Death by Chocolate – Valentine’s Day Mysteries

In looking for some nice cozy reads for the long Valentine’s Day weekend, I found a few romances, a couple of poetry collections – and a crazy amount of mysteries. Is there something about this holiday that inspires death – other than the inevitable mountain of chocolate we consume? Maybe there’s a little reality in the idea that the only thing that separates love and hate is a thin line…

So, here’s a list of some fun (and funny) Valentine’s Day inspired murder mysteries. Just in case you need a little bitter to temper all that sweet stuff this weekend.


As Gouda as Dead – Avery Aames

  • When her impending nuptials to artisanal cheese farmer Jordan Pace are postponed due to murder, Charlotte Bessette, devastated by the delay, vows to find the killer and save her wedding day. Includes recipes. (#6 in the Cheese Shop series)

Bleeding Hearts – Jane Haddam

  • Former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian races to prevent a Valentine’s Day murder that would keep the perpetrator of a long-unsolved crime secret forever. (#11 in the Gregor Demarkian series)

Buttercream Bump Off – Jenn McKinlay

  • When Mel’s mother is accused of murdering Baxter Malloy on their first date, Mel and her business partner Angie must look into Malloy’s past to discover who wanted him dead. (#2 in the Cupcake Bakery series)

Cat Playing Cupid – Shirley Rousseau Murphy

  • While uncovering a link between two murders located more than five hundred miles apart, Joe Grey, feline P.I., and his pals Dulcie and Kit, must stop a hate-filled crime spree on Valentine’s Day. (#14 in the Joe Grey series)

Catered Valentine’s Day – Isis Crawford

  • Caterers and sisters Bernie and Libby, while attending the funeral for a client’s mother, are plunged into a bizarre mystery when the corpse of Ted Gorman, the owner of Just Chocolate, who supposedly died in a fiery car crash weeks earlier, is found in someone else’s grave. (#4 in the Mysteries with Recipes series)

Chocolate Covered Murder – Leslie Meier

  • As a reporter for the Pennysaver, Lucy is assigned a puff piece on upscale Chanticleer’s Chocolates. But when a local fisherman drowns suspiciously, Lucy’s certain her investigative skills could be put to better use. (#18 in the Lucy Stone series)

Death of a Valentine – M.C. Beaton

  • The most famous of Highland bachelors, police sergeant Hamish, is planning to marry. While locals think Josie, Hamish’s newest constable and bride-to-be, is quite a catch, Hamish has a case of pre-nuptial jitters. After all, if it wasn’t for the murder of a beautiful woman in a neighbouring village there wouldn’t be a wedding in the first place. (#25 in the Hamish Macbeth series)

Lethal Treasure – Jane K. Cleland

  • Joining the crowds at abandoned storage units being sold at auction a week before Valentine’s Day, antiques dealer Josie Prescott is compelled to use her unique skills to solve the murder of a friend who is killed immediately after the auction. (#8 in the Josie Prescott series)

Murder by Kindness: The Gift Quilt – Barbara Graham

  • With the town’s Valentine’s Day gala approaching, Tony Abernathy, sheriff of Park County Tennessee, is dealing with what passes for a crime wave—several stills blowing up and burning, a missing woman, and a bar fight. Even worse, a body is found at what is assumed to be his ex-wife’s house; then five women turn up, all claiming to be the dead man’s widow. (#7 in the Quilt Murder Mysteries series)

Marked Down for Murder – Josie Belle

  • When her nemesis Summer, who is desperately trying to steal her boyfriend away from her, is accused of murder, Maggie Gerber and the Good Buy Girls, as much as they all would love to see Summer get what she deserves, hunt for the real killer while searching for bargains. Includes recipes. (#4 in the Good Buy Girls series)

Murder for Love – edited by Otto Penzler

  • A collection of sixteen Valentine’s Day mysteries that blend love and murder encompasses stories by Ed McBain, Anne Perry, William J. Caunitz, Mary Higgins Clark, Jonathan Kellerman, Joyce Carol Oates, Elmore Leonard, Sara Paretsky, Bobbie Ann Mason, and other notable authors.

Murder in the Paperback Parlor – Ellery Adams

  • While organizing a week of activities for love story fans at her book-themed resort, Jane finds herself investigating the murder of the most celebrated author in attendance. (#2 in the Book Retreat series)

Plum Lovin’ – Janet Evanovich

  • Diesel returns to Stephanie Plum’s life in this “between-the-numbers” title in the series. Stephanie is looking for Annie, a relationship expert and matchmaker and finds her in the protective custody of none other than old flame, Diesel. In order to collect on Annie, Stephanie is going to have to play the part of matchmaker to several lonely people.

Valentine Murder – Leslie Meier

  • Knee-deep in cupcakes with pastel frosting and candy hearts, Lucy Stone is shocked when new librarian Bitsy Howell is murdered and Detective Horowitz announces that the murderer is among them, so she casts aside her culinary concoctions to investigate and comes face to face with a killer. (#5 in the Lucy Stone series)


Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus. Check out NoveList Plus for more fun stuff, including reviews, series and author information, and reading suggestions.

Henry Harris, Cowboy Legend of Southern Idaho

From the April 5, 1937 edition of the Idaho Evening Times.

Black History Month has gotten underway, and to celebrate, we thought we’d highlight a figure with importance to our local history. And while we can’t quite claim Henry Harris as an Idahoan (though he died and is buried here in Twin Falls), he helped to expand the idea of what a Southern Idaho cowboy was.

Harris came out West in the 1880s and worked for John Sparks whose cattle roamed the Northern Nevada/Southern Idaho grangelands. Harris soon became a foreman for the Sparks-Harrell Company, and oversaw all the hands at the D.B. Ranch near Wells, Nevada, most of whom were white. Stories paint him as fair-minded boss, a man who could bust broncs with the best of them, and a pretty good storyteller.

His legacy lives on quietly – an abandoned railroad stop near Contact, NV still bears the name of “Henry,” named after Harris in more prosperous days, and he was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame (Winnemucca, NV) in 2008 and the National Cowboys of Color Hall of Fame (Fort Worth, TX) in 2009.

Learn more about Henry Harris here.

Magic Valley Reads!



FEBRUARY 18     ~~     MARCH 3     ~~     MARCH 17


We are excited to share a new program with our community: Magic Valley Reads! It’s a reading and discussion series which will highlight Idaho authors, history, and culture. We hope to make this a yearly event, and since so many of you have let us know you enjoy local topics, we hope you’ll join us!

We’ve chosen three books to inaugurate our season:

The series will kick off on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18 with our guest, CSI’s Dr. Jim Gentry. He’ll be here at 6:30 PM to talk about his recently-published book, Meeting Needs and Developing Opportunities: A History of the College of Southern Idaho. A discussion of the book will follow his presentation.

On THURSDAY, MARCH 3, we’ll discuss Moscow native Carol Ryrie Brink’s classic novel, Buffalo Coat. Copies of this book have been generously loaned to the Library by the Idaho Commission for Libraries in celebration of Idaho Day on March 4.

The series will come to a close on THURSDAY, MARCH 17 with a discussion of Gifts of Heritage, edited by Donna Scott and ZoeAnn Shaub. The book offers a number of Twin Falls memories, and to end the evening, participants may share their own Magic Valley stories for inclusion in a volume that will be archived in the Library’s celebrated Idaho Room.

Check out the 3-book set, and get more information at the Reference Desk (or call 733-2964 ext. 200).




Great Online Resource: Chilton Car Repair Library

On an almost daily basis we see patrons who are looking for car repair information. Inside the Library, we have the actual print copies of the Chilton repair manuals, and while you’re welcome to make photocopies, most of those are for in-house use only. But, if you have access to the Internet, the Idaho Commission for Libraries provides the online Chilton Library.

Start at the webpage, and click “Chilton Library” from the Featured Resources section. Then just plug in your city and zip code for access. And, while you’re there, you might just check out the other nifty databases the ICfL provides to Idaho citizens!

Take Ten: Get Organized!

Don’t you love this time of year? I’m not talking about the weather, or the fact that the holidays are finally over, or even that Downton Abbey is back. I’m talking about the many ways in which January is a good month for organizing.

Even if you don’t make resolutions, it’s still hard to not want to change something up in January. Reason 1 – It’s a new year,  and don’t we all want to have a clean slate to start it off? Reason 2 – You might have gotten new stuff for Christmas, which means you might want to get rid of old stuff. Reason 3 – Tax season is approaching, and it might be better to tackle the paper mess now rather than on April 14. And, Reason 4 – Organizing bins/containers/baskets/whatever are on sale!

Maybe it’s because I’m a librarian, but I think organizing is a great activity to while away the month – what else are you going to do – ice fish? To help you get started, here a few books that might inspire or cajole (or maybe even, shame) you into getting yourself and your stuff together. Have fun!


Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00: More of the Best Times to Buy This, Do That, and Go There – Mark de Vincenzo

Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won’t Have To – Melanie Cullen

Getting Organized in the Google Era: How to Get Stuff Out of Your Head, Find It When You Need It, and Get It Done Right – Douglas C. Merrill

How to Organize Just About Everything – Peter Walsh

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing – Marie Kondo

Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain to Get More Done in Less Time – Paul Graves Hammerness

(The Nest) Home Design Handbook: Simple Ways to Decorate, Organize, and Personalize Your Place – Carley Roney

Secrets of an Organized Mom: From Overflowing Closets to the Chaotic Play Areas: A Room-by-Room Guide to Decluttering and Streamlining Your Home for a Happier Family – Barbara Reich

The Simple Living Handbook: Discover the Joy of a Decluttered Life – Lorilee Lippincott

Weekend Makeover: Get a Brand New Life by Monday Morning – Jill Martin and Dana Ravich


***And, in case you need a little break, or would rather do your organizing vicariously, here’s a mystery series involving a professional organizer.

Organize Your Corpses; The Cluttered Corpse; Closet Confidential – Mary Jane Maffini

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1998

Let’s go back in time and party like it’s almost 1999! We’re putting the pedal to the metal and traveling to 1998 – a year dominated by Titanic and Monica Lewinsky. Still, you might also remember the year for:

  • The Winter Olympics, held in Nagano, Japan (February)
  • Google, Inc. being founded (September)
  • Frank Sinatra dying (May)

And, if you did any reading at the tail of the year, you might have picked up one of the New York Times Best Sellers from the week of December 27, 1998. Happy New (old) Year!



  1. Man in Full by Tom Wolfe

2. Bag of Bones by Stephen King

3. The Simple Truth by David Baldacci

4. Mirror Image by Danielle Steel

5. Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy

6. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

7. When the Wind Blows by James Patterson

8. All Through the Night by Mary Higgins Clark

9. The Vampire Armand by Anne Rice

10. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

11. The Locket by Richard Paul Evans

12. Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

13. Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis, illustrated By Laura Cornell

14. A Night Without Armor by Jewel Kilcher

15. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Jan Brett

16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling



1. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

2. The Century by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster

3. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

4. Blind Man’s Bluff by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew with Annette Lawrence Drew

5. The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

6. The American Century by Harold Evans with Gail Buckland and Kevin Baker

7. The Endurance by Caroline Alexander

8. For the Love of the Game by Michael Jordan, edited By Mark Vancil

9. Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg

10. The Ten Commandments by Laura Schlessinger and Stewart Vogel

11. Best Friends by Sharon J. Wohlmuth and Carol Saline

12. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

13. Conversations with God: Book 3 by Neale Donald Walsch

14. A Pirate Looks at Fifty by Jimmy Buffett

15. The Victors by Stephen E. Ambrose

16. We Interrupt This Broadcast by Joe Garner

Take Ten: “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Christmas Audiobooks

If you have a long drive home for the holidays, or are looking for something to keep you occupied while you wrap those last-minute presents, a good audiobook may be just the thing. And, if it can give you a little Christmas cheer, all the better, am I right? Here are ten titles you should pick up before filling those stockings…


The Autobiography of Santa Claus – as told to Jeff Guinn

A Charles Dickens Christmas – Charles Dickens (includes A Christmas Carol and three other holiday tales)

The Christmas Box – Richard Paul Evans

The Christmas Companion – Garrison Keillor (includes excerpts from Christmas episode of Prairie Home Companion)

A Christmas Story – Jean Shepherd

The Christmas Thief – Mary Higgins Clark

Favorite Stories of Christmas Past (includes The Night Before Christmas, The Gift of the Magi, and seven other holiday tales)

More Favorite Stories of Christmas Past (includes The Little Match Girl and six other holiday tales)

A Redbird Christmas – Fannie Flagg

Skipping Christmas – John Grisham


BONUS! From our e-audiobook collection:

The Best Christmas Gift – Tim LeHaye and Greg Dinallo

Christmas Bells – Jennifer Chiaverini

Christmas in the Adirondacks – William Murray

The Christmas Letters – Lee Smith


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