Amateur Sleuths F to Z
D TO Z
February 20, 2020
Duncan, Elizabeth J. REMEMBERING THE DEAD: A Penny Brannigan Mystery. Crooked Lane Books. September '19. $26.99. "In award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan's tenth Penny Brannigan mystery set in North Wales, Canadian amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan attends a dinner party at a posh country house - where a historic chair disappears and a waiter is murdered. Artist and spa owner Penny Brannigan has been asked to organize a formal dinner to mark the centenary of the armistice that ended World War One. After dinner, the guests adjourn to the library for a private exhibition of the Black Chair, a precious piece of Welsh literary history awarded in 1917 to poet Hedd Wyn. But to the guests' shock, the newly restored bardic chair is missing. And then Penny discovers the rain-soaked body of a waiter. When Penny learns that the victim was the nephew of one of her employees, she is determined to find the killer. Meanwhile, the local police search for the Black Chair. The Prince of Wales is due to open an exhibit featuring the chair in three weeks, so time is not on their side. A visit to a nursing home to consult an ex-thief convinces Penny that the theft of the Black Chair and the waiter's murder are connected. She rushes to Dublin to consult a disagreeable antiquarian, who might know more than he lets on, and during the course of her investigation confronts a gaggle of suspicious travelers and an eccentric herbalist who seems to have something to hide. Can Penny find the chair and the culprit before she is laid to rest in the green grass of Wales?"
Jance, J.A. CRUEL INTENT. Pocket Books. August '19. $9.99. Fourth in the Ali Reynolds Series. "On the SingleatHeart.com dating site, bored housewives can find romance with married men looking for sex without strings. But these 'married singles' are flirting with more than just their vows - at the heart of this salacious service, a vengeful computer hacker is playing games with people's lives...and deaths. Ex-television journalist Ali Reynolds just wants a break from excitement. In the midst of a remodel on her home, the last thing she expects is a murder investigation that will stop the construction. But when the savagely murdered body of stay-at-home mom Morgan Forester is found, Ali's contractor Bryan is the prime suspect. Bryan swears he has nothing to do with his wife's murder - but as the investigation progresses, Ali seems to be the only resident of Sedona who believes him. Determined to prove Bryan's innocence, Ali unknowingly lands herself directly in the path of a calculating killer. In a world filled with encrypted computer traps and life-threatening lies, will Ali be able to decode the actions of a ruthless man determined to destroy women - before he uses his wicked website to find her?"
Jance, J.A. HAND OF EVIL. Pocket Books. March '19. $9.99. Third in the Ali Reynolds Series. "With his hand trapped in the door of a speeding car, a man struggles to remain upright as he's dragged along a deserted stretch of San Juan Road in Phoenix's South Mountain Preserve. It's the perfect place to drive a man to his grave - literally. Starting with a crime so gruesome even prowling coyotes keep their distance from the remains, a killer begins crisscrossing the Southwest on a spree of grisly murders. A hundred miles away, Ali Reynolds is grieving. The news-casting job she once delighted in is gone - and so is the philandering husband she loved and thought she knew. When a member of the family who gave Ali a generous scholarship decades earlier suddenly asks her for a meeting, Ali wonders what it can mean. Before she can satisfy her curiosity, though, Ali receives another startling call: a friend's teenage daughter has disappeared. Ali offers to help. But in doing so, she unknowingly begins a quest that will reveal a deadly ring of secrets, at the center of which stand two undiscriminating killers. HAND OF EVIL is Jance at her best, weaving a masterful story of suspense that travels over generations, exposing two very different women with the same horrifying secret. Will Ali become a victim herself, or will she escape from a deadly deceit that no amount of security - financial or emotional - can cover up?"
Lin, Ed. 99 WAYS TO DIE. Soho Crime. September '19. $15.95. Third in the Taipei Night Market series. When a billionare who favors anti-immigration laws visits Taiwan and is kidnapped in Taipei, a media frenzy begins. Jing-nan is pulled into the fray when Peggy Lee, an old frenemy, and the man's daughter, blackmails him into helping her. But the kidnappers aren't after money - they want a memory chip that they can sell to China for a lot of money. But exactly where is the chip? Jingnan reluctantly begins an investigation, but gets into trouble with some very nasty people and just might end up as another victim.
Love, CJ. JULIET AND DEAD ROMEO: Shakespearean Murder Mysteries. Secret Staircase Books. January '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."
Shelton, Connie. ESCAPES CAN BE MURDER: A Girl and Her Dog Cozy Mystery. Eighteenth in the Charlie Parker series. Secret Staircase Books. June '19. $13.99. "Charlie and Drake are working a helicopter job in rural Maine when a man approaches and asks for their help. At first glance, it seems he's just an old man who needs to get to his son's remote cabin in the woods. But the cabin holds more secrets than Fergus McNab will admit, and it isn't until Charlie returns to Albuquerque that she discovers they may have just aided and abetted a criminal who has escaped the law back home.The secrets get twistier, the more she looks into the ten-year-old case where Rory McNab, facing a life in prison, seemed to vanish from the reach of the law. Just as Charlie is thinking she should report McNab's whereabouts, there's a murder that seems to rock the foundation of the old case. And Charlie is in handcuffs, caught in the middle."
Shelton, Connie. SWEET MAGIC: A Sweet's Sweets Bakery Mystery. Secret Staircase Books. September '19. $13.99. "Samantha Sweet's life is a little crazy right now, beginning with her daughter's wedding, which coincides with Sam's receiving a huge new contract for her chocolate factory. The day after the wedding someone takes a shot at Sam and she discovers the bad guys are back. OSM's henchman, Marcus Fitch, who showed up in Taos once before, is more determined than ever to get his hands on the carved box that gives Sam her unusual powers. But as the sheriff's department investigates the shooting, it seems Fitch has an airtight alibi. Meanwhile, Sam's daughter is honeymooning in England where she and her new husband discover some interesting clues that connect to home. As Kelly learns of her mother's secrets, she is pulled into the world of the magical artifacts in ways no one could have foreseen. And Sam discovers that her own world is about to change - forever."
Thompson, Victoria. MURDER ON TRINITY PLACE: A Gaslight Mystery. Berkley Books. May '19. $26.00. 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." Available in paperback. April '20. $7.99.
West, Eugenia Lovett. FIREWALL: An Emma Streat Mystery. SparkPress. November '19. $16.95. Emma Streat, a retired Opera singer, is struggling to recover after her husband's murder and the destruction of their house. As a single mother she is trying to move on and take care of her sons. Because of her knack for detection, her godmother asks for help when she receives a balckmail demand. Emma agrees to help and is caught up in the world of cybercrime. Her investigation takes her to Europe where she interacts with rich people involved in financial dealings and the art world. She also runs into her ex-lover, Lord Andrew Rodale which complicates matters even further. Emma soon finds herself targeted by the cybercrime culprits and must do her best to survive and bring the criminals to justice.
© 1996-2020 Bill Palmer.