Article published on April 6, 2018.
Welcome to the corner of BookNoir dedicated to all things cosy!
This is the first instalment in what will become a regular monthly feature previewing forthcoming titles in the cosy crime genre. If you like your murders to be gore-free and your detectives to be enthusiastic amateurs (who are more often than not aided by an animal investigative assistant), then this is the place for you. Happily, there are several excellent-sounding cosy crime novels due to be published in April (OK, a couple of recent releases might have sneaked in too):
Date with Mystery by Julia Chapman. This is the third outing for Bruncliffe-based Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe. This time, the combined investigative abilities of the Dales Detective Agency and the Dales Dating Agency are required to track down the death certificate of a young woman who died over twenty years ago. Of course, things in Bruncliffe are never simple and a quick trip to the local records office is certainly not going to prove sufficient when there is a decades-old mystery to solve.
Pan 9781509823871 pbk March 2018
The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes. This is the first novel in a proposed series of Golden Age-style mysteries featuring the infamous Mitford sisters. The murder of a nurse, one Florence Nightingale Shore, in broad daylight in the midst of a train journey spurs sixteen-year-old Nancy Mitford and her chaperone/confidante Louisa Cannon to turn their nimble minds to sleuthing. The forthcoming books in the series will each focus on a different Mitford sister.
Sphere 9780751567182 pbk April 2018
A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson. This book considers a possible explanation for Agatha Christie’s eleven-day disappearance in 1926. In it, Christie is compelled to use her expertise in murder to assist the despicable Dr Patrick Kurs with his nefarious plans, while also dealing with the emotional fallout from her failed marriage and ensuring that she isn’t recognised by any of her legions of fans. A sequel, A Different Kind of Evil, is due to be published in May.
Simon & Schuster UK 9781471148248 pbk March 2018
Money in the Morgue by Stella Duffy and Ngaio Marsh. Stella Duffy completed this Inspector Alleyn mystery, which was begun by Ngaio Marsh during World War Two. When car trouble causes Mr Glossop to be stranded overnight at Mount Seager Hospital, he locks the payroll he was attempting to deliver in the hospital’s safe. Unfortunately, the money disappears from the locked safe and, even more unfortunately, the hospital’s body count begins to rise. It’s certainly lucky then that Inspector Roderick Alleyn happens to be present in Mount Seager Hospital due to his secret wartime work.
Collins Crime Club 9780008207106 hbk March 2018
In Prior’s Wood by G.M. Malliet. The seventh book in the Max Tudor series. After Lady Duxter and her lover are found dead following an apparent suicide pact, her husband Lord Duxter throws himself into organising a writers’ retreat at his manor house. When a young girl goes missing and a crime writer appears to be targeted, handsome vicar and former MI5 operative Max Tudor is asked to investigate.
Constable 9781472125187 pbk April 2018
The Staveley Suspect by Rebecca Tope. The seventh book in Tope’s Lake District Mysteries series. Simmy Brown is trying to keep her florist business afloat while also dealing with various relationship problems. An order for a retirement party leads to a chance encounter with a daughter who is accusing her own mother of murder and, aided by Ben and Bonnie, Simmy is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Allison & Busby 9780749022396 hbk April 2018
While British authors arguably got the cosy crime ball rolling, cosy (or should that be cozy?) mysteries are also incredibly popular in the United States, and there are a number of new US-based cosies to look forward to this April:
Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams. The fourth book in the Book Retreat Mystery series. Book lovers travel from across the country to visit Storyton Hall, Virginia, and enjoy a warming beverage in the Agatha Christie Tea Room. When the construction of a new spa complex at the hall leads to the discovery of unusual bones and a very old book, Jane Steward, manager of the hall, and various Rare Book Conference attendees dive straight into solving the historical mystery.
Kensington Publishing Corporation 9781496715630 pbk April 2018
Read Herring Hunt by V.M. Burns. The second book in the Samantha Washington Bookshop Mystery series. Samantha rushes to the rescue when Dawson Alexander, local hero quarterback and her favourite tenant, is accused of murdering his former girlfriend. Aided by her feisty grandmother and members of the Sleuthing Senior Book Club, Sam has to solve this real-life murder while also finding time to finish her latest murder mystery novel.
Kensington Publishing Corporation 9781496711830 pbk April 2018
Murder at the Mushroom Festival by Janet Finsilver. The fourth book in the Kelly Jackson Mystery series. Jackson is running a cookery class during the mushroom festival in the hope of attracting guests to her B&B, but her attempts to forage for edible mushrooms on sacred Native American land lead to her becoming mixed up in the murder of a local newspaper reporter. As suspicions run wild in the local community, Jackson and her gang of “Silver Sentinels” attempt to uncover the secrets of the secluded property and track down the killer.
Kensington Publishing Corporation 9781516104239 pbk April 2018
Death of a Cookbook Author by Lee Hollis. The tenth book in the Hayley Powell Mystery series. Hayley Powell is invited to participate in a celebrity Fourth of July cook-off by her idol, cookbook author and TV personality Penelope Janice. However, her excitement is short-lived, as she promptly falls ill with food poisoning and, in an admittedly rather delirious state, thinks she hears two people plotting a murder. When a body is later discovered, Hayley puts her culinary ambitions on hold and sets out to investigate.
Kensington Publishing Corporation 9781496713841 pbk April 2018
Bleeding Tarts by Kirsten Weiss. The second Pie Town Mystery. When Valentine Harris is asked to provide pies for an eating contest to be held in an Old West ghost town, she has high hopes that the event will revive her flagging business, but no sooner does she arrive in town than a stray bullet causes the premature death of one of her pies. A bartender has been murdered and Valentine, along with friendly pie crust specialist Charlene, is determined to rustle up the varmint responsible.
Kensington Publishing Corporation 9781496708977 pbk April 2018
Shot in the Dark by Cleo Coyle. The seventeenth book in the Coffeehouse Mystery series. All the coffeehouse regulars seem to be addicted to smartphone dating apps, but the dating game soon turns deadly when a successful entrepreneur who happens to be a serial user of such apps is found dead. Although a suspect in the killing, one of the victim’s former dates, is quickly arrested, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi is not convinced of her guilt and, with the aid of her ex-husband, she begins “swiping” through the other likely suspects.
Berkley Books 9780451488848 hbk April 2018
Reviews of many of these books will be published on Nudge in the forthcoming weeks.