Tuesday, November 9, 2021

ROCCO's November Cozy Reviews!

Ma-Row!  Here are my November reviews for the latest Penguin cozy mysteries!

Up first:


Jenn McKinlay

Library Lover's Mystery

Hardcover - 11/2/21

Five stars

Spring has sprung in Briar Creek, but it is not all sunshine and roses, in the newest Library Lover's Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of One for the Books.

Spring is livening up Briar Creek after a long, cold winter, and newlyweds Lindsey and Sully could not be happier. Even though the upcoming mayoral election is getting heated, everything else in town is coming up daffodils...until a body is found.

Ms. Cole, a librarian and current candidate for town mayor, is shocked when she opens her trunk to discover a murder victim who just so happens to be a guy she dated forty years ago and the founder of the baking empire Nana's Cookies. As the town gossip mill turns, a batch of rumors begins to circulate about Ms. Cole's rebellious youth, which--along with being a murder suspect--threatens to ruin her life and her budding political career. But Ms. Cole is one tough cookie who will not go down without a fight.

Has the campaign for mayor turned deadly? It is up to Lindsey, Sully, and the rest of the crafternoon pals to see how the cookie crumbles and figure out who is trying to frame Ms. Cole for murder and why.

Thank goodness marriage has not dampened Lindsey and Sully's propensity for getting involved with murder!  This time out it's Ms. Cole aka the Lemon who needs thier help when she's a suspect in the murder of an ex-flame.  Hard to think of Ms. Cole with an ex-flame, but stranger things have happened.  You dont need to have read others in this series to enjoy this one, but it helps keep all the interesting characters straight.  Five paws!


A Murder she Wrote Mystery

Jessica Fletcher/Terrie Farley Moran


Four and a half paws!

When a local art shop owner is murdered, Jessica Fletcher is surprised to once again be working alongside her old friend MI-6 agent Michael Haggerty to solve the case in the newest mystery in this USA Today bestselling series.

When Nelson Penzell, co-owner of a local art and treasure store in Cabot Cove, is murdered, the nail tech from Jessica Fletcher's favorite beauty parlor is the main suspect. After all, she's the one who ran out of the store screaming, covered in blood, and holding the murder weapon. Jessica is positive that despite the circumstances, Coreen can't possibly be guilty, and is determined to prove it.

When Michael Haggerty, handsome MI-6 agent and Jessica's old friend, is caught snooping around the victim’s home, it's quickly apparent to her that she was right. Nelson has always had a bit of a reputation for being a rake, but Haggerty is sure his sins go far beyond what anyone in town imagined. If she wants to clear Coreen's name, Jessica will have to work alongside Michael to find out who killed Nelson—and maybe help bust a crime ring in the process.

Jessica goes back to the roots of the old series in this latest entry.  Fans of the show and the book series will enjoy seeing familiar characters in action and, of course, Jessica pulling the rabbit out of the hat to solve the crime!  Four and a half paws.

Doggone Deadly

Deborah Blake

Catskill Pet Rescue Mystery


Four Paws

Kari Stuart is roped into helping out at a dog show—but soon finds she’s bitten off more than she can chew when her best friend is framed for murder in this new Catskills Pet Rescue Mystery.

When the woman running the big regional dog show calls out sick, dog groomer Suz Holden is asked to take over. But it’s too much for her to handle by herself— considering the president of the kennel club, Olivia Weiner, criticizes her at every turn—so she calls in her best friend, Kari Stuart, for help.
A long, stressful day goes from bad to worse when a local breeder is found dead, and the murder weapon seems to incriminate Suz.

While Kari knows her friend isn’t guilty, the police aren’t so sure, especially after a second murder points to Suz again. But trying to run a dog show and investigate a murder at the same time is like herding cats, and Kari will have to rely on the rest of the Serenity Sanctuary staff to keep things running smoothly while she—and her beloved and clever kitten, Queenie—sniff out the truth.

Any mystery that has dogs and cats in it is a sure winner with us!  an enjoyable read. PLus the cover's cute!  Four paws!

An Eggnog to Die For

Amy Pershing

Cape Cod Foodie Mystery


Four Paws

Christmas is coming to Cape Cod, but when Sam Barnes finds a very dead Santa in a very hip restaurant, it’s up to her to sift out suspects who have been naughty vs. nice….

Professional foodie Samantha Barnes has a simple Christmas list: a quiet holiday at home with her dog and a certain handsome harbor master; no embarrassing viral videos; and no finding dead bodies. Unfortunately she’s got family visiting, she’s spending a lot of time in front of the camera, and she’s just stumbled over the lifeless body of the town’s Santa Claus.
Plus, Sam’s plans for Christmas Eve are getting complicated.  There’s the great eggnog debate among her very opinionated guests.  There’s the “all edible” Christmas tree to decorate.  And there’s her Feast of the Five Fishes prepare. Nonetheless, Sam finds herself once again in the role of sleuth. She needs to find out who slayed this Santa—but can she pull off a perfect feast and nab a killer?

Food and mystery what could be more perfect?????  Sam is an engaging character and the holiday mystery is interesting!  I liked the "all edible" Christmas tree. Four paws.

Body and Soul Food

Books N Biscuits Mystery

Abby Collette

MMPB/Berkley/ 11/2/21

Four paws

In this page-turning new mystery series, fraternal twins Keaton and Koby will pull double duty when they take down a killer while preparing to open their new bookstore and soul-food café, Books & Biscuits.

When Koby Hill and Keaton Rutledge were orphaned at age two, they were separated, but their unbreakable connection lingered. Years later, they reunite and decide to make up for lost time and capitalize on their shared interests by opening up a well-stocked bookstore and cozy soul-food café in the quaint Pacific Northwest town of Timber Lake. But this new chapter of their lives could end on a cliffhanger after Koby's foster brother is found murdered.

The murder, which occurred in public between light-rail stops, seems impossible for the police to solve. But as Keaton and Koby know, two heads are always better than one, especially when it comes to mysteries. With just a week to go before the grand opening of their new café, the twins will use their revitalized connection with each other to make sure this is the killer's final page

Definitely a different twist on a cozy mystery!  Twins and a soul food cafe is a good premise and perfect setting for murder!  Looking forward to more.  Four paws!  

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

ROCCO interviews Terrie Farley Moran!


Recently the mantle of co-author of the popular MURDER SHE WROTE series was passed on to Terrie Farley Moran.  Many of you might remember her from co-authoring the Scrapbook Mystery series with Laura Childs!  The newest Jessica Fletcher mystery, DEBONAIR IN DEATH, releases today and we caught up with Terrie to find out her thoughts on continuing this popular series!

Hello Terrie!Meow!

1.      Tell us what your first thought was upon learning you were going to adopt the mantle of Jessica Fletcher's co-author!


Well let me describe the scene. I had no idea that there was any possibility of an opening for a new writer for the Murder, She Wrote series. If you recall the pandemic quarantine began in mid-March 2020. On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2020, I was singing and dancing to Irish music, baking soda bread and bemoaning that there were no parades. The phone rang and I answered, “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!” It was my agent who asked if I would be interested in writing the next few books in the Murder, She Wrote series. Before she could even outline the details of the project I shouted a resounding “YES”. Kim Lionetti is an excellent agent, so although I kept shouting things like, “I want to do this” and “I love Murder, She Wrote” Kim made me listen to all the dreary contract details and

discuss pros and cons. Still, as a fan of Jessica Fletcher since the first episode of the television show in 1984, not to mention I’d read most of the books, some more than once, I was overjoyed at being asked. So I guess you could say I was pretty darn happy! First thought: I can do this!



2.      How would you compare writing the Murder She Wrote Series to others that you've done? Easier?  Harder?  More challenging?


Continuing the Murder, She Wrote series is a huge challenge precisely because it has had such a long, successful life. There are more than two hundred fifty television episodes which are still broadcast around the world every single day. Fifty-two books were written in the series before I came on board. Since some of the early books were written while Murder, She Wrote was still on prime time television, the books are not successors of the television series and as the book were published there have been some character changes. For example, in the books, Sam Booth is no longer the mayor of Cabot Cove. He has been replaced by a man named Jim Shevlin and Jim’s wife, Susan is now the town travel agent, replacing Phyllis Grant who we knew as one of the “girls” at Loretta’s Beauty Parlor. In the television show Sheriff Metzger had a “never actually seen but often mentioned” wife named Adele, but somewhere along the line in the books they got divorced and he is now married to Maureen who is often present when a story line is in Cabot Cove.  So, I have to be extremely careful to keep my facts and people straight. I would hate to write a character as one of Jessica’s pals in a book only to find that person was the murderer or the murder victim in a book written some time ago. (Think back to the tv shows--Preston Giles!) The other significant issue from a writer’s perspective is that in the television episodes there are many scenes where Jessica is not present but the viewer sees what happens. Jessica may or may not learn about those events later on in the episode. However, the books are written in first person so Jessica either has to see what happens or someone has to tell her what they witnessed. The reader can only know what Jessica knows.


3.      Could you tell us what the future might hold for Jessica and her friends?

Certainly! Jessica will have adventures! Hmm, you want a little more? Okay. MURDER, SHE WROTE DEBONAIR IN DEATH (release date November 5, 2021) is set in Cabot Cove. So, we get to hang out with Doctor Seth Hazlitt, Sheriff Mort Metzger and the girls in Loretta’s Beauty Parlor. The big surprise is that British secret agent Michael Haggerty shows up! And then what? I can’t say any more about that but I can tell you that in MURDER, SHE WROTE KILLER ON THE COURT (release date May 17, 2022) Jessica will be at Rockaway Beach in New York City along with Grady, Donna and their son Frank, named for Jessica’s late husband. Oh and if you haven’t read MURDER, SHE WROTE KILLING IN A KOI POND, which was released this past June, the good news is, that it is now available in mass market paperback, so you can read how Jessica fairs when she visits an old college friend in Columbia, South Carolina. As you can see, Jessica Fletcher sure gets around, and we all know what happens wherever she goes.



4.      You also co-author the Scrapbooking series with Laura Childs. Will you be continuing to do that and if so, can you give us a preview of what might be coming up for Carmela and her beau, Edgar?

Our publisher would like us to continue with the New Orleans Scrapbooking series. Laura and I have talked about trying to find the time to write the next book. However, we are each writing multiple books a year so time is a problem. Even if we were scheduled to write a book in the near future, I couldn’t tell you anything about it. Carmela, Edgar, (and let’s not forget Ava) are Laura’s characters and I never talk about what they might be up to until the book is on the editor’s desk because Laura is the lead on plot and character development.


5.      Below are ROCCO's Fast Five.  Don't take time to think, just answer with the first thing that comes to your mind!  and thank you for the interview!


a.      What is your favorite part of the day?


Evening as day turns to dusk and dusk turns to dark.


b.      What food do you wish were calorie free?

Ice cream, especially with candy or cookies scattered in it.


c.      How do you clear your head after a bad day?


Talk or text with one of my children or grandchildren about their day!


d.      What smell takes you back to your childhood?

Laundry drying outdoors.


e.      Who would make you starstruck?

Angela Lansbury! Of course!


Rocco, thank you so much for inviting me! I loved all the questions, especially the Fast Five. And if it isn’t too much of an imposition, would you please tell Toni I said hello!!

ROCCO:  Done, Terrie! Toni says hello back and thank you!!!!!

For the next MSW release, I will interview the one and only Jessica Fletcher!  Watch for that in 2022!  I will review this book in my November post next week.

About the author(s)

Jessica Fletcher is a bestselling mystery writer who has a knack for stumbling upon real-life mysteries in her various travels.

Terrie Farley Moran is thrilled to be co-author, along with Jessica Fletcher, of the long running Murder, She Wrote series. She has also written the beachside Read ‘Em and Eat cozy mystery series and is co-author of Laura Childs’ New Orleans scrapbooking mysteries. Terrie is a recipient of both the Agatha and Derringer awards. Learn more online at terriefarleymoran.com.


Penguin Publishing has consented to give away a  hardcover copy of DEBONAIR IN DEATH  to one of our lucky commenters!  To enter, just leave a comment in our comments section telling us what your favorite episode of MURDER SHE WROTE was!!!!  (Mine:  the Headless Horseman from season 4)

Don't forget to leave your email address so we can contact the winner!  US entries only please!

Contest ends midnight, November 12.