Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Royal Wedding?

In my cozy addicted world, Rhys Bowen is what I'd call a major "supplier".  She writes three series - all of which I read and have gotten my mother, my Aunt Martha and my Aunt Lila, hooked on at least one - in some cases - two of these series.  If this was a substance addiction case, Ms. Bowen would be a kingpin in the cozy world supplying those in need with the "super good stuff".  Which brings us to her latest title, Malice at the Palacein her most recent series, A Royal Spyness Mystery

My association with Ms. Bowen began with her wonderful, wonderful, Molly Murphy Mystery series.  I discovered them and chewed them up like so much candy, smacking my lips and living for the next installment.  So entranced was I that I passed this hunger on to my mother, my Aunt Martha and my Aunt Lila.  All three devoured them with the same intense relish and wanting more.  So when I discovered that she wrote a series called A Royal Spyness Mystery that old ambivalence about succumbing to another series reared its ugly head.  I baulked at the thought of getting emotionally involved with characters and adding yet another series to my Excel spreadsheet entitled, "Cozies".  I tried walking away.  I tried looking away.  I even tried dismissiveness:  "Thirty-fourth in line to throne, indeed!  Honestly, who'd swallow that?"  Now the phrase, "choked on his own words" comes quickly to my mind.  Because that is precisely what happened; my pro and con moment in the bookstore lasted all of 30 seconds, I bought the titles available, devoured them and "choked on my own words."  

Firstly, I am a mystery addict from childhood 'nough said.  Secondly, I am an Anglo-phile and have been since my earliest memory.  Thirdly, I, like Queen Mary, love and adore jewelry, although nothing I have could even qualify for a clasp on her rattiest piece.  No matter.  All of these things add up to my love for Georgiana and for Darcy.  For those who have been patient or crazy enough to follow this blog, it's a well-established fact by now that I am a broken record when it comes to one thing in these cozies:  get the main character and their love interest hooked up!  Do not drag it out. I certainly hope that the ending of Malice at the Palace is not something that will backfire in the  next title.  I fully expect to have satisfaction on this matter in the first chapter of that next title.  I beg that this issue of their getting together not be dragged out.  I so want to see Georgiana finally have a place to call her own.  

This was probably one of the very best mysteries in the series and the aspect of the historical figures was perfectly painted. The little twists that involved the other characters in the series was an element that gave the series even more dimension and I look forward to more of that.

I am curious to see how the series will evolve.  King George V hasn't many more years to live in the timeline of the series.  If Ms. Bowen continues advancing the timeline beginning with George V's death, to Edward VIII's abdication to the ascension of George V and Elizabeth becoming heir apparent (or is that heiress?), that would add the most delicious of dimensions to the series.  Only time will tell. 

In addition to the Royal Spyness and Molly Murhphy Mystery Series, Ms. Bowen also pens the Contable Evans Mystery Series. Queen of Hearts, the previous title in A Royal Spyness Mystery, was this year's winner of the Agatha Award.  Heartiest of congratulations to Ms. Bowen!  Ms. Bowen has a wonderful website, so please check it out.:

As always, I love hearing from my fellow cozy mystery addicts.  And should you wish to learn more about me, please visit my website:

Cozies coming in September.  And I have to confess ... yes ... I have succumbed to another series.  I won't write about it until I've read all six and then I will make a full confession.  Why, oh, why oh, why?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cozy Reservation for One Please!

I think it's safe to assume that for all bibliophiles the idea of a place like Storyton Hall is akin to Shangri-la and the Book Retreat Mystery series by Ellery Adams is the stuff that cozy dreams are made of.  And in the most recent title, Murder In The Paperback Parlor that dream cozily continues.  It is the second title in the series with Mystery In The Murder Suite as it's "first in a new series" title debuting last August.  I admit to reading over 30 series - which shockingly enough - doesn't even begin to cover the number of cozy series in existence.  So I can't definitively make this statement, however, in the cozy mystery universe - or at least in my 30+ one, I find this series to be bravely unapologetically fantastical.  It's a cross between Prince Valiant, Knights Templar, Indiana Jones and The Waltons.  As a son of the Old Dominion (that would be the Commonwealth of Virginia for those who don't know) I think it's perfection that's it's set in Virginia.  It lends that old-world tone that thrives and survives today in old established Virginia families. The very premise of the "eighth wonder of the world", the secret library filled with unknown literary treasures from all times and all writers (all the very purest of bibliophile fantasy)is what I mean by the series being unapologetically fantastical.  What balances this fantasy, of course, is the sad reality of a young woman who has been widowed, left to raise small twin boys.  Anyone who doesn't fall immediately in love with Jane and those two adorable boys, Hem and Fitz, would have to be some kind of wretch.  The tattoos,  the special keys, the secret society of double-guised members of Storyton Hall - fighting to the death to protect it - is everything that is delicious about suspending reality and willingly give into fantasy.  Ms. Adams makes you care for all of the people of Storyton Hall and for all of Jane's friends.

On the toilet tank at Storyton Hall?
It's on ours!

The "fantasy perfection" quotient that is at the heart of cozies - you know what I'm talking about: perfect friends, perfect businesses, perfect boyfriends ....  it's what makes cozies, cozies.  But this particular cozy series takes the fantasy perfection to a level that - for me - almost out-fantasys all the series that have paranormal properties, like my beloved Aunt Dimity Series by Nancy Atherton. But I said almost, because I deeply love me some Aunt Dimity!

And Ms. Adams has already set up that love-interest/ambivalent thing that just drives me up the wall.  So I'm going to say to you, Ms. Adams, what I've said to a number of your sister cozy authors:  don't draw the Jane and Edwin thing out - PLEASE!  I'm not saying they have to get married in the next book, but I do so hope that in the next installment the mystery of Edwin will be solved and Jane and he can get on with it. For their sake, for the boys' sake, for Storyon Village's sake - and most importably for my sake. My sanity. 

For all cozy mystery readers who love the happiest and warmest kind of fantasy reads, this series is it. Ms. Adams is a beautiful storyteller with lots of heart.  The series is charming, it's dear and the mysteries themselves are great, clever and exciting.

Ms. Adams pens two other series so please take time to check-out her website for information on all her works:

The Village of Storyton.  Let's Book a Trip!

Also, recently, a fellow cozy addict posted a note on the blog before this one.  He is a great reviewer and has a wonderful site.  Please check out Mark Baker's very comprehensive and super-amazing blog:

And, as always, I'd love to hear from all my fellow cosy mystery addicts.  Should you wish to know more about me please visit my website:

Up next:  Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen.  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 14, 2015

All Just Peachy Cozy!

The City:  Atlanta

The Date:  14 August 2015

Lordy, lordy, look who's ... started another cozy series.  Ok.  So I couldn't make it rhyme as in "lordy, lordy, look who's forty"; so sue me.  I really have no excuse.  I guess I could say it's because I live in Georgia and the series is called A Georiga Peach Mystery.  But to be honest, how in the hell could I - could anybody - possibly pass up a book whose title is Peaches and Scream?  I mean, come on.  Of course, clever, catchy, kitschy, pun-ridden titles are the meat and potatoes of so many cozy series titles, but I found this one to be particularly delicious and I just couldn't resist.  Even before reading this title, I pre-ordered the next based on its title:  Rest In Peach due out 5 April 2016.

This first title in a the Georgia Peach Mystery series by Susan Furlong certainly promises to be a keeper in my Excel document of cozies.  Yes,yes, YES! I have to keep a book logue to know what I've read and what I have pre-ordered.  That's part of the proof of my addiction.  So sue me again.

Although I live in Georgia, I am a Virginian born and raised.  And although I lived in New York for nearly 30 years and was a hard-core New Yorker, I always have been and always will be a southern boy at heart.  So when I hear characters' names like Nola Mae and Ida Jean, it's all quite cozily familiar.  After all, two of my very dear and beloved teachers in high school (whom I send Christmas and birthday cards to) are named Carroll Lee and Mary Sue respectively (and respectfully).   

There is a wonderful, confident evenness to Ms. Furlong's writing that lends a kind of soft sense of comfort.  Maybe that's the southern thing, but the story was well-executed, definitely had good surprise endings and the promise of story lines regarding the main characters that will be interesting to see explored and played out.  This is the element that compels cozy addicts like myself to follow a series.  Peaches and Scream was an excellent "first in a new series" and another cozy series I am addicted to. 

Ms. Furlong pens two other series:  The Novel Idea Mysteries under the pen name, Lucy Arlington (a series I adore, am addicted to and follow; even have my Aunt Lila hooked on it) and The Pipi O'Brien Mysteries  under the pen name, Susan Furlong Bolliger.  

Please take time to visit Ms. Furlong's website for information on all her series:

As always, I'd love to hear from any and all fellow cozy addicts.  Should you wish to know more about me, please visit my website:

Still have two more cozies for this month.  So stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Cozy Kindred Spirit

First Title In the Series
The City:   Atlanta

The Date:   11 August 2015

I’ll simply blame it on my husband, Jeff and be done with it.  And in this case it’s the absolute truth.  When I was filming an episode of Sleepy Hollow in North Carolina back in early November, the front desk of the hotel I was staying in told me I had a package.  Even though Jeff knows I never go anywhere without ample reading material, when he saw the third title of this series, The Legend of Sleepy Harlow, he felt he just had to buy me the whole series.   I couldn’t start the series then and from November until about 10 days ago, I have had plenty of reading material and, to be honest, I was ambivalent about starting another series.  Also, as much as I like select kitties, I always have another ambivalence about series who insist on featuring cats on the cover.    Well … I should have known that being that resistant to something was a bad omen or I guess not so bad because ten days ago, I finally caved in and began reading, Mayhem At The Orient Express, the first title in the League of Literary Ladies series by Kylie Logan and boy did I find a true cozy kindred spirit.  It was love at first read.  OMG!  In the over 30 cozy series I follow, no writer has ever made me laugh out loud … and so often.  Moreover, with each page of each of the three current titles, I felt like I really had found a kindred spirit in Ms. Logan.  Let’s see … where do I begin?  The main character, Bea is an only child – like me.  In her acknowledgements for The Legend of Sleepy Harlow, Ms. Logan says her favorite holiday is Halloween.  Well, Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year, but All Hallows’ Eve is my very next favorite; I wait for it all year long and our home is one large All Hallows’ orange glow and I’ve written an All Hallows’ Poem every year for almost 31 years.  To top it all off ... my favorite writer of all time is Dickens.  I am a past president and lifetime member of the Dickens Fellowship of New York and  I’ve performed Dickens's public readings for nearly 30 years – A Christmas Carol  most often.  So of course, Ms. Logan goes and names one of her titles,  A Tale of Two Biddies!  How much more proof do I need that something a little odd is going on?  Honestly, I find myself feeling like the kooky character Chandra with her tarot cards and ritual cleansing of bad energy because it's all just a little too wicky wicky.   

Second Title In The Series
By the time I finished all three books, A League of Literary Ladies, jumped to among my top ten favorite series.  As I said before, I don't recall laughing out loud so often in any series which I attribute to Ms. Logan's wonderful sense humour. There is an edge to her wisecracking commentary akin to the kind of perfect timing good actors have when delivering lines. She is probably one of both the best storytellers and best writers of the cozy mystery genre and that's no easy feat considering how large the writing playing field is. Her writing is tight and concise and her plots are engaging and wonderfully surprising.  I am completely in love with all of the literary ladies and have already pre-ordered the next title in the series, And Then There Were Nuns, to be released 1 March 2016.  

Fourth Title 3-1-2016
Now, for the many cozy writers whose series I follow faithfully, quite a few have heard from me over time about the love interest angle in their books.  Therefore, I implore Ms. Logan not to drag out the big moment between Bea and Levi.  I, for one, have had enough foreplay and am ready for the big hook-up. Personally, I think it would be most inappropriately appropriate for this to happen in And Then There Were Nuns.

All three titles, Mayhem at the Orient Express, A Tale of Two Biddies  and  The Legend of Sleepy Harlow are all totally worth reading.  This is a series that absolutely will not disappoint any true red-blooded cozy addict.  Run - don't walk - to the nearest bookstore and grab these books.  Ms. Logan writes a couple of other series as well and I hope you'll take a moment to visit her very wonderful website:

Third Title In The Series

As always, I'd love to hear from my fellow cozy addicts.  Should you wish to know more about me, please visit my website:

I have a couple of titles of new cozies waiting for me to devour that I will be writing about as soon as I've digested them.

So until then happy cozying!