Tuesday, January 24, 2023

February 2023 New Mystery Releases!

It's been a rainy January here in the Sonoran Desert, which is a wonderful thing-- although Californians might disagree with me. I hope Mother Nature continues to give this desert I love gentle, soaking rains. Who knows? We may even have a super bloom of wildflowers this year, which is so gorgeous it has to be seen to be believed.

Of course, I'm well-known for multi-tasking. I'm able to stretch out on the daybed to read and watch it rain as well as keep my eyes peeled for the best new crime fiction being released throughout the month of February.

The following list contains my picks for the new mysteries you need to read. I've grouped them by their release dates, and I obtained their covers and synopses from my favorite showroom, Amazon.

Let's see if any of my choices are on your own lists...

=== February 1 ===

Title: Invitation to a Killer
Author: G.M. Malliet
Series: #2 in the crime writer Augusta Hawke series set in the Washington, D.C. area.
240 pages

Synopsis: "Callie Moore is no ordinary aspiring writer. Notorious wife of a Washington lobbyist, Callie believes no publicity is bad publicity and that publishing her scandalous memoirs will help her achieve her heart's desire: a diplomatic posting. She just needs crime novelist Augusta Hawke to be her ghostwriter.

It's hard to say no to Callie, but Augusta does agree to attend her dinner party. The guest list is impressive, and it's Augusta's chance to meet celebrity doctor Doc Burke. But before Augusta really gets a chance to chat with the famous humanitarian, the evening ends in his untimely death.

Signs point to a heart attack, but Augusta isn't convinced. Especially when his niece tells Augusta about the mystery woman who claimed the doctor's remains.

Augusta decides to host a writers' retreat and invite all the suspects, most of whom are connected in some way with writing. Isn't that what Agatha Christie would do? But the remote lodge soon becomes snowed in and the group starts to crack when it becomes clear the killer may not be finished killing. Can Augusta flush out the culprit before anyone else gets hurt?

=== February 7 ===

Title: Wined and Died in New Orleans
Author: Ellen Byron
Series: #2 in the Vintage Cookbook cozy series set in New Orleans, Louisiana.
288 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "It’s hurricane season in New Orleans and vintage cookbook fan Ricki James-Diaz is trying to shelve her weather-related fears and focus on her business, Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop, housed in the magnificent Bon Vee Culinary House Museum.
Repairs on the property unearth crates of very old, very valuable French wine, buried by the home’s builder, Jean-Louis Charbonnet. Ricki, who’s been struggling to attract more customers to Miss Vee’s, is thrilled when her post about the discovery of this long-buried treasure goes viral. She’s less thrilled when the post brings distant Charbonnet family members out of the woodwork, all clamoring for a cut of the wine’s sale.
When a dead body turns up in Bon Vee’s cheery fall decorations, the NOPD zeroes in on Eugenia Charbonnet Felice as the prime suspect, figuring that as head of the Charbonnet family, she has the most to gain. Ricki is determined to uncover the real culprit, but she can’t help noticing that Eugenia is acting strangely. Ricki wonders what kind of secret her mentor has bottled up, and fears what might happen if she uncorks it.
In the second Vintage Cookbook Mystery, Ricki has to help solve a murder, untangle family secrets, and grow her business, all while living under the threat of a hurricane that could wipe out everything from her home to Bon Vee.
Title: Last Seen in Lapaz
Author: Kwei Quartey
Series: #3 in the Emma Djan private investigator series set in Ghana.
360 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "Just as things at work are slowing down for PI Emma Djan, an old friend of her boss’s asks for help locating his missing daughter. According to her father, Ngozi had a bright future ahead of her when she became secretive and withdrawn. Suddenly, all she wanted to do was be with her handsome new beau, Femi, instead of attending law school in the fall. So when she disappears from her parents’ house in Nigeria the middle of a summer night, they immediately suspect Femi was behind it and have reason to believe the pair has fled to Accra.

During Emma’s first week on the case, Femi is found murdered at his opulent residence in Accra. There are no signs of Ngozi at the scene, and fearing the worst, Emma digs further, discovering that Femi was part of a network of sex traffickers across West Africa.

Emma must figure out which of Femi’s many enemies killed him, but more urgently, she must find Ngozi before she, too, is murdered in cold blood.
Title: Sentenced to Death
Series: #3 in the Writer for Hire cozy series set in Illinois.
224 pages
Synopsis: "When writer for hire Veronica Blackstone is asked to write the copy for The Friends of Hyde Park's annual house and garden tour, she never expects to get involved in a violent death. But that's exactly what happens when famous author Landon Donte is found dead in his study during a dinner to highlight the tour.

With his career on the wane, and apparently having deleted his last manuscript, it looks as though Landon committed suicide. But Veronica isn't so sure. She discovers that left-handed Landon was killed by someone right-handed and becomes convinced someone murdered him.

It's true that Landon had many enemies: his rival and neighbor, bestselling romance author RL Lincoln; his put-upon assistant, Brad; even his own daughter! But are any of them capable of murder? Veronica is determined to uncover the truth."
Title: A Killing of Innocents
Series: #19 in the Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James police procedurals set in England.
368 pages
Synopsis: "On a rainy November evening, trainee doctor Sasha Johnson hurries through the evening crowd in London's historic Russell Square. Out of the darkness, someone jostles her as they brush past. A moment later, Sasha stumbles, then collapses. When Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his sergeant, Doug Cullen, are called to the scene, they discover that she's been stabbed. 

Kincaid immediately calls in his detective wife, Gemma James, who has recently been assigned to a task force on knife crimes which are on the rise. Along with her partner, detective sergeant Melody Talbot, Gemma aids the investigation. But Sasha Johnson doesn’t fit the profile of the task force’s typical knife crime victim. Single, successful, career-driven, she has no history of abusive relationships or any connection to gangs. Sasha had her secrets, though, and some of them lead the detectives uncomfortably close to home.

As the team unravels the victim's tangled connections, another murder raises the stakes. Kincaid, Gemma, and their colleagues must put even friendships on the line to find the killer stalking the dark streets of Bloomsbury."
Title: Playing Dead
Series: #2 in the former PI Molly Madison cozy series set in California.
304 pages
Synopsis: "Molly Madison has barely had a moment to catch her breath after moving to the sleepy beach town she now calls home. But as a former PI, she can’t help but notice the odd chemistry between members of Playtime Academy on the first day she and her loyal Saint Bernadoodle, Noodle, and golden retriever, Harlow, visit. When a trainer’s body is found on-site, Molly knows it’s her duty to put her ex-police skills to use. She can’t say no to temporarily taking in the deceased woman’s dog, either—not with those puppy dog eyes.

Relationships at the training facility are not as clean as the prize-winning agility runs, making it difficult for Molly to get a leash on potential suspects. And her personal life is just as messy—her boyfriend is hiding something, her agoraphobic neighbor needs help, and her number of four-legged friends keep growing as she agrees to dogsit a wriggly local French bulldog.
When Molly’s friend is arrested for the murder, she’s not sure who to believe anymore. Is the case as simple as the local cops make it seem, or is something more devious afoot?

=== February 14 ===
Title: The Cliff's Edge
Author: Charles Todd
Series: #13 in the Bess Crawford historical mystery series set in post-World War I England.
320 pages
Synopsis: "Restless and uncertain of her future in the wake of World War I, former battlefield nurse Bess Crawford agrees to travel to Yorkshire to help a friend of her cousin Melinda through surgery. But circumstances change suddenly when news of a terrible accident reaches them. Bess agrees to go to isolated Scarfdale and the Neville family, where one man has been killed and another gravely injured. The police are asking questions, and Bess is quickly drawn into the fray as two once close families take sides, even as they are forced to remain in the same house until the inquest is completed.
When another tragedy strikes, the police are ready to make an arrest. Bess struggles to keep order as tensions rise and shots are fired. What dark truth is behind these deaths? And what about the tale of an older murder—one that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Nevilles? Bess is unaware that when she passes the story on to Cousin Melinda, she will set in motion a revelation with the potential to change the lives of those she loves most—her parents, and her dearest friend, Simon Brandon…

=== February 21 ===

Title: Irish Knit Murder
Series: #8 in the Knit & Nibble cozy series set in New Jersey.
304 pages
Synopsis: "The Listers have been part of Arborville society for generations—though seventy-something Isobel Lister doesn’t fit the role of upper-crust heiress. She’s always been a colorful character, and her fun-loving spirit is on display at the senior center celebration as she performs some beloved Irish songs. But just minutes later, her body is found backstage.

It’s hard to imagine who’d target such a harmless eccentric, but Pamela finds herself suspecting everyone. There’s the Wiccan who thought St. Patrick wasn’t so saintly; the woman upset about cultural appropriation who feels the commercialization of shamrocks is a sham; the two men Isobel was seeing, who could have been green with jealousy—and old friends and family who may have feared Isobel would spill their secrets. But Pamela’s on the case, and that means for the killer, the jig will soon be up . . .
Title: Sea Castle
Author: Andrew Mayne
Series: #4 in the Underwater Investigation Unit series set in Florida.
315 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "When a young woman washes ashore on a Fort Lauderdale beach, Sloan McPherson of the Underwater Investigation Unit is called in to consult. Sloan’s instinct says murder, but even then, there are too many questions.

For answers she reaches out to Gwen Wylder. The Miami homicide detective is notorious for being manipulative, bitter, a tyrant to her peers, and wicked smart. And she demands something in return from Sloan: fresh insight into seemingly unrelated cold-case murders and disappearances―and a possible serial killer trolling the Florida coast.

As loose ends of the old files begin to come together, another woman disappears. Sloan and Gwen are certain she’s the newest link in a deadly chain. They are determined to track her down before she dies, but they soon find themselves in uncharted waters. And the deeper Sloan and Gwen go, the stranger the case gets.
February is another one of the months that I love where there's something for everyone. If there's one book on my list that I'm the most excited about, it's Deborah Crombie's A Killing of Innocents. It's been much too long since there's been a new Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James mystery!
What about you? Are any of these books on your own lists? Which ones? You know that inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. Ooh, a Kwei Quartay, a Crombie, and Todd?! This is just simply not fair, Cathy! Well, they all look good, actually. I think it's going to be a good reading month.

    1. It certainly looks like it! (And I think I just heard your book buying budget explode...)

  2. I'm wanting to start that Andrew Mayne underwater series and have the first book so must get to it. I take it it's a good series?

    1. I enjoy it, although I did have to adjust my rather backward opinion of the types of occupations mothers should have. (Old dogs can learn new tricks!)

  3. I have been waiting for the third book Last Seen in Lapaz to be written and then released. I have a hold on it at the library. I like Kwei Quartey's books.

  4. I agree that the Crombie book is my most anticipated from your list. However, I'm also ready to read another Augusta Hawke book. Lots of treasures here for you, Cathy!

  5. Replies
    1. Yes, indeed! (humming a chorus of Anticipation)

  6. I now am looking forward to reading Playing Dead and Sea Castle. They both sound like good ones to me. :D

    1. Yes, both of those really made my ears perk up. ;-)

  7. I've been waiting for the new Crombie! I didn't know about the new Todd, and have to check whether I'm current with that series. And you've reminded me of my intention to start the Quartey series, as well as to catch up with Mayne's books. Lots to look forward to!

    1. Yes- lots of excellent reading to look forward to!

  8. Several are cozies. If I wanted to read a cozy, any suggestions?

    1. Jenn McKinlay's Library Lovers series. Vicki Delany's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series. Hannah Dennison's Honeychurch Hall series.

  9. Yes, I've meant to read the McKinley series, and try the Delany.


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