When 105-year-old Hilda Horsefall tells young reporter Cronkite Swope of a stone carved with Norse runes that once sat in the nearby woods, the writer starts salivating at the thought of breaking the news that Vikings once marauded through their sleepy Massachusetts countryside. But while he’s jotting down notes, a scream rings out, and Cronkite finds an even bigger story. A farmhand has been burned to death by quicklime, and Cronkite gets an exclusive scoop. In this neck of New England, strange deaths are invariably referred to Professor Peter Shandy, the only local with the know-how to connect fearsome quicklime to the Vikings of old. But as he digs into the ancient mystery, he finds the forgotten Norse gods are not above demanding a modern sacrifice.
Zilla Trott is pouring her cat some chamomile tea when the drifter appears in her kitchen. He is grubby and crude—not at all the kind of person you’d usually find in the pleasant town of Lobelia Falls—but something about him intrigues the aging widow. Perhaps it’s his rugged good looks, or the way he seems to come from another time and place. Or perhaps it’s the fact that he’s been dead for nearly a century. When Lobelia Falls was in its rough-and-tumble frontier infancy, Hiram Jellyby was the best mule driver the town had ever seen, until an argument over a hidden cache of gold left him bleeding to death in a back alley. He returns in spectral form to secure a proper burial, and finds that in modern-day Lobelia Falls, no one knows more about turning the soil than Zilla Trott’s gardening buddies—all members of Dittany Monk’s fearless Grub-and-Stake Gardening and Roving Club.
Sarah Kelling and her husband, Max Bittersohn, have made names for themselves tracking down stolen paintings, sculptures, and, when necessary, the occasional murderer. But this is the first time they have been asked to find a missing Rolls Royce. When Bill Billingsgate’s prize 1927 New Phantom disappears, they head for his estate on the Massachusetts coast, arriving—to their horror—just in time for Billingsgate’s annual Renaissance fair. Donning period dress, they grab pints of mead and start searching the crowd for the thief. Instead they find a corpse. When the local police bungle the investigation, Max and Sarah take it upon themselves to find the killer. In the course of their search, they confront a car thief, corruption at a radio station, and a horde of murderous bees. If this is the Renaissance, Max and Sarah can’t wait to return to the present.
In a quiet small town in New Brunswick, old Agatha Treadway makes one last cranky complaint to her niece before dying on her kitchen floor. The cause seems to be a jar of contaminated string beans, which sat on Agatha’s basement shelf for years before becoming her final meal. The town doctor calls it a tragic accident—and a warning to all who can their own vegetables—but Agatha’s neighbor, the intrepid Janet Wadman, knows better. Agatha was an expert canner, which means the beans must have been placed there by someone else. This was murder.
Before Janet can share her theory with the town doctor, he, too, meets an untimely death. To oversee the investigation, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police send Madoc Rhys, a wholly unusual Mountie who poses as Janet’s relative while he searches for the killer. But Madoc soon finds himself falling for his partner in detection, and before he can make his feelings known, the pair will have to contend with a secret far more deadly than botulism.
Originally published under the pseudonym Alisa Craig, A Pint of Murder is a witty look at murder in a small town and a classic cozy mystery about love, death, and the evil of vegetables.
A Pint of Murder is the 1st book in the Madoc and Janet Rhys Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Newlyweds Peter and Helen Shandy are picking out flatware when a pair of gun-toting hooligans burst into the silversmith’s shop, empty the safe, and leave with Helen as their hostage. Although the police recover Helen quickly, her professor husband is badly shaken by the ordeal. Early the next morning, the college’s head of animal husbandry frantically reports another hostage situation in progress. Belinda, the school’s beloved sow, has been kidnapped, and only Peter can bring home the bacon. There is a possible witness to the pig-napping in Miss Flackley, the farrier, but before she can point Peter towards the vanished porker, she is found dead in the barn’s mash feeder. By the time Peter discovers the link between the two heists, pigs may really fly.
It has only been a few months since Sarah Kelling’s elderly husband passed away, and she is struggling to adapt to life as a penniless young widow. To make ends meet, she converts her stately Boston home into a boardinghouse, a decision that brings something even better than money: the company of art-fraud investigator Max Bittersohn. The budding couple is standing on a balcony, recovering from a second-rate concert at a third-rate museum, when something plummets past them. The museum has been robbed, and a guard has fallen to his death. Dozens of priceless paintings have been stolen and replaced with forgeries, and to recover these masterworks will mean tearing the lid off the quiet life of the Boston upper crust. But it is a chance Sarah and Max must take, lest they join the guard on his long trip down.
Emory Emmerick comes to Balaclava Agricultural University as a scout for a television station. Although the faculty and students are hardly ready for prime time, Emmerick’s interest is in environmental programming—a subject that inspires even the driest Balaclava professor to wax poetic. In his search for material, Emmerick joins Peter Shandy and a few of his colleagues on the annual owl-count. And though the television producer’s loud mouth and heavy feet make him a dismal birdwatcher, none of the academics expect him to make a fatal blunder. Chasing what appears to be a badly lost snowy owl, Emmerick stumbles into a trap that yanks him into a tree. By the time the professors reach him, he’s been stabbed to death. Discovering that the snowy owl was nothing more than a handful of feathers attached to a fishing pole, Shandy concludes that Emmerick was murdered. Plenty of people might like to kill a television producer, but which would-be killer had the gall to make the helpless Nyctea scandiaca an accomplice?
Like many old New England families, the Kellings live to die. Although their family vault is spacious and comfortable, it will not do for Sarah Kelling’s Great-Uncle Frederick. In his will, he demands to be buried inside the ancient family tomb at Boston Common, which hasn’t admitted a new member in over a century. But when the Kellings crack the old vault’s door, they find a recently built brick wall—and behind it lays a surprisingly fresh corpse, a skeleton with rubies in its teeth.
Her name was Ruby Redd, and many years ago she was the toast of Boston’s burlesque scene. Her murder case is ice cold, but when Sarah begins investigating it, she finds that the fiery passions behind Ruby’s death still burn white hot. With the help of art-fraud investigator Max Bittersohn, Sarah will solve the mystery of the stripper’s murder—or take her own place in the family vault.
Though he may not look the part, Madoc Rhys is a Mountie—and his keen sense of detection tells him it’s time to ask Janet Wadman to marry him. They have just gotten engaged when Christmas rolls around, and Janet’s boss invites them to his family estate for a last holiday fling before Janet leaves her job. After a long helicopter ride, they are at Graylings, ancestral home of the Condryckes, a family so strange that Canada’s shortest Mountie fits right in. There is a psychic old woman, an erudite butler, and a family patriarch who is the spitting image of an English country squire. And when the elderly Mrs. Condrycke is found murdered, Janet will be glad she brought Madoc along. Though civilization is far away, when there is a Mountie in the house, justice is close at hand.
Though the inheritance from her dearly departed Alexander was meant to set Sarah Kelling up for life, it vanishes quickly in the face of hounding from charitable organizations and the IRS. Facing the loss of her stately Back Bay brownstone, Sarah opens her home to lodgers—deciding she prefers a boardinghouse to the poorhouse. Soon she is cooking meals and serving tea for a cast of quirky residents, a cozy little family that would be quite happy were it not for the unpleasant presence of a certain Barnwell Augustus Quiffen—a man so rude that no one really minds when he is squashed beneath a subway car. Sarah replaces her lost boarder quickly, and the family dynamic is restored. But when another lodger dies suddenly, the boardinghouse appears to be cursed. Now it will take more than a glass of sherry to soothe Sarah’s panicked residents, and she must turn to detective Max Bittersohn for help before her boarders bolt.
“The epitome of the ‘cozy’ mystery” (Mostly Murder), award-winning author Charlotte MacLeod’s Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn Mysteries have charmed readers the world over.
The giant hogweed, a creeping menace known for crushing the life out of any plant foolish enough to get in its way, has put the hedgerows and pastures of the English countryside in jeopardy. Fishermen find their streams clogged, young lovers are caught with rashes in embarrassing places, and the English nudist colony has been all but exterminated. Only Peter Shandy, the famed horticulturalist responsible for the world’s finest rutabaga, can save the day. But when Shandy and his colleagues set out to find hogweed samples, they stumble into an unusually mystical adventure. Quite by accident, Shandy trips through a publican’s portal, and finds himself conversing with a giant. Trapped in a land of castles, wizards, and knights, Shandy must use every scrap of his horticultural genius to get back home—lest the hogweed triumph in his absence.
The weather vanes of the famous craftsman Praxiteles Lumpkin are one of the great cultural treasures of rural Massachusetts. Helen Shandy, librarian at Balaclava Agricultural College, is roaming the countryside, camera in hand, capturing images of these lovely copper sculptures, trying to give them the attention they deserve. But each time she takes a picture, the featured vane vanishes. Could there be a gang of breezy-minded burglars on her tail? The night after Helen photographs the vane atop the famous Lumpkin soap works, the building burns to the ground. With the help of her husband, Peter, she tries to track the thieves-turned-arsonists. But when the things take a dangerous turn, Helen doesn’t need a weather vane to see that a deadly wind is blowing.
Massachusetts horticulturalist Peter Shandy is famous for his rutabagas, but he comes to Maine with a loftier plant in mind. Specifically, he wants to size up the world-renowned lupines of Frances Rondel, a nonagenarian whose legendary flowers are even more beautiful in life than they are in myth. Shandy is bitterly jealous, but finds a major distraction in the dining room of the country inn where he’s staying. He may grow wretched lupines, but no gardener can solve a murder like Peter Shandy. The corpse belongs to the late Jasper Flodge, a local loudmouth with a toupee and a sizeable gut. Shoveling down the last bites of a chicken potpie, Flodge clutches his chest and falls dead. Suddenly with more to do than stopping to smell the lupines, Shandy must ask himself: Which Maine cook has the bad taste to flavor chicken with cyanide?
In the decades since her death in 1958, master storyteller Mary Roberts Rinehart has often been compared to Agatha Christie. But while Rinehart was once a household name, today she is largely forgotten. The woman who first proclaimed “the butler did it” was writing for publication years before Christie’s work saw the light of day. She also practiced nursing, became a war correspondent, and wrote a novel—The Bat—that inspired Bob Kane’s creation of Batman.
Born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, before it was absorbed into Pittsburgh, and raised in a close-knit Presbyterian family, Mary Roberts was at once a girl of her time—dutiful, God-fearing, loyal—and a quietly rebellious spirit. For every hour she spent cooking, cleaning, or sewing at her mother’s behest while her “frail” younger sister had fun, Mary eked out her own moments of planning, dreaming, and writing. But becoming an author wasn’t on her radar . . . yet.
Bestselling mystery writer Charlotte MacLeod grew up on Rinehart’s artfully crafted novels, such as the enormously successful The Circular Staircase—“cozies” before the concept existed. After years of seeing Christie celebrated and Rinehart overlooked, MacLeod realized that it was time to delve into how this seemingly ordinary woman became a sensation whose work would grace print, stage, and screen. From Rinehart’s grueling training as a nurse and her wartime interviews with a young Winston Churchill and Queen Mary to her involvement with the Blackfoot Indians and her work as doctor’s wife, mother of three, playwright, serialist, and novelist, this is the unforgettable story of America’s Grande Dame of Mystery.
The Grub-and-Stakers gardening club has traditionally limited its activities to serving tea and gossiping about wildflowers, but when water department supervisor John Architrave is found murdered in the woods, club member Dittany Henbit turns to solving mysteries. After Architrave’s will reveals that he bequeathed his ramshackle old house to the Grub-and-Stakers, with instructions for it to be turned into a museum, Dittany resigns herself to weeks of cleaning out the mansion and sorting through donated town “artifacts.” The task turns interesting, however, the minute bodies start falling from the sky. The new curator is airing out the house’s attic when he takes his tumble off the roof. So unlikely is it that he would fall out the tiny attic window, that Dittany has no choice but to attempt to add one captured killer to the young museum’s permanent collection.
Holly Howe is just beginning to succeed in in the cutthroat world of New York modeling when a car accident ruins her good looks forever and she is forced to retreat to the backwoods of Canada, to recuperate in her brother’s ramshackle country house. But Howe Hill is a wreck—dusty, ugly, and utterly lacking in modern facilities—and her brother is no more hospitable. So when Holly hears of a job in town taking care of Mrs. Partlett, an elderly, widowed invalid, she leaps at the opportunity. If nothing else, the Partlett mansion must have indoor plumbing. But Holly soon finds that while Cliff House is eerie by day, it’s terrifying by night. The other housekeeper is convinced it’s haunted by the ghost of Mr. Partlett, but Holly fears no poltergeist. It’s the old widow in the upstairs room that frightens her—and the secrets that lurk behind her dull, silver eyes.
According to Max Bittersohn, he and Sarah Kelling have witnessed enough murder and unhappiness, so it’s high time they got married. And though Sarah hasn’t yet agreed to such drastic measures, she invites Max to summer with her at Ireson’s Landing. But they haven’t been in the house ten minutes when they stumble upon summer’s first mystery—a mint-condition, antique Spanish mirror that is tremendously rare and valuable. Sarah has never seen it before and she doesn’t know how it ended up in the summerhouse, but the sleuthing couple will soon find this looking glass to be more troublesome than anything Lewis Carroll ever invented. As the zany Kelling clan descends on Ireson’s Landing, Sarah and her beau try to uncover the mystery of the Bilbao looking glass—a quest that is disrupted when a vicious next-door neighbor is found hacked to death with a woodshed ax. By summer’s end, Sarah and Max will learn that some murders can be solved simply by looking in the mirror.
The rural town of Balaclava greets Groundhog Day as an excuse for one last cold-weather fling. The students and faculty of the local agricultural college drink cocoa, throw snowballs, and when the temperature allows, ice skate. But Oozak’s Pond is not quite frozen this year, and as the celebrations reach their peak, the students see someone bobbing through the ice. Long past help, the drowning victim is badly decomposed and dressed in an old-fashioned frock coat with a heavy rock in each pocket.
First on the scene is Peter Shandy, horticulturalist and—when the college requires it—detective. But solving this nineteenth-century murder mystery will take more than Shandy’s knack for growing rutabagas. Relying on his wife’s expertise in local history, the professor dives headfirst into a gilded-age whodunit that cloaks secrets potent enough to kill.
Although he is a decorated officer of the Mounted Police, Madoc Rhys’s tin ear has long been an embarrassment to his musically fixated family. But when his father’s orchestra needs a policeman, the Mountie gets a chance to make daddy proud. It began as pranks among the brass instruments, but something is rotten inside the Wagstaffe Symphony, and is about to graduate to something criminal. Called in to look into the tensions within the group, Madoc arrives just in time to see the French horn player keel over. The death appears natural, and the orchestra boards the plane to its next engagement. But when a storm forces them to make an emergency landing and take shelter in an eerie old lodge, the extent of the danger becomes clear. Madoc may never understand music, but he has a good ear for murder, and is about to show off his chops.
The beloved sleuthing couple solves a trio of murder cases in the austere beauty of Canada’s New Brunswick. Originally published under the pseudonym Alisa Craig, these three tales are a witty look at murder in a small town—“the epitome of the ‘cozy’ mystery” (Mostly Murder).
A Pint of Murder: When Janet Wadman realizes her friend Agatha was murdered with a jar of tainted green beans, her discovery leads to another untimely death. Height-challenged Mountie Madoc Rhys proves more capable than he looks, and Janet is duly impressed.
Murder Goes Mumming: Madoc decides to ask Janet for her hand in marriage. But when the newly engaged couple finds their Christmas plans spoiled by murder, the investigating duo once again finds they have a gift for serving justice.
A Dismal Thing to Do: Janet witnesses a terrible accident on the back roads of Canada. But after dashing into a nearby barn to get help, someone thanks her by stealing her car and then trying to kill her. Or were they? Madoc arrives and together they work to stop a deadly crime wave in its tracks.
Charlotte MacLeod’s heroes were men and women like Peter Shandy and Sarah Kelling—genteel sleuths who fight crime with brains, not brawn—and her settings were the drawing rooms and servants’ quarters of New England and beyond. With a keen wit and a strong eye for detail, she crafted some of the most memorable victims, murderers, and innocent bystanders of twentieth-century detective novels. In this volume, she proves herself a master of the short story as well. Here is the original Peter Shandy story, featuring the school that would eventually metamorphose into Balaclava Agricultural College. Here is peculiar Cousin Claude, who strangles himself with his own necktie. And here is the tale that answers the question “What does Max Bittersohn do when his wife is not around?” Whether the characters are familiar or not, the style is irresistible, and the mysteries are as delightfully puzzling as ever.
For all the Kellings’ quirks, no other family in Boston is more adept at throwing a wedding. So when Max Bittersohn’s wife, Sarah Kelling, offers to organize his nephew’s nuptials, Max is smart enough to stay out of her way. But when the art-fraud investigator stumbles onto a family mystery, he is drawn into something far more serious than the question of who will catch the bouquet. Stolen years earlier, the priceless Kelling jewels were last seen in Amsterdam, so how did they end up among the wedding gifts? Max is trying to answer that question when a talkative burglar wallops him with a shovel in a failed attempt to rip off the rubies. Then, as the reception winds down, a hot-air balloon lands on the wedding tent, spilling out the Zickerys, a branch of the Kelling clan who prove even odder than the original strain. Family weddings are never easy, but for Max Bittersohn, this one could be murder.
For mounted policeman Madoc Rhys and his wife, Janet, the pains of traveling with an infant are worth taking young Dorothy to Wales for Great-Uncle Sir Caradoc’s ninetieth birthday. Along with every other member of the Rhys clan, they make the pilgrimage to the ancestral pile, to enjoy a few days of drinks, dinner, and—as it turns out—demonic sacrifices. On their first morning at the family manor, Madoc stumbles upon a concussed shepherd and a dismembered ram. It appears to be a botched attempt at an ancient rite, executed by one of those Welshmen who still carry a torch for the religion of the druids. For a spot of fun, the Rhys family decides to stage its own ritual—recreating the fertility ceremony of the Beltane bonfires. But when the flames turn a member of his family into a fireball, Madoc springs to action. Even five thousand miles from Canada, a Mountie always gets his man.
Although he towers over his neighbors, Jim Feldster is otherwise unremarkable, except for his mastery of cow milking and his membership in every lodge, rotary club, and brotherhood that Balaclava County has to offer. And anyone who’s met his wife, Mirelle, a vicious gossip with a hysterical streak, can understand why he never misses a meeting. But one night their neighbors, the sleuthing academics Peter and Helen Shandy, wake at 2:47 a.m. to the sound of Mirelle screaming. Jim hasn’t come home, and she will lose her mind if he isn’t found quickly. None of Jim’s lodge brothers know where to find him, and Peter’s investigation turns up few clues. But when a mystery author comes to town and Mirelle is found murdered, Peter begins to wonder if the master milker is less wholesome than he appears.
The angry old men of the Comrades of the Convivial Codfish club celebrate yuletide doing what they do best: eating, drinking, and greeting the season of giving with a spirited “bah, humbug!” Though well past sixty, Jem Kelling is a relative infant compared to some of the club’s elder statesmen, and he has waited decades to host their annual Christmas scowl. And during his first evening as Exalted Chowderhead, he is thrilled to find the wine abundant, the chowder superb, and the humbugs as lusty as ever. But as the night winds down, Jem is horrified to find that the ceremonial Codfish necklace has vanished—right off of his neck! His nephew-in-law, art investigator Max Bittersohn, is convinced his new uncle was the victim of a practical joke. But when the old man takes a hip-snapping tumble, Max is forced to conclude that one of the scrooges is trying to perpetrate a deadly Christmas jeer.
When the doddering patrons of the Wilkins Museum learned that dozens of their priceless masterworks had been stolen and replaced by forgeries, there was no one to turn to but Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn—the savviest art detectives of the Boston upper crust. Nabbing the crooks was easy, but finding the missing paintings has proven trickier. Years later, the collection’s prized Titian is still lost, and the new director, loudmouthed cattle baron Elwyn Fleesom Turbot, is getting impatient. And things get even more troublesome when members of his staff begin to die. It starts when Dolores Tawne, the elderly, bossy museum administrator, is stabbed through the base of her skull with an antique hatpin. Inside the dead woman’s safe deposit box Sarah finds clues to a conspiracy that stretches back decades and a way to stop the murders that are still to come.
Though a few years past sixty, Sarah Kelling’s Aunt Emma is as vigorous as a girl of twenty-two. She sings, she dances, and when the local fire department needs a fundraising boost, she’s happy to jump out a window for charity. This summer, she decamps to Maine, to beat the heat at an island retreat for artists and great thinkers. There are writers, painters, a psychic, and a historian, and their company promises to be great fun—until a few of them go treasure-crazy. Sensible people have long dismissed rumors of the Pocapuk Island treasure as myth, but artists are seldom sensible. When their rampant digging stirs up buried trouble, it leads to theft, drugging, and a murder. And although Sarah and her husband Max give investigative advice by phone, it’s up to Aunt Emma to save the islanders from themselves.
Producing a Gilbert & Sullivan opera requires a special kind of madness, and the Kelling family is large enough and peculiar enough to undertake an entire company by themselves. For years now, Sarah Kelling’s Aunt Emma has supervised these annual productions—from The Pirates of Penzance to The Mikado—and this year she has invited her cast of relatives to rehearse The Sorcerer in her stately mansion. The show is nearly ready when a team of burglars drugs the cast and crew to make off with a priceless portrait. Theft or no theft, Aunt Emma insists the show must go on. Even when one of the cast dies suddenly, she finds a replacement and continues rehearsal. But when Sarah begins to suspect the actor was murdered, it becomes clear that dear Aunt Emma may be in danger of taking her final bow.
Boston and its suburbs are stuffed with Kellings, and the city is about to get one more. Sarah Kelling and her husband Max Bittersohn—a pair of amateur sleuths equally at home in back alleys as they are at black-tie balls—are about to have a baby. And if the child takes after his parents, he will be one of the cleverest infants in New England. But while Sarah is a month away from giving birth, she cannot let pregnancy slow her down—she has a murder to solve. A resident at one of Sarah’s Uncle Dolph’s homeless centers is found mugged and murdered on one of Boston’s seedier side streets. Someone at the shelter has been dealing drugs, and plans to frame Uncle Dolph for the murder. Now Sarah and Max must race to clear Dolph’s name, lest the newest Kelling arrive before his family honor can be restored.
If she weren’t so fabulous, the Countess Lydia Ouspenska might be considered a gangster’s moll. The last time she met Max Bittersohn, Boston’s famed art-fraud investigator, she was forging minute Byzantine masterpieces to make ends meet. But when Max bumps into her on the Common, the Countess is back on her feet. She has taken up with Bartolo Arbalest, a master forger currently masquerading as an art restorer. And as Bittersohn knows all too well, even the most genteel fraudster cannot be trusted. With the help of his wife, Sarah, Max looks for the secret lair of Bartolo’s supposed restoration guild. But when the guild’s clients begin to die, it becomes clear there is more at stake than a few fabricated icons. The art may be fake, but for Max and Sarah the danger is very real.
Janet Rhys is driving through the backwoods of Canada when she sees the truck ahead of her lose control, smash into a snow bank, and flip sideways, completely blocking the road. Springing to action, she darts into a nearby barn, searching for something to use to rescue the person trapped inside. When she hears an explosion, Janet returns to find the truck is nothing but smoking wreckage, and the driver has stolen her car. Janet takes shelter in an abandoned house, and is waiting for help to come when the truck driver’s accomplices set fire to her hideout. Just before she is engulfed in flames, she leaps through a window and escapes into the snow. The killers think their witness is dead, and if Janet doesn’t move quickly, they will be right.
When Jenson Thorbisher-Freep announces an amateur theatrical contest, the women in the Grub-and-Stake gardening club race to join in. They enlist Osbert Monk as their playwright—not only is he married to their club leader Dittany Monk, but he’s famous the world over as Lex Laramie, bestselling novelist of Westerns. Taking the legend of Dangerous Dan McGrew as his inspiration, Osbert delivers a rough draft faster than the Pony Express. Now all the Grub-and-Stakers have to do is cast it. To play McGrew, Dittany picks town cad Andrew McNaster, who has recently improved his manners in an attempt to woo Osbert’s aunt, Arethusa. The gunslinger’s performance gets a bit too real on opening night, though, when his prop bullets are replaced with real ones, and claim the toe of a fellow thespian. Is McNaster as nice as he pretends to be? Or has he taken his part too close to heart, and decided to become very dangerous indeed?
Anyone growing up in Lobelia Falls is taught to learn the elegant, ancient, and occasionally deadly art of shooting with a bow and arrow. Practicing the craft, freelance secretary Dittany Henbit is strolling through the woods with her bow at her side when she meets a surveyor making surveys where he shouldn’t. Dittany is giving him what-for when an arrow goes whizzing above her head. It is sharp enough to kill, and was not fired by accident, but Dittany wasn’t the target. She and the surveyor find Mr. Architrave, the head of the water department, not far away—lying dead beneath the trees that he loved so much. Progress is coming to Lobelia Falls, and one resident will do anything to stop it. But in a town where every child can shoot, how can Dittany discover who drew the killer bow?
When word gets out that Dittany Monk, the sleuthing gardener of Lobelia Falls, is expecting twins, every knitter in town races to Miss Jane Fuzzywuzzy’s Yarnery to begin work on a complete wardrobe of hats, booties, and tiny sweaters. One customer, however, has even more urgent business: the man with the gunshot wounds in his back. The victim stumbles out of a bullet-ridden car, dripping blood all over the freshly cleaned sidewalk, and dies with a peculiar phrase on his lips: “The raveled sleeve!” Before Miss Jane can offer advice on how to rescue an unraveling sweater, her unfortunate customer expires. To ensure her twins can be raised in a safe hometown, Dittany will have to get the yarn-store murder sewn up.
Murder can happen anywhere, even in sleepy Meldrum, Rhode Island. And while the town’s old-money families may prefer to sweep such unseemliness under their Oriental rugs, its newest resident can think of nothing else. Nineteen-year-old Jenny Cirak has moved into the house her father, a once-famous movie producer, willed to her. She’s also using an assumed name, just like he did when he lived—and died—in Meldrum. But why did he leave a fortune to the child he abandoned . . . and what really killed him?
Hoping to make sense of the father she never knew, Jenny must get to know his neighbors and expose their secrets and feuds. Somewhere among this cast of characters, which includes a retired corporate accountant from Baltimore who shows up on her doorstep with a clue, is a person who knows the truth—and will do anything to keep Cirak’s daughter from uncovering it.
From the acclaimed author of the Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn series and other popular mysteries, this is a twisting tale of small-town secrets and suspense.
Persis Green’s existence has been overshadowed by the looming prospect of her older sister’s wedding. Her family was once normal—boring, but normal. Then the engagement was announced and all hell broke loose. Now, Persis’s father acts like a zombie at dinner parties, her mother goes from zero to shrieking in seconds, and her sister is utterly self-absorbed.
When Persis wins a statewide piano competition and a scholarship to a prestigious music conservatory, her big news is pushed aside. In addition to the general chaos of the impending nuptials, one of her sister’s wedding gifts, a wildly expensive piece of jewelry, has disappeared.
Feeling like the only sane member of the family, Persis commits her cool head to solving the mystery. But there are other surprises she’ll discover in the course of her investigation in this absorbing tale by the author of the popular Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn series.
Upon graduating from an academy for respectable young ladies, Lavinia Tabard heads to the New England countryside and her rich cousin Zilpha’s summer cottage with the low expectations of a charity case. Lavinia intends to endure Zilpha’s saccharine sweetness and her “companion” Tetsy’s bullying ways only until she can plan an escape that doesn’t involve marriage.
A welcome distraction comes when, as she works on a grave rubbing at the local cemetery, Lavinia notices something strange about the dates on the stone. Her questions lead to the doorsteps of several interesting neighbors, including a self-made young architect with a temper as fiery as his red hair. Hayward Clinton and his partner have an office on Zilpha’s property, an awkward situation that won’t change until the mysterious disappearance of the business’s original owner is solved. It’s a case too curious for Lavinia to resist—but someone will stop at nothing to ensure that she does.
King Devil is an entertaining tale of suspense from the acclaimed author of the Peter Shandy Mysteries, as well as the Boston-set Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn series.
Past midnight, Chyna Shepard, twenty-six, gazes out a moonlit window, unable to sleep on her first night in the Napa Valley home of her best friend’s family. Instinct proves reliable. A murderous sociopath, Edgler Foreman Vess, has entered the house, intent on killing everyone inside. A self-proclaimed “homicidal adventurer,” Vess lives only to satisfy all appetites as they arise, to immerse himself in sensation, to live without fear, remorse, or limits, to live with intensity. Chyna is trapped in his deadly orbit.
Chyna is a survivor, toughened by a lifelong struggle for safety and self-respect. Now she will be tested as never before. At first her sole aim is to get out alive—until, by chance, she learns the identity of Vess’s next intended victim, a faraway innocent only she can save. Driven by a newly discovered thirst for meaning beyond mere self-preservation, Chyna musters every inner resource she has to save an endangered girl . . . as moment by moment, the terrifying threat of Edgler Foreman Vess intensifies.
Rose Gardner hates seeing her normally flamboyant best friend Neely Kate struggle with depression. So when Rose stumbles onto a piece of evidence indicating her birth mother might have been involved in a crime, she does the one thing guaranteed to cheer Neely Kate. She convinces her friend to help her solve a mystery. Though their penchant for investigating has gotten them into plenty of pickles in the past, what can go wrong if they’re looking into a case that went cold a quarter of a century ago? But the deeper they dig, the more dirt they unearth.
While she’s busy unraveling the past, Rose must also reprise her role as the Lady in Black as part of her ongoing agreement with the king of the Fenton County underworld. In so doing, she discovers a mysterious enemy is intent on attacking her friends, and her assistant DA boyfriend might be next on the list.
As both situations reach a boiling point, Rose must face the possibility that certain secrets were meant to remain buried and not even her special talent can get her out of every predicament.
Playing with emotions for pay is dirty pool, but the game turns deadly when one of the women is murdered. Fortune decides the victim must have figured out who the scam artist is and threatened him with exposure. Deputy Carter LeBlanc is hard at work to find the gunman, but sometimes it takes a woman to expose a lady-killer. Fortunately, Swamp Team 3 is on the job.
Rose Gardner has survived plenty of close scrapes in the past, but her latest bit of trouble has landed her in the Fenton County holding cell on trumped up charges. The most powerful man in southern Arkansas, J.R. Simmons, is determined to put her behind bars for good and destroy everything she holds dear, including her boyfriend, Mason, and her friend Skeeter, reigning king of the Fenton County crime world. In a stunning betrayal, it seems as if J.R.’s son, Rose’s ex-boyfriend, might have turned tail and joined his father.
But Rose doesn’t have to face this fight alone. Her tight-knit group of friends is dedicated to helping her figure out—and foil—J.R.’s plan for ruining her, Mason, and Skeeter. But even with their support and the use of her special power, Rose is at a disadvantage. J.R. is a criminal mastermind who has been using his money, power, and web of influence to hide his conspiracies for years. How can she hope to find solid evidence implicating someone who’s mastered the art of not getting caught?
Time is running out, and soon Rose realizes that reassuming her role of the Lady in Black might be her only chance at ferreting out the evidence that will save them all. In so doing, she will risk not only her life, but the possibility that her secret identity will be unveiled to all.
A force to be reckoned with…
During missions as a CIA assassin, Fortune Redding saw and overcame most every obstacle, but Sinful, Louisiana, keeps producing new challenges for her. When a hurricane blows through, it brings a shower of counterfeit money raining down on the tiny bayou town.
When the money is linked back to Ahmad, the arms dealer who issued the kill order on Fortune, everyone is worried that her nemesis is far too close for comfort. When Ahmad’s men turn up in Sinful, the situation becomes life-and-death for Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie, and Deputy Carter LeBlanc learns Fortune’s true identity.
As Swamp Team 3 rushes to locate the counterfeiter, Fortune hopes to take down Ahmad and free herself from her fake life. But will her relationship with Carter make it now that he knows the truth?
Except for cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse, folks in Bon Temps, Louisiana, knew little about vamps—and nothing about Weres. Until now. The Weres and shifters have finally revealed their existence to the ordinary world, and the backlash may have claimed the life of someone Sookie knew. But her determination to find out who is responsible for the murder is put aside in the face of a far greater danger. A race of unhuman beings—older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves—is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all-too-human pawn in their battle...
When a game warden turns up with evidence that implicates a relative of Gertie’s, Carter is left with no choice but to arrest the boy, even though no one thinks he did it. With Carter under the watchful eye of Celia and the state, Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie decide to catch a poacher…before he gets away.
If it weren’t for the fact that she’s replacing a dead man, Kelly Jackson would love her new job managing the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast on the coast of Northern California. But Bob Phillips did plunge off the cliff to his death…and Kelly’s starting to think it may not have been an accident. Bob’s retired friends—The “Silver Sentinels”—are also on the case, especially when Kelly is attacked…and another body turns up. Kelly has her hands full with overseeing the B&B’s annual Taste of Chocolate and Wine Festival, but she’s also closing in on the killer…who’s ready to send Kelly on her own permanent vacation…
Trouble always comes to those who court it. Rose Gardner’s ability to see glimpses of the future has gotten her into hot water time and again, but so have her curiosity and her sense of daring. Those very qualities helped her defeat the most powerful man in Arkansas—a man so adept at hiding his crimes there was no way to defeat him inside of the law—but her success came at a steep personal price. Now she’s throwing herself into her landscaping business, trying to live a life that’s as orderly as one of her gardens.
Rose’s best friend, Neely Kate, is struggling with her own losses, so when she suggests they help a local man find a missing necklace, Rose agrees. It’ll give both of them a welcome distraction, and besides, it’s a simple investigation. What harm could befall them? But things that should be simple rarely are. In seeking out the necklace, Rose and Neely Kate find themselves in the thick of a power struggle in the Fenton County underworld, one that could dethrone Rose’s friend James Malcolm, the surprisingly moral king.
The last thing Rose should do is court more trouble, but she’s not the type to step away from a friend in need—and she’s also not so sure she wants an orderly life.
Sang Sorenson’s father abandoned her and her sister, leaving them to fend for themselves for months. He’s returned, and finds Sang is missing. He demands she return. Right now.
Will he call the police if she doesn’t?
Her Academy team doesn’t want to risk losing her ghost status and she doesn’t want to put them in danger, so she reluctantly returns home, but is comforted that she will still be monitored by them.
But the second she opens the door, she discovers her father has made changes that will affect her entire future. His decisions will make them a normal family.
Normal is no longer what Sang wants. It would kill her Academy career before it ever started. Not to mention it would end the special, new, and still-fragile relationships with the guys.
Sang struggles with her family, her identity, and where she truly belongs. Now that the entire team knows about their romantic relationships with her, tensions are mounting, tearing the team apart from the inside.
Only, Dr. Green isn't going to lie down and roll over by playing by the rules. Not anymore. Not while Sang is at risk.
His heart can’t take leaving her in that house one more minute. He needs her. They all do.
The Academy: Worth Risking All
Sookie Stackhouse has her hands full with shapeshifter Quinn—a possible new man in her life—and the upcoming central U.S. Vampire Summit on the shores of Lake Michigan. Sookie's job at the summit is to support Vampire Queen Sophie-Anne, whose power base was weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans. But Sookie is about to discover just how dangerous that job can be, as she is drawn further and further into the vampire world...
When cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn’t just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn’t a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It’s the vampire Eric Northman—but now he’s a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life.
Sookie’s investigation into why leads straight into a dangerous battle among witches, vampires, and werewolves. But a greater danger could be to Sookie’s heart—because the kinder, gentler Eric is very difficult to resist...
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels returns to the one-stoplight town of Midnight, Texas, a place where no one is quite what they seem…
There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, where the residents like to keep to themselves. When psychic Manfred Bernardo finds himself embroiled in a scandal and hounded by the press after one of his regular clients dies during a reading, he turns to enigmatic, beautiful, and dangerous Olivia Charity for help. Somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight...
Includes an excerpt of Night Shift
Hannah is nervous about the upcoming trial for her involvement in a tragic accident. She's eager to clear her name once and for all, but her troubles only double when she finds the judge bludgeoned to death with his own gavel--and Hannah is the number one suspect. Now on trial in the court of public opinion, she sets out in search of the culprit and discovers that the judge made more than a few enemies during his career. With time running out, Hannah will have to whip up her most clever recipe yet to find a killer more elusive than the perfect brownie. . .
That’s exactly what happens to Morgan Blackmoore.
Suddenly, she finds herself in a race against time as she’s launched into a dangerous treasure hunt that pits her against modern day pirates who think she has the key to a three hundred year old secret.
To complicate matters even more, one of her sisters keeps talking to the ghost of their dead grandmother, another has crystals with unusually powerful healing properties and her cat has an uncanny habit of showing up in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.
Not to mention that her ex-boyfried, Luke Hunter, suddenly shows up in town after ten years of being overseas and claims to want to help her fight off these deadly pirates, but Morgan finds herself fighting her attraction to him instead.
Will Morgan outwit the treasure hunters and find the real killer before Sheriff Overton puts her in jail?
And what about Luke, is he really a good guy or just after the treasure himself?
This is Book 2 in the Blackmoore Sisters cozy mystery series.
Drama follows Magnolia around like a long lost friend. She reluctantly agrees to help her momma’s catering company at a party for a country music star, only to find herself face-to-face with a sleazy music agent from her past. After a very public spat, Magnolia not only finds him dead but herself center stage in the police’s investigation. Now she must scramble to prove her innocence, relying on the help of acquaintances old and new.
But the longer Magnolia stays in Franklin, the more she remembers about the big bad incident that chased her away. The past might not be finished with her yet, and what she doesn’t remember could be her biggest danger.
It was a hell of a long shot…
CIA assassin Fortune Redding is about to undertake her most difficult mission ever—in Sinful, Louisiana. With a leak at the CIA and a price placed on her head by one of the world’s largest arms dealers, Fortune has to go off-grid, but she never expected to be this far out of her element. Posing as a former beauty queen turned librarian in a small bayou town seems worse than death to Fortune, but she’s determined to fly below the radar until her boss finds the leak and puts the arms dealer out of play. Unfortunately, she hasn’t even unpacked a suitcase before her newly inherited dog digs up a human bone in her backyard.
LETHAL BAYOU BEAUTY
No one in Sinful liked Pansy Arceneaux, but who hated her enough to kill her?
When aspiring actress Pansy Arceneaux returns to Sinful, Louisiana to head up the beauty pageant portion of the Summer Festival, CIA assassin Fortune Redding knows she’s in for trouble. Her undercover identity as a former beauty queen makes Fortune the perfect choice to chair the event with Pansy, but Pansy’s abrasive personality makes it impossible to get through a single rehearsal without a fight.
When Pansy turns up dead, Fortune is the prime suspect.
In the two weeks CIA assassin Fortune Redding has been hiding in Sinful, Louisiana, she’s been harassed, poisoned, and shot at…and that was the easy part. But now, she’s about to face her biggest challenge since setting foot in the tiny bayou town.
When mayoral candidate Ted Williams is murdered, everyone is surprised. Ted was a blowhole and a Yankee, but those usually weren’t good reasons to kill someone. When Fortune’s good friend Ida Belle becomes the lead suspect in the crime, Fortune knows she’s got to solve a murder and save one of the only friends she’s ever had. But as the investigation begins, more and more secrets surface, and Fortune realizes that sometimes nothing is as it seems.
The Miss Fortune Series is a humorous mystery series set in the bayous of southern Louisiana. It has a cozy mystery feel and features a strong woman sleuth in a fish-out-of-water storyline. The Miss Fortune series appeals to readers of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.
An electrifying standalone thriller that breaks all the rules! With an introduction by Stephen King.
Death is reporter Jack McEvoy's beat: his calling, his obsession. But this time, death brings McEvoy the story he never wanted to write--and the mystery he desperately needs to solve. A serial killer of unprecedented savagery and cunning is at large. His targets: homicide cops, each haunted by a murder case he couldn't crack. The killer's calling card: a quotation from the works of Edgar Allan Poe. His latest victim is McEvoy's own brother. And his last...may be McEvoy himself.
When a shocking murder rocks the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, psychic cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse learns that she has more than one enemy waiting to get vengeance for the past. Beacuse nothing is ever clear-cut in Bon Temps. What passes for truth is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough...
There’s only one vampire Sookie Stackhouse is involved with (at least voluntarily) and it’s Bill Compton. But recently he’s been a little distant—in another state, distant. Then his sinister and sexy boss Eric Northman tells Sookie where she might find him. Next thing she knows, she’s off to Jackson, Mississippi, to mingle with the under-underworld at Club Dead, a dangerous little haunt where the elite of vampire society can go to chill out and suck down some Type-O. But when Sookie finally finds Bill—caught in an act of serious betrayal—she’s not sure whether to save him...or sharpen some stakes.
Mining engineer Philip Mercer is in the war-torn Central African Republic searching for precious metal. There, he meets Cali Stone, a field researcher for the CDC who is investigating why a certain village suffers from one of the highest rates of cancer in the world-a fact that intrigues Mercer. Once back in the states, Mercer's search for answers leads him to a long-lost safe and a cryptic note inside that may reveal a three thousand year-old deception...
‘The Lost Child is complex, mysterious and highly compelling reading.’ - Reviewed the Book
Thirty years on, Elaine Ellis is carrying her mother’s ashes back to Hallow’s End to scatter them in the place that she once called home. Elaine has never been there, but it’s the only place Jean talked about while she was growing up – so it seems as good a place as any.
As Elaine settles into her holiday cottage in the peaceful Devonshire village, she gets to know the locals; family she never knew she had, eccentric and old-fashioned gentry, and new friends where she would least expect them. But she is intrigued by the tale of the missing girl that the village still carries at its heart, and which somehow continues to overshadow them all. Little does she know how much more involved in the mystery she will become...
For fans of K.L Slater, Diane Chamberlain and C.L. TaylorWhat readers are saying about The Lost Child
‘atmospheric, haunting and quite dark’ – Book boodle
‘An unusual, beautifully written mystery.’ – The Disorganised Author
‘A fabulous book that gripped me and left me wanting more!’ – Compelling Reads
‘You won't spot the twists and turns coming and they will keep you on the edge of your seat!! You just won't want to put this book down until you find out what happens at the end!’ – Becky Lock