Book Review: Death Plays a Part by Vivian Conroy

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

DEATH PLAYS A PART (Cornish Castle Mystery Book 1) by Vivian Conroy is the first of a new cozy mystery series featuring Guinevere Evans and her adorable dachshund, Dolly. It is a clever locked room cozy set in an old castle on a tidal island off the coast of Cornwall.

Guinevere is a costume designer for a London theater that has to close for renovations over the summer. She receives an offer to work and live at Cornisea castle cataloguing their library. She is excited to have a summer of island adventures with Dolly to tell all of her theater family about in the fall.

When she arrives on Cornisea, she is immediately thrown into the mix of players that are producing a reenactment of the medieval trial of Branok the Cold-hearted. Arthur Haydock is playing Branok and is locked in a cell in the dungeon for the rehearsal and found stabbed to death by the cast. Only Lord Bolingbrooke has a key to the cell, but he swears he is innocent even though he and Haydock were at odds. Guinevere and Dolly, with the help of Oliver, Lord Bolingbrooke’s son who has returned after traveling the world, work to uncover all of the players’ secrets and motives for wanting Haydock dead.

I enjoyed every aspect of this story. The plot was tightly woven and had me guessing until the end, even though I suspected who was responsible, I could not figure out the “How”. The pacing is steady and as you read the story, you are always given some new piece of the puzzle that makes you want to continue on. The setting of the castle and village on the tidal island was vividly described and a unique setting.

Guinevere is a main character that I am looking forward to reading more about. We gets peeks into her past, but some things are still unclear. She is mature and steady even though she is only 24 years old, which could come from being raised by her grandmother and/or being on her own. One thing is certain, she and Dolly are a great pair. Oliver, Lord Bolingbrooke’s son, makes an interesting co-sleuth and possibly more in future books? Ms. Conroy portrays the islanders vs. the main landers mentality realistically and shows how it effects the characters’ moods and actions.

I am looking forward to more Cornisea adventures with Guinevere and Dolly.

**Please visit all of the Death Plays A Part Blog Tour stops and check out all of the great blogs/reviews for this new book!

Book Review: Smugglers & Scones by Morgan C. Talbot

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

SMUGGLERS & SCONES (Moorehaven Mysteries, #1) by Morgan C. Talbot is a wonderful new cozy mystery that introduces us to a special B&B in Seacrest on the Oregon coast and a cast of intelligent and quirky characters.

World famous mystery writer, A. Raymond Moore left his huge home, Moorehaven, on the Oregon coast in trust to his friend Hilt, the town’s former chief of police with the stipulation that it become a B&B for mystery writers only. Now that Hilt is older, he has hired his niece, Pippa Winterbourne to run the B&B. Pippa has modernized the advertising and recipes in her six years at Moorehaven and now has a large group of famous, new and want-to-be mystery authors rotating through Moorhaven’s doors.

When a small tourist fishing boat crashes in the middle of the night, Pippa rushes to help and saves the handsome Lakyn “Lake” Ivens. They both find out the next day that there was also a dead man on the boat. Lake has no memories of the accident or what happened to the dead owner of the boat. Pippa, with the help of Lake, the visiting authors and a cast of fun characters from Seacrest become tangled in a deadly plot that incorporates the town’s Prohibition history with the present.

Pippa is a strong and intelligent lead character. She loves Moorehaven, her job, the writers who stay at the B&B and all the characters that populate Seacrest. Her Uncle Hilt keeps the old mansion in working order, while also taking care of his old friend’s journals, papers and books for future writers and scholars to study. At a few places in the book, it does slow down a bit, but I feel this is because there is so much to set up and characters to introduce for the series. Overall though, the world-building was entertaining and interesting.

Characters make a cozy for me and this book is full of many that I can’t wait to revisit. Pippa is a great choice as a lead. The “Glaze and Gossip” group she is invited to join had me laughing out loud. Tyleen with her binoculars and Wallis the gloomy florist all add to the town’s cast of unique characters. This is a wonderful story and I love that there will always be mystery writers and their books involved in each story.

I am anxiously waiting for the next book in this series!

Book Review: Murder By The Book by Devorah Fox

murder by the book

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

I really enjoyed MURDER BY THE BOOK by Devorah Fox which is a mini-cozy mystery that is packed into 27 pages. I KNOW!!! I was very surprised that such a short story had almost everything I look for in a much longer book.

Candy Wadsen comes into work at the Sugarloaf Inn and Resort to find her loathsome boss murdered at his desk. Candy is a mystery book buff and knows what to do, but reality is very different from books. She is quickly cleared with her alibi by the hunky Sergeant Dan Petrowski, but the rest of the staff had to stay for an after work meeting and all become suspects.

This is a wonderfully clever who-done-it that had me guessing until the end. All of the characters were your usual cast of quirky cozy mystery types and they were well written for the short length of the story. When you want a very quick and smart mini-cozy mystery, grab this one and you will not be disappointed!