On The Shelf: Cozy up to a good large-print mystery or thriller

Published 8:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2023

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

This week we are featuring cozy mysteries and thrillers from our New Large Print collection.

The latest from author Donna Andrews is titled “Birder, She Wrote.” While relaxing in a hammock taste-testing Michael’s latest batch of Arnold Palmers, Meg’s hopes for a relaxing early summer morning are dashed. First, her father recruits her to help him install a new batch of bees in the hive in her backyard. Next, the mayor recruits her to smooth feathers with the “Not in my backyard” group of newcomers to Caerphilly whose McMansions next to working farms then proceed to make life miserable for the farmers. Finally, Meg’s grandmother shows up and is followed by a nosy reporter working on a feature for a genteel Southern ladies’ magazine. Meg is dragged along as Cordelia and Deacon Washington from the New Life Baptist Church — as well as the reporter — look for the long-forgotten African-American cemetery. Unfortunately, they don’t find the cemetery, but they do stumble across a fresh corpse. Meg has her hands full protecting her grandmother from the reporter’s penchant for seeing the bad in everything while simultaneously tracking down a killer before there is another victim.

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“Seven Girls Gone” is the latest from Allison Brennan. For three years, women in the small bayou town of St. Augustine, La., have been going missing and turning up dead. As every witness is quickly silenced and the corrupt police department seems hell-bent on keeping the case unsolved, police detective Beau Hebert seems to be the only one who cares about these murders. Beau calls in a favor from his friend on the FBI’s Mobile Response Team because there is no one he can trust locally. LAPD detective Kara Quinn goes undercover to dig into the women’s murders while team leader Matt Costa officially investigates the in-custody death of a witness. Beau may finally have a chance at solving his case, but in a town where everyone knows everyone, talking can get you killed. When the team discovers that deep-rooted corruption has allowed a deadly drug-trafficking ring to extend beyond the borders of this small town, the entire team will need to work around the clock to get to the truth.

“Murder is a Piece of Cake” is by Valerie Burns. The small town of New Bison is preparing for its upcoming Spring Festival and all eyes are on Maddy to continue her late great-aunt’s legacy. She will have to score the top prize and transform Baby Cakes into Southwest Michigan’s most visited bakery. This will be harder than it seems because her inexperience in the kitchen has brought humiliating tagged photos and scathing reviews. To top it off, there’s another bakery opening in town under the ownership of CJ Davenport who’s a savvy investor with a reputation for sabotaging competition. Maddy and Baby Cakes top his list. Things take a turn, however, when Davenport is found dead with a knife from Baby Cakes stuck in his back. Maddy goes from thriving to barely surviving, but her new boyfriend and the Baker Street Irregulars have her back. She will need to find the courage to square up with a killer who could very well end her career permanently.

Isis Crawford’s latest in her series featuring sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons is called,  “A Catered Doggie Wedding.” Bernie and Libby, co-owners of A Little Taste of Heaven are hired to cater a fancy dog party. Their counterman Googie asks them to cater a doggie wedding for his girlfriend’s golden retrievers, they are happy to do it. The reception will serve as the opening party for the girlfriend’s new doggie daycare center and will be a grand affair. With more than a hundred guests expected — both human and canine — Bernie and Libby are up for the challenge. But with any big shindig comes a bit of drama and not everyone is thrilled about the doggie daycare. Bernie, Libby and others in town are sent threatening notes warning them to cancel the festivities. And then, folks start dying under mysterious circumstances. Can the sisters and their friends find the culprit before anyone else bites it?

The latest Hannah Swenson mystery from Joanne Fluke is titled “Pink Lemonade Cake Murder.” It’s time for the Tri-County Summer Solstice Celebration and Hannah is attracting as many fans as the local artisans, athletes and marching bands. Then, a retired MLB player meets a terrible end — and, considering the rumors about the man’s past, the list of suspects could fill a stadium. One suspect is Hannah’s mother, Delores, who publicly held a grudge against the victim after he infamously dunked her in a tank at the previous county fair. With her mother’s innocence on the line, a major announcement at The Cookie Jar and a deluge of desserts to bake, Hannah can’t afford to strike out on this investigation.

Leslie Meier’s latest Lucy Stone mystery is called, “Mother of the Bride Murder.” As a part-time reporter in Tinker’s Cove, Maine, Lucy Stone is excited to accept her daughter’s surprise wedding invitation to France. When Lucy arrives at the sprawling chateau with the whole family, it is a trip of a lifetime. Too bad that while exploring the countryside estate, Lucy gets an uneasy feeling about her daughter’s upcoming nuptials. When a young woman dies under mysterious circumstances and her body is pulled from a centuries-old moat on the property, rumors begin to fly that it was one of the residents of the chateau. As tensions build and Elizabeth’s hunky ex shows up to crash the wedding, Lucy is determined to protect her family who is all together for the first time in years. She’ll locate the culprit among the jilted lovers, suspicious family members and potential criminal conspirators so that her daughter can have the fairytale wedding she’s always dreamed of.