Two charming new mysteries; one local, one set overseas.
It’s good weather these days for cozying up inside with a cozy mystery or two.
“Pre-Meditated Murder” (Midnight Ink, 288 pp., $15.99 paperback original) is the fifth lighter-than-air and thoroughly enjoyable mystery from Seattleite Tracy Weber.
Our narrator, Kate Davidson, is (like the author) a Seattle yoga instructor and dog lover.
The author of “Pre-Meditated Murder” will read from and sign copies of the book at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, Edmonds Bookshop, 111 Fifth Ave. S., Edmonds (425-775-789 or edmondsbookshop.com).
But Kate’s life is far from yogic harmony. A romantic dinner with her boyfriend Michael goes south — she’s expecting a proposal, but instead learns that her guy is already married.
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It seems he once agreed to an arranged marriage with a woman named Gabriella so that she could get a green card. Now she’s refusing to divorce unless there’s a hefty settlement.
It gets worse: When Michael and Kate travel to the Oregon coast to talk turkey with Gabriella, Kate finds Gabriella’s murdered body on the beach. Michael, with no alibi, becomes the prime suspect. It’s up to Kate, despite some lingering suspicions, to exonerate him. Like any good cozy, the truth is a surprise and the ending is happy.
Flavia de Luce, the heroine of Alan Bradley’s “The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” (Delacorte, 360 pp., $26.00), plans to save the world … as soon as her braces come off.
As those of us with Flavia-mania know from previous books, the plucky adolescent is terrifically entertaining — the world’s foremost brainiac/chemist/sleuth/busybody/smarty-pants. Nobody can touch her in that category.
It’s 1952, and England is mourning the death of King George VI. Flavia and her sisters are experiencing their own grief; their beloved father is dead.
To help cope, they leave their small village for a boating trip on the Thames, accompanied by the family’s retainer, the hyper-competent Arthur Dogger. Floating along, Flavia dangles a hand in the water — and snags a corpse.
The group pauses at the nearest village and learn that the corpse is that of young Orlando Whitbread. Orlando’s father was the village’s clergyman until scandal struck: He was recently executed for poisoning three of his parishioners.
Always up for a challenge, Flavia promptly sticks her nose in. She and Dogger rig a makeshift chemistry lab, prove it was murder, and set out to help the local cops, who need all the help they can get.