Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Two new mysteries take place in Michigan small towns

If you want to relax by the fireplace in a comfortable chair with an enjoyable cozy mystery, here's a quick look at a pair of new books that should be just right.

Each novel is set in a small Michigan town, showcasing frustrated amateur sleuth and is part of a likable ongoing series.

"Dead Floating Lovers" by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli (Midnight Ink, $14.95) is the second novel starring Emily Kincaid, frustrated author and part-time journalist.

The paperback sequel to "Dead Dancing Women" brings back Deputy Dolly Wakowski, who asks for Kincaid's help when she discovers a body.

The receding water level of a nearby local lake has revealed a body, complete with a bullet hole in the skull, and an item that may link it to her long-missing husband.

Members of the Odawa Indian tribe observe the discovery. And when the body is identified, they want to make sure she gets a proper Indian burial.

As Dolly and Kincaid investigate, other clues surface, as does another body, which causes all kind of complications.

Buzzelli, a creative writing instructor at Northwestern Michigan College, has created a satisfying tale with a lot of local color, deftly exploring uneasy relationships and deadly situations. Click here to visit the author's website.

"The Chocolate Cupid Killings" by JoAnna Carl (Obsidian, $21.95) is the ninth in her popular series featuring chocoholic Lee McKinney Woodyard, who runs TenHuis Chocolate in the small fictitious Michigan town of Warner Pier.

She's approached by Derrick Valentine, a private detective from Georgia who's seeking information about a new employee. The woman is part of a secret underground railroad-type of organization that's helping abused women.

Valentine soon turns up dead. Woodyard's aunt Nettie is discovered holding the murder weapon and more challenges arise.

When you throw in a violent Detroit mobster, a sneaky CEO under investigation, secretive cops and much more, you've got a fascinating tale that Agatha Christie lovers should enjoy.  Woodyard does a lot of research, trying to figure out what's going on.

Her boat-building husband, who's also the city attorney, has other problems; another body surfaces and both are put in a perilous situation.

JoAnna Carl, the pseudonym for mystery writer Eve K. Sandstrom, is in fine form, offering more tasty chocolate trivia as well as entertaining mystery faire.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime novels and noir thrillers regularly since 1987. This article first appeared in the Lansing State Journal. Visit


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