The Body in the Library, by Agatha Christie
Often called "the world's best-selling novelist", Agatha Christie wrote 66 mysteries that have thrilled readers since her first book was published in 1920. A great example of her finesse as a writer is The Body in the Library, which has recently been re-released. A classic Christie story, The Body in the Library begins with just that: a murdered woman's body is discovered in the library of Dolly and Arthur Bantry's country estate. Eventually, the always wise and clever Jane Marple is enlisted by Dolly Bantry to help the local police solve this crime. The story unfolds with the introduction of numerous possible murderers, twists in plot development and eventually Miss Marple uncovers the true killer.
This is another wonderfully crafted mystery by the great Agatha Christie and will be enjoyable reading for those readers familiar with Christie's books. For first-timers to reading Agatha Christie, The Body in the Library is a great introduction to a terrifically entertaining reading experience. The Greenwich Library has an extensive collection of Christie's mysteries for readers to enjoy.
Recently in Mystery Category
The Body in the Library, by Agatha Christie
On the wait list for Gone Girl in book or ebook format? Try The Boy in the Suitcase, a Nina Borg mystery by Lene Kaaberbol. This mystery is the first in a best-selling Danish series to be translated into English. Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two can't say no when asked for help. When her estranged friend Karin leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, Nina finds a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive. A flawed heroine, the Danish underworld, a trek across the countryside are ingredients for a good read. Kaaberbol's second title Invisible Murder arrives in October.
A Killing in the Hills, by Julia Keller
A Killing in the Hills is a debut mystery by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Julia Keller to be published August 21, 2012. Gutsy and beautifully written mystery of community, family, meth and murder in the hills of West Virginia. Prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins, returned to her roots from DC, her teenaged daughter Carla, and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong are among the more law-abiding citizens in the county. Keller contrasts abject poverty and alluring landscape--the galley drew me in from beginning to end.
The Killer Inside Me, by Jim Thompson
Recently made into a movie for the second time (which was released just last summer), Jim Thompson's 1952 literary crime classic The Killer Inside Me is a harrowing journey into the mind of its protagonist Lou Ford. Seemingly at first nursing a grudge against the millionaire whom he seemingly believes murdered his brother, Lou, a deputy sheriff in a small but corrupt town in Texas, sets off a chain of events with one killing after another. Possibly due to mistreatment as a child by his father's mistress (which he uses as an explanation for some of the killings) , Lou suffers from "the sickness", which got him in trouble as a youth and now manifests itself in his adult life. At first Lou's "sickness" is focused towards the millionaire but quickly spreads to anyone -friends, strangers, even loved ones- who threatens his freedom.
As the bodies start piling up and wary authorities try to poke holes in his various alibis, Lou, a true sociopath, tries to justify to himself and us the reasons for his murder spree. During the course of the novel we start to worry along (and take sides) with Lou as to whether he'll actually get caught or not. Subsequently, both Lou and the readers are broadsided by the shockingly powerful surprise climax. Violent, nasty and thoroughly engrossing from start to finish, The Killer Inside Me holds your attention with nail-biting suspense that never lets up.
(P.S. Thompson was a darn good writer. Check out the other books by him that we carry, like The Grifters, plus two we don't: The Getaway and Pop.1280.)
Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, by Lee Goldberg
Every once in a while, I like to do some recreational reading instead of educational or biographical. Since I was a big fan of the television show "Monk", I was very pleased when my wife, Linda, brought home Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu by Lee Goldberg. The compulsive-obsessive detective takes over as police captain when the regular cops call in sick with the "Blue Flu" during contract negotiations. He is left with a motley crew of characters who have to help him solve a series of murders. One woman is paranoid, and thinks everything is a government conspiracy. One man is extremely violent in his arrests. Another can't remember what happened two seconds ago! Meanwhile, he incurs the wrath of union members who consider him a "scab" for assuming the position. Someone has gone on a murder spree, and has the odd habit of only taking the left running shoe. Goldberg captures Monk's character and crime solving ability perfectly. This is an easy, quick and entertaining read. Although the TV series is over, you can still enjoy reading the Monk series. Check them out from the paperback section.
The Ninth Daughter, by Barbara Hamiliton
This is the first in a projected mystery series written by Barbara Hamilton that will transform the real-life Abigail Adams into an amateur sleuth. In pre-revolutionary Boston, Adams must try to discover who murdered a woman whose body Adams discovers in a friend's house. The strength of Hamilton's writing is definitely in her strong ability to create, in interesting and absorbing detail, Adams's world of colonial Boston. While trying to solve this murder mystery, Adams is also involved with the politics of her day as discontent is brewing between the Americans and their British rulers. Her husband John, brother-in-law Sam, and Paul Revere are among the lively cast of characters finely drawn by Hamilton. The Ninth Daughter makes for entertaining reading, especially for those who relish authors who can skillfully make an historical era come alive with fine writing.
The Water's Edge, by Karin Fossum
The sixth in the series featuring Inspector Konrad Sejer and set in Norway, The Water's Edge is the first mystery this reviewer has read by Karin Fossum. And, this absorbing mystery made this reader want to enjoy more titles in this series. Fossum's writing is clear and concise with extremely well-created characters in their Norwegian setting. The Water's Edge begins with a couple from a small town in Norway who take a stroll in a park and stumble upon the body of a dead boy. This event becomes a major catalyst in the couple's lives and remains a subplot to the involvement of Inspector Sejer in solving the mystery of the dead boy. One crime leads to another and Kossum provides the reader with a twisting tale set within a small Norwegian community. The Water's Edge is recommended for mystery readers and especially for those who like to follow the adventures of a character who solves crimes in foreign countries.
Two Little Girls in Blue, by Mary Higgins Clark
This is a suspense thriller that is sure to strike fear in any parent's heart. Twin girls Kathy and Kelly Frawley are abducted from their Ridgefield, Connecticut bedroom. Ransom demands are made and conditions are met, but only one little girl is returned. The parents cannot accept the loss of their daughter, and cling to hope when Kelly makes claims that Kathy is still alive. Even seasoned investigators start to believe in the theory of twin telepathy when Kelly's claims are so specific. Several plot twists and turns keep the reader guessing until the very end!
by Kathy Reichs
Devil Bones, the first book by Kathy Reichs that his reviewer has read, is the author's eleventh mystery featuring the forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. After reading Devil Bones, it is easy to understand why Reichs's books are so widely read and became the basis for the popular television series Bones. The adventures of Temperance Brennan mirror many of the cases that Reichs has experienced in her "real-life" career as a forensic anthropologist. The crimes Brennan becomes involved with in Devil Bones have many juicy, as well as deadly, elements: voodoo, witchcraft, the fringe religion Santeria and some violent characters. Brennan aids police investigators in solving a series of gristly murders by using her forensic skills. This reviewer found Brennan's use of bone structure and other aspects of anthropology to solve these crimes fascinating and informative. The character of Temperance Brennan comes alive as Reichs writes about various events in her personal life that occur as she works on solving these crimes. Devil Bones is such fun and enjoyable reading that many readers will want to follow other cases Brennan has been involved with in the various books Reichs has written. As a bonus, there is an interview with Reichs at the end of this book that provides insight into how she writes her books and incorporates aspects of forensic anthropology into her writing.
Spade & Archer , by Joe Gores
Set up as a prequel to Dashiell Hammett's classic detective novel, The Maltese Falcon, Spade & Archer is an affectionate pastiche of Hammett's literary work. Author Joe Gores, focusing on a time frame spanning the years 1921, 1925 and 1928, outlines the various events and cases that private eye Sam Spade takes part in, establishing himself as a top-notch private detective in the process. We find out about Spade's WWI record, the background behind his relationship with future partner Miles Archer (who, despite his inclusion in the book's title, has only a cusory presence in the scheme of things), his affair with Miles' wife, and his near decade long battle of wits with a mysterious criminal mastermind who always seems one step ahead (and who's frankly no Casper Gutman, if you know what I mean). Sam also winds up in a Maltese Falcon-like search for missing money near the end of the book. Gores pretty much captures Hammett's punchy style, although he occasionally falls into the trap of having characters tell the reader what's going on rather than showing them. (Why does one character, early in the book, describe Spade's entire war experience to Spade?!? That's a very awkward moment of exposition for the reader.) There are loads of in-joke references (fans of Hammett's The Thin Man will appreciate the name Spade uses as an alias in one scene) as well as forshadowing of events that occur in the subsequent Falcon, including a great closing scene that... Nope, I won't spoil it. In a nutshell, Spade & Archer is a Hammett (and mystery) fan's delight.
Bad Blood, by Linda Fairstein
In her ninth mystery featuring Alexandra Cooper as a Manhattan assistant district attorney, Fairstein has written a fast-paced and intriguing story involving, in part, long simmering family disputes among those who build water tunnels below New York City. Fairstein obviously did her research well and the details about these tunnels are not only fascinating, but come into play as Cooper uncovers decades-old murder crimes. Other threads of the story involve the murder trial of a well known New Yorker accused of murdering his wife and aspects of Cooper's private life. Above or below ground, New York City comes alive with Fairstein's great writing and she provides a highly-recommended reading experience.
They Did It With Love, by Kate Morgenroth
Publisher's Weekly calls Kate Morgenroth's novel, They Did It With Love, a cross between Agatha Christie and Desperate Housewives. With a detailed Greenwich, Connecticut setting, Morgenroth richly describes the characters and locales in this smart and layered mystery. Sophie Wright, a mystery bookstore owner in Manhattan, is happy with her husband and career in New York City. When her wealthy father dies, her husband Dean, pressures her to move to Greenwich, CT and makes sure she is invited to the exclusive neighborhood mystery book club. (Yes, it does sound a little like the Stepford movie). Sophie becomes involved in the complicated lives of the book club members and their husbands. When Julia, the least liked member of the group is found hanging from a tree in her front yard, Sophie uses her amateur sleuthing skills to prove that Julia didn't commit suicide. The more she finds out about the complicated lives of her neighbors, the more the plot thickens. PS... Prepare yourself for the surprise ending you never saw coming.
Finding Nouf, by Zoe Ferraris
In her first novel, Zoe Ferraris has woven what could have been an ordinary story of the search for Nouf, a young woman who suddenly disappears, into a very interesting and extremely readable tale. The unique key is that Nouf is the 16 year old daughter of a wealthy Saudi family and she vanishes into the Saudi desert. The search to find out why she ran away from her family becomes the center of the story. Her older brother Othman enlists the help of Nayir Sharqi, a guide who escorts wealthy Saudis on desert expeditions, to first find his young sister and then uncover the reasons for her fate. Othman also seeks the professional help of his finance Katya, who is a technician in the coroner's office. At one point in her life, Ferraris married into an extended family of Saudi-Palestinian Bedouins. It is from that experience that she has presumably written so compellingly about life in the Saudi kingdom, especially for young women. Finding Nouf is not only a well-crafted mystery, but also a fascinating window into the cloistered private lives of modern Saudis.
The Goliath Bone, by Mickey Spillane
Although Mickey Spillane passed away in July, 2006, he managed to leave behind an unfinished manuscript for what was intended to be the final novel starring his hard-boiled private eye character Mike Hammer. Completed by fellow mystery writer and family friend Max Allen Collins (Road to Perdition), the newly published The Goliath Bone sends Hammer on a "new direction" (as Collins puts it in the afterword), battling terrorists in a post-9/11 New York City. While coping with the realities of old age (including getting his AARP card and settling down with his long-time girl friend and partner Velda, whose last name is finally revealed after all these years), Hammer tries to protect the title artifact from vicious killers, but discovers (as is usually the case) that not everybody is whom they seem to be. A great, unexpectedly violent (even for Spillane) climax, strong vivid characters (including a take-off on certain well-known Broadway promoters and media personalities), plus a murderous seven-foot, three inch assassin, also named Goliath, who goes after Hammer), a bizarre analogy with the original 1933 King Kong movie that figures in the aforementioned climatic scene, and a stunning, ironic epilogue that harkens back to Spillane's first Hammer novel, I, the Jury (1947), make this novel a wonderful send-off for fans of Spillane and Hammer. We'll miss ya, guys!
Where Memories Lie, by Deborah Crombie
You would never know that Deborah Crombie is a native Texan and not a Londoner from reading her books. Each book set in and around London, perfectly sets the stage for following the investigations of Duncan Kincaid and his erstwhile partner, Gemma James. Her latest, Where Memories Lie connects momentous incidents that happened during World War II to a contemporary crime with seemingly very ordinary victims. The flashbacks, highlighted in italics, illuminate for the reader all the horror that led to today's murders. Each book can be read as unique but if you start at the beginning, you will have many hours of entertaining mystery and mayhem with Duncan and Gemma and their assorted friends and family.
Dark Tide, by Andrew Gross
Andrew Gross has successfully co-authored several books with James Patterson, but his second solo suspense thriller, Dark Tide, places him at the top of the list of the mystery thriller genre. Charles and Karen Friedman of Old Greenwich are living the perfect life. Charles, an investment banker in New York, his wife Karen and two children enjoy their life in Old Greenwich, a ski cabin in Vermont and Caribbean vacations until the morning that Charles is taking the train to New York and a terrorist bomb goes off killing hundreds of commuters. While still in shock and mourning her loss, Karen is visited by two men wanting to know where 250 million dollars of missing money from Charles' investment firm is located. In a seemingly unrelated hit and run on Putnam Ave in Greenwich on the same day as the train bombing, Greenwich Chief Detective Ty Hauck finds Charles Friedman's name and phone number in the victim's pocket. While Ty investigates the connection, Karen finds more disturbing revelations about her husband and his business dealings. This is a compelling and thrilling read to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Sweet Revenge, by Diane Mott Davidson
This is the 14th "culinary suspense" novel highlighting the misadventures of caterer Goldy Schulz. The saga begins with a murder in the local library, where Goldy is setting up for the employees holiday brunch. A library patron is found murdered and Goldy winds up in the middle of investigation, which centers on finding out who has been stealing high-end maps from libraries all across the United States. In between her amateur detective work and numerous catering jobs, Goldy also has encounters with people from her past, quirky Colorado residents and extremely dangerous characters that seem determined eliminate her. Some of Goldy's delicious recipes are included as an added bonus to the reader!
Anarchy and Old Dogs, by Colin Cotterill
Anarchy and Old Dogs is a great find for dedicated mystery readers. It is the fourth in Colin Cotterill's series featuring the exploits of a truly different detective character - Dr. Siri Paiboun, the sole coroner in the country of Laos. Paiboun is confronted with solving the mysterious death of a blind dentist, who was killed by a bus as he crossed the street. He was carrying a seemingly blank piece of mail he had just received at the local post office. After discovering an invisible code on the letter, Paiboun must find the true meaning of the coded message. Cotterill has placed his story in the Laos of 1977 and one of the book's true strengths is the skill with which Cotterill makes that setting come alive. Adding very colorful characters who are key to helping Paiboun solve this mystery is another delightful aspect of Cotterill's writing. Cotterill resides in Chiang Mai and, clearly, he has a terrifically effective ability to write very absorbingly of Laos and the surrounding area.
The Redbreast, by Jo Nesbo
For avid mystery readers, it is always a true joy to find a new author who has created a great detective character as well as using a foreign setting to tell a wonderfully complex and compelling story. Jo Nesbo is such an author for he has created the Norwegian detective Henry Hole, who is based in Oslo. The bonus of this book is that the reader gets insight into the dark days of Norwegian history after that country was invaded by the Nazis during World War II. There were many Norwegians who enlisted in the German army and fought for their country's conquerors on the eastern front of the German campaign against Russia. While that is one line of The Redbreast, the other is concerned with a series of grisly killings that might be related to smoldering resentments of war veterans who did indeed serve on the eastern front and are considered traitors to Norway. Detective Hole becomes involved with members of the neo-Nazi movement and other finely-drawn characters as he chases leads in his quest to solve these killings. Nesbo won great acclaim in Norway for his first crime book and it is easy to see why as The Redbreast, his second book, is a terrific reading experience.
Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants, by Lee Goldberg
For those people who love the TV series "Monk", Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants (2007) by Lee Goldberg is a must read. The obsessive-compulsive detective is reunited with his first assistant Sharona, whose husband has been accused of a murder she is certain he did not commit. Monk's current assistant, Natalie, finds herself threatened by Sharona's return, and is afraid she will lose her job, which she desperately needs to support herself and her daughter. Monk agrees to take the case, and he finds himself being annoyed by a mystery author, Ian Ludlow, who seems to have all the answers. Along the way, Monk solves some unrelated, smaller crimes. This is a very easy and entertaining read - just right for curling up in a chair in front of the fireplace on a cool autumn night!
The Scandal of Father Brown, by G. K. Chesterton
A book that if opened would make the person who opened it disappear and the murder of a millionaire are two of the problems solved by this nondescript priest detective. His faith enables him to see reality more clearly than most people and thus solve mysteries Each case offers the author the chance to impart a small gem of wisdom as well as an intriguing puzzle. Most enjoyable.
Dressed for Death, by Donna Leon
Originally published in 1994 and recently re-released in paperback, Dressed for Death is Leon's third book in her murder mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, a contemporary Venetian police detective. After the body of a brutally-battered man is found in scandalous circumstances, Brunetti sets out to first discover the body's identity and then his killer. This process takes him along the canals of Venice and into the city's secretive banking world. The story moves quickly with some twists and turns along the way. At the center is Brunetti and his Venice, which is wonderfully brought to life by Leon. This should make readers want to read more of Leon's series and follow further adventures of the highly enjoyable Guido Brunetti.
What The Dead Know, by Laura Lippman
Laura Lippman, the Edgar Award winning writer of the Baltimore mysteries featuring private investigator Tess Monaghan, writes an excellent thriller loosely based on actual events that happened in the Baltimore area in 1975. In the book, What the Dead Know, two young sisters, Heather and Sunny Bethany disappear without a trace from a Maryland shopping mall. It remained a cold case, but never far from the minds of the Baltimore police force. Thirty years later a woman is arrested for a hit-and-run accident on the Baltimore beltway, and she claims to be Heather Bethany, one of the missing sisters. Through a series of flashbacks, the reader comes to know the tragic story from several perspectives. The book pieces together the events of what happened in that shopping mall so many years ago. The resolution of the mystery is twisting and surprising but the trip there is worth the bumpy ride, especially with the interesting and complex characters. Laura Lippman is one of the most gifted mystery writers in the field.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter & Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Dexter Morgan is probably the most over-qualified blood-spatter analyst working at the Miami-Dade police department, or anywhere for that matter, though none of his co-workers know his expertise stems from being a killer himself. But Dexter is different from other homicidal maniacs--aside from being "the best-dressed monster in Dade County" with boy-next-door good looks, disarming charm and a scalpel-sharp wit, Dexter has been imbued with a set of rules to guide his more lethal proclivities for the benefit of society while ensuring that he himself remains anonymously safe from the authorities. His foster father Harry Morgan, a homicide cop, recognized Dexter's urge to kill at a young age, and rather than commit him to a fate of institutionalized psychiatric probing and fumbling, he taught Dexter the finer points of criminal investigative technique, social interaction and impulse control, aka "Harry's Rules". The result? One well-kempt, well-behaved sociopath who only preys on other killers. Compared to many living in Miami, Dexter is a model citizen.
Written with deliciously dark humor amid dastardly dismemberments and vivid vivisections, Lindsay has created a character who fascinates and amuses us, giving new life to a genre that before now had been literally "done to death". When you're finished with Lindsay's first two novels in the Dexter series, there is a third to look forward to, due out later this summer, but if you need to assuage your fix for butchered "Barbie dolls" and "yodeling potatoes" in the meantime, you can also catch the hit television series on Showtime. Your own "Dark Passenger" is bound to be satisfied!
With No One As Witness, by Elizabeth George
With No One As Witness is lucky number 13 in the series of books written by Elizabeth George as she has written yet another readable and entertaining murder mystery. An American living in England, George has mastered the art of writing a mystery set in London as if she was native born. The regular Scotland Yard detectives Geroge has written about in previous books, Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers, are joined by the newly-promoted detective Winston Nkata as they try to find a brutal serial killer who is preying on young boys. While the first clues lead to Colossus, an organization dedicated to helping "at-risk" youths, Lynley, Havers, Nkata and other team members comb various London neighborhoods for the killer. Extra pressure is put on Havers to do well as part of her attempt to rehabilitate her professional reputation. George creates a great plot with many twists and turns while her characters come vividly alive during the chase to solve these murders. A twist is thrown in at the end which made this reviewer want to read George's next book featuring these characters. In all, a highly recommended book!
Full Dark House, by Christopher Fowler
When the headquarters of the London police Peculiar Crimes Unit is destroyed by a bomb, 80-year-old Arthur Bryant, an original member, is killed in the explosion. His partner, John May, is determined to find the killer. Repeated flashbacks to their first case, the murder of a dancer in the Palace Theatre at the time of the Blitz, eventually provide a link to the present day crime. Besides being a suspenseful mystery featuring colorful characters as detectives, this gives a vivid picture of everyday life in wartime London.
An Air that Kills, by Andrew Taylor
Hurrah! Globalization has brought Andrew Taylor and other terrific mystery authors, old and new, to the US. I became a fan of Taylor's terrific British mysteries years ago, only to find that new titles were no longer being published here. My favorite series is set around the fictional English town of Lydmouth in the years following World War II. An Air that Kills introduces journalist Jill Francis and Detective Inspector Richard Thornhill, outsiders who become allies in classic English detecting. The books replace the cozy Christie background with the brooding atmosphere of a town on the Welsh border and the puritan backgrounds of characters trying to survive in a fast-changing society. Seven Lydmouth novels have been published and another is due at the end of 2006. All have titles taken from poems by A.E. Houseman. Perfect reading for a misty, cold day in front of the fire--or a warm day on the porch.
Already Dead: A Joe Pitt Casebook, by Charlie Huston
You can really sink your teeth into this mystery. Rogue Private Investigator Joe Pitt has a vampyre problem--and Manhattan has so many vampyres they are divided into warring clans around the city. His case is to find a missing rich teen who may have runaway to this gothic underground and gotten in over her head. While on the trail for the girl, Pitt also encounters zombies that seem to be spreading in numbers around the city. Great depiction of a NYC vampyre world whose power goes beyond the Night. Oh yeah, and Pitt is a vampyre too.
A Meal to Die For, by Joseph R. Cannascoli and Allen C. Kupfer
A Meal to Die For is a culinary crime caper by Joseph R. Cannascoli (Current actor on the hit TV Show "The Sopranos") and Allen C. Kupfer. Follow the exploits of chef Benny Lacoco, aspiring chef, restaurateur, and food fence from Brooklyn as he cooks up the "last supper" for his fellow mob associates. Sumptuous recipes are provided throughout the book, and the chapters are presented like a 10 course meal. Entertaining fiction from the kitchen!
Prayers for the Dead, by Faye Kellerman
This reviewer has finally read a Faye Kellerman book and this title is a very pleasurable reading experience. First published in the late 1990's, Prayers for the Dead features the LAPD detective Peter Decker and his wife Rena Lazarus, who are a very interesting couple. Decker becomes involved with a gristly murder in a parking lot of a restaurant - the victim being a very prominent Los Angeles doctor. From there, Kellerman builds a twisting tale involving the victim's family - many of whom have good reason to wish the doctor dead. At the center are Decker and his wife, who, oddly enough, has a direct relationship with this family. For readers who enjoy a good murder mystery with many possible suspects, this is a lively story that keeps moving along. Rena herself is an interesting character - a devoutly Jewish woman who has direct experience with a son of the victim. And, her observations play a key role in the solving of this mystery. This highly recommended books will entice readers to read more of Faye Kellerman.
Stephanie Plum, Bounty Hunter (series), by Janet Evanovich
This series is about the intrepid adventures of Stephanie Plum, Bond enforcement agent. She packs heat, hairspray, a gun-toting grandma and a quasi-partner who is a retired prostitute, and brings them along on her (mis)adventures in bond enforcement. Somehow, after blowing up a car in every book and almost getting herself shot at every corner, she still manages to get the bad guys and return home to feed the love of her life every night....a hamster named Rex. These books will have you rooting for Stephanie and rolling on the ground with laughter, all the while giving you a nice mystery/crime read.
Tea Shop Mysteries (series), by Laura Childs
The American version of the cozy English mystery has to be Laura Childs' charming Tea Shop Mysteries which take place in Charleston, SC. Theodosia Browning has left the high-powered world of advertising to open a tea shop in the historic district of Charleston, in the heart of the South Carolina Low Country where she was raised. Her charming shop, the Indigo Tea Shop, is run by a creative and spirited staff and populated by quirky tea lovers and neighborhood shop owners. In Chamomile Mourning, the latest installment of the series,(Jasmine Moon Murder, Shades of Earl Grey, Gunpowder Green, English Breakfast Murder), Theodosia is catering the Poet's Tea during the Spoleto Festival and an auction house owner falls dead from the balcony and lands on her cake stand. A recipe of art forgery, fraud and deception blend to make this a satisfying mystery. Theodosia, and her dog Earl Grey (who has his own occupation as a therapy dog in the nursing homes) have developed a devoted following. You don't have to a tea drinker to enjoy these books. (Author Laura Childs is also the author of the popular Scrap booking mystery series which take place in New Orleans).
The Innocent, by Harlan Coben
If you haven't already gotten hooked on the thrillers of Harlan Coben, (Tell No One, Gone for Good, Just One Look, No Second Chance) then don't read his latest book, The Innocent unless you're ready to run back to the library to check out his previous books. Coben's books are the equivalent of a roller coaster ride, you know the dips and turns are coming but you're never prepared for them. Matt Hunter is attempting to live a quiet life in New Jersey as a paralegal and put his past behind him. When he was a college student he was convicted of manslaughter when he accidentally killed another student while attempting to break up a fight. After being released from prison he began working for his attorney brother, got married and is now in the process of closing on his first house. His pregnant wife Olivia is supposed to be away on a business trip, but Matt receives a digital video of her in a hotel room with a strange man on his camera phone. As if that isn't stressful enough, he is being investigated in the murder of a nun who was a former exotic dancer. As evidence mounts again him he has to be several steps in front of the police to keep from returning to prison.
Orange Crushed, by Pamela Thomas-Graham
My new favorite mystery author is Pamela Thomas-Graham, who is the President of CNBC and a Harvard graduate which gives her Ivy League mysteries great insight. Her latest mystery in this series is Orange Crushed (A Darker Shade of Crimson and Blue Blood are the first two in this series) which follows our heroine, Nikki Chase, Harvard economics professor, to Princeton where she is to attend a conference, but winds up investigating the murder of her beloved old friend and mentor, Earl Stokes, preeminent urban economics professor who was rumored to be the choice for Harvard's new head of the Afro-American Studies Department. Professor Stokes was killed in a suspicious fire and Nikki works to navigate through the academic politics to not only find the killer, but also to absolve her brother Erik, a student at Harvard and one of the last people to see Earl alive. Professor Stokes was also getting ready to publish a tell-all book about the University so that adds a whole other list of possible suspects. Pamela Thomas-Graham is a great writer with sardonic wit and complex character development. I can't wait until the next Ivy League mystery and I hope she never runs out of Ivy League Universities.
The Murder Room, by P. D. James
This is an Adam Daigliesh mystery, her latest, and it is a wonderfully entertaining read. Most intriguing is the "Murder Room" itself - a room in a private museum which figures greatly in the story. Her characters are vividly created, the murders gristly and the book is a fine example of an "English-style" murder mystery.
The Jasmine Moon Murder, by Laura Childs
Author Laura Childs adds another charmer to her Tea Shop Mystery series (Death by Darjeeling, Gunpowder Green, etc.) with the newly published The Jasmine Moon Murder. If you like tea and mysteries, you'll love this cozy mystery featuring the lovely Theodosia Browning, who left a high powered advertising career to run the Indigo Tea Shop in the heart of historic Charleston, SC. In the midst of catering an elegant tea at the first ever "Ghost Crawl" in Charleston's old Jasmine Cemetery, Theodosia witnesses the mysterious death of Dr. Jasper Davis, the uncle of Theodosia's beau, Jory Davis. Dr. Davis was the vice-president in charge of research at Cardiotech, a large medical products company, and Theodosia thinks his murder had to do with the impending release of a new cardiac device. She is warned to stay out of the investigation by the no-nonsense Detective Burt Tidwell, but she is soon up to her neck in more hot water than a tea bag. The delightful blending of murder, tea lore and trivia as well as sumptuous recipes will please old fans and win new ones.
If Looks Could Kill, by Kate White
Kate White introduced her 30-something heroine, Bailey Weggins, in her debut mystery, If Looks Could Kill. Bailey writes a true crime column for Gloss magazine, and like every unwilling amateur detective, she stumbles over more bodies than she writes about. In this book Bailey had the misfortune of being one of several bridesmaids in Peyton Cross' wedding in Greenwich, CT. Even though Peyton was a raving "bridezilla" it doesn't explain why her bridesmaids are dying off in suspicious "accidents." Bailey travels from Manhattan to Greenwich to investigate and to observe Peyton's catering empire (a la Martha Stewart) in the backcountry. On page 128, Ms. White describes a visit to the periodicals room at the Greenwich Library to look up an entry in the newspaper's police blotter and she describes our own Bob Taylor to the last detail! The Bailey Weggins mysteries are entertaining, witty and endearing. Apparently ABC thinks so too, since there is a rumor of a Bailey Wiggins pilot in the works.
A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery (series), by Donna Leon
Attention mystery fans! If you have not read the series by Donna Leon, run, don't walk, to your favorite library and introduce yourself to Commissario Guido Brunettiof the Venice Police Force. Follow him by vaporetto as he races through the canals to apprehend his suspects; go home with him and meet his fascinating wife and children; and amble around with him as he takes you on a virtual tour of this magical city. Vivid characterizations, subtle humor, intricate plots, Venice as the setting, and a high level of writing offers the reader exceptional recreational reading. DIVERTITEVI