Meet Isabel Puddles

Meet Isabel Puddles by M.V. Byrne

I quite enjoyed this first Mitten State cozy mystery, set in a small town on the coast of Lake Michigan. Isabel Puddles, a widow and empty nester, makes ends meet by working in her cousin Freddie’s hardware store and also by selling pies, pickles, and knitted scarves. When she has time, Isabel and her dog, Jackpot, enjoy the view from her lakeside deck. Isabel, as a local rather than a tourist, gets a discount on her daily breakfasts at the café with her outspoken friend Frances. On rare occasions, Isabel helps out at the funeral home, styling hair and makeup, which leads to evidence that her friend Meg’s elderly father didn’t die from natural causes. Isabel investigates, with the help of her friends, who add comic relief, though I would have liked a little less reckless driving. A potential wind farm, a hidden beaver dam, and some unexpectedly rickety steps add to the mystery, while the pacing and suspense increase as Isabel gets closer to the killer or killers. Readalike mysteries include The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree by Susan Wittig Albert, Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake by Sarah Graves, and A Crafter Knits a Clue by Holly Quinn. This was a pleasant read to start the new year.
Brenda

Under a Dark Sky

Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day

The Tuesday Evening Book Group is discussing this award-winning psychological suspense novel set at a dark sky park near Mackinaw City, Michigan on October 27, on Zoom. Copies of the book are still available at the Circulation Desk, and downloadable audiobooks are available from Hoopla or Overdrive/Libby. Eden Wallace, 34, has been a widow for 9 months. She found the reservation for a suite at the park her husband Bix had made, for their anniversary weekend. She needs a getaway, but Eden is afraid of the dark. At the park, she learns there’s been a mistake; the rest of the cabin has been booked by a group of six 20-somethings. One of the six is killed in the night, and they’re all suspects, even Eden. Then there are more accidents. Readers who enjoy psychological suspense novels will race through this tense tale as Eden uncovers secrets and wonders who she can trust among the five remaining friends and police officers Warren Hoyt and Bridget Cooley. Full of surprises, this is not a book to start after dark.
Brenda

The Recipe Box

The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman

Sam Nelson, a young pastry chef, takes her family’s Michigan apple orchard for granted, and thinks she’ll be happier in New York City. Home for a visit, the key to her recipe box unlocks the stories of her mother Deanna, grandmother Willo, and great-grandmother at turning points in their lives. Recipes are included, and not just for apple-themed treats. A visit from her friend Angelo helps Sam see the orchard and the beautiful Leelanau Peninsula in a new light. This charming gentle read had me looking up apple orchards in the area, and may have other readers trying some of the recipes or planning a visit to Michigan’s Traverse Bay area.
Brenda