Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Currently Reading...

I just finished reading Double Scoop of Murder by Lena Gregory. This is the third book in the Coffee & Cream Café Mystery series and is being released today! 

After two brushes with murder, Dani is content to stay in her Coffee and Cream Café, creating homemade ice cream as well as a place where people can relax and feel at home. Her best friend, Gwen, and employee, Eli, have something else in mind. A treasure hunt in underway in Watchogue and with a prize of over four million dollars adventurers and social media influencers are swarming the town. Even her Uncle Jimmie is part of a team. Agreeing to join in Dani and her friends have an idea where to find the first clue in the progressive hunt, but instead of digging up the next clue they dig up a dead body. Will Dani be able to stay on Detective Barlow’s good side? Will she and her team decipher the clues and find the big prize? Or will someone stop her for good?

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Chapter and Curse - A Review


CHAPTER AND CURSE by Elizabeth Penney
The First Cambridge Bookshop Mystery

With nothing holding them in Vermont Molly Kimball and her mum, Nina, move to England to help run the family bookshop. Thrilled to be working at one of the oldest bookstores in Cambridge, Molly has lots of ideas to get the struggling store into the black. Their first major event, a poetry reading with Persephone Brightwell, Aunt Violet's old college classmate, is a huge success; that is until Molly stumbles upon the dead body of one of their guests in the back garden. It seems the victim wasn't exactly a nice old pensioner and when Aunt Violet becomes a prime suspect, Molly knows she can't just sit idly by. Along with her mum and newfound friends, Molly starts quietly looking into things. It turns out plenty of people had reason to want the victim dead, but who would also want Aunt Violet found guilty? 

Starting over and new beginnings mark the first Cambridge Mystery. Who wouldn't love to move to a quaint English town famed for knowledge and learning to help run Cambridge's oldest bookshop?! I love that Molly goes with her mom and that running the bookstore is a true family endeavor. Molly makes a delightful protagonist and the friendships she develops are truly special. I enjoyed the mystery and look forward to reading more.

With appealing characters, a delightful setting, and an intriguing mystery CHAPTER AND CURSE is an enchanting start to a new series.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

The Snow Job - A Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Lois Stone to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Lois on the pages of the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series by Diane Ascroft. The Snow Job is the third book in the series.

Lois Stone’s Scottish Dilemma

Hello! Thanks for inviting me to drop by. I’m Lois Stone and I’m the main character in the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series. The books are set in Fenwater, a fictional small town in rural Ontario, Canada that was founded by immigrants from Scotland during the early 1800s. The residents of our town have a strong connection with its Scottish heritage, and everything Scottish is important to them, so the annual Burns Night supper is the biggest event on the calendar.

I’m a bit conflicted about it though. I only moved to town about six months ago. I have Scottish ancestry that my friends want me to celebrate since I’m now living in a really Scottish Canadian town, but I don’t really want to talk about my Scottish roots. You see, my grandfather was a bit of a scoundrel and my mother refused to tell me anything about him. My Scottish roots come from his side of the family so I wouldn’t want to explore them and upset my mother. But I can’t seem to get away from my ancestry here in Fenwater. Everyone around me is excited that the Burns Night supper is coming up and they want me to delve into my ancestry.

I might have been able to avoid all the fuss about the Burns Night supper if I didn’t play the bagpipes in the local pipe band. As The Snow Job, Book 3 in the series, opens our band is getting ready to play at the supper. I guess I’m actually looking forward to that part as this is the first Burns supper that I’ve played at with this band. I like our band uniform’s tartan kilt and I’ve learned all the tunes we’re playing. I’ll even know lots of people at the supper. My neighbours and friends will be there to toast the haggis and Burns’ memory. Though I’m still new in town, it will make me feel like I’m part of the community.

Oh, I’ve been rambling on but do you know what a Burns supper is? If you have any Scottish ancestry, you may have attended one. But, for those who haven’t, a Burns supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of the Scottish poet Robert Burns or Rabbie Burns as he is more commonly known.

Burns Night is celebrated each year in Scotland and in Scottish communities worldwide to honour Rabbie Burns, and it has also become a chance to celebrate all things Scottish – sort of like St Patrick’s Day without the green beer.

So, who was Rabbie Burns? He was a poet and song lyricist from Ayrshire in the southwest of Scotland, who was born on January 25, 1759. Only 37 when he died in 1796, he is regarded as the most prominent poet to have written in Scots, a UK regional dialect that is now recognised as a minority language. You probably know at least one of his works – he penned ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

The first supper was a memorial dinner organised by nine of Burns's friends on July 21, 1801, the fiftieth anniversary of his death. It was held at Burns Cottage in Ayrshire, where the poet was born. Although those present at the first supper didn’t foresee it, the supper has become an annual occurrence and Burns Clubs have been founded throughout Scotland and further afield. Burns suppers are now normally held on January 25th, the poet's birthdate.

Burns Night is steeped in respectful tradition but there are elements of fun and humour to the proceedings too. So, what happens at a Burns Night supper? There’s a traditional meal which consists of tatties (potatoes), neeps (turnips), and haggis, which was a favourite dish of the poet. Are you wondering what haggis is? Haggis is made from a sheep’s liver, lungs, and heart and mixed with suet and oatmeal. It may not sound particularly appetising to some of you, but it really is tasty – sort of like a spicier minced beef. There are also vegetarian versions available. Guests are piped in to the dining room and a Scottish grace is said. The haggis is then piped in with great ceremony and before the meal commences a guest recites Burns’ poem the 'Address to a Haggis', which extols how wonderful haggis is.

After the meal there are several toasts and speeches. The most important is the ‘Immortal Memory’, which is a speech commemorating Burns and his life followed by a toast to the poet.

At our supper, Dave Stewart, who has an antique stall in our market, is giving the toast, ‘The Address to the Lassies’. It’s a thank you to the women who prepared the meal, and the speaker often includes humorous opinions about women in general. My friend Marge is giving the ‘Reply to the Laddies’, rebutting any comments Dave might make about women. I’m rather nervous about that as you never know what she’ll come out with.

Preparations for our supper were going well until one of the Burns Night committee members died in suspicious circumstances the week before the event. My friend Connie found him lying in the snow. I had just been chatting with her on the street and I rushed back to help her when I heard her scream. I tried to revive the man while we waited for an ambulance. I was sad to hear later that he died, but I didn’t expect to have any more involvement in the matter. Marge had other ideas though. She worked with him at the museum and she wants to see justice done. So, she asked me to help her find his killer. I’ve promised my partner Bruce that I’d stay out of police matters but Marge is persuasive and what’s the harm in asking a few questions? So, I turned my thoughts from getting ready for the Burns Night supper to helping Marge find the killer. What could possibly go wrong?


 The Snow Job (Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries) by Dianne Ascroft

About The Snow Job

The Snow Job (Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Setting - Fenwater, a fictional small town in the province of Ontario in Canada during the early 1980s.
Independently Published (December 13, 2023)
Paperback: ‎ 310 pages  

A Scottish shindig, a pretty pin, a cold corpse. When a well-liked and respected townsman is murdered on a snowy street in Fenwater, it’s up to Lois Stone to sift through a multitude of motives to find the killer.

Middle-aged widow Lois is beginning to feel part of the Fenwater community, and as winter sets in, she is getting ready for the town’s biggest Scottish event, the annual Burns Night supper. But when one of the committee members dies in suspicious circumstances, Lois has more to worry about than the fate of this year’s celebration. She tried unsuccessfully to revive the man and her friend Marge worked with him. So, they want to find his killer even though Lois promised her partner Bruce that she would stay out of police matters. But, what’s the harm in asking a few questions? Such as does someone want to safeguard their inheritance or give their business a boost? Will finding the motive for the murder lead them to the killer or maybe more?

And so begins a fortnight of slippery sidewalks, angst about ancestors, capable firemen and cunning firebugs, unreliable records, swirling Scottish music and swinging tartan kilts, calico cats and smouldering spooks set against the backdrop of snow glistening under streetlamps on serene streets, the comfort of ritual in a cold churchyard, the swish of skate blades in crisp night air and the tang of mouthwatering meatloaf in rural Canada in 1984.

The Century Cottage Mystery series is mainly set in rural Ontario, Canada during the early 1980s.

A tale for fans of Cindy Bell, Leighann Dobbs, Dianne Harman and Kathi Daley.

About Dianne Ascroft


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Twitter/X: @DianneAscroft  


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Friday, February 23, 2024

Sprites and Scuttlebutt - A Review & Giveaway


The Sixth Magical Mystery Book Club Mystery

The Magical Mystery Book Club has started another book journey, this time going to the Kingdom of Everglow . This fairy tale land is a multi-hued place where everything in nature is enhanced, from the green sky and pink clouds to the houses that appear to grow out of trees. Everglow is inhabited by sprites, dazzling beings with vibrant hair and delicate wings. A concert is just beginning as the gang arrives, but the beautiful music is cut short when a hulking sprite falls to the ground, dead. Frank's surprising revelation gets the Book Club members invited to stay at the castle where they offer to help solve the murder. Things get complicated when they witness a break-in and one of the princesses falls under what appears to be a sleeping spell. The Magical Mystery Book Club team will have their work cut out for them as they interview sprites both inside and outside of the palace in order to unravel the mystery.

Opening the pages of a book will take you on a journey, and for members of the Magical Mystery Book Club, doing so literally takes them places. It's a book lovers dream come true and it's fun tagging along with this silly and loving group of friends. There's also a bit of a moral to be found in the sixth Magical Mystery Book Club Mystery; things may look completely different, but there are more similarities between beings and worlds than differences.

SPRITES AND SCUTTLEBUTT is a dreamy, more relaxing trip for the crew. Although they are faced with a murder early on, their investigation is more meandering. While they always take time to enjoy their surroundings as they try to solve the mystery, this time they seem less invested in bringing a killer to justice. They are truly unsure of who the murderer is and they really don't even solve the crimes...they are merely witness to the resolution. 

I was thrilled to learn Frank's history...and laughed as Zell tried in vain to keep his secret. I appreciate his desire to hide this aspect of himself, though loved his taking advantage of his past in this tale. I am also enamored with the author's imagination, painting a world with green sky and pink clouds, wacky characters, and splatberry juice. It's uniquely different, yet with it's family of characters, it still has the comforting feeling of home.

SPRITES AND SCUTTLEBUTT is a magical story about relationships, envy, and partaking in a snack whenever possible!


 Sprites and Scuttlebutt: Magical Mystery Book Club by Elizabeth Pantley

About Sprites and Scuttlebutt

Sprites and Scuttlebutt: Magical Mystery Book Club
Paranormal Cozy Mystery 6th in Series
Independently Published (February 15, 2024)
Print length: ‎ 289 pages

Would you join a book club that gets absorbed right into their cozy mysteries? These people did, and now they are hooked on traveling into books to become the amateur sleuths!

In this journey, the book club travels to the Kingdom of Everglow, where the royal family is rocked to the core when a key staff member falls dead at a community event. In the turmoil that follows, any evidence of what happened is destroyed, so they must go by the recollection of witnesses who were too busy enjoying the celebration to offer any valuable testimony. The royal family is further distressed when they return to the castle to see signs of a break in that somehow defied their complex security system. They wake the next day to discover that one member of the royal family has fallen into a deep, deathlike sleep.

Can the Snapdragon Inn Book Club uncover the plot behind this attack on the royal family? Can they find the antidote to wake the princess from her supernatural slumber? Can they bring peace back to the worried royal family and the frightened community? Let’s hope they can, since they must solve the mystery and reach The End to get out of the book and back to their home in Colorado.

About Elizabeth Pantley

Elizabeth Pantley is the author of fourteen fun, magical cozy mystery books, as well as the international bestselling No-Cry Solution parenting series.

She simultaneously writes well-loved cozy mysteries: The Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic book series and the Magical Mystery Book Club series.

Elizabeth lives in the Pacific Northwest, the gorgeous inspiration for the setting in many of her books.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Sprites and Scuttlebutt by Elizabeth Pantley. This book is the sixth in the Magical Mystery Book Club series and was released last week.

The Magical Mystery Book Club has started another book journey, this time going to the Kingdom of Everglow . This fairy tale land is a multi-hued place where everything in nature is enhanced, from the green sky and pink clouds to the houses that appear to grow out of trees. Everglow is inhabited by sprites, dazzling beings with vibrant hair and delicate wings. A concert is just beginning as the gang arrives, but the beautiful music is cut short when a hulking sprite falls to the ground, dead. Frank's surprising revelation gets the Book Club members invited to stay at the castle where they offer to help solve the murder. Things get complicated when they witness a break-in and one of the princesses falls under what appears to be a sleeping spell. The Magical Mystery Book Club team will have their work cut out for them as they interview sprites both inside and outside of the palace in order to unravel the mystery.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Mrs. Morris and the Mermaid - A Review & Giveaway


The Eighth Salem B&B Mystery 
Charlene Morris is thrilled to have a full house at her B&B. Her guests are in Salem for the city's first Mermaid parade. Brandy Flint, Charlene's friend and resident witch, managed to bring the recluse and star of the famed mermaid movie Sirena into town to celebrate the film's anniversary. The stars from the recent reboot of the film have also arrived and rabid fans are taking sides. When Charlene discovers a major player dead, the whole event could be washed away. With the help of her ghostly best friend Charlene will have to uncover the murderer and make sure this first Mermaid event is not the last.

Many people forget that the word fan comes from the word fanatic. Instead of merely liking and showing appreciation, fanatics take things to the next level and are excessive in their devotion. While MRS. MORRIS AND AND THE MERMAID has some fans, it also has a host of true fanatics whose beliefs and actions lead to murder.  

I always enjoy visiting Charlene's B&B. She treats her guests like family. In fact her hospitality can be a bit over the top, being overprotective of her guests and wanting their every needs met. I certainly wouldn't pass up Millie's cooking, however, and wish I had her and Will taking care of my home! 
Several suspects and lots of bad behavior, along with stars who are too high and mighty populate the pages of MRS. MORRIS AND THE MERMAID. Even our victim wasn't that nice. And I certainly wanted to smack the smirks off the young stars of the reboot. As for the fan club presidents...whoo boy.

In addition to the murder, there's a good deal of personal drama in the eighth Salem B&B Mystery. Charlene is starting to open her heart up to romance with Sam, but is sneaking around and not being completely honest a true relationship? And then there's Jack. No spoilers, but what an ending.
Movie stars, mermaids, and murder combine in a unique mystery, decades in the making. MRS. MORRIS AND THE MERMAID is a delightful tale that questions your ability to truly know someone.


 Mrs. Morris and the Mermaid (A Salem B&B Mystery) by Traci Wilton

About Mrs. Morris and the Mermaid

Mrs. Morris and the Mermaid (A Salem B&B Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 8th in Series
Setting - Massachusetts
Publisher: ‎ Kensington Cozies (February 20, 2024)
Mass Market Paperback: ‎ 368 pages

Set in Salem, Massachusetts, this fun, cozy series sees a widowed B&B owner teaming up with a charming ghost to solve murders—an engaging read for fans who like a paranormal tinge to their mysteries.

Charlene and her handsome spectral friend, Dr. Jack Strathmore, are thrilled that their Salem, Massachusetts, B&B is overflowing with mermaids in advance of the town’s newest attraction—a mermaid parade! Retired Hollywood actress Trinity Powers has even agreed to appear on the lead float to commemorate her breakout role as the eponymous mermaid in the blockbuster cult classic, Sirena. The parade also features Trinity’s rival, an up-and-coming ingénue, who stars in the film’s recent (and somewhat controversial) reboot. Though their rabid fan clubs seem ready to tear each other—and the festivities—apart, the vying actresses are keeping it cool, for now . . .

But when Charlene discovers a mermaid murdered, she realizes a killer is out to steal the show. With the help of Jack and Detective Sam Holden, Charlene plunges into the case, determined to stop a killer from striking again . . .

About Traci Wilton


From cozy mysteries to seaside romance, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall writes stories that captivate her readers. As a hybrid author with over sixty published works, Ms. Hall has a favorite tale for everyone. Mystery lovers, check out her Scottish Shire series, set in the seaside town of Nairn, or the Salem B&B Mystery series, as Traci Wilton. Her latest project is an Irish Castle cozy as Ellie Brannigan. Whether it’s her ever-popular By the Sea romances, an Appletree Cove sweet romance, or a fun who-done-it, Traci finds her inspiration in sunny South Florida, living right near the ocean.  

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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Ill-Fated Fortune - An Interview, Review, and Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Jennifer Chow to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Jennifer writes the Magical Fortune Cookie Mystery series. ILL-FATED FORTUNE is the first book in the series and will be released this Tuesday.

Kathy: Felicity Jin had always been hesitant in the kitchen. What about you? Do you enjoy cooking?

JC: I enjoy cooking—but I started later in the kitchen. It wasn’t until college that I actually pulled together a complete meal.

Kathy: Felicity's mom makes enchanted baked goods, including puffy pineapple buns and creamy egg tarts. Just reading those words made me drool. What are some of your favorite baked treats?

JC: Of course, the two mentioned above! I also like chocolate chip walnut cookies, chiffon cake, coconut strudel—the list could go on forever…

Kathy: Felicity makes her own fortune cookies and writes personalized fortunes. Have you ever gotten a fortune from a cookie that was right on point? 

JC: I used to tape fortune cookie messages on my writing journals. One of them read: “You will be successful in your work.” I hope that’s true!


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries? 

JC: Agatha Christie. I would read cozy mysteries with my mom, and years later, it spurred me to write one.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

JC: In my backlist, I have a supernatural YA and an intergenerational family drama. It’s been a while since I’ve done anything non-mystery, though.

Kathy: Tell us about your series. 

JC: The Magical Fortune Cookie series features a family-owned bakery that serves charmed treats. Only it’s not so charming when an ill-fated fortune cookie prediction comes true—and a dead body is found behind the bakery.

Other series:
L.A. Night Market—Foodie cousins with opposite personalities get dished with murder cases.
Sassy Cat—Pet groomer Mimi Lee teams up with her telepathic sassy cat to solve crimes.
Winston Wong—An ex-video game tester bumbles his way into catching culprits in the Silicon Valley.

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

JC: Hard to choose, but I really do like Whiskers in Ill-Fated Fortune. She adds an extra layer of enchantment and cuddles. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with a magical bunny straight out of Chinese mythology?

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

JC: A fortune cookie factory tour when I was a child, and also the general idea that I’m like a fortune cookie. I feel like my two sides of Chinese and American come together in a delicious way.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

JC: For the Magical Fortune Cookie books, my agent asked if I had any new ideas. I gave her a list of paragraph-long ideas, and then one sentence with the premise for Ill-Fated Fortune. Guess which concept she loved the most?

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

JC: My inspirations: Agatha Christie (as mentioned before), Amy Tan, Dale Furutani, and Joanne Fluke.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

JC: I recently read VERA WONG'S UNSOLICITED ADVICE FOR MURDERERS by Jesse Q. Sutanto and loved it!

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

JC: Reading, clearly. Besides that, I like painting with watercolors, taking scenic hikes, and kayaking in calm waters.

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

JC: 1. Tea 2. Bread 3. Peanut butter 4. Apples

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

JC: Yes! There will be at least two more books in the Magical Fortune Cookie series. The next one involves murder at a wedding. Working title: Star-crossed Sweet Tarts

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

JC: The readers. I love it when people come up to me or email me about how my books help them find joy, speak to their identity, or resonate with their lives. 



ILL-FATED FORTUNE by Jennifer J. Chow
The First Magical Fortune Cookie Mystery

At Gold Bakery Mrs. Jin bakes traditional Chinese baked goods and infuses them with joy...literally. Her daughter Felicity, try as she might, has never shown a glimpse of the Jin magick, until the day she made her own fortune cookies. Not only are her delicious treats are a hit with customers, she's finally come into her own power, writing eerily accurate fortunes. When a too accurate fortune is found on the dead body found in the Jin's dumpster Felicity comes under suspicion. Felicity will try to understand her power and promote the family business all while investigating the death of the Fortune Cookie King.

Fitting in is a major theme of the first Magical Fortune Cookie Mystery. As close as she is to her mom, Felicity felt she never fit in with her own family as she didn't appear to have the Jin gift. But she's not the only one facing this struggle. Employees at the Smiley Fortunes factory, her best friend, Kelvin, Detective Sun, and several other characters are all looking to fit in and be accepted.

The friendships, the family, sticking together, and staying true to yourself all give the book more heart. I loved the traditional Chinese aspects to the story, not only the pineapple buns, but Whiskers the bunny bringing Chinese mythology to life. The mystery is intriguing and I enjoyed the various paths Felicity explored, combining her business and her personal power as she searched for the truth.

With a great cast of diverse characters and a sprinkling of magick ILL-FATED FORTUNE is a great new twist on a culinary mystery.


 Ill-Fated Fortune: A Magical Fortune Cookie Novel by Jennifer J. Chow

About Ill-Fated Fortune

Ill-Fated Fortune: A Magical Fortune Cookie
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - California
Minotaur Books (February 20, 2024)
Mass Market Paperback: ‎ 320 pages

Felicity Jin grew up literally hanging onto Mom’s apron strings in their magical bakery in the quaint town of Pixie, California. Her mother’s enchanted baked goods, including puffy pineapple buns and creamy egg tarts, bring instant joy to all who consume them. Felicity has always been hesitant in the kitchen herself after many failed attempts, but a takeout meal gone wrong inspires her to craft some handmade fortune cookies.

They become so popular that Felicity runs out of generic fortunes and starts making her own personalized predictions. When one customer’s ill-fated fortune results in his murder, Felicity’s suspiciously specific fortune has the police focusing on her as the main culprit. Now Felicity must find a way to turn her luck around and get cleared from suspicion.

About Jennifer J. Chow

Jennifer J. Chow writes cozies filled with hope and heritage. She is an Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty Award-nominated author. Her newest series is the Magical Fortune Cookie mysteries; the first book is Ill-Fated Fortune. Jennifer’s previous series is the L.A. Night Market Mysteries. Death by Bubble Tea was reviewed by the New York Times, featured in Woman’s World, and hit the SoCal Indie Bestseller List. Jennifer currently serves as Immediate Past President on the board of Sisters in Crime and blogs at She is an active member of Crime Writers of Color and Mystery Writers of America. Connect with her online and sign up for her newsletter at

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Friday, February 16, 2024

Once Upon a Murder - A Review & Giveaway


ONCE UPON A MURDER by Samantha Larsen
The Second Lady Librarian Mystery

Tiffany Woodall is running late for her job as librarian at Astwell Palace, which is nothing new. However, her tardiness on this day is due to stumbling over the dead body of Bernard Coram, a nasty former footman. The despicable Justice of the Peace, Sir Walter Abney, immediately suspects Tiffany of murder, then arrests Constable Samir Lathrop. Knowing he will not receive a fair trial, Tiffany is desperate to discover the real killer herself. But there are lots of secrets in this small village and villagers tend to stick together, especially against a foreigner. In 1784 England there's not a lot a single woman is allowed to do, but unexpected aid comes from the formidable Duchess of Beaufort. Will they be able to get to the truth?

Abuse, discrimination, and greed are the key elements of ONCE UPON A MURDER, but so are loyalty and family. We are witness to base behavior, and also cunning, for good, and not so good. Emotions run high and desperate measures are called for. There's a complex mystery, but also drama, and romance at the book's heart.

I enjoyed the first Lady Librarian Mystery and I loved this second installment even more. Tiffany is a wonderful protagonist, smart, determined, but not without insecurities. She also has to face discrimination, especially as a single mature women. While I don't understand the all consuming desire to have a family, I can appreciate Tiffany's feelings and appreciate how this portion of the storyline was handled. While I loved Samir in the previous book, I was appalled at his male idiocy in this one! And Mary's actions had me stunned and angry as well. Who I truly came to admire was the Duchess. I loved getting to know her better and witnessing her wily machinations. I'm so glad she's on Tiffany's side.

ONCE UPON A MURDER is a gripping historical novel with an intriguing mystery.


Once Upon a Murder (A Lady Librarian Mystery) by Samantha Larsen

About Once Upon A Murder

Once Upon a Murder (A Lady Librarian Mystery) by Samantha Larsen
Publication Date: February 20, 2024
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Hardcover: ‎ 304 pages
Book Synopsis

Miss Tiffany Woodall must sleuth the slaying of a footman to clear her beloved's name in the second Lady Librarian mystery, in the vein of Deanna Raybourn and perfect for fans of Bridgerton.

1784 England. Officially hired as the librarian for the Duchess of Beaufort, Miss Tiffany Woodall is through with masquerades and murders for good. That is, until she stumbles upon the frozen dead body of former footman Mr. Bernard Coram. The speed with which her peaceful new life is upended is one for the record books: the justice of the peace immediately declares her the primary suspect in the murder.

As Tiffany hunts for the truth to clear her name, she learns that Bernard got into a fight over a woman at the local pub the night of his death–but he was also overheard blackmailing Samir. The justice of the peace arrests Samir, and Tiffany realizes that her life may have more in common with a tragic play than a light-hearted romance.

With her love locked up in jail and her own reputation on the line, Tiffany must attempt to solve the murder before the book closes on her or Samir’s life.

About Samantha Larsen


Samantha Larsen met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, having tea parties, and chasing her four kids. She has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of North Texas, and the University of Reading (UK). She also writes historical romances under Samantha Hastings. Learn more at

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Currently Reading...

I just finished reading Once Upon a Murder by Samantha Larsen. This book is the second in the Lady Librarian Mystery series and will be released February 20, 2024.

Tiffany Woodall is running late for her job as librarian at Astwell Palace, which is nothing new. However, her tardiness on this day is due to stumbling over the dead body of Bernard Coram, a nasty former footman. The despicable Justice of the Peace, Sir Walter Abney, immediately suspects Tiffany of murder, then arrests Constable Samir Lathrop. Knowing he will not receive a fair trial, Tiffany is desperate to discover the real killer herself. But there are lots of secrets in this small village and villagers tend to stick together, especially against a foreigner. In 1784 England there's not a lot a single woman is allowed to do, but unexpected aid comes from the formidable Duchess of Beaufort. Will they be able to get to the truth?

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

A Killer Romance - A Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Summer Merriweather to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Summer on the pages of the Beach Reads Mystery series by Maggie Blackburn. A Killer Romance is the third book in the series and was released last week.

There is nothing romantic about Romeo and Juliet. So, as a Shakespeare scholar-cum-bookstore owner, I bristled when I read about Lana Livingston’s new romance being touted as a modern Romeo and Juliet, but with a happy ending. Well, then it’s not Romeo and Juliet. That’s pretty simple. Oh I know how these book marketing types are. They are sale people that barely read the books they are trying to get into the hands of bookstore owners and eventually readers. They are doing a great disservice to readers. They could at least read the books they are marketing.

That said, I know this “Romance by the Sea” event will be good for the bookstore, so I try to keep my mouth shut. (It’s getting harder by the minute.) February is a lackluster month for beach communities, so a few years back my mom came up with this event and it’s been a godsend to the community. Even though I despise Valentine’s Day—don’t get me started on that—I find myself looking forward to some of the upcoming events. There’s a new chocolatier in town and she’ll be doing a chocolate and wine tasting. I’m so excited that I could burst. Her chocolate is sublime. I’ve been lucky enough to help her with a few tastings of new products. It’s the least I could do—to help out my new business neighbor, right?

It helps that I like her a lot. I feel she’s a wonderful addition to our beach community. I think we all agree that she’s an asset. Mom would be very proud of the community spirit I’ve adopted. Okay, well not completely. But I’m working on it.


 A Killer Romance (A Beach Reads Mystery) by Maggie Blackburn

About A Killer Romance

A Killer Romance (A Beach Reads Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Setting - North Carolina
Crooked Lane Books (February 6, 2024)
Hardcover: ‎ 304 pages

Love and murder are in the air this Valentine’s day in Maggie Blackburn’s third Beach Reads mystery, perfect for fans of Eva Gates and Miranda James.

When Beach Reads bookshop hosts a Valentine’s Day event, “Romance by the Sea,” bookseller Summer Merriweather has no idea that the guest author is under investigation for her own husband’s murder. When that same author is found dead at the local bed and breakfast, nobody assumes it’s natural causes–there were plenty of people who wanted her dead.

As Summer searches for the truth about the author’s stranger-than-fiction life, Summer finds suspicious indications of shady behavior in the author’s belongings. But the casual sleuthing is quickly derailed when Summer’s friend Glads gets hauled in for the murder, and they launch a full-blown investigation to clear her name.

As Summer and company pick through the scant clues to solve the case, they may find more treachery and heartbreak than they bargained for.

About Maggie Blackburn

Maggie Blackburn is the pen name for bestselling mystery author Mollie Cox Bryan, who writes cozy mysteries with edge. She's the author of several bestselling mystery series Her books have been selected as finalists for an Agatha Award and a Daphne du Maurier Award and as a Top 10 Beach Reads by Woman's World. She has also been short-listed for the Virginia Library People's Choice Award. She's also penned a historical mystery under the name of Mollie Ann Cox. She lives in Crozet, Va. and is the mother of two grown, nearly perfect daughters.

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Sunday, February 11, 2024

Murder, She Wrote: Fit for Murder - A Review & Giveaway


By Jessica Fletcher & Terrie Farley Moran
The Fifty-Seventh Murder, She Wrote Mystery
Former newspaper editor, Evelyn Phillips, is back in Cabot Cove for a visit, but instead of relaxing she's causing a ruckus. She's concerned her friend Berthe Mae is losing her marbles, so smitten is she with the new yoga instructor. Convinced the man is up to no good Evelyn convinces Jessica to help her check into things. After taking a class with the man Jessica does notice his familiarity with the much older women in the group. Before they can determine if he truly does have bad intentions, he's found dead in his gym...and it's no accident. With Berthe Mae inconsolable and Evelyn a suspect, Jessica will have to look into the fitness guru's past to determine just who killed him.
Cabot Cove is such a charming town with its friendly citizens and lovely scenery. I can picture Jessica cycling through town, waving at her neighbors, and enjoying good food and company, even if at times she'd rather be alone. Just being in Cabot Cove is relaxing and enjoyable...even with all the murders! And in FIT FOR MURDER we have more than one crime to attend to.
I really enjoyed the mystery here. A variety of events clouded the picture, making me wonder what was relevant. In fact, when a second crime was committed, I wondered if it was related to the murder. For a little town, there sure is a lot of crime and drama!
While light-hearted, the fifty-seventh Murder, She Wrote Mystery tackles a serious subject, the exploitation of the elderly. The authors tackle the subject with grace, but I'm glad awareness is brought to a subject often hidden; young, fit lotharios ingratiating themselves with elderly women just to get their money.

MURDER, SHE WROTE: FIT FOR MURDER is a classic mystery that leaves you with a feeling that, despite some problems, all's right with the world. 


 Murder, She Wrote: Fit for Murder by Jessica Fletcher & Terrie Farley Moran

About Murder, She Wrote: Fit for Murder

Murder, She Wrote: Fit for Murder
Cozy Mystery 57th in Series
Setting - Maine
Berkley (January 23, 2024)
Hardcover: ‎ 288 pages

Jessica Fletcher learns that exercise can be murder in this new entry in the USA Today bestselling Murder, She Wrote series.

Former editor of the Cabot Cove Gazette, Evelyn Phillips is back in Cabot Cove. Evelyn tells Jessica and Seth that she got a couple of really weird notes from Bertha Mae Cormier so she’s come back to town to check on her old friend. She demands that Jessica come with her to see Bertha Mae, who is a bit dithery but no more so than Jessica remembers her being in recent years.

Jessica does become somewhat concerned when Bertha Mae starts to talk about her new neighbor, Martin Terranova. He is quite charming and very health conscious and he teaches yoga and meditation in his pool house. Maureen Metzger says that she and Bertha Mae became friends in Terranova’s class and mentions how solicitous he is to his older clients.

Jessica attends one of his classes and does notice that Terranova is flirtatious with several elderly clients, especially Bertha Mae. Evelyn is becoming convinced that Bertha Mae is being mesmerized by Terranova and that he is after Bertha Mae’s money. A short while late, Martin turns up dead in his weight room. What at first blush seems to be an accident, soon proves to be murder and Jessica must put her investigative skills to the test when Evelyn becomes the prime suspect.

About the Authors


Along with Jessica Fletcher, Terrie Farley Moran co-writes the Murder She Wrote mystery series including Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court. She is the author of the Read ‘Em and Eat cozy mystery series and also co-writes the Scrapbooking Mysteries with Laura Childs. Recipient of both the Agatha and the Derringer Awards, Moran has published numerous mystery short stories. The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is hanging out with any or all of her seven grandchildren.  

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Friday, February 9, 2024

Hammers and Homicide - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Paula Charles to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Paula writes the Hometown Hardware Mystery series. HAMMERS AND HOMICIDE is the first book in the series and was released last month.

Kathy: In HAMMERS AND HOMICIDE we meet Dawna Carpenter who runs a hardware store. Are you a handy person who's at home in a hardware store?

PC: My grandparents owned and operated the hardware store in our small hometown, so I spent scads of time in the store. For small projects, I can swing a hammer and use a saw with the best of them. For the last handful of years, my favorite projects have been restoring furniture like April does in the book.

Kathy: Dawna's adult daughter April has moved back to town and the two become involved in the murder investigation. Why choose a daughter as a crime solving partner instead of a friend, or someone else?

PC: That’s a good question. I have two adult daughters myself, who I count as a couple of my closest friends. If it were me needing to jump in to investigate a murder, I’d trust my daughters to have my back.

Kathy: I almost always feel developers are the devil incarnate. What are your thoughts as to why they make great victims?

PC: This question made me chuckle. I’m a former escrow officer who dealt with quite a few land developers. While some are upstanding citizens, it wasn’t too far of a stretch to pull pieces and parts from others together to form the victim in Hammers and Homicide. There’s an arrogance that just makes you want to slap some of them into next week.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

PC: I’m an avid reader and read widely in most genres. Cozy mysteries have long been what I reach for when I need something light between heavier reads. They’re fun and comfortable, like a visit with an old friend.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

PC: I’m new to this author gig, and loving it! This is my first published book of fiction and I have another cozy mystery series coming out in March under the pen name of Janna Rollins, so to answer your question, not yet. I have an idea for a historical fiction novel, but the research seems daunting, so we shall see!


Kathy: Tell us about your series. 

PC: So far, I’m only contracted for the first book in this series, but the second is written and my fingers are crossed for good news. I also write the Zen Goat Mysteries under the pen name of Janna Rollins. AN ESCAPE GOAT comes out in March and features a goat yoga instructor who accidentally invites a murderer to stay at her family’s farm in New Hampshire.

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

PC: That’d be like picking a favorite child, though Dawna Carpenter is near and dear to my heart because she’s based on my grandmother.

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

PC: Yes, as I mentioned above, Dawna is loosely based on my grandmother, who owned and operated the hardware store in my hometown. Pine Bluff is also based on my hometown, though I’ve fictionalized it.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

PC: I wanted my grandkids to think I was famous!

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

PC: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Alice Hoffman, Ann Hite, and Harper Lee.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

PC: TIDELANDS by Phillipa Gregory. Historical fiction set in England in the 1600s.

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

PC: Reading! I love to read and am never without a book nearby. I knit, though not as much as I used to. I find after a day of writing, my hands aren’t up for an evening of knitting. In the spring and summer, I like to dig in the dirt. We plant a vegetable garden and I have scads of flower beds.

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

PC: Almond milk, potato chips, cashew ice cream, and broccoli.  


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

PC: I’d like for their to be a minimum of three books in the Hometown Hardware series, but that depends on my publisher. I’m contracted for three books in the Zen Goat series and have just finished up writing book two. 


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

PC: The people I have met. The cozy mystery community is incredibly welcoming and supportive. I’ve made some great new friends here! 



The First Hometown Hardware Mystery

It's another beautiful summer's day in Pine Bluff, Oregon. Dawna Carpenter is preparing to open her hardware store for the day and not even her annoying tenant who owns the shop next door can get her down. Her youngest daughter, April, has moved back into town, ostensibly to help with design aspect of the store, but Dawna thinks she's there to make sure she hasn't lost whatever marbles she has left after becoming a widow. The day soon gets a lot darker, not because of an impending mountain storm, but because Dawna finds a dead body in the bathroom. Dawna soon discovers that a lot of people had issues with the dead developer. When her good friend is arrested and she thinks the police have stopped investigating, having found their man, she and April step in. Will the mother and daughter duo be able to find the real killer?  
Dawna Carpenter is a bit silly, goofy, and accident prone, but I find I really like her. She is aware of her foibles and embraces them. Her daughter, April, also makes a fine character, strong, yet caring with a wry sense of humor. One of my favorite things about HAMMERS AND HOMICIDE is the slight paranormal touch. Dawna senses her late husband...and cat. It is by no means considered a paranormal mystery, but I love that special touch. Pine Bluff, Oregon makes a gorgeous setting. I'd love to wander around town. And I love that while there may be a romance on the horizon, it's not with Dawna.

I enjoyed the mystery and the way Dawna goes about her regular business while she investigates. I also got a kick out of the ruse she and Dawna used to gain access to neighbors' homes. I can just picture them and that little red wagon.

A fun mother daughter duo make HAMMERS AND HOMICIDE an enjoyable start to a new series.

 Hammers and Homicide (A Hometown Hardware Mystery) by Paula Charles

About Hammers and Homicides

Hammers and Homicide (A Hometown Hardware Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - Oregon
Crooked Lane Books (January 16, 2024)
Hardcover: ‎ 280 pages

Perfect for fans of Kate Carlisle and Victoria Gilbert, when a body is found in a hardware store, will Dawna Carpenter’s sleuthing measure up to find the killer?

Recent sexagenarian widow Dawna Carpenter thought running her own hardware store after the death of her husband was hard enough. With her adult daughter, April, moving back into town, and Darlene, the annoying boutique owner next door to her shop poking around, Dawna has her hands full. But when she finds a dead man in the bathroom of her store, with a framing hammer by his side, she’s in way over her head.

The victim, Warren Highcastle, was a land developer who was looking to purchase the old theater in town to build a new hotel. Dawna and April, worried about the implications of the crime scene at the hardware store, put themselves on the case. They soon learn that Warren had made quite a few enemies in his short amount of time in town. As the suspect list starts growing, so too do the threats against Dawna and April. Can Dawna and April nail the killer before they strike again?

About Paula Charles


When Paula Charles isn't writing under the towering trees of the Pacific Northwest, she can be found in the garden with her hands in the dirt or sitting on her front porch with a good book and a glass of iced tea. She has a love for small towns, ghost stories, and pie. Paula lives on a small farm in Southwestern Washington with her patient husband and a handful of furry and feathered critters. Paula also writes cozy mysteries under the pen name of Janna Rollins.  

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Website: Cozy Mystery Writer | Paula Charles Cozy Mystery Author  




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Thursday, February 8, 2024

Murder at the Fireside Inn - An Interview, Review, and Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Kitty Kildare to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Kitty writes the Veronica Vale Investigates Mystery series. DEATH AT THE FIRESIDE INN is the first book in the series and was released last month.

Kathy: DEATH AT THE FIRESIDE INN takes place in 1920s England. Why choose this time period and location for your series?

KK: Britain after the First World War was a time of great change and development. Many people saw opportunities to develop new businesses, grow their industries, and explore new avenues. This was particularly so for women, many of whom stepped into roles previously closed to them. They learned new skills, confidence, and were seen as valued in society for more than their ability to be mothers and look after a home. It was the perfect setting to showcase Veronica as she explored those options and dealt with many barriers to her doing exactly what she wanted.

I chose London as Veronica Vale’s base, because it’s such a vibrant place. The city suffered greatly during bombing raids but was quick to rebuild, and that impetus led to a clearing of many previously slum areas, creating vibrant pockets across the city for people to thrive.

As the series progresses, Veronica and her friends will venture further afield. Veronica’s family own a number of pubs and taverns across the country (and many bodies keep showing up in them, which means Veronica has no choice but to involve herself in the investigations,) so she’ll have adventures as far away as Yorkshire and Scotland. 


Kathy: I love that Veronica has a rescue dog named Benji and volunteers at the Dogs’ Home. Are you a dog lover as well?

KK: I’m a huge fan of all animals. Books, animals, and cake are my main three passions in life. When I was younger, an aunty raised and trained guide dogs, so I was often around puppies, helping to socialize them. And for fun, I volunteer as a pet sitter, getting a free holiday in different parts of the country in exchange for looking after houses and the resident pets. In two weeks, I’m taking care of two adorable small dogs in Cambridge.

The Dog’s Home in Veronica Vale Investigates is based on a real charity located in London. In the back of Death at the Fireside Inn, I explore the history of the charity and how it came into being. It now supports thousands of dogs and cats every year to ensure they have a safe space to live and a forever home to go to.

Kathy: Veronica is tasked with writing the obituary of Florence Sterling, an actress found dead in her dressing room. Are you a fan of the theatre?

KK: Very much. I recently attended a performance of Agatha Christie’s the Mousetrap while staying in York. And as a late birthday treat, I’m going to see a play called Murder in the Dark, which explores the trouble people get into when the lights go out in an isolated cottage in rural England.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

KK: One of the things I love about cozy mysteries is how they unpeel the layers of a seemingly idyllic life, to reveal not everything is as wonderful as it seems. Take the example of the British TV series Midsomer Murders. The villages where the murders occur and the residents living there appear to have glorious lives and no problems. But the detective in charge of the investigation doesn’t take long to reveal the dark heart lurking within the village.

Everyone’s life is complicated, and I love exploring the nuances of individuals and testing their boundaries to see what would turn them into a killer.

Another wonderful thing about many cozy mystery series is the inclusion of firm friends and close family. Many people don’t have those strong connections in society anymore, and it can feel like a lonely place. I hope in a small way, my books help to give people a connection to a world where they feel they can belong and be happy.

I call my books mini escape portals because if anyone’s having a tough day, they can crack open the pages or open their e-reader, and return to the people and places they love spending time with.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

KK: I do. I have pen names for sweet romance and sci-fi romance.

My main author name (K.E. O’Connor) writes paranormal cozy mysteries and baking mysteries. These series include: the Holly Holmes cozy culinary mysteries, Crypt Witch cozy mysteries, Witch Haven, Magical Misfits Mysteries, and the Lorna Shadow cozy ghost mysteries.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

KK: Veronica Vale Investigates is all about ensuring justice, relationships, and progress. Veronica wouldn’t be half the woman she is if she didn’t have the strong bonds of her eccentric family around her, a found family at the dogs’ home, and her almost sisterly bond with her best friend Ruby Smythe. Add in her adorable, clever dog Benji, and she has a wonderful support network.

It’s often said that you become the product of the people you spend the most time with, and I wanted to explore this with Veronica. Although she’s often exasperated by her mother’s determination to remain in her sick bed, Ruby’s flirty, feckless nature, and Inspector Jacob Templeton’s surliness, they all assist her to grow her character and change her own small flaws—although she’d be unlikely to admit that!

As the series progresses, readers will see Veronica come out of her comfort zone and face a series of challenges with her friends and family. I’ve already planted some small Easter eggs about the difficulties Veronica will experience, and she’ll need her friends and family to ensure she can succeed.

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

KK: An easy answer would be to say Benji, because who doesn’t love a dog? But I do have a soft spot for Ruby Smythe, Veronica’s best friend. She reminds me of one of my close friends who I met at university. She’s funny, lives for the moment, and occasionally makes terrible decisions when it comes to the men in her life. But she’s loyal, smart, and always there when you need her.

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

KK: Inspiration came about through a combination of things. I have an interest in history, so much so, that I trained to be an archaeologist many years ago. The past is fascinating, because you only get snippets of what really happened. The further back you go, the harder it is to unpick the truth. Even recent history comes with its challenges because we interpret it from our modern-day perspective.

The early 1920s have always fascinated me, and I wanted to explore how a woman would live in a society where the values were different from modern day. Changing, but there was still the belief of a woman’s limitations rather than everything she could achieve.

I also wanted to weave in the charitable work undertaken with animals following the Great War. As we’ve seen in modern times, it’s common for animals to be left behind when people flee a war zone, but it’s what happens next that interests me. What hero steps in to ensure those who don’t have a voice are protected too? And that’s why I included the Dogs’ Home in this series. The home was started by one woman, who was determined to ensure stray dogs weren’t left to fend for themselves. From that beginning, a hugely successful charity was created. I always find it inspirational that one person standing up and saying: this isn’t right, and it has to change, and then changing things is extraordinary.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

KK: I’ve been publishing my books for almost ten years. I have my 10-year anniversary in 2025, which is incredible to think I’ve been writing and publishing books for almost a decade.

I love sharing my books and writing them. Even the less exciting parts of publishing, such as checking an edit for the third time or tinkering with book cover designs, still interest me, because they lead to the same thing: sharing the stories for other people to enjoy.

When I was a kid, life wasn’t always fabulous. I was pretty badly bullied and my parents were distracted with their careers and my older brother, so I was often left alone and turned to books as a friend. Books were a place to go to when there was no one to talk to. They made me smile again.

I hope the books I give people provide them with a magical world they can enter, especially if they’ve had a tough day or they’re tired or sick or lonely. The worlds I build are a place people can go to when they want to enjoy themselves.

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

KK: Hilary Mantel because I’d love to know how she came up with the twisted tale of BEYOND BLACK. That novel haunts me.

Alan Rickman known for his acting but he also wrote almost thirty diaries, which have since been published. I had a big old crush on him and adored him in Sense and Sensibility.

Neil Gaiman because he writes such sensible advice and helpful tweets to aspiring authors. He’s seems like a decent, intelligent guy.

Barbara Cartland because I think she’d be hilarious and would bring everyone a feather boa to wear.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

KK: MARPLE. It’s a collection of shorter mysteries written by other mystery authors in the style of Agatha Christie.

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

KK: I really only have a passion for anything book-related. I visit bookstores, libraries, archives, buildings with connections to authors.

I also love eating cake (it would be a full-time hobby if I could get away with it) but I have a terrible blood sugar response to refined carbs, so I’m cutting back.

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

KK: Mushrooms, Chickpeas, Dark chocolate, Tea

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

KK: Veronica Vale Investigates will have 4-5 new books this year. DEATH AT THE DRUNKEN DUCK is her next adventure and releases in March 2024.

I’ll also be working on three books in my Magical Misfits Mysteries, which feature Juno a talking cat as the sleuth and her witch sidekick as they explore magic, murder, and puzzles in the enchanting town of Crimson Cove.

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

KK: I get to live so many adventures. One day, I’m exploring an underground tomb to find treasure, the next I’m being romanced by a magical mage, and on Wednesday, I take afternoon tea with a coven of witches.

And I do it all without leaving my chair!



The First Veronica Vale Investigates Mystery

If there's a dog living rough in London Veronica Vale will move heaven and earth to save the pup, working with the police as well as her friends and family. When an actress unexpectedly dies, Veronica is called to pick up her pampered pug. After learning that there's a second pug who was with the woman at the theatre when she died, Veronica heads to the crime scene to pick up that dog as well. When she discovers a family connection to the deceased she decides to do more than write the obituary her job at the London Times entails. Veronica intends to find out just who killed the star.

The thing I liked best about the first Veronica Vale Investigates Mystery is its devotion to dogs. I love the fact that the Dog Home is based on a real place and that there are people who truly care for animals in need. I also appreciate the fact that a main character has shell-shock, suffering from what today is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), after serving in the front lines in the Great War.

The characters are likeable, aside from those who deliberately aren’t, and the mystery solid. I like how Veronica is able to mix with all manner of people, I got a kick out of Mickey Flynn and hope we see more of him. I enjoyed Veronica's mother's complaining about the pugs, all while cuddling them. Indeed her grousing about everything while actually enjoying it all. Benji is a wonder dog, too good to be real. His actions are amazing, yet I feel he wasn’t flushed out enough as a character. Although we know a lot of important facts about the characters, they still come off as a bit stiff and two dimensional. I want to feel more, as well as learn more about them.

DEATH AT THE FIRESIDE INN is a genial mystery filled with interesting characters and wonderful dogs.


 Death at the Fireside Inn: 1920s Historical Mystery (Veronica Vale Investigates) by Kitty Kildare

About Death at the Fireside Inn

Death at the Fireside Inn: 1920s Historical Mystery (Veronica Vale Investigates)
Historical British Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – 1920s London, England
K.E. O’Connor Books (January 16, 2024)
Number of Pages: 225

A fading star, a puzzling death, and a mystery that must be solved!

Veronica Vale spent a turbulent few years serving her country during the Great War - doing more than her role in the exchange network suggested! Now back on British soil and adjusting to life as an obituary writer for her uncle's newspaper, while caring for her ailing mother, Veronica has gotten used to a slower (and safer) pace of life.

Excitement comes from fun parties, walks with Benji, her beloved rescue dog, and volunteering at the Dogs' Home.

When an old family friend, and former superstar of the theatre, Florence Sterling, is discovered dead in her dressing room at the Winter Garden Theatre in London, Veronica is curious to discover what happened to the sweet, funny, ruthlessly ambitious beauty.

Much to the dismay of her sometimes nemesis Inspector Templeton, Veronica is tasked with writing Florence's obituary. And what she learns will blow the roof off the theatre! That's if she survives to tell the tale.


If you love witty dialogue, historical glamour, intrigue, and a fast-paced cozy mystery set in 1920s England, then you'll adore Kitty Kildare's unputdownable whodunits.


About Kitty Kildare

Immerse yourself into Kitty Kildare's cleverly woven historical British mysteries. Follow the mystery in the Veronica Vale Investigates series and enjoy the dazzle and delights of 1920s England. Kitty is a not-so-secret pen name of established cozy mystery author K.E. O’Connor, who decided she wanted to time travel rather than cast spells! Enjoy the twists and turns.

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