Julia Chapman debuts a new cozy series with tons of charm, sure to please readers, set amongst the Yorkshire Dales. Date with Death introduces Delilah Metcalfe and her seeming nemesis, Samson O’Brien.

It’s been a rough two years for Delilah, dealing with two deaths: one of her brothers was killed in the service, and there’s the disappointment of her marriage ending in divorce. Determined to keep her IT and Dating Agency businesses afloat, she’s teetering on the edge of financial ruin.

So she has little choice but to allow a new renter to use the ground floor of her Dales Dating Agency building–until she finds out her tenant is none other than Samson, returned to his hometown in disgrace after leaving suddenly fourteen years before. He didn’t make it home for her brother’s funeral, despite being Best Man at his wedding and godfather to his now-teenaged son. Locals aren’t happy Samson has returned, either, especially one of Delilah’s brothers, Will.

There’s a whole cast of characters to fill the dales, and while the names may take some getting used to, soon they all make sense and readers will be able to follow when the mother of a young man who committed suicide hires Samson, on leave from the police and working as a private detective, to find out the real reason behind his death. She’s convinced her son wouldn’t have committed suicide.

Delilah wants nothing to do with Samson, but finds herself working in concert with him when it becomes apparent someone is killing men who sign up for her Speed Dating nights. She will use her computer skills to find the pattern, and then enlists Samson to help her investigate to find the perpetrator.

There are family squabbles, fell running, Samson’s alcoholic father, now sober and living in a retirement home, and twists and turns to keep both Samson and Delilah in danger. And don’t forget Delilah’s pup, Tolpuddle, her companion who just may have his own role to play.

Samson carries his own secrets from his past undercover work, and to Chapman’s credit, these are not all revealed in this volume, giving her an ample storyline for the next installment. A winning debut.


The second in Marla Cooper’s series gives readers an eye into the job of a wedding planner. This time Kelsey McKenna has a destination wedding in wine country on tap in Dying on the Vine.

The Napa Valley setting on the Higgins Estate is lovely, but this event has already been planned by Babs Norton, who would have people believe is the Queen of Wine Country Weddings–until the bride’s father fired her.

Enter Kelsey, newly hired, who feels the need to clear the air between her and Babs. Sounds like the right thing to do, but unfortunately Kelsey finds Babs dead in her office and the finger of suspicion pointing right at her.

It doesn’t help when Babs’ assistant cancels the contracts for the vendors, sending Kelsey and bride Haley Bennet into a tailspin. She’ll rely on her photographer friend Brody and assistant Laural to salvage the day, while she tracks down a murderer to clear her name–and keep the wedding on track.

There’s humor, murder and even a bit of romance in this charming sequel.


Susan Shea leaves her Dani O’Rourke mystery series to inaugurate a second series set in the French countryside in Love and Death in Burgundy
.

American ex-pat Katherine Goff wanted to be accepted by her Burgundy neighbors, but after three years it’s still dicey going in the small village of Reigny-sur-Canne.

Then an elderly inhabitant is found dead at the bottom of a staircase. Was this a tragic accident or a case of murder? Tongues start wagging in the town, and Katherine soon finds herself caught up in their secrets.

Filled with French food and wine, Katherine lives amongst a cast of eccentrics, trying to solve a murder. Think of a young Miss Marple sent to the French countryside, and you’ll delight in this new series.


Sherry Harris has a winning series with her Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries. Her first, Tagged for Death, was nominated for an Agatha for Best First Novel.

Sarah, with her fluffernutter sandwiches, is an engaging protagonist.
She returns in the fourth in the series, A Good Day to Buy, with Sarah’s estranged brother showing up unexpectedly after years apart.

Sworn to silence on his appearance, Luke especially means that to include Sarah’s ex, the chief of police. To his chagrin, CJ and Sarah are having something of a reconciliation, which means the chief is often at her apartment in a lovely old house.

It puts Sarah in an awkward position, to say the least, coming on the heels of her most recent garage sale, where the bodies of her clients, the Spencers, were discovered during the sale, hidden behind sheets Sarah hung to keep their private area off limits. The Vietnam vet is dead, and his wife critically injured.

But what’s the connection to Luke? Before Sarah can pin him down, he’s disappeared again. Is he really doing investigative journalism work?

The tenor of small town New England, coupled with the life of veterans and the work Sarah does in their thrift shop bring an added dimension to the compelling plot. Just when readers will think they have it figured out, think again.

Paige Shelton’s Scottish Bookshop Mysteries debuted with The Cracked Spine last year and introduced Kansas native Delaney Nichols, who’s moved to Edinburgh to find adventure, working in a bookshop filled with characters who keep secrets as rare as the manuscripts they sell.

The sequel is Of Books and Bagpipes, and it continues Delaney’s efforts to get to know her coworkers and her job. With her landlord, taxi drive Elias and his wife Aggie adopting her and keeping an eye out for her safety, it’s Elias who drives Delaney to Castle Doune on an errand for her boss. Edwin has sent her to retrieve and annual of the Scottish comic, “Oor Wullie.”

Only the castle appears deserted, and when Elias and Delaney have a look around the ramparts up top, they find the body of the young man they were sent to meet, a William Wallace re-enactor.

Calling the police, Delaney discovers the book she was sent to find fluttering around a side wall, and she impulsively hides it under her jacket. Edwin’s secrets revolve around a long-dead friend, and the complications that ensure from a long-ago buried secret.

But there will be more deaths, and it will take all of Delaney’s investigative skills, and a bit of help from the voices of books that reach out to her, to find the killer.

A sequel rich in Scottish dialect and customs, with a hint of romance and a decades-old mystery to unravel.

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