Crafts & Crime
The Cara Mia and Kiki Lowenstein Cozies
With the stress of the last several months, I relax with cozy mysteries and recently delved into the Cara Mia Delgado and the related Kiki Lowenstein series by Joanna Campbell Slan. I’ve enjoyed every one.
I am a Floridaphile and not because of its beaches and warm climate. I love the old Florida with its white roads of crushed coral and shells, wooden houses of Dade pine, narrow winding rivers with alligators or not, sometimes clear as crystal, sometimes dark with cypress tree tannin, the quiet grasslands, and even the invasive melaleucas and Australian pines lining the roadsides.
The Cara Mia books are set in Stuart and nearby Hobe Sound on the east coast of Florida, an hour’s drive north of Palm Beach. Reading them gives me a whisper of old Florida, especially when she describes the wealthy enclave of Hobe Sound.
Cara Mia Delgado meant to drive to Miami to visit her son in college. Car trouble sends her into Stuart to find her estranged grandfather, who owns a gas station there. She finds the gas station neglected and shabby, her grandfather sick, and the building across the street where her family lived slated to be replaced by a super gas station that would put her grandfather out of business. On impulse, she signs her name to the sales contract and winds up owning the building. When a man is found dead there, Cara Mia becomes the prime suspect.
Cara Mia turns the building into a charming store that sells recycled and redesigned items and, thanks to a hidden stash, paintings by the famous Highwaymen artists. Joanna captures a bit of old Florida with engaging characters and crafting tips. This resonates with me. Stuart is a boating town. I lived on a boat in Florida for three years and was always looking for ways to reuse and recycle in an effort to live sustainably. I once sold an article to Motor Boating & Sailing Magazine on “Galley Gear from Victorian Kitchens” that listed kitchen aids that didn’t require electricity like, for instance, rack toasters.
In the Kiki Lowenstein mysteries, Kiki owns a crafting and scrapbook store in St. Louis, MO. As the author mentions in describing the back stories, she includes social issues in her plots to educate both the reader and herself. I do the same in my mysteries.
Both series engage the reader and are intelligently written although both Cara Mia and Kiki seem to cry an awful lot. Just saying. They also impose an extraordinary number of typos on the reader. Using a proofreader would be a good move.
Eileen Haavik McIntire is staying home during the current coronavirus crisis. She hopes you are, too. What a great time to write and read!
“Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”
― Mark Twain
I love reading and writing mysteries. Here are two of my latest.
From Kirkus reviews -
“McIntire’s latest novel is a fast-paced and multilayered thriller with well-developed characters and colorful settings...Most of the action is set in Virginia, and McIntire does a fine job of capturing the rhythm of its small-town life, from the friendliness of local business to the calm of quiet nights on the water. An engaging tale for aficionados of psychological suspense.”
The 90s Club & the
"The fourth title in author Eileen Haavik McIntire's "The 90s Club" series, The 90s Club & the Mystery at Lilac Inn is another deftly written and thoroughly entertaining read that will be especially appreciated by all dedicated mystery/suspense fans." – Midwest Book Review