Book lovers count summer as the perfect time to indulge in escapist reading. What better way to while away a poolside afternoon than to get lost in a zany cozy mystery? In these light whodunits you’ll meet amateur detectives and quirky characters, be transported to small town living, and even find a recipe or two. No need to fret about catching up with an established protagonist’s backstory; instead here’s your chance to get in on the ground floor by reading one of these first-in-series mysteries, fresh off the presses in time for your warm-weather enjoyment.
Tracy Kiely’s Murder with a Twist: Hollywood socialites, Nic and Nigel Martini are in New York City visiting family for the winter holidays. When one of Nigel’s cousins asks for help tracking down her missing husband, Nic comes to the rescue, with her husband and bullmastiff in tow. The madcap fun, headstrong dog, and witty dialogue–not to mention more than a few cocktails–will keep you guessing until the end.
Carlene O’Neil’s One Foot in the Grape: When Penny Lively moves back to Cypress Cove, California, to take over her family’s wine business, she is looking forward to peaceful days in the vineyard. But when someone starts to sabotage the neighbor’s wine and an employee is found dead in the wine press, Penny is forced to put her photojournalism skills to good practice to find the killer. A twisty plot and a handsome winery manager complete this series debut.
Amanda Flower’s The Final Reveille: Civil War reenactment is supposed to be a fun way to bring history alive. For Kelsey Cambridge, director of a living history museum in Ohio, playtime ends when her funding is threatened and the benefactor’s nephew is murdered before the last battle cry has faded. Can Kelsey save the museum, keep the history buffs happy, and solve the case all before she either becomes the next victim or is arrested for murder?
Linda O. Johnston’s Bite the Biscuit: Because veterinary technician Carrie Kennersly has developed a glowing reputation for her homemade dog treats, she can’t resist the opportunity to open a unique bakery: one that caters to both humans and their dogs. The future looks bright until the owner of a local pet store is found dead, and Carrie is pegged as the killer. A tricky plot, a little romance, and some loveable sidekicks will have you reading this in one sitting.
Linda Reilly’s Fillet of Murder: After surviving a bad job and a failed relationship, Talia Marby returns to her Berkshires hometown to work in a friend’s fish and chips shop. Unfortunately, a dispute among business owners results in murder, and it’s up to Talia to keep her friend out of jail. Complex characters and a few red herrings make it hard to ID the killer. Be warned: you might be craving a deep-fried meal before you reach the last page.