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US Books Received- 12/2016  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

Better Off Thread (Embroidery Mystery) by Amanda Lee (Berkley 06 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: Marcy is busy helping her customers make hand-crafted ornaments at her embroidery shop, the Seven-Year Stitch. But despite the yuletide bustle, when her friend Captain Moe asks for her help, she can't refuse—--specially when the favor is to play the elf to his Santa for sick children at a local hospital. Despite the ridiculous outfit, Marcy finds herself enjoying spreading cheer--until the hospital's administrator is found murdered.

Although the deceased had plenty of people willing to fill her stocking with coal, evidence pins the crime on Moe. Now it's up to Marcy, with the help of her police officer boyfriend Ted and her Irish Wolfhound Angus, to stitch together the clues to clear Moe's name--before someone else winds up crossed off Santa's list for good.

(Source: Berkley)

Crime and Catnip (Nick and Nora) by T.C. LoTempio (Berkley 06 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: Nick and Nora aren't just pussyfooting around this time as they deal with a missing person's case and murder.

While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw's niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick's former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.

As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That's if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him. (Includes sandwich recipes.)

(Source: Berkley)

Dead, Bath, and Beyond (Victoria Square) by Lorraine Bartlett (Berkley 06 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: Katie Bonner feels like nothing can spoil her perfect day off, sailing Lake Ontario with her good friend, lawyer Seth Lander. Then she runs into her ex-boss Jake on the dock. It was never smooth sailing with Jake, and Katie is only too happy to get away from him as he makes a scene.

Unfortunately, the next day her unpleasant former employer is found drowned in a bathtub at a bed and breakfast in Victoria Square. Who would pull the plug on Jake? When an autopsy reveals lake water--not bath water--in his lungs, Katie quickly finds herself in over her head. She'll need to race to find the killer before her business and her freedom both go down the drain...

(Source: Berkley)

Egg Drop Dead (Cackleberry Club) by Laura Childs (Berkley 06 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: In Laura Childs's Cackleberry Club mystery series, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni--owners of the Cackleberry Club café--are back to track down another bad egg.

Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café's success, so Suzanne doesn't mind going out to Mike Mullen's dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She's looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.

But when she arrives, Mike's nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer's dead body. Apparently, not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.

Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer's murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them. (Recipes included.)

(Source: Berkley)

Frosty the Dead Man (Snow Globe Shop) by Christine Husom (Berkley 06 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: A snow globe becomes a murder weapon in the latest cozy mystery from the author of Snow Way Out and The Iced Princess.

Mayor Lewis Frost has always been known as Frosty to his friends--not that he has many these days. Controversies swirling around the city council have members wondering if Frosty is trying to snow them. After one councilman storms off in a huff, the mayor turns to curio shop manager Camryn Brooks and asks her to consider taking a seat on the council.

Later, when Cami goes to his office to discuss the proposal, her blood runs cold. She finds Frosty dead, and the very snow globe she sold him earlier that day lies in sparkling shards on his carpet--along with a large diamond. Does the snow globe--which features a peculiar tableau of an armed man and three menacing bears--hold a clue to Frosty's demise? One way or another, it's up to Cami to shake things up before the killer's trail goes cold...

Snow globe-making projects and tips included!
(Source: Berkley)

Prose and Cons (Magical Bookshop) by Amanda Flower (Berkley 06 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: Magic, books, and cats collide in a village near Niagara Falls in the latest mystery from the author of Crime and Poetry. In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting.

October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe in the shop's back garden to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.

Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead during the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she'll need to rely on Poe's works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop's crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else's heart beats nevermore.

(see review)

Spouse on Haunted Hill (Haunted Guesthouse) by E.J. Copperman (Berkley 06 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: Alison's shady ex needs to use her haunted guesthouse as a hideout in the latest from the author of Ghost in the Wind.

Where Alison Kerby's ex-husband goes, trouble follows. This time, unfortunately, he's brought that trouble right to her doorstep. On the run from a business deal gone bad, Steven, aka "the Swine", owes some scary people a staggering sum of money. No need to panic, though. He has a plan: Sell Alison's Jersey Shore guesthouse to pay them off.

Before Alison has a chance to read Steven the riot act, he disappears--after a mysterious man trailing him ends up full of bullet holes. Now the police are next to darken her doorway. For all his faults, Steven is still the father of Alison's daughter, so with the help of ghosts Maxie and Paul, Alison sets out to find her ex and clear him of the murder. But if the bad guys get to him first, he may not have a ghost of a chance.

(Source: Berkley)

The Divided City (Gregor Reinhardt) by Luke McCallin (Berkley 06 December 2016 / $16.00) - Product Description: Luke McCallin, author of The Pale House and The Man From Berlin, delivers a dark, compelling thriller set in post-World War II Germany featuring ex-intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt.

A year after Germany's defeat, Reinhardt has been hired back onto Berlin's civilian police force. The city is divided among the victorious allied powers, but tensions are growing, and the police are riven by internal rivalries as factions within it jockey for power and influence with Berlin's new masters.

When a man is found slain in a broken-down tenement, Reinhardt embarks on a gruesome investigation. It seems a serial killer is on the loose, and matters only escalate when it's discovered that one of the victims was the brother of a Nazi scientist.

Reinhardt's search for the truth takes him across the divided city and soon embroils him in a plot involving the Western Allies and the Soviets. And as he comes under the scrutiny of a group of Germans who want to continue the war--and faces an unwanted reminder from his own past--Reinhardt realizes that this investigation could cost him everything as he pursues a killer who believes that all wrongs must be avenged.

The Ghosts of Misty Hollow (Ghost of Granny Apples) by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Berkley 06 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: The author of Ghost in the Guacamole returns as a spiritual medium and her spectral sidekick encounter murder and mystery in a Massachusetts farmhouse. Mysterious plots abound when spiritual medium Emma Whitecastle offers aid to a famous novelist, but her spectral sidekick Granny Apples will help her write all the wrongs.

Bestselling crime writer Gino Costello is working on his next book in a historic farmhouse in the heart of Massachusetts. His story features some paranormal elements so he's invited family friend Emma to provide her input as a medium. But as soon as Emma arrives--with her fiancé, Phil, and Granny Apples in tow--that's when the real trouble begins.

Emma is immediately contacted by the Browns, a family of ghosts who originally owned the house in the early nineteenth century. They need Emma to help them locate the spirits of their two children who disappeared. Meanwhile, a dead body appears at the house. Now Emma, Granny, and Phil must read between the lines to find answers before a killer books it.

(see review)

Forge Books

Brazen (Valentino) by Loren D. Estleman (Forge Books 06 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: A killer is reenacting the deaths of Hollywood's blond bombshells, and Valentino must stop him before it's too late in Loren D. Estleman's Brazen.

UCLA film archivist and sometime film detective Valentino doesn't take friend and former actress Beata Limerick very seriously when she tells him that she quit acting because of the curse on blond actresses. Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Thelma Todd, Sharon Tate… they all had more fun, but none of them made it out of the business alive, and according to Limerick, she wasn't taking any chances. But when Valentino finds Beata's body staged the way Monroe was found, "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" playing on repeat; he knows Limerick's death was no accident.

Police detective Ray Padilla doesn't quite suspect Valentino is the killer, but he can't let him off that easy. After all, the film archivist seems to be involved in more than his share of intrigue and death, which makes him a prime suspect. But Valentino is also a walking encyclopedia of Hollywood knowledge. When another washed-up actress is killed, the crime scene a copy of Thelma Todd's last moments, Padilla enlists Valentino's help in catching a serial killer of doomed blondes before he can strike again.

(Source: Forge Books)

Intrigue Publishing

The Inheritance by Jacqueline Seewald (Intrigue Publishing 01 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: Jennifer Stoddard is a 35-year-old widow who has just found out she is the sole heir of her grandmother's estate, located in the midwest town she grew up in. But there is a catch; she must live in the house for two years before she can claim the estate and someone doesn't want her there. The threats begin soon after her return. A rifle shot whizzes through her car window, her brakes are tampered with, and her tires are slashed. Police Chief, Grant Coleman, is called upon to investigate. Unfortunately, the history between Jen and Grant from high school causes them to mistrust each other. However, Grant is a professional and intends to do his job. Together they explore who might want to drive Jen out of the house, while trying to understand their feelings of anger, mistrust and desire for each other. With Jen's life on the line, will they be able to put the past behind them to work together and save her and her son's lives?

(see review)

Minotaur Books

Buried in the Country (Cornish Mysteries) by Carola Dunn (Minotaur Books 13 December 2016 / $25.99) - Product Description: After many years working around the world for an international charity in the late 1960s, Eleanor Trewynn has retired to the relative quiet of a small town in Cornwall. But her quiet life is short-lived when, due to her experience, the Commonwealth Relations Office reaches out to her to assist in a secret conference that is to take place in a small hotel outside the historical village of Tintagel.

Meanwhile, her niece, Detective Sargent Megan Pencarrow, is investigating the disappearance of a local solicitor when she is assigned to help provide security for the conference. Two African students, refugees from Ian Smith's Rhodesia, arrive for the conference, escorted by Megan's bête noire from Scotland Yard. They are followed by two mysterious and sinister Londoners, whose allegiances and connections to the conference and the missing solicitor are unclear. With a raging storm having trapped everyone in the hotel, the stage is set for murder, and it's up to Eleanor and Megan to uncover the truth before more lives are lost.

(see review)

Don't Turn Out the Lights (Commandant Martin Servaz) by Bernard Minier (Minotaur Books 06 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: Christine Steinmeyer thought the anonymous suicide note she found in her mailbox on Christmas Eve wasn't meant for her. But the man calling in to her radio show seems convinced otherwise.

"You let her die." That's only the beginning. Bit by bit, her life is turned upside down. But who among her friends and family hates her enough to want to destroy her? And why? It's as if someone has taken over her life, and everything holding it together starts to crumble. Soon all that is left is an unimaginable nightmare.

Martin Servaz is on leave in a clinic for depressed cops, haunted by his childhood sweetheart Marianne's kidnapping by his nemesis, the psychopath Julian Hirtmann. One day, he receives a key card to a hotel room in the mail—the room where an artist committed suicide a year earlier. Someone wants him to get back to work, which he's more than ready to do, despite his mandatory sick leave. Servaz soon uncovers evidence of a truly terrifying crime. Could someone really be cruelly, consciously hounding women to death?

What if the people closest to us are not what they seem? What happens when someone takes control of your life and your relationships? And what is hiding in the darkness?

(Source: Minotaur Books)

The Cat Sitter and the Canary (Dixie Hemingway) by John Clement & Blaize Clement (Minotaur Books 20 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: This time, Dixie finds a tall, handsome tourist loitering around the home of one of her long-time clients. He tells her he's just arrived from Scotland and that he's lost his glasses, which presumably explains why he can't find the house he rented for his seaside vacation. Dixie points him to the bungalow across the street (but not before rebuffing a few of the sexy Scotsman's passes) and then continues about her business.

She doesn't think about him again until she stumbles upon a dead body in her client's front hall--a man in a three-piece suit with jet-black hair, delicate wrists, and a small notecard stuck to his lapel with a pearl-tipped hat pin. Right away, Dixie puts on her sleuthing cap and starts looking for clues, but when she sees what's written on that card, she knows… this is going to be an adventure unlike any she's ever had before. And if she's not careful, it just might be her last!

(see review)

The Reek of Red Herrings (Dandy Gilver) by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books 13 December 2016 / $26.99) - Product Description: On the rain-drenched, wave-lashed, wind-battered Banffshire coast, tiny fishing villages perch on ledges that would make a seagull think twice, and crumbly mansions cling to crumblier cliff tops while, out in the bay, the herring drifters brave the storms to catch their silver darlings. It's nowhere for a child of gentle Northamptonshire to spend Christmas.

But when odd things start to turn up in barrels of fish--with a strong whiff of murder most foul--that's exactly where Dandy Gilver finds herself. Enlisted to investigate, she and her trusty cohort, Alec Osborne, are soon swept up in the fisherfolks' wedding season as well as the mystery. Between age-old traditions and brand-new horrors, Dandy must think the unthinkable to solve her grisliest case yet.

(see review)

Trigger Yappy (Roundup Crew) by Diana Orgain (Minotaur Books 06 December 2016 / $24.99) - Product Description: Although still not quite a dog lover, Maggie Patterson meets with her new group of dog-loving friends for "Yappy Hour" every Friday night in the sleepy seaside town of Pacific Cove, CA. Both she and her sister Rachel have put the past murderous summer behind them, with Rachel even securing a headline feature for the Wine & Bark in the famous Doggie Day magazine.

When her sister comes down with a case of salmonella poisoning, Maggie is left to run the business in her absence. Even worse, Maggie overhears an argument between her friend Yolanda and Bonnie, who runs the Chic Chickie shop. Then poor Bonnie turns up dead.

With evidence pilling up against Yolanda, the Roundup Crew is desperate to find the real killer and convince Maggie to investigate. With the help of charming detective Officer Brad Brooks, Maggie finds that everyone has a motive, even some of her beloved Roundup Crew friends. Maggie must put her new job as a purser on hold while she tracks down a murderer. Will Maggie's investigation kill her budding romance with Officer Brooks? Sometimes getting to the truth is not for the faint of bark...er...heart. Between running the bar, managing her love life, and solving a murder in time for the editorial spread, things are about to get a little hairy in this laugh-out-loud cozy mystery.

(see review)

Severn House

Death Ship (Shaw and Valentine) by Jim Kelly (Severn House 01 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: When an explosion rips across Hunstanton Beach on the north Norfolk coast, an abandoned Second World War bomb is assumed to be the cause ... but is it? Could there be a connection with the new pier being built – and the increasingly bitter campaign to halt its construction?

At the same time, DI Shaw and DS Valentine are on the hunt for an elderly female killer with a uniquely macabre method of despatch. And a 63-year-old Dutch engineer is missing, presumed drowned ... but where is the body?

All seemingly unrelated investigations--but in each case nothing is as it seems. To find the answers, Shaw must delve into the past, and a mystery that has remained unsolved for more than sixty years.

(see review)

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Mind Games (Lock & Mori) by Heather W. Petty (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 06 December 2016 / $17.99) - Product Description: Sherlock Holmes and Miss James "Mori" Moriarty may have closed their first case, but the mystery is far from over in the thrilling sequel to Lock & Mori, perfect for fans of Maureen Johnson and Sherlock.

Mori's abusive father is behind bars...and she has never felt less safe. Threatening letters have started appearing on her doorstep, and the police are receiving anonymous tips suggesting that Mori--not her father--is the Regent's Park killer. To make matters worse, the police are beginning to believe them.

Through it all, Lock--frustrating, brilliant, gorgeous Lock--is by her side. The two of them set out to discover who is framing Mori, but in a city full of suspects, the task is easier said than done. With the clock ticking, Mori will discover just how far she is willing to go to make sure that justice is served, and no one--not even Lock--will be able to stop her.

(Source: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Soho Crime

Who Watcheth (Inspector Irene Huss) by Helene Tursten (Soho Crime 06 December 2016 / $26.95) - Product Description: He watches the women from the shadows. He has an understanding with them; as long as they follow his rules, they are safe. But when they sin, he sentences them to death.

A woman is found dead in a cemetery, strangled and covered in plastic. Just a few days before her death, the victim had received a flower, an unintelligible note, and a photograph of herself. Detective Inspector Irene Huss and her colleagues on the Göteborg police force have neither clue nor motive to track in the case, and when similar murders follow, their search for the killer becomes increasingly desperate. Meanwhile, strange things have been going on at home for Irene: first the rose bush in her garden is mangled, then she receives a threatening package with no return address.

(Source: Soho Crime)

William Morrow

The Seventh Plague (Sigma Force) by James Rollins (William Morrow 13 December 2016 / ) - Product Description: Two years after vanishing into the Sudanese desert, the leader of a British archeological expedition, Professor Harold McCabe, comes stumbling out of the sands, frantic and delirious, but he dies before he can tell his story. The mystery deepens when an autopsy uncovers a bizarre corruption: someone had begun to mummify the professor's body--while he was still alive.

His strange remains are returned to London for further study, when alarming news arrives from Egypt. The medical team who had performed the man's autopsy has fallen ill with an unknown disease, one that is quickly spreading throughout Cairo. Fearing the worst, a colleague of the professor reaches out to a longtime friend: Painter Crowe, the director of Sigma Force. The call is urgent, for Professor McCabe had vanished into the desert while searching for proof of the ten plagues of Moses. As the pandemic grows, a disturbing question arises.

Are those plagues starting again? Before Director Crowe can investigate, a mysterious group of assassins leaves behind a fiery wake of destruction and death, erasing all evidence. With the professor's body incinerated, his home firebombed, Sigma Force must turn to the archaeologist's only daughter, Jane McCabe, for help. While sifting through what's left of her father's work, she discovers a puzzling connection, tying the current threat to a shocking historical mystery, one involving the travels of Mark Twain, the genius of Nikola Tesla, and the adventures of famous explorer, Henry Morgan Stanley.

To unravel a secret going back millennia, Director Crowe and Commander Grayson Pierce will be thrust to opposite sides of the globe. One will search for the truth, traveling from the plague-ridden streets of Cairo to a vast ancient tomb buried under the burning sands of the Sudan; the other will struggle to stop a mad genius locked within a remote Arctic engineering complex, risking the lives of all those he holds dear.

As the global crisis grows ever larger, Sigma Force will confront a threat born of the ancient past and made real by the latest science--a danger that will unleash a cascading series of plagues, culminating in a scourge that could kill all of the world's children ... decimating mankind forever.

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