Amateur Sleuths F to Z


February 10, 2018

Dovalpage, Teresa. DEATH COMES IN THROUGH THE KITCHEN: A Cuban Mystery. Soho Crime. March '18. $25.95. The book takes us to Havana, Cuba, in the spring of 2003 and contains Cuban recipes. A San Diego reporter named Matt travels to Havana to get married to his girlfriend Yarmila whom he met through her food blog. He begins to worry when Yarmila doesn't show up to meet him at the airport. He manages to get a ride to her apartment and finds her dead in her bathtub. Naturally, he becomes the number one suspect of the police and the secret service. Attempting to clear his name of her murder, he starts investigating to find out who killed his bride to be. As he learns more about Yarmila, he realizes how little he really knew about her and becomes involved in a "poison-laced culinary mystery."

Fluke, Joanne. BANANA CREAM PIE. Kensington Books. March '17. $26.00. Twenty-first in the Hannah Swensen series. "A romantic seven-day cruise is the perfect start to bakery owner Hannah Swensen's marriage. However, with a murder mystery heating up in Lake Eden, Minnesota, it seems the newlywed's homecoming won't be as sweet as she anticipated... After an extravagant honeymoon, Hannah's eager to settle down in Lake Eden and turn domestic daydreams into reality. But when her mother's neighbor is discovered murdered in the condo downstairs, reality becomes a nightmarish investigation. Victoria Bascomb, once a renowned stage actress, was active in the theater community during her brief appearance in town...and made throngs of enemies along the way. Did a random intruder murder the woman as police claim, or was a deadlier scheme at play? As Hannah peels through countless suspects and some new troubles of her own, solving this crime - and living to tell about it - might prove trickier than mixing up the ultimate banana cream pie..." Paperback edition. February '18. $7.99.

Fluke, Joanne. CHRISTMAS CARAMEL MURDER. Kensington Books. September '17. $7.99. Twentieth in the Hannah Swensen series. "Christmas normally descends on Lake Eden, Minnesota, as gently as reindeer alighting on a rooftop - but this yuletide season the only thing coming down Hannah Swensen's chimney is a case of murder... The holidays have arrived, and Hannah and her good pal Lisa have agreed to provide all the goodies for the town's annual production of A Christmas Carol. But before anyone can say 'Bah, humbug!' a Santa-sized sackful of trouble ensues. Like the fact that Lisa's husband will be playing Mr. Claus to his ex-girlfriend Phyllis Bates' Mrs. Claus. Or that before the curtains even go up Phyllis is found dead in the snow - wearing a costume that the real Mrs. Claus would put on the naughty list. Soon after the suspects pile up faster than snowdrifts in a blizzard, while a merry murderer remains on the loose. With clues even harder to find, it might take a visit from ghosts of Christmas past to wrap up this mystery in time for the holidays... Includes a Dozen Holiday Recipes from The Cookie Jar!"

Hall, Parnell. A PUZZLE TO BE NAMED LATER. Minotaur Books. March '17. $24.98. Eighteenth in the Puzzle Lady series. "The Puzzle Lady couldn't be happier. Matt Greystone, the rookie sensation who just signed a huge contract with the Yankees after coming to the team as the player to be named later in a trade with the Diamondbacks, winning seventeen games as a starting pitcher, was coming to town to rehab from an arm injury. A diehard Yankee fan, Cora was delighted when Matt invited her to a weekend pool party. On the plus side, she got to meet Derek Jeter. On the minus side, she had to solve a puzzle (that was also named later), and a couple of the guests got killed. Solving murders is right up the Puzzle Lady's alley. Unfortunately, someone has broken into the house of a local psychiatrist and rifled her patient files, and Chief Harper wants Cora to solve that, too. Cora already knows who broke into the house. She did! INCLUDES CROSSWORDS AND A SUDOKU BY WILL SHORTZ THAT HELP YOU SOLVE THE MYSTERY." Simultaneous release on Audio CD from Dreamscape Media.

Harris, Charlaine. ALL THE LITTLE LIARS: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery. PIATKUS Books. March '17. $8.30. Ninth in the series. #1 New York Times bestseller Charlaine Harris finally returns to her fan-favorite Aurora Teagarden series with ALL THE LITTLE LIARS, a fabulously fun new mystery. Aurora Teagarden is basking in the news of her pregnancy when disaster strikes her small Georgia town: four kids vanish from the school soccer field in an afternoon. Aurora's 15-year-old brother Phillip is one of them. Also gone are two of his friends, and an 11-year-old girl who was just hoping to get a ride home from soccer practice. And then there's an even worse discovery - at the kids' last known destination, a dead body. While the local police and sheriff's department comb the county for the missing kids and interview everyone even remotely involved, Aurora and her new husband, true crime writer Robin Crusoe, begin their own investigation. Could the death and kidnappings have anything to do with a group of bullies at the middle school? Is Phillip's disappearance related to Aurora's father's gambling debts? Or is Phillip himself, new to town and an unknown quantity, responsible for taking the other children? But regardless of the reason, as the days go by, the most important questions remain. Are the kids still alive? Who could be concealing them? Where could they be? With Christmas approaching, Aurora is determined to find her brother...if he's still alive."

Harrison, Mette Ivie. FOR TIME AND ALL ETERNITIES. Soho Crime. December '17. $15.95. Third in the Linda Wallheim series. Although the Mormon Church no longer condones polygamy, some Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints still carry on the tradition. When Linda learns her son Kenneth has become engaged to a woman from a polygamous family she just can't believe it. Trying to make peace, the head of the family Kenneth is marrying into invites Linda and her husband to visit his family's compound. Linda expects the worst and believes that polygamy hurts the women and the children and should be outlawed. She has a terrible feeling that something is wrong there, but doesn't know what it is until the murdered body of a family member is found. To protect the family Linda decides to remain in the compound while the police investigate. What she has seen in the compound and the history of polygamy raises questions in her mind about her faith which is no longer very strong.

Hart, Carolyn. GHOST TIMES TWO. Berkley Books. October '17. $7.99. Seventh in the Bailey Ruth Ghost series. "Carolyn Hart - New York Times bestselling author of GHOST TO THE RESCUE - returns with a new Bailey Ruth Ghost Novel in which one woman shatters the glass ceiling...with a little help from beyond. Bailey Ruth Raeburn's latest mission is to guide the happy-go-lucky spirit of a deceased young man named Jimmy to the next life. But Jimmy is determined to watch over his still-living girlfriend, Megan, whom he wants to be happy even without him - which is easier said than done. As if being haunted by her late boyfriend wasn't enough, Megan is dealing with an arrogant, manipulative senior partner who threatens to fire Megan's vulnerable secretary if Megan accepts a partnership at another law firm. She's in an impossible bind. Since Jimmy refuses to move on while Megan is being blackmailed, Bailey Ruth agrees to help him. But after the partner turns up dead and Megan is found at the crime scene, Bailey Ruth and Jimmy have to find a way to uncover a killer before the love of Jimmy's life is ordered to spend a lifetime behind bars..."

Kaaberbol, Lene & Friis, Agnete. THE CONSIDERATE KILLER. Soho Crime. March '17. $16.95. Fourth in the Nina Borg series. In the last book in the series, Nina is attacked in a parking lot on her way home. Almost unconscious, Nina hears the man that attacked her say he's sorry. But it's not until much later that she realizes it wasn't for mugging her, but for what would come next. Nina is used to helping others, but has never been the victim. She eventually learns that her attack is somehow connected to three men from Manila and that she is on a hit list. Exactly how far will she go to protect herself?

Kingsbury, Kate. DEAD AND BREAKFAST: A Merry Ghost Inn Mystery. Crooked Lane Books. August '17. $15.99. First in a new series. "Melanie West is getting her life back on track after a messy divorce when her grandmother, Liza Harris, asks her to open a B&B with her. Together, Liza and Melanie purchase a purportedly haunted mansion on the Oregon coast and jump right into clearing out the cobwebs. But while attempting to remove wallpaper in an upstairs bedroom, the new B&B owners stumble upon a very real skeleton in their closet. The police suspect the skeleton is that of the wife of the previous owner of the B&B, but no one in town seems to want to say much about her. As the inn owners try to juggle renovations with their own amateur investigations, their grand opening looms closer and closer - and a friendly ghost in their walls starts playing tricks. But it all comes crashing to a halt when a new body is found stabbed to death on the beach below the inn - the victim chillingly close in resemblance to Melanie herself. It seems someone doesn't appreciate newcomers prying into the small town's past, and now it's up to Melanie and Liza to get to the bottom of these murders to save their business...and their lives."

Kovac, Christina. THE CUTAWAY: A Novel. Atria Books/37 INK. March '17. $26.00. In her debut, author Christina Kovac introduces TV news producer Virginia Knightly who becomes involved in a cover-up and corruption as she investigates the disappearance of Georgetown lawyer last seen at a restaurant after a domestic arguement. Although her colleagues disagree, Virginia thinks the lawyer might be at the center of a big story. Her investigation pulls her deep into the dark side of Washington, DC business and politics and puts her life in danger. Paperback edition. January '18. $16.00.

Page, Katherine Hall. THE BODY IN THE WARDROBE. William Morrow. March '17. $7.99. Twenty=third in the Faith Fairchild series. "Minster's wife, caterer, and part-time sleuth Faith Fairchild pairs up with Sophie Maxwell, last seen in BODY IN THE BIRCHES and now a newlywed living in historic Savannah, Georgia, where Sophie crosses paths with murder. Another delightful entry in the beloved mystery series, complete with delectable recipes. Attorney Sophie Maxwell has come to Savannah to be with her new husband, Will. But nothing throws cold water on a hot relationship faster than a dead body. Worse for Sophie, no one believes the body she knows she saw is real. Will is spending an awful lot of time in Atlanta on a case he claims is urgent, and she's been tasked with house hunting for them with his former sweetheart, who Sophie can't help but suspect wishes Sophie would return to her Yankee roots! Fortunately, Sophie has a good friend in Faith Fairchild. With teenage Amy being bullied by mean girls and husband Tom contemplating a major life change that will affect all the Fairchilds, Faith is eager for distraction in the form of some sleuthing. In between discussions of newlywed agita, surprising Savannah customs and, of course, fabulous low country food, Faith and Sophie will pair up to unmask a killer!"

Perry, Anne. A CHRISTMAS RETURN: A Novel. Ballantine Books. November '17. $20.00. "As Charlotte Pitt's grandmother Mariah Ellison finds herself investigating a long-unsolved slaying, it becomes clear that grappling with intrigue and foul play runs in the family. A festive Christmas package left on Mariah's doorstep contains an ominous present, sparking memories of a twenty-year-old murder that shattered her friendship with the victim's widow. Though the gift is a bitter reminder of that tragic time, in the spirit of the season Mariah travels to Surrey in hopes of reconciling with her estranged friend and solving the crime that drove them apart. On arrival, Mariah joins forces with the murdered man's grandson, a sleuth in his own right who's discovered promising evidence as well as a suspect. But Surrey's picturesque hills conceal dark doings and shocking revelations that could make the holiday anything but calm and bright. Decked with intrigue and trimmed with Yuletide spirit, A Christmas Return is a holiday treat wrapped in the glorious storytelling talents of the reigning master of Victorian mystery."

Pullen, Rick. THE APPRENTICE. Blair House. December '17. $14.99. As an inexperienced reporter, Tish Woodward finds herself in trouble when she ends up investigating the president-elect following an assassination. Forced to learn to navigate the ins and outs of the political scene in Washington, she finds it difficult to fit in and acknowledge all the ugliness behind government politics. The situation becomes especially dangerous when she accidentally learns who the assassin is and must stay alive in order to write the story.

Shelton, Connie. SPELLBOUND SWEETS: A Samantha Sweet Halloween Novella. Secret Staircase Books. October '17. $9.99. A Samantha Sweet Magical Cozy Mystery. "It's Halloween, one of the busiest seasons of the year for Samantha Sweet and the crew at her pastry shop, Sweet's Sweets. After baking a zillion pumpkin cookies, ghostly cupcakes, and an all-black cake for a young witch's wedding, the gang is looking forward to a gala costume party at the neighborhood bookshop. But when one of the guests is murdered and a rare book vanishes - practically in front of their eyes - the evening takes a whole different turn and Sam finds herself in the midst of another mystery. BONUS: Includes 10 recipes from the author's personal collection."

Wiehl, Lis with Stuart, Sebastian. THE CANDIDATE: A Newsmakers Novel. Thomas Nelson. July '17. $16.99. Second in the series. Once again Erica Sparks, the top cable news host, is thrust into the limelight when she begins an investigation into a presidental candidate. The war hero, Mike Ortiz, spent nine months in an Al-Qaeda prison, but Erica isn't so sure about what really happened there. She also wonders about Mike's 'perfect' wife, Celeste. Erica's search for the truth not only puts her life in danger, but also puts her young daughter into the crossfire.

Winawer, Melodie. THE SCRIBE OF SIENA: A Novel. Touchstone. May '17. $26.99. If you liked OUTLANDER or THE PEARL EARRING, you will love this book! Part historical novel and part love story , the story transpires across centuries from the present to medieval Italy and a plot to destroy the city of Siena. The story centers on Beatrice, a well-known neurosurgeon. After her brother dies, she inherits his estate including a house in Siena, Italy. When she finds her brother's research she becomes intrigued in a conspiracy to destroy the city during the medieval ages. Among his collection are painting by fourteenth-century artist Gabriele Accorsi along with a journal. Things become even more interesting when Beatrice notices herself in one of the paintings and is unexpectedly transported to Siena in 1347, just as the Plague is about to arrive. When she meets Accorsi in person, they fall in love and must survive a political uprising as well as the Plague. Paperback edition. January '18. $16.00.

© 1996-2018 Bill Palmer.