Holiday Goodies #2 Wednesday, Dec 18 2013 

Auntie M gave you a great listing last time of good books for gifts for readers. Now she’s going to give you a huge compendium of wonderful reads in different categories for those last minute gifts. And then take off between Christmas and New Year’s 🙂 To all a good night and a wonderful holiday season. Here are some great ideas for gifting and don’t forget to gift yourself in the process!

For fans of the Tried and True Series:

crossVal McDermid is one of Auntie M’s favorite authors. Every stand alone, each series, all of the books shine with the craft of a wordsmith who understands people and manages to add complex plots that keep your interest and your mind reeling.

Cross and Burn is the latest in the Tony Hill-Carol Jordan series and you will be shocked and surprised at how she handles the complicated rift in their relationship.

The effects of the last case (The Retribution) has left the two estranged and both blame Tony for the havoc a sick killer brought into Carol’s life. She’s been on extended leave, with no one seeing her for the past three months.

He’s been cut from his service to the police and is working full time at a nearby psych hospital and living on a long boat.

What neither expects is a killer with a penchant for murdering women, and how that case will bring a connection neither Hill or Jordan can ignore. As Paula McIntyre works to adapt to her new position and investigates what soon becomes a series of murders, one thing soon become clear: all the women bear a disturbing resemblance to Carol Jordan.

And then the unthinkable happens when the evidence points to Tony Hill and he finds himself behind bars.

This one will keep you turning pages as all of McDermid’s do and you won’t want it to end but will race to find the conclusion anyway. Somehow McDermid always manages to keep her stories fresh and her ideas intriguing. Highly recommended.

Julia Spencer-Fleming kept fans waiting for the next in her series featuring the Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson and her police chief, Russ Van Alstyne. evil-days-new-lg

Through the Evil Days finds the newly married couple finally stealing away for a honeymoon. With Clare’s pregnancy evidently preceding their marriage, she faces trouble with her diocese for conduct unbecoming a priest.

Although there is an arson case on board, Russ leaves the case to his deputies to take Clare for a week of ice fishing in a lakeside cabin in the Adirondack’s he’s hoping she will agree they should buy.

Running between the couple is the difficulty Russ is having with the idea of Clare’s pregnancy, unplanned and unanticipated after agreeing they would not have children; but now a fact she is willing to accept and which threatens to drive a wedge between the couple.

Trouble comes early in the form of a suspected kidnapping in their vacation neighborhood whose tendrils reach into the arson case.

A snowstorm blankets the area and makes travel impossible, with frigid weather an added element to fight besides the meth heads whose hideout they stumble across.

With officers Hadley Knox and Kevin Flynn struggling to work out the case in the midst of their own relationship issues, there’s plenty of trouble to go around.

Soon the trouble comes too close to their cabin and Russ and Clare will be fighting for not only their own lives, but for that of their unborn child.

The-Ravens-EyeBarry Maitland’s Brock and Kolla series returns with his twelfth entry, The Raven’s Eye.

While Brock as DCI must wrestle with budget cuts and a new Commander at work, DI Kathy Kolla’s instincts kick in when she’s called to investigate what appears to be an accidental death on a narrow boat.

Vicky Hawks lived on the houseboat and is found by one of her neighbors, the apparent victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. The poor ventilation system on the boat supports that and nothing at the crime scene seems out of sort.

Kathy’s patience will be tested as she teases out information about the dead woman from those around her.

There will be doctors and scientists and a case of wrong identity as Kathy follows a trail that keeps doubling back on her. Who was Vicky Hawks and why would anyone have wanted her dead?

This one is well-plotted with dead ends that keep frustrating Kathy as much as the budget cutbacks that ruin Brock’s day. And when it appears Vicky’s death may be related to a previous murder, they know they are facing a shrewd killer who will stop at nothing to keep the status quo.

What adds a deep layer to this one is the world if surveillance and how it can be used to help and to hinder. A fine and shrewd mystery.

Other series winners: M. R. Hall’s Coroner Jenny Cooper returns in The Chosen Dead. Finished with therapy for the debilitating panic attacks she’s had for years, Jenny is trying to salvage her relationship with her son, Ross, and her lover, Michael. Somehow the death of an Arizona research scientist and his Russian counterpart seeking asylum become part of Jenny’s case when a young man leaves his toddler son and leaps to his death off a traffic bridge onto the highway. The dead man’s wife insists her husband would never commit suicide–and Jenny finds herself agreeing.

Inger Ash Wolfe’s A Door in the River brings back the unusual detective Hazel Micallef in the Canadian town of Port Dundas. Struggling with a new commanding officer as the policing is being rearranged, disturbed by her mother Emily’s apparent depression, the death of friend Henry Wiest of a heart attack after a bee sting hits her hard. But what was Henry doing near Queesik Bay outside a smoke shop, because Henry didn’t smoke? What follows is a disturbing tale of human trafficking and a traitor in a most unlikely place.

Alison Bruce brings DC Gary Goodhew and Cambridge to life in The Silence, when a series of  suicides appear to Gary to be much more than they seem on the surface. To make matters worse, one of the deaths is related to an earlier case of his, a gruesome death he’s never forgotten. And then there’s the subject of is inheritance and how he is or is not handling that.

Aline Templeton’s DI Marjory Fleming is a great character, a Scottish detective inspector married to a sheep farmer. She’s back in rare form in Evil for Evil, when murder strikes the little village of Innellan, perched on the Fleet Ba towards a series of small islands. Old scores to settle, soldiers with past secrets and even dead babies all come into play in this satisfying addition to the series.

And don’t forget Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell) in her book-within-a-book, The Child’s Child, a complex story of siblings, friendship and cultural history from the master of psychological suspense.

For something New and Different:

Carla Norton takes her experience working on a real 1977 kidnapping case, where the victim was held for seven years, and uses it to bring a most unusual 1728neggers6850new protagonist to the page with a high degree of authenticity in The Edge of Normal.

Twenty-two year-old Reeve LeClaire is making a life for herself in San Francisco, working part-time, and seeing psychiatrist Ezra Lerner. Dr. Lerner is an expert on captivity syndromes and has slowly gained Reeve’s trust after her own harrowing experience, which is parsed out in an intriguing manner.

Working as a waitress, she is living in her own apartment and trying to feel normal while repairing her relationship with her family.

Then kidnapped teenager Tilly Cavanaugh is rescued after being locked in a basement for over a year. Tilly asks to speak with Reeve about her own experience and survival, and Lerner feels it may help Reeve to be of help to another teen and asks her consider it.

With the confessed kidnapper in custody, there should be little threat to Reeve. But Tilly is hiding a secret, one she will only share with Reeve. And soon it appears there are at least two other teens who have gone missing in similar circumstances in the past two years. Could either of them still be alive?

Soon Reeve is doing a bit of investigating on her own, assisted by the liaison assigned to Tilly, Deputy Nick Hudson, who works with both the district attorney’s office and the county sheriff’s department.

What they can’t know is that someone with the perfect cover is monitoring her every move, and Reeve is in more danger than she could ever anticipate.

This is a chilling thriller which becomes quickly engrossing as much as it gives insight into kidnap victims. The best aspect is Reeve’s refusal to see herself as a victim, and one can only hope she will reappear in a sequel.

TheRedQueenDies_CoverIn the not-too-distant future of 2019, The Red Queen Dies is the newest novel by author and criminal justice professor Frankie Y. Bailey.

In an all-too believable scenario. she takes a hard look at criminal law and what police work will become, set during a time when there is a drug available that will allow victims of brutal crimes to erase the memory of their attacks. “Lullaby” also takes away evidence as witnesses lose these important points of recall.

This happens to Detective Hannah McCabe, working in Albany, and hits home when a witness is given by the drug. With a killer on the loose, she needs all the witnesses she can find.

Then the killer’s third victim becomes actress Vivian Jessup, nicknamed the Red Queen for her hair color and for her dedication to Alice in Wonderland. Her extensive collection of Lewis Carroll and Wonderland memorabilia is legendary.

Is The Red Queen’s death connected to the first two? Or is there a savvy killer out there trying to tag his murder onto the other two.

Written with a wry sense of humor from Hannah, Bailey succeeds in showing the heat of an Albany September just out of reach of today.

Readers who appreciate a highly original approach will appreciate this fast-paced mystery featuring a biracial detective from a literary family who decides crime is her game.

For Historical Fans:

Award-winner Catriona McPerson brings back aristocratic-turned-detective Dandy Gilver with Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses. 9Dandy781250030009.340x340-75

For fans of , this series set in 1920’s Scotland continues to charm with the cases of Gilver and Osborne.

This time Dandy responds to the frantic call from an old friend, one of three sisters she has fond memories of, and soon finds herself traveling to a girls school where one of the sisters, Fleur, has been teaching.  It seems teachers are disappearing at an alarming rate.

Soon Dandy finds herself at St. Columba’s in the seaside town of Portpatrick, where Fleur is less than pleased to see her old friend.

It seems Fleur is convinced she’s responsible for four or even five  deaths and it’s up to Dandy and Osborne to get to the bottom of such nonsense.

There are murders and kidnappings and enough secrets to keep the coziest person happy.

This pleasing series has been optioned for television by the BBC, where it will no doubt find a popular home.

dunnCarola Dunn follows  A Colourful Death in her Cornish mystery series with the third installment The Valley of the Shadow.

It’s sometime in the 1960’s or 70’s, before the advent of computer or mobile phones, and Port Mabyn may be a fictional village but the rest of Cornwall as Dunn describes it is real and lovely.

Series regular Eleanor Trewynn has retired in her widowhood after being a world traveler to be near her niece Megan Pencarrow, a detective sergeant with the local police.

But Eleanor is by no means a shy or retiring widow and in the past has helped do more than her fair share of investigating, aided by her dog, Teazle. In this volume, out along the seaside cliffs for a walk with Teazle and her neighbor, artist Nick Gresham, they spot a half-drowned Indian man afloat in the water.

With no identification, saved from the brink of death, the young man is taken to the hospital while Eleanor and Megan try to find out who he is and how he came to in the water in their remote area of Cornwall.

There will be talk of Immigration, of smugglers and caves, of family needing to be rescued, and Eleanor and Megan will be in the thick of it.

The duo Charles Todd became known for the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, but they’ve had equal success with the Bess Crawford mysteries and return with 978Todd0062237170_p0_v2_s260x420A Question of Honor. English nurse Bess manages to find herself in the middle of a criminal investigation in the series which vividly describes the horrors of war.

The time is near the end of WWI and Bess is brought back to memories her childhood in India, where her colonel father was stationed. Despite her happy memories, the dark cloud of that time was the murder of five people by an officer from her father’s regiment who was never brought to trial.

It has remained an issue for Bess and her family because her father had trained this man.

Now tending to the wounded in France, Bess learned from a dying Indian sergeant that this murderer, Lieutenant Wade is alive and indeed, serving at the front.

She’s shocked and determined to find out how he had escaped–and what had driven him in the first place to commit murder when her beloved father had placed such faith in the man.

The bulk of the book concerns Bess taking leave to investigate Wade, and she’s surprised by what she learns from different witnesses.

It will take all of her wiles and intelligence to piece together the reality of the murders from years ago, and she will end up enlisting her mother and father in a fascinating twisted ending that will involve Rudyard Kipling.

97803tremayne12658625Going back to Ireland AD 670, Peter Tremayne has a huge following with his series featuring Fidelmma of Cashel.

This time Fidelma’s brother enlists her aid investigating the murder of a nobleman in The Seventh Trumpet.

For those unfamiliar with the series, the protagonist is not only the sister of a king, but a dailaigh, an advocate of the Brehon Law Courts.

With the help of her companion Eadulf, they try to find out if the murder could be tied to a violent wave running through the western lands.

In those parts a fanatical figure claims to have been summoned by the seventh angel with the express desire to remove those impure of faith.

Despite the number of bodies that begin to pile up, it remains to be seen how they are connected, and why in the midst of this turmoil, an abbot would turn his monastery into a fortress.

When Fidelma becomes abducated, it will be up to Eadult to rescue her while finishing their work and solving the mystery surrounding the deaths.

Tremayne does a fine job of describing a time period so remote to today’s reader, with authenticity and ties to the history of the time.

For Cozy Fans:

Mary Daheim’s newest Bed and Breakfast mystery, Gone with the Win, turns a different spin when Judith McMonigle Flynn actually gets her husband Joe to help in her investigation.This is the 28th in the long-running series and this time when Judith books a reservation for a Mary Smith from New York City, mayhem is sure to follow. And it does, in the form of a cold case “Mary” is determined Judith can help her solve.

The first in a new series, Rosemary and Crime debuts Gail Oust’s charming southern cozy, featuring amateur sleuth Piper Prescott, who owns a spice shop in Georgia’s small town of Brandywine Creek. Divorced and determined to bloom where she’s planted herself, Piper is a Yankee who’s pursuing her dream of owning her own business. But the grand opening takes a dramatic turn when the chef doing a cooking demo is stabbed and Piper finds herself the chief suspect. Filled with humor and a lot of sass, readers will get a kick out of Piper and her outspoken friend Reba Mae Johnson.

For Young Adult Readers:

John Grisham’s Theodore Boone: The Activist stars a 13 year-old whose history includes kidnapping and murder.   This is the fourth in the series starring the young

lawyer whose books can be read by the entire family.

Theo is a loyal friend to Hardie Quinn and gets justifiably upset when he learns the Quinn family home is about to be bulldozed for a bypass. This will affect other homes and businesses and even a school that lie in the path of the proposed bypass.

It’s tough for Theo to explain to Hardie that the law is not on his friend’s side and there’s not much that can be done.

Despite this, Theo joins in the campaign organized to stop the bypass and that’s when things gets really interesting. Theo finds corruption, but he’s learned it in an illegal way. How can he keep the developers from going ahead with his plan while exposing the corruption without breaking the law himself.

Any in this series provide thoughtful, engaging stories for young readers in the tween category.


Great Holiday Gifts for Readers #1 Sunday, Dec 8 2013 

For the next few posts, Auntie M is going to give reader gift suggestions for that reader on your list–and don’t forget it’s perfectly permissible to gift yourself!Poirotp0_v3_s260x420

Outsold by only Shakespeare and the Bible, Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time. Auntie M had the good fortune to visit her Devon home this this summer when in England. Greenway, on the River Dart, is just a few short miles from where Christie grew up and the home has been preserved as it was when she and her family were in residence, down to some of her clothes in her bedroom closet and her favorite lily of the valley in evidence on china jewelry boxes left on her nightstand. When entering her bedroom, a docent obligingly plays a brief taped interview of Christie talking about her writing process, and as her voice fills the room, her presence is felt everywhere. One expects hear the sound of her typewriter at any moment. The house was used as the setting for Christie’s Piorot novel, Dead Man’s Folly, and two others. The David Suchet/ITV televised version of the novel was filmed there. The home is only a brief ride from the seaside town of Torquay, where Christie frequently had tea with friends at The Grand Hotel across from the Torbay seafront. Don’t miss the chance to tour the house and lovely restored grounds that lead down to the river if you find yourself anywhere near this section of southwest England. But Auntie M digresses.

Golden Age writer Dorothy Sayers felt Hercule Poirot was “one of the few detectives with real charm” and there’s no mistaking readers’ fondness for the dapper Belgian, portrayed on television by actor David Suchet, causing Christie’s grandson, Matthew Pritchard, to regret she hadn’t lived to see his fine portrayal.

Now William Morrow has brought out a volume of over fifty of Christie’s short stories and novellas featuring Poirot, gathering them into one volume that would be the perfect gift for any mystery afficionado. Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories has an introduction by Charles Todd. You cannnot go wrong with this one for any reader who enjoys mysteries, full stop. If Auntie M didn’t already own a copy, it would be the first thing on her list.

Morrow is also publishing Christie’s novels for e-book readers for the first time, so look for those, too.


Dennis Lehane teamed up with Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins, to bring out a line of books he’s chosen. The second was Ivy Pochoda’s Visitation Street. pochoda-visitation_street

Vastly different from the usual crime novel, this is an exploration of the sociology of an urban area and surrounds the disappearance of a young woman in the rough neighborhood of Brooklyn’s Red Hook waterfront.

The setting is visually described, a reflection of Pochoda living across the street from a bar in the area and writing about the inhabitants she saw outside her window.

There are blocks to walk on and blocks to avoid; there are areas of gentrification and others of great demise, in a seemingly endless evolution that causes conflict between races and classes that she vividly and realistically describes.

June and Val are the two friends at the center of the story. The two fifteen year-olds are looking for adventure as summer is ending. June wants to find a party, but Val convinces her instead to forget boys and drinking and take a small raft out into the river.

When only Val returns, found semi-conscious in weeds along the shore, the story turns to exploring what really happened to June that night, and affects the community that suddenly becomes the focus of an investigation and will reveal the its secrets on more than one level.

The community’s response to June’s disappearance will be as varied as the complex but utterly believable characters Pochoda has created. Her lyrical prose led Lehane to comment: “Visitation Street is urban Opera writ large. Gritty and magical, filled with mystery, poetry and pain, Ivy Pochoda’s voice recalls Richard Price, Junot Diaz, and even Alice Sebold, yet it’s indelibly her own.”


Sue Grafton’s iconic Kinsey Millhone has given readers over thirty years of quirky delight with her singular reporting voice. W is for Wasted is the newest entry in the grafton wasted_p0_v2_s260x420series and fans won’t be disappointed.

The opening lines hook the reader immediately: “Two dead men changed the entire course of my life that fall. One of them I knew and the other I’d never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue.”

Kinsey doesn’t recognize the man she’s been called to the morgue to identify, but her name and phone number were found in his pocket.  He was a homeless man, known to sleep rough at times, and his body has been found on the beach.

Kinsey sets out to find out the man’s identity, not knowing how his death will merge with that of a murder six weeks earlier. A local private investigator Kinsey knows had been shot to death near the Santa Teresa beach in what looks at first like a robbery attempt that got out of control.

Things change dramatically when Kinsey identifies the homeless man and finds he’s linked to her in more ways than she could possibly image.

Grafton has kept Kinsey in first person throughout the series but recently added the points of view of several other characters in the later books. In this case, we see the dead PI, Pete Wolinsky, in third person and come to understand his last case and how it intersects with Kinsey’s own investigation.

All the usual people who are part of Kinsey’s circle are on hand, too, with some surprising additions. This is vintage and yet modern Grafton at her best.


Continuing with beloved series, we jump across the pond to England and Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford, which will soon mark its fiftieth anniversary.17Rendell571848

Learning to adjust to retirement has been difficult for Reg Wexford in No Man’s Nightingale. He’s decided as a project to work his way through The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Therefore it comes as a great relief when his old deputy, Mike Burden, asks him to tag along on some of the interviews after a female vicar is found strangled in her Kingsmarkham vicarge. They are each having difficulty getting used to their new roles but their friendship remains solid and honest, a hallmark of the series. That Burden has recently become a grandparent, in contrast to the five Dora and Reg Wexford have by their two daughters, shows Rendell has not hesitated to age her cast as time has gone by.

Vicar Sarah Hussain had many detractors: those who don’t believe women should be ordained; those who don’t agree with her outspoken views on church reform; those who object to her mixed race heritage. Born of a white Irish mother and an Indian father, Sarah is a single mother to a teenaged girl.

Adding to the complications that involve Wexford is that the same woman who cleans for him and his wife, Dora, cleaned at the vicarage and found the body. Maxine annoys Wexford to no end when she cleans, yet now she’s become a part of this murder investigation.

When Wexford finds a letter at Sarah’s house she was using as a bookmark, he sticks it in his pocket to look at later, but it’s several days before he remembers it and then has to confess his transgression to Burden. But it provides a clue to the dead woman’s past; a past that may have impacted on her death.

Rendell does her usual fine job of complex plotting and revealing character, while maintaining the banter between Wexford and Burden.


Ten-Lords-a-Leaping-265Ten Lords A-Leaping is the third installment in C. C. Benison’s series featuring mystery-solving and thoughtful protagonist, Father Tom Christmas.

This is the perfect book for Golden Age fans who aren’t looking for action-packed thriller but rather the kind of classic Christie cozy wrote, but in a contemporary setting.

There are red herrings, a host of suspects drawn from amongst the rivalries of an aristocratic family, and even a touch of magic.

Fr. Tom has been talked into skydiving for a fundraiser for his Thornfield Regis church’s new roof  , a prospect that leaves him wondering what he’s gotten himself into. Back on the terra firma after a rocky landing that sprains his ankle, he’s shocked to see two of the remaining skydivers appear to tangle in a mid-air fight before finally landing safely. The two brothers-in-law are Oliver, the 7th Marquess of Morboner, and Hector, the 10th Earl of Fairhaven.

That sprained ankle finds the widower vicar, his daughter Miranda, as well as their housekeeper Madrun, all guests for far longer than expected at the home of Lord and Lady Fairhaven, Eggescombe Hall. The vast castle with enormous grounds boasts a pool, tennis courts, ornate gardens, and a gatehouse for the staff.

When Fr. Tom finds one of the two men dead in the labyrinth on the castle’s grounds, the murder sets off a thinking man’s puzzle for Fr. Tom to solve.

Bennison thoughtfully provides a cast of characters and a family tree so readers can understand the quite complicated relationships between the many people staying on at the Hall. Bigamy, sex after hours, art forgery, and lies will all find their way into the mix during the days it takes Fr. Tom to unravel the murderer, and not before a second death.  Readers who enjoy British whodunits will have a ball.


1766Helensmith9963Helen Smith is the author of Invitation to Die, originally published in episodes as a Kindle serial. The award-winning author of novels, plays, and children’s books, I had the pleasure of meeting Helen at Bouchercon this year and found her as funny and original as her heroine in this new series.

At 26, Londoner Emily Castles finds herself once again looking for employment.

So when famous romance author Morgana Blakely, aunt of Emily’s neighbors, asks her to help out at a weekend romance writers’ conference she’s organized, she can hardly say no. How difficult can it be to organize gift bags and help out with a dinner?

When Emily shows up at the hotel, she’s immediately pressed into service and meets an odd assortment of attendees, some nursing old grievance, some holding hidden secrets, all determined to out do each other for the fans who will be present. There’s even an American blogger whose been invited to be a guest, but for some reason, Winnie Kraster hasn’t shown up.

Emily dutifully takes a call for Morgana and it’s from the missing Winnie, saying she’s been delayed. But hours later, a woman’s body is found on the estate bordering the hotel and it’s poor missing Winnie.

Detective Rory James is assigned to investigate the case, and it happens Emily met him when he was a constable. When Emily confides that she suspects someone involved with the conference is the murderer, Rory disagrees, hardly a happy event at a romance festival. Emily takes notes of things that occur to her or that she overhears, but it’s not until she has the help of philosophy professor Dr. Muriel that the pieces come together for her.

This is brain candy, as sweet as the violet cremes a chocolatier with a secret delivers to be put in each guest’s gift bag. Smith gives vivid scene-setting and over-the-top characters as suspects.  The humor is tongue-in-cheek about blogging, book reviewers, and writers. Emily Castles was introduced in a previous short story but will appear soon in her next adventure.


David Rosenfelt writes thrillers, too, but any of his Andy Carpenter novels  would make a great addition to anyone’s shelves. With his humorous bent alternating  with suspense, the series4000000leader00000000733689_s4

continues with Leader of the Pack  now in paperback. Andy is a lawyer and dog lover, and his own dog, Tara, accompanies him and is often a better judge of character than Andy. On the side, Andy runs a dog rescue, which mirrors Rosenfelt’s real life. More on that later.

One of Andy’s less successful cases led years ago to a murder conviction for his client, Joey DeSimone, but Andy has always believed the man innocent of the murders of Karen and Richard Solarno.

As a favor to Joey, Andy agrees to check on the man’s elderly and forgetful uncle, taking Tara along for the visits. Nicky Fats falls for Tara but once he starts muttering about taking out someone else, Andy’s interest clicks. Could Nicky know, in the confines of his confusion, who really murdered the Salerno’s? And how can Andy find out and get Joey a new trial?

With the help of his friends, Andy launches an investigation into the business dealings of Solarno’s company and soon finds himself almost dying. Coupled with other information he unearths, he’s able to convince a judge to give Joey a new trial.

This is where the fun starts, as the trial scenes will reach a verdict that gives Andy’s heart a twist. And then he really figures out what’s been happening.

This is a complex plot, despite the humor and the presence of Laurie, Andy’s love interest, and several friends from the series making reappearances. There will be the drug trafficking, the involvement of the FBI, and don’t forget the family business of the DeSimone’s, the Mafia.

While Rosenfelt manages to keep things light, he balances it nicely with intrigue, action, and a satisfying ending that ties up all the ends. And then some. An additional touch is the listing he adds at the end of every book of Acknowledgments to friends who happen to be famous, or maybe not even people, as in this volume where Andy and Cherry Garcia show up alongside Woody and Gracie Allen and Neil and Hope Diamond.

By the way, there is a real Tara Foundation that helps find homes for sick or injured dogs. To date the foundation has rescued over 4000 dogs from shelves, and Rosenfelt often houses dozens at a time in his Maine house. Another reason to buy this book for any dog lover on your list.



Frances Fyfield: Blood From Stone Sunday, Dec 1 2013 

images_049Auntie M had the pleasure of meeting Frances Fyfield at St Hilda’s this August, where her riveting talk proved what I’d already suspected: here was an intelligent criminal lawyer who had a terrific knowledge of human character and was able to translate that into the highly complex and readable novels I’d always enjoyed. Fyfield worked as a lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Services, where she learned first-hand about murder. Though writing is now her main vocation, the law and its ramifications continue to inspire many of her novels.

Auntie M thought she’d read every Fyfield novel available: the Helen West series, the Sara Fortune series, and several stand-alones, all carefully crafted and thoroughly enjoyable to read for crime enthusiasts.

Therefore, it was a delight to find a new release of one she’d missed through Witness Impulse as an ebook: Blood From Stone, which won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award from the Crime Writers Association when it first appeared in 2008.

Marianne Shearer is at the height of her career, a dauntingly successful lawyer, respected by her peers and revered by her clients, even though those who know her well understand the ruthless nature that drives her.  Her latest case had again resulted in an acquittal, although the outcome was principally due to the death of the prime witness after Marianne’s forceful cross-examination.

Then why would she commit suicide in a dramatic and very public way?

Is it possible that this wholly professional and unemotional lawyer been struck by guilt or uncertainty, or is there some secret to be discovered in her rigid yet comfortable private life? Thomas Noble has been handled the job of executor of her estate. Her younger colleague Peter Friel is determined to find out of that last trial held the reason for her taking her own life. Together Noble and Friel will attempt to find out the reason Shearer felt she should end her successful and comfortable life.

The transcript of Shearer’s last trial holds intriguing clues, and excerpts from it give the reader a clear picture of Shearer’s scathing style in court and her ability to demean and demoralize the prosecutor’s witness. Then the sister of the last victim becomes involved and may be the one who holds the key to the truth. A most interesting woman in her own right, Henrietta Joyce’s sister had taken her own life after being subjected to Shearer’s style. Hen finds herself helping Friel and Noble unravel the secrets of Marianne Shearer’s life.

Fyfield has the ability to create fully-realized and very human characters who immediately capture the readers interest and Blood From Stone is a perfect example of Fyfield’s highly satisfying novels.

This January, Witness Impulse will be publishing two more classic Frances Fyfield titles, available to e-readers in the United States. Auntie M thoroughly enjoyed both of these and can highly recommend each book. The first is another stand-alone and the second is part of the Helen West series. Both illustrate Fyfield’s strengths in characterization, complex plots, and highly readable books that will have readers searching for others.

UNDERCURRENTS will be on sale January 7, 2014

For twenty years Henry Evans has been haunted by the memory of Francesca, the one who got away. When he travels to England to re-connect with his long lost love, what he finds is a horrific shock: Francesca is imprisoned for murdering her five-year-old son. But Henry refuses to believe Francesca is guilty, even if she did confess – in chilling detail – to drowning her own child.  In his search for the truth, Henry will find that the darkest of evils are hidden deep beneath the surface…

“Psychologically astute yet eminently readable, UNDERCURRENTS offers the tug of true suspense while probing the eerie confluence of love and loss.” – The Washington Post

DEEP SLEEP  goes on sale January 21, 2014 and was a CWA Silver Dagger Winner.

Pip Carlton is a devoted husband and a highly respected pharmacist, cherished by his loyal customers. When his wife dies in her sleep, with no apparent cause, he is distraught. Comforted by his caring assistant, Pip ignores the rumors about Margaret’s death, relieved that the police seem to have moved on. But Prosecutor Helen West refuses to believe that Margaret simply slipped into her final slumber. As she probes deeper into the affairs of the neighborhood, she uncovers a viper’s nest of twisted passion, jealous rage, and lethal addictions.  As a sudden act of violence erupts, shaking the community, one lone man, armed with strange love potions, prepares to murder again…

 Several of the Helen West series have been serialized for television and her novels have been translated into fourteen languages. If you haven’t discovered the treasure of of the work of Frances Fyfield yet, you’re in for a treat. Don’t forget her when you’re looking for holiday gifts for your reading fans, too.

Auntiemwrites Crime Review-Mystery Author M K Graff

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Auntiemwrites Crime Review-Mystery Author M K Graff

Award-winning Mystery Author on books, reading and life: If proofreading is wrong, I don't wanna be right!

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

(mid'-l sis'-tÇťr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & writing: books, movies, art & music - the bits & pieces of a (retiring) writer's life

Gaslight Crime

Authors and reviewers of historical crime fiction


#1 for Crime


John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery... being made into a radio drama