Visit Book Review of A Fatal Fiction by Kaitlyn Dunnett on Mystery Book Reviews by Penny Mason

Kaitlyn Dunnett, author of the Liss MacCrimmon series, which I must admit I miss, has captured my interest with her new series, Deadly Edits (A Fatal Fiction is the third installment).

See Mystery Book Reviews by Penny Mason blog for a teaser of this entertaining work of cozy fiction.

View the Latest from the Blog: Mystery Book Reviews by Penny Mason

Visit the review of A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette – a cozy mystery story set in an ice cream shop in the northeastern Ohio snow belt.

Book Review of Kitchen Privileges – a memoir by Mary Higgins Clark

Mary Higgins Clark passed away earlier this year, but lovers of Mary Higgins Clark’s mysteries will enjoy learning about her life through this memoir, one of the first books I checked out from a local library when it partially reopened following COVID-19 shutdown. It covers the talented author’s life up until the mid-1990s.

Mary worked as a stewardess, and in the business and entertainment worlds, before becoming an author; roles that gave her the necessary experience to write stories based on, as she and other advisors often tell aspiring writers: “what you know”.

It’s a comfort to hear such an iconic author confide the uncertainties she held for years, despite her determination to succeed in the mystery-suspense genre. A woman widowed, with children, she cared for them, held a demanding job, began her fiction career by squeezing in a session of typing at the kitchen table from five a.m. to six forty-five each morning.

Her creative and ambitious management of time inspires me as I strive to complete freelance projects, and works of fiction; various writing projects at once, between the hours of my “regular job”.

Whether you’re an aspiring writer, or a consumer of Mary Higgins Clark’s mysteries, you’ll enjoy learning more about this lady, with whom I would have loved to lunch, given the chance, in New York, a city I would love to learn to navigate.




Book Review of Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry by Mary Higgins Clark

I can’t believe it took me so many years to read a work by this supremely talented author. Friends had recommended Mary Higgins Clark to me for years, but I was always caught up in the latest editions of series’ by my favorite New England based mystery mavens and the cheerful works of M.C. Beaton, as well as other new discoveries and the varied non-fiction works on a wide variety of topics that I can never resist.

But I digress. Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry is, I believe, the last novel written by Mary Higgins Clark, before her recent passing. It is certainly pertinent to the current issue of the #MeToo movement.

The story follows freelance journalist Gina Kane as she investigates reports of women treated inappropriately, as it turns out, by the star anchorman of a prominent news organization.

The women were then intimidated by an executive associated with the organization, who, with the assistance of other company officials, engineers a cover-up plan which includes payoffs to the victims of sexual abuse, two of which seem to have become possible victims of murder also, though their deaths, at first glance, seem to have been simply from suicide and accident.

Will Gina be permitted to complete her investigation? Can she sell her story? Will she be able to continue a romantic relationship with the man she loves when he becomes indirectly involved in the situation she is investigating? Must she break off the relationship in order to avoid the chance of criminal charges for both of them?

I read half of this novel within the first several hours then picked it up every spare moment I could find until I reached the end. Can’t wait to get my hands on more of Ms. Clark’s forty plus books.


Book Review of Beating About the Bush – An Agatha Raisin Mystery- By M.C. Beaton

Wizz-Wazz, the donkey is the star of this story, and also a suspect in M. C. Beaton’s latest Agatha Raisin series installment, Beating About the Bush. Agatha forms a strange relationship with the animal who resides at the headquarters of a company with which Raisin Investigations has a contract.

Aging detective Agatha and her protégée, young, blonde Toni experience some relationship tension, but artfully work together with  Agatha’s long time friend and policeman Bill Wong, and the investigation company’s other team members to solve the case.

Agatha is in possibly the greatest danger ever, as the case comes together.

Roy Silver, Agatha’s former protégée from her years in public relations, now a talented promotions man himself, arrives in time to assist with Agatha’s PR needs, relative to the murder investigation.

Sir Charles Fraith, with whom Agatha has an off/on relationship, is planning to marry a girl from a family of means, in order to gain cash to keep his estate running. The prospect has Agatha in a tizzy, but she is distracted from the distress by the attentions of Chris, a talented mechanic she meets through the case upon which she is focused.

A topsy-turvy fun and enchanting mystery in classic M.C. Beaton, style.

Are Cozy Mysteries Your Cup of Tea?

There’s no better way to while away a winter day than to settle in with a cup of tea or coffee, as it may be.

Taking ourselves out of our own reality for an hour or an afternoon, makes stress easier to bear.

Kathryn Gerwig’s story, “The Martens and the Murder Attempt” appears in the fun anthology titled A Murder of Crows. It’s a collection of fun crime stories each featuring multiples of a familiar or a unique creature.

No animals come to harm in any of the tales, so its safe for pet and nature lovers.

Never heard of a marten? Get acquainted with these cute northern creatures and enjoy the many other wonderful stories in this excellent title from Darkhouse Books, easily ordered from Amazon.


Book Review of Thread Herrings By Lea Wait

An auction bargain becomes a motive for murder in Thread Herrings of the Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series by mystery maven and Maine historian, Lea Wait. Angie Curtis is still settling into her new life in her home state of Maine, after a decade away.

It’s winter, the time when needlepointers and antique shop owners replenish their wares. Angie’s friend Sarah Byrne invites Angie to attend an auction where she impulsively bids on a unique, but low value, needlepoint piece.

Seeking more information regarding the item’s history, Angie appears on television at the invitation of her friend and fledgling newscaster, Clem Walker. She soon fears for the lives of her friends and herself, as the TV station, and her Mainely Needlepoint business email account receive multiple death threats to herself, Clem, and anyone involved in tracing the history of the item Angie bought at the auction.

Alas, one of her acquaintances becomes a murder victim, proving the reality of the danger from the threats. Will others still be willing to help find the item’s history, and thus, hopefully, the motive for the murder?

Angie must abandon her home for her own safety as she strives to discover the killer’s motivation. A stay at the home of love interest, artist and gallery manager  Patrick West, proves interesting.

A story filled with history, friendship, a hint of romance.  Join Angie as she strives to solve the mystery of the stitchery and the identity of the murderer, amid the beauty of a New England winter.







Book Review of Haunted House Murder – By Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross

Three Maine mystery mavens have put togeather a haunting Halloween anthology.

Love New England, historic homes, tales of crimes and spirits from beyond?

Pick up this book, curl up with coffee, cider, or your beverage of choice, and settle in for a rainy evening; or sprawl upon a leaf strewn lawn and enjoy an Indian summer day of sunshine.

Here is a listing of the well-written and spellbinding stories of hauntings:

Haunted House Murder by Leslie Meier

Death by Haunted House by Lee Hollis

Hallowed Out by Barbara Ross

Weekly Wisdom – The Penny Mason Post

Whiskers in the Dark  by Rita Mae Brown takes the reader on a trip back in time, reminds us of of the ways in which past and present connect on both a personal and big picture basis.

As always in this series, Harry (Mary Minor Haristeen, former postal clerk, farmer, wife of veterinarian Fair Haristeen . . . who lives near Crozet, Virginia) investigates murders, preserves history, interacts with a menagerie of creatures.

Rather than fox hunting, this novel focuses upon the sports of Beagling and Bassetting. (rabbit hunting).

The present day murders are tied up in the military pasts of the victims and action for which they were earlier responsible.

Harry solves the case, but the ending of this one leave us making judgment calls along with Harry.

The concept of justice is sometimes complex.

P.S. There is a happy ending for Ruffy, the little ghost beagle who hangs out with Harry’s pets.

Book Review of How to Knit a Murder A Seaside Knitters’ Society Mystery By Sally Goldenbaum

I did have a difficult time keeping up with character identities in this fast flowing story, but a helpful guide was provided inside the front cover.

I picked up How to Knit a Murder  by Sally Goldenbaum on a day when I was mentally “down” and it delivered what M.C. Beaton mentioned as her reason for writing fiction – “to give someone a good time on a bad day”.

I do my best to make that my motto as I compose my own stories also.

The Cape Ann area is an inspirational place for me, so I immediately loved the setting of this book’s charming fictional village, which holds secrets and conflicts just as do all places of human habitation.

In this entertaining cozy, a group of close friends who share a passion for felines and knitting solve a murder, exonerate and welcome a former resident and schoolmate.

It was a bit unsettling to realize the identity of the murderer, but isn’t it always for those of us who empathize with everyone?

A lovely story which conveys the reminder that the imprint of childhood experiences, especially those involving strong emotions, can stay with us always.

How we deal with these powerful, sometimes terribly upsetting memories is up to us.