A delightful classic village mystery studded with little-known World War II facts: a promising series debut.

OLIVE BRIGHT, PIGEONEER

A resourceful young Englishwoman gets involved in a homefront World War II mystery.

The departure of Olive Bright’s friend George for air force training leaves her at loose ends but eager to do something to live up to her mother’s World War I ambulance service. There's plenty to keep Olive occupied in the small village of Pipley, especially once she assumes the care and training of her father’s racing pigeons. Her father, a veterinary surgeon, is trying to get the pigeons included in the war effort. The villagers are going all out for victory, but hidden currents are being stirred up by nosy Verity Husselbee. When Jameson Aldridge shows up to see the pigeons, Olive, under the impression that he’s from the Pigeon Service, gives him a tour only to learn that he works for the secretive Baker Street intelligence organization. Sparks fly between Olive and Jamie, and she agrees to work with him and keep her father out of the loop. Leaving the village dance, Olive and Jamie, who are pretending to be dating, find that Olive’s helper, Jonathon, has stumbled over the body of Miss Husselbee, dead after eating a poisoned Spam cake at the refreshment table. Resolving to use the skills she’s learned from reading Agatha Christie novels to solve the crime, Olive must consider even her best friend a potential killer. As she juggles detective work with training her pigeons and cultivating her relationship with Jamie, she turns up some bombshell revelations.

A delightful classic village mystery studded with little-known World War II facts: a promising series debut.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4967-3151-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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The lavish food descriptions and appended recipes are the best parts of this anemic mystery.

CANDY SLAIN MURDER

Christmas is coming, but so is trouble for South Lick, Indiana.

Robbie Jordan, owner and chief cook at Pans ’N Pancakes, returns from solving a murder in California just in time for the holiday rush, which is complicated more than most Christmastimes by a number of surprises that disrupt her circle of friends. First, her assistant, Danna Beedle, gets a visit from Marcus Vandemere, a young biracial man claiming to be her half brother, an assertion that thrills Danna despite the doubts of some friends and relatives. Next comes a fire that nearly destroys the home of anesthesiologist Dr. William Geller, a racist whose wife, Tina, reportedly left him years ago. When a skeleton turns up in the attic, the not-so-esteemed doctor has some explaining to do. Robbie’s nemesis, Detective Octavia Slade, who recently married Robbie’s former boyfriend, is more willing than usual to accept help from Robbie, who has a knack for finding things out. The next to die is Tina’s twin, Toni, who knew Marcus from karate classes. Toni’s husband is the prime suspect, but Robbie’s convinced the fatalities are connected. With help from her boyfriend and her network of friends, she attempts to clear things up before the killer spoils her holiday by adding her to his list.

The lavish food descriptions and appended recipes are the best parts of this anemic mystery.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4967-2317-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A top-class cozy infused with dry wit and charming characters who draw you in and leave you wanting more, please.

THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB

Four residents of Coopers Chase, a British retirement village, compete with the police to solve a murder in this debut novel.

The Thursday Murder Club started out with a group of septuagenarians working on old murder cases culled from the files of club founder Elizabeth’s friend Penny Gray, a former police officer who's now comatose in the village's nursing home. Elizabeth used to have an unspecified job, possibly as a spy, that has left her with a large network of helpful sources. Joyce is a former nurse who chronicles their deeds. Psychiatrist Ibrahim Arif and well-known political firebrand Ron Ritchie complete the group. They charm Police Constable Donna De Freitas, who, visiting to give a talk on safety at Coopers Chase, finds the residents sharp as tacks. Built with drug money on the grounds of a convent, Coopers Chase is a high-end development conceived by loathsome Ian Ventham and maintained by dangerous crook Tony Curran, who’s about to be fired and replaced with wary but willing Bogdan Jankowski. Ventham has big plans for the future—as soon as he’s removed the nuns' bodies from the cemetery. When Curran is murdered, DCI Chris Hudson gets the case, but Elizabeth uses her influence to get the ambitious De Freitas included, giving the Thursday Club a police source. What follows is a fascinating primer in detection as British TV personality Osman allows the members to use their diverse skills to solve a series of interconnected crimes.

A top-class cozy infused with dry wit and charming characters who draw you in and leave you wanting more, please.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-98-488096-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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