Monday, November 27, 2023

Of Chintz, China, and Chicanery

This last weekend I noted the blog Aunt Agatha’s Mysteries had released two of its reviewers’ “10 favorites of 2023” lists. Today we receive two more, both focused on this genre’s cozier side. The first expands significantly on choices Robin Agnew had previously submitted to Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine. Here are her picks:

A Fatal Groove, by Olivia Blacke (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
Between a Wok and a Dead Place, by Leslie Budewitz
(Seventh Street)
Hot Pot Murder, by Jennifer J. Chow (Berkley)
A Wealth of Deception, by Trish Esden (Crooked Lane)
The Socialite’s Guide to Death and Dating, by S.K. Golden
(Crooked Lane)
Wrong Poison, by Nikki Knight (Charade Media)
Murder and Mamon, by Mia P. Manasala (Berkley)
Hop Scot, by Catriona McPherson (Severn House)
Rehearsed to Death, by Frank Anthony Polito (Kensington)
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, by Jesse Q.
Sutanto (Berkley)

Next come critic Carla Schantz’s selections:

Case of the Bleus, by Korina Moss (Minotaur)
Murder in a Cup, by Lauren Elliott (Kensington Cozies)
Murder in the Book Lover’s Loft, by Ellery Adams (Kensington Cozies)
Spoon to be Dead, by Dana Mentink (Poisoned Pen Press)
Hard Dough Homicide, by Olivia Matthews (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
A Flicker of a Doubt, by Daryl Wood Gerber (Kensington)
Murder at an Irish Bakery, by Carlene O’Connor (Kensington Cozies)
Fatal Fudge Swirl, by Meri Allen (‎St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
Murder at a Scottish Wedding, by Traci Hall (Kensington)
That Others Might Live, by Sara Driscoll (Kensington)

I cannot claim insight into the aforementioned works, as I’ve read none of them. Yet I suspect these lists will be helpful to present-buyers with cozy lovers among their holiday giftees.

* * *

Finally, DP editor George Easter directs attention to a new “Best Mysteries of 2023” collection from The Buzz Magazines (and no, I had never heard of that until today either). Below are staff writer Cindy Burnett’s five Mysteries/Thrillers picks.

Time’s Undoing, by Cheryl A. Head (Dutton)
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, by Jesse Q.
Sutanto (Berkley)
Drowning, by T.J. Newman (Avid Reader Press)
The Bitter Past, by Bruce Borgos (Minotaur)
Murder in the Family, by Cara Hunter (Morrow Paperbacks)

To reiterate Easter’s comment, this is “a short but good list.”

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