Readers' Favorite

January 19, 2024

2 Fun Mysteries with Great Characters

by Donna Huber

I love cozy mysteries. And it's not just because they are fun reads with great characters. I like the variety within the genre. There are historical cozies and culinary cozies and paranormal cozies and about a gazillion others. Do you have a preferred type of cozy mystery? 

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Of Hoaxes and Homicide by Anastasia Hastings

book cover of historical cozy mystery Of Hoaxes and Homicide by Anastasia Hastings
January 2024; Minotaur Books; 978-1250848581
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); historical cozy mystery

Of Hoaxes and Homicide
 is book 2 in the Dear Miss Hermione mystery series. You don't need to read book 1 to enjoy this one as there is enough backstory to establish the characters. But the references to the previous mystery are more teasers than informative so if you don't read it before reading book 2 you will probably want to read Of Manners and Murder when you finish.

Violet Manville is filling in for her aunt as Miss Hermoine an agony aunt. When she receives a letter from a heartbroken mother who is writing about her daughter who has run off with a cult. The group is giving a lecture nearby and Violet attends. While there she discovers her half-sister Sephora's friend among the group. She knows she must do everything she can to rescue Margaret. She soon discovers that the most difficult task is not extracting her from the cult but clearing Margaret's name for a murder she didn't commit.

I don't read a lot of stories set in the 1800s but I'm enjoying this one. I really like the characters. In addition to Violet and Sephora, their housekeeper Bunty assists Violet with the Miss Hermoine letters as well as the murder investigations Violet finds herself apart of. They also keep crossing paths with Eli Marsh - a handsome American who takes on mysterious jobs. Sensible Violet becomes a little more like Sephora whenever Eli is near. Violet isn't the only one entertaining a romantic relationship. Sephora finds herself attracted to a local police constable even though as an heiress she could make a more appropriate society match.

The mystery is good and quite complicated because the Children of Aed take on new names when they join. Bunty and Sephora in London try to gather information for Violet while Violet investigates the Children and local residents. Just as they exchange tidbits of information back and forth, the reader only gets bits and pieces to help discover the murderer. 

If you are looking for an enjoyable mystery with great characters, then you should check out this series. 

Buy Of Hoaxes and Homicide at Amazon

A Bean to Die For by Tara Lush

book cover of cozy mystery A Bean to Die For by Tara Lush
January 2024; Dreamscape Media; 9781666652918
audio (9h 25m), ebook, print; cozy mystery

A Bean to Die For
is book 4 in the Coffee Lover's Mystery series. I read book 1 Ground for Murder and book 3 Live and Let Grind but I missed the novella Give Me Chills and book 2 Cold Brew Corpse. So if you haven't started this series you can start right now with book 4 without any issues.

I listened to the audiobook edition and I thought the characters sounded a lot younger than they do when I read the other books myself. Kae Marie Denino does a great job with the different character voices. It was just a little jarring "hearing" Lana sound like maybe a 20-something (sometimes she sounds like a teenager) instead of the 30-something I thought she was.

I like all the characters in this small-town cozy mystery.  The only truly quirky character is Lana's dad. If you prefer cozy mysteries where the police aren't totally incompetent, then you will like this series. Noah is the sheriff and he isn't an idiot. He also welcomes, more or less, Lana's assistance. As he is also dating her, he isn't crazy about her putting herself in danger. In this book, he tells her she can help with internet sleuthing after there is a second death. 

If you want a warm setting for your winter reading, then this one is great. It is set on an island in Florida. It's March, but the characters are gardening and drinking iced coffees. 

I wasn't super invested in the murder mystery. Mostly I just enjoyed hanging out with the characters.

Buy A Bean to Die For at Amazon

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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