Apple Strudel Alibi – Oxford Tearoom Mystery series – Book 8 – by H.Y. Hanna (Audiobook)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 5- stars

H.Y. Hanna has done it again. Apple Strudel Alibi is another successful installment to the Oxford Tearoom Mystery series. In it we find ourselves on a trip to Vienna, Austria, where we’re introduced to a few new characters that become suspects in a murder investigation that Gemma Rose and the Old Biddies find themselves entangled in.

When Gemma’s planned holiday for a trip to Malta with her beau, Devlin O’Connor, is derailed yet again because of a last-minute work assignment she’s devastated. That is until her mother convinces her that it’s a perfect opportunity for Gemma to attend the rewards ceremony in Vienna. Gemma’s Little Stables Tearoom has won a contest for the best scones in Oxfordshire thanks to her dear senior citizen friends, the “Old Biddies,” who entered her tearoom in the contest without her knowledge. Gemma takes her mother’s advice and heads off to Vienna, availing herself of the invitation to stay in her mother’s friend’s newly-opened, pet-friendly hotel at a reduced rate, if ever she were in Austria. So Gemma finds herself in Vienna, sharing a suite with Muesli and the Old Biddies, and things seem perfect. That is until an art critic is murdered at the hotel, and the suspect could still be amongst them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this cozy mystery. I learned much about Austrian cuisine, culture, architecture and art. Of particular interest to me were facts about the Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt, and the Spanish Riding School where Lippizaner horses are trained to perform. Listening was like receiving a brief history lesson pertaining to these subjects and I loved it. Equally satisfying were the new characters, as well as those that’ve been present from the start of the series. And the mystery kept me in suspense until the jaw-dropping denouement. I appreciate H.Y. Hanna’s subliminal message of love, honor and respect for all humanity, and how everyone’s contributions to the world benefit all of mankind. It has been enlightening and gratifying becoming acquainted with characters from various countries and backgrounds while reading many of the books in this series.

Regarding the audio narrator, Pearl Hewitt, her voice is absolute perfection. Her depictions of the various characters, (including Muesli the tabby cat’s audible expressions), is incredible. Her masterful narration brings this series to life in a way that can only be fully described if you listen for yourself. Extraordinary talent. I always look forward to listening to Ms. Hewitt’s narration. I highly recommended Apple Strudel Alibi.

Thank you, H.Y. Hanna, for a complimentary download of Apple Strudel Alibi. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!! Thanks for stopping by. 😊

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Death Over Easy by Maddie Day – Audiobook (Tantor Audio)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 4 stars

The Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival in Beanblossom, IN, is underway, and Robbie Jordan, owner of Pans n’ Pancakes, is excited since the venue will provide opportunities for a few musicians and dancers to stay at her newly opened B&B. Her boyfriend, Abe, is one of the performers at the festival, and she feels proud watching him from the audience. But when she and other observers see him arguing with one of the band members, and then that same member is found dead the next day, Robbie gets involved in the investigation since the suspects include her boyfriend, her father and a couple of guests staying at her small B&B.

Death Over Easy is Book five in the Country Store Mystery series. I enjoyed it despite having absolutely no knowledge of bluegrass music, banjos and whatnot. One of my favorite things about this series is revisiting with recurring characters, particularly Lt. Buck Bird, a tall, lanky Detective with a bottomless pit appetite and a deep Hoosier accent.

I liked that several of the characters were potential suspects, and it was interesting how various characters had different opinions of the victim; some thought she was a great person, others thought she was awful. I kept trying to ascertain her true nature. And even though I had an inkling of who the murderer was fairly early on, it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story.

I had a niggle with the occasional instances of sexual innuendo in the book. It was unnecessary. And since the audio narrator had a very senior voice those instances sounded a little ridiculous. The flirty exchanges between Robbie and Abe sounded like an overgrown school girl with a dirty old man and it was not appealing.

An issue I had with the audio narrator, Laural Merlington, was that her voice was not that of a person in her twenties or thirties, which I believe was the age of the protagonist. She sounded, at the very least, to be a woman in her sixties, maybe even seventies. It’s not that the narrator wasn’t perfectly capable or articulate, it’s just that she sounded much older than some of the characters, and as a consequence I found it difficult to connect with some of them. I kept thinking to myself that she’d be a lot more convincing as the voice of Jessica Fletcher, or possibly the book (not movie) version of Agatha Raisin—but not Robbie Jordan. I’d wished I had a paperback copy in addition to the audio version so that I could switch up when her voice began to harass me.

All things considered, Death Over Easy was an enjoyable cozy mystery and I will be on the lookout for further additions to the series.

Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a free download of Death Over Easy. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

Thanks for visiting everyone. 🤗

Thread and Gone by Lea Wait

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5-stars

Lea Wait is my go-to author for highly intelligent, well-constructed cozy mysteries. Her intricately woven plots are so impressive that I often forget that I’m reading a cozy. I can always look forward to acquiring new and interesting facts when I read her books. There’s usually some historical facts that factor into the mystery, and I always come away feeling wiser about fascinating subjects I wasn’t previously familiar with. In Thread and Gone, I received a lesson in who Mary, Queen of Scots was, and how needlepoint was a major part of her life. I also learned about Marie Antoinette and several other facts that made me think of how much research went into preparing this mystery for the reader’s enjoyment.

And now a glimpse into the plot…

Angela Curtis and the Mainely Needlepointers are on a quest to find out the details about a unique piece of delicate embroidery that was brought to them for analysis by Mary Clough, a seventeen year-old girl, who found it in the attic eaves of her family’s old house. At least one of the Needlepointers believes it could date back to 16th century Elizabethan times and may even have been stitched by Mary, Queen of Scots. If so, it’s quite valuable, so Angela proposes that the embroidery be secured within an attorney’s office for safe keeping since Mary’s fiancé voices his concerns about it getting lost or even stolen by the Needlepointers. 🙄 But when the safe is broken into and the embroidery is stolen along with some valuable jewellery, and the attorney is found dead, the Needlepointers find themselves with more than a needlepoint mystery on their hands to solve.

Lea Wait is a heavyweight in this genre. If you enjoy a solid mystery, but without the profanity and gratuitous violence present in some traditional mysteries, I highly recommend that you try Lea Wait’s Mainely Needlepoint series. You will NOT be disappointed.

Christina Delaine did an impeccable job narrating this cozy. Her voice fits perfectly with this series and I’m always anticipating my next opportunity to listen when she narrates.

Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a complimentary download of Thread and Gone. In exchange I have provided my honest, unbiased opinion of it.

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful day! 😊

**TOP PICK** Midnight Snacks Are Murder by Libby Klein – (A Poppy McAllister Mystery – Book 2)

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😂😂😂😂😂 5-laughing faces

Although this is book 2 in the series, it’s not necessary at all to read the first book to enjoy it.

Midnight Snacks Are Murder is HILARIOUS!! There are consistent laugh-out-loud moments throughout the entire book. Think of this: a pair of rival, macho men vying for the protagonist’s affection; an anxious little old lady who keeps popping pills whenever a stressful event occurs; a general contractor named Smitty who keeps breaking things and then declaring, “I can fix that!”; a diva ex-mother-in-law who gets on everyone’s nerves and can’t get the contractor’s name right; a cat named Figaro with a mind of his own; and a host of wacky, secondary characters with their own peculiarities that lend to the humorous tone of this book. A Cozy mystery masterpiece.

Here’s a glimpse into the plot….

Poppy McAllister’s 80-ish great aunt Ginny has been under a lot of stress lately. As a consequence of all of the renovations happening in her Queen Anne Victorian in Cape May, NJ, to transform it into the Butterfly House B&B, aunt Ginny’s nerves have been on edge. Her doctor has prescribed some medication to calm her nerves and help her sleep at night. But when the side-effects from the medication take her on a sleepwalking sojourn into her neighbors’ homes, nibbling on their snacks and pilfering knick-knacks, aunt Ginny finds herself a suspect in a local resident’s murder. The victim’s ransacked kitchen resembles other neighbors’ who’ve had a nightly visit from aunt Ginny. But could she really commit a murder in her sleepwalking state, or is someone looking to frame the little old lady?

I loved this cozy!! I think there must have been at least one comical line or incident on every page!! The mystery was so cleverly crafted that I didn’t come close to guessing the culprit. One teensy issue I had with the book was that in some instances a few of the suspects seemed a little too forthcoming with information when Poppy questioned them. She was just an ordinary person, so if I were them I would be thinking, “who’s this chick to be asking me all of these questions?!!” But this little niggle pales in comparison to the hilarity and overall enjoyment of the book, so I subtracted nothing from my 5-star rating.

Midnight Snacks are Murder was an excellent read. I highly recommend this book for lovers of humorous cozies with villains that keep you guessing to the very end.

Many thanks to the author for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

If you need a good laugh, read this book y’all. Have a great day, and enjoy your weekend. 😊

Another One Bites the Crust by H.Y. Hanna – (Oxford Tearoom Mysteries – Book 7)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5-stars

img_6499Another One Bites the Crust is cozy mystery done right. HY Hanna always delivers on a solid mystery with plenty of red herrings, engaging characters, an atmospheric setting (in and around Oxford, England), at least one amusing animal and a totally plausible outcome. There’s so much to love about this book, including the sub-plots which keep the story moving along at a pace that keeps you in anticipation of the next revelation.

When famed celebrity chef and former Oxford student, Josh McDermott, (aka “Posh McDishy”) is special guest at the Oxford University Ball, doing a live cooking show, the college ball committee and Josh’s fans are beside themselves with anticipation and admiration. Gemma’s friend Cassie, who attended the same College as McDermott, isn’t enthused. She’s always thought of him as an obnoxious snob who thinks he’s God’s gift to women. His ex-girlfriend would agree with that assessment since Josh dumped her. And then there’s rival chef, Antonio Casa, who believes Josh tried to sabotage him. Clearly, Josh McDermott had foes as well as fans. But when Gemma finds Josh dead before the cooking show competition even begins, she dons her sleuthing cap to determine who might have despised him enough to do him in.

I loved this book. You don’t get to book 7 of 8 in a series if you don’t enjoy it. The audio narrator, Pearl Hewitt, brings the characters to life. The unique voices she uses to portray each character makes it easy to recognize who’s speaking, and the emotions and actions are always performed in an entertaining, realistic way—even the animals! She’s one of my favorite audio narrators, and her skill and proficiency enhanced my enjoyment of this book.

I received a free download of this book in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

Have a great day everybody, and thank you for visiting. 😊

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Death in the English Countryside by Sara Rosett – (Audiobook – Tantor Audio)

A85657FC-69E1-4623-B1F4-CB3CFE01ED88⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – 4.5 stars
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When Kevin Dunn, owner of Premiere Locations, a small location scouting firm, goes missing in the quaint village of Nether Woodsmoor in England while scouting out locations for their newest project, a Pride and Prejudice adaptation, Kate Sharp, Kevin’s employee, is sent from their office in California to locate her boss. Kate and the office manager, Marcy, are the only two who are aware of Kevin’s alcohol addiction and the problems it has caused him in his professional life in the past. Not wanting to stir up unnecessary negative publicity for some trivial impropriety and risk losing a project from a top Director, Kate heads off to England to find her boss and bring him back to California. But when she finally locates Kevin he’s not inebriated, he’s dead.
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There was so much to love about this book; all of the references to Pride and Prejudice, the beautiful location with its undulating green fields, golden stone cottages, groves of trees, flowering hedgerows and lush gardens; the snooty characters that made me feel like saying…
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It’s always an added bonus when I learn new things while reading a book. This book taught me a lot about location scouting, which I found quite interesting.  It was a unique profession that I’ve never seen used in a cozy mystery.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well the mystery was developed.  The ending was satisfying, although I did find it slightly difficult to piece together.  The audio narrator, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, has a soothing voice that was exceedingly pleasant to listen to, and aided in my complete enjoyment of this book.
I will be inquiring about book 2 in the series, Death in an English Cottage. That’s how excited I was about this book. Highly recommended.
Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a complimentary download of this book. In exchange I have provided an honest, unbiased review.
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Have a great week everyone, and thanks for visiting Cozynookbks. 😊

Four Puddings and a Funeral

Four Puddings and a Funeral is book 6 in the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries series (but can be read as a stand-alone), and it’s another clever murder mystery with entertaining characters, keenly placed red herrings, relationship troubles, a mischievous little tabby cat named Muesli, an inquisitive little hedgehog, and more Oxford University insight.

Here’s a peek at what happens……

Gemma Rose, owner of the Little Stables Tearoom, is excited to be catering a funeral reception for the late Rex Clifford at the Parish Hall. It will mean greater business opportunities in the future. While setting up for the event, she overhears Rex’s daughter, Rachel, angrily lamenting about being excluded from her father’s will. She accuses his widow, Adele Clifford, nearly twenty years Rex’s junior and married to him for a mere three months prior to his death, of somehow being responsible for her exclusion from the will.  When Adele keels over after sampling a variety of puddings at the reception, and one of Gemma’s dear friends is suspected of murdering her, Gemma takes it upon herself to investigate.  What she finds is that there are secrets within the family, and she’s determined to get answers. But the truth is, she could use a few answers herself about the blond woman who’s been seen on numerous occasions with her boyfriend, Devlin. There’s been trouble in paradise for the couple, mainly because Gemma continually nags Devlin, trying to force him to impress her snobbish, posh mother with precise manners and distinct social etiquette, and it’s becoming rather exasperating for the poor man. Can Gemma solve the murder mystery, save her friend and mend her relationship before it’s too late?

How author, H.Y. Hanna, manages to weave these intricate tales and then churn them out in such quick succession is beyond comprehension. But seriously, if you haven’t tried this series yet, you’re missing out. Four Puddings and a Funeral is an excellent cozy mystery, and Pearl Hewitt, the audio narrator, is exceptional. I’ve enjoyed every book in the series up to this one, and look forward to book 7, Another One Bites the Crust.  Highly recommended.

Thank you, H.Y. Hanna, for a complimentary download of Four Puddings and a Funeral. In exchange, I have provided an honest and unbiased review.

Have you read any books in the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries series?

Have a lovely day!!