E.J. Copperman’s second entry in the Agent to the Paws series, Bird, Bath, and Beyond, finds animal talent agent Kay Powell on the set of a TV show with a parrot whose owner has the flu. When the show’s (human) star turns up dead, the parrot is surprisingly talkative, and since he’s Kay’s client, she’s drawn into the search for a killer. The well-populated story zips along—Kay’s parents visit, the show’s cast and crew are all suspects, and the human-animal banter is snappy. Glimpses of show business at its best and worst (the hard work, the giant egos) and the ways animals are used on film give this clever tale a realistic feel. So far, Kay is two for two when it comes to adopting her animal clients. As the series evolves, what kind of zoo will she end up with? For cozy fans, it will be fun to find out.
TILL DEATH DO US PART
The town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, is in an introspective mood at the start of Silver Anniversary Murder. A quarrelsome couple is renewing their vows, and everyone’s invited. Lucy Stone reaches out to her best friend, Beth, to reminisce about her own wedding day, only to learn that Beth has died. But was it suicide, or did one of Beth’s four ex-husbands help her off that balcony? To find out, Lucy goes back to New York City and reflects on her own past while searching for clues. This is bestselling author Leslie Meier’s 25th Lucy Stone mystery, but the small-town hospitality of Tinker’s Cove welcomes all readers, new and old alike. Lucy is observant by nature, and her reporter’s instincts are both an asset and a liability; anyone with something to hide had better do it well, or else keep Lucy out of the way. The resolution to this mystery takes a few unexpectedly dark turns, but Lucy lands on her feet. After all, it’s hardly her first time to be embroiled in matters of life and death.
TOP PICK IN COZIES
In the 1950s, Brighton, England, was bucolic and lovely—if you disregard the hooligans, Teddy Boys and other criminal mischief-makers lurking about. In A Shot in the Dark, author Lynne Truss of Eats, Shoots and Leaves (2003) fame introduces Inspector Steine, a police captain who wants nothing more than for crime to simply relocate itself so he can enjoy his ice cream in peace. When a well-known theater critic is gunned down just before he’s supposed to share crucial evidence in an old case, earnest Constable Twitten is determined to buck departmental tradition and actually solve a crime. This farcical tale is packed with interwoven plotlines, clues strewn about like confetti and a comically oblivious chief inspector. It reads like a stage comedy, and in fact Truss has written four seasons’ worth of Inspector Steine dramas for BBC Radio. There are no dark and stormy nights here, just gorgeous seaside views marred by occasional corpses. The ’60s are coming, but for now, women are still largely ignored; this turns out to be its own kind of liberation, since who would suspect them? Sharp and witty, A Shot in the Dark is a good time.