Darn Good Reads: Con Lehane, Nancy Allen, Karin Salvalaggio Sunday, May 29 2016 

Auntie M is celebrating her son’s 40th birthday this Memorial Day Weekend (could she really have a child that age? Unlikely.) And she also is flying her flag and remembering those who served our country and their families. Happy Memorial Day to all~

For your reading pleasure, she’s recommending five terrific reads if you find yourself with time to sit on a porch or swing in a hammock. Great company, to be sure. Enjoy your weekend, whatever it brings–and enjoy a good book!

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Con Lehane takes the protagonist from three previous novels, bartender Brian McNulty, and moves him to the sidelines in his newest, Murder at the 42nd Street Library. The protagonist this time is Raymond Ambler, named in an homage to two of the author’s favorite crime writing masters, Raymond Chandler and Eric Ambler, and provides a clue to the author’s love and knowledge base of crime fiction.

Ray Ambler is the curator of the wonderful NYC library’s crime fiction collection. The wonderful library is a secondary star when the bodies start to pile up in the world renowned institution. Fans who have visited or live in the area, or who have walked past the two stately lions guarding the outside (Patience and Fortitude), will delight in this behind-the-scenes setting.

When a murder occurs on premises, Ambler knows the personalities involved and find himself drawn into the investigation of Mike Cosgrove, the NYPD homicide detective who’s a friend. The two will be plunged, along with a colleague Ray finds himself drawn to and a few other friends, into the twisted world of a celebrated mystery writers whose donation of all of his papers to the library seems to be the catalyst for the murders.
Ray will find himself trying to be protective of several who have entered his life, while being proactive in the investigation and trying to stay on the right side of the law.

There’s a lovely feel of noir in this as Ray untwists the secrets kept for decades that impact on the present.

Let’s hope this is just the first of more appearances by the shrewd and multi-layered Ray Ambler.

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Nancy Allen brings back ADA Elsie Arnold in the next taut entry in her Ozark Mystery series, The Wages of Sin.

Elsie finds herself reluctantly chosen by her boss, DA Madeleine Thompson, to assist her in the trial that has captivated the community: a young pregnant woman is found beaten to death in a trailer park. The suspect is the father of the unborn child and Thompson decides this is a death penalty case.

The victim’s six-year-old daughter, Ivy, is the only reluctant and traumatized witness. To make matters worse, Thompson decided to draft in another lawyer from the State Attorney General’s office to help their team. Then Elsie and her team find out the public defender assigned to represent the boyfriend is a well-known merciless trial attorney, Claire O’Hara.

Elsie is determined to find justice for the unborn child and its mother, even as damning evidence about the victim is revealed. It will be up to Elsie and her boyfriend, Barton City detective Ashlock, to keep Ivy safe before and even after testifying.

A gritty and realistic legal thriller.

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The Montana setting is a key element in Karin Salvalaggio’s series featuring Detective Macy Greeley in Walleye Junction.

The small community of Walleye Junction is rocked when outspoken radio journalist, Philip Long, is kidnapped and later murdered in a way that knocks Special Investigator Macy back on her heels and makes it personal, even as takes her away from her young son, Luke, to investigate the case.

It would seem Long’s own investigation of a local militia group is at the heart of the case, especially when two kidnappers are found dead and are known to have ties to the militia community. But there are also discrepancies that trouble Macy. Their son has absconded; the bodies were moved after death, indicating a third person was involved. Then police receive anonymous emails that point them in the direction of prescription drug abuse.

Long’s most recent investigation notes seem to have disappeared, and no one knows what he was working on. His daughter, Emma, has returned to the town for his funeral, which adds to the complications and brings up an old case that sets Macy on alert: Emma’s childhood friend Lucy died from a drug overdose. Emma feels her father may have uncovered something that’s not right about her death.

There will be family squabbles, the rumor mill of a small town in high gear, children in jeopardy, and an old love from Emma’s past that haunts her and annoys Macy. And then there’s Macy’s relationship with Aiden Marsh, and if the couple have any real future in the long-term alliance.

The relationships and characters feel real and readers will be surprised at the twists in the plot of this suspenseful and perceptive look at small towns and the people who live there.

DeathBreakfast
Author Beth Gutcheon has written nine previous novels and several film scripts before turning her hand to mystery in this debut of a new series, Death at Breakfast.

Written with a strong sense of wry humor about the two main characters, readers are introduced to newly retired school headmistress Maggie Detweiler and her friend, socialist Hope Babbin.

The two have arrived for a weeklong cooking class at a picturesque mountain inn. Thinking about how to spend their retirements, this duo are hoping they find themselves compatible enough for traveling companions in the future. The Victorian-era inn seems the perfect spot to try out their time together, and has the added bonus of being the home town of Hope’s deputy sheriff son. Maggie has had Buster as a student; Hope is trying to repair the gulf between them.

They find the Oquossoc Mountain Inn everything they’d hoped for, until the arrival of a Hollywood contingent who threaten to disturb their peace and tranquility. The rude trio are Alexander and Lisa Antippas, and Lisa’s sister, Glory, and don’t forget the little yapping dog who accompanies them, because soon everyone in the inn will be aware of that dog.

When a deadly fire in one wing of the inn happens at night, Alexander’s charred body is found in his bed. Known for sneaking cigars into the No Smoking facility, it’s thought to be a tragic accident–until a second circumstance proves that it most likely was not. With Buster investigating, the two ladies swing into action to help him solve this big case as state’s attorneys and senior law enforcement descend, hoping for a quick arrest.

Maggie knows human nature after a lifetime of evaluating students, and quickly ascertains that the higher-ups will settle for the most obvious suspect, and indeed, a young woman just fired from the inn is soon arrested for arson and murder. Maggie and Hope prove to be a daunting duo as they use their common sense and cheerfulness to disarm witnesses and gather evidence that will help Buster find the real culprit.

A delightful debut that will have readers waiting for the next installment.

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Susan Moody debuts a new British mystery series with Quick and the Dead, an original and highly literate mystery. The “Quick” in the title is former detective Alex Quick, who is coping with the loss of her marriage and unborn child by changing careers. With a knack for compiling art anthology books, Alex has formed a business partnership with Dr. Helena Drummond, a university professor and art historian, and a woman who keeps her own life close to the vest.

The book’s action packs a wallop when Alex finds a dead body in Helena’s flat in a disturbing scene that lets the reader know this is not a cozy. Although relieved it’s not Helena, the professor’s disappearance makes her the lead suspect in the murder. This scene simmers in the readers’ mind as it does in Alex’s and lets them know she’s been deeply affected by the murder.

Alex is also guilty because she’d ignored Helena’s complaints of a stalker. She involves herself in finding the murderer, both to clear Helena, p and keep her partner from the jeopardy she must find herself in from the real culprit. Alex is complex and multi-dimensional, a character who can curse like a trooper but has a fine mind for investigating as well as an eye for art. She’s a strong lead for a series, and the reader becomes fully engaged when Alex realizes just how little she knew Helena.

“She comes across as so open and let-it-all-hang-outish, but in fact she gives almost nothing away. So I don’t know anything about her background or her family situation. Nothing. Apart from the fact that she’s been married twice,” Quick says at one point, and is immediately stunned to learn that one of those husbands is a painter whose work Alex has long admired. She’d urged Helena to include his work in one of the compilations of pictures and text that they have published to much acclaim and some profit, and she’d omitted this tidbit of her background.

There are enough twists to keep readers interested, and it will be interesting to see just how Alex’s next adventure proceeds.

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Sophie Hannah: A Game for All the Family Sunday, May 22 2016 

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Auntie M had previously mentioned Sophie Hannah’s standalone, A Game for All the Family, in a thriller post last fall. But it’s available now in the US and worthy of a second look for those of you who are hooked on this writer’s wicked imagination.

A Game For All The Family, shows Hannah’s deft hand at psychological thrillers, as well as her ability to create an intriguing story from the most seemingly innocuous bits of people’s lives that somehow escalate before the reader’s eyes into full-blown terror. This is the genius of her writing.

Justine Merrison is moving with her family to escape London and her high pressure job to the lovely Devon countryside, home to Dame Agatha, by the way. She has huge plans to do nothing at all, at least for a while, but the family is no sooner moved in than teen daughter Ellen withdraws and exhibits a change in her personality.

It seems Ellen has written a story that describes a grisly murder set in the family’s gorgeous new home and just happened to name a character after herself. What starts out as a school assignment morphs into the story of someone else’s family.

Then her good friend is expelled from school for a trifle and when Justine goes to the school to ask the head to reconsider, she’s told the student doesn’t exist–and that he never attended the school. Who is going crazy–Ellen or the school?

And then anonymous calls start, and Justine finds herself accused of sharing a murderous past with a caller whose voice she doesn’t recognize. Being caught up in this strange story will ultimately affect Justine, Ellen and their entire family, especially when Justine realizes it will be up to her to stop their torment.

How this falls out is part of the fun of reading the unique novel where Justine must find out just whom she’s supposed to be in order to stop the threat to her family. Twisted and entertaining.

More Than A Touch of Humor: Carter, Kelly, Haines, Hess, Dorsey, Dennison, Sansom, Shelton Sunday, May 15 2016 

Auntie M is visiting her four Grands in the Midwest the next two weeks, celebrating a Sweet 16 for #2, a HS graduation with #1 on his way to Harvard, a special choir concert for #3, and four teams worth of lacrosse games. There will be lots of hilarity and she’s hoping #4 is still the only one shorter than she is! So in honor of all the smiles she’ll be receiving, she’s handing you the following for your reading–and laughing–pleasure!

DeathDummy

CF Carter and his wife publish a monthly mystery magazine, so he knows how to plot one. His debut, Death of a Dummy, is the first in a planned Wax Museum series. Set in Old Quebec, it introduces the black sheep of his wealthy Vancouver winery family, surf bum Paul Wainscott. Accompanied by his Golden Retriever, Benchley, he heads to Old Quebec City after his father dangles one last business proposition, designed to give Paul a future and a way to learn how to run a business out of sight of the beguiling waves.

His father has bought him a building to fill with tenants and a credit card with enough money to cover his expenses for three months. After that, he’s on his own. It’s an interesting premise, made more interesting by the decrepit wax museum in the basement. And with Quebec having one of the lowest crime rates in North American, what could possibly happen?

He meets two women who will become integral to him: Sophie, the pretty chef of the nearby crepe restaurant, and Dottie, a octogenarian who watches over him and becomes his business partner while making fascinators on the side. He’ll meet Guy Trembley, owner of the antique shop across from his lovely building, and learn he knew Guy as a child. There’s his one renter, mime Remy St. Claire, and former policeman Bernard Curtius. This mix of characters sustain the plot when one of the above-mentioned turns up murdered.

Carter’s use of history to mine the Wax Museum adds another level of interest as Paul finds himself at the heart of a murder investigation.

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The fourth Paw Enforcement mystery by Diane Kelly, Against the Paw, is the next installment in the Fort Worth series whose recipe features rookie Megan Luz and her K-9 partner, German Shepherd Dob mix Sergeant Brigit. Add Megan’s bomb squad boyfriend, Seth, to the mix, for that touch of romance, and then alternate chapters in points of view that include Brigit, and you’re in for a hilarious ride–especially those snarky asides from Sgt. Brigit. An dont forget Megan’s colleagues, who include Dereck Mackay, always out to thrust Megan in as poor a light as possible. What’s a female officer to do?

There’s a convicted burglar who’s broken parole and Megan’s goal is to find him and put that feather in her cap with Captain Leone and Chief Garlic. But there’s also a Peeping Tom terrorizing the upscale neighborhood, and the Neighborhood Watch group grows in ferocity as their perceived threat increases.

Kelly ramps up the humor with chapters from “Tom’s” point of view. There will be surprise mystery guest, too, in Megan’s private life.

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Carolyn Haines newest Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery is Rock-A-Bye Bones. It finds the unlikely PI still smarting after the break with her fiancé and subsequent attack she suffered in Bone to be Wild now out in paperback. Sarah Booth will get the surprise of her life when she finds what she thinks is a kitten mewing on a cold night at her home in Zinnia, Mississippi. The appearance of the spirit, Jitty, in different guises, adds to the excitement in Sarah’s home.

For that kitten turns out to be an abandoned newborn in a basket. Bloody footsteps leading to her door are her first clue; a dark-colored car leaving the area is her second. It will be up to Sarah and her PI partner, Tinkie Richmond, to find the baby’s mother. But as they start to investigate, it soon becomes apparent that this was not a mother abandoning a child as much as a woman running for her own life and trying to protect her infant.

With Sheriff Coleman Peters still stirring unresolved feelings in Sarah Booth, and Tinkie taking care of and becoming attached to the baby girl, Sarah has a lot on her mind in addition to tracking down the real mother of this little girl. It will soon become apparent that the mother wouldn’t have left her baby unless she had something to fear–and Sarah is following her uneasy and terrified footsteps.

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Marla Cooper’s accomplished debut, Terror in Taffeta, serves up a feisty amateur sleuth readers will want to read again.

Kelsey McKenna is a wedding planner who has learned to juggle everything from wardrobe issues to groomsmen who start to party too early. So she’s received to be wrapping up what she thinks is almost hit a home run with a destination wedding in the charming Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende–until during the ceremony, a collapsing bridesmaid turns a faint into a murder investigation by dying.

Pressed by the paying mother of the bride to not ruin the wedding, Kelsey must keep the murder to herself and play homicide detective–in another country–where she has no power and knows no one–or does she? And then there is a second murder and suddenly the maid of honor is a suspect.

Smart and funny at the same time, Kelsey must track down a murderer, all the while wondering how this is going to affect her business.

PridevPrejudice
Joan Hess brings back her almost-retired bookseller, Claire Malloy, in Pride v. Prejudice. A widow with a teen, Caron, who speak in ALL CAPS, Claire’s marriage to Deputy Police Chief Peter Rosen has changed the landscape. She has employees to run the Book Depot and is able to serve on jury duty.

But her colorful past comes back to haunt her, as Claire comes up against a prosecutor who has a grudge against her and Peter. He humiliates her even as she’s dismissed from jury duty. But Claire doesn’t take the slight lying down: She decides to prove the defendants’ innocence.

Of course, this proves to be more difficult than she’d first expected, as the evidence Claire uncovers points squarely to Sarah Swift’s guilt. Before it’s over, the FBI will be involved, and so will Claire’s now mother-in-law. A delectable bite of fun.

Cocnut Cowboy

We travel next to Florida and Tim Dorsey’s remarkable serial killer, Serge Storms, in Coconut Cowboy.

Serge has always been obsessed with all aspects of Easy Rider. The lovable serial killer decides he must finish the journey of Captain American and Billy, his heroes. Calling himself Captain Serge, he sets off for Florida’s panhandle with Coleman riding shotgun to find what he calls the real America, filled with apple pie and Main Streets.

But rural American is not what Serge expected at all. The duo find more than their fair share of corrupt politicians. A few mind-altering meds will be included before their wild ride is over, and of course, their usual homicides that just seem to follow these two.

There will be gunfights, Senators and more for the font of trivia that is Serge. This is the 19th in the series and fans can’t get enough of Serge and Coleman’s adventures, which Dorsey admits are often inspired by stops along his extensive drives around Florida doing signings, wearing his usual wild Hawaiian shirts.
Killer Ball\
The third installment in Hannah Dennison’s series brings her usual hilarity through its eccentric characters. This time it’s A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall that does the honors, the Hall being Kat Stanford’s estate, a 600 yr-old mansion that appears to have a hidden room. Being set in the lovely Devon area doesn’t hurt, either.

Kat finds the room exploring an unused wing at the Hall. But ti seems someone else has gotten there before her, for she finds the body of a young woman, dressed in an Egyptian costume, with a costume necklace around her very broken neck.

Anyone at the Hall at this time falls under suspicions, and it is up to Kat to clear her friends and find the real killer. Iris, Kat’s mother, also known as Krystalle Storm, a bestselling steamy romance novelist, is on hand to muddy the waters with the related characters representing a modern-day Downton Abbey, of a farcical style.

A classic country-house mystery for modern times with modern sensibilities.

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Auntie M is a fan of Ian Sansom’s Mobile Library Mystery Series, and so was intrigued to receive a review copy of his “Country Guide” installment fearing the “People’s Professor,” in Death in Devon. The first is set in Norfolk Guide; this one takes readers to Agatha Christie’s home county.

Readers should be prepared for a very different outing than the breezy humor of the Mobile series. This is a sendup of the 1930s, replete with the class system, school bullies, poor Sefton with PTSD–it’s all there and all ready to be parodied. Told from the viewpoint of Stephen Sefton, assistant to Swanton Morely, the story begins with the two men setting out to Devon, accompanied by Sefton’s comely and adventurous daughter Miriam as driver of the family Lagonda.

Merely is to speak in Rousdon at All Souls School at their Founders Day, an event destined to bring in large donors of the attendant boys. But tragedy strikes early in the form of a youth found dead at the bottom of the famous Devon cliffs. Is this an accident or a case of murder?
It remains to be seen, as police investigate quietly so that the Founders Day founders do not scatter or withdrew their financial support. The story unwinds in an obtuse and meandering way, elaborating on the eccentricities of many of the faculty.

Of course, no character is as eccentric or as bold as Swanton Morely himself, who has seemingly written more books, papers, treatises and articles on almost as many subjects as one can imagine one would tackle and still sleep, if he ever does. He is a fountain of information, some of it suspect, and Sefton is the chief gatherer of his rambling monologues and then some. The plot is so loose it flies in the wind. This is not for the reader who expects a plot-driven mystery, but is for one who enjoys characters larger than life and a hang-onto-your-hate wild ride, whilst learning real history of the area. There’s more here than meets the eye at first read.

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Paige Shelton premieres a new series, this time set in Scotland, with The Cracked Spine.

Kansas native Delaney Nichols has a new job after she answers an ad and finds herself on her way to Edinburgh. With her degrees in English and History, working for a bookshop that specializes in rare books and manuscripts sounds ideal, even if owner Edwin MacAlister sounds vague about her duties. The shop is as crowded and wonderful as Delaney could imagine, even if she longs to bring a sense of organization to the premises.

She finds the staff as eccentric as Edwin, too. There’s Rosie, an elderly woman accompanied by her little dog, Hector; and Hamlet, a would-be actor with a checkered past–but not as checkered as that of Jenny, Edwin’s sister, battling an old drug habit that’s nearly destroyed her relationship with her brother.

Delaney is barely settled into her cottage, owned by a friendly taxi driver she’s met, when Edwin’s sister is brutally murdered after entrusting Jenny with an extremely rare and valuable manuscript–which is now missing. With Edwin grieving both the loss of his sister and the manuscript, Delaney starts asking questions. It’s not long before she’s investigating to find the murderer and retrieve the manuscript, especially when Hamlet becomes a suspect.

There will even be a bit of romance with a man in a kilt, too, before Delaney’s first Scottish adventure is ended. A delightful start to a new series.

Vinnie Hansen: Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries Sunday, May 8 2016 

A special treat for readers on Mother’s Day, described by author Vinnie Hansen, who shares her story of her own mother. The happiest day to all mothers out there ~

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A Mother’s Day Gift

Since it’s Mother’s Day, you’ve probably already taken care of any necessary shopping. But how about a gift for yourself? Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries for only $2.99.

My mother would love this boxed set, but sadly this is my first Mother’s Day without her. Back in 1954, I was her Mother’s Day gift, the ninth of ten children, after a string of four boys. The brother before me weighed over nine pounds and my mom resolved to keep my birth weight down by snacking on ice. Vinnie on the rocks. It worked. I popped out, “an easy birth” at seven pounds, six ounces.

The two of us bonded over a love of words. When I was a child, Mama started attending college during the summers to earn a teaching credential. She did her homework on the edge of our battered round oak table, the unfolded laundry shoved into a heap in the center. A fat Funk & Wagnell’s dictionary lived on a nearby shelf. She was fond of thumping that baby onto the table and saying, “Look it up.” My problem was, and remains, if I look up “mediant,” here’s “mediastinum” and whoa, a “mediatrix.”

Crosswords, she taught me, should be done in ink. “Otherwise they’re too hard to read.” However, we never agreed on approach. I progress systematically top to bottom. My mom skimmed all the clues for anything, anywhere, she felt sure of, sticking in scattershot s’s for plurals.

Mama played Scrabble right up to the day of her death, one day shy of her 96th birthday. She liked a cooperative game where we could look at each other’s letters and help each other to think of delightful words. To her a good game covered the board, reaching the red triple word scores in the corners. To me a great game was slipping in a word like mediant.

In my grandpa’s journal, he wrote, “Gave my last dollar to Vi (my mom) for books.” When Mama passed, I was honored with her library card. This little piece of my mom rides on my bag. I transport her as books once did. In June she’ll go to Alaska. In August she’ll attend the Writers’ Police Academy with me, and in March, we’ll be off “on a lark” to Left Coast Crime in Honolulu. I also put dibs on her magnificent red hat, the crowning jewel of her collection.

Vinnie’s Mom in her wonderful red hat: Mom

My mom penned the “Hit & Miss” column for our local paper, the Pioneer Review. I received press on all of my mysteries. The day she died, she had the start of an article tucked into her bag. A bit of a hoarder, my mom saved letters, returned to the senders. On one of my letters she’s corrected my “gave Danny and I” to “Danny and me,” guiding me even from the other side.

She would have been very proud of my inclusion in the Sleuthing Women boxed set, perfect for her reading taste. On this first Mother’s Day without her, I understand that I wasn’t a gift to my mom on Mother’s Day; she was a gift to me, one that keeps giving.

Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries is a collection of full-length mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novel in the set is the first book in an established multi-book series—a total of over 3,000 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, and cozy mysteries, with a combined total of over 1700 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4 stars. Titles include:

Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston—Working mom Anastasia is clueless about her husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips and her comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves her with staggering debt, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. Then she’s accused of murder…

Murder Among Neighbors, a Kate Austen Suburban Mystery by Jonnie Jacobs — When Kate Austen’s socialite neighbor, Pepper Livingston, is murdered, Kate becomes involved in a sea of steamy secrets that bring her face to face with shocking truths—and handsome detective Michael Stone.

Skeleton in a Dead Space, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery by Judy Alter—Real estate isn’t a dangerous profession until Kelly O’Connell stumbles over a skeleton and runs into serial killers and cold-blooded murderers in a home being renovated in Fort Worth. Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman boyfriend Mike and protect her two young daughters.

In for a Penny, a Cleopatra Jones Mystery by Maggie Toussaint—Accountant Cleo faces an unwanted hazard when her golf ball lands on a dead banker. The cops think her BFF shot him, so Cleo sets out to prove them wrong. She ventures into the dating world, wrangles her teens, adopts the victim’s dog, and tries to rein in her mom…until the killer puts a target on Cleo’s back.

The Hydrogen Murder, a Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—A retired physicist returns to her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts and moves into an apartment above her friends’ funeral home. When she signs on to help the Police Department with a science-related homicide, she doesn’t realize she may have hundreds of cases ahead of her.

Retirement Can Be Murder, A Baby Boomer Mystery by Susan Santangelo—Carol Andrews dreads her husband Jim’s upcoming retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it—until Jim is suspected of murdering his retirement coach.

Dead Air, A Talk Radio Mystery by Mary Kennedy—Psychologist Maggie Walsh moves from NY to Florida to become the host of WYME’s On the Couch with Maggie Walsh. When her guest, New Age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii, turns up dead, her new roommate Lark becomes the prime suspect. Maggie must prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy.

A Dead Red Cadillac, A Dead Red Mystery by RP Dahlke—When her vintage Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask aero-ag pilot Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher is found strapped in the driver’s seat. Lalla confronts suspects, informants, cross-dressers, drug-running crop dusters, and a crazy Chihuahua on her quest to find the killer.

Murder is a Family Business, an Alvarez Family Murder Mystery by Heather Haven—Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve.

Murder, Honey, a Carol Sabala Mystery by Vinnie Hansen—When the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. Suspects abound at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives.

Buy Links
Kindle– https://www.amazon.com/Sleuthing-Women-First-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01E7EEJLA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&ref_=as_li_ss_tl&ref_=nav_ya_signin&ref_=pe_2427780_160035660&linkCode=ll1&tag=loiswins-20&linkId=7012336080a0b797be8d95851657c50c
Nook– http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sleuthing-women-lois-winston/1123663544?ean=2940153179940
Kobo– https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/sleuthing-women-10-first-in-series-mysteries
iTunes– https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sleuthing-women-10-first-in/id1103428642?mt=11

Vinnie in her Mom’s grand red hat: Vinnie in Mom hat

Vinnie Hansen fled the South Dakota prairie for the California coast the day after high school graduation.

A reading addict since childhood, Vinnie is now the author of the Carol Sabala mysteries. The seventh installment in the series, Black Beans & Venom, was a finalist for the Claymore Award. She’s also written many published short stories including “Novel Solution” in the anthology, Fish or Cut Bait, and Bad Connection, the 2015 winner of the Golden Donut Award.

Still sane after 27 years of teaching high school English, Vinnie has retired and lives in Santa Cruz, California, with her husband and the requisite cat.

Elly Griffiths: The Woman in Blue, Ruth Galloway Mystery #8 Tuesday, May 3 2016 

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Elly Griffiths’ wonderful Ruth Galloway Mysteries are one of Auntie M’s secret delights. Each new book is like a treat, waiting to be devoured.

In book #8 in the series, THE WOMAN IN BLUE, Griffiths takes Ruth to Little Walsingham, a medieval town with a huge religious history. Her friend, the druid Cathbad, is housesitting near the cemetery of one of the town’s churches, St. Simeon’s, when he sees a woman standing near one of the tombstones. Dressed in white with a flowing blue cloak, is the woman real, or an apparition of the Virgin Mary that many pilgrims come to the town to worship?

When the same woman is found dead in a ditch the next day, it’s clear she was very human. There will soon be religious overtones to the investigation, and DCI Nelson and his team on the case. Ruth finds herself involved through the back door this time. An old friend coming to the area soon on a course asks Ruth to help her as she’s been receiving threatening letters. The fact that this old friend is now an Anglican priest is not the only thing Ruth must get used to. There is a change in Nelson and they’re both afraid of it.

Then a second woman is murdered, and Ruth and Nelson race to find a murderer before he or she can strike again. With Easter season in full bloom, pageants and services abound, and the local churches of all denominations come under scrutiny. Old faces we’ve seen before appear, and threads from past stories come full circle–or do they?

One of Griffith’s gifts is making Ruth, Nelson and their circle face the same things we each face in our daily lives in a most realistic way. There aren’t always neat solutions to life’s questions. Police and forensic archaeologists, no matter how devoted or how good at their jobs, have the same insecurities and the same longings as anyone else. Griffiths’ consistently captures our attention with a delicious mystery while echoing the realities many readers face.

Couple all of this with a murderer on the loose and a Good Friday Passion Play in progress and you have all the ingredients for a mystery rich with drama and intrigue as very modern dilemmas play out on several levels. Highly recommended~

A note to readers: Three of Auntie M’s other highly recommended mysteries from last year are out in paperback. If you missed any of these in hardcover, now’s your chance for great adventures reading from three authors skilled at weaving setting and character with compelling mysteries:

LONDON RAIN, Nicola Upson’s sixth Josephine Tey mystery takes readers to 1937 London, still reeling from the abdication of Edward VIII and bustling in readiness for the coronation of his brother. This behind-the-scenes look at a murder at the BBC involves scandals old and new, all set against the backdrop of a national moment in history.

AFTER THE FIRE brings Jane Casey’s London detective Maeve Kerrigan into the cement high-rise estates where a fire has left three dead–and one of them is a wealthy and outspoken politician. What was he doing on this motley estate, and how does his death tie in to the other two victims?

A SONG FOR DROWNED SOULS by Bernard Minier bring his Commandant Martin Servaz of the Toulouse crime squad face to face with his own past, when the son of a former lover is the chief suspect in the murder of a teacher at the same university his own daughter is attending.

Marilyn Meredith: A Crushing Death, #12 in the Rocky Bluff P. D. series Sunday, May 1 2016 

Please welcome author Marilyn Meredith, bringing out #12 in her Rocky Bluff P D series, A Crushing Death. She’ll describe how she’s managed to keep her long-running series fresh. Be certain to read to the bottom and learn how you can enter a contest to be a character in her next book!

KEEPING A SERIES FRESH

In order to keep people wanting to read the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, these are the things that I try to do:

This is a mystery series first, so of course, there must be an intriguing mystery and usually that means someone is murdered, though not always. As with any mystery, there will be several possible suspects and it’s up to my detectives to figure out who is the guilty person.

Because Rocky Bluff is a beach community, there always is something new, as well as reminders, about the setting.

However, what is most important is what happens to the characters. I’ve always said that this series is as much about what happens to the men and women on the Rocky Bluff P.D. and their families as the mystery. Of course, the mystery itself is going to have some affect, but as with all of us, the characters have had life problems, such as: having to care for and make decisions for a parent with Alzheimers’; the birth of a child with Down Syndrome; dealing with a teen’s problems; having had a loved one risk his or her life, disappear, make a decision about the job itself; and so much more.

At times, something unexpected will happen, like when the Milligans moved into a haunted house in Violent Departures.

I’m probably more anxious to know what’s going to happen in the next book than anyone, because I’ve come to know and care about the people who inhabit Rocky Bluff and work for the police department there. Hopefully, my curiosity will keep the series fresh enough that my readers will want to continue on with me.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

A Crushing Death

http://www.amazon.com/Crushing-Death-Rocky-Bluff-P-D/dp/1610092260/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457618775&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Crushing+Death+by+F.M.+Meredith

A pile of rocks is found on a dead body beneath the condemned pier, a teacher is accused of molesting a student, the new police chief is threatened by someone she once arrested for violent attacks on women, and Detective Milligan’s teenage daughter has problem.

Me at Coalesce2

F. M. Meredith, who is also known as Marilyn Meredith, is nearing the number of 40 published books. Besides being an author she is a wife, mother, grandma and great-grandmother. Though the Rocky Bluff she writes about is fictional, she lived for over twenty years in a similar small beach town. Besides having many law enforcement officers in her family, she counts many as friends. She teaches writing, loves to give presentations to writing and other groups, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, three chapters of Sisters in Crime and on the board of Public Safety Writers Association.

Website: http://fictionforyou.com
Blog: http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com
Facebook: Marilyn Meredith
Twitter: MarilynMeredith

Contest: Once again, the person who comments on the most blogs during this tour, can have a character named after them in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery. Tomorrow you can find me here:
http://www.gumbojustice.blogspot.com/