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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

October 27, 2021

3 Mysteries to Curl Up With

by Donna Huber

The forecast for this coming weekend calls for cold temperatures (the highs are in the 50s and so are the lows!). So all I will want to do is curl up under a fluffy blanket, with a hot drink, and a good book. Mysteries are perfect because you don't want to put them down until you've solved the mystery. If you are needing some recommendations, here are three light mysteries that would be great for a day by the fire.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Reserved for Murder by Victoria Gilbert

Reserved for Murder
June 2021; Crooked Lane Books; 978-1643855905
audiobook, ebook, print (336 pages); cozy mystery

I've been reading Gilbert's Blue Ridge Library series and when I saw she had a new book in a different series I decided to give it a try. I find her books to be a pleasant diversion when I want something light to read. Reserved for Murder is the second book in the Booklover's B&B mystery series. I haven't read book 1 but I didn't have any trouble starting with this book.

Charlotte owns a book-themed bed and breakfast in North Carolina. When a famous author comes to the B&B looking for respite from the public, Charlotte asks her to do some meet and greets. It all sounds so simple until the president of the local writer's club is found dead. 

Reserved for Murder is a fun little cozy mystery that will delight bookworms with its mentions of authors, fanfiction, and ghostwriting. It is almost like a publishing industry soap opera. 

The characters are interesting and loveable. It might just be because I'm travel-deprived, but I think it would be a lot of fun to stay in a literary-themed B&B. The book is set in July and the sunny, warmth of summer is definitely something I would welcome right now. Overall, it made for good escapism reading.
It has the same vibe as her Blue Ridge Library series so if you are enjoying it you will also enjoy the Booklover's B&B series.

Buy Reserved for Murder at Amazon

A Darker Reality by Anne Perry

A Darker Reality
September 2021; Ballantine Books; 978-0593159361
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); historical mystery

I read A Question of Betrayal (read my review) last year and I thought that was book 1 in Anny Perry's Elena Standish series since it was about Elena's first MI6 mission. So when I say book 3 A Darker Reality I thought I had missed a book somehow. I have missed a book but it is book 1 Death in Focus as I have read book 2. I say all this because it is okay if you start the series with book 3. It is still early enough in the series that plenty of backstory is provided to fill in any gaps in knowledge the reader has due to not reading the previous novels.

As someone who reads a lot of WWII fiction, I like this series because it is set just before the war but deals with events that lead to the war. It is also different than the other WWII fiction I've read about the intelligence community. While many of them me on the edge of my seat, I found A Darker Reality to be a lighter read, more in line with being a cozy mystery than a historical novel. That doesn't make this any less interesting as a mystery.

I liked that we see Elena's American family side in this novel. I watched Atlantic Crossing this summer and while I knew that the U.S. didn't want to get pulled into another European war, there was a lot I didn't know about the whys and what for's. The historical elements of A Darker Reality fleshed out that knowledge a bit more for me. I particularly found the details about the Free America movement enlightening. 

As with any spy novel, there are plenty of twists and turns and Elena walks a fine line between wanting to prove her grandfather's innocence and the political ramifications of her investigation. 

This is a good series for fans of 1930s mysteries and spy novels. The characters are interesting and there is plenty of political intrigue to balance on the often precarious personal relationships.

Buy A Darker Reality at Amazon

Murder at the Wedding by Helena Dixon

Murder at the Wedding
October 2021; Bookouture;  978-1800195431
audio, ebook, print (244 pages); cozy mystery

While I missed the first few books in this wonderful series by Helena Dixon, I've exactly awaited each new book. Dear fans, it is not Kitty and Matt's wedding that is the setting for the new book Murder at the Wedding. No, instead it is Kitty cousin Lucy's wedding.

Due to there not being a clergyman in Lucy's village, the wedding is held in the private chapel on her finance's estate. It is frightfully old and a trifle dilapidated (I've taken on an English accent in my head as I write this review). There's even rumor of a ghost! It does seem to be the perfect place for a Halloween novel. While I'm read it in the week leading up to Halloween, the story is set in the spring. But still it has a deliciously creepy feel to it.

As usual, the characters are all so charming. We don't see much of Kitty's grandmother, but Alice and Matt are there as well as Lucy and her parents. We have a few new faces with other guests in attendance for the wedding - all very suspicious characters when one member of the wedding party is murdered while taking some air with his nightly smoke. But we don't have just one murder. No! Before Sandy is found dead, his father-in-law's man is shot while running toward Rolston, Sandy, and Sandy's wife Moira. Surely it was an attempt on Sandy's life.

As they are in a different part of the country, Matt and Kitty are dealing with a different Inspector. And Inspector Lewis is not too keen on having a private detective nosing around his case. But a call from higher up ensures these "amateur" investigators (as Lewis is fond of calling Matt and Kitty) are on the case.

The wedding is fun and there is wonderful character interaction, but the story is very focused on finding the killer or killers. The mystery is so great and the reader is right there by Kitty as she snoops about the castle and interrogates the other guests (which is disguised as friendly offers of tea and chat). I was kept guessing the entire time.

Whether you have been following this series from the start or just finding it, you won't be disappointed with the delightful characters and entertaining mystery. You better have a big pot of tea beside you, because you won't want to put the book down until the mystery is solved.

Buy Murder at the Wedding at Amazon
(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for FREE)

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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