Friday, January 17, 2014

Recently Received

Poison at the PTA (PTA Mystery #5) by Laura Alden (Obsidian mass market, 4 February 2014).

Beth has been running nonstop to be the best PTA president, bookstore owner, and single parent ever, which is why her friend Marina is staging an intervention. Beth needs to take a break—and that means letting someone else organize the PTA’s upcoming eightieth-anniversary event.

But when Cookie Van Doorne, one of the event speakers, dies of suspicious causes, Beth decides to make an intervention of her own to find out what happened. When she discovers that Cookie was poisoned, the next order of business is catching a killer whose break is almost over.

Books, Cooks and Crooks (Novel Idea Mystery #3) by Lucy Arlington (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 4 February 2014).

Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, is bubbling with excitement for the Taste of the Town festival, and Lila is right in the middle of it all. Along with her coworkers at the Novel Idea Literary Agency, Lila is organizing a grand celebrity chef event, featuring food television's biggest stars, complete with cooking demonstrations, cookbook giveaways, and even a culinary writing contest.

But just as the celebration is about to start, the demo kitchen blows up, taking one of the star cooks with it. With all the explosive egos of the cook’s colleagues, it’s hard to find someone who didn’t have a motive to eliminate the competition. Now Lila will have to scramble to figure out which of her clients is a killer—before someone else gets burned.

Murder With Ganache (Key West Food Critic Mystery #4) by Lucy Burdette (Obsidian mass market, 4 February 2014).

For better or worse, Hayley has agreed to bake over 200 cupcakes for her friend Connie’s wedding while still meeting her writing deadlines. The last thing she needs is family drama. But her parents come barreling down on the island like a category 3 hurricane and on their first night in town her stepbrother, Roby, disappears into the spring break party scene in Key West.

When Hayley hears that two teenagers have stolen a jet ski, she sets aside her oven mitts and goes in search of Rory. She finds him, barely conscious, but his female companion isn’t so lucky. Now Hayley has to let the cupcakes cool and assemble the sprinkles of clues to clear her stepbrother’s name—before someone else gets iced.

Throw in the Trowel (Flower Shop Mystery #15) by Kate Collins (Obsidian mass market, 4 February 2014).

Flower Shop owner Abby Knight has just returned from a romantic honeymoon with the man of her dreams. There’s no reason for the bloom to be off the rose just because she and Marco are returning to normal life. But when Marco discovers a skeleton buried in the basement of his bar, it is a bit of a mood killer.

When the body is identified as a carpenter who went missing back in the 1970s, Abby and Marco decide to cultivate the clues to solve the cold case. What could be more romantic? But the deeper they dig, the more desperate the murderer grows. And if Marco and Abby don’t unearth the killer’s identity, they may not live to see their first anniversary.

Scandal in Skibbereen (County Cork Mystery #2) by Sheila Connolly (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 4 February 2014).

Bostonian Maura is beginning to feel settled in her new Irish home, just in time for summer tourist season to bring fresh business to her pub. But the first traveler to arrive is thirsty for more than just a pint of Guinness. Althea Melville is hot on the trail of a long-lost Van Dyck painting.

Maura agrees to help Althea meet with the residents at the local manor house, the most likely location of the missing art. But when the manor’s gardener is found murdered, Maura wonders what Althea’s real motives are. Now, to solve the secret of the lost portrait and catch a killer, Maura will have to practice her Irish gift of gab and hunt down some local history—before someone else is out of the picture…

The Silence of the Library (Cat in the Stacks Mystery #5) by Miranda James (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 28 January 2014).

It’s National Library Week, and the Athena Public Library is planning an exhibit to honor the centenary of famous novelist Electra Barnes Cartwright—creator of the beloved Veronica Thane series.

Charlie has a soft spot for Cartwright’s girl detective stories (not to mention an extensive collection of her books!). When the author agrees to make a rare public appearance, the news of her whereabouts goes viral overnight, and series devotees and book collectors converge on Athena.

After all, it’s rumored that Cartwright penned Veronica Thane stories that remain under wraps, and one rabid fan will stop at nothing—not even murder—to get hold of the rare books…

A Tale of Two Biddies (League of Literary Ladies Mystery #2) by Kylie Logan (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 4 February 2014).

Summer can be the best of times or the worst of times for the resort town of Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie. For Bea Cartwright, business is booming as guests storm her B and B for the Bastille Day celebration. In honor of the holiday, the League of Literary Ladies is reading the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Tale of Two Cities. It would be hard to make a more apropos selection—especially when they have their very own Defarge sisters, elderly twins Margaret and Alice, who run the local knitting shop.

On Bastille Day, the head-banging rock band Guillotine shows their chops for the tourists—but the celebration is soon cut short. With something needling the Defarge dowagers and secrets that lead to murder, solving this mystery will be a far, far better thing than the Literary Ladies have done before. They’ll just have to make sure to keep their heads while they try to stop a killer’s reign of terror…

Romance is My Day Job by Patience Bloom (Dutton hardcover, 6 February 2014).

At some point, we’ve all wished romance could be more like fiction. Patience Bloom certainly did, many times over. As a teen she fell in love with Harlequin novels and imagined her life would turn out just like the heroines’ on the page: That shy guy she had a crush on wouldn’t just take her out—he’d sweep her off her feet with witty banter, quiet charm, and a secret life as a rock star. Not exactly her reality, but Bloom kept reading books that fed her reveries.

Years later she moved to New York and found her dream job, editing romances for Harlequin. Every day, her romantic fantasies came true—on paper. Bloom became an expert when it came to fictional love stories, editing amazing books and learning everything she could about the romance business. But her dating life remained uninspired. She nearly gave up on love.

Then one day a real-life chance at romance made her wonder if what she’d been writing and editing all those years might be true. A Facebook message from a high school friend, Sam, sparked a relationship with more promise than she’d had in years. But Sam lived thousands of miles away—they hadn’t seen each other in more than twenty years. Was it worth the risk?

India Black and the Gentleman Thief (A Madam of Espionage Mystery) by Carol K. Carr (Berkley Prime Crime trade paperback, 4 February 2014).

India Black’s double life operating a high-class brothel and running high-stakes espionage for Her Majesty’s government can take its toll. But there’s no rest for the weary—particularly when an international conspiracy comes knocking…

India Black is one of Victorian London’s most respected madams—not a bloody postmistress. So when Colonel Francis Mayhew forwards a seemingly innocuous shipping bill to her address, she’s puzzled. And when three thugs bust down her door, steal the envelope, and rough up both her and fellow agent French…well, that’s enough to make India Black see red.

The veteran spies soon discover that Mayhew has been butchered in his own bedroom. An impromptu investigation leads them to London’s docks, where India makes a startling discovery she can’t bear to tell the rakish French—she has a history with their chief suspect, the gentleman thief who once stole her heart…

The Drowning Spool (A Needlecraft Mystery) by Monica Ferris (Berkley Prime Crime hardcover, 4 February 2014).

Even though running Crewel World keeps Betsy plenty busy, a little extra cash on the side doesn’t hurt. So when the local senior complex, Watered Silk, asks her to teach a class on the tricky punch needle technique, Betsy jumps at the opportunity to win over some new customers.

Unfortunately, the business that Betsy drums up is not of the needlework variety. A young woman is found floating in Watered Silk’s therapy pool, and Betsy’s sleuthing skills are immediately called upon to figure out who drowned her. But the list of suspects is more twisted than any Betsy has encountered before. The young woman had three lovers—each with a motive for the murder.

It’s up to Betsy to sort out the snarl of romantic entanglements and find a killer, or the wrong man is bound to get pinned for a crime he didn’t commit…

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