Book List

2023 – Christmas Themed Mysteries and Romance

Christmas is the most popular holiday theme for mysteries and fiction of all varieties. There are hundreds from which to choose, with some writers focusing entirely on Christmas in every book they publish.

If you are a fan of Christmas themed fiction, then this updated 2023 list of sixty-seven novels, novellas, and short stories is for you. The books were recommended by avid cozy booksellers and reviewers, as well as NBR and Kerrian’s Notebook subscribers. Click on the titles to find out more about the books, then snuggle up with a great Christmas read.

 

Susan Wittig Albert “The Darling Dahlias & the Poinsettia Puzzle

Gretchen Archer  “Double Deck the Halls

Donna Andrews “Dashing Through the Snowbirds

Mary Angela “Very Merry Murder”

Joy Avon “In Peppermint Peril”

 

Laurien Berenson “Here Comes Santa Paws

Susan Bernhardt “Murder Under the Tree

Brittany E. Brinegar “Holly Jolly Murder

Leslie Budewitz “As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles”

Anna Celeste Burke “Cowabunga Christmas

Ellen Byron “A Cajun Christmas Killing”

 

Lynn Cahoon “Have a Holly Haunted Christmas

Robyn Carr “A Virgin River Christmas

Nancy Coco “Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas

Cate Conte “A Whisker of a Doubt

Maya Corrigan “Gingerdead Man

 

Kim Davis “Frosted Yuletide Murder

Maddie Day “Christmas Cocoa and a Corpse”

Sharon Daynard  “Murder Points North

Vicki Delany “Dying in a Winter Wonderland

Hannah Dennison “A Killer Christmas at Honeychurch Hall

Maria DiRico “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder

Leighann Dobbs “Grievance in Gingerbread Alley

 

Barbara Early “Murder on the Toy Town Express”

Peggy Ehrhart “Silent Knit, Deadly Knit

Morris Fenris “Christmas Angel Charity

Beatrice Fishback “Winter Writerland

Amanda Flower “Candy Cane Crime

Joanne Fluke “Christmas Cupcake Murder

Jacqueline Frost “Slashing Through the Snow

 

Daryl Wood Gerber “Wreath between the Lines

John Gray “Manchester Christmas

Patrice Greenwood “As Red as Any Blood

 

Carolyn Haines “A Garland of Bones

Victoria Hamilton “Breaking the Mould”

Jo A Heistand “A Recipe for Murder

Julie Hennrikus “A Christmas Peril”

 

Liz Ireland “Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings

CeeCee James “The Frosty Taste of Scandal

Miranda James “Six Cats a Slayin”

 

Tina Kashian “Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder

Laura Levine “Death of a Neighborhood Scrooge”

Sherry Lynn “Murder Under the Mistletoe

 

Debbie Macomber “Dear Santa

VL McBeath “A Christmas Murder

Clara McKenna “Murder on Mistletoe Lane

Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Peggy Ehrhart  “Christmas Card Murder

Ada Moncrieff “Murder Most Festive

 

Nancy Naigle “Hope at Christmas

Carlene O’Connor “Murder at an Irish Christmas

Gail Oust: “The Twelve Dice of Christmas”

 

James Patterson, Maxine Paetro: “The 19th Christmas

Kathy Manos Penn “Candy Canes, Canines & Crime

Anne Perry “A Christmas Legacy

 

Amy M. Reade “The Worst Noel

Heather Redmond “A Christmas Carol Murder

Barbara Ross “Nogged Off

Rosemarie Ross “Christmas Candy Corpse

 

Karen Schaler “A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale

Julie Seedorf  “The Discombobulated Decipherers”

Ann Simas “Merry Witchy Christmas

Jennifer Snow “A Lot Like Christmas

 

Michele Pariza Wacek “Three French Hens and a Murder

Heather Weidner “Christmas Lights and Cat Fights

Jane Willan  “Abide with Me

Traci Wilton “Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past

Sherryl Woods: “Christmas at White Pines

 

 

2023 – Christmas Themed Mysteries and Romance Read More »

Book List: Author Ellen Byron

Ellen Byron’s writing is like her: clever, funny, deeply sincere, and thoughtful. Her books are full of diverse, quirky characters – just like the people you know in your own neighborhood or at work. When I read the dialogue, I feel as if I’m joining a real conversation. When her characters are cooking, I’m there in the kitchen as well and the aromas waft right off the pages. It’s no wonder that her work has won so many awards.

Take a look at her current book list and click on the titles to learn more about the books. Click on the ‘review here’ links to read what I thought about specific titles.

 

Cajun Country Mystery Series – Agatha and Lefty Award winning series, set primarily in New Orleans

Plantation Shudders

Body on the Bayou

A Cajun Christmas Killing

 “Mardi Gras Murder” – review here

“Fatal Cajun Festival”

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

Cajun Kiss of Death

Series review here

 

 

 

Catering Hall Mysteries (as Maria DiRico) Set in Queens, a borough of NYC, with all the food and Long Island feel that a Queens cozy should have!

Here Comes the Body

Long Island Iced Tina

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder”

Four Parties and a Funeral”

The Witless Protection Program” (coming in March, 2024)

 

Vintage Cookbook Mystery Series   A new amateur sleuth is in town (New Orleans)

Bayou Book Thief

Wined and Died in New Orleans

 

Enjoy each of the series from this engaging, talented author, found at https://www.ellenbyron.com/   and on Facebook as well as other social media.

You’re welcome!   🙂

(Photo and art work courtesy of Ellen Byron)

 

Book List: Author Ellen Byron Read More »

Book List: Author C. Hope Clark

Award winning mystery writer, C. Hope Clark, is the author of three series based in the American South.

The Carolina Slade Mysteries introduced me to this always engaging author. You’ll enjoy reading about Carolina Slade, a special projects officer with the US Department of Agriculture, and the well-developed, conniving characters in the books. Set in steamy South Carolina, Clark captures the atmosphere and the landscape so perfectly that you’ll be spooked right along with Slade as she conducts some of her investigations in the deep groves and low country coastline. The relationship between Slade and her love interest, loosely based upon Ms. Clark’s own experiences, adds to the fun of the solid mystery series. Click on the links for the ‘buy’ information and/or to learn more about the books.

 

 

 

Book One: Read review here

Tidewater Murder”  (Book Two)

 

 


Book Three: Read review here

Newberry Sin”  (Book Four)

Salkehatchie Secret”  (Book Five)

 

The Edisto Island Mysteries take place for the most part on Edisto Island, a real geographical location in South Carolina. Law enforcement officer Callie Jean Morgan is the complex, lead protagonist who becomes the Police Chief of Edisto Beach, while battling inner demons related to her Boston ties.

Murder on Edisto”  (Book One)

Edisto Jinx”  (Book Two)

 

 

 

 

Book Three: Read review here

Edisto Stranger”  (Book Four)

 

 

 

Book Five: Read review here

 

Edisto Tidings”  (Book Six)

Reunion on Edisto” (Book Seven)

Edisto Heat”  (Book Eight)

Badge of Edisto”  (Book Nine)

Edisto Bullet” (Book Ten, just released)


Never one to rest on her successes, Clark launched a series featuring a new protagonist, Quinn Sterling, a private detective in the Carolina low country. The first three titles, “Murder in Craven,” “Burned in Craven,” and “Craven County Line,” are out now. Click on the titles for more information.

On occasion, Nightstand Book Reviews has a crossover post with Kerrian’s Notebook. Clark (in the personae of Quinn Sterling) was a Visiting Detective on KN. Please read “Murder in Craven County,” for more about this great new character/series.

In the meantime, please visit https://chopeclark.com/ for more information about Clark’s books and public events.

*Banner and head shot courtesy of C. Hope Clark.

 

Book List: Author C. Hope Clark Read More »

2023 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year

From the Barnes & Noble site:
“We are pleased to announce the 12 finalists for our 2023 Book of the Year. The program, now in its fifth year, asks B&N booksellers across the country to nominate a title they find truly outstanding and in which they have felt the most pride in recommending to readers over the previous year. This year, the list features six novels, four nonfiction books, one middle-grade title and one picture book. The Barnes & Noble Book of the Year is voted on by booksellers and announced the week of November 13th.”
The winner is indicated in red.

The Puppets of Spelhorst by Kate DiMillo

The Wager by David Grann

The Story of Art Without Men by Katy Hessel

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

Zilot & Other Important Rhymes by Bob Odenkirk

Chili Crisp by James Park

The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

The Creative Act by Rick Rubin

Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Congratulations to all the finalists and the winner!

 

2023 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year Read More »

2023 CrimeFest Awards

CrimeFest celebrates the best of crime fiction first published in the UK. In general, the titles are sent in by the publishers for consideration, then read and reduced to the list of finalists you see below. A group of British crime fiction reviewers selects both the finalists and the winners. The awards were presented on May 13. The category winners are indicated in red.

Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award

  • A Good Day to Die, by Amen Alonge
  • Bad for Good, by Graham Bartlett
  • The Maid, by Nita Prose
  • Ashes in the Snow, by Oriana Rammuno, translated by Katherine Gregor
  • Kalmann, by Joachim B. Schmidt, translated by Jamie Lee Searle
  • Dirt Town, by Hayley Scrivenor
  • The Siege, by John Sutherland
  • A Flicker in the Dark, by Stacy Willingham

eDunnit Award

  • The Cliff House, by Chris Brookmyre
  • Desert Star, by Michael Connelly
  • The Botanist, by M.W. Craven
  • The Book of the Most Precious Substance, by Sara Gran
  • A Heart Full of Headstones, by Ian Rankin
  • Nine Lives, by Peter Swanson

Last Laugh Award (for the best humorous crime novel)

  • Bryant & May’s Peculiar London, by Christopher Fowler
  • The Locked Room, by Elly Griffiths
  • Bad Actors, by Mick Herron
  • Hope to Die, by Cara Hunter
  • Mr. Campion’s Mosaic, by Mike Ripley
  • The Moose Paradox, by Antti Tuomainen

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners! 

2023 CrimeFest Awards Read More »

Book List: Author Linda Lovely

Linda Lovely is a terrific writer with a wonderful sense of humor in real life as well as on the page. Years ago, I was new to the Southern Writers realm and attended a meeting where Linda chatted about her books. She shared with the group that she had read several romantic suspense books and found them lacking in love lives for anybody north of 50 years old.

 

I’ll never forget her question to the group: “Why should the young have all the fun?” Lovely delivers stories that feature romantically active characters  in the second half of life. Women of a certain age can relate to the accomplished female protagonists that have already achieved quite a bit, but who can also solve the crimes placed in their way. While attracted to men who are their worthy equals, these are women who have also proven that they can exist rather nicely on their own.

 

Take a look at Linda Lovely’s engaging book list and click on the book titles for the ‘buy’ links:

 

Marley Clark Mysteries a retired military intelligence officer works security on a Carolina island, and proves that life after 50 can be an adventure.

Read “Dear Killer” review here.

 

 

 

 

No Wake Zone

 

Smart Women, Dumb Luck Romantic SuspenseThree women meet at Blue Ridge University, then find they can count on each other again many years later.

Dead Line

Dead Hunt

 

Standalone1938 historical suspense about a woman fighting for her life and that of her son, and then she is wrongly accused of murdering her husband.

Secrets Can Kill”                

 

The Brie Hooker Series stars a vegetarian cook who agrees to help out her goat-farm-owning, meat-loving Aunt. The murder and mayhem is sometimes intense, and the meat vs vegetable scenarios are hilarious. The men in the books vying for Brie’s heart aren’t bad either. Plus, who knew that ‘salami’ could be used as a swear word?

 

Read “Bones to Pick” review here 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read “Picked Off” and “Back Pick” reviews here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The HOA Mystery Series

“With Neighbors Like These” is the first of three planned books in Lovely’s new series. Retired Coast Guard Investigator, Kylee Kane, comes home to help her mother, and Kylee reconnects with hunky Ted Welch. His company manages a number of Home Owner’s Associations, including the one where Kylee’s mom (who knows everything and everyone) lives. A dispute between deer hunters and conservationists results in a death, mayhem occurs at another property, and Ted hires Kylee to check out any security issues. Events quickly escalate and together they solve multiple crimes, as the unfolding investigation leads them in directions they could not have anticipated.   


Multi-layered plots are always central to Linda Lovely’s novels. With her fully fleshed out central characters perfectly set up to navigate the twists and turns of the storylines, this entertaining mystery writer always delivers a thoroughly engrossing read. “With Neighbors Like These,” is a stellar, page-turning beginning to her HOA Mystery Series.

Neighbors to Die For,is the second book in this terrific series.
A Killer App” launched on November 7th.  🙂

 

Please visit https://www.lindalovely.com to learn more about Lovely and her upcoming events.

 

 

 

 

 

Book List: Author Linda Lovely Read More »

Halloween Mystery List – 2023

Halloween will be here before you know it and if you’d like to pick up a fun read with a seasonal theme, here are eighty-seven titles in our updated 2023 Halloween Mystery List. Some have been around for ages, but others have recently been published or re-published. There are dozens more books with a Halloween theme, so if your favorite is not on the list, please let us know the title and author in the comments.

Click on the bold titles to read more about the individual books.

Stacey Alabaster – The Pumpkin Killer

Susan Wittig Albert – Witches’ Bane

Ritter Ames and 8 others – Midnight Mysteries: Nine Cozy Tales

Gretchen Archer – Double Jinx

 

Laurien Berenson – Howloween Murder

Susan Bernhardt – The Ginseng Conspiracy

Morgana Best – The Halloween Time Spell

Bethany Blake – Dial Meow for Murder

Susan Boles – Death of a Wolfman

Ginger Bolton –Boston Scream Murder

Lilian Jackson Braun – Cat Who Talked to Ghosts

Christin Brecher – 15 Minutes of Flame

Allison Brook – Death Overdue

Rita Mae Brown – The Litter of the Law

Catherine Bruns – Dessert Is the Bomb

Mollie Cox Bryan – Scrapbook of the Dead

Anna Celeste Burke – All Hallows’ Eve Heist

Jessica Burton – Death Goes Shopping

Ellen Byron – Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

 

Thea Cambert – Halloween at Pumpkin Hill

Nora Charles – Death with an Ocean View

Laura Childs – Frill Kill

Agatha Christie – The Hallowe’en Party

Cate Conte – Nine Lives and Alibis

Susan Rogers Cooper – Not in My Backyard

E.J. Copperman – Night of the Living Deed

Maya Corrigan – Crypt Suzette

Kathy Cranston – Pumpkins are Murder

Isis Crawford – A Catered Costume Party

James J. Cudney – Haunted House Ghost

 

Kathi Daley – The Inn at Holiday Bay

Kim Davis – Cake Popped Off

Krista Davis – Murder Outside the Lines

Jana Deleon – Swamp Spook

Steve Demaree – Murder on Halloween

Leighann Dobbs – Halloween Party Murder

Carole Nelson Douglas – Cat with an Emerald Eye

Kaitlyn Dunnett – Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones

 

Janet Evanovich – Plum Spooky

Sharon Farrow – Mulberry Mischief

Connie Feddersen – Dead in the Pumpkin Patch

Vickie Fee – It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To

Honora Finkelstein – The Lawyer Who Died Trying

‘Jessica Fletcher’ & Donald Bain – Trick or Treachery

 

Eva Gates – The Spook in the Stacks

Daryl Wood Gerber (aka Avery Aames) – Stirring the Plot

Sarah Graves – Nail Biter

 

Carolyn Haines – Hallowed Bones

Ellen Hart – Sweet Poison

Kelly Hashway – Halloween Homicide

Julia Henry – Digging Up the Remains

Lee Hollis – Death of a Wicked Witch

Carolyn Q. Hunter – Pumpkin Pie Waffle

Ellen Elizabeth Hunter – Murder on the Ghost Walk

 

Sybil Johnson – Designed for Haunting

Daniel Judson – The Violet Hour

Heather Justesen – Muffins & Murder

 

Jenny Kales – A Stew to A Kill

Tonya Kappes – A Halloween Homicide

Andrew Klavan – The Animal Hour

Cynthia Kuhn – The Spirit in Question

Joyce & Jim Lavene – Ghastly Glass

James Lilley – Death Knocks Twice

Linda Lovely – Picked Off

Alice Loweecey The Clock Strikes Nun

 

Karen MacInerney – Deadly Brew

Ed McBain – Tricks: an 87th Precinct Mystery

Jenn McKinlay – Dark Chocolate Demise

G.A. McKevett – Poisoned Tarts

Leslie Meier – Wicked Witch Murder

Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross – Halloween Party Murder

Alexis Morgan – Death by Jack-O-Lantern

Lynn Morrison – Stakes and Spells

Mandy Morton – Cat Among the Pumpkins

Liz Mugavero – A Biscuit, a Casket

Julie Mulhern – Send in the Clowns

 

Katie Penryn – The Witch Who Hated Halloween

Leigh Perry – The Skeleton Haunts a House

Summer Prescott & 7 others – A Very Cozy Halloween

Barbara Ross – Scared Off

 

Mary Seifert – Halloween, Hound, & Housesitting

Rachael Stapleton – Black Cats, Corpses and the Pumpkin Pantry

Kathleen Suzette – Gnome for Halloween

 

Rebecca Tope – Death in the Cotswolds

Diane Vallere – Masking for Trouble

Kirsten Weiss – Gourd to Death

Linnea West Halloween Hayride Murder

 

If you’ve read any books in the Halloween Mystery List for 2023, please let us know what you thought.

Happy Spooky reading.

 

Halloween Mystery List – 2023 Read More »

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