It is 1888, and in Emerson's latest, reporter Diana Spaulding is traveling to Maine to marry Dr. Ben Northcote. They stop in Liberty, NY, to meet the Grants, her estranged mother's new family, who run a summer hotel. When the body of a young woman is found under the hotel, Diana investigates. Not as dark as Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy books, this third entry of a planned four-book set featuring Diana (Deadlier than the Pen) by the author of the popular "Face Down" Elizabethan mysteries deals with similar issues of women living in 19th-century America. A gentle historical. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ12/06.]
Francis's Keely Moreno (Pier Pressure) is a foot reflexologist in Key West. Her boyfriend, Punt (yes, his name is Punt) Ashford is a wealthy hunk who also happens to be a private eye. Between massaging feet and getting death threats, Keely tries to solve a 20-year-old murder for which innocent Randy Jackson did the time in prison. In this disappointing cozy, readers will identify the murderer early and probably will not care what happens to any of the characters.
Despite running a gift basket business out of her home, empty nester ClaireHanover remains lonely and unfulfilled as her workaholic husband comes and goes. After being persuaded by a good friend to take an aerobics class, Claire gets into a sticky situation with the hunky instructor, who is shot to death in her bedroom. Holding the smoking gun is Claire's husband. Claire seeks to prove his innocence, stupidly placing herself in bad situations. Unfortunately for first novelist Groundwater, writing a cozy mystery involves more than just trying to be cute. Not recommended.
Jo Ann Vicarel