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Kathleen Bridge's newest entry in her Hamptons Home & Garden mystery series is Hearse and Gardens. Our protagonist was once a Manhattan interior designer, but Meg Barrett left the city for the peace and quiet of the Hamptons. She loves the area, but her days are anything but slow. Not only does she have to sort out legal issues before she can buy a beachfront cottage but she discovers a literal skeleton in the closet in a Montauk estate. This mystery takes us into the pop art world, where a Warhol painting, family feuds, and high society all play a role. Reviewers mention that Meg is a smart, capable character and that it's easy to connect to her predicaments. First paragraph:
"You have been served." Four words you never want to hear.Recipes include Cajun shrimp, and the book also contains a guide to shopping for and using vintage items.
Berry the Hatchet is the third entry in Peg Cochran's Cranberry Cove mystery series, set in Michigan. Monica Albertson left Chicago to help her brother, Jeff, on his cranberry farm located on the shores of Lake Michigan. In an effort to boost the local the economy, the town decides to hold a late-winter festival. But before the first day is over, someone has died, and the prime suspects are Monica's mother and stepmother. Can Monica and Jeff find the real killer before their family is torn apart? One of the fun things about cozy mysteries is the setting, and reviewers have commented on how much they liked getting to know the small lakeside town and Monica's friends and customers. First paragraph:
Cranberry Cove was in an uproar.Among the several recipes are cranberry balsamic pork chops and cranberry salsa.
If you want to get in at the beginning of a series, try Irish Stewed by Kylie Logan, which is the opening book in her Ethnic Eats mysteries. Our hero is Laurel Inwood, a personal chef to a Hollywood bigwig. Well, make that ex-chef. She's now living in a small town in Ohio working in her aunt Sophie's diner. Determined to keep up her culinary standards, Laurel decides to add ethnic dishes to the daily specials. It was a good plan until someone is found dead at their restaurant table. Good food, a cute guy, and delicious clues make this book a lovely way to spend the afternoon. First lines:
"I can explain. . . . It's like this, you see, Laurel."There is only one recipe at the back of the book, and it's, of course, for Irish stew.