Cozy

2020 Left Coast Crime Lefty Awards

 

Sadly, because of the Covid19 pandemic, the Left Coast Crime Conference was shut down before the first day of the conference had finished. Voting was conducted online. Please check out all the nominees for the 2020 Left Coast Crime Lefty Awards and note the winners in red.

Congratulations to all!


Best Humorous Mystery Novel

  • Ellen Byron, Fatal Cajun Festival
  • Leslie Karst, Murder from Scratch
  • Cynthia Kuhn, The Subject of Malice
  • Catriona McPherson, Scot & Soda
  • Wendall Thomas, Drowned Under  
     

Best Historical Mystery Novel

  • Susanna Calkins, Murder Knocks Twice
  • L.A. Chandlar, The Pearl Dagger
  • Dianne Freeman, A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder
  • Jennifer Kincheloe, The Body in Griffith Park
  • Sujata Massey, The Satapur Moonstone  
     

Best Debut Mystery Novel

  • Tori Eldridge, The Ninja Daughter
  • Angie Kim, Miracle Creek
  • Tara Laskowski, One Night Gone
  • John Vercher, Three-Fifths
  • Carl Vonderau, Murderabilia
     

Best Mystery Novel

  • Steph Cha, Your House Will Pay
  • Tracy Clark, Borrowed Time
  • Matt Coyle, Lost Tomorrows
  • Rachel Howzell Hall, They All Fall Down
  • Attica Locke, Heaven, My Home

     

     

     

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Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2020 List

 

View from Blarney Castle


 

St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon! For those of you that focus your reading on holiday/cultural themed books, the list below features Irish writers, mysteries/suspense set in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day murders, or titles with Irish characters central to the plot. Some are modern classics, some are newbies, but all are entertaining reads. You’re sure to find a story in the updated list of 38 Irish Fiction & Mysteries–2020 List that you will want to read again and again. (Links included for bold titles)

 

Lisa Alber: “Path into Darkness
 

Maeve Binchy:  “Chestnut Street
 

S. Furlong-Bollinger: “Paddy Whacked
 

Declan Burke: “The Lost and the Blind
 

Steve Cavanagh: “Th1rt3en
 

Sheila Connolly: "Fatal Roots"
 

Kathy Cranston: “Apple Seeds and Murderous Deeds
 

Sinead Crowley: “One Bad Turn
 

Kathi Daley: “Shamrock Shenanigans
 

Frank Delaney: "The Last Storyteller"
 

Nelson Demille: “Cathedral
 

Patricia Falvey: "The Yellow House"
 

Tana French: “Broken Harbor
 

Alexia Gordon: “Murder in G Major
 

Andrew Greeley: “The Bishop at the Lake
 

Jane Haddam: “A Great Day for the Deadly
 

Lyn Hamilton: “The Celtic Riddle"
 

Lee Harris: “The St. Patrick's Day Murder
 

Erin Hart: “The Book of Killowen
 

Jonathan Harrington: “A Great Day for Dying
 

Mary Anne Kelly: “Twillyweed
 

Amanda Lee: “The Long Stitch Good Night
 

Dan Mahoney: “Once in, Never Out
 

Caimh McDonnell: "A Man with One of Those Faces"
 

Brian McGilloway: “Preserve the Dead/The Forgotten Ones
 

Adrian McKinty: “The Chain
 

Ralph M. McInerny: “The Green Revolution
 

Leslie Meier: “St. Patrick's Day Murder
 

Stuart Neville: "So Say the Fallen
 

Carlene O'Connor: "Murder in an Irish Cottage"
 

Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: “Death Takes Up a Collection”
 

Helen Page: "Equal of God"
 

Louise Phillips: “The Doll’s House
 

Janet Elaine Smith: “In St. Patrick's Custody
 

Jo Spain: “Beneath the Surface
 

Patrick Taylor: “An Irish Country Family
 

Peter Tremayne: “Blood in Eden
 

Kathy Hogan Trochek: “Irish Eyes

 

 


 

If your favorite Irish Fiction & Mysteries titles are not on the list, let me know and I’ll add them! Happy choosing and reading!

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Mysteries and Fiction

 

Are you a fan of holiday themed reading? Published between 2016 and 2020, here is a list of twenty-three novels, novellas, and short stories centered around Valentine’s Day. Be prepared to swoon, or laugh, or be delighted by the selection. Click on the titles to discover more about the books and enjoy!

 

Jennifer S. Alderson  "Death by Baguette"

 

Carolyn Arnold  "Valentine’s Day is Murder"

 

Patti Benning  "Tall, Dark, and Deadly"

 

Franky A. Brown  "What Happened to Romance?"

 

Susan Carroll "The Valentine’s Day Ball"

 

Cherry Christensen  "Secret Valentine"

 

Sylvia Damsell  "A Valentine Wish"

 

Steve Demaree "A Valentine Murder"

 

Liz Dodwell "Valentine’s Day: a Polly Parrett Pet-Sitter Cozy"

 

Jessica L. Elliott "Operation: Romance"

 

Tammy Falkner "A Valentine’s Day Miracle"

 

Deborah Garner  "A Flair for Truffles"

 

Patricia Gligor "Marnie Malone"

 

Holly Hepburn "Valentine’s Day at the Star and Sixpence"

 

Liwen Y. Ho "Romantically Ever After"

 

June McCrary Jacobs "Handmade Hearts"

 

Libby Klein  "Theater Nights Are Murder"

 

Jackie Lau  "A Big Surprise for Valentine’s Day"

 

Lia London "Love from A to Z"

 

Ava Mallory & nine more authors "Stirring Up Love & Mystery"

 

Leslie Meier  "Valentine Candy Murder"

 

Summer Prescott "A Blossom of Murder"

 

Amy M. Reade  "Be My Valencrime"

 

Happy Reading! 

 

 

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The Agatha Awards – 2019 Books

 

The nominees for the Agatha Awards for 2019 Books (named for Agatha Christie) have been announced. The nominated books were first published in the United States by a living author between January 1 and December 31, 2019. Normally, the nominated titles would be voted upon by the attendees at the annual Malice Domestic conference for mystery and crime writers/fans in early May, 2020. But, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference has been cancelled. The Malice Board will determine the voting protocol, with the winners announced at a later date.


The Agatha Awards recognize the "traditional mystery," meaning that there is no graphic sex and no excessive violence in the writing. Thrillers or hard-boiled detectives cannot be found here, but instead, picture Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot at work.


Congratulations to all the nominees!  🙂

 

Best Contemporary Novel (6 titles this year)
“Fatal Cajun Festival” by Ellen Byron 
“The Long Call” by Ann Cleeves 
“Fair Game” by Annette Dashofy 
“The Missing Ones” by Edwin Hill 
“A Better Man” by Louise Penny 
“The Murder List” by Hank Philippi Ryan 

 

Best First Mystery Novel
“A Dream of Death” by Connie Berry 
“One Night Gone” by Tara Laskowski
“Murder Once Removed” by S. C. Perkins 
“When It’s Time for Leaving” by Ang Pompano
“Staging for Murder” by Grace Topping 

 

Best Historical Mystery
“Love and Death Among the Cheetahs” by Rhys Bowen
“Murder Knocks Twice” by Susanna Calkins 
“The Pearl Dagger” by L. A. Chandlar 
“Charity’s Burden” by Edith Maxwell 
“The Naming Game” by Gabriel Valjan 

 

Best Nonfiction
“Frederic Dannay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Art of the Detective Short Story” by Laird R. Blackwell 
“Blonde Rattlesnake: Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrified Los Angeles” by Julia Bricklin 
“Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” by Casey Cep 
“The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women” by Mo Moulton 
“The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper” by Hallie Rubenhold 

 

Best Children/Young Adult
“Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers” by Shauna Holyoak 
“Two Can Keep a Secret” by Karen MacManus 
“The Last Crystal” by Frances Schoonmaker 
“Top Marks for Murder (A Most Unladylike Mystery)”
by Robin Stevens 
“Jada Sly, Artist and Spy” by Sherri Winston 

 

Best Short Story (links are highlighted)
"Grist for the Mill" by Kaye George in A Murder of Crows (Darkhouse Books)
"Alex’s Choice" by Barb Goffman in Crime Travel (Wildside Press)
"The Blue Ribbon" by Cynthia Kuhn in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"The Last Word" by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"Better Days" by Art Taylor in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

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Christmas Themed Mysteries – 2019

 

Christmas may be the most popular holiday topic for mysteries. When compiling this list, there were hundreds to choose from. Yes, hundreds. Do we, as readers, connect with the topic of murder at the holidays because our families and friends bring out the worst in us? Do the writers deliver a way for us to fantasize about doing in the dastardly boyfriend/cousin/landlord? Only you and your active imagination know for sure.  😉

 

If you are a fan of Christmas themed fiction, then this list of thirty-eight novels, novellas, and short stories is for you. The books were recommended by avid cozy booksellers, as well as NBR 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

 

Carolyn Ridder Aspenson + 10 other authors: “The 12 Cozy Mystery Carols of Christmas

 

Donna Andrews: “Owl Be Home for Christmas”  

 

Mary Angela: “Very Merry Murder”

 

Joy Avon: “In Peppermint Peril”

 

Laurien Berenson: “Wagging through the Snow

 

Leslie Budewitz: “As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles”

 

Ellen Byron: “A Cajun Christmas Killing”

 

Lynn Cahoon: “Santa Puppy”

 

Vicki Delany: “Silent Night, Deadly Night

 

Leighann Dobbs: “Grievance in Gingerbread Alley

 

Barbara Early: “Murder on the Toy Town Express”

 

Morris Fenris: “Miracle of Christmas Boxed Set

 

Beatrice Fishback: “Winter Writerland
 

Amanda Flower: “Premeditated Peppermint

 

Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, Leslie Meier: “Christmas Sweets

 

Jacqueline Frost: “Twelve Slays of Christmas

 

Daryl Wood Gerber: “Wreath between the Lines

 

Patrice Greenwood: “As Red as Any Blood

 

Carolyn Haines: “Gift of Bones

 

Victoria Hamilton: “Breaking the Mould”

 

Jo A Heistand: “A Recipe for Murder

 

Julie Hennrikus: “A Christmas Peril”

 

CeeCee James: “The Frosty Taste of Scandal

 

Miranda James: “Six Cats a Slayin”

 

Laura Levine: “Death of a Neighborhood Scrooge”

 

Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross: “Yule Log Murder

 

Liz Mugavero: “Purring around the Christmas Tree

 

Nancy Naigle: “Christmas Joy

 

Gail Oust: “The Twelve Dice of Christmas”

 

James Patterson, Maxine Paetro: “The 19th Christmas

 

Anne Perry: “A Christmas Gathering

 

Summer Prescott: “Christmas Reunion Killer”

 

Karen Schaler: “Christmas Camp

 

Julie Seedorf:  “The Discombobulated Decipherers”

 

Jane Willan:  “The Hour of Death”

 

Sherryl Woods: “Christmas at White Pines

 

Happy Choosing! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book List: Jessica Estavao/Jessie Crockett/Jessica Ellicott


Jessica Estavao is a talented, bestselling, award-winning New England author with several entertaining mystery series to her credit. She is one of the “Wicked Authors,” a group of women writing wicked good mysteries mostly set in New England. Take a look at the list of her books below and see if you’ve read them all. (Click on the titles to learn more about the books)

 

Granite State Mysteries  (as Jessie Crockett)

Her debut mystery in the Granite State series, “Live Free or Die”, was the 2011 winner of the Daphne DuMaurier Award for Mainstream Mystery, an auspicious beginning to her career.

 

Sugar Grove Mysteries (as Jessie Crockett)

The series begins “Drizzled with Death,” one hilarious romp through championship pancake breakfasts, maple syrup, and animals on the loose. Who knew that falling dead head first into a stack of pancakes could be used as a crime scene setting?

 


Drizzled with Death” – review here  

 

Maple Mayhem

 

Sticky Situation

 


 

 

Change of Fortune Mysteries (as Jessica Estavao)


Jessie moved her next series back in time to 1890’s Orchard Beach, Maine, with a con artist and tarot card reader protagonist. Ruby tries to stay one step ahead of the law, while helping her straight arrow aunt keep her hotel. Great fun featuring an innovative female lead character.

 

Whispers Beyond the Veil” 

review here     

 

 

 

 

Whispers of Warning

 

 

 


 

Beryl and Edwina Mysteries (as Jessica Ellicott)

Jessie’s current series is set in post WW1 England and introduces the former Finishing School duo of Edwina, the conservative English character, to Beryl’s adventurous American persona. They reunite many years later in the quiet (or is it?) southern English village of Warmsley Parva when Edwina advertises for a boarder and Beryl crashes onto her property.

 

Beryl and Edwina, while culturally and personally quite different, are fond of each other even after years apart. They find that their distinctive talents help them wonderfully well in their new business venture, a ‘private inquiry agency’ that solves mysteries in the charming village, while earning them an income.

 

Ellicott has written a series that is both historically enlightening and entertaining, with the sometimes serious subject matter of the day woven into the story of the two women drawn together by economics as well as friendship. Beautifully researched, the books reveal societal views about women 100 years ago, and peek inside the quaint village shops that have survived despite the post-war challenges.

 

Edwina’s shrewd intellect and Beryl’s clever approach to the mysteries outwit lesser minds and create a few comical moments to save the day and befuddle the clueless. These two engaging, intelligent women will capture your hearts and minds as you enjoy these wonderful books.

 

 

 

 

 

Murder in an English Village” 

review here

 

 

Murder Flies the Coop

 

Murder Cuts the Mustard

 

 

 

 

 

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“Four Books, Four Genres for Fall”

 

Can't quite decide what to read this Fall? Here are four absorbing suggestions for your reading pleasure.

 

Racing
"Kiss the Bricks" by Tammy Kaehler

“Kiss the Bricks” is the 5th in the Kate Reilly Racing Mystery series, each set at a different major race track. This title refers to the tradition of the winner of the Indianapolis 500 kneeling down to kiss the yard of bricks at the finish line.

 

Kate puts in the fastest time at the first practice session at Indy, a feat done only once before by a woman (PJ) dead thirty years before, supposedly by suicide because of the stress of race week. But as the press would have it, Kate and the other woman become linked for all the wrong reasons. As if competing in the Indy 500 wasn’t enough of a challenge, Kate must fight against gender bias in one of the most male dominated sports events on the planet, prove that PJ didn’t commit suicide, and that she (Kate) is capable of holding her own on the track. PLUS, take care of her sponsor responsibilities, and deal with harsh realizations about her own team.

 

Except for actually being there, I have never felt so close to the track as when reading Tammy Kaehler’s mystery series. I was in the car with Kate as she strategically shifted through the turns, assessed the responsiveness of the car, and tested her limits as a driver. Kaehler gives us an intimate look inside the world of competitive racing, as well as the rivalries on and off the oval. If you love fast cars and have ever wondered what it would be like to do a few laps on the big tracks, read all five books and enjoy the mysteries as the pages fly by.

 

Kidnapping
"Say Nothing"  by Brad Parks

Books centered around kidnapping often involve important people with boatloads of money (or kidnapping insurance) who will spend anything to get their loved ones back. They become targets for extortion and blackmail, because of all that money or power. In “Say Nothing,” Judge Sampson’s twins are kidnapped and he jumps through hoops to keep his integrity, yet meet the never-ending demands of the kidnapper. In court, Sampson is compelled to rule in the kidnapper’s favor, but even that ruling results in an unexpected outcome. He and his wife despair of there ever being a positive outcome.

 

“Say Nothing” is a departure from the average kidnapping tome, with its jaw-dropping twists and turns, deceptions and lies timed so perfectly that Parks dares you to put the book down before finding out what happens on the next page. Spouses and relatives turn on each other in tragic ways, while colleagues are left in the dark about the judge’s erratic behavior on the bench. Can he save his children? Will he be able to continue to say nothing? “Say Nothing” is a barnburner of a book.

 

Senior Sleuth Cozy Mystery

"Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody" by Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross’ new series begins with a glorious look behind the scenes at a dysfunctional adult community with all its squabbles, jealousies, and competitions. Jane Darrowfield is hired to analyze the problems that plague the manager of Walden Spring. She is tasked to make suggestions to improve the toxic atmosphere before word gets out and sales completely stop at this gated housing area for the over 60 crowd. Jane’s observation right away: “Just like high school, with the cool kids at one table.”
 

Can the place be rescued from its unruly residents? More than one mystery is discovered, and when accusations are made, secrets are unveiled with tragic consequences. Real-life baby boomers will laugh at the shenanigans because after all, that stuff doesn’t really happen, does it? As a visitor to a few senior communities around the country, I can tell you (except for the murder) Ross’ descriptions and observations are spot on.  lolol  

 

Jane Darrowfield is a refreshing new protagonist, a little surprised that anyone would pay $800 a day for her guidance, but she has solid sleuthing skills and no-nonsense advice. She makes a rather good busybody. Toss in an unexpected romance for Jane along with great friends, and we have a terrific launch to the series. I can’t wait for the next book.

 

True Crime

"Unholy Covenant" by Lynn Chandler Willis

“Unholy Covenant” is a fascinating fictional (some names and details have been changed to protect the innocent) account of Patricia Kimble’s real-life murder in small town North Carolina. Willis, former newspaper owner/reporter, followed the Kimble case throughout the investigations and during the trial, and had access to all the major players. I was thoroughly engaged as Willis described what led up to the murder of this inconvenient wife.

 

Friends and neighbors of the victim knew that Patricia was madly in love with her husband well before they married, but Ted Kimble was a player. The marriage may have been the result of a wish to own a local business. “Marry the right girl, get the business" – Kimble’s friend and mentor promised.

 

But, there is more to the story and Willis skillfully lays out all the drama in absorbing detail, giving us a chilling look at the ways Kimble manipulated those in his life. He ruled his corner of the world by fear, lies, intimidation, and a bit of charm, taking advantage of the weaknesses he saw in the people around him. Investigations into the murder, arson, and burglary ring associated with the case revealed a greedy side to Ted Kimble, a preacher’s son, that was his eventual undoing.

 

Follow along as accusations, confessions, and hit lists are revealed in "Unholy Covenant," an amazing look behind the scenes of what is still a case that intrigues the public decades later.

 

 

 

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