A Death at the Yoga Cafe: A Mystery by Michelle Kelly (Minotaur Books, $27.99, 261 pages)
What could be more wholesome than a yoga studio/vegetarian cafe in a small English village? Everyone knows everyone else; Keeley Carpenter, the proprietor of said studio/cafe, is dating Ben Taylor, the local detective. The bucolic atmosphere in town abruptly shifts when a prominent citizen is found murdered. Of course Keeley, who is a curious and bold young woman, jumps right in and does some detecting of her own. It’s a recipe for danger! This book has a bonus feature. Scattered among the chapters are instructions on yoga poses. The most appropriate entry is corpse pose, which is located at the end of the chapter in which the murder is discovered. Death at the Yoga Cafe is the second book in a series featuring Keeley Carpenter.
Teetotaled: A Mystery by Maia Chance (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 291 pages)
The era is the 1920s and the action takes place in and around New York City. Widowed socialite Lola Woodby and her former cook Berta Lundgren have teamed up to form a business, the Discrete Retrieval Agency. Lola’s husband died leaving her penniless after years of enjoying the high life. Their cases have mostly focused on finding lost pets for well-to-do clients. A high stakes case finds its way to their office/apartment. A diary belonging to the daughter of Lola’s mother’s best friend must be purloined. The revelation of corruption, war crimes, envy, greed and determination uncovered by the lady detectives are timeless, yet author Chance makes them fun to read about when mixed with her wry, droll humor.
The Champagne Conspiracy: A Wine Country Mystery by Ellen Crosby (Minotaur Books, $25.99, 360 pages)
This book, the seventh in the Wine Country Mystery series, is heavy on detail regarding grape growing, wine production and family dynasties in present day Virginia and California as well as both locales during American Prohibition. The lives of many of the characters are interwoven both in the past and the present. Lucie Montgomery inherited the family estate vineyard in Virginia and she is determined to produce a high quality product. Her comrade in wine making is Quinn Santori, a fellow with a closely guarded past. Together they face some rather harrowing scrapes with death while planning the bottling of a sparkling wine, a new addition to their carefully crafted line. Readers new to Crosby would doubtless appreciate a bit more character introduction.
Buried in the Country: A Cornish Mystery by Carola Dunn (Minotaur Books, $25.99, 324 pages)
The charming fourth installment of the Cornish Mystery series set in the 1970s is an escape to a bucolic area of the United Kingdom where the pursuit of criminals requires the navigational skills of local fixture, Eleanor Trewynn. Ms. Trewynn is a retired executive of an international nonprofit agency who now gathers donations for a local thrift shop. Her skills at cross-border negotiation are what lead to involvement in a secret conference regarding apartheid held by a friend in the Commonwealth Relations Department. Ms. Trewynn’s niece, Detective Sargent Megan Pencarrow, is to provide security at a hotel on the coast. There are evil spies who want to derail the event. One crime leads to another and the reader is brought along for a wild ride through the Cornish countryside while the bad guys bumble along back lanes and impassible roads just ahead of the police.
The Reek of Red Herrings: A Dandy Gilver Mystery by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books, $26.99, 295 pages)
This 1930s British murder mystery from Catriona McPherson featuing Dandy Gilver and her partner in detecting Alec Osborne will delight readers. Dandy and Alec have been working together for eight years; however, the outlandish predicaments these two willingly take on here are by far the best of the series. Christmas time or not, the two accept a job from Mr. H. Birchfield, an importer and distributor of fish, herring to be precise. The partial remains of a human have sullied a barrel of his product. Birchfield wants Dandy and Alec to travel to Banffshire coast and solve the “who” and “why” of this creepy occurrence. Never mind that Christmas is but a few days away and Dandy will miss celebrating with her husband and sons. The treacherous cliffs along the seacoast, rain, wind and seriously inbred inhabitants make for ideal subjects of this the fifth in author McPherson’s series. Be prepared for laughs and groans as she fills the pages with puns and outlandish characters!
Murder at the 42nd Street Library: A Mystery by Con Lehane (Minotaur Books, $25.99, 320 pages)
Con Lehane presents the first mystery of his new series featuring Raymond Ambler, a mild mannered librarian at the world famous 42nd Street research library located at 476 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Ray, as his coworkers refer to him, is the curator of the crime fiction collection. While the collection is a figment of Author Lehane’s imagination as is Ray’s boss’s office, the rest of the library is accurately depicted in stunning detail. Who knew that a cold blooded murder could take place within the hallowed halls of the glorious Beau Arts building that is guarded by two fierce lion statues? The lives of several famous and infamous mystery writers are tangled into a confounding web of murders and past evil deeds. This is no breezy read because the details matter and not all the clues lead to a convenient solution.
Review copies were provided by the publisher.