If you are looking for new Christmas themed titles in your favorite mystery series, please see my post for last month. Most of them were published in November. Only one squeaked by into December.
That is Ornaments of Death by Jane. L. Cleland, the tenth title in the Josie Prescott mystery series. It follows Blood Rubies. Christmas lights twinkle throughout the cozy coastal town of Rocky Point, New Hampshire, and Prescott’s Antiques auction venue has been transformed into a winter wonderland for Josie Prescott’s annual holiday party. Josie is especially excited this year-Ian Bennington, a recently discovered distant relative, will be joining the fun. Both Ian and Josie are, it seems, descended from Arabella Churchill, a 17th century royal mistress. The party is a success and Ian is a hit. It gives Josie an unexpected thrill to have family-and unexpected dread when he vanishes. Ian doesn’t keep his dinner date with Josie’s good friend, Lavinia, or his lunch date with her. Surely, he would have done so-if he could. Ian has given his daughter two priceless 17th century watercolor miniature portraits, one of Arabella and one of her lover, King James II, and they’ve gone missing, too. Knowing that after her nasty divorce, Lavinia is facing financial ruin, Josie can’t help wondering if her friend is behind the theft-and Ian’s disappearance. Determined to find Ian, Josie uses her knowledge of antiques to track the miniatures. In doing so, she learns the true meaning of Christmas-and the true meaning of family.
Pouncing on Murder by Laurie Cass is the fourth title in the Bookmobile Cat mystery series, following Borrowed Crime. Springtime in Chilson, Michigan, means it’s librarian Minnie Hamilton’s favorite time of year: maple syrup season! But her excitement fades when her favorite syrup provider, Henry Gill, dies in a sugaring accident. On the bookmobile rounds with her trusty rescue cat Eddie, Minnie meets Adam, the old man’s friend, who was with him when he died. Adam is convinced Henry’s death wasn’t an accident, and fears that his own life is in danger. With the police overworked, it’s up to Minnie and Eddie to tap all their resources for clues.
The sixth title in the Haunted Home Renovation mystery series by Juliet Blackwell is Give up the Ghost, following Keeper of the Castle. San Francisco millionaire Andrew Stirling wants to sell his Victorian mansion, but ghostly music, the squeaking of a long-disappeared weathervane, and an angry ghost keep running off potential buyers. After a famous psychic is called in, she informs the Stirlings that their multi-million-dollar renovations to “update” the home have left its resident ghost extremely agitated. So contractor Mel Turner is engaged to track down and replace some of the original features of the house. But when the beautiful psychic is found stabbed, it appears someone had a very human motive for murder. Now Mel must use her ghost whispering gift to uncover the secrets of the haunted house on the hill, and her sleuthing skills to catch a killer.
Lea Wait is publishing the third title in her Mainely Needlepoint mystery series this month, Thread and Gone. It follows Threads of Evidence. Angie Curtis and her fellow Mainely Needlepointers know how to enjoy their holidays. But nothing grabs their attention like tying up loose threads. So when Mary Clough drops in on the group’s Fourth of July supper with a question about an antique needlepoint she’s discovered in her family attic, Angie and her ravelers are happy to look into the matter. Angie’s best guess is that the mystery piece may have been stitched by Mary, Queen of Scots, famous not just for losing her head, but also for her needlepointing. If Angie’s right, the piece would be extremely valuable. For safekeeping, Angie turns the piece over to her family lawyer, who places it in a safe in her office. But the real mystery begins when the lawyer is found dead with the safe open and ransacked.
The fourth title in the Pawsitively Organic mystery series is Murder Most Finicky by Liz Mugavero. It follows A Biscuit, a Casket. The dog days of summer have arrived in the small town of Frog Ledge, Connecticut, and business is booming for Kristan “Stan” Connor. Her Pawsitively Organic pet food has even caught the attention of celebrity pastry chef Sheldon Allyn, who helps Stan open a fancy pet pastry shop in Frog Ledge. A partnership is born, and Sheldon invites Stan to Newport, Rhode Island, for an appreciation weekend he’s hosting for all his independent chefs. But the gourmet getaway turns sour when one of the chefs turns up dead, and a second one goes missing. It’s up to Stan to figure out who had a recipe for murder.