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Murders Come Out to Prey On Deadly Independence Day

Ice cream freezer

I always think of the 4th of July as the beginning of the deadliest time of year—at least when it comes to temperature. The weather is fit only for cozying up to an ice chest and a good, cozy mystery. It’s a time when you can work up a sweat just turning a few pages, and if you want to exercise, I hope you can find an indoor swimming pool. Someday a mystery author will probably murder her fictional victim by staking him out on an Oklahoma sidewalk on the 4th of July. Fortunately for the victims in the cozy mysteries below, they meet their maker in a more merciful manner. Reading all about it is what I hope to do while turning the crank on an old-fashioned ice cream freezer—on second thought, I’ll let my electric freezer do all the work.

If you need even more mystery in your life, join our mystery book club or sign up for our Mystery email newsletter to have a list of new and recently released titles delivered to your inbox. And if you have a "clueless" teen, they might enjoy a live game of Clue at the Midwest City Library on Th, July 7 from 3-4 pm.


Independence Slay by Shelley Freydont

In this third book in the Celebration Bay series, Liv Montgomery, event planner for Celebration Bay, is hard at work on the upcoming 4th of July celebration. Everyone is looking forward to the annual Revolutionary War reenactment that features an appearance by the ghost of Henry Gallantine, a local war hero, played by his descendant of the same name. When the big day comes, the ghost signals SOS from the top of the family mansion rather than his traditional cue. Liv rushes to the Gallantine mansion only to find young Henry missing, a dead body, and a very scared teenager who is holding the murder weapon and insisting the ghost killed the victim. The first item in the series is Foul Play at the Fair.

Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton

Jaymie Leighton and Kathy Cooper were good friends in high school, but then something caused Kathy to turn against Jamie. Twenty years have passed, and Jamie, a vintage kitchenware and cookbook collector, wants to clear the air. Unfortunately, the next time she sees Kathy is at the 4th of July picnic, and she is lying dead on the ground with one of Jamie’s Depression-era glass bowls beside her and broken in two. Since Jamie’s fingerprints are all over her bowl, she tops the list of suspects. Bowled Over is #2 in the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries series. If you prefer to begin at the beginning, start with A Deadly Grind.

Knockdown by Sarah Graves

In her former life, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree was a financial manager who dealt with plenty of shady characters. When Steven Garner’s father came to her begging for a loan to pay off his gambling debts, Jake refused. Now, many years later, Jake is living in Eastport, Maine with her second husband and restoring her 1823 Federal-style house. As she is repainting her front porch, she notices a young man riding his bicycle back and forth in front of her house. Soon she receives a threatening email warning her to beware the 4th of July and learns that Garner is in town intending to have revenge for his father’s death. Knockdown is #14 in the Home Repair is Homicide series. If you want to start with the first book, check out The Dead Cat Bounce.

Dead, White and Blue by Carolyn Hart

The South Carolina island of Broward’s Rock is the location of a mystery bookstore called Death on Demand. The proprietor, Annie Darling, takes a break from selling books to attend the local country club’s 4th of July dance. A Hollywood home wrecker, Shell Hurst, also attends and makes a scene before walking away into the night. No one seems to care, not even her husband. Only her stepdaughter feels that something is wrong and asks Annie and her husband, Max, to look into the matter. Then a waiter from the club vanishes and is found drowned, and Annie and Max know that more is heating up than the weather. It doesn't matter if you haven't read previous Death on Demand books, but if you prefer to go back and relish the entire series, begin with Death on Demand. Carolyn Hart, an Oklahoma author, must have a sense of humor to name a character Shell Hurst in a 4th of July story.

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