Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Looking for October Cozy Mysteries?

We have a fantastic crop of cozy mysteries to harvest during the month of October - including first books in all new series! Take a quick peek at these authors and their books!

Superstition Mystery #1
Linda O. Johnston
Midnight Ink
Superstition Mysteries 

ISBN:  978-0738740775

Is it Luck? Or is it Destiny?
Rory Chasen never thought superstitions were real—until her beloved fiancĂ© is killed after walking under a ladder. To find closure and the truth about superstitions, Rory takes her dog Pluckie to a town called Destiny, where superstitious beliefs are a way of life.
Rory’s visit to Destiny takes an unexpected turn when Pluckie saves Martha, the owner of the Lucky Dog Boutique. While Martha recovers, Rory reluctantly agrees to manage the pet shop for her. But when Martha becomes the prime suspect in the local bookshop owner’s murder, Rory can’t believe that the sweet old woman would do it. Convinced the real killer is still roaming Destiny’s streets, Rory resolves to crack the case before Martha’s luck runs out.

Southern Ladies Mystery #1

Bless Her Dead Little HeartMiranda JamesBerkley Prime CrimeSouthern Ladies MysteriesISBN: 0425273040EAN: 9780425273043

New York Times "bestselling author Miranda James returns to Athena, Mississippi, with an all-new mystery featuring Miss An'gel and Miss Dickce Ducote, two snoopy sisters who are always ready to lend a helping hand. But when a stressed socialite brings murder right to their doorstep, even they have trouble maintaining their Southern hospitality...With the Mississippi sun beating down, An'gel and Dickce are taking a break to cool off and pet sit their friend Charlie Harris's cat, Diesel, when their former sorority sister, Rosabelle Sultan, shows up at their door unexpectedly, with her ne'er-do-well adult children not far behind. Rosabelle's selfish offspring are desperate to discover what's in her will, and it soon becomes clear that one of them would kill to get their hands on the inheritance. Suddenly caught up in a deadly tangle of duplicitous suspects and deep-fried motives, it will take all of the sisters' Southern charm to catch a decidedly ill-mannered killer...

Andi Boggs Mystery #2

Andi Under PressureAmanda FlowerZonderkidzAndi Boggs MysteriesISBN: 978-0310737025

Twelve-year-old Andora ‘Andi’ Boggs and her new best friend Colin Carter couldn’t be more excited to attend the prestigious science camp at the local university in Killdeer, Ohio. Unfortunately, Discovery Camp’s curriculum appears to include much more than just chemistry and biology. From day one, the university is plagued by a series of pranks—missing markers, loose crickets, and stolen scales. Campus security blames the mysterious janitor Polk, but even though Andi agrees he’s acting suspicious, she can’t believe the gentle old man would do anything illegal. Then one prank goes too far and their chemistry professor is injured by an explosion in the lab, upping the stakes of the investigation. Andi and Colin must unravel the secrets behind the chemistry department and Polk’s dark past before danger closes the camp for good.

Appleseed Creek Mystery  #4

A Plain Malice
Amanda Flower
Amanda Flower
Appleseed Creek Mysteries

The Amish community in Appleseed Creek’s new bishop believes the best way to help his district in the struggling economy is to increase tourism. He invites Blue Suede Tours from Mississippi to visit the community and asks his district to host the southern visitors. The Troyer family agrees to participate in the tour with an old-fashioned milking demonstration on the family’s dairy farm. But when two Mississippians die during the milk taste test, the local police chief believes someone poisoned them, and Timothy Troyer’s father is her number suspect. Computer whiz, Chloe Humphrey, jumps onto the tour bus as an undercover tour guide in order to prove her boyfriend’s father is innocent despite the Troyer family’s reservations about her and Timothy’s relationship. If they solve crime, will Chloe and Timothy finally prove that they belong together or will the investigation be the final act to tear them apart?

Orchard Mysteries #8

Picked to Die
Sheila Connolly
Berkley Prime Crime
Orchard Mysteries 
ISBN: 978-0425257111

It’s harvest time in Granford, Massachusetts, and orchard owner Meg Corey and her fiancĂ© Seth are both racing to beat the New England winter. Meg is bringing in her apple crop with a team of workers, while Seth is working to restore an old building in the center of town. But when his project is set back due to the unexpected discovery of a skeleton under the building—and even worse, a relative of one of Meg’s apple pickers is found stabbed to death behind the local feed store—the couple’s carefully laid plans are quickly spoiled.…
Meg can’t help but wonder: are they just unlucky, or is there something rotten in Granford? If so, she knows she’s got to seek out the bad apple before it ruins the whole bunch…


Pie in the Sky Mystery #2

Treacherous Tart
Ellie Grant
Simon and Schuster
Pie in the Sky Mysteries
ISBN: 978-1451689563

In this second charming novel in the Pie in the Sky cozy mystery series, a modern-day Lothario is shot dead, and it’s up to Maggie to clear her aunt and partner-in-pie from the suspect list.
It’s Christmastime at Pie in the Sky, Aunt Clara’s pie shop, and she has a new beau, Donald Wickerson, who loves her Marvelous Mince Pies.
Unfortunately, it seems that this holiday, Donald might only be interested in Aunt Clara for her money. Ryan and Maggie research his background and find he’s had several wives who met with unfortunate “accidents” that left him wealthier. Now they have to convince Aunt Clara that her boyfriend is after more than just her pie recipes.
When Donald stumbles into Pie in the Sky and dies after being shot, Aunt Clara is devastated—and also a suspect, since everyone in Durham knows about Donald from Ryan’s newspaper article. Now Maggie and Ryan will have to prove that someone else in the long list of people he’d wronged finally got the courage to end his life.

League of Literary Ladies #3

The Legend of Sleepy Harlow
Kylie Logan
Berkley Prime Crime
League of Literary Ladies Mysteries
ISBN  978-0-425-25777-7

For Halloween, the League of Literary Ladies is reading "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."  But South Bass Island has its own headless ghost, Charles (Sleepy) Harlow, a bootletter who was beheaded by rivals.  His ghost shows up once a year to search for his noggin.  This year, the Elkhart Ghost Getters are on the island, too, trying to get film footage of the famous ghost.  But when EGG's leader turns up dead, winery owner Kate Wilder is the prime suspect and the other League members need to scramble to crack the case. 

Cumberland Creek Mystery #4

A Crafty Christmas
Mollie Cox Bryan
Cumberland Creek Mysteries
ISBN 0758293569

Christmas is just around the corner, and the ladies of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop are thrilled when Sheila wins the first place prize in a scrapbooking design contest: a ten-day scrapbook-themed cruise in the Caribbean. Vera and Paige decide to tag along, which should pose the perfect opportunity to learn some new techniques, mingle with fellow croppers, and get in some rest and relaxation before the chaos of Christmas. But when Sheila finds a famous crafter dead, and investigators determine she was poisoned, the luxury cruise veers toward disaster as Sheila becomes the number one suspect--or was she really the intended victim? Just as the croppers begin un-wrapping the truth, a storm strands them at sea, and they'll find it's harder than ever to survive the holidays with a killer on deck. . .

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fresh from the Golden Age of Detection


By Jordan Kelly Bingham, of Victoria Abbott's book collector mysteries.

 I am very excited to be part of a Sisters-in-Crime blog hop. My author has asked me to thank Leslie Budewitz for tagging her.  I’m not entirely sure what a blog hop is, but it sounds like great exercise and I love that name: Sisters-in-Crime. As I’m the first person in my family to go straight, I’m sure you can see where it would resonate with me. I don’t have any sisters though, only uncles. Still, it’s great to know this organization is out there advancing the interests of women mystery authors.

I’ve been asked which authors have inspired me.  I live for questions like this. A little background will explain that.  I need money to get back to grad school (long story) so I work for Vera Van Alst. Some of you may know that she’s the most hated woman in Harrison Falls, N.Y., but that is neither here nor there. Vera is one of the foremost collectors of fine first editions from the Golden Age of Detection. I am her assistant. Naturally, I have been inspired by the great authors of this golden age. Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Rex Stout, among others. Because things went wrong (pear-shaped as they say in Britain) while we were working on these collections, I barely escaped with my life from The Christie Curse, The Sayers Swindle and The Wolfe Widow. That last one was just released this month. I’m still getting my heart rate under control.

These are wonderful writers.  Today I can pick up any one of their books and be caught up in the story.  I am rereading many of them.  They are still witty and gripping and cleverly plotted. What a legacy these authors leave us.  

Books on my nightstand right now? I’m so glad you asked that. I’m working my way through the novels of the great Ngaio Marsh, all thirty-two of them.

 Vera is only interested in fine firsts, but I love mass market reprints. A friend, Nancy Reid, made me (well, my author, but never mind) a gift of twenty-nine of them (see above)  How cool is that? They’re keeping me up nights. Apparently, I’ll be showing up soon in The Marsh Madness. I understand there will be peril. 

Thinking of the Golden Age of Mystery has made me wonder.  Are we in a new Golden Age?  There are so many clever, fast-paced, well-plotted books with wonderful, sympathetic characters, that we are blessed.  So much to read. There's a great crop of mysteries this fall. I appreciate the thirty-one series you find on Killer Characters. I have made friends with many characters here. It appears I’m not the only one with an interesting life and a few troubles. I just finished Nightmares Can Be Murder by Mary Kennedy and loved it. There are so many great books and authors. I’m very excited about new mysteries coming next week from Daryl Wood Gerber's Stirring the Plot, Sheila Connolly’s Picked to Die and Barbara Fradkin’s None So Blind to name just a few.

But before we go, it's my turn to tag the next Sister in Crime in this blog hop. I’m choosing Lizzie Turner from the Ashton Corners mysteries by Erika Chase  because I just finished her latest mystery Book Fair and Foul and I love mysteries about books. This one didn’t disappoint. Lizzie and maybe some of her friends will be here on Killer Characters on October 7!  October is the new September. You heard it here first. 

The blog hop included no questions about cute pugs in books. Sorry Walter. You’ll just have to cope. 

What? Oh sure, I’ll let our readers  in on the secret:  if you want to read other hop stops in the Sisters in Crime September SinC-Up, or if you’re a Sister who’d like to join the hop,  CLICK THIS LINK

Thanks for coming by, everyone.  So glad to be joined in a love of mysteries!

That shadowy figure known as Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between the always very funny and creative artist, photographer and short story author, Victoria Maffini and her mother, Mary Jane Maffini, award-winning author of three mystery series and two dozen short stories. Their book collector series combines contemporary sleuthing with novels from the Golden Age of Detection. The Christie Curse links to the great Agatha Christie, and the second, The Sayers Swindle, draws on the work of Dorothy L. Sayers.  Because ‘some people’ have a crush on Archie Goodwin from the Rex Stout books, The Wolfe Widow hit the shelves September 2014.  And they haven’t killed each other yet.

Order from Barnes and Nobel

Order from amazon

Keep an eye on the book collector mysteries HERE

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Rich are Different from You and Me

By Lady Honora Grant
Dowager Countess of Norrance

(Lady Honora appears in Murder, She Wrote: Death of a Blue Blood, coming out next month. Blue Blood is number 42 in the "Murder, She Wrote" Series.)

It is my understanding that the writer my son invited to our New Year's Eve ball--one Jessica Fletcher--has been spreading ugly rumors about our family. I won't have it! We cannot be held responsible simply because some foolish woman got herself locked in our walled garden on a cold day. And wouldn't you know that writer was the one to discover her body. I am not certain why Mrs. Fletcher was so put out. If I give her the benefit of the doubt, she may have been swayed by George Sutherland, that Scotland Yard inspector she brought along as an escort. Be that as it may, she made such a fuss, the local constabulary were called in. If our butler Nigel had found the unfortunate person first, I daresay no one would have been the wiser, at least not until after the ball. Castorbrook has a name to maintain, after all.

Actress Maggie Smith as Lady Violet in "Downton Abbey."
Some people have compared me to her, but she lived in different,
dare I say better, times.
I'll grant you that the castle requires a goodly amount of funds to maintain, and my son may be a poor manager, nevertheless it must, it will, remain in the family. That silly woman he married wants to sell it to some hotel people. It's bad enough that we've had to open our doors to wedding people and visitors pretending to be among the nobility; I'll die before I see our ancestral home made into a common guest house for the bourgeoisie.

Mrs. Fletcher's greatly exaggerated tale about our family is being published October 7th. Kindly remember she is a writer and those people tend to see things from their distinctly middle class point of view. Such drama! We've had our misfortunes, it's true, but we will survive as we have for centuries. A hundred years from now whoever are the Earl and Countess of Norrance will still be presiding over Castorbrook Castle, you can be sure.

If you are still interested in Mrs. Fletcher's vision of Castorbrook and the members of our family, I will give you a short glance into her story. Take it with a grain of salt.

A body was found in Castorbrook's walled garden.

“What in blazes was she doing in the garden?” Lord Norrance asked, glaring at his wife.

Marielle, the Countess of Norrance,  raised a hand to tuck a loose strand of hair into her chignon. “I asked her to find a sprig of holly that I could use for my hair for the ball.” She checked her image in the mirror over the fireplace. “I didn’t ask her to go into the garden.”

“Any sensible person knows it’s far too cold to walk outside at this time of year,” said a gravelly voice belonging to the Dowager Countess of Norrance, the earl’s widowed mother. Honora Grant was a slight woman in her seventies, but her delicate appearance belied her tough nature. Earlier, when she had leaned on Nigel’s arm as he escorted her into the room, she had pointed to a seat with her cane. “Put me over there where I can see everyone. Marielle, you know that’s my chair by the fire. Find another place, if you please.”

Lady Norrance obligingly vacated her seat so her mother-in-law could take it. Nigel placed a pillow he’d carried in on the chair, and Honora settled herself down. She cast a critical eye on the room’s other occupants. “I hope you’re not planning to cancel the ball because of this unfortunate incident.”

“Oh! We hadn’t thought . . .” The earl’s wife trailed off.

This Drawing Room at Highclere Castle resembles
the one at Castorbrook Castle.

“You really should, you know,” said a young woman dressed in jodhpurs and boots. “We’ve had a death in the family.” She released the scarf around her neck and shook out her dark blond hair.

“Nonsense!” the earl said. “This event has been on the social calendar for many months.”

“Jemma, must you irritate your father?”

“Sorry, Mum.”

“We could hardly cancel now,” the earl said. “People are already arriving.” He waved an arm toward George and me.

“And very welcome you are,” said Rupert Grant, the earl’s younger son, nodding at us, causing a curl from his carefully gelled hair to flop onto his forehead. He was a boyish-looking fellow in his midtwenties. “Besides, Flavia would not have wanted to discomfort the family in any way.” He leaned forward to pluck a pastry from a silver tray. “Isn’t that right, Mother?”

“You’re correct, of course, dear. Please take a plate and napkin. Mrs. Beckwith was dedicated to Castorbrook Castle and our family.”

Wasn't she the children's governess once? the dowager asked.

“Yes, Grandmother,” Rupert said, “but she needed another job when the three of us rudely decided to grow up.” He cocked his head at his sister, Jemma, the horsewoman, and their older brother, Kip, who sat across the room and idly paged through a magazine. “And Mother gave the old girl another position.”

“Ridiculous! She wasn’t even trained.” Honora thumped her cane on the floor. “Can’t imagine she could have been a proper lady’s maid without training. But then your mother probably doesn’t know the difference.”

2014 is the 25th anniversary of "Murder, She Wrote" in print. In case you couldn't tell, we're big fans of the PBS costume drama series "Downton Abbey." Unlike "Downton,"  "Death of a Blue Blood," takes place in modern times, but a glimpse of the aristocratic life was fun to write. 

Do you have a favorite historical era you like to read about? Or do you prefer modern day mysteries?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

All Aboard: Sheila's Scrapbooking Cruise

By: Annie Chamovitz

From: The Cumberland Creek Mystery Series
Author: Mollie Cox Bryan
Book 4 Title: A Crafty Christmas (October 7)

Sheila won a huge design competition. And part of the prize is a ten-day scrapbooking cruise. I never knew such a thing existed, but it does. Imagine a ship full of scrapbookers, cropping all day and night on a beautiful ship, surrounded by the sea. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?
Sheila was given tickets to take two friends with her, as well. I wish I could have gone, the cruise takes place during Hanukah and Mike hand have committed to staying at home during the Jewish holidays to be with the boys.
DeeAnn could not go either—it’s the bakery’s biggest time of the year. It seems that very few people do their own holiday baking anymore and rely on DeeAnn and her shop to provide “homemade goodies” during the holidays.
Vera wanted Beatrice to go with her, but Bea does not like cruises. She prefers to stay on solid ground.

I’m sorry to miss the cruise with Vera, Sheila and Paige, because Sheila will be treated like a scrapbooking star. That will be something to see! She will also be interviewed by several scrapbooking and design companies while she is there. The possibilities are endless for her. I’m so happy for her and want her to do well, you know? She is one talented artist, but she’s always put her family first. I am hoping this scrapbooking cruises helps Sheila to usher in a new phase of her life—one that is a little more about her and her talent. 
Beatrice is a little worried about this cruise. I don't know why. I mean, really, what could happen to them on a cruise ship?

Check out Mollie Cox Bryan online:
Twitter: @MollieCoxBryan

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Bookseller Dishes (with a little help)

By Erin Murphy, with assistance from Ginny Washington, from the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz

Erin: I'd planned to tell you about the food memoirs I love—travelogues with recipes like Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love & War, by Annia Ciezadlo, an American journalist who marries a Lebanese journalist and travels with him to the Middle East. Or The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City, by David Lebovitz, an American pastry chef living in France.

But then my friend Ginny Washington, owner of Jewel Bay’s only bookstore, Food for Thought, insisted you’d much rather hear about the foodie mysteries she loves. I love listening to experts, so I told her she should tell you herself. Take it away, Ginny.

Ginny: I never imagined owning a bookstore. I taught high school English. Then I married a school administrator. When he was offered the chance to head the Jewel Bay schools, we jumped. But I needed something to do. The bookstore had been here forever and it smelled like it. Cramped and musty, it still had paperbacks on the shelves that cost 75 cents! Almost before I knew it, we’d expanded into the basement, then the space next door, and now it’s this wonderful rabbit warren perfect for reading and browsing.

As Jewel Bay remade itself into the Food Lovers’ Village, I started selling more cookbooks and food books. My hunny says if I don’t watch out they’ll take over, but I’m not worried. After that came foodie fiction. Delicious. But I’d always loved a good mystery—so when I discovered foodie mysteries, well, heaven. As I tell my customers, especially the tourists, who gobble them up, “All the delight and none of the calories.”

So here’s who I’m raving about these days:

A Roux of Revenge, by Connie Archer – a soup shop in Vermont, perfect for fall.

I’m as much a coffee addict as Erin is, so I loved Billionaire Blend by Cleo Coyle, just out in paperback. I got a sneak peak at the next installment, Once Upon a Grind. To die for. If that’s not too gruesome to say.

The Diva Wraps it Up, by Krista Davis. I want to eat at Sophie’s house. But occasionally, I get to eat with the Murphys, and that’s almost as good!

I can hardly keep Laura Childs’ Tea Shop Mysteries in – Steeped in Evil is the latest -- and her Cackleberry Club mysteries crack me up!

When nothing but chocolate will do, I recommend JoAnna Carl’s Chocaholic Mysteries and Nancy Coco’s Fudge Shop Mysteries. Drooled all over the newest, To Fudge or Not to Fudge, so you probably don’t want me to share it.

And of course, I can hardly wait for Stirring the Plot, by Daryl Wood Gerber, out next week. Set in a cookbook shop!

And then there’s Ellery Adams, Julie Hyzy, Lucy Burdette, Ovidia Yu ... .

Erin: Ginny, let’s go over to Red’s for a drink. Thanks, all!

But before we go, it's my turn to tag the next Sister in Crime in this blog hop, Jordan Bingham from The Wolfe Widow, by that ol’ busybody Victoria Abbott, author of the Book Collector Mysteries. The Wolfe Widow. They’ll be here on Killer Characters this Tuesday, September 30th.

If you want to read other hop stops in the Sisters in Crime September SinC-Up, or if you’re a Sister who’d like to join the hop, this link will reveal all.

Leslie Budewitz is the national best-selling author of Death al Dente, first in the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries set in northwest Montana, and winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Crime Rib, second in the series, was published by Berkley Prime Crime on July 1, 2014. Assault & Pepper, first in her Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries will debut in March 2015.

For more tales of life in the wilds of northwest Montana, and bonus recipes, visit her website and subscribe to her newsletter, or find her on Facebook.

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's Tradition

By Lucille Mazzarella from
Peg Cochran’s Lucille Series

Yo, Lucille Mazzarella here.  I’m one of those traditional types, you know?  I don’t like no changes.  Take Sunday dinner for instance.  I set the table with the same tablecloth, silverware and dishes every week.  And the food don’t change that much either—lasagna, stuffed shells, macaroni with meat sauce.  No surprises there.  And the same people are sitting around the table—although now we have little Lucy so soon we’ll have to set another place.

Some people think that’s boring, but I don’t.  For me, it feels comfortable.  I know what to expect.  Like I said, no surprises.  It’s the same with the holidays.  What would Thanksgiving be without the turkey, stuffing, ham, lasagna and some cannoli for dessert.  It’s an all American holiday. 

Take my Frankie—we been married for more than two decades now, and I know what his footsteps sound like, the fact that his ankle cracks as he goes up the stairs and that if he grunts after tasting something, it means he likes it.

How about you?  Do you go in for tradition or do you prefer to change things up?

Available for all ebooks.  Buy from Amazon

Available for all ebooks.  Buy from Amazon 

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