Dorothy Hayes: Keys to Nowhere Friday, Jan 20 2017 

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Auntie M had the good fortune to interview Dorothy Hayes recently about her new release, Keys to Nowhere. Dottie has generously offered to giveaway a copy of the new book to one lucky person who leaves a comment~

Auntie M: –Keys to Nowhere is your third Carol Rossi novel. How did you decide to write about a Connecticut-based investigative journalist?

Dorothy Hayes: Marni, I do believe in the basic rule: write about what you know. I was a reporter for more than five years for local Connecticut newspapers, The Wilton Bulletin, a weekly, and then The Hour, a daily in Norwalk. The culture of the newsroom comes to life only because I lived it.

AM: -How much of Rossi’s personal life is based on Dorothy Hayes?

DH: Rossi is married to a much younger man, and so am I. But I, gratefully, have four grown children and a huge family. Rossi has one baby, and her parents have passed away. Rossi is a writer and a vegan, and so am I. She is my alter ego, however, for she lives a perfect life on Peaceable Kingdom. She and Jerry rescue animals and live in rare harmony with nature. Of course, Jerry is a police detective in Wilton, Connecticut, where they reside, so when their tranquility is rudely broken, a new mystery is born. Also, people in desperation turn to Rossi, who is a bit of a local hero, then she’s forced into being a reluctant amateur sleuth and in that role she faces potentially lethal violence.
In the end, Rossi is far braver and cleverer than I.

AM: -You’ve chosen 1985 as your time frame. What prompted that decision?

DH: I wrote full-time as a journalist in that time period. My mysteries focus around the crimes of the times and are based on facts and research going back to my newspaper beginnings as a writer. The Mafia and serial killers were just being uncovered in all their various forms in the seventies and early 80’s. The God Father, for instance, debuted in 1972. Also, crime was at an all time high in New York City, where Broken Window takes place, 2,000 homicides a year, and with gangs roaming the subway trains.

AM: -In Keys to Nowhere, Rossi decides to leave her infant with her husband to pursue the case. How does Rossi justify that decision?

DH: Well, Marni, being a new mother, Rossi understood her friend’s fears. When Vera Dearborn shows up at her door in hysteria, telling her that her two teenagers and her sister have vanished in Tucson, Arizona, Rossi puts herself in Vera’s shoes. If her baby disappeared she’d want help as well. She struggles with this decision and is subject to mother’s guilt big time, but it’s impossible for her to say no. Rossi is sure that she’ll persuade the Tucson Police to work on the case somehow. If they won’t, she’ll go beyond her investigative journalistic role and again venture forward as an amateur sleuth, as she’s done in the past. That in fact happens, leaving Rossi to pursue, against her better judgment, a serial killer before he strikes again.

AM: -What pitfalls will Rossi face having no official credentials once she arrives in Tucson? How do you get around that?

DH: Rossi usually works with her detective husband and it’s a two-way street. She attacks the case as an investigative journalist and he follows police procedure, which often misses major points. Both benefit from the dual investigations. But now, Rossi is on her own. She strikes a bit of good luck in the form of a young police officer, Brian Larson. Jerry also telephone’s Larson, leaning on him a little as a brother-in-blue. But nevertheless the police insist that the three women are “runaways,” and refuse to open a missing person’s case. But the compassionate Larson extends a helping hand to Rossi.

AM: -How does Keys to Nowhere compare to your two others, Murder at the P&Z, and Broken Window?

DH: Murder at the P&Z is a classic Whodunit. I don’t want to give it away by telling what the crime of the time was behind the murders.
Broken Window and Keys to Nowhere are missing person stories. Broken Window deals with human trafficking in the US, while Keys to Nowhere is about serial killers. I’m not giving anything away for this is fairly clear from the beginning of the two mysteries.

AM: -So many readers enjoy reading a series protagonist. How does that work for you as the author?

DH: I’ve fallen in love with my characters. I get a kick out of the trouble Rossi finds herself in and how she cleverly works her way out of it. I’m always surprised by my characters. Like my vegetables, I’m an organic writer. My stories grow as they go. I place my characters into situations and allow their instincts and emotions to take over. I, of course, put myself in that character’s role. I never know where the story is heading. Stephen King does the same and I often wondered if I should be more buttoned down about the plot, but King said a plot all mapped out is like a prefab house, and I get that. I’m excited when I begin a new mystery, Marni, for I don’t know where the heck it is going. It’s an adventure for my readers and for me.

AM: -What’s a typical writing day like for Dorothy Hayes?

DH: It’s up with the sun. Write to about two or three in the afternoon. I feel totally satisfied. Writing is my natural habitat. Marni, when I was a kid, I wanted to two things: to have four kids and to write novels. I’ve been blessed with both.

AM: -Where do you find your plot ideas for the cases that attract Rossi?

DH: Coming from newspapers, my stories are all based on crimes of the times. Through my research, I love research. I have great fun preparing for a book once I know what the underlying subject will be. In the Author’s Note of all my books, I reveal the real life crime mainly reported in newspapers, I also do a great deal of reading on the subject in books, which I list. At times I’ll list the names of people in real life who were models for my characters, and the dates of the crimes reported and the name and date of the newspaper article. Once I’ve got my topic, I research more, and before I know it, characters pop up like surprise, but welcomed, guests at my door.

AM: -Who do you like to read when you’re not writing?

DH: Henning Mankell was one of my favorite mystery writers, I’ve read all his Kurt Wallander books. Kurt is a flawed, but real human being and I love character driven books, as a rule. Now, I’m reading Chernow’s Hamilton like many other readers. I’ve just finished Dead Wake, The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, and The Guns of August. I’ll keep reading newspapers, novels and histories until an idea strikes my imagination and then we’re off again, me and my characters, to another adventure.

But, Marni, it was The Ballad of Reading Goal, a ballad I read by Oscar Wilde, that moved me as a writer; “Yet each man kills the things he loves, by each let this be heard…” In his writing, Wilde allowed me to feel the raw emotions of the last few minutes of a condemned man’s life. This was impossible for me to experience otherwise. It stunned and amazed me. Homer’s The Iliad was the first book that made me cry, I even know where I was when I read it–that was when Andromache sees Hector’s dead body, her wonderful husband, being dragged through the dirt by Achilles. Hamlet…I could go on.
Books such as these were an awakening for me.
My passion, as a writer, humbly and thanks to incredible writers, is to transport readers to places, times and feelings impossible to reach other than in books.

READERS: Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’d like to win a free copy of Keys to Nowhere~

Dorothy Hayes, a staff writer for local Connecticut newspapers for five years, received an honorary award for her in-depth series on Vietnam Veterans from the Society of Professional Journalists. Prior to that she was a Language Arts teacher. A staff writer for a national animal protection organization for six years, she wrote her first novel, Animal Instinct, in 2006. Dorothy lives in Stamford, Connecticut with her husband, Arthur. She also raised four children, and is the mother-in-law to three, grandmother to fourteen, and great-grandmother to Bella.

Her other books in the Carol Rossi Mystery Series are: Murder at the P&Z, 2013 and Broken Window, 2015. Her short story, , was published by Mysterical-E, December 2016.

She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime-Tri-State Chapter, and Mystery Writers of American. Visit her at

Karen Pullen: Cold Heart Wednesday, Jan 18 2017 


Karen Pullen returns with the second in her Stella Lavender Mysteries, Cold Heart. With her debut, Cold Feet, readers were introduced to the NC State Bureau of Investigations agent, who’s been doing undercover drug work. But Stella keeps hoping for something more. Always on the lookout for a homicide, she quickly becomes involved in an investigation after giving a ride to a hitchhiker.

The teen needs to get to her babysitting job, but once inside the wealthy neighborhood where her employer lives, Stella and the girl find the father in the family lying dead in the backyard. The toddler in question is missing. Stella gets herself assigned to the case and finds it particularly unusual.

Family photos have gone missing. It appears the victim was unconscious for a period of time before being killed. Why does he have a new huge deposit in his bank account? With the toddler’s mother pregnant and due to deliver soon, the child’s disappearance takes on a new urgency, even as Stella strives to find the father’s killer.

Stella’s backstory includes being raised by her very modern grandmother after her own mother went missing when Stella was a baby. This underlines much of her drive and motivation, and it comes into play in this case in an unusual manner.

Pullen creates her North Carolina setting and her characters well. A strong entry in a compelling series.

4 UK Treats: Russell, Tope, Mitchell, Ireland Sunday, Jan 15 2017 

Auntie M had a ball over the holidays reading on her Kindle between wrapping gifts, having family over and celebrating with friends and family. Here’s four for readers to check out, all set in the UK~

Blood Axe is Leigh Russell’s newest DI Ian Peterson mystery. As the young detective struggles to adjust to his posting in York, and to the issues in his marriage, he’s confronted with a grisly murder scene.

A Viking axe goes missing after a festival and becomes the tool the murderer uses to carry out what soon becomes a series of murders. Peterson and his team, still adjusting to each other, must go full out to find who could possibly be the perpetrator. This is a canny killer, and it isn’t an easy task.

York springs to life, with plot points carefully worked out, and the gritty tasks, long hours and often frustrating work detectives face nicely illustrated. Russell’s police procedural’s hum with realism and this one is a fine addition to the series.


Rebecca Tope brings back florist Simmy Brown in The Troutbeck Testimony, the young woman’s fourth outing. This time Simmy is walking with her father when an overheard conversation leads to a mix-up that ties in with a local murder. It doesn’t help that they find a dead dog.

Simmy is a most reluctant sleuth. She becomes embroiled in cases, to the delight of her young assistants. There will be changes in those closest to Simmy, too, and a surprise twist that has some of her preconceived notions shaken to her core. There are plenty of red herrings and mixed messages to keep readers on their toes.


The writing duo known as DE Ireland return with Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins, and the whole cast of My Fair Lady in Get Me to the Grave on Time.

It’s wedding season, which Higgins abhors, yet when the groom dies at the first one they attend, Eliza and Higgins find themselves sleuthing again. There are plenty of suspects as the plot thickens, and more deaths to come. Several in their close circle will be hurt as things start to get out of control.

The period details, especially the mores and customs, plus the emphasis that was placed on clothing, are detailed and specific, lending an air of plunging the reader back into Edwardian times. A looted Indian temple becomes the basis for the investigation and raises the question of British supremacy and the taking of antiquities for British museums. There are more layers here than first meet the eye.


Caroline Mitchell debuts a new series with a most interesting protagonist in the first DS Ruby Preston, Love You to Death.

Ruby’s unlike most other police detectives. She’s pulled herself up to rise in the police after being raised in a neighborhood known more for its criminals. Her ties to her old life can’t seem to be cut, with good reason. She finds herself involved in complicated relationships at every turn, unable to lose the baggage of her past.

It makes for a very interesting and different approach, as Ruby must decide where her allegiance lies: to her old neighborhood and those she’s loved for years; or to the letter of the law she’s sworn to uphold.

A serial murderer is abducting and killing women after gaining entrance to their homes. It’s soon apparent that the thread connecting them is that each woman gave up a child for adoption.

The killer is looking for the mother who gave her up, and for a fairytale ending to their relationship. A wonderful twist occurs when Ruby receives emails allegedly from the daughter she gave up at birth as a teenager, implying that she is the killer. The child’s father is Nathan, a gangster who is not a part of Ruby’s life any longer–or is he?

An very different kind of character to lead a new series. It will be interesting to see where Mitchell takes Ruby next.

Christina Hoag: Girl on the Brink; Skin of Tattoos Wednesday, Jan 11 2017 

Please welcome YA author Christina Hoag, who will share her writing tips Auntie M’s readers~


Writing Tips
By Christina Hoag

Here are several writing tips I’ve discovered through many years of writing. You may find them helpful. They’re in no particular order.

1. I don’t write myself out every day. I leave something – the very next scene, usually – so when I come back the next day I know what to do. I just pick up and keep going. If you write yourself out, then you end up wasting a lot of time wondering what comes next and trying to get back into the rhythm of the story.

2. If someone says something in your piece doesn’t work, it’s only one person’s opinion. But if two people make the same observation, you need to pay attention to what they’re saying. More often than not, it’s something that needs fixing.

3. Develop a thick skin. It takes courage to write and show your work to the world for judgment, but remember that not everyone is going to like your work, and that’s okay. You have to learn to let criticism roll off you. The nastiest rejection I ever got was from the editor of a literary journal who scornfully said of my experimental fiction submission, “Why would anyone even read this?” I kept submitting it and got the piece and another like it published in other journals.

4. If there’s someone in your life who does not support you creatively, either get rid of them or distance yourself from them as much as possible. Be ruthless because your art is worth it. I’ve broken up with boyfriends because they were not supportive or had no interest in my writing. In my mind, you can’t be with a writer if you’re not interested in what they write because their writing is part of their self-expression.

5. Don’t give up! It can be hard to keep going amid the onslaught of rejection –agents, editors, reviewers. If you get a particularly bad rejection or setback, allow yourself to wallow in self-pity for a set period of time, say three days. When that’s over, get back to your PC.

6. When critiquing other people’s work, remember to be constructive and how it feels to be on the receiving end. Always state some positive points first then say “I thought you could improve this by…”

7. Have a general sense of where your story is going and how it will end. I’ve tried “pantsing,” ie. writing by the seat of my pants, and ended up lost in the plot labyrinth and wasted a lot of time. Now I have a loose outline and I periodically map out the next couple scenes as I write. That keeps me on track and thinking ahead. It makes the process much smoother.

8. Read a wide range of genres and authors. Read poetry to develop lyricism and an ear for language. Read plays to develop dialogue. Read mysteries/thriller/classics to improve plot development. Read literary works to enhance character development.

9. When confronting the dreaded writer’s block, do something else for a while, don’t fret and don’t force. I’ve found that getting up and going to the kitchen clears my head enough for the next step to pop in it. You can also use the time to do something else writing-related: work on your website, submissions, an essay, or on another section of your book. The secret is changing your focus so you can clear your blocked channel.

10. This may be the most important tip of all: Believe in yourself. Believe that you have something worthwhile to say. Believe in your talent. Believe that you will succeed and that the rocky road is part of any artist’s journey.


Christina Hoag is the author of Skin of Tattoos, a literary thriller set in L.A.’s gang underworld (Martin Brown Publishers, 2016) and Girl on the Brink, a romantic thriller for young adults (Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books, 2016) that was named to Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2016 YA list.

She is a former reporter for the Associated Press and Miami Herald, and worked as a correspondent in Latin America writing for major media outlets including Time, Business Week, Financial Times, the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times. She is the co-author of Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence, a groundbreaking book on gang intervention (Turner Publishing, 2014).

ChristineS lives in Los Angeles. For more information about her, see
Skin of Tattoos and Girl on the Brink are available in ebook and paperback: and

Jonathan Moore: The Dark Room Tuesday, Jan 10 2017 


On the heels of last year’s thrilling Poison Artist, Moore returns with The Dark Room, a police procedural thriller that will leave readers flipping pages long past bedtime.

San Francisco and its communities spring to life in their dreary, rainy season when Gavin Cain, experienced homicide investigator, is pulled from an exhumation surrounding and old case to spearhead one that has the FBI involved: someone has sent the city’s mayor photographs of a beautiful blonde woman being systematically brutalized, forced to swallow a handful of pills, then raped. The accompanying letter hints there are worse photos to follow unless the Mayor, hard-hitting Castelli, commits suicide first.

As he and his team investigate the photos and the cold case that surfaces, it becomes obvious there’s a connection to the exhumation case he was on.
The mayor’s family and staff become entwined, and with the FBI’s help, Cain is on a roller-coaster ride he can’t get off until he finds the evil behind the actions.

Cain’s entire team and his personal life will be affected as one unthinkable action after another occurs. The dialogue-heavy action bring Moore’s realistic individuals to life in this intricately-plotted novel that Stephen King calls “heart-pounding” with good reason. Highly recommended.

My Favorite Reads 2016 Sunday, Jan 8 2017 

As we welcome 2017, out of 177 reviewed books (!) in 2016, a listing of those that received Auntie M’s coveted HIGHLY RECOMMENDED status:

Colette McBeth: The Life I Left Behind (Minotaur)

Ausma Zehant Khan: The Language of Secrets (Minotaur)

Nicholas Searle: The Good Liar (HarperCollins)

Nele Neuhaus: I Am Your Judge (Macmillan)

Alison Gaylin: What Remains of Me (Minotaur)

Jeannette De Beauvoir: Deadly Jewels (Macmillan)

Elly Griffiths: Woman in Blue (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Noah Hawley: Before the Fall (Hodder & Stoughton)

Kate Rhodes: Blood Symmetry (Macmillan)

Laura McHugh: Arrowood (Spiegel & Grau)

Louise Penny: A Great Reckoning (Minotaur)

Sarah Ward: A Deadly Thaw (Minotaur)

Sharon Bolton: Daisy in Chains (Minotaur)

Tana French: The Trespasser (Viking)

Tony Parsons: The Hanging Club (Macmillan)

Mindy Mejia: Everything You Want Me to Be Wednesday, Jan 4 2017 


Mindy Mejia’s knockout novel, Everything You Want Me to Be, operates in three main voices and is a strong read to start the New Year.

Hattie Hoffman is a high school senior in a small Minnesota farming town. Brimming with talent in acting, a chameleon who takes on the role of the moment, she’s poised to begin a new life in New York after graduation. Her manipulation of those around her is born out of her natural ability to be what she needs to be in any given situation. We see her story unfold in events that lead up to the current time.

Peter Lund is an English teacher from the city, thrust into the rural farm town of Pine Valley when his wife moves back home to care for her ill mother. He manages to find a teaching job and Hattie is one of his prize students. But vegetarian Peter can’t adjust to the many sides of farm life, and his marriage starts to fall apart.

Del Goodman is the town’s sheriff, a man who’s best friend is Hattie’s father, and who takes his job seriously. A divorced Viet Nam vet who has made a life of loneliness, he will soon face his most important and heartbreaking investigation: finding Hattie’s murderer after her body is found stabbed and mutilated.

In a small town, everyone knows everyone’s secrets, and if they don’t, they’ll make one up. Distorted truths soon get in Del’s way, and the investigation suffers for it. Then DNA results seem to point to Hattie’s killer, but Del isn’t convinced. Just when the reader thinks they’ve figured out the obvious suspect, another character will appear to have a better motive and the story twists back on itself.

Small town life and the rural setting are evocatively drawn, but the stars here are the way Mejia gets inside the minds of these three characters and builds suspense as the story shifts between the current investigation and the events of the previous year that led up to the tragedy.

A first-rate mystery from a writer whose name will be on many lists this year and earns Auntie M’s first Highly Recommended rating of the year~

Happy New Year Treat: The Ones I Bought Myself Sunday, Jan 1 2017 

Happy New Year 2017 to all my readers~It’s a pleasure bringing you recommendations for great crime books to seek out and Auntie M will continue to read and review on your behalf, while working on her own mysteries. The next Nora Tierney, THE GOLDEN HOUR, will see Nora frustrated at not being able to investigate an international crime that has a very personal effect. Stay tuned.

For the New Year, she’s bringing you several of the books she bought herself. When you receive books to review, and not all are reviewed, your buying need drops tremendously. Yet there are writers whose work Auntie M values and these she’ll mention to give you even more great crime novels to look for.

But first: a special mention to those of you who haven’t discovered the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty series written by Ausma Zehanat Khan. On the heels of her debut, The Unquiet Dead, her second in the series, The Language of Secrets, will be out in paperback next week.
language-of-secrets-731The third, Among the Ruins, will publish in February, so if you haven’t read this complex and fascination series yet, please sort that out before the third comes out. You won’t be disappointed as Khan is a master plotter who brings multi-cultural realities to crime.

On to thumbnails of Auntie M’s other recommendations:

Val McDermid’s Out of Bounds
brings detective Karen Pirie her most challenging cases yet, when the DNA from a teen joyrider after a crash, may hold the key to a long-unsolved murder. Drawn to another case she’s surreptitiously investigating on her own, Pirie is plagued with insomnia as she wades through her grief after the death of her partner, fellow detective Phil Parhatka. Accomplished and nuanced.

Laura Lippman brings Tess Monaghan her strangest case. Juggling parenthood to the precocious Carla Scout has been a challenge, as will the new case. With partner Sandy in tow, Tess reluctantly agrees to provide security for Melisandre Harris, back in the country to film an most unusual documentary of a mother reuniting with the children she left ten years ago, an ending to her crime.Years ago after giving birth to her third child, Melisandre locked the infant in her car and sat on the banks of a river while it died. Found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, she left her husband and two other daughters to move to France for therapy and a fresh start. Her return brings its own issues when Tess’s client is suddenly a mruder suspect, just when Tess starts receiving messages from a stalker about her parenting. Vintage Lippman.

But don’t stop there if you’re a Lippman fan. Knowing Auntie M is, a good friend gifted her a signed copy of Lippman’s stand alone Wilde Lake. The new state’s attorney for Howard County, MD, is Lu Brant, filling her father’s shoes. Her current case revolves around trying a homeless man accused of murdering a woman in her home. But it also dredges up memories of the night her brother murdered a man in self defense to save the life of his best friend. How the two are connected in Lu’s mind will have her wondering whether the legal system is all she’s signed up for; and what really happened that night so many years ago.

M J Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace series continue with her fifth installment in Little Boy Blue, when a case hits too close to home and threatens to reveal Helen’s personal secrets. The killer is targeting members of the BDSM community, and leads melt away as the killer keeps up his spree. Alarming depravity resides alongside a fast pace, as the twists and turns keep coming in this dark thriller that will have readers panting for the next installment.

This Grace is DI Grace Fisher, in the second of Isabelle Grey’s series that promises to attract a wide readership. Shot Through the Heart
examines police corruption and how Grace’s investigation is hampered at every turn when five people are gunner down before the shooter kills himself on Christmas Day–and one of those killed is a police officer. Crime journalist Ivo Sweatman is on hand to either help or hinder Grace, but she has no option but to accept his offers of help when her youngest witness disappears.

Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mysteries are a delight, and capture readers’ attention as the 12 year-old brilliant chemist returns home from her awful term at a Canadian boarding school. But it’s not the happy homecoming Flavia pictured, for her dear father is in hospital with a severe case of pneumonia. What’s a girl to do, but climb on her bicycle, Gladys, and run an errand for the beleaguered vicar’s wife–which results in her stumbling on the dead body of the recipient. With their awful cousin residing at Buckshaw, and Flavia’s two older sisters even more insufferable, if that’s at all possible, it will be up to Flavia to unravel the mystery, even as she will be shaken to her very core.

If you’ve thought Auntie M only reads novels with female protagonists, you’d be wrong. ratherbethedevil875 Ian Rankin brings back John Rebus, supposedly retired, and Matthew Fox, thrown into Siobhan Clarke’s case when a young drug lord is viciously attacked. Rebus actually has the semblance of a private life, with a girlfriend and dog, and Auntie M loves watching him adjust to these normalcies. But he just can’t let a cold case go, four decades old, and as he pokes his nose in where it shouldn’t be, what is he doing talking to his old nemesis, Big Ger Cafferty? This one brings all the pieces together in inimitable Rankin fashion.

Peter Lovesey: Another One Goes Tonight Monday, Dec 26 2016 

Happy Boxing Day to all, and Auntie M hopes you enjoyed whatever holiday you’ve been celebrating. As we look to the New Year, here’s one last for 2016, and it’s a real winner~

The incomparable Peter Lovesey has been awarded just about every crime prize, including The Lifetime Achievement Award from Strand Magazine, CWA Silver and Gold Daggers, and the Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement–and he shows no signs of slowing down.

He’s back with his 16th Peter Diamond mystery, Another One Goes Tonight,, with the unflappable Bath detective up to his usual tricks.

Tasked with representing Professional Standards after an accident involving two police officers, one of whom dies at the scene, he discovers the body of an elderly victim of the crash, thrown into bushes at the side of the road. He saves the mans life with his quick CPR, and while investigating the incident, hoping the clear the police driver of fault, Diamond soon becomes convinced that the elderly engineer, still in hospital, is a serial killer.

It’s a fascinating premise as he tries to puzzle out what really happened that early morning between the police car and the elder out on his motorized bike. Most of what he uncovers is a by-product of his investigation and inadmissible. Soon he’s enlisted two of his team members to help him in this side investigation, with very interesting results as they uncover a trail of deaths of elderly people within the past two years who were known to the hospitalized engineer.

Readers will learn about the almost fanatical love some people had for steam engines, collecting memorabilia from their favorite branch and even assigning estates to the National Railway Museum.

But could this love of a bygone era also be the tie to a string of murders?
As well-plotted and crafty as always, with that hint of wry wit mixed into a police procedural. The most clever of puzzles with a highly satisfying ending.

Jane Cleland: The Glow of Death Saturday, Dec 24 2016 


Jane Cleland’s Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries have a devoted following with good reason. Her eleventh in the series, The Glow of Death, bring the same meticulous research and detail of the antiques world underlying the action when a rare Tiffany lamp goes missing and murder soon follows.

It’s almost the Fourth of July and warm along New Hampshire’s coast when Josie called to appraise the Tiffany lamp at tony Rocky Point home of the wealthy Towson’s. Met by Ava Towson, Josie is delighted to find the lamp bears all the hallmarks of a real Tiffany lamp, along with a high value. Josie takes the lamp into her care for safekeeping and authentication, and over the next three days, estimates the value at $1.5 million–gulp. She has the film crew she works with come up to NH and film her describing her authentication process for the television show that features her, then later that afternoon returns the lamp.

With her boyfriend, Ty, away on Homeland Security business, Josie is getting ready for her annual 4th barbecue when her best friend, Zoe, enlists her own boyfriend, Ellis Hunter, to help Josie with kitchen prep. Ellis just happens to be the Chief of Police, and is deep into potato salad fixing when he gets a call that Ava Towson has been murdered.

With her husband on his way home from a business trip, Ellis asks Josie to identify the body. They travel to the Towson home, only there’s a catch: the woman dead in the Towson’s kitchen isn’t Ava Towson.

But it sound is confirmed that the dead woman IS Ava Towson and the woman who gave the lamp to Josie to appraise was an imposter. Everything Josie has learned was based on information from this imposter, and the only thing accurate is the authenticity of the pricey lamp, and if the bit filmed for her television show is cancelled, that puts her show in jeopardy, too.

Josie can’t stand the thought of being duped by the imposter, and sets out to find out who had the temerity to trick her in such a horrible way. It will bring her into the line of fire literally.

One of the delights of this series is the information readers glean about the antiques world as they explore the business Josie has built, from the authentication process to the ways experts are used. A delightful addition to the series.

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