M. C. Beaton: The Witches’ Tree Saturday, Oct 14 2017 

Beaton celebrates the 25th anniversary of her popular Agatha Raisin series with The Witches’ Tree, where Agatha gets to sink her teeth into a new case.

This one smacks of more than lost cats when the new vicar and his wife, driving home from a dinner party in Sumpton Harcourt when their headlights pick out the dangling body of a murdered woman, hanging from a tree.

Who murdered Margaret Darby, and what could the elderly spinster possibly have done to warrant such an action?

Readers will be treated to the delightful banter between Agatha and Sir Charles, hints of romances, and more dark offerings to follow as a witches’ coven is involved–and don’t forget the pair of trust-fund siblings Agatha comes across.

The absurb lives alongside the rational as usual. Fans will eat it up. The series has been made for British Television and some PBS channels as well as Acors TV will carry it here.

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Will Thomas: Old Scores Sunday, Oct 8 2017 

Will Thomas’ historical series featuring private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his right-hand assistant, Thomas Llewelyn returns with an intricately-plotted mystery, Old Scores.

It’s 1890 and things are becoming modernized when a Japanese delegation, in England to form a new embassy, arrive to visit Barker’s own Japanese garden along with the new ambassador. The team he arrives with are varied, and Llewelyn fancies that Barker recognizes one of the men.

When the ambassador is shot that same evening, Barker is found across the street and immediately arrested, although that doesn’t last long. Despite the Foreign Branch subjecting him to a more than necessary interrogation, his lawyer manages to procure his release. At the behest of the new ambassador, Barker and Llewelyn undertake an investigation to find the real murderer.

This time readers learn more of Barker’s past and his time in Japan, as well as the cultural overtones of the political situation of the era. There are personal details that come with personal revelations. Authentic period details spring off the page and speak to Thomas’ research. Llewelyn’s own situation comes into play, as does the ward Barker keeps an eye on, now married.

It’s a complex unraveling they must undertake, chock full of sly humor and a bit of suspense in a most atmospheric London.

Lois Winston: Scrapbook of Murder Thursday, Oct 5 2017 

Please welcome Lois Winston, a very busy woman who has more irons in the fire than Auntie M can count! She’s here today to talk to us about her new release, Scrapbook of Murder:


Authors are often advised to write what we know, but that advice can become problematic for those of us who write about murder and mayhem. Unless our day jobs involve working in criminal justice, we don’t usually have firsthand experience with the seamier side of humanity. Have you ever met a killer? Most people haven’t.

Without exception, every plot and subplot I’ve included in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries springs from actual events I’ve read about in the news. I keep a binder of news clippings that grows bigger by the day. Sometimes the plot or subplot will closely follow an actual crime. Other times a story—whether criminal or human interest—becomes the spark that lights my “what if” fuse.

Usually the news stories are ones that take place throughout the country. I read about them in one of the two daily newspapers or the weekly news magazine I subscribe to, or I’ll see a story on the evening news.

However, in Scrapbook of Murder, the latest book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, the main subplot in the book is taken directly from a mystery that’s been unfolding in my own town for several years. It’s such a weird mystery that it’s made national headlines. Lifetime has even aired a made-for-television movie about it already. I’m talking about The Watcher house. Ever hear of it? If not, you can read about it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/24/the-watcher-house-home-letters-westfield_n_7656620.html

In Scrapbook of Murder, The Watcher becomes The Sentinel, and he’s stalking the couple that bought the home Anastasia’s friend and her husband recently sold. As in real life, the new homeowners have filed a lawsuit against the former owners, claiming they knew about The Sentinel prior to the sale. Since the police have yet to solve this nonfiction mystery, I’ve been able to solve it—or rather, Anastasia has solved it—in Scrapbook of Murder.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if my fictitious solution turns out to be what really happened? Cue the Twilight Zone music…

Scrapbook of Murder
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 6

Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but normal deserted craft editor Anastasia Pollack’s world nearly a year ago. Now, tripping over dead bodies seems to be the “new normal” for this reluctant amateur sleuth.

When the daughter of a murdered neighbor asks Anastasia to create a family scrapbook from old photographs and memorabilia discovered in a battered suitcase, she agrees—not only out of friendship but also from a sense of guilt over the older woman’s death. However, as Anastasia begins sorting through the contents of the suitcase, she discovers a letter revealing a fifty-year-old secret, one that unearths a long-buried scandal and unleashes a killer. Suddenly Anastasia is back in sleuthing mode as she races to prevent a suitcase full of trouble from leading to more deaths.

Buy Links:
Kindle http://amzn.to/2ffIMgy
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/scrapbook-of-murder
iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/scrapbook-of-murder/id1286758416?mt=11
Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/scrapbook-of-murder-lois-winston/1127145157?ean=2940158851896
Paperback http://amzn.to/2y2Omhl

Bio:
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Website: http://www.loiswinston.com
Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/anasleuth
Twitter at https://twitter.com/Anasleuth
Newsletter sign-up: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z1z1u5

Sophie Hannah: Keep Her Safe Thursday, Sep 21 2017 

Sophie Hannah’s newest stand-alone shows readers why she’s the author Agatha Christie’s estate chose to write two new Hercule Poirot mysteries. Keep Her Safe brings readers to a stateside setting when Brit Cara Burrows escapes her family to spend time alone in a world-class resort in Arizona. She’s immediately acutely aware that she’s an Englishwoman in an American country, for many reasons.

Cara needs time to just think about a surprise and very unplanned pregnancy, but she hardly gets there before she’s thrust into a nightmare. Exhausted from her long flight, already questioning her desperate need to flee her family, she enters what should be her welcome hotel room, only to find it already occupied by a man and teen girl.

It’s a simple front desk mistake and Cara is immediately upgraded to a lovely casita, but the resort comes with too many options to choose from–which pool, massage, therapy, class should she take? And it seems filled with eccentric characters. Cara soon comes across a hint of menace directed toward herself. Events spiral and she finds herself convinced that the teen she saw is a young murder victim whose body was never found.

The missing girl, Melody Chapa, has been gone from age 7, would be 14 now, and fits the description Cara finds online of the teen she came across on her first night, right down to the stuffed animal buddy the girl carries. At the moment, Melody’s parents languish in prison, serving sentences for her murder. But if Melody is alive and well, they should be freed and an awful miscarriage of justice has occurred. Or has it?

Cara will meet a mother/daughter duo vacationing who at first seem unlikely friends and an elder woman who swears on each visit she’s seen Melody and agrees with Cara that Melody is at the resort.

When Cara disappears along with a resort employee, it will be up to two seemingly disinvolved detectives to investigate her disappearance, along with the arrival of a former prosecutor-turned-TV host whose specialty is people unjustly convicted of crimes.

Cara will meet the man who she must outwit to bargain for her life and that of her child. The unlikely center of the storm, Meloday Chapa, has her story told through a book writtten about her life at home with her parents which is excerpted as the chapters unfold.

Hannah examines both our justice system, especially in our media-driven culture where many defendants are convicted in the press before any trial occurs, and America’s obsessional interest in true crime stories. The question that’s raised is: Is there any such thing as a personal responsibility to protect a victim? And what lengths would be reasonable to accomplish this?

An ending twist that’s pure Hannah will leave heads spinning in this complex book, the germ of its plot planted on a book tour visit by Hannah to the US during the Casey/Caylee Anthony case.

Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express Friday, Sep 15 2017 

“All my life I had wanted to go on the Orient Express. When I had travelled to France or Spain or Italy, the Orient Express had often been standing at Calais, and I had longed to climb up into it.” Agatha Christie: An Autobiography.

Today is the 127th anniversary of the birth of Agatha Christie, the author whose works are outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible. She’s also the most translated author, with more than 2 billion books published in over 100 languages.

In honor of Twentieth Century Fox’s new version of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, premiering this fall, HarperColliins/William Morrow is offering the book in every form from hardcover and paperback to E-book and Digital Audio. There’s even a large print version. In the movie, Poirot will be played by a dashing Kenneth Branagh, with Judi Dench, Derek Jacopi, Olivia Coleman, Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Leslie Odom, Jr. among the talented cast.

Auntie M thought her readers might be interested in some background on this long-time favorite, starring Christie’s beloved Hercule Poirot. If you haven’t read this classic, she hopes this will whet your appetite to read the original before the movie premieres. Here’s Branagh as Poirot, different from David Suchet, who to Auntie M was always the embodiment of Poirot, but dashing in his own way. Branagh directs the film:

Agatha’s wish to travel on the famed train came true a year after the end of her first marriage, the same year her mother died. She visited Iraq on what would be the first trip of many with second husband, Max Mallowan, an archeologist with yearly digs in Iraq and Syria. A snippet from Mallowan’s Memoirs describes how Agatha almost didn’t get to write the book:

It was luck that she lived to write the book, for not long before penning it while standing on the railway station at Calais, she slipped on the icy platform and fell underneath the train. Luckily, a porter was at hand to fish her up before the Orient Express started moving.

This is Agatha with Max:

The book had its genesis when Agatha was travelling alone on the OE and it was stopped after being stuck due to heavy rains. As the passengers talked, she heard stories of snow storms that had stranded the train for days at a time. Her story was also greatly influenced by the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby during this period. Agatha is thought to have written the book during 1931, and it was first published in September of 1933 as a series in the American magazine The Saturday Evening Post under the title Murder in the Calais Coach. It was published at the same time in the UK as Murder on the Orient Express and is dedicated to M.E.L.M: Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan.

In a letter to Max, Agatha describes the rain and several other travellers on that train trip which clearly influenced her future mystery. She noted details such as cabin layouts, and the placement of door handles and light switches, which would all serve her in good stead when she decided to have Poirot solve the case she develops.

Agatha wrote her first mystery on a bet with her sister at the age of 26 (1916), and The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring Hercule Poirot, was published four year later. Many readers know that her play, The Mousetrap, is the longest running play in the world after its debut in 1952, and visitors to London can see it at The St Martin’s Theatre.

If you haven’t read Murder on the Orient Express, now’s the time to pick up a copy of the story, which revolves around Poirot on the Orient Express when it gets stuck in a snowbank. There will be a murder, concealed identities, and the incomparable Belgian sleuth figuring it all out, with a twist at the end.

Happy Birthday, Dame Agatha!

E. J. Copperman: Dog Dish of Doom Friday, Sep 8 2017 

Please welcome E. J. Copperman, who will describe the genesis of his new release, Dog Dish of Doom, and yes, it’s just as charming and hilarious a mystery as you think~

By E.J. Copperman
So there was this dog, see.

A friend of mine who lives in New York City has a dog, and it came about in conversation one day that the dog (his name was Fred) was a stage actor before my friend Chris Grabenstein (accomplished author of mysteries and middle grade supernatural stories) adopted him. In fact, Fred was featured in the cast of the Broadway production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. On Broadway.

Fred in Chitty:

Once the show closed and Fred was between gigs, he ended up being brought by his agent (oh yes, Fred had an agent) to Chris and his wife, who fell in love with Fred and adopted him.

That story stuck with me. Fred had been a stray, found by the agent/trainer in an ASPCA shelter and brought in to audition for his role. He turned out—with a good deal of training—to be a natural and got the job. A star was trained.

Somewhere in the recesses of my diseased author mind Fred’s story became a murder mystery because that’s what I do. And the main character of the book became the dog’s agent because . . . well, a theatrical agent working with animals is rife with possibilities.

The book is called DOG DISH OF DOOM and it begins the Agent to the Paws mystery series from Minotaur Books.

It’s not like I knew Fred well, or actually at all. But I’d heard about him and seen pictures of him on Chris’s web site. And the truth is, the more facts I knew, the worse it would be for my story. With only the basic information of Fred’s journey in my head I could make up pretty much anything I wanted without feeling obligated to be accurate.

So in the book Fred, who was a rather small terrier mix, became Bruno, a very large, very shaggy dog of indeterminate breed who had already been adopted when my agent character Kay Powell took him on as a client. Bruno is up for the role of Sandy in a Broadway revival of Annie because find me a role for a dog people know better. Okay, besides Lassie.

I don’t know if that counts as “inspiration” of if I just let my mind wander until it came across an idea lying in the road, but either way the book started with Fred. He has, sadly, since passed on after a very good life, but Bruno, having the advantage of being fictional, can hang in there for as long as people decide to read my book.

So it’s up to you, readers: Keep Bruno going! And say a quick thanks to Fred along the way.

E.J. Copperman is the author of DOG DISH OF DOOM, the first book in the Agent to the Paws mystery series, as well as the Haunted Guesthouse series, the Asperger’s mystery series (with Jeff Cohen) and the Mysterious Detective mystery series, making E.J. a very busy writer who owns a beagle named Gizmo, who has no theatrical ambitions.

Peter Robinson: Sleeping in the Ground Wednesday, Sep 6 2017 

It takes a skilled writer to find a creative way to draw readers in with the 24th novel in a series. Peter Robinson is a master storyteller, and he does just that in his new Inspector Banks outing, Sleeping in the Ground.

It’s a horrific opening: a sniper shoots a wedding party standing outside an ancient Yorkshire church, then desappears before into the hills. The casualties mount, the injuries severe where there are survivors who’ve been hit. One of the wounded is a member of Banks’ team, Winsome Jackson.

Banks is on his way back from the funeral of his first love when he gets the news. His mood is already somber, his mind cast back to those early days when he loved Emily and the world was fresh and full of promise. He’s abruptly faced with this newest devastation, and into the investigation comes an old face from twenty years ago: psychologist Jenny Fuller has returned from Australia after a divorce and been assigned to profile the killer.

Her presence adds to Bank’s mixed emotions as he examines his life and finds one important area wanting in his quiet moments alone.

Into this mess comes an unexpected house guest: Ray Cabbot, Annie’s artist father, has decamped from Cornwall and decided to move nearer his daughter, Banks’ right-hand detective. Looking for a house, Ray stays with Banks, providing music, distraction and more than enough to drink.

Then a member of a local gun and rifle club is found a few days later in his basement, an apparent suicide, with the weapon used in the carnage beside him. Case closed. Or is it?

The investigating team includes the lovely DC Gerry Masterson, whose instincts for detecting are being honed on Banks’ team. It’s a race to find a killer who just might not have finished what he started.

This is classic Robinson, with all the details here that make his series so enduring: the Yorkshire setting and the differing music Banks listens to; the strong characterizations and plot twists; and the way he makes Banks so vulnerable and so human, yet never losing his edge for his case. You’ll eat this one up quickly and wish there were more. Highly recommended.

Sharon Bolton: Dead Woman Walking Tuesday, Sep 5 2017 


Sharon Bolton’s new stand-alone, Dead Woman Walking, shows once again the creativity of this author, and her adept way of handling psychological suspense.

What starts off a seemingly idyllic hot air balloon ride over Northumberland Park near the Scottish border soon turns horrific. Drifting low near ancient ruins, the various passengers from all walks of life witness a young woman being brutally murdered.

One of the passengers manages to capture the murderer’s photo–only he’s seen her face just as she’s seen his.

It sets off a chain reaction when the killer retaliates and the balloon crashes. Now that young woman is fleeing not only the accident scene, but she’s on the run from a killer who can recognize her. Dazed and hurt, does she have the presence of mind to evade a murderer?

It’s a complicated maze that includes two sisters who are close but whom have chosen different paths in their lives and the secrets they hide. There is a cloister of nuns, and a policeman trying to salvage his life. There will be a Romani family seemingly bent on destruction. And there will be suspense and tension as all of these threads come together to create a resoundingly good read.

Bolton’s astute view into her characters makes this psycholically complex and a compulsive page-turning read. Highly recommended.

Connie Hambley: The Wake Sunday, Sep 3 2017 

Please welcome guest author Connie Hambley, who has the third book out in her Jessica Trilogy, The Wake:

When we talked last year on your blog, I was deep into the polishing touches of my third book, The Wake, and completing The Jessica Trilogy. It never fails that the journey to publication is also a journey of personal growth. What is it about the process of writing that changes a person?

Authors are often changed by what we learn to write our lies. I became less ignorant of the struggles of Northern Ireland to rid itself of British rule and how the Troubles affected my family. I took the threads of those facts and wove them into my books. But, our goal is not to change ourselves. We want to somehow reach our readers and alter something about them.

When a reader begins a conversation with “I had no idea that. . . ” and proceeds to tell me how my story prompted them to look further into a topic, I know I scored! I’m gratified when readers tell me they learned about Irish history or became aware of how American involvement – both legal and illegal – supported unification efforts. I love it when readers tell me of their search for ancestral roots and how learning the truth of blood ties changed them.

So, for my new book? I’m hearing, “I had no idea horses could play such a huge role in therapy.”

Huh?

A new thread in my book builds upon the main character’s backstory of being a world-class equestrienne. No spoilers here, but hippotherapy – physical or behavioral therapy with licensed practitioners that utilizes the unique attributes of the horse – plays a large role in a character’s life after a catastrophic event at the Atlanta Olympics. (Could the injury be related to the Centennial Park bombing? A horrific fall on the devilish cross-country course? Like I said, no spoilers!)

I knew I had my research and writing right when my book received an endorsement from the CEO of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International. My inspiration to write about hippotherapy sparked from volunteering at a therapeutic riding center. I’ve been around horses all my life, but my focus was able-bodied.

I’m satisfied by my readers’ surprise because it mirrors my own learning curve. I was changed by real life “research.” My readers are changed through reading about my newfound knowledge via my story.

I consider that a win/win.


CONNIE JOHNSON HAMBLEY grew up on a dairy farm in New York and had plenty of space to ride one of her six horses. All would have been idyllic if an arsonist hadn’t torched her family’s barn. Bucolic bubble burst, she began to steadfastly plot her revenge against all bad guys, real and imagined. After receiving her law degree, she moved to Boston and wrote for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Nature and other wonky outlets as she honed her skills of reaching readers at a deep emotional level. Her high-concept thrillers feature remarkable women entangled in modern-day crimes. Connie delights in creating worlds where the good guys win–eventually. Her short story, Giving Voice, won acceptance in New England’s Best Crime Stories: Windward, published by Level Best Books. The third book in The Jessica Trilogy, The Wake, joins The Charity and The Troubles, the 2016 Best Fiction winner at the EQUUS Film Festival in New York City. She keeps horses in her life by volunteering as a horse handler at a therapeutic riding center. Connie is a board member and Featured Speaker of Sisters in Crime.

THE WAKE: A shattered heiress’ family secret is exploited by her spurned lover to blackmail her into engaging in international terrorism.
World-class equestrian, Jessica Wyeth, is thrust into the middle of a game of geopolitical warfare. Reeling from revelations of her connection to the violent struggles to expunge Britain from Northern Ireland, she’s blocked by unseen forces from returning to the United States.
The facts of Jessica’s birth become her deepest secret. Her late mother was considered by Northern Ireland to be a terrorist and her father is a key negotiator between violent Irish Republican Army (IRA) factions in Belfast and the British Government.
Jessica vows to keep her father’s identity hidden at all costs.
Only one man knows Jessica’s truth. Michael Connaught, heir to an international crime family who profits from political uprisings, struggles with his own legacy. He is torn between protecting the woman he loves or using her secrets as a catalyst for inciting global unrest.
When a catastrophic event happens at the Atlanta-based Summer Olympic Games, Jessica is forced to fight for her life in ways she never dreamed.
SOCIAL LINKS:
WEBSITE: http://www.conniejohnsonhambley.com
FACEBOOK: http://bit.ly/facebookcjhambley
BLOG: http://bit.ly/outofthefog
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ConnieHambley
PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/cjhambley/
LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/conniejhambley/

BUY LINKS:
THE CHARITY: http://www.amazon.com/Charity-Connie-Johnson-Hambley-ebook/dp/B009E7TUYM/
THE TROUBLES: http://www.amazon.com/The-Troubles-Jessica-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00VYV8X08/
THE WAKE: https://www.amazon.com/Wake-Jessica-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B073NQ1HK5/

New in Paperback: Weaver, Gross, Hart, Thomas, Dorion, Harris and Mayor Friday, Sep 1 2017 

One of the highlights of summer is a ton of great reads from last season are now available in paperback, and here’s a roundup of some of the best ones, varied types for different reading tastes:

the 1930s come alive in Weavers’ series featuring amateur sleuth Amory Ames and her husband, Milo. In A Most Novel Revenge, the couple are summoned by her cousin Laurel to the estsate of Reginald Lyons. The assorted company includes the author of a fictionalized account of a murder that took place on the estate years ago, and now plans a sequel tell-all about what really happened that night.

Andrew Gross’ The One Man takes the thriller writer into a historical place, as a US intelligence officer must infiltrate the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz to find Professor Alfred Mendl. Not only must Nathan Blum sneak in, he must find the professor and sneak back out with him. Facing evil is heaert-pounding and makes this absorbing.


Elsa Hart’s The White Mirror takes readers to 18th-century China, where a traveling librarian and a storyteller team up to solve the murder of a Tibetan monk. Culturally and historically intriguing.

Hell Bay is Will Thomas’ Barker and Llwewllyn tale, where the Victorian-era private detectives undergo an assignment for the government to provide security for a top-secret meeting taking place on a remote island off the coast of Cornwall. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, including a sniper murder and a stabbing. A classic closed-environment mystery.


Paul Doiron’s Widowmaker continues his Maine series with game warden Mike Bowditch. It’s a complicated tale of family dysfunction with a beautiful woman at its heart, and raises the ghosts Bowditch was trying to tamp down. His search for the truth takes him to an unlikely fortress hidden in the wilderness where he find more than the answers he’d hoped for. A multiple award-nominated author, Doiron won the Barry and the Strand awards for Best First Novel with the The Poacher’s Son and the series continues at a fine pace.


Prolific author Charlaine Harris has five series in print. She returns to her earlier Aurora Teagarden series with All the Little Liars. Aurora has married crime writer Robin Crusoe, and the newly pregnant Aurora is infanticipating when four children disappear from the school soccer field–and Aurora’s 15 yr-old brother is among the missing. With a dead body complicating matters at the last place the youths were known to have gathered, the newlyweds run their own investigation to find Phillip and his friends. A bit darker than the earlier series but just as entertaining.


Archer Mayor’s Presumption of Guilt brings Vermont Investigator Joe Gunther a cold case when a 40 yr-old skeleton is found encased in concrete. Things heat up quickly for a cold case, with a fresh murder and a kidnapping, and Gunther and his team are stretched thin with tension. Well-plotted and compelling.

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