Don’t you find January to be a let-down, of sorts? Christmas is over and winter is coming in full force. I find it just the right time to curl up with the newest title in my favorite mystery series. And, January doesn’t disappoint this year. Here are the newest mystery series titles coming this month…
Presumed Puzzled by Parnell Hall is the seventeeth title in the Puzzle Lady mystery series, following Puzzled Indemnity. The Puzzle Lady gets more than she bargained for when she’s hired to track down Paula Martindale’s straying husband. Cora Felton finds him hacked to pieces on his living room rug, while his blood-drenched wife haunts the crime scene clutching a butcher knife. It’s a tough spot for attractive young attorney Becky Baldwin. Paula is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but without Cora’s help the outcome is all but decided. Cora leaps in to save the day, but she struggles to uncover clues while managing her own role in the courtroom as a witness for the prosecution. Even worse, every bit of evidence she finds in Paula’s favor, from crossword puzzles to alibi witnesses, points to Cora herself as the killer!
The ninth title in the Charley Davidson mystery series by Darynda Jones is The Dirt on Ninth Grave. It follows Eighth Grave After Dark. In a small village in New York Charley Davidson is living as Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she’s more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around. But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her-even from her new and trusted friends-the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn’t help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she’s lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.
Copy Cap Murder by Jenn McKinlay is the fourth title in the Hat Shop mystery series, following At the Drop of a Hat. For Scarlett Parker, part of the fun of living in London is celebrating the British holidays, and she’s excited to share her first Bonfire Night with her cousin Vivian Tremont. Invited to a posh party by their friend Harrison Wentworth, Scarlett and Viv decide to promote their hat shop, Mim’s Whims, by donning a few of their more outrageous creations. The hats prove to be quite the conversation starters as the girls mix and mingle with the guests—never suspecting that one of them is a killer. It’s a cold, clear night, perfect for the British tradition of tossing a straw stuffed effigy of Guy Fawkes, traitor to the crown, onto the bonfire. But instead of a straw man, they realize in the heat of the moment that the would-be Guy Fawkes is actually Harrison’s office rival and he’s been murdered. Before the smoke has cleared, Harrison is the Metropolitan police’s prime suspect, and Scarlett and Vivian must find the real killer.
Number ten in the Ghost Hunter mystery series by Victoria Laurie is A Ghoul’s Guide to Love and Murder. It follows No Ghouls Allowed. M.J., Heath, and Gilley, are back home in Boston, where their new film is sure to be a monster hit. To promote the film, the studio is sponsoring a special exhibit of supernatural artifacts at a local museum. Unfortunately, Gilley—whose mind is engaged with wedding plans—gets talked into donating to the exhibit the very dagger that keeps the dangerous ghost Oruç and his pet demon locked down in the lower realms. Before M.J. can recover the bewitched blade, there’s a murder and a heist at the museum, and the dagger is stolen. Now Oruç is coming for M.J. and her crew, and he’s bringing with him some fiendish friends from M.J.’s haunted past. She, Gilley, and Heath are certain to be in for a devil of a time. M.J. may even need to recruit a certain skeptical Boston detective to help stop the paranormal party crashers from turning Gilley’s wedding bells to funeral knells.
Sweet Pepper Hero by J.J. Cook is the fourth title in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade mystery series, following In Hot Water. Fire chief Stella Griffin has been put in charge of judging the annual recipe contest, but Eric—her resident ghost and true culinary genius—has vanished. Before she can track down his latest haunt, she’s called in to investigate a local moonshine distillery that was set ablaze, making her realize there’s more than pies and cakes cooking in Sweet Pepper. As rumors of a revived whiskey war ignite, Stella turns to the town’s elders to help her find answers. The past might have some clues as to what has sparked the present fires. But when following a lead lands her in buried rubble, Stella realizes she must extinguish this case fast or she might be going down in flames.
The sixth title in the Piece of Cake mystery series is The Cakes of Monte Cristo by Jacklyn Brady. It follows Rebel Without a Cake. Rita Lucero, co-owner of New Orleans’s Zydeco Cakes, is thrilled to be catering an annual ball held at the Monte Cristo Hotel. Designing the high-end desserts is her priority—until she stumbles upon a mystery long-buried at her shop. It’s an ornate ruby necklace, hidden underneath her staircase and rumored to be cursed. After the gem’s appraiser suddenly drops dead and Rita herself is targeted by a menacing stranger, she’s no longer laughing at local superstition. Now with five cakes on order and an investigation into the necklace’s past revealing layers of unsettling clues, Rita has reason to keep looking over her shoulder while she’s frosting.