Take A Cozy Tour

I think I’ve mentioned before one of the things I love about cozy mysteries is the wide range of locales in which they are set. Sit down with a cozy and you can find yourself in Botswana, the Cotswolds, or Amish country. A literary visit to a city might have you plotting your summer vacation or at least taking a jaunt via the Internet. Thanks to Google Earth, I’ve roamed the streets of Edinburgh, passed through Traverse City, Michigan, and strolled around Dublin.

In the past few weeks, my cozy reading has taken me around the country and across the “pond.” Let me take you on a tour.

In my last post, I noted I began March with Patrick Taylor’s latest, An Irish Country Love Story. His tale took me to Ballybucklebo, a fictional village in Northern Ireland. I ended March with a visit to another Irish town courtesy of Alexia Gordon’s fabulous debut Gethsemane Brown Mystery, Murder in G Major. When African-American maestra Gethsemane Brown loses a promised position in Cork, she ends up in the small village of Dunmullach teaching music in an all-boys prep school. She secures lodging in the charming cottage once owned by a composer she has long revered, Eamon McCarthy. Eamon might be dead (supposedly by his own hand), but he’s certainly not gone. He soon makes his presence known to Gethsemane and asks a small favor: prove he killed neither himself nor his wife. Gethsemane finds Eamon’s request difficult to resist, what with his skill at pouring bourbon and the rainbow of colors his aura presents, depending on his mood. A fully absorbing story with an ending sure to bring readers back for more.

In her second Little Library Mystery, author Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli takes readers back to the Midwest and Bear Falls, Michigan, home of protagonist Jenny Weston. In She Stopped for Death, Jenny must sort out a mystery involving local Emily Sutton, a poet who hasn’t been seen in years. With help from her mother, Dora, and neighbor Zoe Zola, Jenny untangles a web of murder while helping draw Emily from her self-imposed exile. This is a well-written book with a nice blend of quirk and gravity, romance and friendship. Check out the first in the series, A Most Curious Murder, for a fine introduction to Buzzelli’s world of Bear Falls.

Do you like books with a southern flavor? Then Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country Mysteries are for you. I loved the first in the series, Plantation Shudders, and eagerly dived into the second installment, Body in the Bayou. The series’ protagonist, Maggie Crozat, is a delightful southern belle who helps her parents run the bed-and-breakfast in their converted plantation house and gives tours at another former plantation, all while also romancing a local cop. Thanks to Byron’s deft writing, readers can practically smell the barbecue and hear the characters’ drawls. Colorful characters on both sides of the law fill the pages and promise to entertain those who seek an escape to the bayou.

This is just a taste of where I’ve been without leaving my comfortable couch. This year I’ve also spent time in Lake Eden, Minnesota (Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen Mystery Banana Cream Pie Murder), made repeat trips to Tinker’s Cove, Maine (Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone Mysteries), and stopped by Stoneham, New Hampshire (A Fatal Chapter by Lorna Barrett).

In the coming weeks, I’m going back to Wales for another visit with Penny Brannigan (Elizabeth J. Duncan’s Murder is for Keeps), will catch up with the residents of Maine’s Cranberry Island in Karen MacInerney’s Whale of a Crime, hit Dewberry Farm in Texas in MacInerney’s Fatal Frost, and check out what’s cooking in the Berkshires in Linda Reilly’s A Frying Shame.

What are your favorite places to visit in your reading? Please share! I’m always looking for books that will take me to new settings, whether real or fictional.

Have a great week. Spring is finally here!

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