Hello! Murder in the First Edition by Lauren Elliott comes out tomorrow along with Fudge Bites by Nancy Coco and An Amish Second Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray, Patricia Johns, and Virginia Wise. Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher releases on October 1. It is the second book in The Deacon's Family series. Mumbo Gumbo Murder by Laura Childs publishes on October 1 and it is the sixteenth A Scrapbooking Mystery with Carmela Bertrand. I wish there were more hours in the day! So many wonderful new books and not enough time to read.
Christmas Cow Bells by Mollie Cox Bryan sends readers to Shenandoah Springs, Virginia in December. Brynn MacAlister is the new owner of Buttermilk Creek Farm, an organic micro-diary. Brynn is a cheesemaker who has dreamed of owning her own farm where she can control the whole process from what the cow eats to the label on her finished cheese. Brynn is getting off to a rough start with her new neighbors because Petunia’s bellows can be heard throughout the town. The poor cow is mourning the loss of her stillborn calf. Brynn is happy to have Nancy Scors, another newcomer, living next door. Nancy is converting Old Glebe Church into Old Glebe Market where farmers can sell their products year round (produce, honey, cheese, etc.). Unfortunately, not everyone is excited about Nancy’s renovations. Brynn is awakened during the night when she hears fire sirens and looks outside to see the Old Glebe Church is in flames. Nancy passes away from her injuries and the fire is ruled arson. Brynn is upset over the loss of her friend and how slow the case is progressing, so she begins making queries. Brynn’s questioning seems to have hit a nerve when a series of incidents begin happening on the farm. With Christmas fast approaching, Brynn is determined to wrap up the case and deliver the guilty party to the police.
Christmas Cows Bells by Mollie Cox Bryan is the debut of A Buttermilk Creek Mystery series. I like the author’s conversational writing style (like chatting with a friend) which makes for a pleasing reading experience. Brynn MacAlister got her love of Red Devon cows from her grandmother and fell into cheesemaking after taking a course in college. Her degree in chemistry came in handy when she attended cheese school. I like that the author took the time to establish our main character. We get to learn what brought her to Shenandoah Springs, her background, and learn about her family. There are beautiful descriptions of Shenandoah Springs, Brynn’s farm and the surrounding area. We are introduced to a variety of locals who belong to the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. It was interesting to learn about a micro-dairy and what goes into making cheese. Brynn has a unique concept. Brynn’s three cows (Marigold, Buttercup, and Petunia) each have their own personality and I felt bad for poor Petunia. Freckles, the dog, was a delightful addition to the story. I look forward to seeing more of Wes Scors, Nancy’s grandson, in the next book. He is a friendly young man who is a talented cook and wishes to learn cheesemaking. The fire at Old Glebe Church and then Nancy’s death has Brynn scared and she wants answers. When she becomes frustrated with the slow progress on the case, Brynn decides to do a little digging on her own (not a gouda idea). Unfortunately, Brynn has angered the guilty party. A series of escalating incidents begin happening at Buttermilk Creek Farm. Brynn uncovers a handful of suspects in her search for the guilty party. Brynn is a newbie sleuth, so her skills need honing, but she does search for suspects, ask questions, and does some online sleuthing. I would like to see the mysteries become more complex as the series progresses. I like how we get to see cows as more than milk producers. They are sweet creatures who have feelings and like to be petted. Their playful antics were adorable, and I found Petunia’s reaction to Freckles to be delightful. Christmas Cow Bells is an appealing new cozy mystery with clanking cow bells, heavenly hard cheese, a crotchety curmudgeon, a freaky fire, and a charming cheesemaker.
Christmas Cow Bells comes out September 24 and is available for pre-order at Amazon (Amazon UK) as well as other major booksellers. Mollie Cox Bryan also writes A Cora Crafts Mystery series and A Cumberland Creek Mystery series. Thank you for visiting today. Tomorrow I am reviewing A Cup of Holiday Fear by Ellie Alexander. It is the tenth A Bakeshop Mystery. I hope that you have a cheery day. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader