Monday, July 31, 2023

The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian - A Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Danielle Diaz to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Danielle on the pages of The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian by Debbie De Louise. This book is the third in the Buttercup Bend Mystery series and was released earlier this month.

My name is Danielle Diaz. I’m the daughter of the murder victim, Doris Grady, in Debbie De Louise’s new book, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian. I’m married to Dylan Diaz, a man I met when I visited a farm in Peru six years ago. We have a five-year-old daughter, Sheri and live on Oaks Landing farm in upstate, New York, where we keep llamas, alpacas, and other animals including horses because my husband enjoys riding.

I asked Mildred Hastings, an old friend of my mother who used to work with her at the Buttercup Bend Library before she retired, to help me prove that my mother didn’t die from the heart attack that the police termed her cause of death. Mildred brought along Cathy Carter, the new member of the Hunt, Meyers, and Carter Detective Agency. I sensed that Cathy came along because she needed to get away from some boyfriend problems she was facing, but I didn’t press her on that matter. I have enough of my own problems with my husband who has a fiery temper and is at odds with me about putting my grandmother, Betty Taylor, into a home because she suffers from an odd type of dementia where she takes on the personas of famous people and characters. He feels she’s dangerous, but I’m worried that he thinks that because, during one of her episodes, she fingered him as my mother’s killer. I try not believe that because I don’t know what motive he’d have unless she knew something about him that he was hiding.

Before you jump to conclusions, you need to know some things about the other members of my family and my mother’s death. No one believes me that Mother was murdered. She collapsed during a dinner at our house in early December. I believe she was poisoned, but since the autopsy showed no sign of a toxin, the police didn’t feel it necessary at that time to examine the food and drink she consumed that night.

The reason I think someone poisoned her is because several members of the family and those who worked on the farm had motives. When Doris left the farm to become a librarian in Buttercup Bend, she divorced my father, Chris Grady, who still lives on the farm. He’s great with Sheri and helped raise me after Mother left, but I know he felt she abandoned us. I’m also aware that he took up with my aunt Mavis who he used to date before he met my mother. Aunt Mavis never got along with her sister, and I believe she was very upset when Doris returned to Oaks Landing after she retired. I’m not sure if she was upset enough to murder her, but I know she must’ve been afraid that Doris would try to get Chris back.

Another suspect is Jodi, a young farmhand who lives on the farm but hasn’t spoken to me since my mother’s death. Doris accidentally ran over her beloved cat a few weeks before she died. Although Jodi knew Doris didn’t mean to kill her cat, I wonder if she still resented her for what happened and may have wanted revenge.

Then there’s Henry, a very pleasant older gentleman that Mildred seems to have taken an interest in. He’s the farm’s landscaper. Doris had planned to fire him because she said his fees were too expensive and she could get a younger landscaper to perform the same job. Even though Henry seemed to take it in stride and insisted that he was planning to retire, anyway, I still can’t rule him out.

Last but not least, there’s Stacy, the farm’s veterinarian. She was also being given a pink slip from Doris. What makes her motive stronger than the others is that she had brought her veterinary bag to the dinner. The bag had a medication in it that, in a large dose, could cause death in a human. Stacy claimed that she didn’t check her bag after the dinner but later discovered the medicine missing. I’m not sure I believe her story.

So, there you have it, the suspects and their motives. Now it’s up to Cathy, Mildred, and you, the reader, to solve my mother’s murder. I wish you all the best of luck. 


 The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian (A Buttercup Bend Mystery) by Debbie De Louise

About The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian

The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian (A Buttercup Bend Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Setting - New York
Next Chapter (July 5, 2023)
Number of Pages 275
After solving two murders in the “peaceful” town of Buttercup Bend, Cathy Carter needs a rest. She also needs time to consider the marriage proposals she received over the holidays. But when the town’s librarian asks her to go undercover to solve the suspected murder of a co-worker who retired to a llama farm, Cathy leaves her kittens with her grandmother and her friends without an explanation.

The only person at Oaks Landing Farm who knows the true reason Cathy and Mildred have come there is Danielle, the murder victim's daughter, who is having trouble convincing relatives and the police that her mother Doris was killed and didn’t suffer the heart attack that was termed her cause of death.

When it's proved that Danielle's suspicions are correct, the guests who attended the dinner at which Doris died are invited back for a reenactment of that night. These included the gardener, veterinarian, and farmhand who all had motives to murder Doris, as well as Doris' sister and her ex-husband. When the dinner is staged, the only clue Cathy receives is given by Danielle's grandmother who has dementia. Will this unreliable tip help Cathy deduce who murdered the llama raising librarian?

About Debbie De Louise

Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a retired reference librarian. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writers’ Association. She writes two cozy mystery series, the Cobble Cove Mysteries and Buttercup Bend Mysteries. She’s also written a paranormal romance, three standalone mysteries, a time-travel novel, and a collection of cat poems. Her stories and poetry appear in over a dozen anthologies. Debbie also writes articles for cat magazines. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats. Learn more about Debbie and her books by visiting her website at

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Sunday, July 30, 2023

The Mistress of Bhatia House - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a new release. The Mistress of Bhatia House by Sujata Massey is the fourth book in the Perveen Mistry Mystery series and was released earlier this month. This whole series is on my TBR pile!


India, 1922: Perveen Mistry is the only female lawyer in Bombay, a city where child mortality is high, birth control is unavailable and very few women have ever seen a doctor.

Perveen is attending a lavish fundraiser for a new women’s hospital specializing in maternal health issues when she witnesses an accident. The grandson of an influential Gujarati businessman catches fire—but a servant, his young ayah, Sunanda, rushes to save him, selflessly putting herself in harm’s way. Later, Perveen learns that Sunanda, who’s still ailing from her burns, has been arrested on trumped-up charges made by a man who doesn’t seem to exist.  

Perveen cannot stand by while Sunanda languishes in jail with no hope of justice. She takes Sunanda as a client, even inviting her to live at the Mistry home in Bombay’s Dadar Parsi colony. But the joint family household is already full of tension. Perveen’s father worries about their law firm taking so much personal responsibility for a client, and her brother and sister-in-law are struggling to cope with their new baby. Perveen herself is going through personal turmoil as she navigates a taboo relationship with a handsome former civil service officer. 

When the hospital’s chief donor dies suddenly, Miriam Penkar, a Jewish-Indian obstetrician, and Sunanda become suspects. Perveen’s original case spirals into a complex investigation taking her into the Gujarati strongholds of Kalbadevi and Ghatkopar, and up the coast to Juhu Beach, where a decadent nawab lives with his Australian trophy wife. Then a second fire erupts, and Perveen realizes how much is at stake. Has someone powerful framed Sunanda to cover up another crime? Will Perveen be able to prove Sunanda’s innocence without endangering her own family?

Friday, July 28, 2023

A Cryptic Clue - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a recent release that I didn't know about. It sounds like a great new series and I like the author's Blue Ridge Library Mystery series so A Cryptic Clue by Victoria Gilbert is going on my TBR pile.


Sixty-year-old Jane Hunter, forced into early retirement from her job as a university librarian, is seeking a new challenge to keep her spirits up and supplement her meager pension. But as she’s about to discover, a retiree’s life can bring new thrills—and new dangers.

Cameron “Cam” Clewe, an eccentric 33-year-old collector, is also seeking something—an archivist to inventory his ever-expanding compendium of rare books and artifacts. Jane’s thrilled to be hired on by Cam and to uncover the secrets of his latest acquisition, a trove of items related to the classic mystery and detective authors. But Jane’s delight is upended when a body is discovered in Cam’s library. The victim, heir to a pharmaceutical fortune, was the last in line of Cam’s failed romances—and now he’s suspect number one.

Cam vows to use his intelligence and deductive skills to clear his name—but with a slight case of agoraphobia, rampant anxiety, and limited social skills, he’ll need some help. It comes down to Jane to exonerate her new boss—but is he truly innocent?

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Mrs. Morris and the Wolfman by Traci Wilton. This book is the seventh book in the Salem B&B Mystery series and will be released August 22, 2023.

Having made millions selling flavored salts, Darren is following his dream by opening a classic cinema in Salem. Showing his favorite classic horror shows he's turned the old building into a showpiece serving popcorn with his gourmet flavored salts and his sister-in-law's homemade soft pretzels. Charlene forged a connection with Darren and his wife, Elise, and is excited to join in the soft opening. The film has barely begun when Elise appears to choke on her popcorn. Before the night is over Elise is dead, Darren is distraught, and a murderer may be on the loose.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Murder Under A Western Moon - An Interview & Excerpt

I'm pleased to welcome Abigail Keam to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Abigail pens the Mona Moon Mystery series. MURDER UNDER A WESTERN MOON is the eleventh book in the series and was released yesterday!

Kathy: The Mona Moon Historical Cozy mysteries take place in the 1930s. Why did you choose this time period for your series? 

AK: I love history and weave real people and events into my mysteries. I find the 1930s very glamorous. The women had great clothes, movies, and music with women on the march. During the 1930s, women started to advance their causes, even though times were hard. Since receiving the vote in 1920, they demanded better jobs pay and working conditions, fairer laws where divided assests and child custody in a divorce were concerned, and more educational opportunities. There were so many wonderful women in the 1930s breaking all sorts of barriers but we never hear about them now - Aloha Wonderwell, Amelia Earhart, Babe Didrikson, Frances Perkins, and Dorthea Lange. At the back of each Mona Moon mystery, I have an addendum where more information about events and people is given. I try to intertwine historical events into the story in an entertaining fashion, and most of all, I write about women for women. 


Kathy: Historical mysteries require an extra special brand of research. What's your favorite method to research this time period? 

AK: I read biographies and history books, so I am familiar with important figures. However, once in a while I stumble upon someone I've never heard of and think - "Why didn't I know about this person?" I love to learn and to read. I'm always thinking of ways for Mona to bump into historical figures on her adventures. It's fun.

Kathy: In Murder Under a Western Moon Mona Moon has to abruptly cancel her honeymoon trip in order to deal with a business issue. Have you ever had to cancel personal plans for work? 

AK: You bet! Hasn't everyone? I've missed many a social event because I had to meet a writing deadline. Oh, I wish I wrote faster.

Kathy: Mona has to determine just who is causing issues in her Montana mine. Have you ever visited a mine? 

AK: I'm from Kentucky and this state is loaded with coal mines, caves, and prehistoric ore pits.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries? 

AK: It was my readers who determined I was writing cozy mysteries. I never thought I was writing a cozy mystery. I thought I was simply writing a mystery but I could tell authors like Dashiell Hammett, Arthur Conan Doyle, James M. Cain, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L. Sayers had a great influence on my writing. I am also very fond of Sue Grafton, who was also a Kentucky gal. I read all their books growing up. I like to write plot-driven books with snappy dialogue with justice prevailing in the end.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres? 

AK: I write the Last Chance Romance Series about a woman who refurbishes a rundown mid-century motel in Key Largo and the Princess Maura Tales which is a fantasy series.

Kathy: Tell us about your series. 

AK: The Mona Moon Mysteries - A rag-to-riches saga of Mona Moon who inherits her estranged uncle's estate, moves to Kentucky, and solves murders.

The Josiah Reynolds Mysteries - A middle-aged beekeeper who lives on a farm in Kentucky horse country, has eccentric friends, and stumbles over dead bodies. It's beginning to annoy Josiah.

The Last Chance Romance Series - Eva Hanover gets dumped by her husband for a younger woman. She flees to Key Largo in desperation, but discovers a dilapidated motel for sale. Wanting to plant new roots, she purchases it and starts life anew. These sweet novellas are about healing and the power of love for those who take a room at the Last Chance Motel.

The Princess Maura Tales - The saga of Maura de Magela who rises from princess to empress in five epic fantasy tales complete with wizards, dragons, fae, and warriors.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why? 

AK: I can't choose. I love all my heroines.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series? 

AK: My protagonists come to me in dreams begging to be born.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work? 

AK: Like Moses in the wilderness, I felt compelled.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite? 

AK: Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, Allan W. Eckert, and Agatha Christie. 


Kathy: What are you currently reading? 

AK: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson. Who knows? Maybe Mona Moon will bump into Winston Churchill on her travels.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us? 

AK: I am a beekeeper and made my living selling honey for many years. That's why Josiah Reynolds from my Josiah Reynolds Mysteries is also a beekeeper. I come from a long line of soap makers.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry. 

AK: Milk, fruit, bread, and vodka.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series? 

AK: I will continue to write the Mona Moon and the Josiah Reynolds Mysteries as long as readers enjoy them. I also plan to write a new series. A writer must keep her material fresh to keep readers interested.

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author? 

AK: I love interacting with my readers. I read every email, every review, every letter sent to me. Yes, people do write and send letters still. 


 Murder Under A Western Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Historical Cozy Mystery by Abigail Keam

About Murder Under A Western Moon

Murder Under A Western Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Historical Cozy Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
11th in Series Setting - Montana
Worker Bee Press (July 24, 2023)
Digital Number of Pages: 280

Mona is the American Phyrne Fisher!

Mona Moon and her new husband, Robert Farley, Duke of Brynelleth are about to board an ocean liner to Merry Old England for their honeymoon when Mona receives an urgent telegram from Rupert Hunt, her eyes and ears in the Moon copper mines.


Since the copper mines are the financial backbone of Moon Enterprises, Mona has no choice but to drop her plans and travel to Montana on the next train. She and Robert descend into a world of seething resentments, bitter accusations against Moon Enterprises, and bad decisions that pose a threat to Mona's world. She travels incognito to search out the truth of Rupert's allegations against the mining management. She must decide if Rupert is trying to prevent an innocent man from being hung for murder or if he is part of a grandiose plot against her. After all, Mona had been kidnapped by Rupert while searching for the Swift silver mine a year ago. Rupert is a scoundrel, but Mona hired him to be her scoundrel. Is this another of Rupert’s games? Regardless of the threat, Mona must get to the bottom of it. Thank goodness Robert is by her side . . . or could Robert have his own agenda?

About Abigail Keam

Award-winning author Abigail Keam writes the Mona Moon Mystery Series—a rags-to-riches 1930s mystery series which includes real people and events into the story. “I am a student of history and love to insert historical information into my mysteries. My goal is to entertain my readers, but if they learn a little something along the way—well, then we are both happy." She has won many awards for her mysteries, and Murder Under A Western Moon is her 40th novel. Miss Abigail lives on the cliffs above the Kentucky River with her husband and various critters. In her spare time, Miss Abigail is a beekeeper.

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EXCERPT As Mona and Robert compared notes while riding back to the hotel, both of them heard a loud cracking noise that traveled through the car. “What was that?” Mona asked. “It sounded like the snap of a bullwhip.” Robert ordered the driver, “Slow down, please.” He rolled down his window and listened. “There it is again,” Mona said. “Driver, stop.” She got out of the car and looked about, but it was dark with a moonless sky. Mona couldn’t see anything. Another crack sounded. The Pinkertons in the car following them also got out and looked about. A fourth crack pierced the air. “It’s gunfire! Take cover,” one of the Pinkertons shouted. Mona ducked down by the side of the car as Robert joined her. “Turn the car lights off!” she yelled. Robert threw Mona on the ground and shielded her with his body, but they both lifted their heads upon hearing a rumble. “AVALANCHE! AVALANCHE!” Robert yelled, as he dragged Mona to the side of the mountain and frantically covered both their heads with his arms. Their driver huddled with them. Since darkness prevented them from seeing which direction the snow was headed, there was no use in running. Some of the Pinkertons realized they were in the path of the descending wall of snow and ran. Their shrieks could be heard above the roar of the torrent as they got caught in the avalanche and were hurled down the mountainside. “Oh, God!” Mona murmured upon hearing the men scream. Robert whispered into her ear, “Don’t listen. Don’t listen.” He put his hands over her ears. The rumbling abruptly stopped and was replaced by a haunting silence. Robert and Mona waited a few minutes before climbing out of the snowbank which had fallen about them. Luckily, they had not been hit with any of the displaced rocks and boulders propelled by the tumbling snow. Robert cleared snow from their driver who also was unharmed. Shouts came from the Pinkertons who had been in a car ahead of them. They had not been involved in the avalanche. “Anyone hurt?” one guard shouted. Robert yelled, “Second car is fine except we are bound by snow, but the third car got the brunt of the slide. We think there are casualties, but we can’t see and no one is answering our calls.” “We are digging you out now. Can you get into your car?” Robert replied, “Negative. The doors are blocked by snow.” “Stay where you are. We are coming.” Mona, Robert, and the driver helped each other get the snow from around their collars, inside their gloves, and tops of their boots. Each gave a vigorous shake to remove snow from their coats. Both the driver and Robert dug snow away with their hands from the trunk of the car to access a shovel, emergency blankets, and a first-aid kit. Mona moved to the back passenger door and pulled snow away from the car with her hands. The work kept them all warm. As the Pinkertons in the first car were making headway with the fallen snow, Mona and Robert saw car lights in the distance behind them, curving the bend in the road. They heard the roar of the car engine and saw beams of flashlights. “HELLO? HELLO?” Robert shouted, “WE’RE HERE!” Mona grabbed Robert’s arm. “Robert, be careful. These could be the men who caused the avalanche.” “WE’LL HELP YOUR MEN. THE CAR’S GONE OVER THE SIDE.” Robert yelled back, “YES, DO THAT! WE’LL FREE OUR CAR AND THEN START DIGGING TOWARD YOU.” Turning, Robert asked, “Do you have your gun on you, Mona?” “It’s in my purse which is in the car. What about your six-shooter?” “Under the snow somewhere.” “I’ve got one in my shoulder holster, and there’s another gun in the glove compartment if we can get to it,” the Pinkerton driver announced. “Good man,” Robert said. “Put your gun where you can use it in a hurry.” Mona, Robert, and the driver dug around their car finally clearing the snow away from the trunk. The driver took the shovel and shoveled the road while Robert put several blankets around Mona, whose hands had frozen so badly that she lost the feeling in them. After an hour, the Pinkertons from the first car cleared away the snow and reached Mona and Robert. They put Mona in their vehicle which was still warm. She was grateful for the warmth and rubbed her numb hands in front of the car’s heater. Robert worked with the Pinkertons to reach the third car, but once they broke through a wall of snow, there was no third car. It had careened down the mountain. Its blinking tail lights were faintly visible beneath the snow. They found four men hoisting bodies through a series of ropes tied to a truck. A man wearing a Stetson and standing near the road’s edge, watched them bring the bodies up. Upon seeing his milky eye, Robert recognized the man, who worked for Margaret Daly. Robert walked up to the man. “Is everyone dead?” “No. I have two men in the truck. They are banged up a bit, but otherwise fine. They told me that someone repeatedly fired a gun, which caused the avalanche.” “How did you happen upon us?” Robert asked. “Miss Margaret gave orders to follow. She felt you were in danger although we never expected anything like this. You’ve got to admit it was devilishly clever.” Not sure the Stetson man was speaking the truth, Robert gave him a long stare before stating, “Thank you. Our other two cars are working, so we’ll take the injured men into town and send help back.” “We’ll stay and clear the road. If the law doesn’t come soon enough, we’ll bring in the bodies and leave them at the funeral home.” The Stetson man tried to peek around Robert. “I trust Miss Moon is fine.” “Fit as a fiddle,” Robert replied, coldly. “I’ll collect those injured men and be off.” He nodded to the Pinkertons to gather their associates. “Thank you again, and chin chin. The Stetson man tipped the brim of his hat. Robert walked back with the Pinkerton men, all the while wondering if he was going to be shot in the back. Once safely ensconced in the first car with Mona, he turned to her. “You’ll never guess who turned out to be our savior.” Mona pulled her blanket over Robert. “Who?” “Margaret Daly. She ordered the Stetson man to follow us.” “She could have ordered him to start the avalanche.” “I thought it odd myself that her man happened to arrive a short time after the avalanche. I’ll guess we’ll never know the real truth, but she did warn you of danger, Mona.” Robert lit a cigarette as his nerves were frayed. “What do you want to do now?” Mona didn’t chide Robert about smoking as she knew he was upset. She was disturbed as well. “We’ve got three managers to deal with. We need to stay in Montana until this mess is cleared up.” “We got out by the skin of our teeth tonight, Mona, and two of our men didn’t make it. We need to make changes fast, and then get the heck out of here.” “I don’t like putting our men and ourselves in danger, but we’ve got to see this through, Robert.” A Pinkerton knocked on the car window. Mona rolled it down. “Sorry, folks, but we need to put one of the injured men in this car. It’s pretty tight in the other vehicle.” “Assuredly, bring him here,” Robert said, before turning to his wife. “I’ll drive and we’ll put two men in the back.” Mona got out and stood aside as Pinkertons carried their injured comrade. They eased him into the back of the car. Mona took off her blanket, wrapping it around the injured man. She said to the non-injured Pinkerton, “You’ll stay with him?” “Ma’am, he can use my lap as his pillow. We’ll get him to a hospital all right.” Mona replied, “We shall fly to the nearest hospital like the fastest hawk.” “Better make it a night owl.” Mona gave a ghost of a smile at the Pinkerton’s jest. She slid into the front seat and turned to Robert. “We’re ready. Let’s get back to Butte.” Robert took off the emergency brake and depressed on the clutch, putting the car in first gear. The car began to roll downward and Robert put the car in second gear. “Here we go, ready or not.” But Mona didn’t hear Robert. She was deep in thought planning her next move. Someone was going to pay for the death of those two men as well as Piotr Wojcik and Dr. Driscoll. Someone indeed!

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Dame Alice Hits Hollywood - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Allie Mahoney to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Allie writes the Dame Alice Mystery series. DAME ALICE HITS HOLLYWOOD is the first book in the series.

Kathy: The late 1930s is a fascinating time in Hollywood history, so it's no wonder you wanted to set your mystery series here. Have you always had a love of this time and setting?

AM: Yes, it never gets old! The era of The Thin Man and musicals is amazing, and the music, costumes, witty dialogue and Art Deco sets are timeless. Also, the 1930s was one of Agatha Christie’s most creative periods, and DAME ALICE HITS HOLLYWOOD is a tribute to Christie. I also liked that Los Angeles has always attracted a group of creative and diverse people.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite film from this time?  

AM: It has to be Top Hat (1935). Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek” is unforgettable, and Fred Astaire is extremely funny in this film. I love the glamour of the white set, “Venice” in the background, and Ginger Rogers’ feather-trimmed dress.

Kathy: In DAME ALICE HITS HOLLYWOOD Penelope Greenleigh is sent to Hollywood to assist with script changes. However, instead of being herself she has to impersonate Dame Alice Cartwright, the world’s bestselling mystery author. Why choose this ruse, instead of having Penelope be herself?

AM: Dame Alice is inspired by Agatha Christie, so I wanted to pay tribute to one Christie’s funniest tropes, which is that if a character wears dowdy clothes, they’re instantly invisible. Christie pointed out that we’re drawn to glamour and youth. She also included switching identities as one of her favorite plot points, notably in LORD EDGWARE DIES, in which (spoiler alert!) the beautiful Jane Wilkinson does a tricky switch with another actress, which for a time confuses even the great Hercule Poirot.

I’m also a fan of the show Younger, in which Sutton Foster’s character trims 15 years from her age in order to get hired by a book publisher. I thought it would be fun to have Penelope pose as the much older Dame, since who would purposefully age themselves in Hollywood?

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

AM: My sister and dad both love mysteries, and we had a lot of them in our house. We also used to watch Poirot together as well as classic movies like The Lady Eve, which also features Barbara Stanwyck as a sexy swindler pretending to be British. My sister and I enjoy cozy authors like Rhys Bowen and Jenn McKinlay, as well as comedic writers like Janet Evanovich and Dave Barry. I also love noir books by Ross Macdonald and Raymond Chandler.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

I’ve contributed to Fodor’s Guides and also written about travel and lifestyle for magazines. 


Kathy: Tell us about your series. 

AM: DAME ALICE HITS HOLLYWOOD is set in 1937 Los Angeles, which was the perfect opportunity to the lively vibe of Beverly Hills and movie studios in their glamorous heyday.

Penelope, a publishing assistant, is sent to Farley Brothers Studios to oversee script changes on the set of Lady Irwin’s Diamonds, because bestselling author Dame Alice Cartwright refuses to travel from her village of Copley-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds. Naturally, Penelope arrives in the middle of a crime wave! There’s a missing movie star, a stolen diamond necklace, and a gimlet-eyed gossip columnist awaiting her. Gangsters are after the film’s director and an angry millionaire is threatening turn his romantic rival into minestrone.

Next in the series, Dame Alice has been invited by some very unpleasant millionaires to a house party on the French Riviera, and there’s sure to be a murder during her stay. Her sidekicks Penelope, Molly, and Toby the studio assistant will be there too.

I’ve also written the Killer WASPs series, published by HarperCollins’ Witness Impulse imprint (writing as Amy Korman). It’s a light cozy series set on the Main Line of Philadelphia and makes for great summer beach reads!

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

AM: I’m partial to Toby, a 20-year-old movie studio flunky who gets fired for losing a 37-carat Harry Winston necklace at Chasen’s restaurant during a promotional event for Lady Irwin’s Diamonds.

Toby becomes one of Penelope’s fellow sleuths along with her best friend Molly, and he’s frequently disguised as a waiter, a driver, or a hotel towel boy. His family owns a drugstore on Wilshire, and Toby’s ahead of his time: He’s working on a certain formula for a substance to be injected into wrinkles called Froze-Ex.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

AM: I can never get enough of Agatha Christie’s ingenious plots and glamorous settings. Many of her characters stand up almost a century later, too. We all know a village gossip (Caroline Sheppard in THE MURDER OF RODGER ACKROYD), a ruthless social climber (the Countess of Horbury in DEATH IN THE CLOUDS), a plucky young couple (Tommy and Tuppence Beresford), and that family that fights over money and status (HERCULE POIROT'S CHRISTMAS).

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

AM: I worked as a magazine journalist for years, and have written for Philadelphia Magazine, Town & Country, and Men’s Health. Publishing a book has been a dream since I was a teenager. 


Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

AM: I’d have to go with Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse, and then Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry for their smarts and hilarious hot takes.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

AM: THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS by Agatha Christie—specifically, the fantastic audio version which is narrated by Hugh Fraser, who plays Captain Hastings in the Poirot series. It’s a cozy read from 1925 set at a country house, and features snappy dialogue, a plucky heroine named Lady Bundle Brent, and a funny aristocrat, Lord Caterham. I also just finished THE HOUSE ON THE LAKE by Riley Sager, a very scary and intriguing read which cemented my fear of lakes!

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

AM: Along with reading, I love to go to Phillies games and Kenny Chesney concerts, walk with our dog, jog, travel, and watch Father Brown on Britbox as well as the Real Housewives of Miami on Bravo! I’m also trying to learn tennis and Spanish.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

AM: Chocolate! Also, fruit, cheese, and pasta.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

AM: Definitely. Dame Alice, Penelope, Toby and Molly are headed to the South of France very soon.

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

AM: In my Killer WASPs series, I received emails and social media messages from readers who told me the books entertained them and made them laugh. Books have always been at the center of my life and for someone to take the time to read one of mine is incredible. Everyone is busy and there are so many amazing authors to choose from, so it’s an honor to share Dame Alice. 



The First Dame Alice Mystery

When Farley Brothers studio request Dame Alice come to Hollywood to make script changes for their latest film, Lady Irwin's Diamonds, Ten Spot Press is on it. After all the British mystery author is their biggest client. The only problem, she refuses to leave the Cotswolds. Not one to give up, the publishing company sends assistant Penelope Greenleigh, a twenty-nine year old New Jersey native to impersonate the forty-seven year old tweed wearing British writer. What could go wrong? A missing actress, a stolen necklace, and a gossip columnist who just may expose her, that's what!

DAME ALICE HITS HOLLYWOOD is a fun romp in 1930s Hollywood filled with parties, jewelry heists, veiled and not so veiled references to stars of the time, and lots of misdirection, reinvention, and flim flam. Poor Penelope, forced to wear hot tweed and appear dowdy in sunny California, fearing exposure at any moment. She's a great protagonist, almost as great as...well, you'll see. She's lucky to be surrounded by great sidekicks, her best friend Molly and the effervescent Toby. I'm partial to Mr. Agra myself. Indeed it's not the stars, but the regular people that make the world go round, and help solve the mysteries.

The first Dame Alice Mystery gets into the spirit of this era. I really enjoyed the references to the popular people and places of the time, from eating at the Brown Derby, using the Marx Brothers as a ruse, to talking with Bing Crosby's maid. I love the interconnectedness, just how many people from New Jersey are there in Hollywood?!

Reminiscent of the screwball comedies of the time DAME ALICE HITS HOLLYWOOD is a fast paced entertaining mystery. Grab a cocktail and pretend to listen to The Beverly Hills Off-Duty Policeman's Jazz Quartet and settle in for a good time!


 Dame Alice Hits Hollywood: A Cozy 1930s Mystery Featuring Author-Turned-Sleuth Dame Alice Cartwright (Dame Alice Mysteries) by Allie Mahoney

About Dame Alice Hits Hollywood 

Dame Alice Hits Hollywood (Dame Alice Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - Old Hollywood and Beverly Hills, circa 1937. ‎
Wrenfield Books (May 23, 2023)
Digital Print length: ‎ 139 pages
 April 1937: When Penelope Greenleigh, assistant at Ten Spot Press, learns she'll be heading to Hollywood to supervise script changes on the set of Lady Irwin's Diamonds, she should be thrilled. Who wouldn't want to mingle with movie stars in sunny California? But there's a catch: Penelope, 29 and from Cape May, New Jersey, has been asked to impersonate Dame Alice Cartwright, the world's bestselling mystery author, who's 47 and lives in Copley-on-the-Wold, England. On the night Penelope arrives in L.A., Lady Irwin's lead actress disappears and a Harry Winston necklace goes missing. Soon, gossip columnist Hattie Holiday threatens to expose Penelope's deception, mobsters are coming after the film's boozy director, and worst of all, Dame Alice's script has gone from murder mystery to Fred and Ginger-style musical! The action unfolds at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Trocadero, and hotspot Chasen's as Penelope works to solve the crimes alongside a handsome detective and a hapless studio flunky. Can she find the diamonds, the actress, and survive a wild week in Hollywood? Excerpt on Amazon  

About Allie Mahoney

A longtime magazine journalist, Allie Mahoney has written for Town & Country, Time Out New York, and Cosmo. A lifelong Agatha Christie fan, her shelves are also filled with the books of P.G. Wodehouse, Dave Barry, Sophie Kinsella, and Carl Hiaasen. Additional guilty pleasures: Classic Hollywood movies, fashion, dogs, Bravo tv, BritBox, Phillies baseball, and the beach.

Visit Dame Alice Mysteries

Purchase Link - Amazon  

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Friday, July 21, 2023

A Sour Note - An Interview & Review

I'm pleased to welcome Jill Piscitello to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Jill writes The Music Box Mystery series. A SOUR NOTE is the first book in the series and was released last month.

Kathy: In A SOUR NOTE we meet Maeve Cleary who hopes to make a new start at the Music Box, her mother's music school. Do you play an instrument?

JP: I don’t have a musical bone in my body but always wanted to learn how to play the piano. Both of my children began piano lessons at six years old. Now at 20 and 21, they continue to play daily and have developed a lifelong appreciate for music. I suppose I’m living vicariously through them and have the benefit of enjoying hearing them play.

Kathy: Maeve has a cousin with a touch of clairvoyance. Do you believe that people can have this gift? Have you ever been to a psychic?

JP: Haven’t we all, at some point, experienced something we can’t quite explain? That gut feeling, intuition, vivid dream, or deja vu? Many years ago, I received a psychic reading and was surprised by a few of the obscure, how-did-she-know-that, statements. Unfortunately, there are people who prey on others’ need to connect with those they’ve lost or are desperate to hear their lot in life will improve. That said, so many things can’t be explained, and we’re all born with our own unique skillsets. Surely it’s possible some of us have gifts that aren’t easily understood. Maeve represents the person who casts reasonable doubt but is forced to sometimes recognize her cousin’s abilities. 


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

JP: Thanks to Bedknobs and Broomsticks, I was already a fan of Angela Lansbury when I began watching Murder, She Wrote with my grandmother. Unlike many of my friends, I couldn’t stomach horror movies and was drawn to mysteries revolving around crimes that occurred off-screen. As an adult, I continue to prefer stories that allow readers and viewers to put their sleuthing skills to the test without worrying about unnecessary graphic violence.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

JP: I have also written two sweet, holiday romances (HOMEMAKERS' CHRISTMAS and TINSEL & TEA CAKES).

Kathy: Tell us about your series. 

JP: A SOUR NOTE is the first book in the Music Box Mystery Series. An unpleasant brush with fame, new beginnings, humor, and a dash of second-chance romance are found in this topsy-turvy mystery filled with a charming cast of characters set against the beautiful backdrop of Hampton Beach, NH.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

JP: Maeve is my favorite character. Rather than playing the victim, she’s sorting through all of the decisions that led to her current situation. She took some risks that didn’t pay off and is working toward recognizing those decisions as learning opportunities rather than mistakes.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

JP: I enjoy reading a variety of cozy mysteries and wanted to include elements of pet cozies and paranormal cozies in this series. However, instead of bonding with her mother’s four cats, Maeve is allergic to them. Also, instead of possessing her own clairvoyant abilities, she is skeptical of her cousin’s gifts and reluctant to accept her otherworldly advice.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

JP: For years, I accumulated a slew of incomplete manuscripts. Working full time with two children didn’t allow much time for polishing a draft until it shined enough to query publishers. But children grow up, and I found myself filling newly empty hours with writing and editing. Submitting my work was terrifying but better than the alternative of allowing those pages to collect dust for another decade.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

JP: Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Jane Austen, and Nora Roberts – and so many more…

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

JP: I’m currently reading THE BOOKSTORE SISTERS by Alice Hoffman (no surprise, it’s excellent).

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

JP: For the past few years, I’ve been slowly renovating a dollhouse.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

JP: Cheese, apples, yogurt, and the makings for a salad are always in my fridge.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

JP: I’m currently working on the sequel to A SOUR NOTE.

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

JP: This is a difficult question to answer. I’ve never considered myself a particularly creative person. I don’t paint, draw, play an instrument, or even sufficiently decorate my home. But writing is my creative outlet. 



A SOUR NOTE by Jill Piscitello
The First Music Box Mystery 

After a humiliating breakup Maeve Cleary has returned to her mom's house in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire to wallow and hide. Finally taking the plunge to go out in public she's happy to meet up with her old friend Paige and not so happy to meet Trixie, the social media influencer and new fiancé of Paige's ex. A trip to the dumpster behind her mom's music school, The Music Box, where Paige works leads to the discovery of Trixie's dead body. Knowing her old friends will be suspects in the murder, Maeve decides to look into the crime herself, despite her old boyfriend and the hunky detective's objections. Maeve soon finds herself in the killer's sights. Refusing to back down, will she be able to determine who killed the insufferable influencer or will she wind up the next victim? 

Redefining oneself and second chances are the keys to the first Music Box Mystery. How people react to circumstances, both good and bad, and how people deal with others are also important aspects. Maeve has had a rough go of things and at first she wallows, but then she has to make several decisions. Will she go back to an early love, start with someone new, or return to the love she just lost? Her relationship with her mother and cousin also add conflict, and love, to the mix as Maeve has to learn from her past mistakes and redefine herself...all with a killer on the loose!

I enjoyed the complex relationships found in A SOUR NOTE as much as I enjoyed the mystery itself...a mystery that gave Maeve the impetus to stop wallowing and get back to living while giving her a purpose. While not the most adept investigator, I give her credit for the methods she uses, clumsiness sometimes helping, sometimes hindering. Maeve's someone thorny relationship with her mother will be an interesting one to see progress as the series continues. Although Calista didn't get a lot of "screen time" I found her to be my favorite character and I hope to see a lot more of her in future books. One thing I disliked was that the author turned the killer, a very clever killer, into a maniacal one upon discovery. It is a particular pet peeve of mine that the killer is described as crazy when the actions all along belong to that of a rational person. Insanity isn't a prerequisite to murder.

Interesting characters with intriguing dynamics give A SOUR NOTE a solid start to this new mystery series. 


 A Sour Note (A Music Box Mystery) by Jill Piscitello

About A Sour Note

A Sour Note (A Music Box Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - Hampton Beach, NH
Wild Rose Press (June 26, 2023)
Paperback: ‎ 250 pages

On the heels of a public, broken engagement, Maeve Cleary returns to her childhood home in Hampton Beach, NH. When a dead body turns up behind her mother’s music school, three old friends land on the suspect list. Licking her wounds soon takes a back seat to outrunning the paparazzi who spin into a frenzy, casting her in a cloud of suspicion. Maeve juggles her high school sweetheart, a cousin with a touch of clairvoyance, a no-nonsense detective, and an apologetic, two-timing ex-fiancé. Will the negative publicity impact business at the Music Box— the very place she’d hoped to make a fresh start?

About Jill Piscitello


Jill Piscitello is a teacher, author, and an avid fan of multiple literary genres. Although she divides her reading hours among several books at a time, a lighthearted story offering an escape from the real world can always be found on her nightstand. A native of New England, Jill lives with her family and three well-loved cats. When not planning lessons or reading and writing, she can be found spending time with her family, trying out new restaurants, traveling, and going on light hikes.  

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Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Currently Reading...

I just finished reading A Sour Note by Jill Piscitello. This book is the first in the Music Box Mystery series and was released last month.

After a humiliating breakup Maeve Cleary has returned to her mom's house in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire to wallow and hide.  Finally taking the plunge to go out in public she's happy to meet up with her old friend Paige and not so happy to meet Trixie, the social media influencer and new fiancé of Paige's ex. A trip to the dumpster behind The Music Box leads to the discovery of Trixie's dead body. Knowing her old friends will be suspects in the murder, Maeve decides to look into the crime herself, despite her old boyfriend and the hunky detective's objections. Maeve soon finds herself in the killer's sights. Refusing to back down, will she be able to determine who killed the insufferable influencer or will she wind up the next victim?

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Paw and Order - An Interview, Excerpt, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Chris Abernathy to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Chris writes the Detective Whiskers Cat Cozy Mystery Series. PAW & ORDER is the first book in the series.

Kathy: In PAW & ORDER, we're introduced to Detective Whiskers, a trained detective who happens to be a cat. How did you decide to make a feline the lead in your series?

CA: I wanted to get outside of the human way of thinking and try a different point of view.

I think cats are fascinating because they seem to keep their thoughts to themselves. With a dog you usually know what they’re thinking but with cats it’s a mystery so I thought it would be fun to hear stories from a cat’s perspective. I think they love humans but are also more critical than dogs so that allows for a wider spectrum of thoughts. And more sarcasm. ;)

Kathy: Detective Whiskers could easily communicate with Fred, but is having issues getting his messages across to his widow. Do you have cats? How would you rate your communication skills with them?

CA: I grew up with cats and they are my favorite pets but currently I have to settle for visiting my brother’s cat. I also take care of my neighbors’ cat when they are away, which is quite often. My communication skills are one way. They seem to understand me perfectly but I confess to never quite being sure what they are thinking.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

CA: I love cozies because they have fun characters and, even though somebody usually dies, the world seems to gone on with lots of love and laughter. It’s important to mourn loved ones when they pass and we should care about all people but I doubt anyone is looking down from heaven saying “why aren’t you going into a cave and wasting the rest of your life now that I’m gone?” Life goes on and we take each day as a gift.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

CA: I wrote my first books using a pen name that was the same name I used when I was a radio and television personality. Those books were a kind of therapy for me and helped me understand some of my work relationships better. They also helped me discover my personal writing style and see where it fit in the publishing world, which turned out to be cozy mysteries. If anyone is interested the books are Rise of the Radio Gods and Blowing Up the Airwaves by Chris Wright. The material is a little racy in parts so some cozy readers might not be comfortable with what the characters get up to on their radio morning show.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

CA: The Detective Whiskers series is really about starting over and realizing that you are never too old to chase your dreams. Both Sheila and Whiskers have lost the most important person in their lives and he remains very important to them even in death but they make new friends, learn more about who they are and who they want to be.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

CA: I’m glad you asked this question. I have a character named Blue who has the least dialogue and action of any of the supporting cast but lots of my readers love her as much as I do. She is there to represent all of the introverts who have a lot to offer but need a little bit of personal space and time. They want to be included — you just have to recognize that they have their own way of relating to others.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

CA: The theme of reinventing yourself is largely inspired by the situation my wife and I are in right now. We are reaching a new phase in our lives and there are so many things we will miss about having a full house but also so many ways that we want to explore the world.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CA: I’ve been a part of the publishing business for several years as an audiobook narrator. This has allowed me a front row seat on the journey that other authors are taking and they inspire me. There are so many reasons that they each have for writing and publishing their stories and so many ways it has impacted their lives. Telling their stories has been great but something inside me (and beside me, my wife) kept saying “You have great stories to tell, too.”

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

CA: #1 Douglas Adams. Mainly to annoy my wife. She can’t understand his style of humor at all and we have fun joking about it.

#2 Harper Lee. I have lived most of my life in Alabama. People from outside the South have very strong opinions about people from Alabama and for good reasons. But there is a lot more to the people of Alabama than what is shown on the news and she did an amazing job of seeing the humanity in all of the people in her small town and conveying it to readers all over the world.

#3 MC Beaton. My other home is in the Scottish Highlands. I love her Hamish MacBeth series for her vivid descriptions of the people and places there from before I came to know the area.

#4 Louise Penny. My wife loves her Three Pines series with Inspector Gamache. This would make up for inviting Douglas Adams.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CA: AFTERNOONS WITH HARPER LEE by Wayne Flynt. Wayne and his wife Dartie were close friends with Harper and he does an excellent job of helping us understand this amazing woman who has been so misunderstood.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

CA: My wife and I love travel more than anything other than our families. We’ve been to half the states and more than a dozen countries together and we are just getting started.

I’m also a big soccer fan and recently got to take my youngest son to the Scottish Cup Final with my favorite team, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, playing the role of David versus the Goliath (Celtic). Unfortunately David lost this one :(

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

CA: Fresh fruit and Greek yoghurt to make smoothies, Conecuh sausage and/or hot dogs, coffee beans to grind more my wife’s morning coffee (I make her a French press pot before she gets out of bed), English or Scottish breakfast tea for myself.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

CA: I plan to continue writing several more books in the Detective Whiskers series (I’m working on books four and five now) and I have an idea for a series set in the Scottish Highlands with some lost royal treasures.

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

Freedom. Writing books allows me freedom to express myself and explore the perspectives of the people around me. It also allows me freedom to travel because I can write from anywhere in the world. 



PAW & ORDER by Chris Abernathy
The First Detective Whiskers Cat Cozy Mystery
Moving to a cottage by the water in Florida was the retirement dream of Detective Fred Mason and his wife, Sheila. Sheila and Detective Whiskers, their cat, grieving the unexpected death of Fred decide to make the move to their dream home in Paradise Cove without their beloved Fred. Vowing to protect Sheila, Detective Whiskers has his work cut out for him when a neighbor is killed and Sheila becomes a suspect. With new friends to help, Detective Whiskers will have to quickly get the lay of the land and find the real killer or lose his home for good!

Detective Whiskers is a fresh voice in crime fiction. I love the fact that the protagonist of the new Detective Whiskers Cat Cozy Mystery series is a cat instead of a human. While he may have his flaws, like enjoying a belly rub so much his mission is forgotten, Whiskers is smart and with police training is well prepared to clear his human's name. I like the other animal characters as well, though it was odd that Zappa was a male, as almost all calico cats are female. No matter, he's a cool laid back dude. I like that Sheila quickly found a new group of friends willing to not only welcome her to the community, but support her and do all they can to help her. It's hard to start over, especially when you're older, and even more so after the loss of a partner. Sheila, though she takes a back seat to Detective Whiskers, is still a courageous woman who won't back down or give up when things get bad, though she may take a nap.
I really enjoyed this deftly written mystery. It's heartwarming, especially in regards to how Sheila and Whiskers grieve for Fred, and funny with several laugh out loud moments. I like how both Detective Whiskers and Sheila work to clear her name. While they use slightly different methods, each calls on new found friends to help. While I was pretty sure I knew who the killer was, I wasn't sure why. I like how the pieces fell into place, proving me right.

PAW & ORDER is a cute mystery about starting over. Grab a margarita and a slice of key lime pie and dig in to this unique new mystery series.


In addition to the Rafflecopter at the end of this post, the author has graciously offered a digital copy of PAW & ORDER to one commenter. Simply leave a comment on this blog post no later than 11:59 pm on Friday, July 21, 2023 saying why cats make the perfect detective. Be sure to leave your e-mail address and what format you would need should you be chosen for the giveaway.


 Paw and Order: A Detective Whiskers Cat Cozy Mystery by Chris Abernathy

About Paw and Order

Paw and Order: A Detective Whiskers Cat Cozy Mystery
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - Florida
Wright on the Mark, LLC. (May 23, 2023)
Paperback: ‎ 204 pages

What’s better than a K-9 cop? A feline detective. Detective Whiskers is out to prove himself, and keep his human from being framed for murder, or worse. He'll need the help of his new animal friends and Sheila's group of female sleuths. This cozy mystery set in a small town in Old Florida is purrfect for cat lovers and anyone who enjoys a fun beach read.

Who is really catching killers in Paradise Cove? It’s not the local police. The Paradise Cove Murder Society is getting the job done, with more help than they realize from a furry detective named Whiskers.

Sheila and her cat Whiskers are starting a new life in the perfect little Florida beach town that managed to avoid the big crowds, condos and chain stores. But as soon as they arrive the town has its first ever murder. Good thing Whiskers is a trained detective! Fred, Sheila’s husband of forty years, was a police detective who recently passed away, right before they were supposed to retire to the beach. After forty years of devoting herself entirely to being a good wife and mother she’s now left to put her life back together, but what kind of life will it be? In a fresh setting, and with some quirky new friends, she slowly begins to remember all of the dreams she had as a young woman. She has a second chance to chase those dreams, if she can stay alive and out of prison. When her next door neighbor is killed and the evidence points to Sheila, it’s time for Whiskers to step up.

Whiskers was Fred’s loyal assistant and he’ll need to remember everything he learned from his mentor to keep Sheila safe as she rediscovers herself. With the help of some unexpected new friends of his own Detective Whiskers sets out to prove to the world, and himself, that he is worthy of the shiny badge on his collar. If you love humorous cozy mysteries where pets take the lead and eccentric friends come together to solve crimes with just the right amount of suspense then the Detective Whiskers Cozy Mystery Series is exactly what you’re looking for.

Excerpt from Paws and Order

Sheila does not understand. I know we’re not supposed to play favorites with our humans, but we all do. Fred and I had a connection that was … special. I’ve tried communicating with Sheila, but— Okay this part is a little embarrassing. Every time I tap her hand with my paw, she thinks I want food or a belly rub. Which, of course, I do. I ALWAYS want food or a belly rub. Or both. But I’m trying to tell her something important, and all of a sudden, she puts those fingernails to work on my belly and I’m gone. Lost. A zombie. It feels sooooo good. Whatever I needed to say is up in smoke, my eyes are closed, and I hear a Karen Carpenter love song in my head.

Don’t judge me.

About Chris Abernathy

Chris Abernathy has narrated more than 200 audiobooks and now he is writing his own stories. He has been a storyteller his entire life — around campfires at a summer camp as a counselor, on the radio for more than 30 years, as an actor with background roles on major motion pictures and TV series, as a producer of short films for social media and more. Chris is married with two sons and lives on the Gulf Coast in Alabama. He is a dual national with citizenship in the US and UK and visits family in the Scottish Highlands as often as possible.

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Sunday, July 16, 2023

All That Glitters Isn't Old - A Review


The Third Whit and Whiskers Mystery 

Tensions run high when Goldy's old flame returns to Catalina Island. Darren is not only there for his mother's funeral, but is premiering a film he created about the small island community. When his boyfriend falls to his death from the catwalk of the theatre what first appears to be a tragic accident starts to look like murder. Darren becomes the prime suspect, but Goldy insists he's innocent and demands Whit find out who, if anyone, killed his boyfriend. Whit will have to put her business on hold once again as she searches for the truth while also trying to rein Goldy in and be peacemaker between her and Pops, all while not stepping on the new police captain's toes! 

The third Whit and Whiskers Mystery makes me grateful I'm not Whit and don't have to acquiesce to Goldie. Goldie I just wanted to smack for her blind devotion to Darren. I love how so much of the mystery plays to the unknown. Something is wrong, but we don't know just what. Something is going on on the island, but we don't know what. Things are just off, adding to the sense of unease and  ratcheting up the suspense.

One of the things I like best about ALL THAT GLITTERS ISN'T OLD lies in those last two words of the title: ISN'T OLD. The drama revolves around older people. Older people who are vibrant (maybe too vibrant in Goldie's case) with important ideas and goals, who have a love life and the ability to carry out all of these things. Old people don't just vanish. They aren't invisible here. They play a vital role. I appreciate how important they and their actions are to the story-be they in their 70s or 90s! Add to the fact they can be good or bad people as well. I love that older people aren't shrugged off and play as pivotal a role in society as 20 and 30 somethings...perhaps even more so.

With some time in the sun and the water, an adorable octopus, and some crafty characters, ALL THAT GLITTERS ISN'T OLD is a fun mystery that proves that age is just a number and you shouldn't automatically trust your elders!

Friday, July 14, 2023

Genies and Gibberish - A Review


 GENIES AND GIBBERISH by Elizabeth Pantley
The First Magical Mystery Book Club Novella
(Magical Mystery Book Club 4.5)

It's time for the Magical Mystery Book Club to choose another adventure. This time they decide to head to modern day Arizona for a paranormal mystery. Not sure what they'll discover the Snapdragon gang find themselves walking up to an ultra modern mansion on a mountain. With an obvious and ostentatious display of wealth their host, Martin Shuttlewort, is an uncouth boor. Surprisingly, the man hosts a book club whose other members are neighbors and staff...each with anger and disdain for him. Partway through the meeting the housekeeper begins to scream. Martin has fallen to his death. The Snapdragon crew will have their work cut out for them since no one, except perhaps Celeste, liked the man. Add two genies to the mix and things get even more complicated!

The Magical Mystery Book Club meets up and mixes with another book club in this, their first novella. A slightly shorter story, the club also isn't at their full number of members. And while this book certainly works as a standalone, you'll appreciate things more if you have read the other books in the series; at least the third.

I appreciate how every member of the Magical Mystery Book Club is important, each bringing his or her own gifts to their adventure. While a true ensemble, I like how one member often gets a chance to shine just a bit more. GENIES AND GIBBERISH gave Moonbeam some time in the spotlight and it is wonderful to see her excel in her role. She's fiercely determined, and smart enough to craftily outsmart the genies at their own game. I enjoyed the glimpse we had into the Genie world, with special thanks to Mollie. The mystery itself was unique with its unlikable victim and a host of possible suspects. 
There was a bit of an odd vibe to the story however. It may have been the concept of half wishes or perhaps the fact that none of the book characters (as opposed to the Snapdragon gang) were very nice, and some were downright strange-I still don't quite get Trixie and Juliette. There was even something slightly off with the police.

The best part of a book club is the food and both sets of book club members embrace this idea. The delightful descriptions of the delectable food is a favorite aspect to the Magical Mystery Book Club series, that and the genuine love and friendship of its members. I love spending time with them, seeing them enjoying each other's company, even as they sometimes poke fun. Nothing is done out of meanness or spite, however, making this a truly feel good series.

Be careful what you wish for! GENIES AND GIBBERISH is a cautionary tale that is also a fun mystery filled with good food, friends, and plenty of laughs.