The Judas Flower by Douglas Lindsay. Published by Bastei

A man has been found murdered in a cemetery in Glasgow. His death caused by the metal cross hammered into his skull, he holds a branch from a flowering Judas tree in u=is hands. DI Aliya Pereira and DS Marc Bain catch the case and learn the victim. Archie Wilson, has recently won the lottery. There definitely seems to be a connection between his winnings and his murder, but can Bain and Pereira find out what it is before someone else is killed? I love the contrast between the gritty, gruesome police work and the “real lives” of Bain and Pereira. Pereira in particular struggles with being a working mother and faces prejudice because of her perceived religious and racial background. A fantastic story on all levels


Cold, Cold Heart by Christine Poulson. Published by Lion Hudson

A scientist on the verge of an earth shattering discovery goes missing from her cottage. Meanwhile scientist Katie Flanagan has accepted an appointment at a small UK base in Antarctica, where she will work as a doctor’s assistant during the long, remote winter. A lawyer looking for the missing scientist, who may have discovered a cure for cancer, follows a trail to Antarctica. On the base, accidents have been occurring with worrying frequency, with the team totally shut off from the outside world, Katie doesn’t know who to trust….or who to fear. Creepy and claustrophobic

Christmas at the Second Chance Chocolate Shop by Kellie Hailes. Published by HQ Digital

I love chocolate, and any book that has chocolate in the title is bound to be good. Serena Hunter loves her husband Ritchie, but she’s tired of being the wife a hard partying rock star. Now, she’s enjoying life in a small English village making chocolates using local ingredients and just relaxing. Then Richie shows up, trying to win her back, but she doesn’t want to live that lifestyle again. Still, Richie seems different, quieter, more like he did when she first met him, before the fame and fortune changed him. Is it possible that they could try again? Has he really changed or is this a lull in his wild, high-profile lifestyle? A sweet, enjoyable read

Playing with Bonbon Fire by Dorothy St. James. Published by Crooked Lane

Charity Penn is making a home for herself in Camelia Beach, South Carolina. The chocolate shop owner has joined forces with locals to help organize a music festival. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt – murdered actually, when one of the singers from the festival is found dead by a bonfire. Charity gets to work right away, or at least as fast as she can with Lothario Bixby Lewis chasing after her. It would appear someone wants Charity to stop investigating the crime, and they will do anything to stop her. Bixby is nearly taken out when a barbecue explodes. Could someone in this quaint little town really be a murderer? St James combines two of my favorite things, mysteries and chocolate and pens a yummy cozy mystery with just the right amount of chills.

Lethal in Old Lace by Duffy Brown. Published by Crooked Lane

Savannah is a beautiful old city, filled with history, grace and murder. Sleepy Pines Retirement Center has quite a package laid out for their guests. When they go to their final “reward” the Pines will provide professional mourners to grieve at their graveside. The mourners, sisters Annie and Elsie have been very busy lately, a little too busy as a lot of folks at the Pines are dying, dropping like flies in fact. Consignment shop owner Reagan Summerside doesn’t believe the town gossip, however, and begins an investigation of her own. Soon questions are raised about the death of Willie Fishbine, the man who robbed the sisters of their retirement money. Willie was killed before the deaths at the Pines, so does that mean the sisters have been perfecting their killing skills? I love Savannah and Brown does a great job of capturing¬† its beauty and charm along with its quirky, slightly sinister side

Searcher of the Dead by Nancy Herriman. Published by Crooked Lane

Bess Ellyott is a widowed herbalist living in Tudor England. After her husband was murdered, she left London for the country, hoping to find peace and safety, but all she finds is more death. Her brother-in-law is found hanging in a tree, Bess knows this is no suicide and believes the same man responsible for her husband’s death has no killed again. IS the killer out to make sure he has the corner on the lucrative wool market, or is he really after Bess and her family? With the help of a local constable, Bess will try to track the killer whose next victim may be the queen herself. Historical mysteries are hard to pull off, too much attention to historical detail can slow the mystery down, not enough and the authenticity of the plot stumbles. Herriman does a good job keeping the history and the mystery equally balanced and equally interesting

Death Al Fresco by Leslie Karst. Published by Crooked Lane

Restauranteur Sally Solari decides to take an en plein air painting course to learn more about the painter Gaugin. But instead of being inspired by the beauty of Monterey Bay, she ends up finding a dead body on the beach. The dead man is a local fisherman who is a regular at the Solari family restaurant, a man who left the restaurant stinking drunk a few days earlier. Or at least that what some of the witnesses claim. One of the waitresses, however, claims the man only had a couple of beers and was stone cold sober when he left. With Sally’s father’s reputation (and his freedom) on the line for serving a customer too much alcohol, Sally will have to employ her sleuthing skills to figure out why Gino is dead….and who killed him. Another delightful entry in the seriesAn enjoyable cozy with a gorgeous setting and appealing characters