Cozy Sunday

Cozy Sunday

lhAy80DCozy Sunday is an original weekly meme to celebrate great cozy mysteries!

I went through a period of time in my life where I didn’t read anything but cozy mysteries for roughly 3 months. During that time, I read a whole lot of good books (and a few bad ones) but I absolutely fell in love with TAGGED FOR DEATH by Sherry Harris.

18282002Starting your life over at age thirty-eight isn’t easy, but that’s what Sarah Winston finds herself facing when her husband CJ runs off with a 19-year-old temptress named Tiffany. Sarah’s self-prescribed therapy happily involves hitting all the garage and tag sales in and around her small town of Ellington, Massachusetts. If only she could turn her love for bargain hunting into a full-time career.

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure

But after returning from a particularly successful day searching for yard sale treasures, Sarah finds a grisly surprise in one of her bags: a freshly bloodied shirt…that undoubtedly belongs to her ex, CJ, who now happens to be Ellington’s chief of police. If that’s not bad enough, it seems Tiffany has gone missing. Now it’s up to Sarah to prove that her cold-hearted ex is not a cold-blooded killer…

But finding that treasure can be murder.

Probably the best advice I can give to anyone who wants to read cozies is this: find a main character who has an interest in something you love.

The Sarah Winston mystery series provides that for me. Sarah is an avid yard sale junkie who is trying to start her own business of organizing sales for other people. I’ve talked about this in my review for SAVANNAH BLUES, but I absolutely love yard sales, junking, and antique shopping. I blame my pack rat Mom and Grandma for that. I was invested in Sarah’s story even without the murder aspect because I wanted to know what kind of deals she was going to find!

Cozy mysteries always have some weird love triangles going on but I really enjoyed Sarah’s evolving relationship with her ex, CJ, and how things progress and regress and progress as the series moves forward.

This was such a great series and I recommend it anyone who loves a little murder, a little love, and a whole of yard sales!

 

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Cozy Sunday

Cozy Sunday

lhAy80D

Cozy Sunday is an original weekly meme to spotlight a cozy mystery I’ve read and loved!

For the inaugural post of Cozy Sunday, I want to talk about the very first cozy mystery I ever read: SHAKESPEARE’S LANDLORD by Charlaine Harris.

45020 SHAKESPEARE’S LANDLORD is the first book in the Lily Bard mystery series which consists of 8 books.

TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE — To Lily Bard, the sleepy town of Shakespeare, Arkansas, was the perfect place to hide from the violence that nearly destroyed her life years before. Today Lily is strong, confident in the martial arts she studies, her looks disguised by her closely cropped hair and baggy clothes. Working as a housecleaner, Lily comes and goes without anyone noticing — until she witnesses a murder.

What Lily Bard saw on that dark night has stripped away her, anonymity and earned her the unwanted attention of a homicide detective and a suspicious community. And with her intense, married, karate instructor showing a passionate interest of his own, Lily’s plan of a private, well-ordered life is coming unhinged. The killer of an unlamented landlord is lurking close by. And while Lily knows the dirt on her neighbors’ dust, drawers, and private live , must admit to a secret of her own: that in the shadow of a brutal murder, she is coming alive again…

I’ve read and loved many of Charlaine’s books and this one was no exception. It does contain all the elements that cozy mystery readers love- a seemingly unnoticeable small town girl witnesses a murder, attracts a lot of love interests, and solves the mystery of who-done-it while the cops are still bumbling around. Harris writes much grittier cozy mysteries, though, and includes more graphic violence and eludes more to sex than most cozies do. In the Lily Bard series, the title character has survived a very horrific crime before the books events take place and I liked that Harris didn’t shy away from discussing Lily’s PTSD and other physical and mental issues that have followed her since the attack.

As with most cozies, there are a lot of side characters to keep up with. This is definitely a way to try and keep the reader guessing about who the murderer was but it does get tedious to try and keep up with all the names. Besides Lily, the only one I really remember from this book was Bobo- the youngish kid who had a major crush on Lily (and later appears in Harris’s MIDNIGHT TEXAS series).

If you’re looking for a cozy mystery with a little more bite, this is definitely the one for you!

(Do be aware of TWs for sexual assault, abuse, kidnapping, and vaguely graphic descriptions of blood/wounds/injury)