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US Books Received- 01/2015  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

All the President's Menus (A White House Chef Mystery) by Julie Hyzy (Berkley 06 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: It's an old adage that too many cooks spoil the broth. But when a tour of the White House kitchen by a group of foreign chefs ends in murder, it's Olivia Paras who finds herself in the soup...

Due to a government sequester, entertaining at the White House has been severely curtailed. So executive chef Olivia Paras is delighted to hear that plans are still on to welcome a presidential candidate from the country of Saardisca--the first woman to run for office--and four of that nation's top chefs.

But while leading the chefs on a kitchen tour, pastry chef Marcel passes out suddenly--and later claims he was drugged. When one of the visiting chefs collapses and dies, it's clear someone has infiltrated the White House with ill intent. Could it be an anti-Saardiscan zealot? Is the candidate a target? Are the foreign chefs keeping more than their recipes a secret? Once again, Olivia must make sleuthing the special of the day. (see review)

Arsenic and Old Books (Cat in the Stacks) by Miranda James (Berkley 27 January 2015 / $25.95) - Product Description: In Athena, Mississippi, librarian Charlie Harris is known for his good nature--and for his Maine coon cat Diesel that he walks on a leash. Charlie returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but taking the plunge into a recent acquisition will have him in over his head.

Lucinda Beckwith Long, the mayor of Athena, has donated a set of Civil War-era diaries to the archives of Athena College. The books were recently discovered among the personal effects of an ancestor of Mrs. Long's husband. The mayor would like Charlie to preserve and to substantiate them as a part of the Long family legacy--something that could benefit her son, Beck, as he prepares to campaign for the state senate.

Beck's biggest rival is Jasper Singletary. His Southern roots are as deep as Beck's, and their families have been bitter enemies since the Civil War. Jasper claims the Long clan has a history of underhanded behavior at the expense of the Singletarys. He'd like to get a look at the diaries in an attempt to expose the Long family's past sins. Meanwhile, a history professor at the college is also determined to get her hands on the books in a last-ditch bid for tenure. But their interest suddenly turns deadly.

Now Charlie is left with a catalog of questions. The diaries seem worth killing for, and one thing is certain: Charlie will need to be careful, because the more he reads, the closer he could be coming to his final chapter.

(Source: Berkley)

Feta Attraction (Greek to Me) by Susannah Hardy (Berkley 06 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: The first mystery in a new series overflowing with Greek flavor.

Georgie Nikolopatos manages the Bonaparte House, a Greek restaurant and historic landmark in beautiful upstate New York rumored to possess ghosts and hidden treasure. But when her husband disappears and her main competitor is found dead, it's up to Georgie to solve a big fat Greek murder.

With her husband, Spiro, inexplicably gone for days, Georgie has her hands full running the restaurant and dealing with the crew of the TV show Ghost Squad, called in by Spiro to inspect the house for haunting. So when she has a chance to take a boating excursion on the St. Lawrence River with her friend Keith Morgan, she jumps on it. But their idyll is quickly ruined when they discover the body of rival restaurant owner Domenic "Big Dom" DiTomasso floating in the water.

When the police start asking questions, it doesn't help that Spiro can't be found--and with Georgie on their suspect list, it's up to her to find her missing husband and find out who killed Big Dom before someone else's order is up. (Includes delicious Greek recipes!) (Source: Berkley)

For Whom the Bluebell Tolls (A Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery) by Beverly Allen (Berkley 06 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Florist Audrey Bloom, co-owner of the Rose in Bloom, creates fragrant bouquets for brides. But when a wedding goes fatally wrong, it's up to Audrey to sniff out a killer.

Everything is coming up roses for Audrey when her dazzling creations are picked to be featured on a wedding reality show. The hot series is filming an episode about a bride who's bonkers for bells, and Audrey's bouquets of campanulas, calla lilies, and Bells-of-Ireland are perfect for the bridal theme.

But Audrey's debut quickly becomes a hothouse of trouble. Her ex, Brad, shows up as a crew member on the show, threatening her blossoming relationship with Nick the baker. To make matters worse, when one of the show's hosts is found dead in the bell tower of a historic church, all the evidence points toward Brad.

Now Audrey needs to weed out the real killer before someone else's chance at stardom is permanently nipped in the bud. (Source: Berkley)

Ghost in the Guacamole (Ghost of Granny Apples) by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Berkley 06 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: When two sisters feud over the family business, medium Emma Whitecastle doesn't need a Ouija board to know it spells trouble. But with a little help from the spirited ghost of Granny Apples, she may be able to solve one murder and prevent another.

Sisters Lucinda and Ricarda Ricardo--better known as Lucy and Rikki--are at each other's throats over the family business, Roble Foods. Lucy wants to sell and Rikki is against it. Rikki asks Emma to contact their deceased father, Felix, to help her convince Lucy not to sell.

But the ghost of Felix Ricardo has his own bombshell to drop--his death was not an accident, and Rikki's life may be in danger if the girls don't sell. Now it's up to Emma and Granny Apples to chip away at the mystery and stop a killer from double dipping in death. (Source: Berkley)

In Hot Water (A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade) by J.J. Cook (Berkley 06 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, has the world's hottest and sweetest peppers--as well as a ghost that cooks and a fire chief who fights crime.

Stella Griffin should be bubbling over with joy now that she's the full-time fire chief of Sweet Pepper, except trouble is brewing on her doorstep. An angry resident has purchased her cabin, and--with a bulldozer in tow--is ready to tear it down. But as Stella worries over the fate of her home and Eric, her ghostly roommate, there's soon an even greater cause for alarm.

A suspicious house fire in the pricey Sunset Beach community at Sweet Pepper Lake claims the life of ex-state representative Barney Falk. The nature of the death has Stella feeling out of her depth, so she teams up with the state's arson investigator. Moving full steam ahead with the case, they must smoke out a killer before the firebug strikes again. (Includes recipes.) (Source: Berkley)

Lie of the Needle (A Deadly Notions Mystery) by Cate Price (Berkley 06 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: As the owner of Sometimes a Great Notion, a shop specializing in vintage sewing notions and antique treasures, Daisy Buchanan is a strong advocate of preserving the past. But when a killer strikes, she turns her attention to saving lives.

Talk about a great notion! As a fund-raiser to save a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse and stop an ambitious developer, the ladies of the Historical Society of Millbury, Pennsylvania, are producing a Hunky Men of Millbury calendar. Daisy is delighted to lend her support, and the female population of the village is abuzz with anticipation.

But after Daisy's close friend Cyril doesn't show up for his photo shoot and the calendar photographer is found dead, it's beginning to look like the days may be numbered for the men of Millbury. Can a cryptic verse on an antique sampler help Daisy pin down the killer before another pinup runs out of time? (Includes creative tips for vintage notions!) (Source: Berkley)

Snoop to Nuts (Nut House Mystery) by Elizabeth Lee (Berkley 06 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Lindy Blanchard's family pecan farm is known county-wide, but it's the goodies her grandmother sells at their store, the Nut House, that really bring in the crowds--until someone turns one of her tasty treats deadly.

The "Most Original Pecan Treat" contest at the Ag Fair is the talk of Riverville, Texas, especially when it's clear that Miss Amelia Blanchard's Heavenly Texas Pecan Caviar will take home a blue ribbon. Which is why everyone is amazed when her dish doesn't even place--and even more shocked when one of the judges, Pastor Jenkins, keels over dead, right after taking a second taste of Miss Amelia's food.

No one in town truly believes that Amelia would even hurt a fly, but all the evidence points to poor Pastor Jenkins' death being caused by poison in the caviar. Now, unless Lindy figures out who wanted to frame Amelia for murder, her meemaw may have baked her last famous pecan pie. (Source: Berkley)

Snow Way Out (Snow Globe Shop) by Christine Husom (Berkley 06 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Curio shop manager Camryn Brooks thought she'd seen every kind of snow globe--until she saw one depicting a crime scene.

Ever since she was a child, Cami has loved the sparkling beauty of snow globes, and now, she sells them. In fact, they're so popular, Cami and her friend--coffee shop owner Alice "Pinky" Nelson--are hosting a snow globe making class.

After the flurry of activity has ended and everyone has gone off with their own handmade snow globes, Cami spots a new globe left behind on a shelf, featuring an odd tableau--a man sleeping on a park bench.

On her way home, she drifts through the town park and is shaken to come upon the scene from the globe--a man sitting on a bench. But he isn't sleeping--he has a knife in his back. When the police arrive, it's clear they consider Cami a little flaky and possibly a suspect. After her friends also come under suspicion, Cami starts plowing through clues to find the cold-blooded backstabber--before someone else gets iced. (Snow globe making projects and tips included!)

(Source: Berkley)

Bitter Lemon Press

Behind God's Back (An Ariel Kafka Mystery) by Harri Nykanen (Bitter Lemon Press 01 February 2015 / $14.95) - Product Description: There are two Jewish cops in all of Helsinki. One of them, Ariel Kafka, a lieutenant in the Violent Crime Unit, identifies himself as a policeman first, then a Finn, and lastly a Jew. Kafka is a religiously non-observant forty-something bachelor who is such a stubborn, dedicated policeman that he's willing to risk his career to get an answer. Murky circumstances surround his investigation of a Jewish businessman's murder. Neo-Nazi violence, intergenerational intrigue, shady loans—predictable lines of investigation lead to unpredictable culprits. But a second killing strikes closer to home, and the Finnish Security Police come knocking. The tentacles of Israeli politics and Mossad reach surprisingly far, once again wrapping Kafka in their sticky embrace. (Source: Bitter Lemon Press)

Delacorte Press

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce) by Alan Bradley (Delacorte Press 06 January 2015 / $25.00) - Product Description: Banished! is how twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce laments her predicament, when her father and Aunt Felicity ship her off to Miss Bodycote's Female Academy, the boarding school that her mother, Harriet, once attended across the sea in Canada. The sun has not yet risen on Flavia's first day in captivity when a gift lands at her feet. Flavia being Flavia, a budding chemist and sleuth, that gift is a charred and mummified body, which tumbles out of a bedroom chimney. Now, while attending classes, making friends (and enemies), and assessing the school's stern headmistress and faculty (one of whom is an acquitted murderess), Flavia is on the hunt for the victim's identity and time of death, as well as suspects, motives, and means. Rumors swirl that Miss Bodycote's is haunted, and that several girls have disappeared without a trace. When it comes to solving multiple mysteries, Flavia is up to the task—but her true destiny has yet to be revealed.
(see review)

Five Star

The Reckoning by James Patrick Hunt (Five Star 07 January 2015 / $25.95) - From publicity material: Tracy Coughlin is a nurse and a mother. She lost her husband in the Iraq war and for reasons she doesn't even understand holds her father-in-law responsible for it.

Lee Coughlin is a proud man and a quite one. He too grieves the loss of Tracy's husband and his son, but he can't bring himself to discuss it with Tracy.

Tracy, her son, and Lee are all taken captive by three escaped convicts. They're going to have to find the strength and courage to bind together to survive.

(Source: Five Star)

Forge Books

Moonlight Water by Win Blevins and Meredith Blevins (Forge Books 13 January 2015 / $25.99) - Product Description: Robbie, a San Francisco area musician, half burned out on his career, is blind-sided by his wife's miscarriage and a painful divorce. Devastated, he has a visionary experience which tantalizes him with the possibility of an entirely new life.

He sets out to wander America by car to find what his money couldn't buy. Robbie stumbles upon his new life in an unlikely place, among the Navajos. There, he falls in love with a ranger and helps her track down looters that are threatening area artifacts, becomes welcomed into the community, and finds the most valuable artifact of all...himself.

(Source: Forge Books)

Retribution (McGarvey) by David Hagberg (Forge Books 06 January 2015 / $25.99) - Product Description: David Hagberg's New York Times bestselling Kirk McGarvey series continues in Retribution, with a deadly mission to take down a monstrous serial killer.

On May 1, 2011, a team of twenty-four members of US SEAL Team Six swooped down on the compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Their mission, code-named Neptune Spear, was to find and kill the terrorist leader. The mission was a success.

Since that day, elements of the government of Pakistan have harbored a deep hatred for the SEALs who violated their sovereign territory. Now they've hired a team of German assassins to kill all twenty-four of the ST6 operators…and only one man stands a chance of stopping them: legendary former Director of the CIA Kirk McGarvey.

(Source: Forge Books)

The Body Snatchers Affair (Carpenter and Quincannon) by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini (Forge Books 06 January 2015 / $25.99) - Product Description: The Body Snatchers Affair: The latest in the Carpenter and Quincannon historical mystery series from Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini.

Two missing bodies and two separate investigations take Carpenter and Quincannon from the heights above San Francisco Bay to the depths of Chinatown's opium dens.

For John Quincannon, this is a first: searching a Chinatown opium den for his client's husband, missing in the middle of a brewing tong war set to ignite over the stolen corpse of Bing Ah Kee.

Meanwhile, his partner, Sabina Carpenter, unsure of the dark secrets her suitor might be concealing, searches for the corpse of a millionaire, stolen from a sealed family crypt and currently being held for ransom.

With the threat of a tong war hanging over the city (a war perhaps being spurred on by corrupt officials), Carpenter and Quincannon have no time to lose in solving their cases. Is there a connection between the two body snatchers? Or is simple greed the answer to this one?

And why is the enigmatic Englishman who calls himself Sherlock Holmes watching so carefully from the shadows?

(Source: Forge Books)

Grosset & Dunlap

The Cafe Mystery #4 (The Whodunit Detective Agency) by Martin Widmark (Grosset & Dunlap 22 January 2015 / $13.99) - Product Description: Jerry and Maya, classmates and best friends, are on the case again and ready to solve the latest caper in this international best-selling series.

A robber has struck at Cafe Marzipan, Pleasant Valley's best bakery, three times in the past year! And as usual, the police chief has no clue as to who the clever culprit might be. Once again, he calls upon the super sleuthing skills of best friends Jerry and Maya to help him catch the tricky thief. Will they be able to look past the muffins, croissants, and tarts and catch the robber?

(Source: Grosset & Dunlap)

The Circus Mystery #3 (The Whodunit Detective Agency) by Martin Widmark (Grosset & Dunlap 22 January 2015 / $13.99) - Product Description: Jerry and Maya, classmates and best friends, are on the case again and ready to solve the latest caper in this international best-selling series.

Circus Splendido has come to Pleasant Valley! But so have pickpockets who are stealing wallets, cell phones, and jewelry from the audience as they watch the performers under the big top. Once again, the police chief asks Jerry and Maya to help him collect clues and sniff out suspects. Will the friends be able to crack the latest caper in town?

(Source: Grosset & Dunlap)

Minotaur Books

City of Darkness and Light (Molly Murphy) by Rhys Bowen (Minotaur Books 20 January 2015 / $15.99) - Product Description: Molly and Daniel Sullivan are settling happily into the new routines of parenthood, but their domestic bliss is shattered the night a gang retaliates against Daniel for making a big arrest. Daniel wants his family safely out of New York City as soon as possible. In shock and grieving, but knowing she needs to protect their infant son Liam, Molly agrees to take him on the long journey to Paris to stay with her friends Sid and Gus, who are studying art in the City of Light.

But upon arriving in Paris, nothing goes as planned. Sid and Gus seem to have vanished into thin air, and Molly's search to figure out what happened to them will lead her through all levels of Parisian society, from extravagant salons to the dingy cafes where starving artists linger over coffee and loud philosophical debates. And when in the course of her search she stumbles across a dead body, Molly, on her own in a foreign country, starts to wonder if she and Liam might be in even more danger in Paris than they had been at home.

As Impressionism gives way to Fauvism and Cubism, and the Dreyfus affair rocks France, Molly races through Paris to outsmart a killer in City of Darkness and Light, Rhys Bowen's most spectacular Molly Murphy novel yet.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Dead Red (Raymond Donne) by Tim O'Mara (Minotaur Books 20 January 2015 / $26.99) - Product Description: New York City school teacher Raymond Donne has no idea how bad his night is going to get when he picks up the phone. Ricky Torres, his old friend from his days as a cop, needs Ray's help, and he needs it right now--in the middle of the night. Ricky picks Ray up in the taxi he's been driving since returning from serving as a marine in Iraq, but before Ricky can tell Ray what's going on, the windows of the taxi explode under a hail of bullets killing Ricky and knocking Ray unconscious as he dives to pull his friend out of harm's way.

Ray would've done anything to help Ricky out while he was alive. Now that he's dead, he'll go to the same lengths to find out who did it and why. All he has to go on is that Ricky was working with Jack Knight, Ray's old nemesis, another ex-cop turned PI. They were investigating the disappearance of a PR giant's daughter who had ties to the same Brooklyn streets that all three of them used to work. Is that what got Ricky killed or was he into something even more dangerous? Was there anything that Ray could've done for him while he was alive? Is there anything he can do for him now?

Filled with the kinds of unexpected twists that make for the best crime fiction, and with secrets that run far deeper than loyalties, Dead Red is the most thrilling mystery yet in Tim O'Mara's widely acclaimed series.

(see review)

Fear the Darkness (Brigid Quinn Series) by Becky Masterman (Minotaur Books 20 January 2015 / $25.99) - Product Description: Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn has seen more than her share of psychopaths. She is ready to put all that behind her, building a new life in Tucson with a husband, friends, and some nice quiet work as a private investigator. Sure, she could still kill a man half her age, but she now gets her martial arts practice by teaching self-defense at a women's shelter.

But sometimes it isn't that simple. When her sister-in-law dies, Brigid take in her seventeen-year-old niece, Gemma Kate. There has always been something unsettling about Gemma Kate, but family is family. Which is fine, until Gemma Kate starts taking an unhealthy interest in dissecting the local wildlife.

Meanwhile, Brigid agrees to help a local couple by investigating the death of their son--which also turns out not to be that simple. Her house isn't the sanctuary it used to be, and new dangers--including murder--seem to lurk everywhere. Brigid starts to wonder if there is anyone she can trust, or if the devil has simply moved closer to home.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Precious Thing by Colette McBeth (Minotaur Books 06 January 2015 / $15.99) - Product Description: Some friendships fizzle out. Rachel and Clara promised theirs would last forever.

They met in high school when Rachel was the shy, awkward new girl and Clara was the friend everyone wanted. Instantly, they fell under one another's spell and nothing would be the same again. Now in their late twenties Rachel has the television career, the apartment and the boyfriend, while Clara's life is spiraling further out of control. Yet despite everything, they remain inextricably bound. Then Rachel's news editor assigns her to cover a police press conference, and she is shocked when she arrives to learn that the subject is Clara, reported missing. Is it abduction, suicide or something else altogether?

Imagine discovering something about your oldest friend that forces you to question everything you've shared together. The truth is always there.  But only if you choose to see it.

(Source: Minotaur Books)

Puzzled Indemnity: A Puzzle Lady Mystery by Parnell Hall (Minotaur Books 20 January 2015 / $24.99) - Product Description: It's been a cold, lonely winter for Cora Felton. Long distance has cooled the Puzzle Lady's on-again-off-again affair with Sergeant Crowley, and the only case Chief Harper has for her to investigate is a routine liquor store robbery. So when attorney friend Becky Baldwin ask her to check out whether Brittney Wells' philandering husband is planning to kill her to collect on a million dollar, double indemnity insurance policy, Cora jumps at the chance.

Cora has no problem tracking hubby to his love nest, but when Brittany refuses to believe he's cheating on her, Cora has to blackmail him to prove the affair. Before she can, a car bomb rocks the quiet streets of Bakerhaven, and the stakes escalate to murder.

To save Becky's clueless client from the clutches of the law, Cora will manipulate a TV reporter, cast suspicion on an innocent man, crack crossword and Sudoku clues, solve the liquor store robbery, and enlist the aid of both Sergeant Crowley and his girlfriend in this outrageous new entry in the Puzzle Lady Mystery series featuring Sudoku by Will Shortz.

(see review)

The Witch Hunter's Tale (Midwife Mystery) by Sam Thomas (Minotaur Books 06 January 2015 / $24.99) - Product Description: Winter has come to the city of York, and with it the threat of witchcraft. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike.

Bridget--accompanied once again by her deputy Martha Hawkins and her nephew Will Hodgson--finds herself playing a lethal game of cat and mouse against the most dangerous men in York, as well as her sworn enemy Rebecca Hooke. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves? (see review)

Where Monsters Dwell (Odd Singsaker) by Jørgen Brekke (Minotaur Books 13 January 2015 / $15.99) - Product Description: A murder at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, bears a close resemblance to one in Trondheim, Norway. The corpse of the museum curator in Virginia is found flayed in his office by the cleaning staff; the corpse of an archivist at the library in Norway, is found inside a locked vault used to store delicate and rare books. Richmond homicide detective Felicia Stone and Trondheim police inspector Odd Singsaker find themselves working on similar murder cases, committed the same way, but half a world away. And both murders are somehow connected to a sixteenth century palimpsest book--The Book of John--which appears to be a journal of a serial murderer back in 1529 Norway, a book bound in human skin.
(see review)

NAL

Mr. Monk and the New Lieutenant by Hy Conrad (NAL 06 January 2015 / $23.95) - Product Description: Monk and Natalie have finally settled into a new office routine. Now they just need to work things out with their neighbors--a print shop run by hippies whose music leaks through the walls, driving Monk nuts. But the detectives soon have a more serious conflict to deal with: Captain Stottlemeyer's new lieutenant, A.J. Cartledge--a man of limited skills whom Monk finds insufferable.

Even the presence of Lieutenant Cartledge won't keep Monk and Natalie from attending the funeral of Judge Oberlin, and it's a good thing. In typical fashion, Monk examines the body in the casket—and finds evidence of poison. The judge was murdered.

While there are no traces of the poison at the judge's house, Monk detects that there had been an intruder. The next rainy day, when Captain Stottlemeyer begins to show the same symptoms, Monk deduces that there's a diabolical killer at work, someone who wanted both the judge and the captain dead.  Monk and Natalie turn to the captain's ex-lieutenant in Summit, New Jersey for help, but even that might not be enough to solve this crime. With his friend in danger and an enemy close, Monk will have to put his reservations aside to crack the case in time. (Source: NAL)

Poisoned Pen Press

Nantucket Five-spot: A Henry Kennis Mystery by Steven Axelrod (Poisoned Pen Press 06 January 2015 / $24.95) - Product Description: Henry Kennis, Nantucket island's poetry-writing police chief who will remind readers of Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone and Spenser, works a second challenging case in Nantucket Five-spot. At the height of the summer tourist season, a threat to bomb the annual Boston Pops Concert could destroy the island's economy, along with its cachet as a safe, if mostly summer-time, haven for America's ruling class. The threat of terrorism brings The Department of Homeland Security to the island, along with prospects for a rekindled love affair--Henry's lost love works for the DHS now. The terrorism aspects of the attack prove to be a red herring. The truth lies much closer to home. At first suspicion falls on local carpenter Billy Delavane, but Henry investigates the case and proves that Billy is being framed. Then it turns out that Henry's new suspect is also being framed--for the bizarre and almost undetectable crime of framing someone else. Every piece of evidence works three ways in the investigation of a crime rooted in betrayed friendship, infidelity, and the quiet poisonous feuds of small town life. Henry traces the origin of the attacks back almost twenty years and uncovers an obsessive revenge conspiracy that he must unravel--now alone, discredited and on the run--before further disaster strikes.

(Source: Poisoned Pen Press)

The Sirena Quest by Michael A. Kahn (Poisoned Pen Press 06 January 2015 / $24.95) - Product Description: The New York Times Sunday Magazine piece famously opened: "She has pouting lips and high round breasts. Thousands of men have dreamt of her. Hundreds have chased after her. Two have died in pursuit. Her name is Sirena, she weighs 193 pounds, and she vanished in 1959. Without a trace." Barrett College's legendary Greco-Roman sculpture's fate was still a hot topic in 1970 when four roommates began their freshman year at the New England school. They've gone their separate ways for years. But as the 1994 commencement approaches, they are about to reunite to meet a challenge thrown down by a Class of '59 hedge-fund billionaire. He has pledged a $25 million endowment plus a $3 million purse to her finder(s) if Sirena is restored to Barrett by June 17th, the date of his 35th reunion, the college's sesquicentennial celebration--and our foursome's 20th class reunion. Although they are not alone in their pursuit--groups of alumni, including a pair of aggressive and highly-financed classmates, are running down leads across the world--St. Louis lawyer Lou Solomon and his crew come upon an obscure but intriguing clue. It leads them to Chicago where a young lawyer called Rachel Gold may hold key information. As the men race to crack the Sirena puzzle, their quest will transform their lives in unexpected ways. (Source: Poisoned Pen Press)

Where the Bones are Buried: A Dinah Pellerin Mystery by Jeanne Matthews (Poisoned Pen Press 06 January 2015 / $24.95) - Product Description: Dinah Pelerin has finally put her life in order. Living in Berlin with her boyfriend Thor, she has landed a job teaching Native American cultures at the university. She's never felt happier. And then her Seminole mother Swan shows up with a crazy scheme to blackmail a German tax dodger and dredges up a secret Dinah has kept hidden from the IRS and from straight-arrow Norwegian Thor, a former cop now with hush-hush international duties. Germans harbor a century-long fascination with the American Wild West and American Indians. Some enthusiasts dress up as Indians and adopt Indian names. Like Der Indianer Club which has invited Swan to a powwow where she plans to meet her blackmail victim. Dinah tries to head her off, but arrives at the scene too late. A man has been killed and scalped and Swan quickly becomes the prime suspect. Torn between love for her mother and dismay at her incessant lies, Dinah sets out to find the killer--hoping the killer doesn't turn out to share her DNA. But Swan isn't the only liar. Everyone is lying about something. Margaret, Swan's dead ex-husband's former wife, come to the city with Swan. Dinah's teen-age "ward". Thor. Especially Dinah. Ghosts of Germany's terrible history haunt Berlin while she faces exorcising a hateful ghost of her own. (Source: Poisoned Pen Press)

Seventh Street Books

The Blue Journal: A Detective Anthony Walker Novel by L.T. Graham (Seventh Street Books 06 January 2015 / $15.95) - Product Description: When one of Randi Conway's psychotherapy patients is found dead of a gunshot wound, the investigation is turned over to Lieutenant Anthony Walker.

Formerly a New York City cop, Walker now serves on the police force of an affluent community in Fairfield County, Connecticut. He lives among the privileged gentry, where he understands that appearances are often far removed from reality. This certainly proves to be true in the death of Elizabeth Knoebel, when Walker discovers that she had been keeping a private journal entitled "SEXUAL RITES".

In her diary, Elizabeth was recording the explicit details of her sexual adventures with various men, many of whom were married to the women in her therapy group.  Elizabeth was a predator bent on seducing and, in some instances, humiliating these men, obsessed with a perverse mission that Walker believes led to her murder.

As Walker uncovers the secrets of Elizabeth's memoir, he becomes convinced that her killer is another of Randi Conway's patients. But which one?

(Source: Seventh Street Books)

Signet

A Seamless Murder: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery by Melissa Bourbon (Signet 06 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: With a needle and thread, Harlow Jane Cassidy is capable of magic. Her neighbors in Bliss, Texas, on the other hand, are capable of murder.

Any garment Harlow stitches together has the power to grant the deepest desire of whomever wears it. So when she's asked to sew aprons for a local women's group, Harlow must get to know each member. First up is Delta Lee Mobley, who doesn't care much for Harlow's family--or anyone else in Bliss, for that matter. Granting Delta's greatest wish could only lead to trouble.

But trouble finds Delta all the same. The day after Harlow delivers her apron, Delta's body is discovered in the cemetery. It seems one of the townsfolk harbored ill will toward one of their own. Harlow's sleuthing skills are a cut above the rest, and with a few magical tricks up her sleeve, she is determined to cuff this killer once and for all.

(Source: Signet)

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Death: A Comfort Food Mystery by Christine Wenger (Signet 06 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: For Sandy Harbor's tastiest comfort food, venture to the Silver Bullet Diner. But head next door to the new drive-in theater if you have an appetite for murder.

Trixie Matkowski has a tall order to fill this fall. Aside from dishing out delicious fare at the Silver Bullet during peak fishing season, she's helping her friend--Antoinette Chloe Brown, or ACB for short--open a drive-in movie theater in the vacant lot beside her diner. It's just the thing to take ACB's mind off Nick, her missing biker beau.

But their plans are fried after Nick's body is discovered during the groundbreaking for the drive-in. And when the police connect the murder weapon to ACB, she becomes the prime suspect in eighty-sixing Nick. With the fate of her innocent friend and her business on the line, Trixie must make the guilty party pay up before someone else gets stiffed. (Includes Delicious Home-Style Recipes!) (Source: Signet)

No Ghouls Allowed: A Ghost Hunter Mystery by Victoria Laurie (Signet 06 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: M.J. has had a distant relationship with her father since her mother died more than two decades ago. But when M.J., her boyfriend, Heath, and BFF, Gilley, take a break from their show, Ghoul Getters, and visit her family home in Valdosta, Georgia, they find Montgomery Holliday a changed man. The source of his happiness seems to be his new fiancée, the charming Christine Bigelow.

But despite the blush of new love, Montgomery and Christine are dealing with a big problem in the form of the antebellum mansion she is having renovated. After a series of strange accidents, the work crew is convinced the place is cursed, and the contractor has walked off the job. At Christine's request, M.J. and her pals agree to find out if they're really dealing with some spirited saboteurs and a possessed plantation home. (see review)

This Old Homicide (Fixer-Upper) by Kate Carlisle (Signet 27 January 2015 / $7.99) - Product Description: Contractor and part-time sleuth Shannon Hammer specializes in improving the quirks and flaws of the Victorian homes in Lighthouse Cove, California. The quirks and flaws of their residents are another story.

Valentine's Day is approaching, and while Shannon is delighted to be friends with not one but two handsome men, not everyone in town is feeling the love. After her elderly neighbor Jesse Hennessey fails to make his daily appearance at the local diner, Shannon swings by his place to check on him. Not only does she find Jesse dead--of an apparent heart attack--but she also realizes that his home has been ransacked.

Someone suggests that a thief was searching for a priceless necklace Jesse claimed to have retrieved from a capsized sailing ship, but Shannon doesn't believe it. Everyone knows Jesse had a penchant for constructing tall tales--like the one about him having a hot new girlfriend. But his death is soon ruled a homicide, and shady suspects begin popping out of the woodwork. When another victim turns up dead, Shannon is convinced she must find the killer before someone else gets nailed.

(Source: Signet)

Soho Crime

The Honest Folk of Guadeloupe by Timothy Williams (Soho Crime 13 January 2015 / $26.95) - Product Description: April 1990: French-Algerian judge Anne Marie Laveaud has been living and working in the French Caribbean département of Guadeloupe for more than a decade, but her days are still full of surprises--for example,the fact that every witness Anne Marie interviews grills her about when she's going to get remarried. She is only just starting to investigate the increasingly suspicious suicide of a high-profile environmental activist and media personality when she is pulled off the case. Is it because she was getting too close to the truth?

But the new case she's been assigned takes precedent. The body white female French tourist--only 24 years old--has been discovered on a nudist beach, where it seems the young woman was raped and murdered. The victim's remains offer no clues about her final hours--she was found without any of her belongings, and it seems she was dead at least three days before anyone spotted her corpse. What turned this woman's vacation in paradise into a final nightmare?

As always, the story of a murdered white woman has attracted the attention of international media. Furthermore, the economy of Guadeloupe, so dependent on the tourist industry, could suffer a terrible hit if this case isn't brought under control with some quick, impressive police work. (see review)

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