Is it finally spring here in Nova Scotia? It’s been such a difficult winter, it has been hard to tell. Even though you are itching to get out into the garden, I’m sure you can all find a little time to read the newest title in your favorite series.
Ripped From the Pages by Kate Carlisle is the ninth title in her Bibliophile mystery series following The Book Stops Here. When book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright temporarily relocates to her parents’ place in Northern California, she is excited to explore the secrets of wine country. She attends an excavation of the caves hidden deep under her parents’ commune—and the findings are explosive. A room is unearthed, and it contains a treasure trove of artwork, rare books, a chest of jewelry…and a perfectly mummified body. A closer examination of the murdered man’s possessions reveals a valuable first edition of Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth. Hidden in the book is a secret map that unveils an even greater hoard of treasures brought to California by French winemakers fleeing the Nazi invasion with the commune leader’s grandfather, Anton, among them. As reporters and art appraisers flock to Sonoma to see the precious bounty, questions begin to rise—did Anton hide these items to protect them, or did he steal them for himself? Who is the mysterious man left for dead inside the cave? But not all crime is buried in the past. When a new presence threatens the town’s peace, Brooklyn decides to do a little excavating of her own and solve the mystery of the treasure.
Carola Dunn follows Heirs of the Body with Superfluous Women. The twenty-second title in the Daisy Dalrymple mystery series. In England in the late 1920s, The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher, on a convalescent trip to the countryside, goes to visit three old school friends in the area. The three, all unmarried, have recently bought a house together. They are a part of the generation of “superfluous women”–brought up expecting marriage and a family, but left without any prospects after more than 700,000 British men were killed in the Great War. Daisy and her husband Alec–Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher, of Scotland Yard –go for a Sunday lunch with Daisy’s friends, where one of the women mentions a wine cellar below their house, which remains curiously locked, no key to be found. Alec offers to pick the lock, but when he opens the door, what greets them is not a cache of wine, but the stench of a long-dead body. And with that, what was a pleasant Sunday lunch has taken an unexpected turn. Now Daisy’s three friends are the most obvious suspects in a murder and her husband Alec is a witness, so he can’t officially take over the investigation. So before the local detective, Superintendent Underwood, can officially bring charges against her friends, Daisy is determined to use all her resources (Alec) and skills to solve the mystery behind this perplexing locked-room crime.
The second title in the Fat Cat mystery series is Fat Cat Spreads Out. It follows Fat Cat at Large. A booth at the Bunyan County Harvest Fair seems like the perfect opportunity for Charity “Chase” Oliver and Anna Larson to promote their Bar None bakery business. Unfortunately, plus-sized pussycat Quincy has plans for their delicious dessert bars other than selling them to customers. After tearing through their inventory, Quincy goes roaming the fairgrounds in search of more delights. But what he finds is murder. One of the top contenders in a butter-sculpting contest has been killed, and Chase is churning on the inside when she sees Quincy’s handsome veterinarian, Dr. Mike Ramos, being led away by the police. With a little help from a kitty with butter on his whiskers, Chase needs to find the real killer and clear the doctor’s good name…
I particularly enjoy Maggie Sefton’s Kelly Flynn mystery series. This month she is adding Purl Up and Die, the thirteenth title in this series, following Yarn Over Murder. Kelly Flynn’s summer in Fort Connor, Colorado, is off to a great start with romantic celebrations with her boyfriend, Steve, and enjoyable—albeit challenging—knitting classes taught by her friend Barb at the House of Lambspun. But while Barb’s advanced stitches are giving Kelly the slip, a more deadly problem soon has her friend coming apart at the seams. A young woman has accused Barb’s son, Tommy—a young doctor doing his residency—of assaulting her. The yarns spun by the local rumor mill are bad enough, but when the young woman is found dead in her ransacked apartment, Tommy becomes the number one suspect. The police are ready to close the case, but Kelly is convinced that there are a few more likely suspects.
A Fatal Chapter by Lorna Barrett is the ninth title in the Booktown mystery series. It follows Book Clubbed. While out walking Sarge, her sister’s bichon frise, Tricia is led by the agitated dog to a man lying in a gazebo. She’s startled when she recognizes Pete Renquist, the president of the Stoneham Historical Society, who appears to be suffering from cardiac arrest. When Pete later dies in the hospital, the discovery of a suspicious bruise and a puncture mark on his arm suggests he may have been murdered. Haunted by Pete’s enigmatic last words to her, Tricia begins to consider who had a motive to kill her friend. Did Pete take his flirting too far, only to have a jealous husband teach him a lesson? Or did he discover something in the town’s historical records that his killer wanted kept secret? Tricia is determined to get to the bottom of things before someone else becomes history.
Following Day of Vengeance by Jeanne M. Dams is the sixteenth title in the Dorothy Martin series, The Gentle Art of Murder. One late-summer’s evening, before the beginning of the new term, Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, are guests at Sherebury University art department’s drinks party to introduce the new teaching assistant, sculptress Gillian Roberts. However, tragedy strikes on a tour of the sculpture department, when the lift breaks down and a corpse is discovered at the bottom of the lift shaft. Dorothy and Alan become involved in the ensuing investigation, putting their local knowledge and sleuthing skills to good use once again.
Death by Tiara by Laura Levine is the thirteenth title in the Jaine Austen mystery series. It follows Killing Cupid. Freelance writer Jaine Austen thought she knew what she was getting herself into when she landed a gig working behind the scenes at a teen beauty pageant. But between the vicious stage moms, exacting judges, and trash-talking teens, she’s not sure she’s the woman for the job. Jaine has been hired by über-pushy stage mom Heather Van Sant to write lyrics for her daughter Taylor’s song in the talent competition for the Miss Teen Queen America pageant. It’s different from anything Jaine has done before, but if nothing else, she’s looking forward to a free weekend in a swanky hotel and a chance to see what really goes on backstage at a beauty pageant. But the hotel is a dump, the cattiness is out of control, and Candace—the perfectly-coiffed, whip-cracking pageant director—is making even Jaine’s life miserable. When Candace’s assistant Amy is found bludgeoned to death with a silver tiara, there are more suspects than sequins on a pageant gown—and Heather is first on the list. Taylor begs Jaine to help clear her mom’s name, but the search for the killer hits a dead end as Jaine quickly realizes that finding the culprit is going to be trickier than walking the stage in stilettos