Amateur Sleuths G to Z


September 4, 2022

Keliikoa, Mary. DECEIVED. Camel Press. May '22. 16.95. A Kelly Pruett Mystery. "PI Kelly Pruett finally feels like she's coming into her own. With her personal life well on track, a gig uncovering what drove a client's granddaughter underground could be good for business. But after her undercover operation at the homeless shelter reveals rampant drug dealing, she's suddenly kicked off the case...just as another girl goes missing. Vowing to expose the truth even if it means pro-bono work, Kelly is taken aback when her half-sister helps her hunt down answers in a tent city brimming with distrust. When her investigation doesn't move quickly enough to save a second woman from a vicious murder, Kelly doubles her efforts unwilling to accept defeat."

Konrath, J.A. OLD FASHIONED. Independently published. December '21. $18.95. "Former Chicago Homicide Lieutenant Jacqueline 'Jack' Daniels has finally left her violent past behind, and she's moved into a new house with her family. But her elderly next door neighbor is a Is he really as he appears, a kind old gentlemen with a few eccentricities? Or are Jack's instincts correct, and he's something much, much darker? And what is it he's got in his basement? Jack Daniels is about to learn that evil doesn't mellow with age. Simultaneous release in trade paperback. $12.95.

Phillips, Phillips. ONE-SHOT HARRY. Soho Crime. April '22. $24.95. "Race and civil rights in 1963 Los Angeles provide a powerful backdrop in Gary Phillips's riveting historical crime novel about an African American forensic photographer seeking justice for a friend. LOS ANGELES, 1963: African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram earns a living as a news photographer and occasional process server: chasing police radio calls and dodging baseball bats. With racial tensions running high on the eve of Martin Luther King's Freedom Rally, Ingram risks becoming a victim at every crime scene he photographs. When Ingram hears about a deadly automobile accident on his police scanner, he recognizes the vehicle described as belonging to his good friend and old army buddy, a white jazz trumpeter. The LAPD declares the car crash an accident, but when Ingram develops his photos, he sees signs of foul play. Ingram feels compelled to play detective, even if it means putting his own life on the line. Armed with his wits, his camera, and occasionally his Colt .45, 'One-Shot' Harry plunges headfirst into the seamy underbelly of LA society, tangling with racists, leftists, gangsters, zealots, and lovers, all in the hope of finding something resembling justice for a friend. Master storyteller and crime fiction legend Gary Phillips has filled the pages of ONE-SHOT HARRY with fascinating historical cameos, wise-cracks, tenderness, and an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride of a plot with consequences far beyond one dead body."

Priest, Cherie. GRAVE RESERVATIONS: A Novel. Atria Books. October '21. $26.00. Leda Foley, a travel agent trying to get her company, Foley's Flights of Fancy, into the black is also a sometime psychic. Not sure why, she changes Seattle Police Detective Grady Merritt's flight and ends up saving his life when the plane he was supposed to be on blows up. Grady, believing that Leda does have some abilities, asks her to help him on a cold case he was never able to solve. Leda agrees, partly because her fiance was murdered several years prior and she wasn't able to help and that case was never solved either. She enlists some bar patrons and friends to help solve Grady's case. As they work together they realize that the two cases have a lot in common. Available in trade paperback. July '22. $17.00.

Shelton, Connie. THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS SWEET: A Sweet's Sweets Bakery Mystery. Secret Staircase Books. October '21. $13.99. Book 15 of 15. "Samantha Sweet is back at Sweet's Sweets, turning out her amazing cakes and pastries for the busy holiday season, when Emily Plankhurst, the new young librarian in town, stops in. Emily tells Sam a strange story involving a hidden niche in the library revealed to her in a vision, supposedly, by her dead grandmother. Would anyone believe this farfetched story? Possibly not anyone but Sam, who has had more than a few unexplained occurrences in her own life. It turns out the hidden space contains a rare painting, The Ghost of Christmas, which was believed to have been destroyed in a fire twenty-five years ago at the luxury home of a hedge fund billionaire. A young man died in the fire and the insurance company paid the claim for the valuable painting. But now that the painting has turned up, how can Emily prove that her own grandfather wasn't the one behind the arson? It's a sticky situation when she approaches Sam with the case. If she turns the painting over to the authorities they will almost certainly believe that her grandfather was involved in the theft of the piece and most likely complicit in insurance fraud as well. Would the police actually take him out of the Alzheimer care facility where he now resides and throw him in jail? Emily's only chance of saving her grandfather's life, and the reputation of the family-founded library, is to investigate the old crime and find out who really stole The Ghost of Christmas. And Samantha is the only person she can trust to help her, one of the few who remembers when the fire started and the insurance claim was paid. It's a Christmas mystery with a lot of twists and turns!"

Shelton, Connie. MONEY CAN BE MURDER. Secret Staircase Books. March '22. $14.00. Book 20 of 20: Charlie Parker Mysteries. In her last case, Charlie goes undercover in a charity thrift shop when cash goes missing and her surrogate grandmother, Elsa, becomes the prime suspect. Charlie's investigation proves that the shop is bringing in a lot of money and several people could easily have taken the cash. All is going according to plan until her top suspect is found murdered. Can Charlie find the thief - and is the killer the same person?

© 1996-2022 Bill Palmer.