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US Books Received- 12/2014  Next Month / Last Month
In order to provide timely reviews, we prefer to receive Advance Reader Copies of books when possible. Send books to Gayle Surrette / Editor c/o Gumshoe 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613

Berkley

Aground on St. Thomas (Mystery in the Islands) by Rebecca M. Hale (Berkley 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: From the New York Times bestselling author of Adrift on St. John and Afoot on St. Croix, comes a tale of intrigue and excitement in the Virgin Islands.

The tropical paradise of St. Thomas is shut down as the FBI seizes control of the island to apprehend government officials on bribery charges. Tourists and locals are stranded until FBI agent Gabe "Friday" Stein can find the missing governor and two senators who have eluded capture.

Innocent of any crime, Senator Julia Sanchez can only escape wrongful arrest with the help of eccentric Senator Bobo. As they try to blend in with increasingly hostile locals and make their trek across the island to safety, Senator Sanchez is only just beginning to realize the extent of the corruption behind the island's idyllic façade. (Source: Berkley)

Eggs in a Casket (A Cackleberry Club Mystery) by Laura Childs (Berkley 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: The New York Times bestselling Cackleberry Club series returns with three intrepid ladies who know their way around a kitchen--as well as a crime scene.

Petra, Suzanne, and Toni may have lost their husbands, but they've found new life operating the Cackleberry Club café. It's where the locals head for an amazing breakfast, the good company of friends, and a puzzling mystery or two.

Suzanne and Toni are off to Memorial Cemetery to help prepare for its 150th anniversary celebration. The ladies expect to find the historical society's tent, but instead they discover the body of ex-prison warden Lester Drummond lying facedown in a freshly dug grave. Now, with the town peppered with suspects and the local authorities in over their heads, it's up to the Cackleberry Club to unscramble the clues and sniff out a bad egg. (Recipes Included!) (Source: Berkley)

Geared for the Grave (Cycle Path Mystery) by Duffy Brown (Berkley 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Mackinac Island is a peaceful summer resort town where everyone coasts through the streets on bicycles. But after someone sends a prominent local on her final ride, it's up to one resourceful visitor to get things running again.

Hoping to shift her chances of a promotion in her favor, Evie Bloomfield heads to Mackinac Island to assist her boss's father. Rudy Randolph has broken his leg and operating his bike shop, Rudy's Rides, is too much to handle by himself. But Evie's good turn only leads to more trouble.

After Evie's arrival, wealthy resident Bunny Harrington dies in what looks like a freak bike accident. Upon closer inspection, Bunny's brakes were tampered with, and now the prime suspect in her murder is also Bunny's number one enemy: Rudy. So if Evie hopes to stay on her boss's good side, she'll need to steer Rudy clear of jail. Now she must quickly solve this mystery so she can put the brakes on the real killer's plan. (First in a new series.) (Source: Berkley)

Inspector Specter (A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery) by E.J. Copperman (Berkley 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Just when she thought she'd seen everything. Detective Lieutenant Anita McElone is one of Harbor Haven's finest. She's also a hard-boiled ghost skeptic. So when she shows up on the doorstep of Alison Kerby's Haunted Guesthouse to ask for supernatural help in solving the murder of her former partner, it's hard to tell which woman is more flabbergasted. But McElone is dead serious, so Alison promises to help in any way she can--even asking her resident ghosts, Paul and Maxie, for help with the case.

As Paul's spirit source reveals some troubling information about the deceased detective, Alison wrestles with what to tell McElone. First, though, she has to find her...because the lieutenant has suddenly disappeared. (Source: Berkley)

Meow If It's Murder (Nick & Nora) by T.C. LoTempio (Berkley 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Nora Charles doesn't believe in fate, even if she is a crime reporter who shares a name with a character from The Thin Man. In fact, she's moving back to Cruz, California, to have a quieter life. But after finding an online magazine eager for material, and a stray cat named Nick with a talent for detection, Nora's not just reporting crimes again. She's uncovering them.

Back in her hometown, Nora reconnects with old friends and makes some new ones, like Nick, the charming feline who seems determined to be her cat. But not everything about Cruz is friendly. Writing for a local online magazine, Nora investigates the curious death of socialite Lola Grainger. Though it was deemed an accident, Nora suspects foul play. And it seems that her cat does too.

Apparently, Nick used to belong to a P.I. who disappeared while investigating Lola Grainger's death. The coincidence is spooky, but not as spooky as the clues Nick spells out for her with Scrabble letters--clues that lead her down an increasingly dangerous path. Whether fate put her on this case or not, solving it will take all of Nora's wits, and maybe a few of Nick's nine lives. (First in a new series.) (Source: Berkley)

Once Upon a Grind (A Coffeehouse Mystery) by Cleo Coyle (Berkley 02 December 2014 / $26.95) - Product Description: When coffeehouse manager turned amateur sleuth Clare Cosi roasts "magic" beans for a Fairy Tale Fall event, she brews up a vision that leads to a sleeping beauty in Central Park; a big, bad wolf of Wall Street; and an East Side enclave with storybook secrets.

Fairy tale fever has descended on New York City. Broadway fans are flocking to Red Riding Hood: The Musical; museums are exhibiting art inspired by the Brothers Grimm; and Clare Cosi and her merry band of baristas give their coffee truck a "Jack and the Beanstalk" makeover for a Central Park festival. Clare's coffee hunter ex-husband contributes a bag of African beans with alleged magical properties. His octogenarian mother entertains customers with readings of the grinds, but Clare remains skeptical--until she receives a vision that helps her find a young model's body in the park's woods.

The police dismiss "sleeping beauty" as the victim of a drug overdose. Then Clare uncovers evidence that points to a list of suspects--from a New York Giant to quite a few wicked witches--and a cold case murder that reaches back to the Cold War. Now Clare is really in the woods with a dangerous predator on her heels and an investigation that leads from a secret Prince Charming Club right back to her own NYPD detective boyfriend. If she doesn't solve this mystery, those magic beans predict an unhappy ending. (Includes recipes.) (see review)

Scandal at Six (Lois Meade Mystery) by Ann Purser (Berkley 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Lois Meade has scrubbed her way through the homes in Long Farnden, and she's not afraid of dusting cobwebs and killing a few bugs. But in her role as amateur sleuth, she's learning to beware of snakes in the grass.

Spring has arrived in Long Farnden and with it, a mysterious infestation. Lois Meade's daughter has found her village store overrun by insects and reptiles. As Lois looks into the invasion, her investigation leads her to Robert Pettison, a seemingly unhinged zookeeper, and his nephew. The two of them are knee-deep in illegal trade, and they don't take kindly to Lois poking her nose into their business.

Lois enlists the help of her faithful cleaner Dot Nimmo and police inspector Hunter Cowgill to discover more about Pettison and a suspicious death at the zoo. And death is in store for more people if Lois doesn't put the killer behind bars soon. (Source: Berkley)

Scorched Eggs (Cackleberry Club) by Laura Childs (Berkley 02 December 2014 / $25.95) - Product Description: Suzanne, Petra, and Toni--co-owners of the Cackleberry Club Café--are equally good at serving up breakfast and serving up justice. This time they turn up the heat on a deadly firebug.

As Suzanne is getting her hair colored at Root 66, she's stunned to witness the County Services office next door suddenly go up in flames. Concerned neighbors throng the streets, and the fire department does their best. Unfortunately, their best isn't enough to save longtime civil service worker--and friend to the Cackleberry Club--Hannah Venable.

Soon enough, it's discovered that an accelerant was used to fan the flames. Someone set the fire on purpose--was Hannah the intended victim? Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to smoke out the culprit.

Unfortunately, the list of suspects is as varied as the Cackleberry Club's menu. When Suzanne finds a possible connection between the fire and the nearby Prairie Star Casino, she comes to realize that the arsonist wanted something very big and bad kept secret. And if the ladies aren't careful, they may be the ones gambling with their lives. (Source: Berkley)

Spell Booked (Retired Witches Mysteries) by Joyce and Jim Lavene (Berkley 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler's Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade--leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package.

Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can't fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.

They've barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they're going to need more than magic up their sleeves.

(Source: Berkley)

Suspicion at Seven: A Lois Meade Mystery by Ann Purser (Berkley 02 December 2014 / $25.95) - Product Description: Lois Meade has done enough buffing and polishing over the years with her cleaning business, New Brooms, to know that all that glitters is not gold. So when a bag of costume jewelery is the main clue in a murder, she has a strong suspicion that appearances may be deceiving.

After a woman is discovered in the Mill House Hotel, strangled with a silver necklace beside a bag filled with faux silver, gold, and pearls, costume jewelry dealer Donald Black seems like the obvious suspect. But Lois knows Donald's wife, who runs a baker's shop near the hotel, and can't believe her husband could be a killer. Plus, Donald has an airtight alibi.

Nevertheless, Donald is no angel. It appears he's running a pyramid scheme, and Lois's mother is getting sucked in. Could the murder have anything to do with his unscrupulous business practices?

As Inspector Cowgill and Lois hope the bling may shine a light on the killer, the discovery of a second body on the old waterwheel in the hotel may be grist for the mill in solving the murder--if they can manage to catch the culprit without getting the runaround. (Source: Berkley)

The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer (Paws and Claws) by Krista Davis (Berkley 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Wagtail, Virginia, the top pet-friendly getaway in the United States, is gearing up for a howling good Halloween--until a spooky murder shakes the town to its core.

Holly Miller doesn't believe in spirits, but the Sugar Maple Inn is filled with guests who do. The TV series in development, Apparition Apprehenders, has descended on Wagtail's annual Halloween festivities to investigate supernatural local legends, and Holly has her hands full showing the ghost hunters a scary-fun time.

But the frights turn real when Holly's Jack Russell, Trixie, and kitten, Twinkletoes, find a young woman drowned in the Wagtail Springs Hotel's bathhouse--the spot of the town's most infamous haunting. The crime scene is eerily similar to the creepy legend, convincing Holly that the death wasn't just accidental. Now she'll have to race to catch a flesh-and-blood killer--before someone else in town gives up the ghost. (Source: Berkley)

CreateSpace

The Someday File (Deuce Mora Series) (Volume 1) by Jean Heller (CreateSpace 08 December 2014 / $14.99) - Product Description: What happens when the profession you've known all your adult life threatens to kill you, yet suffocating guilt and insatiable curiosity won't let you walk away? That's pretty much what happens to Deuce Mora, a columnist for the Chicago Journal, a big-city newspaper struggling to stay solvent in a world that seems to have outgrown newspapers and left them in ruin. What Deuce digs out of her "ideas" file is something that should be, at best, a human-interest story. The tale of an aging, low-level Chicago mobster living on beer, bourbon, and regret for the one mistake in his life that cost him everything. Deuce finds him in a Cicero bar late one afternoon, already drunk and resolute in his determination not to talk to her. Afraid for his safety in the boozy world he inhabits, Deuce gives him a ride home and thus seals his brutal fate. She is left with more guilt than she can shoulder, more curiosity than she can ignore, and in more danger than she can imagine. The mobster's final words to her shove her into a world of political and criminal intrigue and confront her with a horrific crime more than 50 years old that she will either solve or die in the trying.

(Source: CreateSpace)

Five Star

Murder by Gravity: The Coffin Quilt by Barbara Graham (Five Star 17 December 2014 / $25.95) - From publicity material: Snow before Halloween shocks the residents of tiny Park County, Tennessee. While dealing with a multitude of minor issues, Sheriff Tony Abernathy is contacted by a charter pilot who claims his passenger jumped, without a parachute, into the most remote spot in the county. After riding mules into the wilderness to collect the body, Tony and his deputy must travel to North Carolina, in a blizzard, to notify the widow.

Tony's wife, Theo, is shocked to see a woman at the grocery store with a knife embedded in her back. Then a priceless quilt is stolen.

As the sheriff, Tony hates Halloween. Even so he never expected a valuable coffin, and the body inside to go missing. (see review)

Raven Heights Manor by Sharol Louise (Five Star 17 December 2014 / $25.95) - From publicity material: In the late 18th century, on the desolate northern coast of Cornwall, ancient Raven Heights Manor perches like its namesake, its claws buried tenuously in the crags of the cliff. When orphaned Claire Temple is summoned to live with her uncle at Raven Heights Manor, the uncle she has yet to meet is absent and she is left alone with the housekeeper and staff.

The cliff walk is forbidden, as a young woman recently fell to her death. The inquest determined it was an accident. But once Claire discovers the first cryptic clue hidden by the victim in fear of death, Claire is not so sure. She is determined to solve the string of puzzles and learn the secrets buried at Raven Heights.

(Source: Five Star)

Show Me the Gold by Carolyn Mulford (Five Star 17 December 2014 / $25.95) - From publicity material: Staking out a country graveyard to catch vandals, ex-spy Phoenix Smith and Acting Sheriff Annalynn Keyser respond to a neighboring county's urgent call. The old friends block an exit from an abandoned farmhouse where four bank robbers were spotted. The women engage in a fatal shootout, but two gang members escape. Achilles, Phoenix's K-9 dropout, can't sniff out a trail but smells a trap set to kill pursuers.

The FBI takes over the case but fails to find the fugitives or the gold coins they stole. Agents suspect Phoenix knows where the gold is. So do the elusive robbers. Phoenix must adapt her tradecraft to protect herself and others and to follow threads leading to the gang and the gold.

(see review)

Forge Books

You Know Who Killed Me (Amos Walker Novels) by Loren D. Estleman (Forge Books 09 December 2014 / $24.99) - Product Description: In You Know Who Killed Me, by multiple award-winning author Loren D. Estleman, Amos Walker is at low ebb. Just released from a rehab clinic, the Detroit private detective has to marshal his energies to help solve a murder in Iroquois Heights, his least favorite town.

The area is flooded with billboards rented by the widow of Donald Gates, an ordinary suburbanite found shot to death in his basement on New Year's Eve: "YOU KNOW WHO KILLED ME!" they read, above the number of the sheriff's tip line. Complicating matters is a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the murderer, offered by an anonymous donor through the dead man's place of worship.

Initially hired by the sheriff's department to run down anonymous tips, Walker investigates further. The trail leads to former fellow employee Yuri Yako, a Ukrainian mobster, relocated to the area through the U.S. Marshals' Witness Protection Program.

Shadowed by government operatives, at odds with the sheriff, and struggling with his addiction, Walker soldiers on, in spite of bodies piling up and the fact that almost everyone involved with the case is lying to him.

(Source: Forge Books)

Gallic Books

Memory of Flames (The Napoleonic Murders) by Armand Cabasson (Gallic Books 16 December 2014 / $15.95) - Product Description: March 1814. With the allied armies of Russia, Austria, and Prussia advancing, Paris is in real danger of falling to occupying forces for the first time in four-hundred years.

In the final installment of The Napoleonic Murders series, Armand Cabasson creates a gripping and totally convincing narrative.

Minotaur Books

Bad Wolf: A Novel (Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein) by Nele Neuhaus (Minotaur Books 30 December 2014 / $16.99) - Product Description: On a hot June day, the body of a sixteen-year-old girl washes up on a riverbank outside of Frankfurt. She has been brutally murdered and shows signs of long-term abuse, but no one comes forward with any information as to her identity. Even weeks later, the local police have not been able to find out who she is. Then a new case comes in: A popular television host is attacked, raped, and locked in the trunk of her own car. She survives, barely, and is able to supply only vague hints to the police, having to do with her recent investigations into an organization whose members are from the highest echelons of society, and the potential uncovering of a shocking history they'd prefer to keep from the public eye. As the two cases collide, Inspectors Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein dig deep into the past and underneath the veneer of bourgeois society to come up against a terrible secret that is about to impact their personal lives as well. It is almost too late for a person very close to Pia before she and Oliver finally track down the big bad wolf....

In Nele Neuhaus's second U.S. publication of her enormously popular series, tensions run high both inside and outside police headquarters, and a complex and unpredictable plot propels her characters forward at breakneck speed. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Blood Rubies: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery by Jane K. Cleland (Minotaur Books 02 December 2014 / $25.99) - Product Description: Ana Yartsin is on the verge of becoming a celebrity chef. Her custom Fabergé egg-shaped cakes have brought her national attention, as has the story behind the cakes: Her family owns the spectacular Fabergé Spring Egg snow globe, a magnificent example of the master craftsman's work that includes five ruby-red tulips. As she prepares to be filmed for a reality TV show about the launch of her bakery in Rocky Point, New Hampshire, Ana hires antiques expert Josie Prescott to appraise the precious egg and snow globe.

The show's pilot will show Ana planning the desserts for the upcoming wedding of her friend Heather to investment guru, Jason. When Josie arrives at Ana's home, however, she finds Jason murdered and the priceless snow globe smashed beyond repair. All that remains for Josie to examine are bits and pieces--which to her shock reveal that the Spring Egg was a fake.

What has happened to the real Fabergé snow globe, if it even existed? And what does that have to do with Jason's murder? Never one to resist a puzzle, Josie teams up with her reporter friend Wes to investigate. (Source: Minotaur Books)

Death of Riley (Molly Murphy) by Rhys Bowen (Minotaur Books 09 December 2014 / $14.99) - Product Description: Molly Murphy has finally begun to forget the unpleasant murder of a would-be rapist back in Ireland, not to mention her investigation into the murder of a fellow recent Irish immigrant, and is finally free to begin her life in New York City. Given her experiences so far in the New World, Molly has decided that her first order of business is to become a private investigator, a people finder of sorts, working for families in Europe who've lost touch with relatives in America. Not only might this put some food on her table, but her second order of business is to hook the handsome NYPD police captain Daniel Sullivan, and she envisions lots of opportunities to "seek his counsel" in her new profession.

Paddy Riley is a tough old Cockney P.I. who specializes in divorce work, and with a little persuasion he's ready to take on Molly as an apprentice. It's not exactly what she imagined, but she plans to make the most of it. That is, until she comes in to work one day to find her new world turned upside down and all expectations for her professional life suddenly up in the air.

Before long, Molly has set off on a journey that will take her through the back alleys of Manhattan and into the bars and lounges of the literary scene, where she spends time with writers, actors, poets, and musicians. It's quite an eye-opening turn for innocent young Molly, but she's resolute in her decision to find out exactly what happened that day in the office of Paddy Riley. Armed with nothing more than her fiery will and matching wild red hair, Molly has no idea of the danger her pursuit may bring in this fascinating, well-researched, and suspenseful second novel in Rhys Bowen's Agatha-award winning series.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Perfect Sins by Jo Bannister (Minotaur Books 09 December 2014 / $25.99) - Product Description: Four years ago, Gabriel Ash was working with the British government investigating hijackings in Somalia. But when his wife and sons disappeared, presumably taken--and probably killed--by pirates, his life fell apart. He has sudden reason to hope when a senior policeman suggests that his sons might still be alive--until that policeman is murdered. Still, there seems to be some link to a local operation, and Ash, no longer a government agent, is determined to find it.

Meanwhile, his friend Hazel Best has been having a tough time of her own. A police constable whose last case ended with her shooting someone dead, she is just beginning to regain her balance. Hazel and Ash are both beginning to take more of an interest in the outside world, when a neighboring archaeologist decides to dig up a curious mound of earth near the ice house on his land. It might be a burial mound, he thinks. It is, but not the ancient one he expects; it holds the bones of a little boy from perhaps thirty years ago, carefully laid to rest with twentieth-century toys. As Hazel is slowly drawn back into police work, Ash finds himself under threat from someone who must think his investigation into his family's disappearance is finally getting somewhere.

(see review)

The Big Finish (Thorn) by James W. Hall (Minotaur Books 02 December 2014 / $25.99) - Product Description: A year ago Thorn's son, Flynn Moss, disappeared into the eco-underground, his only contact with Thorn a series of postcards chronicling his exploits. But a postcard arrives unlike the others, a call for help, Thorn jumps into action, setting off for North Carolina. But before Thorn arrives, he's intercepted by a federal agent who informs him he's too late--Flynn had been acting as an informant for the FBI, and when his traitorous acts were discovered, he was summarily executed.

The agent proposes a scheme to catch Flynn's killer using Thorn as bait. Thorn, full of rage, accepts the job if only to get his hands on his son's killer.  The mission takes him to a small town where the gang is holed up, planning an attack on a hog farming operation that has been polluting local rivers and spreading illness through the area.

Little by little Thorn discovers that nothing he's been told is true, and the trap they're setting isn't for Flynn's killer, but for his partner, a woman who proves more daring and dangerous than any Thorn's ever met. She's on her own crusade of vengeance, and she and Thorn make an uneasy alliance. With her help Thorn uncovers a conspiracy that stretches far beyond this small Carolina town.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Thief (Robin Monarch) by Mark Sullivan (Minotaur Books 16 December 2014 / $26.99) - Product Description: Robin Monarch is a man with a complicated past and dangerous present.  He's been a soldier, a CIA agent, a freelance operative but first and foremost, Robin Monarch is a thief of the highest order. Orphaned at twelve, Monarch originally stole for survival, then he stole for his friends and cohorts, now he steals to order, and to give back to the to the woman who saved his life many years ago.

With the help of his team, Monarch breaks into the legendary Christmas party of Beau Arsenault, a shady investor and behind-the-scenes player at the very highest levels of power politics. Arsenault is not above bending or breaking the rules if there's illicit profit to be made. Monarch has decided that those illicit profits will be better used to take care of orphans and street kids. Using the party as cover to break into Arsenault's secret vaults, Monarch comes away with two unexpected things. One is a bullet--he gets shot when he's caught trying to escape with tens of millions of negotiable instruments. The second is a lead on what might be his most audacious exploit ever.  A previously undiscovered tribe in South America may well have the secret to the most sought after knowledge in history—that of eternal life. And Robin Monarch must use all his skills—as an operative, as a thief--to keep this secret from falling into the worst possible hands. (see review)

Poisoned Pen Press

The Wolf and the Lamb: A Jerusalem Mystery by Frederick Ramsay (Poisoned Pen Press 02 December 2014 / $24.95) - Product Description: It's Passover. Gamaliel and his physician friend, Loukas, are crime-solving a third time—reluctantly. Pontius Pilate has been accused of murder. He denies the crime. If convicted, he might escape death but would be removed from Judea. Those rejoicing urge the Rabban to mind his own business. But Gamaliel is a just man which is, as Pilate says to him, "your weakness and also your strength." Knowing that exonerating the Roman could cost him his position, possibly his life, Gamaliel, as would Sherlock Holmes centuries later, examines evidence and sorts through tangled threads, teasing out suspects who include assassins, Roman nobles, Pilate's wife, rogue legionnaires, slaves, servants, thespians, and a race horse named Pegasus. Unusually, justice triumphs over enmity. Gamaliel is satisfied, High Priest Caiaphas is irate, Loukas accepts an apprentice from Tarsus, and few notice the events of what will later be known as Easter. Ramsay's plausible narrative answers some questions which have puzzled Biblical scholars for centuries. Why did Pilate hear the case against Jesus? Why invent prisoner be released at Passover? Having done so, why offer the most terrifying criminal in the country, Barabbas, as the substitute for Jesus when two better, less dangerous prisoners were at hand? And we ask, why could Caiaphas not heed Gamaliel's warnings not to martyr the man? (Source: Poisoned Pen Press)

Signet

Death With All the Trimmings (Key West Food Critic) by Lucy Burdette (Signet 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: The only snow in Key West this Christmas is Hayley Snow, food critic for Key Zest magazine, who is not getting time off for the holiday...or time off from murder.

It may be Christmastime, but thoughts of peace on earth, good will toward men, don't seem to extend to the restaurant biz. Hayley has been assigned to interview Edel Waugh, chef/owner of Key West's hottest new restaurant. But off the record, Edel reveals someone's sabotaging her kitchen and asks Hayley to investigate.

Things heat up fast when the restaurant is set on fire--and a body is discovered in the charred wreckage. Is someone out to destroy the chef's business--or actually kill her? Amid holiday festivities like the lighted boat parade and visiting relatives who stir up mixed emotions, Hayley needs to smoke out an arsonist and a killer who may turn up the heat on her next. (Includes recipes.) (Source: Signet)

Keeper of the Castle: A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery by Juliet Blackwell (Signet 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: In the latest Haunted Home Renovation mystery from New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell, San Francisco contractor--and reluctant ghostbuster--Mel Turner gets hired for a job that's to die for.

Lately, Mel has been worried about finding enough historic renovation work to pay the bills. But while Turner Construction is in need of a project, Mel's boyfriend, Graham, has his hands full managing the reconstruction of an ancient building shipped over from Scotland.

With the job plagued by rumors that the stones are cursed, Graham brings in Mel to look for paranormal activity. And while the ghost of a charming Scottish clansman does seem to be hanging around the site, the real shock comes when they stumble upon a body.

When the original construction crew starts running scared, Mel brings in her team to finish the job. Now all she has to do is nail down the killer, and put the spirits to rest, before anyone else winds up heading for the highlands. (Source: Signet)

Mr. Monk Is Open For Business by Hy Conrad (Signet 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Book Description: Monk returns to San Francisco to find that Natalie has made their partnership official by opening an office for Monk and Teeger, Consulting detectives. As they try to iron out the many wrinkles in their new routine, Monk and Natalie are thrown into a case when a disgruntled employee brings a gun to work, killing several hostages. But when the shooter manages to disappear -- erasing all traces of his past as well -- Monk and Natalie are left with a baffling case on their hands. (Source: Signet)

Murder, Served Simply (Amish Quilt Shop) by Isabella Alan (Signet 02 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: Amish quilt shop owner Angie Braddock has a lot on her plate this Christmas. But things only get worse after someone develops a taste for murder.

Angie's parents are visiting Rolling Brook for Christmas--but unfortunately, her ex is joining them. Luckily, Angie has no time to dwell on her romantic troubles as she prepares her store, Running Stitch, for the town's traditional progressive dinner, featuring a sleigh ride stopping at each shop for a different course of the meal.

The meal ends with an Amish-themed Christmas play at the Swiss Valley Hotel and Barn. But the performance is cut short when an actress falls from the scaffolding to her death. After the sheriff suspects foul play, tensions between the Amish and Englisch heat up, as do rivalries among the acting troupe. Now Angie and her quilting circle must stitch together clues before they're the ones running for cover. (Includes quilting tips.) (Source: Signet)

Signet Select

Checkmate: The Bowers Files by Steven James (Signet Select 02 December 2014 / $9.99) - Product Description: When a clandestine FBI facility is attacked, Special Agent Patrick Bowers is drawn into the vicious, ruthless story that a killer from his past is bent on telling the world.

Clues lead to long-forgotten secrets buried deep beneath Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Now Bowers is caught up in trying to stop one of the deadliest attacks ever planned on American soil.

Smart, tense, and full of mind-bending twists and turns, Checkmate explodes onto the scene, bringing this cycle of the Bowers Files to an unforgettable conclusion. (Source: Signet Select)

Soho Crime

Enter Pale Death (Detective Joe Sandilands) by Barbara Cleverly (Soho Crime 02 December 2014 / $26.95) - Product Description: One morning before dawn at her regal country estate, Lady Lavinia Truelove is crushed to death by a horse. Classified as "death by misadventure", this appears a gruesome accident, but Scotland Yard Detective Joe Sandilands suspects foul play--a misgiving he is struggling to separate from his personal grievances toward Sir James Truelove, who is Lady Lavinia's widower and the influential academic patron of Dorcas Joliffe, whom Joe one day hopes to marry. As Joe's investigation yields surprising secrets about one of England's most powerful families, he discovers how little he knew about not only the gilded lives of the moneyed, but also about his relationship with Dorcas. Is Joe prepared to risk a future with the girl he loves to uncover the truth behind Lady Truelove's death? (Source: Soho Crime)

The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison (Soho Crime 30 December 2014 / $26.95) - Product Description: In the predominantly Mormon city of Draper, Utah, some seemingly perfect families have deadly secrets. Inspired by an actual crime and written by a practicing Mormon, The Bishop's Wife is both a fascinating look at the lives of modern Mormons as well as a grim and cunningly twisted mystery.

Linda Wallheim is the mother of five grown boys and the wife of a Mormon bishop. As bishop, Kurt Wallheim is the ward's designated spiritual father, and that makes Linda the ward's unofficial mother, and her days are filled with comfort visits, community service, and informal counseling.

But Linda is increasingly troubled by the church's patriarchal structure and secrecy, especially as a disturbing situation takes shape in the ward. One cold winter morning, a neighbor, Jared Helm, appears on the Wallheims' doorstep with his 5-year-old daughter, claiming that his wife, Carrie, disappeared in the middle of the night, leaving behind everything she owns. The circumstances surrounding Carrie's disappearance become more suspicious the more Linda learns about them, and she becomes convinced that Jared has murdered his wife and painted himself as an abandoned husband.

Kurt asks Linda not to get involved in the unfolding family saga, but she has become obsessed with Carrie's fate, and with the well-being of her vulnerable young daughter. She cannot let the matter rest until she finds out the truth. Is she wrong to go against her husband, the bishop, when her inner convictions are so strong? (Source: Soho Crime)

St. Martin's

Meet Your Baker (Bakeshop) by Ellie Alexander (St. Martin's 30 December 2014 / $7.99) - Product Description: After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte's customers turns up dead, there's much ado about murder…

The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival's newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her…but still. The silver lining? Jules's high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can't help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all…

(Source: St. Martin's)

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