Cozy Mysteries

Murder of a Creped Suzette (A Scumble River Mystery #14)
Author: Denise Swanson
Published By: Signet
Date Published: October 4, 2011
Pages: 252
Recommended Age: Adults
Reviewed By: Me
Rating: 4
I got this book from the library.

The heroine, Skye Denison stumbles upon a dead body (once again) and wonders if it’s connected to another death that happened 27 years ago. With the assistance of her hot fiancé, who is the chief of police, she is able to solve another crime before the police department does.

Theresa's Thoughts:
The Scumble River Mysteries are my favorite series. I really like that the heroine, Skye, has a personal life outside of solving crimes.  The secondary characters seem like real people.  Skye has an over-bearing, protective mother and an ex-boyfriend that won’t leave her alone.

I gave this book 4 stars and a grade of B because Ms. Denison does a wonderful job in this book by having some of the characters have personal growth and become better people, some by finally seeing their self-worth.  If you have read previous Scumble River Mysteries, I recommend Murder of a Creped Suzette.  If you like mysteries and love a bit of sarcastic sense of humor, I recommend the Scumble River Mysteries starting with the first book Murder of a Small-Town Honey.

Language: Some swear words
Adult Content: some sex, some alcohol, Adult Subject Matter, Heavy topics
Violence: A murder scene and a scenes where a man is man-handling a woman.

Dashing Through the Snow
Author: Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Date Published: November 18, 2008
Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Holiday
Pages: 226
Recommended Age: Adults
Read & Reviewed By: Me
Rating: B/4

I borrowed it from the library

In the picturesque village of Branscombe, New Hampshire, the townsfolk are all pitching in to prepare for the first Festival of Joy. The night before the festival begins, a group of employees at the local market learn that they have won $160 million in the lottery. One of their co-workers, Duncan, decided at the last minute, on the advice of a pair of crooks masquerading as financial advisers, not to play. Then he goes missing. A second winning lottery ticket was purchased in the next town, but the winner hasn't come forward. Could Duncan have secretly bought it?

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book. It was a change from other mysteries I have read where a murder was committed.  Instead it was story about a person who was perceived as missing that helped solve an old murder from many years ago. It seems this book included an amateur detective from other books by Carol Higgins Clark writing team, but the reader never feels like she is missing something. This is a stand-alone book. I love how in the end the two con men are willing to risk their own lives to save others, stating that conning people out of money is one thing, but murderers are something they are not. It was such a quick and easy read that I read it in two days time.  For all these reasons, I gave Dashing through the Snow four stars and a grade of B.  If you are looking for a good Christmas mystery, I recommend Dashing Through the Snow by the mother-daughter writing team.

Language: None
Adult Content: None
Violence: None


The Killing’s at Badger’s Drift
Author:  Caroline Graham
Published By: Adler & Adler Publishers
Date Published:  January 1, 1988
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 264
Recommended Age: Adult
Reviewed By:  Me
Rating: A/5

I borrowed this book from the library.

Miss Emily Simpson is an 81 year old spinster whom everyone likes in the small English village of Badger’s Drift, so why did someone kill her?  That is what Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby intends to find out, and in the process he finds out everyone’s sordid affairs.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book.  I have been watching the series Midsomer Murders, portraying Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby and his bumbling immature and very handsome Sergeant Gavin Troy on A&E for many years now, and one of my favorite episodes is The Killings at Badger’s Drift.  I knew the series were based on the mystery novels by Caroline Graham and recently decided to read her novels.  They did a great job with the television series. If they had not, I probably would never have decided to pick up the books.  

 The Killings at Badger’s Drift is the first novel in the Chief Inspector Barnaby Mysteries.  I am glad I decided to read Graham’s book series.  Graham was able to embody that small-town English village ambiance made popular by Agatha Christie while throwing in modern touches; for example, more violence and sexual deviances.

Graham is very descriptive in her details about the village and the people living in it.  The way she described some of the village people made this one reader laugh. I also love how Graham allows the reader to know what Sergeant Gavin Troy is thinking, although he is not the one solving the crimes, but is just assisting Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby.   Knowing what goes on in Troy’s mind with his truly immature thoughts makes the reader laugh, while Barnaby keeps the reader serious and focused on the task at hand.   

There was one occasion when Troy was checking out his reflection in the car’s mirror and fixing his hair. His thoughts at that moment let the reader know that he knew he was cute, and the way Graham described his reddish curls made this reader what to reach inside the book and touch his curls just to see if they were really soft.

Graham, writing Chief Inspector Barnaby and Sergeant Troy as complete opposites made the whole partnership believable and interesting. Furthermore, allowing the reader to have the back story on some of the village people and their secret resentments of each other helped make the village people seem more real and three dimensional to the reader. Therefore, I had no choice but to give The Killings at Badger’s Drift five stars and a grade of an A. I believe it to be an excellent read.  If you like mysteries, especially ones set in English villages, I recommend The Killings at Badger’s Drift and the rest of the Chief Inspector Barnaby Mysteries by Caroline Graham.  Read them and you will be transported in different scenic English villages, and you may even develop a soft spot for Sergeant Gavin Troy.

Language: Some strong language
Adult Content: Sex scenes, Alcohol use, Adult Subject Matter, Heavy topics
Violence: Murder


The Lost Years
Author:  Mary Higgins Clark
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Date Published: April 3, 2012
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 292
Recommended Age: Adults
Read and Reviewed By:  Me
Rating: B/4

I got the book from the library.

Biblical scholar Jonathon Lyons believes he has found the rarest of rare parchments, a letter written by Jesus, which was stolen from the Vatican library in the 1500s.  He has several experts check it out in secrecy. Within days, he is found shot to death in his home office with his wife suffering from Alzheimer’s hiding in the office closet holding the gun and mumbling incoherently.  Did his wife shoot him because he was having an affair?  Or did one of his closes friends murder him for the parchment?

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book very much.  It’s the first time I ever read a Mary Higgins Clark book and since I enjoyed it I may read more of hers in the future. I found the plot of this story to be interesting.  It is what it intrigued me to pick up Clark’s book and put it on my To Be Read list. It’s an easy read.  The reader will not feel he or she is trudging through a swamp trying to figure out what is going on.  The characters are well-developed and made to be realistic. 

I did not like Detective Simon Benet.  He seemed to have prejudices, which led him to have a one-track mind.  I feel he wanted to choose the most obvious suspect just because it would make his job easier, and he would get annoyed with his female partner whenever she would suggest other possibilities.  I am also annoyed that I was able to pick out the true murderer several chapters before the last chapter and before the pompous detective did.

For these reasons, I gave The lost Years four stars and a grade of B.  Clark has a wonderful imagination and has told us a tale that could be plausible. The reader is not left thinking, “How ridiculous! That would never happen.”  If you are a fan of Mary Higgins Clark already, I recommend reading her latest book The Lost Years.  If you have never read anything by Clark before, but do love mysteries, I recommend giving this book a read.

Language: some
Adult Content: None
Violence: Some