Annie's Book Stop of Worcester

The little bookstore that's bigger on the inside


Happy Holiday Shopping Guide! Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, the “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street, is happy to present our 2022 recommendations of gifts for the winter holidays.


Mysteries and thrillers always make great gifts for book lovers. This year we decided to highlight some of our local mystery authors, since we like to “shop local”.  A number of the authors whose books we think would make great gifts for mystery fans are from Massachusetts, and many of their books have Massachusetts themes or take place in Massachusetts.


Cate Conte:

The first author is Cate Conte, the acclaimed author of the Cat Cafe Mysteries and the Full Moon Mysteries, as well as the Agatha Award nominated Pawsitively Organic Mysteries written under the name Liz Mugavero. She can be found online at


Cate’s newest book is Gone But Not Furgotten , the sixth in a mystery series filled with felines and crime that’s purrrrfect for cat fanciers and mystery solvers alike! It’s what’s called a cozy mystery, a mystery in which the sleuth is usually but not always a female, an amateur, and has an occupation such as a caterer, bed and breakfast owner, quilter, cat fancier/owner, gardener, librarian, book store owner, florist, dog trainer, teacher, baker, etc. It usually takes place in a small town or village, and many times are part of a series with a quirky supporting cast. The main thing is they are usually FUN.




Cate also is coming out with another new cozy mystery in her Full Moon Mystery series on March 28th, 2023, Witch Way Out. This book is Charmed meets Murder, She Wrote, as an unexpected death completely rocks the Spring Equinox Fair and it’s up to crystal shop owner Violet Mooney to uncover the truth to settle the mayhem. You can pre-order this at ABSW!




Julia Henry:


Another cozy mystery recommendation is The Plot Thickets by Julia Henry.


Julia Henry also lives in Massachusetts, where she sets her mystery series. As Julianne Holmes she writes the Clock Shop Mystery Series, and as J.A. Hennrikus she writes the Theater Cop series. She blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors ( and Killer Characters (, tweets as @JHAuthors, is on Instagram @JHAuthors, and on Facebook. For more, please visit


In The Plot Thickets, the ever-quintessential New England town of Goosebush, Massachusetts truly shines in springtime, but when an underhanded undertaker digs herself an early grave, it’s up to sixty-something gardening sleuth Lilly Jayne—and her fellow Garden Squad members of course— to unearth the cryptic killer . . .




Clea Simon:


Clea Simon has recently written both cozy mysteries, as in A Cat on the Case, and dark suspense, as in Hold Me Down, using her experience in the Boston/Cambridge music world as background.


Before turning to a life of crime (fiction), Clea Simon was a journalist. Starting as a rock critic, she ended up writing about books and other arts. A native of New York, she came to Massachusetts to attend Harvard University, from which she graduated with high honors, and never left. The author of three nonfiction books and seven mysteries, she lives with her husband, the writer Jon S. Garelick, and their cat, Musetta. She is the author of two previous Witch Cats of Cambridge mysteries: A Spell of Murder and An Incantation of Cats. You can find her online at @Clea_Simon.


In her A Cat on the Case, when a panicked stranger shows up at Charm and Cherish, Becca Colwin feels compelled to help. But when that stranger then disappears, leaving behind her heirloom violin the aspiring witch detective is drawn further into a web of deceit and intrigue complicated by a history that only Becca’s three magical cats truly understand.






In Hold Me Down, Clea Simon’s riveting work of dark suspense , Gal, a middle-aged musician, is back in Boston to play a memorial for her late drummer/best friend, when she finds herself freezing on stage at the sight of a face in the crowd. The next day, she learns that the man she saw has been killed – beaten to death behind the venue – and her friend’s widower is being charged in connection with his death. When the friend refuses to defend himself, Gal wonders why and, as the memories of begin to flood back, she starts her own informal investigation. As she does so, she must reexamine her own wild life, her perception of the past, and an industry that monetizes dysfunction in a dark tale of love, music, and murder.



Hank Phillippi Ryan:


The House Guest is a riveting trademark cat-and-mouse psychological thriller from USA Today bestselling and multiple award-winning author, Hank Phillippi Ryan.


USA Today bestselling author HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN has won five Agatha Awards in addition to Anthony, Macavity, Daphne du Maurier, and Mary Higgins Clark Awards. As on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV, she’s won 37 Emmys and many more journalism honors. A past president of National Sisters in Crime and founder of MWA University, Ryan lives in Boston with her husband, a nationally renowned civil rights and criminal defense attorney.


The story of The House Guest: After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her–leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend


Although The House Guest isn’t available until February, you can pre-order it at ABSW, but Hank has many other books that are available now.





As always, thanks for making our shelves your destination!


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