinson who writes as Allison Brook writes a cozy that features a librarian and a ghost. Her latest in the Haunted Library series, Buried in the Stacks, was just released. A fellow author from Next Chapter, James J. Cudney IV, writes mysteries taking place on college campuses. The fifth book in his Braxton Campus mysteries, Haunted House Ghost, was also just released.
Do you have a favorite cozy mystery author or series, or haven’t you read a cozy mystery yet? Have you read any of mine? I’d love to hear your comments.