Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dru's Cozy Report: September Reading List

Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report. I will be sharing, on a monthly basis, my views on current cozy mysteries. This month I'm sketching embroidery with a scoop of ice cream and a cup of espresso.

Scoop To Kill by Wendy Lyn Watson is the second book in the "A La Mode" mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, September 2010

Tallulah Jones may be the proprietor of Dalliance, Texas's old-fashioned ice-cream parlor, but she's no stranger to cold-blooded murder. No one is more shocked than Tally when the local college serves up a double dip of death. During the annual Honor's Day festivities, Tally's niece Alice stumbles upon the body of a graduate student. Suspicion falls on the English professor he accused of sexual harassment, but a couple days later, she's found dead too. Tally steps out from behind the counter of Remember the Ala-mode to clear the professor's name. But in an English department sprinkled with failing students, cutthroat academics, and extramarital affairs, the list of suspects rivals A-la-mode's choice of flavors. Then Alice is nearly run down by a sinister SUV, and Tally realizes she must act fast before her beloved niece gets put on ice.
When Alice finds the body of a graduate student and then the prime suspect is later found dead, Tally's concern for her niece grows. Determined to stop anyone from targeting Alice, Tally heads back to college and gets a tantalizing look at the world of academia. With help from family and friends, Tally scoops out clues to find the killer before they become a part of the killer’s menu. The quirky characters, the hometown setting, the tease of romance and the great dialogue makes this book delectably entertaining.

Visit Wendy Lyn Watson's website at

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my copy of "Scoop to Kill"

The Quick and the Thread by Amanda Lee is the first book in the new "Embroidery" mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, August 2010

Opening an embroidery specialty shop in quaint Tallulah Falls, Oregon, was a big deal for Marcy Singer. But it was nothing compared to finding a dead body in her store. For the grand opening of her shop, the Seven Year Stitch, Marcy throws a soiree. Her friend Sadie, who owns the coffee shop down the street, provides the delicious refreshments and the party goes swimmingly. Marcy's registration sheet for embroidery classes fills up, and everyone in town seems willing to raise a glass—or a needle—to support the shop. But the morning after the party, Marcy and Angus, her pooch find a nasty surprise: The man who leased the shop before Marcy is lying dead in the storeroom, with a message scratched by a tapestry needle on the wall beside him. Now Marcy's shop has become a crime scene, and she's a suspect in the murder. But Marcy will be darned if she doesn't get to the bottom of this mystery, because it's starting to look as if someone's intent on putting the final stitch in her.
What a great debut series featuring Marcella (Marcy) Singer. Marcy was looking forward to a great grand-opening of her embroidery shop. She had customers, food, beverage and good chatter but the one thing she didn't count on, was a dead body who left a cryptic message scrawled on the wall. Sparking Marcy's curiosity and the fact that she is a suspect, Marcy with help from her friends start asking questions and someone in this small town does not like where the answers may lead. I love the town, the friendly characters (except the killer) as well as the dialogue which felt very comfortable. The prospect of a romantic triangle and knotting the thread on the killer will keep your eyes glued to the pages until the final the end. At one point, I thought I had the killer pegged, but the author had other ideas and it worked as well. This was a delightful and crafty tale.

Amanda Lee is the pseudonym of Gayle Trent and you can visit her website at

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my copy of "The Quick and the Thread"

Sketch Me If You Can by Sharon Pape is the first book in the new "Portrait of Crime" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, August 2010

Police sketch artist, Rory McCain never needed a partner to create a likeness of a suspect. But now, working as a sleuth on the side, she's got a partner who's been dead for over a century. When Rory's favorite uncle dies suddenly, he bequeaths to his niece a beautiful Victorian home and a list of clients from his private detective business. As Rory tries to get settled in the house, she is startled by a ghost from the 1870s—federal marshal Ezekiel Drummond, aka Zeke—who was helping Uncle Mac with his cases. In exchange, Mac had agreed to help Zeke find the killer who had shot the lawman in the back. When Zeke proposes a similar partnership with Rory, she balks. Having a ghost as a housemate is bad enough. But as she's drawn into one of her uncle's unsolved cases, Rory finds she needs the help of an experienced investigator—even one who is stubborn and old-fashioned, cantankerous and sexist—not to mention long dead. Faced with a cold-blooded killer, Rory may even need the marshal's ghostly help in staying alive herself.
Not only did Aurora (Rory) McCain inherit her uncle's house and business, she also inherited his ghost. Rory is startled when Marshal Zeke shows himself to her as she learns the secret of her uncle's successful business. As she is closing her uncle's private investigating business, one client asks if she can continue the work that her uncle started. Rory takes on the case and realizes that she needs the help of the ghostly marshal. What a great beginning to a wonderful series. You can't help but root for Rory in this action-packed and engaging story. The relationship she has with Zeke was interesting especially when I keep forgetting that Zeke is an apparition. The witty repartee between Zeke and Rory and the suspense-filled story kept me turning the pages. I look forward to reading the next book in this enchanting series.

Visit Sharon Pape's website at

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my copy of "Sketch Me If You Can"

Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle is the 9th book in the "Coffee House" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, August 2010

When the firefighters of Ladder Company 189 pull Clare's friends out of a blazing cafe, she happily comes to their rescue. As a favor to the men, she visits to their firehouse kitchen to teach them the finer points of operating their newly donated espresso machine. But more than their coffee turns out to be hot. Somebody's torching cafes around the city, and the firefighters are beginning to die in suspicious ways. Believing the two events are related, Clare investigates, staking out a five-borough bake sale and sniffing out clues in the pizza joints of Brooklyn. When her detective boyfriend, Mike Quinn, is pulled into the fire of a false accusation, Clare is desperate to put out the flames. But will she be able to come to Mike's rescue before someone tries to extinguish her?
While visiting a friend Queen’s coffeehouse, an explosion erupts and luckily Clare and friends survived the ordeal. When Clare learns of another same-day explosion at a Brooklyn coffeehouse, Clare is convinced that both were an act of arson and nothing is going to stop her until she finds the arsonist. Something is amiss between Mike and his firefighter cousin and soon Clare is caught in a familial tug of war. Hearing rumors of murder and defective equipment, Clare wonders if all these incidents are linked. This suspenseful story had me riveted to the pages with my guesses and every time I thought I knew who the culprit was those twists and turns the author spun told me, not just yet. This is my first introduction to the "Coffee House" series and I loved it. You don’t have to be a coffee drinker, which I’m not, to enjoy this series which includes techniques of brewing a perfect cup of coffee. The locale, witty conversation, the baristas, Madame and the relationship between Clare, Mike and Matt creates a place where a cup of mocha is indeed a welcomed sip.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me this book, in hopes I would review it.

Visit Cleo Coyle's website at

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