Year-Round Trouble: 14 Original Cozy Holiday Mysteries (Familiar Legacy)
by Susan Y. Tanner, Miranda James, Carolyn Haines, Joanne Pence, Caroline Fardig, Connie Shelton, Ritter Ames, Larissa Reinhart, Pamela Sue DuMond, Jaden Terrell, Susan Boles, Ava Mallory, Claire Matturro, Rebecca Barrett
Series: Familiar Legacy
Publisher: KaliOka Press (January 3, 2020)
Paperback: 476 pages
Kindle ASIN: B081XS1L33
14 talented mystery authors team up with Trouble, the black cat detective, to take a whirlwind tour of mystery locales—and holidays—across the country and the calendar. In this unique collection of original stories, the black cat shows his charm and sass as he works with cozy sleuths you know and love!
From facing down the spirits of Halloween with a Maine Coon Cat named Diesel in Mississippi to Christmas in Taos, Trouble is on the prowl for arch criminals, and he’s never needed the skills he learned from watching Benedict Cumberbatch on the telly as Sherlock Holmes more.
Join the wise-cracking cat and a host of “biped” sleuths for a romp across the mystery map—where he works with only the finest amateur sleuths to bring justice.
Read the stories all at once—or savor them as each holiday approaches! Just remember: Life is never the same when Trouble takes a holiday!
About the Authors
Even as a child, I was aware of my daddy’s love for and pride in America. During WWII, he served on a naval aircraft carrier and in its planes as an aviation radioman. He met and married my mama while stationed in New York, far from his Mississippi home. I love the picture from their wedding day which sits on my dresser. He’s in uniform, standing behind her, his arms around her. Daddy talked very little about his time in the service and only as an adult did I realize the wounds he carried inside from things experienced during battle. I’ll always stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and I’ll always respect our country and our flag. That’s a part of my daddy’s legacy to me.
Miranda (aka Dean) James grew up in Mississippi on the family farm. After high school, Dean headed to college and eventually to graduate school in Houston, Texas, where he earned a Ph.D. in history, concentrating on medieval England. The academic job market being so abysmal then, he went on to get a master’s degree in library science and has worked, off and on, for the past thirty-three years as a medical librarian with a long stint as a bookseller in addition. Greatly influenced by Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and the Hardy Boys, Dean wanted to become a writer from an early age and tell his own stories about ordinary people who solve mysteries.
Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of over 80 books, including the Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series, the Pluto’s Snitch spirit detectives series, and Trouble, the black cat detective series. She has been awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Alabama Public Library Association and the Mississippi Writer’s Guild and in 2020 she was inducted into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame. She lives on a small farm in south Alabama with a number of rescue animals. She is an advocate for animals and the environment.
#FlashbackFriday – Sweet Masterpiece: A Sweet’s Sweets Bakery Mystery by Connie Shelton #Review / #FreeBook
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
This is a book I downloaded last year to meet the New Mexico stop for my Literary Escapes Challenge but it didn’t get read until last week. This is the 1st of 12 books in this series so I shouldn’t have any trouble filling that stop for years to come. 😀 The author’s Charlie Parker Mysteries are set in New Mexico too. (Book 1 of both series (Kindle) are free on Amazon right now.)
Sweet Masterpiece: A Sweet’s Sweets Bakery Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New Mexico
Self Published (September 8, 2010)
Paperback: 242 pages
Kindle ASIN: B00413QQ1E
Samantha Sweet breaks into houses for a living. But when she encounters a dying woman in one such house and a backyard grave at another, handsome deputy Beau Cardwell shows up and—well, things get complicated.
A small mural painted inside a closet in the abandoned house provides clues and Sam is caught up in Beau’s investigation. A fortune in artwork, a bogus will, and a wooden box that seems to give Sam powers she never dreamed she possessed— it all adds up to a dynamic paranormal romantic mystery.
Then, there is all that chocolate! Sam’s real goal in life is to use her elegant baking skills to open her own pastry shop, Sweet’s Sweets. She’s gaining quite the reputation as a baker with a magical touch, but a few obstacles stand in her way. Her grown daughter shows up on her doorstep—jobless and homeless; her bank account is at an all-time low; and trying to work from the tiny cramped kitchen in her home is becoming impossible.
Somehow, Sam copes and she finds that her dreams might just have a chance of coming true.
Samantha Sweet has a unique occupation. She breaks into foreclosed abandoned homes for the USDA to get them ready for resale. She is never sure what she will find but she never expected to find a bedridden dying woman in one house and a grave in the backyard of another all in one day. The upside is meeting Deputy Beau Cardwell. She gets to see more of him as she uncovers major clues to help identify the backyard body. There is a spark between them that is undeniable.
Sam’s true passion is baking and she is working hard to make her dreams of opening her own shop Sweet’s Sweets come true. Her coffers are filling nicely until her daughter “borrows” some cash and then returns home after quitting her job before she finds another. With her baking orders, a daughter to encourage, a police investigation, and oh, an unusual discovery with magical powers Samantha Sweet has her hands full.
This was a fun read. A protagonist close to my own age it was a pleasure to meet Samantha Sweet. She has a few insecurities but she is a hard worker who is driven by her quest to own a pastry shop. Her relationship with her daughter is typical, I could identify, and her budding relationship with the handsome deputy was heartwarming.
The plot was very interesting. First, Samantha is given a gift from the dying woman. The woman dies shortly after Sam finds her but that gift is much more than it appears. Then she makes an amazing discovery in a closet in the home with the backyard grave. With the help of one of her friends, she not only uncovers the name of the deceased but their incredible story. Blended into the mysteries are all her baking adventures and the first step she takes in making her dream a reality.
The story is very well plotted and nicely paced. It has a great flow. The characters are introduced and pretty fleshed out for the first book in a series. The mystery of the man in the shallow grave is wrapped up nicely by the end of the book. There were really few suspects and with a few twists the investigation concludes with quite a surprise. The mystery about the gift Sam received is still open. We know a little but hopefully, more will be revealed in the next book.
Sweet Masterpiece was a sweet read. An intriguing mystery with the perfect amount of romance. I chose to read this book because it is set in New Mexico for a reading challenge. I have added the next story, Sweet’s Sweets to my wishlist and plan to read it soon because I enjoyed this one and I want to know what happens next.
This book is free on Amazon right now.
From the Author
The character of Samantha Sweet first appeared in one of my Charlie Parker mysteries, Gossip Can Be Murder, almost as a walk-on. She had one scene and would have vanished, but I was already thinking of a new series that would feature a baker (anyone who has been around me or read any of my books has a pretty good idea how I feel about chocolate!).
By the time I did the final edits on Gossip, Sam had become a real person to me, complete with her quirky day-job of breaking into houses for a living. I expanded her role in the original Charlie book, giving readers a tiny glimpse of the magical powers that become such a part of Sam’s personality in this new series. My editor was a little unsure about my letting my two fictional heroines cross over into each other’s territories, but readers seem to like it.
About the Author
Connie Shelton is the author of more than two dozen books in her bestselling Charlie Parker mystery series and now in the paranormal romantic Samantha Sweet mystery series. She taught writing for several years and is the creator of the Novel In A Weekend writing course. Visit her website at www.connieshelton.com to sign up for her free email mystery newsletter. She and her husband live in northern New Mexico with their two dogs.
*This was an Amazon Purchase for my private collection.