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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cozy Christmas Recommendations from Missy

I've had to exercise great restraint to not constantly badger my friend Missy into starting her own book blog. Missy is a great reader of mysteries and is the one who turned me on to reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon back when it first came out and we were working together at Borders. That book is one of my favorites and you can bet we both hand-sold the heck out of it. She's also the one who got me hooked on Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series. 

When Missy tells me I need to read a book, I read it.

However, I don't read very many cozies, but they are Missy's specialty and she's graciously put together a list of Christmas & Holiday themed cozies for readers of WildmooBooks.

About her list Missy wrote, "
I hope it brings holiday merriment to a reader!  I have read 10 of the 15, but feel confident recommending all the titles.  There are certainly many, many more Christmas cozies out there, but these I have read, own, or follow the author and always enjoy their books."

Without further delay, here's the list! 

(Book blurbs are from the publishers.)

Holiday Buzz by Cleo Coyle (2012)

Holiday time is party time in New York City, but after a sparkling winter bash ends with a murder, Village Blend coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi vows to put the killer on ice…

At the Great New York Cookie Swap, pastry chefs bake up their very best for charity. Clare is in charge of the beverage service, and her famous Fa-la-la-la Lattes make the gathering even merrier. But her high spirits come crashing down to earth, when she discovers the battered body of a hard-working baker’s assistant.

Police suspect a serial attacker whose escalating crimes have become known as “The Christmas Stalkings.” Clare’s boyfriend, NYPD detective Mike Quinn, finds reason to believe even more sinister forces are involved. Clare isn’t so sure—and when she finds a second bludgeoned baker, she becomes a target. Now Clare is spending the holiday season pouring over clues, and she’s not going to rest until justice is served.
The Christmas Carol Murders by Christopher Lord (2012)
It’s the holiday season in Dickens Junction, Oregon. Local bookstore owner, Simon Alastair, is getting ready for the community’s annual celebration of Charles Dickens’ well-known story. But when a mysterious stranger shows up in the Junction and is murdered hours later, Simon begins to suspect that his little community has been targeted for destruction by a shadowy organization.

With the support of Zach, a dashing young magazine reporter, Simon decides to investigate the crime himself. When a second murder follows, Simon must confront the worst question of all: which of his friends and business associates is a ruthless murderer?

The Christmas Carol Murders is the first of an exciting new cozy mystery series combining the atmosphere of a classic Agatha Christie puzzle, the deft touch of Charlotte MacLeod, a hint of Oscar Wilde’s humor, and the literary spirit of the great Charles Dickens.
A Killer’s Christmas in Wales by Elizabeth J. Duncan (2011)
As the townsfolk of the Welsh valley town of Llanelen settle in for the snowiest winter in twenty-five years, an American stranger arrives. Harry Saunders charms the ladies, one of them in particular: Evelyn Lloyd, the town’s former postmistress, who was left comfortably off after the death of her husband. After Mrs. Lloyd invests a good deal of money with him, Harry goes missing, as does her money. His body is soon discovered outside the walls of Conwy Castle, and Mrs. Lloyd is implicated in the murder.
Although Penny Brannigan and her business partner, Victoria Hopkirk, are busy overseeing the grand opening of their new spa, that doesn’t stop Mrs. Lloyd from desperately seeking Penny’s help to prove her innocence. It’s quite possible that Harry made other enemies while in Llanelen and Penny’s investigation unfolds while she juggles her work at the spa, her growing relationship with Detective Inspector Davies, and the Christmas window competition that she signed up to judge.
With A Killer's Christmas in Wales, Elizabeth J. Duncan delivers a delightful holiday-themed mystery.
The Gingerbread Bump-Off by Livia J. Washburn (2011)

Not only will Phyllis Newsom's house be featured in the annual Christmas Jingle Bell Tour of Homes, she also has a Christmas Eve bridal shower and a New Year's Eve wedding to bake goodies for. But like her tasty treats, she rises to the occasion.

Before the tour gets under way, Phyllis makes a gruesome discovery on her porch: someone has tried to kill her friend. As Santa's naughty list gets longer, Phyllis tries to catch a half-baked killer.



Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler (2010)
Each year, for the past seventeen years, Otto Penzler, owner of the legendary Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, has commissioned an original story by a leading mystery writer. The requirements were that it be a mystery/ crime/suspense story, that it be set during the Christmas season, and that at least some of the action must take place in The Mysterious Bookshop. These stories were then produced as pamphlets, 1,000 copies, and given to customers of the bookstore as a Christmas present.Now, all of these stories have been collected in one volume—Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop. Some of the tales are humorous, others suspenseful, and still others mystifying. This charming one-of-a-kind collection is a perfect Christmas gift, appropriate for all ages and tastes.
The Diva Cooks a Goose by Krista Davis (2010)
A Scrooge steals presents right from under Sophie Winston's family Christmas tree. Then her sister-in-law's father show's up with a diva girlfriend just a month after his separation. More than one person is thinking of committing a merry murder-until it actually happens! With many under suspicion for the deadly deed, can Sophie find the murderer and restore the Christmas spirit before it's too late?





Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle (2009)
It's Christmastime-and when manager and head barista Clare Cosi finds a red- suited body in the snow, she adds solving Santa's slaying to her coffeehouse menu. Soon, a few clues convince her his death was something more than a mugging gone awry.

With Clare's NYPD Detective boyfriend distracted by his own cold case, Clare discovers on her own that Santa had a list that he was checking twice- and the folks on it were not nice. But Clare had better watch out, because if she fails to stop this stone cold killer, she may just get the biggest chill of her life. 

The Christmas Cookie Killer by Livia J. Washburn (2009)
It's Christmastime in Weatherford, Texas, and retired teacher-cum-amateur sleuth Phyllis Newsom is looking forward to finishing up what has been one unlucky year. But she won't be hanging up her apron quite yet, because this year's Christmas bake-off is going to be cutthroat.

Phyllis would like to think she's just entering the Christmas cookie contest for fun. But that's not exactly true. She's can't imagine anyone beating her delicate, snowflake-shaped lime sugar cookies--although her friend Carolyn's pecan shortbread, along with her neighbor Mrs. Simmons's ginger-doodles, might give her a run for her money.

Then, after her annual Christmas cookie exchange, Phyllis heads over to elderly Mrs. Simmons's home and finds the poor thing in a pile of lime sugar cookies, strangled by the belt of her own bathrobe. With a number of names on Santa's naughty list, this case is a cookie Phyllis means to crumble....
There Goes Santa Claus by Nancy Mehl (2008)
But a few days before December 25, Ivy and her husband Amos are awakened by noises on their rooftop. Amos’s joke that Santa Claus must have arrived early loses its humor when a body goes flying past their second-story window. A look outside reveals two legs covered in red velvet trousers and black boots sticking out of a snow bank! Ivy and Amos are even more surprised to find they belong to a dead man dressed as Santa Claus. The story circulates quickly through the small town of Winter Break that Ivy and Amos have killed Santa. Who is the dead man and why was he on their roof? Ivy has a Christmas mystery to solve that will bring a satisfying conclusion to the Ivy Towers Mystery series.
Christmas is Murder by C.S. Challinor (2008)
Christmas in the English countryside -- what could be more charming? Not even a blizzard can keep Rex Graves away from Swanmere Manor, a historic hotel in East Sussex. But instead of Christmas cheer, the red-haired Scottish barrister finds a dead guest. Was it a stroke that killed old Mr. Lawry? Or an almond tart laced with poison?

When more guests die, all hopes for a jolly holiday are dashed. Worst of all, the remote mansion is buried under beastly snow. No one can leave. Confined with a killer, no one can enjoy their tea without suspicion and scrutiny. Rex takes it upon himself to solve the mystery, but the most intriguing evidence -- a burnt biography of President George W. Bush -- offers few clues. Could the killer be the sherry-swilling handyman? The gay antiques dealer with a biting wit? The quarreling newlyweds? Surely, it's not Helen D'arcy, the lovely lass Rex seems to be falling for....
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci (2002) **not a mystery, but fantastic holiday read**
Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington D.C. to L.A in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people's essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.

The Christmas Train is filled with memorable characters who have packed their bags with as much wisdom as mischief ... and shows how we do get second chances to fulfill our deepest hopes and dreams, especially during this season of miracles.
Sugarplum Dead by Carolyn Hart (2000)
It's getting to look a lot like Christmas on the sea island of Broward's Rock, South Carolina. At the popular Death on Demand mystery bookstore, owner Annie Darling's energetic Yuletide preparations have to be put on hold thanks to several rather inconvenient distractions including a slew of family woes ... and murder.
Annie's mother-in-law Laurel, not normally the straightest of arrows anyway, has taken to chatting up ghosts in the local graveyard. Across the island in a spacious, spooky mansion, ancient onetime movie star Marguerite Dumaney Ladson has called together all her living kin and their multitude of exes for her gala combination Xmas/birthday bash. Among the honored guests are two that Annie could well do without: her errant father, whom she hasn't seen in twenty five years, and Dr. Emory Swanson, Laurel's guide down "The Golden Path."
Like Laurel, wealthy old Rita Dumaney Ladson has fallen for Swanson's new-age-pseudo-occult gobbledygook. The question is: how are the gathered relatives going to react to the grande dame's announcement that she's leaving her fortune to the charismatic charlatan's Evermore Foundation? Not well, apparently,since a murder follows right on the heels of Rita's shocking revelation. And the finger of suspicion seems to be pointing straight at Annie Darling's recently arrived deadbeat dad.
Annie can feel no loyalty toward the father she's never really known, but she doesn't believe for a minute he's guilty. And when a second murder puts her conflicted emotions into an even more chaotic tailspin, Annie realizes that she will need all the help her easy-going PI. husband Max can offer to solve a related pair of homicides. Because, in this season of giving, fate is giving her more major headaches and a killer is giving her more corpses than even the normally unflappable Annie Darling may be able to handle.
A Little Yuletide Murder by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain (1998)
Jessica Fletcher is planning to spend a cozy Christmas in Cabot Cove. But when Rory Brent is found shot to death on his farm, there will be no peace on earth until his killer is found. Snooping into the small town's past for a motive, Jessica is determined to deliver the killer before Christmas. The trouble is, the next sound she hears this silent night may be a scream of her own.






The Christmas Crimes at Puzzle Manor by Simon Brett (1991)
This crime novel invites reader participation. Included are pictures of the evidence and an intricate series of puzzles, quizzes, crosswords and riddles which challenge the reader to outwit the hero of the novel and discover the murderer first. 








A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843) **not a mystery, but timeless treasure**

One of the best-loved and most quoted stories of "the man who invented Christmas"-English writer Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol debuted in 1843 and has touched millions of hearts since. Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn't like. . .and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill. Experience a true Victorian Christmas!
You've probably seen a stage or movie adaptation, now's time to read or reread the book!







If you have a favorite Christmas or Holiday Season cozy that's not listed above, 
please add it in the comments section below for other readers to discover. 

Happy Holiday Reading!
Christmas gift book ideas.

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