Friday, June 15, 2012

Dru's Cozy Report: June 2012 Reading List

Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report. This month we have three new series for your reading pleasure.
Hearse and Buggy by Laura Bradford is the first book in the new "Amish" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, June 2012

Claire Weatherly has fled her high-stress lifestyle for one with a slower pace–in Amish country: Heavenly, Pennsylvania. She only planned for it to be a short visit to her aunt's inn, but instead found herself opening an Amish specialty shop, Heavenly Treasures, and settling in. Claire loves her new home, and she's slowly making friends among the locals, including Esther, a young Amish woman who works in the shop. So when the store's former owner, the unlikable Walter Snow, is murdered, and the man Esther is sweet on becomes a suspect, Claire can't help but get involved. Newly returned Detective Jakob Fisher, who left Heavenly–and his Amish upbringing–as a teenager, is on the case. But his investigation is stalled by the fact that none of his former community will speak to him. Claire's connections make her the perfect go-between. As Claire investigates, she uncovers more than she wanted to know about her neighbors. And suddenly, everything she had hoped to find in this peaceful refuge is at risk.
We are introduced to Claire who has opened up a specialty shop in her newly adopted home. She is enjoying the simplicity of her new town and the new friends she has made when a body is found outside her store. When her young employee’s friend becomes the prime suspect, it will take Claire’s keen observations and the new detective who has close ties to her employee to solve this mystery.

This was a great read that was hard to put down. The evenly-paced drama and intriguing plot kept me on my toes as the story moved towards its conclusion. Claire is a strong character and I enjoyed seeing her live and work alongside the Amish, respecting their ways to gently get the necessary information to expose a murderer among them. This mystery boasts crisp writing, a comfortable tone, engaging dialogue and a great supporting cast that enhanced this captivating and delightfully charming debut series and I look forward to more visits with Claire and her friends for years to come.

Visit Laura at

Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of this book

The Azalea Assault by Alyse Carlson is the first book in the new "Garden Society" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, June 2012

Camellia Harris has achieved a coup in the PR world. The premier national magazine for garden lovers has agreed to feature one of Roanoke’s most spectacular gardens in its pages—and world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges is going to shoot the spread. But at the welcoming party, Jean-Jacques insults several guests, complains that flowers are boring, and gooses almost every woman in the room. When a body is found the next morning, sprawled across the azaleas, it’s almost no surprise that the victim is Jean-Jacques. With Cam’s brother-in-law blamed for the crime—and her reporter boyfriend, Rob, wanting the scoop—Cam decides to use her skills to solve the murder. Luckily a PR pro like Cam knows how to be nosy.
This first book is a great introduction to the world of PR and gardening. We meet Cam who is the PR rep for the Roanoke Garden Society and a gardener herself. When a famed photographer is murdered at one of her events, her desire to learn the truth is spearheaded when those close to her are accused of the crime.

This is a great read. The execution of this well-pruned plot quickly became a page-turner, as I could not put this book down. The mystery was good as it offered plenty of suspects to choose from and it was fun watching Cam and her friends narrow down the field. Cam is a great protagonist who knows how to dig for dirt and bring a killer to justice. This lighthearted whodunit boasts a great cast that includes Cam, Rob and Annie; entertaining dialogue and beautifully defined luscious gardens as a backdrop. You are going to love Annie who brings comedic interludes to this delightfully appealing new series and I look forward to my next visit with Cam and her friends.

Alyse is the pseudonym of Hart Johnson and you can visit her page at

Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of this book

Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig is the first book in the new "Southern Quilting" mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, June 2012

As the newest member of the Village Quilters guild, Beatrice has a lot of gossip to catch up on—especially with the Patchwork Cottage quilt shop about to close. It seems that Judith, the landlord everyone loves to hate, wants to raise the rent, despite being a quilter herself. But when Judith is found dead, the harmless gossip becomes an intricate patchwork of mischievous motives. And it’s up to Beatrice’s expert eye to decipher the pattern and catch the killer, before her life gets sewn up for good.
A move to a small town greets Beatrice, a recent retiree, with a highly-spirited neighbor who quickly kidnaps takes her to the local quilter’s meeting where it ends on a bad note with one of the member. When that member is found dead, Beatrice begins an investigation to save the new town she now calls home.

I adore this book. This was a good mystery that had me following the clues along with Beatrice in this fast-moving whodunit. The author did a good job in delivering a well-designed mystery filled with plenty of suspects that quickly became a page turner as I had to know who did what to whom. With an intriguing storyline, likeable characters and entertaining dialogue, this is a great beginning to a wonderfully crafted series and I can’t wait for the next book. A bonus of quilting tips, one of which I didn’t know about, and recipes are also included.

Visit Elizabeth at

Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of this book

And check out these other June releases


Kuzlin said...

Just finished reading Hearse and Buggy and it was an enjoyable read. Looking forward to the next adventure in this series. Next up on my TBR pile is Grace Among the Thieves and the Diva Digs Up the Dirt.

Laura Bradford said...

So glad you enjoyed it, Kuzlin! Next one comes out in March!

Heather Blake Webber said...

Great list, Dru Ann!

Brandy said...

Informative reviews! Thanks! I can't wait to read the Corpse in the Crystal Ball.

Aurian said...

I need more reading time! I want to read all those books and more! Thanks for the reviews :)

Dru said...

thanks guys. I need an extra week to read all the books I want to read in a given month.