A cab driver, a Regency widow and the owner of a milkshake emporium find their lives disrupted by murder most foul in this month’s cozy column.
Death of an Irish Mummy
Expat Megan Malone is back behind the wheel at Leprechaun Limos, this time driving a fellow Texan, Cherise, who thinks she’s heir to an ancient Irish earldom. Cherise is later found dead, just as her three squabbling daughters arrive in Dublin from the States to support their mother’s quest. Megan must find out what happened, partly because she was involved from the start, but also, in a truly hilarious touch, because her boss is beginning to think she’s cursed, given that dead bodies keep popping up around her, Megan must find out what happened. Catie Murphy’s Death of an Irish Mummy is a bright new installment in a consistently delightful series. Megan’s a staunch ally to her limo service co-workers, and when times are tough, it’s nice to see how people have her back in return. She’s slyly conscious of the fact that drivers are viewed as “the help,” members of the invisible servant class with whom people will sometimes speak too freely, and she uses this to her advantage, accumulating useful information. Murphy balances grief and family secrets with a hunt for buried treasure, keeping things realistic even as the story flirts with the fantastical.
Pint of No Return
Trinidad Jones is determined to make a fresh start after getting divorced, and to avoid her ex-husband Gabe’s two other ex-wives and his protective sister. Fortunately, she received a storefront in rural Oregon in the breakup, and she moves in with plans to turn it into a homemade ice cream and milkshake emporium. When she finds a neighboring business owner dead and one of Gabe’s exes is charged with the crime, Trinidad must change her priorities and see justice done. Dana Mentink’s series starter, Pint of No Return, takes place in a neighborhood common to cozies: a nice town full of good people, if you don’t count all the lying, theft and murder. Noodles, Trinidad’s service-dog dropout who knows he should help but does so in adorably wrong ways, is likely to become a fan favorite.
Silence in the Library
Katharine Schellman’s Silence in the Library is a welcome return to the Regency world of recently widowed Lily Adler. She finds herself saddled with her ailing father as an unexpected houseguest, and he’s in such a foul temper that Lily must escape by visiting Lady Wyatt, who has married Sir Charles, an old family friend. It’s a shock when Sir Charles is found dead, and Bow Street constable Simon Page thinks the fall that caused his death was staged to appear like an accident. Soon enough, Simon and Lily are working in tandem to find the truth. The mystery is complicated by Arthur, one of Sir Charles’ sons, who is autistic. His wealth and privilege have allowed him to escape being institutionalized, but his family has kept him hidden from public view and are quick to blame him in the search for the killer. A touching subplot about Lily tentatively coming out of mourning to embark on a newly independent life—and her father’s subsequent fury at this change—illustrates the tightrope that women had to walk to gain even the smallest bit of freedom. Schellman’s meticulous research puts the reader right in the heart of Regency London, and the hunt for a killer is tense and frightening.