Friday, May 31, 2019

Southern Sass and Killer Cravings

Marygene Brown returns to Peach Cove Island after an abusive marriage to help her sister operate their family diner. In Southern Sass and Killer Cravings by Kate Young, Marygene has always had the "touch" for cooking, and she is looking forward to getting back into the baking routine.  Before she has a chance to dip her hands in flour, a regular customer dies in the diner.

Everyone thinks it was a heart attack, but when the police find poison in the victim's system and traces of poison in the sugar used by Marygene's sister, the police arrest Jena Lynn. Leading the investigation is Marygene's newly discovered father. It seems her mother and Eddie had an affair while she was married and Marygene was the result. It had been a secret for many years, so trying to relate to Eddie has been a learning experience.

When a state detective joins the investigation, he arrests Jena Lynn and shuts down the diner, putting Marygene, her brother Sam and all the waitresses out of work. When a series of other incidents occur, Marygene, with the assistance of her dead mother's ghost, tries to solve the case.

Adding to the tension, a developer is trying to purchase large swaths of land on Peach Cove Island to build enormous high rises. As she tries to persuade one resident after another to sell, the battle lines are draw. Marygene thinks maybe that might have been a motive for killing Mr. Ledbetter. It was rumored Ledbetter was a ladies man and might have had more than one son.

The search to find the answers leads Marygene into a dangerous situation and she uses her wits to find her way out.

An charming first in the new series.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Botched 4 Murder

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Murder finds Phee Kimball investigating again along with her mother and her cronies from Sun City West. In Botched 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton, Phee would much prefer doing her accounting job at Williams Investigations, but her mother insists she get involved.

When a proposal to turn the golf courses surrounding the retirement community into parks and nature preserves gets the residents of Sun City West up in arms, Phee's mother and friends ae leading the fight against the plan.  On top of that the Bocce League is trying to boot Myrna, one of her mother's club friends from the team because she is awful, and no amount of practice seems to be helping.

When an errant bocce ball thrown by Myrna lands on the golf course and the organizer of the park plan is found dead, Myrna is sure the bocce ball killed her. Trying to calm down the hysterical woman, Phee notices an arrow in the victim's neck, which appears more likely to be the cause of death. 

It seems the victim Sorrel Harlan, newly appointed to the recreation center board of directors, had found some support for turning the golf courses into eco-friendly parks. A vote was close at hand, but now with her dead, the vote is postponed. There are plenty of suspects including all the owners whose homes ring the golf course.

Phee Kimball and her mother's book club are terrific characters and they make this series highly entertaining and enjoyable to read.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Interview with Susan Van Kirk

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
A Death at Tippitt Pond is my newest book, and it begins the Sweet Iron series. It launches June 15
Susan Van Kirk
from Encircle Publications. Prior to this mystery, I wrote a series picked up by Five Star/Cengage called the Endurance mysteries: Three May Keep a Secret, Marry in Haste, The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney (novella), and Death Takes No Bribes. Except for the novella, each title comes from a Benjamin Franklin proverb. My earliest book is a memoir titled The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks.) Total: 6.

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
My location, Sweet Iron, is a town of 15,000 in west central Illinois. My entire life has been spent in the Midwest, and I love writing about the eccentricities, the change of seasons, the people, and the history of a small town like the ones I create. I love this setting because I can describe humor on the surface and darkness in the underbelly. Small towns have their share of gossip, underlying motives, secrets, and complicated relationships.

Elizabeth Russell (Beth) is unlike any fictional character I’ve created in the past. I wanted to delve into several aspects of her character: her loneliness and longing for community, her personal search for justice, and her highly-sought-after expertise in her historical research and genealogy work. She is intriguing because she has lived much of her life in New York City, but now she is plopped down in a small town in the middle of nowhere. How will she cope, especially when she discovers secrets buried in a family tree she didn’t know? She’s willing to take a chance, and that could lead to wonderful outcomes. These aspects of Beth allow me to add both humor and darkness to the story. But not too much darkness—it’s a cozy mystery.

What do you enjoy/not enjoy about the author’s lifestyle?
I love writing. Since I was an English teacher for four decades, people think I should be a natural. But I was never a writer until I decided to write a memoir which then led to writing mysteries. I found I love creating characters and plots, researching, and talking to people about books. I’ve worked with two editors and really enjoyed their collaboration. When I’m writing, hours fly by. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy the “business” side of writing. Sending queries to agents and publishers or keeping track of sales and taxes, dealing with social media, etc. Those are not the aspects of writing I enjoy.

Do you model your character after yourself or anyone you know?
Beth Russell is like me in that she loves to research and learn about history. Beth also is an introspective person, a trait I share with her. Both of us usually think through problems carefully before making decisions about which solution might work. Beyond that, she is far younger than I am, is more of a loner—at least to begin her story—and knows nothing about her family’s past.

She is more the age of my daughter and daughters-in-law, so perhaps I think about some of their traits as I write about Beth.

How do you get yourself out of a writing rut?
Frankly, I seldom, if ever, find myself in a rut. Believe me, I say that humbly. I spend a great deal of time thinking through my entire novel and looking for problems in the plot. I am an outliner, so once I come up with the ideas, I know where I’m headed. Each day I write a chapter, but before I leave my chair, I have a brief outline of what I plan to do the next day. So my ruts happen more often in the “thinking” phase of a story. I have the luxury of spending some time doing other things while my brain sorts through the problems.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
If we were filming my Endurance mysteries, I’d want Meryl Streep. Everything she does turns to gold, but I also think she would do a great job of understanding Grace Kimball, the retired Endurance teacher, who has been through several tragedies in her life. Bonus: she wouldn’t have to worry about an accent. If it were Beth Russell from my upcoming book, I’d like to see Emma Stone play her part. She’s younger than Beth, but make-up could help. Stone has just the right combination of intelligence and assertiveness to play to Beth’s strengths, but she can also be reluctant at times. Perfect combination.

Who is your favorite author?
This is a terrible question to ask a writer! So many authors, so little time. The answer has changed over the years. Currently, I like Michael Connelly, Linda Castillo, Kate Morton, Charles Finch, Kristin Hannah, and, most recently, Mariah Fredericks. It’s a mixture of mystery and history, exactly what I write.

If you could invite five people to a dinner party—living or dead—who would they be?
On a personal level, I’d invite my mother because she died young and has been gone from my life for forty-seven years. I find her absence is often reflected in my stories. Lourdes Venard, who has been my editor and friend for these past seven years, is a definite “yes.” I admire Barack Obama, and I think we’d have great conversations. I’d also love to invite Kurt Vonnegut since I once defended one of his books when parents wanted to pull it out of my school, and he sent me an amazing letter about censorship. He would add such humor to our dinner, as well as a few satirical thoughts. Finally, I’d ask Abraham Lincoln, both for humor and for a discussion about uniting a divided country. This would be quite a combination of past and present.

If you could not be an author, what would you like to do as a career?
Well, I had a career I loved for four decades—teaching, but that seems to be an easy way of answering this question. I would do something related to books, I’m sure. I would own a bookstore or be a freelance editor or a cover designer. Books have been an integral part of my life since I first learned to read with the Dick and Jane books.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

No Good Tea Goes Unpunished

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Everly Swan returns home to operate the Sun, Sea and Tea Cafe in Charm, North Carolina. In No Good Tea Goes Unpunished by Bree Baker, Everly is hosting a wedding reception for a former high school classmate on the lovely barrier island of Charm, an event she is hoping will boost her business. She has been away from home for several years and had hoped to become a success in the culinary world, but also to follow a cowboy. Neither of things worked out.

The bride, Judy, is a Everly's childhood friend and she is positively glowing after the ceremony. Judy's new husband Craig Miller was named one of Entrepreneur's Wealthiest Thirty under Thirty. But before the happy couple can even begin their honeymoon, events turn tragic. When the groom is found dead, floating in the shallow water of the beach, Everly tries to administer CPR. She shouts for everyone to search for Judy in the water as well. Within minutes with the bride appears holding a bloody knife and covered in blood.

With her friend under suspicion of killing her wealthy husband. Everly decides its time to get back in the investigating business. Complicating matters is the abrupt appearance of Craig's ex-girlfriend Cynthia Preston claiming she arrived hoping to stop the wedding. Also a suspect is Craig's partner Pete who has been known to make so bad business decisions and is heavily in debt. 

As Everly tries to investigate, she continually butts heads with Detective Hays. He makes it clear she needs to stay out of the investigation. With the new bride plunged into heavy depression, Everly knows she cannot abandon Judy and continues to pursue her investigation at times putting herself in jeopardy. 

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Sweet Tea and Secrets

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Callie Aspen has finally decided to return to Heart's Harbor, Maine to work at her aunt's vintage shop, the Book Tea. In Sweet Tea and Secrets by Joy Avon, Callie is worried about her decision to leave her tour guide job for the small Maine town. (Sweet Tea and Secrets will be released by Crooked Lane Books on June 11.)

Before long she is thrown into planning for the huge Fourth of July extravaganza in Heart's Harbor. The plan is to recreate a key moment in the town's history and Callie stumbles on the disappearance of Hollywood actress Monica Walker, a 1980s star who vanished without a trace. Locals hope she eloped with the man of her dreams, but as Callie digs into the disappearance, she's not so sure.

In the meantime, Callie's relationship or lack of with Deputy Falk seems to have cooled. One of the reasons she moved back to Heart's Harbor was the connection she felt with Falk at Christmas. Now he seems aloof and not at all interested in her.

As Callie begins her search for information, she starts with the library files and then to the local newspaper. Newspaper editor Joe Jamison was a
reporter during the case and he always felt there was something not right about the theory of how Monica went missing. Callie decides to put out an appeal for information from the community and is deluged with 30-year-old memories.

When the pieces all start to fall together, Callie is as surprised as everyone how the case is resolved.

Disclosure: I received this book through NetGalley

Friday, May 24, 2019

Authors Out Loud - Victoria Thompson

MapYourMystery and author
Victoria Thompson (right)

Enter to win a copy of Malice Domestic Mystery Most Edible which features a short story Morsels of the Gods by Victoria Thompson. Click  a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Cook Memorial Library in Libertyville has a series they call Authors Out Loud and last night's author was Victoria Thompson. She discussed her early career as a romance writer of western-oriented books because she loved cowboys and they had Texas in the title of plenty of them.

Now she has two series: The Gaslight Mystery series and The Counterfeit Lady. The newest in the Gaslight series is called Murder on Trinity Place.

The City of Secrets is the second in the Counterfeit Lady series. For a review of City of Secrets, click here.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Malice Domestic: Mystery Most Edible

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If you love short stories, Malice Domestic has a delectable treat for you in Mystery Most Edible. The Malice Domestic anthology series returns with a new take on mysteries in the Agatha Christie tradition -- 36 original tales with a culinary bent!

Each bite-sized story takes you on a culinary journey. Some might make you hungry; others may make you shun certain foods, but all will be delightful. Malice Domestic Mystery Most Edible is the perfect book for some light beach reading and a just-before-bed quick read. No need to read until the next chapter because each short story is self contained.

The anthology includes a Preface by Parnell Hall and a short story by him as well. It is published by 
Wildside Press. The authors and the titles of their stories are listed below.

A Cup of Tea, by Parnell Hall

Brown Recluse, by Marcia Adair

A Slice of Heaven, by Laura Brennan

The Extra Ingredient, by Joan Long

A Death in Yelapa, by Leslie Budewitz

The Pie Sisters, by Richard Cass

Too Many Cooks Almost Spoil the Murder, by Lynne Ewing

Pig Lickin' Good, by Debra H. Goldstein

Quiche Alain, by Marni Graff

Diet of Death, by Ang Pompano

Death at the Willard Hotel, by Verena Rose

Dining Out, by Rosemary McCracken

Snowbirding, by Kristin Kisska

Up Day Down Day Deadly Day, by Ellen Larson

The Secret Blend, by Stacy Woodson

First of the Year, by Gabriel Valjan

Sticky Fingers, by LD Masterson

The Cremains of the Day, by Josh Pachter

Honor Thy Father, by Harriette Sackler

Killer Chocolate Chips, by Ruth McCarty

Sushi Lessons, by Edith Maxwell

The Missing Ingredient for Murderous Intent, by Elizabeth Perona

It's Canning Season, by Adele Polomski

The Gourmand, by Nancy Cole Silverman

The Blue Ribbon, by Cynthia Kuhn

The Last Word, by Shawn Reilly Simmons

Murder Takes the Cupcake, by Kate Willett

Bull Dog Gravy, by Mark Thielman

Morsels of the Gods, by Victoria Thompson

Mrs. Beeton's Sausage Stuffing, by Christine Trent

Bring It, by Terry Shames

Gutbombs 'n' Guinness, by Lisa Preston

Deadly In-Flight Dining, by Sara Rosett

Carne Diem, by Sharon Lynn

Turn the Sage, by Stephen D. Rogers

Bad Ju-Ju, by M.A. Monnin

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Interview with Colleen Mooney

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My newest book is Politician, Potholes and Pralines. It’s book 6 in my New Orleans Go Cup Chronicles series. Book 7 will be out in July in a box set to support three animal charities.

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
I’m from New Orleans so my location I use is here, and my characters are all around me, all the time.  

What do you enjoy about the author’s lifestyle? What do you not enjoy?
I really enjoy when someone contacts me (email, Facebook, Twitter) and tells me they enjoy my stories or they visited here and felt like my stories made them have another visit. I also love working with other authors on a collaborative effort like boxed sets where we select animal rescues and charities and give the proceeds from the book sales to them. 

I don’t enjoy taking time away from my writing to place ads or do any marketing. 

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
My characters are all little or big parts of people I’ve met or I've known. New Orleans has no
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shortage of characters. No character is any one person but a part of one that I’ve fictionalized.

How do you get yourself out of a writing rut?
I write something else other than what I was working on and sometimes it turns out to be another story! Sometimes I just get up and walk around the block or go to the gym! I change my scenery.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
Jennifer Lawrence for Brandy Alexander because I really like her in Silver Lining Playbook or Amy Adams because of Leap Year. Jessica Biel is also a choice. She has to be funny but capable. 

For the lead men, I would select Ryan Reynolds or Paul Judd for Dante and Matthew Goode, Liam Hemsworth or Jake Gyllenhaal for Jiff.

Who is your favorite author?
I really don’t have one favorite. Right now I’m reading Scandinavian authors of crime and mystery. I like romantic suspense and will read just above anything that is a mystery or has a crime to solve. I’ve just started Marked For Revenge by Emelie Schepp, 2016 Swedish Writer of the Year. I read
the first in this series, Marked for Life and enjoyed it.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
Some of my best memories have been on scuba trips in groups of divers who I did not know before the trip but made life long friendships with. Most of them are all over the world now and I would love to have a dinner party with as many of them who could make it. I’ve never had a bad time on a dive boat or a sailboat so any five of my past water baby friends would be who I’d invite to a dinner party.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
I have renovated older, historic homes in one of my past lives, and I really enjoyed it. I think I’d like to do that again but renovating back to their original beauty.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Glitter Bomb

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It’s Mardi Gras and Carmela and Ava are front and center to watch the Krewe of Pluvius parade when a float erupts on the street. As King Neptune’s head explodes, a man tumbles to the ground covered in glitter. In Glitter Bomb by Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran, the revelers on the parade route are shocked at the explosion.

Also on the float, but only minimally injured, is Carmela's ex-husband Seamus Meechum, who pleads with her to discover who blew up the float and killed Krewe captain Hughes Wilder. Carmela resists because she knows her almost fiance Detective Edgar Babcock hates when she gets involved. Plus he sees red every time Seamus is near.

Try as she might Carmela cannot stay away from the investigation, especially as it seems the newly-minted widow doesn't seem distressed by her husband's untimely death. Rumor has it Maribel Wilder has been heavily involved with high-end car dealer Danny Labatt for a long time. But there are other suspects as Carmela discovers Wilder's hedge fund, Pontchartrain Capital Management, has been hemorrhaging money from some very important investors - including Seamus.

When Seamus reveals he invested $16 million of his bank's money, Carmela understands why he is a chief suspect. Dragging a willing Ava along to the wake and funeral for Wilder, Carmela discovers many other viable suspects, but puts the spotlight on her investigation. This leads to a chase down an alley in the Garden District, being run off the road in a road race and fearing a bomb might be delivered to her scrapbooking shop. All in a day's investigation for Carmela!

A lively, colorful mystery set in one of the country's most eccentric cities - New Orleans - at a time when everyone is a New Orleanian during Mardi Gras. Filled with fun parties, delicious treats and suspects in the highest strata of society.

Disclosure: I received this book from the author.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Giveaway for Malice Domestic Mystery Most Edible

Enter to win the new Malice Domestic Mystery Most Edible anthology, autographed by many of
its authors.

Contest ends at Midnight, May 26.
Open to U.S. and Canada only 

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Book Supremacy

Newlyweds Brooklyn and Derek spend their honeymoon in Paris browsing the books stalls and enjoying their new married life. In The Book Supremacy by Kate Carlisle, Brooklyn finds a copy of The Spy Who Loved Me and she buys it as a gift for Derek. They also bump into Ned, an old friend of Derek's, who recommends an unusual shop in their home town of San Francisco. (The Book Supremacy will be released by Berkley on June 4.)

When they return home Brooklyn discovers her find is a first edition, which excites her even more. When Brooklyn and Derek make a visit to the spy shop Ned recommended, they find it stocked with just about everything a would-be James Bond might need and it has several Escape Rooms, too, plus a quirky band of writers named Tinker, Tailor, Soldier and Princess.

When the owner of the store asks to display Brooklyn's book at his spy shop, she agrees reluctantly. Derek double checks the security and deems it sufficient to protect the valuable first edition. Figuring to keep the real value
secret, they do not tell anyone its real value.

One evening the alarm goes off and Derek and Brooklyn rush to the shop hoping the book hasn't been stolen. What they do find is more disastrous - someone has been murdered in one of the Escape Rooms. 

They set out to find the killer and still protect the book. Before long Brooklyn and Derek begin to suspect someone in his company is behind the theft and murder and they set a trip to catch a killer. Always plenty of action when Brooklyn and Derek are involved.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Right Sort of Man

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World War II disrupted the lives of many people, but now that it is over, Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge decide its time to pursue love. Not for themselves, but for others. In The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair, the women open a licensed marriage bureau in London. (The Right Sort of Man will be released by Minotaur Books on June 4.)

Business has been slow, but when Tillie LaSalle turns up at the Right Sort Bureau, Iris and Gwendolyn feel they can find her a match. Although they think there is a little shady about her, but not enough to disqualify her from love. They proceed to match her to a quiet accountant named Dickie Trower.

Right after her visit to the Bureau, a man wearing a dustman's coverall appears and asks about Miss LaSalle. They remind him he needs an appointment to deal with the Bureau and he abruptly leaves. A week later Miss LaSalle is found stabbed to death in an alley and the murder weapon is found under Mr. Trower's bed.

Trower claims he never met Tillie and says he received a letter from The Right Sort of Man Marriage Bureau cancelling the date. Neither partner sent the letter, but that doesn't help Trower.

The police are convinced they have the killer, but Iris and Gwendolyn do not believe the mild-mannered Trower could be the killer. They set out to
find the real killer and encounter black marketeers, forged ration coupons and secrets they have kept from each other. Using the skills they learned during the war, the two find themselves in a world so difference from their own. Gwendolyn is the widow of the son of a peer and her mother-in-law rules with an iron hand. She would be mortified to hear that Gwendolyn is searching for a killer.

Iris, on the other hand, has had lots of experience in shadowy circles and uses her skills to not only clear Mr. Trower, but bring down the black market criminals.

A terrific start to a new series. I look forward to a second date with Iris and Gwendolyn and their matrimonial cases.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Interview with Sherry Harris

What is the title of your newest book? 
Sherry Harris
The Gun Also Rises came out in January 2019. How many books have you published? It’s the sixth book in the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries. By the end of 2019 the seventh – Let’s Fake a Deal and the eighth – Sell Low, Sweet Harriet will be out!

How did you develop your character and choose your location? 
I confess that part of Sarah’s life comes from my own experiences as a lifelong lover of garage sales and I am married to a former Air Force officer. The location was a no brainer for me. We were assigned to Hanscom Air Force Base outside of Boston in 2005. I did not want to move there. But it didn’t take long to fall in love with the charming small towns with their town greens and soaring white churches, the history, the quirky accents, and funny pronunciations. There is so much to do in Massachusetts and all of New England.

What do you enjoy about the author’s lifestyle? What do you not enjoy? 
Being an author is a dream job where you get to spend a good deal of your time with imaginary friends. And then when your book comes out you get to meet and talk to readers. I’m hard pressed to come up with something I don’t enjoy. I guess a review that is inaccurate good or bad.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know? 
As I mentioned before Sarah’s love for garage sales is definitely something that comes from me. I went to my first garage sale when I was in second grade and haven’t stopped going since. The whole finding a treasure never stops being a thrill. One of the most rewarding things is hearing from readers who say they didn’t know anything about military life until they read my books.

How do you get yourself out of a writing rut? 
Fortunately, I don’t get in a rut very often. When I get stuck I follow the advice of writer John Dufresne (he has written two terrific books on writing). He says to have your character look around. Write down everything they can see and smell and what they are feeling. It usually gets me going again. If that doesn’t work switching from my computer to pen and paper helps.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character? 
Amy Adams. She’s so talented and reminds me a bit of Sarah.

Who is your favorite author? 
Oh, that is a hard one. I love to read and there are so many talented authors out there. I’ll go with Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky. Both of them wrote such strong, independent women and I wanted Sarah to be one too.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be? 
Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Trevor Noah, Keith Lockhart, and Octavia Spencer.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career? 
I would love to conduct a symphony orchestra! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Deceased and Desist

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Tallie Graver has the perfect name for someone from a family that owns a funeral home. In Deceased and Desist by Misty Simon, Tallie isn't involved with the day-to-day at the Graver Funeral Home, as much as her father would like her to be. She operates her own cleaning business and is very happy doing it, thank you very much.

While cleaning the windows of a newly renovated bed and breakfast, Tallie spots a man on a bed through the second floor windows. At first she thinks he's asleep, but then she realizes something is wrong because she can see his back and his face - not anatomically possible unless he is starring in a remake of The Exorcist. 

Climbing down the ladder, she slips halfway down and lands on her hip and shoulder with a bump to her head. When she tries to explain what she saw to the police, they claim the man had a heart attack and died in the bed.

The dead man turns out to be bribeable building inspector Eli St. James. Seems like there were plenty of people in central Pennsylvania who might want Eli dead, but the substitute police chief insists Eli
died of a heart attack and he even threatens Tallie. Though they have had their moments in the past, police chief Burton (who is on convalescent leave) calls Tallie and asks her to stay involved - no matter what Detective Hammond has to say.

Tallie and her pal Gina did deep and find Eli and his brother extorting money from many people for approval of minor home repairs. With so many suspects, and meeting resistance from the acting police chief, Tallie has to tread carefully or her window washing days might be over.

Funny, sassy and snarky at times, Tallie Graver is right up my alley.

Disclosure: I received this book through the publisher.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Game of Bones

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Sarah Booth Delaney and Tinkie Bellcase Richmond are hot on the trail of a murderer when a body is found at Mound Salla in Sunflower County, Mississippi. In Game of Bones by Carolyn Haines in what appears to be a ritualistic killing, archaeologist Dr. Sandy Wells is found with her throat slit hanging above an intrusive burial grave. (Game of Bones will be published by Minotaur Books on May 14.)

When the partners arrive, they find her co-worker Dr. Frank Hafner as the leading suspect. It seems Drs. Hafner and Wells had different points of view on how the excavation should be handled and their arguments were heard far and wide. Dr. Hafner claims he is innocent and asks Sarah Booth and Tinkie to investigate to try to clear him.

As they investigate, they discover some strange and almost mystical events swirling around the site. When Peter Deerstalker, a member of the Tunica tribe, mentions a curse, it doesn't seem so far-fetched. Someone is digging in the site for something other than ancient pottery shards. Strange occurrences at night have the entire crew freaked out and when another person is found dead in a similar fashion, the graduate student crew wants to hightail it away.

Although he is their client, Sarah Booth and Tinkie aren't so sure he is innocent. Dr. Hafner is a notorious womanizer and had been having an affair with Dr. Wells as well as with some other graduate students. One in particular gives him an alibi for the time Dr. Wells was murdered.

Struggling to determine what the intruder is looking for inside the mound, Sarah Booth manages to place Sheriff Coleman in jeopardy, now after they have finally found their way together. Another heart-stopping adventure for the detectives from Zinnia, Mississippi.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Scent of Murder

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Still reeling from the deaths of her fireman father and the dog she has been training, Jazz Ramsey grudgingly agrees to temporarily train another dog. In The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan, we are introduced to a new series published by Minotaur Books.

While her friend Greg is away, Jazz agrees to continue to train his dog Luther as a cadaver dog. She stages a practice run in an old abandoned building and her mind wanders while Luther searches. They haven't even made it to the third floor spot where she has hidden a human tooth, when Luther barks three times - the signal that he has found something.

To her shock and horror, Luther has found the body of a young woman - a young woman Jazz knows. First on the scene is Detective Nick Kolesov, someone else Jazz is familiar with. The woman is dressed in all black with a very goth appearance including white face makeup, piercings and tattoos. She has apparently been strangled.

Florentine Allen had been a scholarship student at the prestigious St. Catherine's Preparatory Academy where Jazz works as an assistant to the school's director. A recent graduate, Florie had been a good student and was a creative photographer. Why she was dressed in goth clothes and what she was doing in the abandoned building was a puzzle.

Despite Nick's warnings to stay out of the investigation, Jazz is obsessed with finding out more about Florie since her high school graduation. Her search leads her to North Coast School of Photography where she learns Florie was struggling with her grades and her finances. And maybe wasn't the most ethical person around.

First there is an affair with a married professor and then suspicions of blackmail waft around Florie. What happened to the nice girl Jazz knew from St. Catherine's? As she pokes and prods people for answers, the picture of Florie becomes clearer.

An excellent start to a new series and I look forward to the next in the series.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth

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Oh what fun it would be to be a cryptographer. You could drive your family and friends crazy with coded messages instead of normal shopping lists. Unfortunately during World War I, cryptography was a serious business. In The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth by Leonard Goldberg, Watson, Watson, Jr. and Joanna are asked by Dr. Verner to investigate an unusual occurrence. Oh and Joanna is the daughter of Sherlock Holmes. (The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth will be released on June 11 by St. Martin's Press.)

It seems Dr. Verner was called to consult with a patient who could not speak, but was suffering from abdominal pain. While Dr. Verner was examining the patient, he felt the letters H-E-L-P being traced into his hand as well as the letters T-U. The doctor believed the patient was being held against his well. When he suggested that the patient be moved to a hospital, his caregivers said it was necessary to keep the whereabouts of the ill patient a secret.

Joanna believes the prisoner is neither a high government official
nor a royal personage, but someone quite clever and is being held against his will by German spies. When Dr. Watson discovers a notice in the newspaper asking for information on the whereabouts of Alistair Ainsworth, who goes by the name Tubby, they fear for Dr. Verner's life.

The group approaches Scotland Yard and explains what Dr. Verner has told them. Joanna suggests using a dog named Toby Two to follow the scent of chloroform on Dr. Verner's shoes. It appears Scotland Yard knows who is missing, but they do not know where he is being held.

But who is Alistair Ainsworth? He is involved in the highest level of national security as a cryptographer for the British Government. His disappearance is of vital importance as he is privy to top secret codes used by the British Navy.

The game is afoot, says the senior Dr. Watson. As I have always been a Sherlock Holmes fans, A Daughter of Sherlock Holmes mysteries add more dimension to the mystic of Holmes.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Interview with Cheryl Head

Cheryl Head
What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published? 
Catch Me When I'm Falling is number four. 
(For a review of Cheryl's new book, click here.)

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
I'm originally from Detroit, so I set my book there in the mid 2000's. My characters are composites of people I've know, worked with, met over the years.

What do you enjoy about the author’s lifestyle? What do you not enjoy? 
I enjoy meeting other writers. Most writers are so generous with encouragement and support. Building community is a wonderful upside of the writer's life.
Sometimes, I get worn out by too much travel. Conserving, and recharging energy is a chronic condition of the introvert

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
My main protagonist certainly shares some qualities with me, but she is also different than me in many ways. My stories are not autobiographical, which is good since, as mystery/crime novels, they deal in criminality and sometimes violence.

How do you get yourself out of a writing rut? 
Exercise, or any kind of work around the house that will help me work up a sweat. I also use poetry-reading it, but sometimes writing it-to help me find the words I'm looking for. Writing poetry is like having a clean, white palette on which to invoke emotion.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character? 
 Anika Noni Rose. She was the voice actress of Disney's first black princess film; also a Tony Award winner. She's a versatile, smart actress. I see her as my Charlie Mack.

Who is your favorite author? 
That's a hard one. I'll go back to poetry for this one and say: Robert Frost.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
Eleanor Roosevelt, Stephen King, former Texas Congresswoman, Barbara Jordan, Barack Obama, and Leonard Bernstein.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career? 
Be a Broadway star or film director.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Many Faces of Malice

Malice Domestic is filled with fantastic moments, but the most fun event is the Malice-Go-Round, a kind of speed dating for authors. Two authors at a time have five minutes to plug their books at a table of fans in the ballroom. After five minutes, two new authors come to the table and the other two authors move on around the room. It is an uproarious time and fans come home with lots of bookmarks, bags of candy, business cards and many, many new authors to read.

The authors are from left to right on the top row: Anne Hillerman, Terry Shames, Colleen Gleason Cheryl Hollon, Frances McNamara, Clea Simon, Lisa Q. Mathews and Leslie Karst. Middle row: Tina Kashian, Catherina Maiorisi, Julia Henry, Kathy Lee Emerson, Colleen Gleason and Laura Durham. Third row: Nancy Cole Silverman, Margaret Dumas, Liz Mugavero, Edith Maxwell, Marilyn Levinson, Mary Feliz, Debra Goldstein and Julia Henry

Friday, May 3, 2019

Malice Domestic Opens

We are here and planning to start our day with Malice Go Round: Author Speed Dating, a most entertaining way to meet new authors.
Watch for photos.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Plain Vanilla Murder

Pre-order purchase link 
Being called plain vanilla, might be a negative term, but real vanilla harvested in the lush tropical forests of the Americas is a crop highly prized. In Susan Wittig Albert's A PlainVanilla Murder, there is nothing ordinary about vanilla. (A Plain Vanilla Murder will be published by Persevero Press on June 4.)

China Bayles and her business partner Ruby Wilcox are presenting their very popular workshop entitled "Not Just Plain Vanilla." They describe how the plant is grown, how it is harvested and cured and why it is so valuable today. The vanilla orchid, yes vanilla starts its life as a orchid, twines itself around a tree and when the yellow orchid-like flower is pollinated, a ripe vanilla pod is created.

When a botany professor is found dead in his greenhouse on the campus, the campus police call in Pecan Springs Chief Sheila Dawson to investigate. At first glance, it seems like a suicide, but after careful investigation, it turns into a murder made to look like a suicide.

Dr. Carl Fairlee was not much loved by his colleagues at the university. He used grant money to build himself a rooftop greenhouse without the university's permission, her divorced his wife and forced her to sell their house and their collection of orchids to divide in the settlement and he was a known womanizer, so there were plenty of suspects. As the very pregnant Chief Dawson investigates, she learns Dr. Fairlee registered a lucrative vanilla patent and left out his graduate assistant who was closely involved. Logan Gardner becomes a suspect.

Fairlee's ex-wife Maggie, a mercurial greenhouse owner, makes herself the prime suspect, but China knows Maggie's moods and doesn't think she would kill him. But when it is discovered that Maggie broke into the greenhouse and stole a rare orchid, Chief Dawson refocuses her efforts on those closest to Fairlee.

An excellent mystery tightly woven with the lethal history of vanilla grown in the jungles of Mexico. You will not look at plain vanilla in the same way again.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Interview with Debra Sennefelder

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published? 
The Hidden Corpse, book 2 in the Food Blogger Mystery series, is my newest book. It released at the
Debra Sennefelder
end of March. I currently have three published books. Last year my debut novel, The Uninvited Corpse, book 1 in the Food Blogger Mystery series was published. In January of this year Murder Wears a Little Black Dress, book 1 in the Resale Boutique Mystery series, was published.

How did you develop your character and choose your location? 
While writing another manuscript, in a different genre, I had the idea of trying to write another cozy (I’d written one years ago) and I decided I wanted the series to revolve around food, so I decided on a food blogger. Having had my own food blog for several years, I knew about blogging and it also gave Hope flexibility with her schedule to get involved with a murder investigation. It was over a process of weeks of brainstorming the idea for the first book and creating the world where Hope lives that her character came to be. I chose to create a fictional town in Connecticut for Hope to live in. Jefferson is a quaint town in the northwest hills of Connecticut where autumn is spectacular, winter is harsh, spring is abundant with beauty and summer is perfect for lazy days.

What do you enjoy about the author’s lifestyle? What do you not enjoy? 
I love the flexibility of writing full-time. I’m able to set my own hours and not have to commute any longer. However, writing full-time means that there are times when it’s hard to stop work for the day.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know? 
Hope does have some of my traits and habits, but she’s not me. I prefer not to model characters after people I know. With that said, sure there are some traits I’ve given characters from people I do know.

How do you get yourself out of a writing rut? 
I don’t think I’ve been in a writing rut. Maybe working on two series helps keep me from feeling like I’m in a rut. I do make sure to take time away from my work with regular workouts and walks with my two dogs, Susie and Billy.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character? 
I honestly have no idea. The chances of this happening are incredibly low, so I don’t even think about it.

Who is your favorite author? 
There are way too many to list. However, Katherine Hall Page is the author who opened the world of culinary cozy mysteries to me with her Faith Fairchild Mystery series years ago.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be? 
First on the list would be my critique partner, Ellie Ashe. She lives in California, so we only get to visit when we Facetime. The other guests would be Martha Stewart, Bethenny Frankel, Neil Armstrong and Katherine Hall Page.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career? 
That’s easy, I’d be a food blogger.