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February 19, 2024

2 Mysteries to Cozy Up With

by Donna Huber

When I want a light read I usually turn to cozy mysteries. I read all sorts: culinary, library/bookstore, paranormal, etc. I also try a lot of new-to-me series sometimes there are only a few books in the series when I discover it and other times there are a whole bunch. Recently I read two cozy mysteries - one is book 3 in the series and the other is book 26 in its series.

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

Tell-Tale Bones by Carolyn Haines

book cover of southern fiction cozy mystery Tell-Tale Bones by Carolyn Haines
May 2023; Minotaur Books; 978-1250885852
audio, ebook, print (352); cozy mystery

The Sarah Booth Delaney series isn't completely new to me as I reviewed book 16 in the series, Rock-a-Bye Bones, back in 2020. I wondered why I hadn't tried to pick up other books in the series like I have done with MC Beaton's series (I also discovered her series when there were a whole lot of books already published). I wasn't too far into Tell-Tale Bones, which is book 26, when I remembered why I might not have sought out the other books in the series. 

While it is definitely a cozy mystery, there are also many Southern fiction aspects in the novel and I'm not a big Southern fiction fan. 

Yet, I really like the characters. I read my review of Rock-a-Bye Bones and saw that I had trouble connecting with the characters, but I didn't feel that with this book. I don't really remember much about the previous book I read, but I didn't have any trouble figuring out the characters and their relationships. The only character problem I had was that two female characters had T names and I would sometimes briefly confuse them. Sarah Booth kind of reminded me of Meg from Donna Andrews's Meg Langslow series. 

I enjoyed the mystery. It is nice to read a cozy mystery that isn't necessarily a murder mystery. The case Sarah Booth is investigating is for a missing person - a woman who has been missing for nearly 7 years. 

I loved all the literary references. I don't remember Rock-a-Bye Bones having so many references. So I'm not sure if this is typical of the series or not, but it was fun how various classics served as clues.

I enjoyed Tell-Tale Bones more than I did the previous book so if you have tried this series but didn't keep up with it then you might want to give it another go.

Buy Tell-Tale Bones at Amazon

Fatal Fudge Swirl by Meri Allen

book cover of culinary cozy mystery Fatal Fudge Swirl by Meri Allen
June 2023; ‎ St. Martin's; 978-1250267108
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); cozy mystery

Fatal Fudge Swirl
 is book 3 in the Ice Cream Shop Mysteries series. This is a totally new-to-me series as I haven't read the first two books. 

It wasn't too difficult to figure out who everyone was. However, I was a little confused through the first few chapters as we are introduced to a bunch of people in quick secession with little background information given.

In some ways, the main character Riley Rhodes reminded me of Hannah Swenson. If you enjoy Joanne Fluke's series, then you should definitely check out this series if you haven't already. It is a quick read if you want to go back and start with book 1.

I find it interesting that Riley was a CIA librarian before changing careers to own and run an ice cream shoppe. I read a WWII novel that featured librarians in the organization that preceded the CIA so I was somewhat aware that there were CIA librarians. But it is definitely a unique character trait.

The cast of characters is quite large and several characters have a motive so it is difficult to determine who the culprit is. 

It is set during Halloween. As I'm a scaredy-cat I typically read cozy mysteries for Halloween - typically paranormal cozies. So if are looking for a Halloween cozy that isn't a paranormal cozy, then make sure this book is on your list for this fall.

As with any culinary cozy, there are plenty of descriptions of food. But I enjoyed the scenes with the cats the most and hope that they make an appearance in the rest of the series.

Buy Fatal Fudge Swirl 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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