ON THE SHELF: Curl up with a good mystery

Published 8:00 am Sunday, June 19, 2022

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week’s column features cozy mystery titles from our New Large Print collection.

Winnie Archer delivers her 6th entry in her “Bread Shop Mystery” series with “Death Gone A-Rye.” Ivy Culpepper — baker’s apprentice — is living a good life in the Northern California seaside town of Santa Sofia. Vincent van Dough’s focaccia is a hit with the bread shop’s Instagram followers. Bakers strategically place chives, olives and yellow peppers to mimic the poppies and sunflowers found in the famous artist’s paintings. Yeast of Eden is baking its own version of this creation for the school district’s Spring Fling. When the school board president Nessa Renchrik is found murdered, Ivy is shocked. She is more shocked, however, to find that her boyfriend and restauranteur Miguel Baptista had a fling with Nessa back in the day. The police have now decided that Miguel killed her. This doesn’t sit well with Ivy, so she, her boss Olaya Solis and Penelope Branford — 86 years young — decide to launch their own investigation. Can they sift out the real killer before one of them becomes the next target?

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“Honey Roasted” is the 19th entry in Cleo Coyle’s “Coffeehouse Mystery” series. Clare Cosi’s latest coffeehouse creation is made from honey-processed coffee, and it promises to be a hit at her wedding to NYPD detective Mike Quinn. She came up with the recipe for her Honey-Cinnamon Latte while trying to find a budget-friendly and romantic destination for her honeymoon. The culinary world is abuzz with love for the amazing honey Clare was able to source for the new latte. It comes from Madame’s old friend “Queen” Bea Hastings who raises bees in rooftop hives. This honey brings a premium price and top chefs compete for a chance to use it in their signature dishes. One night, a swarm of escaped bees covers the Village Blend’s chimney, and Clare discovers Bea’s unconscious body after a probable fall from her rooftop hives. The police are in a hurry to label it a tragic accident or a possible suicide. Clare knows better. Bea would never abandon her hives and, in order to get to the bottom of the mystery, Clare launches her own investigation.

“Murder in an English Glade” is the 5th entry in Jessica Ellicott’s “Beryl and Edwina Mystery” series. Beryl and Edwina are delightfully mismatched friends and sometimes sleuths whose witty antics are well known in their charming post-WWI English village. Their personalities couldn’t be more different. Beryl is a brash and adventurous American, while Edwina is a prim and proper Brit, but they both have a knack for solving mysteries. When a member of the Walmsley Parva high society, Constance Maitland, hires the two ladies to conduct a sham investigation into the alleged dalliance by her sister-in-law to put to bed rumors being spread by an unstable cousin, Beryl and Edwina reluctantly agree. Edwina has the most reservations about the ruse, but Beryl is eager to get away from the tension created by their fiery housekeeper and rub elbows with bohemians at the artists’ colony the Maitland family hosts. When the painter who is accused of the affair with Constance’s sister-in-law is found strangled next to his easel in the glade where he was working, the friends find themselves with a more serious mystery on their hands. Is it a crime of passion, or are there more sinister motives behind the crime?

The 10th entry in Daryl Wood Gerber’s “Cookbook Nook” series is called “Wining and Dying.” Crystal Cove is abuzz with excitement about the 5th annual Art and Wine Festival when local wineries are paired with local artists to show off their latest creations. Jenna is elated that she will be showing one of her own amateur paintings at the fair, but that excitement quickly passes when a novice artist is found murdered. All the evidence points to a good friend of Jenna’s as the prime suspect, but she is not about to let her friend go down for this. Jenna starts digging into a variety of eccentric suspects including a tech guru with a habit of stalking women, the mayor’s wayward son, and an older art instructor who may have had a closer relationship with the victim than anyone knew. Will she find the real killer before she becomes the next victim?

“Hooked on a Feline” is the 13th entry in Sofie Kelly’s “Magical Cats Mystery” series. It’s summertime in Mayville Heights, and librarian Kathleen Paulson and her detective boyfriend, Marcus, are excited about going to the closing concert of the local music festival. While the concert is a success, one of the band members is found dead shortly after. At first glance, it appears it’s a robbery gone wrong, but Kathleen isn’t so sure. Kathleen had seen the man in the library researching his genealogy shortly before his death. When she and Marcus take a look at his family tree, they believe that the death of a relative was also quite suspicious. With the help of her trusted cats, Owen and Hercules, Kathleen will need to pick out the clues before she makes the killer’s hit list.

Donna Leon’s “Commissario Guido Brunetti” series gets its 31st  installment with “Give Unto Others.” Brunetti is approached for a favor by Elisabetta Foscarini — a woman he knows casually, but whose mother was good to Brunetti’s mother. He feels obliged to at least look into the matter privately. Foscarini’s son-in-law, Enrico Fenzo, has alarmed his wife by telling her their family might be in danger because of something he’s involved with. Fenzo is an accountant, so Brunetti naturally assumes that it has to do with one of his clients’ finances. Yet, they all appear to be benign: an optician, a restauranteur, a charity established by his father-in-law. When Fenzo’s wife’s place of work is vandalized, Brunetti calls in a favor of his own with his colleagues for assistance. Soon enough, however, the unofficial investigation becomes all-too-official and they uncover the dark and sinister nature of a revered Italian institution.