Deborah Crombie: A Killing of Innocents Sunday, Mar 5 2023 

Killing Innocents

Crombie’s 19th Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James was worth waiting for, with The Killing of Innocents the new case that starts in a Bloomsbury pub.

Sitting with his DS, Doug Cullen, Duncan notices a young woman wearing scrubs, obviously waiting for someone who never arrives. She leaves, and he is shocked to be called shortly after to a murder scene. The victim is the young trainee doctor he’s just seen, stabbed to death in Russell Square.

With Gemma working on a task force on rising knife crimes, she and her DS, Melody Talbot, aid their investigation, Soon all the familiar characters are in force, and the case takes an unlikely turn with relationships to people Duncan and Gemma know.

At first glance, Sasha Johnson looks like an unlikely victim: career-driven, single, without any history that would connect her to crime. Digging deeper reveals her secrets, but did they lead to her murder?

Then a colleague of Sasha’s is found dead, and the teams scramble to find a connection other than their work site. Could they have a serial killer on their hands? It’s all hands on deck as the pieces are gathered to form a picture of a murderer working in plain sight.

One of the many delights of Crombie’s novels is the way she investigates her setting and brings it to life for readers. Another is her inclusion of the family travails of two working detectives. It all adds to the realistic atmosphere of everyday stresses that must be handled even while investigating a murder.

At its heart, this is a very fine mystery, peppered with human-like characters you’ll want to return to, set within a complex plot that will have readers scratching their heads along with the detectives until the stunning climax.

The Evening’s Amethyst: Nora Tierney #5 Monday, Oct 4 2021 

Auntie M is very pleased to announce that the fifth Nora Tierney English Mystery, THE EVENING’S AMETHYST, has made it through the Covid delays and the paperback is now available. Kindle and Audible version will follows in the next few weeks, but she’s excited to have the book on offer.

This time the majority of the story takes place in Oxford, where Nora is settling into her new home with her fiancé, DI Declan Barnes, her young son, Sean, and their puppy, Typo.

Who is Verity? That soon becomes the central question for Nora and Declan, after his new case at Exeter College coincides with a frantic call from Nora’s stepsister, Claire Scott: a fellow graduate student has died in a fall, and Claire begs Nora to help her prove Bea Jones would never commit suicide.

The sisters start their own snooping, while Declan and his team juggle this death investigation with a cold case that will prove to have a startling resolution. Over twenty years ago, toddler Donnie Walsh was kidnapped from his dirty playpen outside a Cumbrian pub. His body was never found. Now in the midst of Declan’s new case, a young man walks into St. Aldate’s Police Station claiming to be Donnie Walsh.

A mix of amateur sleuth and police procedural, The Evening’s Amethyst has garnered wonderful early reviews, including this one from Nicola Upson, author of the Josephine Tey series: “A fine addition to a wonderful series, Graff delivers her trademark blend of compelling mystery, vivid setting, and engaging characters—and in Nora Tierney she has created a sleuth whose humanity and insight are the stars of the show. I loved it.”

Available now on Amazon: OR

for signed copies contact the author at:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: Great reads for your gift list Thursday, Dec 1 2016 

At this time of year, Auntie M likes to give readers a compendium, if you will, of stacks of books to choose from for gifts for the readers on your list. Don’t forget her axiom that it’s perfectly reasonable to buy a few for yourself!

mistletoemuder mistletoe2

Let’s start off with a little goodie that should soon appear in stockings all over the world: Short stories from the Queen of British Mystery, P D James, gathered into a slim volume perfect for stockings. The Mistletoe Murder and other Stories contains four classic short stories, two featuring her detective, poet Adam Dalgliesh. For a brief moment in time, readers can hear James’ voice in their reader ear once again. A delightful foreword by Val McDermid and a preface by James herself frame the perfect holiday treat. These are delicious: a snapshot of a setting, a crime to be solved, and you’re off! That’s the US cover on the left and the UK cover on the right. Enjoy!

<img src="" alt="feliznavidead" width="93" height="150" class="alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-3072″ />
Keeping with the holiday theme is Ann Myers’ third Santa Fe Cafe` Mystery, Feliz Navidead
. Chef Rita Lafitte of Tres Amigas Cafe has her mom visiting from Minnesota to entertain, while keeping track of her teenage daughter performing in the outdoor Christmas play. When Rita discovers a dead actor during the first performance, she swears off investigating, but soon finds herself involved in a very dangerous situation. The Knit and Snitchers, her elderly group of knitting ladies, are back, giving information and clues to Rita even as they sneak their knitting onto statues and stop signs. There are a host of other entertaining characters, and don’t forget Rita’s mom. Who can resist Santa Fe at Christmas? Watch Rita solve a murder and drool over Myers’ recipes, too.

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas
is David Rosenfelt’s newest Andy Carpenter mystery in the long-running series. This time he and his trusty golden retriever are helping his friend “Pups” Boyer, accused of murder when said neighbor is found dead–by Pups. It doesn’t help that the neighbor had filed a complaint against Pups and the noise of her local dog rescue. While Andy doesn’t believe Pups is guilty, his digging will bring him closer than he’d like to the real murderer. Rosenfelt’s real Tara Foundation, which finds home for injured or sick dogs, is the basis for Andy’s foundation.

Maggie Patterson is helping out her sick sister, covering for her at The Wine and Bark, the dog-friendly bar Rachel runs in a usually-quiet seaside town in California in Trigger Yappy. It’s Maggie who hears the argument between her friend Yolanda and Bonnie, the gal who runs the Chic Chickie shop. When Bonnie is murdered, the Roundup Crew and the very cute Officer Brad Brooks are on hand to help Maggie investigate to clear Yolanda, even if means putting her purser job on hold to do so. Filled with good humor, charm and a bit of romance.

We’ll stick with humor in Agatha Raisin’s latest adventure, Pushing Up Daisies. M. C. Beaton’s beloved character is the kind of sleuth Miss Marple wouldn’t recognize, with her hard-drinking man lust. A land developer is murdered and there are far too many suspects. Lord Bellington wanted to turn the community garden into a housing development, so there are few tears shed at his death. The villagers seem happy enough that his heir and son, Damian, doesn’t intend to follow his father’s plans, but he does want to find his father’s killer, and hires Agatha to investigate. This time a retired detective is on hand to assist Agatha, and it helps that he’s handsome. Agatha doesn’t let a second murder of a woman seen kissing the new detective deter her from her case–or him. Vintage Beaton.

A switch to historicals, and we start of with the continuing Charles Lenox series by Charles Finch with The Inheritance. With fine attention to Victorian detail, Lenox is thrust into his most personal case yet. His friend from Harrow, Gerald Leigh, asks for help from Lenox, only to disappear. Knowing that in the past Leigh has been the recipient of a bequest from an anonymous benefactor, he finds Leigh has received a second bequest. Could they be from the same person? And what does either had to do with his friend’s disappearance? His investigation will take him from the highs of society to the lows of the gangs of the east end of London before it’s over. An intricate plot with realistic and finely-drawn period details.

Ian Sansome’s new County Guides novel, Westmoreland Alone
, with Stephen Sefton as narrator, Professor Morley (the People’s Professor) and his daughter Miriam, newly engaged, set out to conquer the Lake District. Owing to the the rather unusual end to Sefton’s night at the pub and cards before leaving, he persuades Morley he should take the train, with disastrous effect. A horrid crash reminds Sefton of his time in Spain and there is a tragic death. It’s the juxtaposition of the three personalities that provides a lot of the humor in the strained setting. Stranded after the fatal train crash, the three become involved in a suspicious death when the body of a woman is found at an archeological dig. It’s 1930’s England with all of the mores of the time. We see more of Sefton’s PTSD as the trio investigate gypsies, wrestling habits, country fairs and more.

Wilbur Smith has been called “the best historical novelist” by Stephen King, and he brings that talent to ancient Egypt in Pharaoh
. This action-packed epic follows the Pharaoh’s advisor, Taita, where Egypt is under a brutal attack and Pharaoh Tamose is gravely injured. Despite leading the army to victory, Taita is branded a traitor after Tamose dies by the new Pharaoh. With his first person narrative bringing Taita and Egypt to life, sometimes in a boastful way, history feels present under Smith’s skilled hands when a kidnaping leads to preparation for another war.
1967 Florence and Italian culture come alive under Mario Vichi’s hands in the fifth Inspector Bordelli mystery, Death in the Tuscan Hills. Florence is getting over the tragic floods of the previous winter but Bordelli has resigned after failing to solve the investigation into a young boy’s murder at that time. He leaves the city, determined to find peace in his new home in the Tuscan hills, despite the nagging thorn in his side by leaving the boy’s killers free. While he learns a new way of life, tending to an olive grove, gardening, cooking, and worries about his confused love life, he still obsesses about the men at large. Retribution is at hand when he discovers all the cohorts’ identities. But now what will he do about it? An absorbing tale with Vichi’s usual footnotes for clarification in several places.


Will Thomas’ latest Barker and Llewellyn novel put their detecting skills to the test in Hell Bay, an impossible crime set in 1889 Isles of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall. Barker has been tasked with providing security for a secret meeting with the French government at the estate there of Lord Hargrave. The security team fails miserably, with two deaths on the island and no means of leaving or signaling for help. It’s a classic locked-area mystery, as Barker and Llewelyn race to uncover the killer among them before he strikes again and dashes all hope of negotiating a new treaty with France. Chock full of historical details and rising tension.

Andrew Hunt’s Desolation Flats captures 1930s Salt Lake City in his Art Oveson series. The famed Bonneville Salt Flats are the site of international racers, there to break the land speed record. Then Nigel Underhill, a wealthy English participant, is murdered, and his brother disappears. It’s a case for Art in the Missing Person’s Bureau, and he’s been handed a helper: a former Scotland Yard detective the Underhill family has hired to assist Art. The trail will lead them between Utah and London and end in a most unlikely manner. A gritty and engrossing read.

For readers who enjoy books set in different countries, check out these:


Adam LeBor’s Yael Azoulay series have been praised for the geopolitical thrillers’ realistic and intelligent plotting and savvy yet human protagonist. Yael has managed to stop the plans of the powerful Prometheus Group and its leader is out for revenge. This third installment, The Reykjavik Assignment, takes the covert UN negotiator to Iceland for a secret meeting she’s arranged during a UN conference between three key players: the US Secretary of State, The UN Secretary General, and the President of Iran. She soon discovers a plan to disrupt it as an act of revenge against Yael herself. As the tension rises, and with the US President on hand, Yael races to stop the murder of the UN Secretary by unmasking the killer, who has his own motives for wanting the man dead. A chilling climax with a surprising twist at the end will answer some of Yael’s long-held questions. A stunning end to the trilogy.

realtigers It’s off to England and London’s Slough House in Mick Herron’s Real Tigers, a Jackson Lamb spy thriller that’s been called some of the finest spy fiction of the last 20 years. Slough House is where a disgraced spy is sent to push paper. But when one is the victim of a revenge kidnapping, it leads to a group of private mercenaries within the Security Service. Enter Jackson Lamb to sort it all out in a manner that will convince readers the spy novel with sharp dialogue and filled with sly wit is still around.

The Patriarch brings Bruno, Chief of Police, to the French countryside for the birthday celebration of the man who is Bruno’s childhood hero: Marco “the Patriarch” Desaix, a WWII flying ace. He knows many of the attendees, and is enjoying himself immensely, far away from his daily grind, when a longtime friend of the family is found dead. What started as a pleasant day turns into the kind of investigation he’d hoped to avoid, as what at first appears to be a tragedy may just be a murder. With his hero’s family all coming under suspicion, he must tread lightly in the Dordogne, from the river chateaus to the prehistoric cave paintings to find a killer.

To North Korea and the enigmatic Inspector O, in James Church’s sixth in the series, The Gentleman from Japan
. Living with his nephew, Bing, the director of state security in northeast China near the border of North Korea, Inspt. O becomes involved when Bing needs his help after there are seven deaths in one night, apparent poisonings in noodle shops. Despite not wanting to investigate them, Bing needs O’s help more than ever. Their investigation will take them to Spain and Portugal before it’s straightened out as a world-wide plot develops. Satisfying and complex.

Back to the US for some great mysteries. Douglas Schofield’s Storm Rising fits that bill, with cop’s widow Lucy Hendricks leading the charge. After leaving for Florida, Lucy decides its time to move home to New Jersey and lay her old ghosts to rest. Yet the mystery surrounding her husband’s death becomes even stronger when her young son, Kevin, experiences a change in his behavior. With Hurricane Sandy quickly approaching, the elements conspire to destroy more than Lucy’s home as she tries to unpick the mystery surrounding her husband’s death. A true mystery laden with supernatural elements.

Not supernatural, but with a substance not known in earth: that’s the crux of the case before Kay Scarpitta in Patricia Cornwell’s new CHAOS
. A bicyclist has been killed with superhuman force and Kay and her investigating partner, Peter Marino, are on the case in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the body has been found near the Kennedy School of Government. What doesn’t add up are the calls Kay’s husband, FBI agent Benton Wesley, have received before the incident from Interpol. Or were they? And when her tech-savvy niece Lucy fails to be able to trace the sender, all bets are off with a cyberbully involved. High tension, detailed forensics, and a whopping good story.

Ellen Crosby brings back her Virginia Wine Country Mysteries under the Minotaur umbrella in The Champagne Conspiracy. Vintner-sleuth Lucie Montgomery investigates an older mystery with her partner, Quinn Santori, when his uncle Gino enlists their help solving the 1920s death of Zara Tomasi, the first wife of his grandfather, who died under suspicious circumstances in 1923. Is there a connection to her death the day after President Warren Harding died at the same San Francisco hotel? With a blackmailer breathing down their necks, Gino and Lucie search for the truth before a family secret is revealed. Everything they hold dear will come under threat as a murderer tries to keep the truth about Zara’s death buried in time.

Gritty crime fiction takes to the streets of the Bronx in John Clarkson’s
Bronx Requiem
. James Beck is back, and he takes it hard when an ex-con, determined to change his ways, is murdered just hours after his release before he can change his life. Enter James Beck, whose ring of ex-cons in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn try to find justice for the murdered man. But a deeper look into a street killing turns into something more complicated, and soon Beck and his ring need to watch their own backs to uncover the truth. Fast-paced and action filled.

And for those who want a paperback for stocking stuffers or maybe that grab bag gift, look no further than these:

Her Last Breath is Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder entry new in paperback, and she’s a favorite of readers with good reason. Investigating the world of the Amish isn’t easy, but it’s a world Kate knows, and as Chief of Police, she’s called in to a hit-and-run that leaves an Amish deacon and of two of his children dead, with a third clinging to life. The Amish lifestyle is accurately portrayed, its simplicity a stark contrast to the rapid pace and high tension. The widow was Kate’s friend as youths, and while she’s determined to find the killer, she starts to suspect it’s much more than a simple case in Painters Mill.

Sophie Hannah’s The Narrow Bed
is part of her Culver Valley crime series with the highly interesting married detective duo, Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer. A serial killer is murdering pairs of best friends after giving the victim a hand-made white book containing a line of poetry before their death. Their search centers around stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck, who was a recipient of one of the white books, but is still alive a year later. How they solve this crime and it all comes together shows the hallmark of Hannah’s complex plotting for a read that’s filled with pathos and psychological ambiguity.

Carla Norton’s What Doesn’t Kill Her is the second Reeve Le Clair thriller. Now a college student after surviving being the captive of killer Daryl Wayne Flint, she’s getting her life back on track. Then the unthinkable happens: Flint manages to escape from the psychiatric hospital where he’s been held, and starts killing people from his past, settling old scores. And that included Reeve, and she knows she’s on his list. Not only that: she realizes she’s the one who knows him best and is the only one who can stop him. Chilling and tautly plotted.

And one for your true crime aficionado: possessed
True crime writer Kathryn Casey earned Ann Rule’s two thumbs up as one of the best in the business. Now Casey explores the “Infamous Texas Stiletto Murder” in Possessed
, taking readers to Houston and what at first glance is a domestic murder. The details include the magnetic and erratic Ana Trujillo, who had a reputation in Houston for her supposed occult powers. Stefan Andersson is the gentle, Swedish man who falls for Ana and comes under her spell. A fascinating look at the forensic evidence and witness testimony comes under the microscope as Ana tries to claim she killed Stefan in self defense. Meticulously presented.

Keigo Higashino: Under the Midnight Sun Sunday, Nov 20 2016 

Higashino’s mysteries are intricate puzzles, and that proves true with his latest, Under the Midnight Sun, which spans decades as one dedicated detective just can’t let that unsolved case go.

A murdered pawnbroker’s body is found in an abandoned building. Despite several leads, Det. Sasagaki can’t pin down the murderer, and several clues at the site keep him wondering. The murdered man’s son, Ryo, is one of the main characters, and seen through a succession of other character’s eyes.

So, too, do we learn of the life of another teen, Yuhiko, whose mother may or may not have committed suicide. Taken in by her aunt, the young woman exudes a natural grace and turns heads. Her growth is also tracked by a succession of character’s throughout the years.

And then there is the detective, who finds himself finally at retirement age, yet he can’t let this one case go unsolved. The story is told by this succession of characters as the years pass, creating the effect of a Gordonian Knot that must be untied.

Higashino’s art is this type of complex psychological mystery, where the attitudes and actions of the people are not always what they seem. Yet there are no tricks, and all of the information is there for the reader. At over 550 pages, and spanning two decades, this is the kind of compelling and contemporary mystery that exudes twists and turns, and yet makes a perfect kind of haunting sense.

Clella Murray: Murder at the University Friday, Oct 28 2016 

A friend recently said she had just read my book, Murder at the University and remarked, “Why Universities are just like businesses. They have the same good guys and villains!”

It had never occurred to me that some people thought universities were a heavenly never, never land! When a university women’s book group reviewed my book all twelve said they knew who the villain was – and each had pinpointed a different person in a different department. So it seems members of a university have no problem envisioning their coworkers capable of murder!

In Murder at the University, when John Paul Davis, a wealthy, computer alumni, returns to his alma mater, he becomes involved in solving a murder to protect a lovely young post-doc suspect, Rachael Howard.

Davis finds himself in a dilemma. Who killed Professor Dewit and wife…another professor or a professor’s wife, perhaps a student or maybe even Rachael Howard? Davis calls for help from three people: Richard Moore, his old mentor; Bagley, an overweight policeman; and Davis’s boarding house owner, the intriguing Chloe Manning. Ultimately, Davis has to solve the murder in order to save his own life.

I wish I could say I outlined the book, planned all the chapters and did all the things a writer is supposed to do. Unfortunately I have a tendency to just tell tale tales, my grandmother called them lies, my mother called them an active imagination! My husband has Alzheimer’s and is handling it beautifully but the thought of losing him is ever present. To me writing is an escape. 50% of everything I write goes to the Alzheimer’s foundation.

C. B. Murray grew up in Iowa, graduated from Smith College, did graduate work at the University of Michigan and performed research work in Oak Ridge, Tennessee where she met her husband. After the birth of two daughters, she moved to Delaware where her husband taught physics at the University of Delaware and Murray wrote the Noir Series of mysteries: Murder at the University was the first murder book written, but was never published, until now. Others include The Chinese Treasure, A Pox on You, and VX: A Deadly Mist. She has three books in the Magic Series: A Bite of Magic, A Second Helping of Magic and Matrimonial Magic With Mayonnaise. Dangerous Journey, her first children’s book, won first place in the young adult fiction section from the National Federation of Press Woman. Murray has published non-fiction in Delaware Today magazine and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit the website for book reviews and comments.
50 % of all profits go to the Alzheimer’s Fund

Laurel Peterson: Shadow Notes Sunday, Oct 9 2016 

Please welcome Laurel Peterson to discuss psychic gifts that appear in her new book, Shadow Notes:
Shadow Notes Cover compressed

by Laurel S. Peterson

Right now, I want a crystal ball to tell me who the next U.S. president will be. Then, I can decide if I need to pack my bags and move to a small tropical island.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been gifted psychically, unlike Clara Montague, the protagonist of my mystery novel, Shadow Notes. That’s one of the reasons I chose to write a character who had intuitive gifts; I was curious—and I think a lot of other people are, too.

Clara has dreams that give her pieces of a puzzle—images of her mother or a friend in danger, symbolic colors, animal guides. She has to take these clues and piece together from them the solution to the puzzle. She has a clear reason for wanting to know what her dreams mean, but for the rest of us, what does knowing mean to us?

When people talk about what they want to know, it rarely has to do with world events, but instead with lottery numbers, their love lives and their health. We want to know if we will suffer pain and find happiness. The answer to those questions is always yes.

I suppose it’s the specifics that torment us. Will being happy mean finding my one true love or having a cat? Will I be rich enough to buy an island or will I have a house in the suburbs or will I never get out of debt? Will I be made to suffer greatly or only a little? And who can measure suffering?

I don’t think psychics can give us the answers we want. And I don’t want to believe my actions can’t change the future. In fact, I would suggest most of us know already the answers to the questions we ask. I have a friend whose psychic has been telling her for years that she needs to write. I have another friend whose psychic told her she had been deeply wounded. Neither of them needed a psychic to tell them those things. They knew already, as did most of their friends. But being told by a stranger was affirming in a way that sometimes a friend can’t be.

Then there was the “psychic” working the coffee bar in a wealthy town near me doing grief counseling. My (now) husband engaged him in discussion one day shortly after losing his first wife, and the man never once mentioned my husband’s obvious emotional trauma.

I’m not saying psychics can’t surprise us, or turn us in a direction we might not have seen before, or warn us. But perhaps the most present benefit of seeing someone we believe can tell us the future is that she reaffirms the version of ourselves we hold in our secret hearts, the self we want to be but haven’t yet found the courage to put forward.

What do you think? Do you believe in or visit psychics yourself? What advantages have you gained from this? Or perhaps you yourself are psychic—and can demolish my theories (and tell me the outcome of the election)! I’d love to hear from you—and thanks so much for reading!

About Shadow Notes:
Clara Montague’s mother Constance never liked—or listened—to her but now they have to get along or they will both end up dead. Clara suspects she and her mother share intuitive powers, but Constance always denied it. When Clara was twenty, she dreamed her father would have a heart attack. Constance claimed she was hysterical. Then he died.

Furious, Clara leaves for fifteen years, but when she dreams Constance is in danger, she returns home. Then, Constance’s therapist is murdered and Constance is arrested.

Starting to explore her mother’s past, Clara discovers books on trauma, and then there’s a second murder. Can Clara find the connection between the murders and her mother’s past that will save her mother and finally heal their relationship?

You can purchase Shadow Notes at: or at Amazon:

Marilyn Meredith: Seldom Traveled Sunday, Sep 4 2016 

Please welcome prolific author Marilyn Meredith, who will discuss writing her newest Tempe Crabtree mystery, Seldom Traveled.

Seldom Traveled Front Cover

Fiction Too Close to Fact

by Marilyn Meredith

This is not the first time this has happened to me—writing a book and then having a similar thing happen in real life after the book is finished.

When I began writing Seldom Traveled I didn’t know I’d be including a raging forest fire. But as happens so often, as the characters became defined and the mystery developed, I knew that a huge fire had to happen.

After I’d finished the book and sent it off, the first big fire of the season broke out in the rugged canyons and hillsides above Santa Barbara. Next came the horrendous fire at Lake Isabella that consumed 100 homes and took two lives.
Lake Isabella Forest Fire

In the foothills and the mountains where I live conditions are prime for a fire—a drought followed by enough rain to produce lots of growth that dried quickly when the weather turned hot. Many of the trees in the mountains are dying because of the several years of drought, creating plenty more fuel for a fire.

As I’m writing this, so far, we’ve been spared.

My heroine, Tempe Crabtree, in her role as deputy, is assigned to make sure all the residents of remote homes and cabin have left the area. The job itself is dangerous as she avoids the fast moving flames—but that’s not the only threat she must face.

Other stories I’ve written have had scenes and parts in them that ended up being repeated in part in real life—either something that was reported in the news, or happened to someone I knew.

I like it much better when something I write doesn’t end up happening later. . .

Marilyn Meredith
Seldom Traveled Blurb:
The tranquility of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

Me at A Crushing Death Book signing
Marilyn Meredith’s Bio:
Marilyn has had so many books published, she’s lost track of the count, but it’s getting near 40. She lives in a community similar to the fictional mountain town of Bear Creek, the big difference being that Bear Creek is a thousand feet higher in the mountains. She is a member Mystery Writers of American, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, and is a board member of Public Safety Writers of America.
She’s also on Facebook and Twitter as MarilynMeredith.

New Contest: Winners will be randomly picked from those leaving the most comments on the blog posts. Each winner can choose one of the earlier books in the series as either a print book or e-book.

Tomorrow I’ll be with Maggie King at

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

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.

Arnaldur Indridason: Into Oblivion Wednesday, Mar 16 2016 

Arnaldur Indirdason’s Icelandic thriller series, featuring Inspector Erlendur, continues with this look into his early days as a detective in Into Oblivion, an aspect first explored in last year’s acclaimed Reykjavik Nights. The CWA Gold Dagger Award winner is the only author to win the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel two years in a row, and with good reason.

The book opens a few years after Erlandur decides he wants to be a detective. It’s 1979 and the year springs to life, the mood set by the music, clothing and social mores of the era. The detective is working with Marion Briem, an older, more experienced detective, when the body of man is found in a blue lagoon known for its healing waters.

Examination reveals that the man has fallen from a great height and died before his body was moved to the lagoon. Could he have fallen from a plane? The only immense height in the area is an aircraft hanger on the grounds of the controversial US military base nearby.

When it becomes apparent the base is involved, Erlandur and Briem find themselves tiptoeing around the base to investigate after the US powers that be have stalled their investigation and denied them access to the hanger. It will take an unlikely accomplice to help them get to the bottom of the man’s death, thwarted by a rogue CIA agent.

As the action unfolds, Erlandur also takes it upon himself to run a parallel cold case investigation. A young teen went missing on her way to school, her body never found, and as both cases heat up, the young detective finds himself in his element, conducting interviews and following slender leads to find resolution.

Another hit that gives insight into what made Erlandur the detective he becomes.

Next Page »