Down and Out in Beverly Heels (by Kathryn Leigh Scott)

Cozy Mystery 

Meg Barnes was once an A-List actress. She lived the glittering Hollywood lifestyle and had everything she could ever desire. Then her con-man husband swindled her of everything she owned. Now homeless, penniless and living in her old Volvo she is desperately trying to hold onto her dignity and to find a job. But her husband didn’t just steal from her, he stole from some very dangerous people and Meg finds herself in the firing line of the the Russian mafia, while the FBI continue to suspect her of being a part of her husband’s schemes.

When I picked up this book I had some preconceived ideas of what I was getting. I was expecting a ditzy and clueless Hollywood starlet who bumbles around, makes a bit of a mess of things but still manages to solve the crime. Three chapters in and I was well and truly put in my place.

Meg is a woman who despite finding herself in difficult circumstances manages to make the most of things. She is homeless but still manages to hold onto her dignity. She is intelligent and independent. Honestly in a genre where Stephanie Plum clones abound, she is a breath of fresh air.

I loved this book. It had me from beginning to end. I can’t think of a bad thing to say about it.

Plum Deadly (by Ellie Grant)

Cozy Murder Mystery

After being falsely accused of embezzlement and fired, Maggie returns to her home town in North Carolina to lick her wounds.  Penniless and all but unemployable, she finds herself waiting tables at her aunt’s pie shop, Pie in the Sky.  

Then her former boss turns up at Pie in the Sky and tells her he knows who stole the money and has called a press conference in which he will name the real thief and clear her name. But after he turns up dead that very night she has gone from fry pan to fire and become the number one suspect in his murder.

With a little help from Ryan, a local newspaper reporter, she sets about clearing her name and finding the murderer.

Plum Deadly reminded me a lot of the Cats in Trouble mysteries by Leann Sweeney and the Coffee House mysteries by Cleo Coyle.  If I have a criticism it’s that some things were left unexplained and hanging. But it’s possible those things will be revisited in the next books in the series and for the most part I enjoyed this book.

Many thanks to Edelweiss and Gallery Books for providing me with this ARC