This week we are taking a look at new mystery books that are first in a series.
Our first book is “A Girl Like You” by Michelle Cox. It features a young waitress, Henrietta Von Harmon, and World War I veteran and Chicago Police Inspector Clive Howard. Set in 1935 Chicago, Henrietta is working at a bar to make a living for her widowed mother and her seven younger siblings. When Henrietta takes a job as a taxi dancer to supplement her income, she lands in the middle of a murder when the floor matron turns up dead. Inspector Howard starts to investigate and recruits Henrietta to go undercover as an usherette at a burlesque theater so that they can spy on a suspect named Neptune.
The pair find out that there is a seedy underworld of prostitution at the theater where several of the dancers have gone missing. During the investigation, the murder and the disappearances all fit together and are resolved in a twist ending.
This book has plenty of action, Depression era atmosphere and romance to satisfy the reader. The characters are the stars of the story and will leave readers wanting more. “A Ring of Truth” and “A Promise Given” are follow-up books in the series.
The next mystery debut is “Survival of the Fritters,” which is the first in the Deputy Donut Mystery Series by Ginger Bolton. This series features young widow Emily Westhill, who owns and runs a doughnut shop — Deputy Donut — along with her father-in-law, who is the former chief of police in Fallingbrook, Wis. Emily’s late husband was a police detective and she is a former 911 operator who left the police force after her husband was killed.
Emily has turned her hobby of doughnut making into a business until one of her regular customers is murdered and she begins to investigate the crime along with her elderly neighbor, Lois. Lois’s nephew Randy is a suspect in the crime and Emily wants to help her prove his innocence. Emily sometimes gets help during her amauter sleuthing from her evolving love interest, Detective Brent Fyne.
The next book in this series has just been published — “Goodbye Cruller World.”
Our third debut is “The Uninvited Corpse” by Debra Sennefelder. This is the first book in the Food Blogger Mystery series. Hope Early is a divorcee who returns to her hometown of Jefferson, Conn., to work as a food blogger after she leaves a job in New York. She is a former magazine editor who had also competed on a reality TV show and came in second place.
Hope is trying to put her life back together and run her business when a nasty real estate agent, Peaches McCoy, is murdered at a friend’s garden party. If the murder is not bad enough, Hope’s sister is targeted as the prime suspect.
This is a fun, cozy mystery that has plenty of small-town charm and backstabbing. Readers will be rooting for Emily and her friend, Chief of Police Ethan Cahill, to solve the case. The book is loaded with food references and there are recipes for cookies, pie and bread included.
The next scheduled book in the series is “The Hidden Corpse.”
You can ask for these debut mysteries and others at the library.
Off the Shelves is published Sundays. Each week a different Kenosha Public Library or Community Library staff member organizes reviews of a handful of books available through the library system.