Thursday, March 05, 2015

Assault and Pepper by Leslie Budewitz

Leslie Budewitz' first Spice Shop mystery, Assault and Pepper, is a treat for the senses. But, the book is so much more than the spice shop itself. Budewitz wraps the reader in the atmosphere of Seattle in her mystery, particularly the Pike Place Market. Welcome to Pepper Reece's corner of the world with all of the scents and fogs and feelings of Seattle. It's just too bad Pepper's world is disrupted by murder.

After dumping a cheating husband and losing her job, Pepper Reece truly enjoys her independent life and new career as owner of the Seattle Spice Shop. She has a small group of friends, employees she trusts, and her job puts her in touch with a number of other shop owners in the Market. She fits into her community, protecting the homeless men, and keeping them out of trouble when she can. She brokers a deal between one of the street corner regulars, and a new panhandler, Doc. Or, at least she thinks she did before Doc is found dead outside her shop, and one of her employees is arrested for his murder. Now, she isn't sure how much she really knows about anyone; her staff, the men on the street, or even the man she is dating. She does know she believes her employee is innocent. And, she'll take a few investigative hints from a man who knew his way around spices and herbs, Ellis Peters' fictional detective Brother Cadfael. What would Brother Cadfael do?

Leslie Budewitz' mystery is successful for a couple reasons. Pepper Reece is a mature woman, level-headed, with a terrific group of supportive friends. She isn't easily scared off by trouble. And, even while she investigates, she knows she has a business to run, a trait I admire in an amateur sleuth. She wryly observes that "Business hours and weekends were cramping my investigation." .And, Pepper takes the investigation and her employee's arrest seriously. This mystery, perhaps because of Pepper's maturity, isn't as light as other cozy mysteries. This is a sleuth that readers will be eager to catch up with again. In future stories, Budewitz should have the opportunity to develop other characters. In this one, she brought Pepper to life.

But, along with Pepper, the Pike Place Market comes to life in Assault and Pepper. After reading this mystery, it's as if the reader could walk through the Market, finding the shops. The Market is described in beautiful detail. And, so is the Seattle Spice Shop, a little treasure. Budewitz fills the book with descriptions of the shop and the spices, details as to how to use spices in cooking, along with chapter headings that highlight spices and random details, definitions and history of the spice trade.

Assault and Pepper is a worthy series debut by an award-winning author. It's going to take too long to return to Pepper Reece and the Seattle Spice Shop.

Leslie Budewitz' website is

Assault and Pepper by Leslie Budewitz. Berkley Prime Crime. 2015. ISBN 9780425271780 (paperback), 289p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Frankie Y. Bailey, Guest Blogger

Frankie Y. Bailey is an author and criminologist. What the Fly Saw, her new book, is the sequel to The Red Queen Dies. Frankie herself is a fascinating person, and I was lucky enough to serve on a panel with her in New York a few years ago. I want to share her background with you.

Frankie Y. Bailey is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY).  Her areas of research are crime history, and crime and mass media/popular culture. She is the author of the Edgar-nominated Out of the Woodpile: Black Characters in Crime and Detective Fiction (Greenwood, 1991). She is the co-editor (with Donna C. Hale) of Popular Culture, Crime, and Justice (Wadsworth, 1998).  She is the co-author (with Alice P. Green) of “Law Never Here”: A Social History of African American Responses to Issues of Crime and Justice(Praeger, 1999).  With Steven Chermak and Michelle Brown, she co-edited Media Representations of September 11 (Praeger, 2003).  She and Donna C. Hale are the co-authors of Blood on Her Hands: The Social Construction of Women, Sexuality, and Murder (Wadsworth, 2004).  She and Steven Chermak are the series editors of the five-volume set, Famous American Crimes and Trials (Praeger, 2004). They also co-edited the two-volume set Crimes of the Century (2007).
Frankie’s most recent non-fiction books are African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study(McFarland, 2008), nominated for Edgar, Anthony, and Agatha awards, winner of a Macavity award. She is the recipient of the George N. Dove Award (2010). With Alice P. Green, she is the author of Wicked Albany:  Lawlessness & Liquor in the Prohibition Era (The History Press, 2009) and Wicked Danville:Liquor and Lawlessness in a Southside Virginia City (The History Press, 2011).
Frankie’s mystery series features Southern criminal justice professor/crime historian Lizzie Stuart includes Death's Favorite Child (Silver Dagger, 2000), A Dead Man's Honor (Silver Dagger, 2001), Old Murders (Silver Dagger, 2003), You Should Have Died on Monday (Silver Dagger, 2007), and Forty Acres and a Soggy Grave (2011). A short story, “Since You Went Away” appears in the mystery anthology, Shades of Black (2004), edited by Eleanor Taylor Bland. The Red Queen Dies (Minotaur Books/Thomas Dunne), the first book in Frankie’s near future police procedural series set in Albany, New York, featuring police detective Hannah McCabe, was released in September 2013. The sequel, What the Fly Saw, has just been released.
Frankie is a member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and Mystery Writers of America (MWA).  She served as the 2009-2010 Executive Vice President of MWA and as the 2011-2012 President of Sisters in Crime. 

Thank you, Frankie, for taking time to write a fascinating guest post.

The Well-Read Sleuth

            Before you’re misled by the title of this post let me say that I have loved characters who were neither well-read nor well-educated. As I was writing this I thought of the character that Jane Fonda played in a 1984 made-for-television movie. She was a woman from rural Kentucky who moved with her husband and children to Detroit during World War II. In this film, The Dollmaker, Fonda plays a strong, resourceful woman who struggles to hold her family together as her husband’s efforts to support them with a job in the war industries fall through. The movie was based on a 1954 novel by Harriette Arnow. I haven’t read the book, but I have never forgotten the character that Fonda brought to life in her Emmy-award winning performance. Gertie Nevels has something more important than book learning. She has courage and determination.
            She reminds me of the grandparents of my protagonist, Lizzie Stuart. Lizzie’s grandmother, Hester Rose, worked as a hotel maid before she married. Lizzie’s grandfather, Walter Lee, was a sleeping car porter. Both are dead when the series begins, but Walter Lee appears in a short story I wrote for an anthology. The story – a frame story introduced by Lizzie – is set aboard a train in 1946. When a murder occurs, Walter Lee must prove that a young waiter is innocent of the crime. I mention Lizzie Stuart’s grandparents because they raise her after her mother Becca (seventeen when Lizzie is born) gets on a bus and leaves Drucilla, Kentucky. Lizzie grows up in Drucilla and goes off to college. And then she goes to graduate school. She is a criminal justice professor with a PhD. When I created her as a character, I wanted a protagonist who would be able to solve old crimes. I’m a crime historian, and I wanted my protagonist to investigate crimes inspired by my research.
            When I created Hannah McCabe, the protagonist in my new series, I had a somewhat different
challenge. McCabe is an Albany, New York police detective. The books are set in the near-future – 2019 in The Red Queen Dies and 2020 in What the Fly Saw. Increasingly, in real life, police departments are recruiting young men and women with some college or college degrees. Some students enrolled in university criminal justice programs have law enforcement as their career goal. It makes sense that McCabe would have a college degree. In fact, she was a double major, Psychology and Criminal Justice. But I wanted McCabe to see the world in way that would allow her to move easily from Albany’s inner city neighborhoods to the home of a billionaire industrialist. I wanted her to be believable as a character who would make certain observations. That was why I gave McCabe a father who is a retired journalist and newspaper editor. Her mother, a famous poet, is dead, but she, too, was a strong influence on McCabe’s intellectual development. McCabe, who is biracial – white father, black mother – has a brother, who is a brilliant scientist. However, McCabe does not think of herself as bookish. Therefore, I establish that she and her father, with whom she shares a house, have had many long talks about a variety of subjects. He is her resource when she needs historical context. For example, in What the Fly Saw, he tells her about the Fox Sisters, 19th century mediums who were important in the spiritualism movement.
            Of course, it’s easier for a writer to have a protagonist recognize clues and put them together when he or she is both intelligent and well-informed. As a writer, it is also more fun to “go along for the ride” and see what comes out of the character’s mouth when that character knows stuff. On the flip side, neither of my characters is a snob. Lizzie has occasionally been shy and a bit puritanical, but five books into the series, she has become much more confident. I find McCabe fascinating because she is a complex character who I am still learning about. She does a tough, occasionally dangerous job, and does it well. But she is an African American woman in a profession in which, historically, police detectives have been white and male. She is logical and practical. At the same time, she is vulnerable.
I think it is important for a smart characters to have flaws. Perfection can be both annoying and boring. I’ve been told that each of my protagonists is likeable, and I’m happy about that. I think it’s important that readers like a protagonist. That’s the first step toward caring about him or her.  

What the Fly Saw by Frankie Y. Bailey. Minotaur Books. 2015. ISBN 9781250048301. 336p. 

Brief bio and links:
Frankie Bailey has five books and two published short stories in a mystery series featuring crime historian Lizzie Stuart. The Red Queen Dies, the first book in a near-future police procedural series featuring Detective Hannah McCabe, came out in September, 2013.  The second book in the series, What the Fly Saw came out in March 2015. Frankie is a former executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime.  
Website URL:
Twitter:  @FrankieYBailey

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A Wee Murder in My Shop by Fran Stewart

Scotland, a seven hundred year old ghost, a hunky police officer, and murder of a cheating boyfriend. What's not to like in the new ScotShop mystery series? Fran Stewart introduces an interesting cast of characters in the first book, A Wee Murder in My Shop.

Peggy Winn catches her boyfriend cheating on her, so she punches him in the face, dumps him, and heads for her planned buying trip to Scotland. As the owner of the ScotShop in Hamlin, Vermont, she's always looking for items that will appeal to the tourists and the residents, descendants of Scottish settlers. In a little shop she's never seen before she finds a seven hundred year old shawl, and she's told it was meant to be hers. Was Macbeath, the ghost from the Clan Farquharson supposed to be hers as well? He has an attachment to the shawl that brings him to Vermont, even after Peggy thought she'd left him behind.

Of course, Peggy also thought she'd left her ex-boyfriend, Mason, behind. Instead, when she opens her shop after her return, she finds a bookshelf on the floor, and her favorite mannequin under it. And, it takes quite a while to discover that Mason is also under the bookshelf, dead. When Peggy's cousin is arrested for the murder, she teams up with a police detective and the ghost she's calling Dirk to find a killer.

Stewart's mystery is a solid introduction to the series. There are a few problems with the book. The chapter in which the body is discovered seems to go on forever. Some of the scenes seem drawn out as Stewart paints the scene, with little action happening. And, Peggy seems a little dippy at times, but maybe I would be that way, too, trying to talk with a ghost. But, the characters are fun, beginning with the ghost. Peggy, Dirk, Harper, the police officer, and some of the other characters will be a welcoming cast as this series continues.

A Wee Murder in My Shop introduces a new series that could be fun and entertaining with a ghost and a town that celebrates the Scottish heritage.

Fran Stewart's website is

A Wee Murder in My Shop by Fran Stewart. Berkley Prime Crime. 2015. ISBN 9780425270318 (paperback), 294p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Suspendered Sentence by Laura Bradford

There are readers (not of this blog!) who denigrate mysteries as not being literary. And, some readers of thrillers and other mysteries see cozy mysteries as a less important part of the genre. However, Laura Bradford succeeds brilliantly with Suspendered Sentence, her latest Amish mystery, in showing the destructive elements and the sorrow caused by a death that is covered up. She contrasts the simple, peaceful life in an Amish community with the turmoil and long-reaching consequences of death and secrets. And, it's that contrast that makes the story more vivid and disturbing.

Claire Weatherly, owner of a shop in Heavenly, Pennsylvania, is visiting with police detective Jakob Fisher when he receives a call about a fire on an Amish farm. And, within a couple days, the Amish community has come together to raze the barn, and build a new one. In clearing the land, though, a young digger discovers a skeleton, the body of a teen who has been missing for nineteen years. All of the secrets about the girl's death will finally be revealed, along with a worse story. Lives in the community will never be the same as Jakob investigates, and Claire talks to Amish acquaintances.

Laura Bradford's mysteries are quiet stories, befitting the peaceful community she describes. In each one, she digs deeper into the fascinating culture, revealing details of life most readers don't know. Over the course of the series, we've read about shunning, and seen it's effect on Jakob Fisher, exiled from his family. Now, she focuses on Rumspringa, the time when Amish teens are allowed to experiment with the English world, to decide for themselves whether they want to be baptized and live their lives as Amish. The tragedies of Suspendered Sentence lead back to a Rumspringa years earlier. But, Claire also spends time with a teen who is experimenting during her Rumspringa.

Death and sorrow are not treated lightly in Bradford's Amish mysteries. They're treated carefully; carefully investigated by the police while Claire, who has grown fond of her Amish friends, questions, searching for understanding. In fact, these mysteries serve to develop an understanding of the Amish lifestyle, while revealing the people, ordinary people with the same fears and joys as others. The mysteries set in Heavenly, Pennsylvania, look into the human heart, beginning with Claire's. Everything she learns there allows her to open up her heart to the community and to the possibility of love. Claire finds friendship and hope in Heavenly.

Suspendered Sentence, and all the other mysteries in the Amish Mystery series, succeed in revealing how tragedy changes lives a community. Readers can dip into the Amish lifestyle while unraveling clues that reveal mysteries of life as well as tragic loss. Who needs so-called "literary" novels? Laura Bradford's mysteries of the Amish lifestyle and a small town reveal the human heart.

Laura Bradford's website is

Suspendered Sentence by Laura Bradford. Berkley Prime Crime. 2015. ISBN 9780425273029 (paperback), 293p.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

April Treasures in My Closet - Part 2

I hope you found some appealing titles in yesterday's April Treasures in My Closet. Hopefully, there are more books that you want to read in this second part.

Clifford Jackman makes his fiction debut with The Winter Family, a novel that traces "A group of ruthless outlaws from the its genesis during the American Civil War all the way to a final bloody stand in Oklahoma". The "Hyperkinetic Western noir" spans almost three decades, and a group led by a hardened leader, Augustus Winter who resists the rules of society and has a gift for butchery. The group serves as political thugs in a brutal Chicago election and bounty hunters in Arizona. The characters are killers, and dangerous. (Release date is April 14.)

A Desperate Fortune is Susanna Kearsley's novel of two women separated by centuries. For almost three hundred years, Mary Dundas cryptic journal has remained unread. Now, Sara Thomas, an amateur codebreaker has been sent to Paris to crack the cipher. Jacobite exile Mary Dundas longs for freedom, adventure, and the family she lost. When fate opens a door, she steps forth on a path that is more dangerous than she ever dreamt. As Mary's gripping tale is revealed, Sara is filled with her own challenges. "Though divided by centuries, these two women will be united in a quest to discover the limits of trust and the coincidences of fate." (Release date is April 7.)

Ed Kovacs' The Russian Bride is a thriller set in the world of counter intelligence. Major Kit Bennings, an elite military intelligence agent works undercover in Moscow. Then, he's forced to marry a Russian woman with mob connections. With little to lose, "He goes rogue in the hope of saving his kidnapped sister and stopping a deadly scheme directed against America." (Release date is April 14.)

In her latest thriller, You Can Trust Me, Sophie McKenzie asks if you can really trust the people closest to you. When her best friend's death is ruled a suicide, Livy Jackson refuses to believe it. And, when she looks into the death herself, she discovers evidence that forces her to consider a terrible possibility. Julia may have been murdered by the same man who killed her own sister eighteen years earlier. And, that killer might be closer to Livy than she ever suspected. (Release date is April 14.)

The internationally acclaimed author Jo Nesbo brings us a stand-alone thriller, Blood on Snow. An antihero, an Oslo contract killer, draws us into a meditation on life and death. (Release date is April 7.)

Spanning twenty-five years, Marian Palaia introduces an unexpected casualty of Vietnam in her debut novel, The Given World. Those left behind suffer as well. Riley travels from the Montana plains to 1970s and '80s San Francisco, and on to Saigon, searching for her brother who went missing in Vietnam. Along the way, she meets members of a lost generation searching for ways to trust the world again. (Release date is April 14.)

Humor might not come to mind when you think of rabid killers, but the blurbs mention that element about Emily Schultz' The Blondes. There's a strange illness transforming blondes, CEOs, flight attendants, students or accountants, into rabid killers who are randomly attacking passers-by on the streets of New York. (Release date is April 21.)

In Emma: A Modern Retelling, Alexander McCall Smith presents his take on Jane Austen with a modern retelling of one of her classics. The summer after she graduates from university, Emma Woodhouse returns home to the village of Highbury, where she will live with her father until she's ready to launch her interior design business. In the meantime, she'll do what she does best; offer guidance to those less wise than she is in the way of the world. (Release date is April 7.)

All the Rage by Courtney Summers is a powerful story of a girl who spoke up and was rejected in a small town. Romy Grey woke up on the side of the road and can't remember how she got there. She can go on with her life, but when another girl disappears and she has ties to the same young man who assaulted Romy, she has to decide if she'll fight in a community ruled by men, where adults turn a blind eye, and authority figures are corrupt. (Release date is April 14.)

Maori detective Tito Ihaka returns in Paul Thomas' Fallout. The unkempt, profane and overweight cop has been demoted due to insubordination. When he's sent to inquire into the murder of a seventeen-year-old girl at an election night party in a ritzy Aukland villa, he becomes embroiled in a more personal mystery. His father, a trade union activist, did not die from natural causes. (Release date is April 14.)

David and Aimee Thurlo bring back Charlie Henry in Grave Consequences. The former Special Forces operative is now a pawnbroker, hoping he has the quiet life he's always wanted. A young Navajo man tries to retrieve a turquoise necklace with a suspicious story. When that doesn't work, he returns with reinforcements and guns. That necklace becomes a pawn, with multiple parties trying to get it, as Charlie and his allies try to find the truth. (Release date is April 28.)

I'll end with another debut novel, Gwendolyn Womack's The Memory Painter. It's a thriller and timeless love story spanning six continents and 10,000 years of history. It has so many elements including an internationally famous artist whose paintings stem from his vivid dreams and a brilliant neurogeneticist who tracks him down. There are visions of a team of scientists killed in an explosion, and a deadly enemy watching as the scientist and artist search for answers. And, you'll have to wait until April 28, release date.

April looks like an exciting month for books, doesn't it? What are you waiting to read?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

April Treasures in My Closet - Part 1

Is it just me, or did February seem to go on forever? Snow, cold, ice. Bah, humbug. One more reason to anticipate all of the books coming out in April. Spring! Will it ever be warm enough to open a window and smell spring while we read? I have a ton of books to suggest for April reading, including a few nonfiction. (We all know it's usually fiction on my TBR piles.) So many books, that, once again, the treasures are split in two posts.

Cynthia Barnett is an environmental and science journalist. Her book, Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, is the first book to tell the story of rain. The account begins four billion years ago, and builds to the storms of climate change. Along the way, Barnett shows rain as a unifying force, telling the history of rain, and using the book as a travelogue. (Release date is April 21.)

OK, speak up if you love the cover of Rebecca Barry's book as much as I do. Recipes for a Beautiful Life is "A Memoir in Stories". Barry and her husband moved to upstate New York to start their family, but, as always with those who move to an old house, their dream didn't turn out as expected. The book "blends heartwarming, funny, authentically told stories about the messiness of family life, a fearless examination of the anxieties of creative work, and sharp-eyed observations of the pressures that all women face." (Release date is April 7.)

In Lori Benson's The Wood's Edge, cultures collide on the New York frontier of 1757. It's home to the Oneida tribe and British colonists. When Major Reginald Aubrey swaps his stillborn son for the white son of an Oneida mother, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of everyone involved. (Release date is April 21.)

Kate Bolick's Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own examines the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. The book combines memoir with cultural exploration to examine why the author, along with over 100 million American women, remains unmarried. (Release date is April 21.)

I don't have time to review every book I receive, but I will be reading and reviewing James O. Born's Scent of Murder. I'm looking forward to the novel that W.E.B. Griffin calls "A gritty, realistic look at the men, women, and dogs in police K-9 units." Deputy Tim Hallett was tossed from the detective bureau after using questionable tactics while catching a child molester. Now, assigned to a special K-9 unit with the best partner in the world, a Belgian Malinois named Rocky, he uncovers the scent of a predator, one who seems connected to the case that destroyed his career. (Release date is April 7.)

Susan M. Boyer's first Liz Talbot mystery, Lowcountry Boil won both the Agatha Award for Best First Novel and the Daphne du Maurier Award. Lowcountry Boneyard is the third in the series. The twenty-three-year-old heiress to a Charleston fortune disappeared a month before her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot to find her. Liz and the Charleston Police Department believe she left because her father was too overbearing. But, family secrets and a ghost may reveal the truth. (Release date is April 21.)

A June of Ordinary Murders is a mystery debut that brings 1880s Dublin to life. Conor Brady, the former editor of The Irish Times, introduces Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow, investigating an "ordinary" crime. The Dublin Metropolitan Police classified crime in two classes; political crimes were seen as "special", and theft, robbery, and murder were "ordinary". But, it isn't long before Swallow's murder investigation suggests high-level involvement, leading to the navigation of political waters. (Release date is April 21.)

In Susanna Calkins' historical mystery, The Masque of a Murderer, a printer's apprentice learns a dangerous secret. In 17th century England, Lucy Campion is now a printer's apprentice. When she accompanies the local magistrate's daughter to the home of a severely injured Quaker to record his dying words, the man reveals he was pushed into the path of a horse because of a secret he recently uncovered. When Lucy and her friends search for the truth, they may find their investigation more dangerous than any of them had imagined. (Release date is April 14.)

Cold Trail is Janet Dawson's eleventh mystery featuring PI Jeri Howard. Her current missing persons' case is a personal one; her brother, Brian is missing. She thought his life was in great shape. But, she discovers there were problems in his marriage and with his job. And, two police detectives think Brian may have been involved in a homicide. It's time to find her brother. (Release date is April 7.)

Brendan Duffy's House of Echoes is an atmospheric debut thriller. When Ben and Caroline Tierney moved to the village of Swannhaven in upstate New York, they thought they were starting a new life with their eight-year-old son, Charlie. But, it isn't long before strange things begin to happen, and the family's dream is about to become a nightmare. (Release date is April 14.)

Eli Sharpe is an ex-pro baseball player turned private investigator who investigates cases related to his former profession. In Max Everhart's latest mystery, Split to Splinters, he looks into a case of family dynamics when Jim Honeycutt's baseball commemorating his three-hundredth career win goes missing. And, an anonymous note points to six females, Honeycutt's four daughters, their mother, or their mother's best friend. Even Eli, familiar with human treachery, isn't prepared for what he finds in this case. (Release date is April 1.)

Viper Wine, based on actual events, is Hermione Eyre's first novel. Venetia Stanley was the great beauty of seventeenth century England, inspiring Ben Jonson and Van Dyck. But, now that she's married, she's no longer adored, and she seeks a remedy. When an apothecary sells her "viper wine", a strange potion that is addicting and powerful, the ladies of the court of Charles I soon look unnaturally youthful. But, there's a terrible price to be paid, as science clashes with magic, and puritans clash with the monarchy. (Release date is April 14.)

Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice, now examines Huntington's disease in her latest novel, Inside the O'Briens. Joe O'Brien, a respected Boston police officer of only forty-four is also a devoted husband and father. But, his strange episodes of disorganized thinking and uncharacteristic temper outbursts lead to a diagnosis of Huntington's disease, a lethal disease with no treatment or cure. And, each of Joe's four adult children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disease. While Joe's symptoms worsen, and he struggles to maintain hope, his children have to decide to take the simple test that will reveal their future, or live their lives "at risk". (Release date is April 7.)

Margaret Grace sends her characters to my favorite city in Manhattan in Miniature. Gerry Porter and her granddaughter Maddie go to New York City for a huge crafts fair. They get to work on making miniatures, solving crimes, and seeing Rockefeller Center and Radio City. But someone doesn't want to see them make it safely home to California. (Release date is April 7.)

What You Left Behind is Samantha Hayes' latest thriller, a story that explores the devastating aftermath of suicide. The rural village of Radcote has just begun to heal two years after a terrifying rash of teenage suicides. Now, it appears that that nightmare once again threatens the community. When Detective Inspector Lorraine Fisher takes a vacation to Radcote to visit her sister, she becomes determined to discover the truth behind the deaths, and find answers that might help her own nephew. (Release date is April 14.)

Reykjavik Nights is a prequel to Arnaldur Indridason's series featuring Inspector Erlendur. The tenth volume in the series finds Erlendur a young, inexperienced detective walking beat on the streets in Reykjavik, encountering routine traffic accidents, theft, domestic violence, and an unexplained death. When Erlendur is the only one who cares about the death of a tramp, he's dragged into a strange, dark underworld. (Release date is April 21.)

Enough for today? Come back tomorrow for the second half of April Treasures in My Closet. In the meantime, let me know which of these books appear to you to be true treasures.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Winners and A Give Me a "B" Giveaway

I thought it was funny that both this week's winners are named Lisa. Lisa G. from Pensacola Beach, FL won the copy of Vicki Delany's Under Cold Stone. Jeffrey Siger's Sons of Sparta is going to Lisa W. from Rochester, IN. I'll put them in the mail tomorrow.

This week, I'm giving away mysteries with authors whose names begin with B. One Potion in the Grave is the most recent Magic Potion mystery by Heather Blake. Carly Bell Hartwell's love potions are always in demand in Hitching Post, Alabama. But, when a childhood friend returns to town to settle a score with a senator, and ends up dead, Carly Bell vows to find her friend's killer.

Or, maybe you'd like to win M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin mystery, Something Borrowed, Someone Dead. Gloria French was a jolly widow who moved to the Cotswold hills. But, she had a nasty habit of borrowing things and not bringing them back. When she ends up dead, the Parish councilor hires Agatha Raisin to lead the murder investigation. And, as Agatha's investigation goes on, she finds herself a killer's target.

You can enter to win one of the titles, or both. I need separate entries, though. Email me at Your subject line should read either "Win One Potion" or "Win Something Borrowed." Please include your name and mailing address. The giveaway will enter Thursday, March 5 at 6 PM CT. Entries from the U.S. only, please.