Cozies are generally light reads sans violence, sex, and profanity. Some often do, however, keep up a fairly high level of suspense. That is true with Rose Pressey’s Haunted Vintage Mysteries. In the third book of the series, Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore, protagonist Cookie Chanel, owner of a vintage clothing store called It's Vintage Y'all in the small town of Sugar Creek, Georgia, is helping with vintage accessories at a charity event featuring the designs of her friend, Melanie.
Unfortunately, when Cookie is ready to leave and tries to find Melanie to say goodbye, she discovers that Melanie has been murdered – the weapon being the heel of a stiletto. Hannah, one of the models, has just discovered the body when Cookie comes around, and she is arrested for the murder.
Cookie has the ability to see ghosts, and has picked up one named Charlotte as a companion. Charlotte came around in a previous novel when she enlisted Cookie’s help in solving her own murder. Now Charlotte wants Cookie to solve this murder, since she is fairly certain that Hannah isn’t guilty. Cookie has additional help from another Ghost, Sam, a murder victim from the 40s whose hat was being used in the fashion event, and also Cookie’s cat, Wind Song, who has the uncanny ability to read tarot cards and the Ouija board.
Although the characters sound a little implausible, Pressey pulls it off; Cookie, Charlotte, Sam, a handsome policeman and a striking lawyer move the story along. The whole novel is a borderline farce on fantasy fiction, and there is humor along with lots of fun. Because Cookie is an expert on Vintage clothing, there are hints for purchasing and choosing vintage clothing at the start of most chapters. Sam, while alive, was a private detective, so there are sleuthing hints from him at the start of the other chapters.
Most of the suspense comes from the prodding of the ghosts to get Cookie to put herself in embarrassing situations interacting with the suspects, i.e., getting caught in their offices or homes snooping. Cookie is in danger at every turn, and while the ghosts can make suggestions and be very pushy with Cookie (nobody can see them, except her), they can’t actually save her when she gets into a tight situation.
Readers who like fast-moving reads that are light, humorous, and clean will especially enjoy this novel, and of course the series. The book will be a nice change from the heavy thrillers that keep readers on the edge of their seats, and will be an enjoyable read. (bellaonline.com)
Summer's steamy haze coats North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, but feisty Agnes Marie Hopper discovers the heat isn't the only thing causing her blood to boil. After a kitchen fire destroys her home, Agnes moves in with her daughter, Betty Jo. Three months later they come to an understanding: neither can tolerate living with the other. So on a sultry August morning, Betty Jo drives Agnes and her few belongings to Sweetbrier Manor, a local retirement home and former house of ill repute.
With no intention of staying, Agnes devises a scheme to sneak out of the Manor and find another place to live. Before she can make her exit, she runs into her best friend from high school, along with some other quirky characters. With a nose for trouble, Agnes learns some of the residents are being robbed, over-medicated, and denied basic cable and Internet access.
Armed with nothing more than seventy-one years of common sense and a knack for pushing people's buttons, Agnes sets out to expose the unscrupulous administrator, protect her new friends, and restore Sweetbriar Manor's reputation as a "rewarding and enriching lifestyle. But the real moment of truth comes when Agnes is forced to choose between her feisty self-reliance and the self-sacrifice that comes from caring for others.
B&B hostess Judith McMonigle Flynn's ready to hang up her oven mitts, but irrepressible Cousin Renie needs help catering the telephone company's annual winter retreat at secluded Mountain Goat Lodge. The pay's good, the scenery's to die for -- but they never figured there'd be a killer cooking up mischief among this innocuous stew of corporate-climbing phone company ding-a-lings.
Unfortuantely, Judith and Renie's discovery of the frozen, garroted ramains of the previous company caterer -- missing since last year's shindig -- suggests no less, since the same cast of characters is present this time around. It's Dial "M" for Mountain Goat Murder, and a storm's blowing in to boot -- leaving Judith and Renie stranded with ten suspects and a corpse...and with nothing better to do than to reach out and touch a killer who'd like nothing better than to put two inquisitive cousins in the Deep Freeze.