Amateur Sleuths F to Z


January 4, 2020

Love, CJ. JULIET AND DEAD ROMEO: Shakespearean Murder Mysteries. Secret Staircase Books. February '20. $13.99. First in a new Series. "All is going beautifully at the annual Stresa Festival in Verona's Vineyard - well, other than the fact that Juliet Da Vinci's one true love belongs to the family hers has feuded with for years, and she doesn't have the nerve to tell her parents she plans to marry Nicolo Montague. Oh, and then her mother introduces her to Paris Nobleman, Mom's choice as Juliet's future mate. But Paris is just so clingy, like an annoying rash that won't go away. But it isn't until the body of a feuding neighbor, Mariotto Romeo, is found dead under the bridge - by Juliet and Paris - well, that's when things really begin to get sticky. Against the backdrop of a town turned against the Da Vincis, Juliet sets out to prove her family had nothing to do with the death of Mariotto Romeo, even though the police name her father as their primary person of interest. Juliet comes up with her own list of suspects, including all of Mariotto's immediate family, the drug-addict haunting the woods outside the church, and possibly her own cousin, Tybalt Gatti, who tells Juliet of another family member's clandestine love affair, a secret marriage, and possible suicides. After another death, this time on the Da Vinci side of the feud, and her father's arrest for murder, Juliet believes she knows who the killer is. Regrettably Juliet sends her detective boyfriend in the wrong direction and must face the killer on her own, without her daddy, without anyone."

Lush, Tara. GROUNDS FOR MURDER: A Coffee Lover's Mystery. Crooked Lane Books. December '20. $26.99. First in a new series. "Barista Lana Lewis's sleuthing may land her in a latte trouble as Tara Lush launches her new Coffee Shop mysteries." It all starts when Lana's top employee not only leaves suddenly, but jumps ship to work for the competition right before a big contest. As if that's not enough, her employee is found murdered the following day right behind her shop, making her the prime suspect. But, there are plenty of other suspects in the beach town. Lana, previously a reporter, has to find a way to clear herself. Can she accomplish that and also still win the contest? She gets some help from her hippie father, her dog, and a new barista, but can they solve the crime? Simultaneous release on Audio CD from Dreamscape Media.

Shelton, Connie. DEADLY SWEET DREAMS. Secret Staircase Books. October '20. $13.99. A Sweet's Sweets Bakery Mystery."Samantha Sweet is back at Sweet's Sweets, her bakery with a magical flair, while husband Beau is now a full-time rancher. When he hires a young cowboy to help out, no one suspects that Danny Flores comes with a lot of baggage until Lila, the girl he left behind, shows up. She says she has romance on her mind, but Danny finds her manipulative and domineering. He changed his number and moved out of state, but she has managed to track him down. Beau and Sam wish Danny all the best, but there isn't a lot they can do. But then Lila is murdered and the most damning clue, the words Sweet Dreams, point to Danny. Sam doesn't want a mystery to solve - she's ready for cozy time with her young granddaughter. Plus, she and Kelly have been cooking up some new mischief, discovering that the strange book with the rune-like writing actually contains something magical. As Danny's situation gets worse, Sam realizes no one else, except maybe Eliza the calico cat, is going to help her solve the murder. Plus, Sam is more than a little involved, since it might have been a potion she and Kelly brewed up from the magic book that got Danny into this jam in the first place."

Shelton, Connie. HOMELESS IN HEAVEN. Secret Staircase Books. July '20. $13.99. Fourth in the Heist Ladies Caper Mysteries. "Who would dare steal from homeless people, especially at Christmas! Mary Holbrook and Sandy Warner are volunteering at Heaven Sent, a homeless shelter, and discover it has been the scene of some thefts. The Heist Ladies decide to investigate. At the same time there are some strange doings at the New Age establishment next door. The Temple of the Rising Moon is run by gurus Orion and Sunshine, a husband and wife team living in a converted school bus, who claim to be raising money to build homes for poor people. As the Ladies dig deeper, they discover the charity is suspect and the hippies aren't exactly who they claim to be either. In their usual fashion, the dauntless Heist Ladies set out to track the money and chase down the perps. All in the name of justice!"

Thompson, Victoria. MURDER ON TRINITY PLACE: A Gaslight Mystery. Berkley Books. April '20. $7.99. Twenty-second in the series. "The devil's in the details when a man is found murdered near Trinity Church in the latest installment of the national bestselling Gaslight Mystery series... The year of 1899 is drawing to a close. Frank and Sarah Malloy are getting ready to celebrate the New Year at Trinity Church when they notice Mr. Pritchard, a relative of their neighbor's behaving oddly and annoying the other revelers. Frank tries to convince Pritchard to return home with them, but the man refuses and Frank loses him in the crowd. The next morning Sarah and Frank are horrified to learn Pritchard was murdered sometime in the night, his body left on Trinity Place, the side street near the church. The police aren't too interested in the murder, and the family are concerned that the circumstances of the death will reflect badly on Pritchard's reputation. To protect the family from scandal, Nelson asks Frank to investigate. Frank and Sarah delve into Pritchard's past and realize there may have been a deadly side to the dawning of the new century."

© 1996-2021 Bill Palmer.