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Series-ously Good New Mysteries – May 2015

Yay! I’m like a kid in a candy shop. This month, three of my favorite authors are adding to their series – Darynda Jones, Katherine Hall Page and Laura Childs.

First up, Darynda Jones and her Charley Davidson series.

This title is Eighth Grave After Dark and it follows Seventh Grave and No Body. Charley Davidson has enough going on without having to worry about twelve hellhounds hot on her trail. She is, after all, incredibly pregnant and feeling like she could pop at any moment. But, just her luck, twelve deadly beasts from hell have chosen this time to escape onto our plane, and they’ve made Charley their target. And so she takes refuge at the only place she thinks they can’t get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. Of course, if hellhounds aren’t enough, Charley also has a new case to hold her attention: the decades-old murder of a newly-vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows of the convent. Add to that the still unsolved murder of her father, the strange behavior of her husband, and Charley’s tendency to attract the, shall we say, undead, and she has her hands full…but also tied. While the angry hellhounds can’t traverse the consecrated soil, they can lurk just beyond its borders like evil sentries, so Charley has been forbidden from leaving the sacred grounds. Luckily, she has her loyal team with her, and they’re a scrappy bunch who won’t let a few thirsty hellhounds deter them.While the team scours the prophesies, searching for clues on the Twelve, for a way to kill them or at least send them back to hell, Charley just wants answers and is powerless to get them. But the mass of friends they’ve accrued helps. They convince her even more that everyone in her recent life has somehow been drawn to her, as though they were a part of a bigger picture all along. Their presence is comforting. But the good feelings don’t last for long because Charley is about to get the surprise of her crazy, mixed-up, supernatural life….

Next, Katherine Hall Page has a new edition for the Faith Fairchild mystery series – the twenty-second, The Body in the Birches. It follows Small Plates, 2014’s collection of Faith Fairchild short stories. At home on Sanpere Island, Maine, caterer and amateur sleuth Faith Fairchild discovers that real estate can be murder, especially when it’s all in the family. The Fourth of July is one of the hottest on record and even the breeze off Penobscot Bay can’t seem to cool things down for Faith Fairchild and the rest of the folks on Sanpere Island. But the fireworks are just beginning. After the celebrations are over, Faith discovers a body in the woods near The Birches, an early twentieth-century “cottage.” The body is identified as The Birches’ housekeeper, who seems to have succumbed to a heart attack. The death is only one of the dramatic events upending the historic house. A family gathering has been called to decide who will inherit the much loved, and very valuable, estate that has been in the Proctor family for generations. With this much money involved, it’s just a matter of time before trouble arises. Faith is juggling her own family problems. Her teenage son, Ben, has started a new job as a dishwasher at The Laughing Gull Lodge – learning things that could land him in very hot water. And her daughter Amy is worried about her new friend, Daisy Proctor. Daisy is terrified – convinced that someone is trying to eliminate her mother from getting a share of The Birches. To protect her children, Faith has to find a possible murderer-before he strikes too close to her own home.

Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs is the sixteenth title in the Tea Shop mystery series. It follows Steeped in Evil. Normally Theodosia wouldn’t attend a black tie affair for all the tea in China. But she can hardly say no to her hunky, handsome boyfriend, Max, who directs public relations for the Gibbes Museum in Charleston. Max has organized an amazing gala opening for an exhibit of a genuine eighteenth century Chinese teahouse, and the crème de la crème of Charleston society is invited. In the exotic garden staged in the museum’s rotunda, a Chinese dragon dances to the beat of drums as it weaves through the crowd. The guests are serenaded by a Chinese violin as they sample an assortment of tempting bites. And to give them a memento of the occasion, there’s even a photo booth. But Theodosia makes a grim discovery behind the booth’s curtains: the body of museum donor Edgar Webster. While Theodosia prefers tea service over the service of justice, this case is difficult to ignore—especially after Max becomes a suspect. Now she must examine the life of the fallen philanthropist and find out who really wanted him to pay up.

Seven Threadly Sins by Janet Bolin is the fifth title in the Threadville mystery series. It follows Night of the Living Thread. Threadville, Pennsylvania, is famous for its fabric, needlecraft, and embroidery, so it’s only natural that it would become the home of the Threadville Academy of Design and Modeling. While Willow Vanderling has certainly never wanted to be a model, here she is, voluntarily strutting her stuff in a charity runway show in outrageous clothing, all to support the Academy’s scholarship fund. But the lascivious, mean-spirited director of the academy, Antonio, is making the fashion show a less-than-fabulous affair. After Antonio plays a shocking prank on Willow and her friends that doesn’t exactly leave the ladies in stitches, he mysteriously winds up dead—and someone is trying to pin the blame on Willow. Now, she must do whatever it takes in order to clear her name, even if it means needling around in other people’s secrets.

Fourth in the Sunny and Shadow mystery series is Hiss and Tell by Claire Donally, following Cat Nap. Political heiress Priscilla Kingsbury is about to marry Carson de Kruk, son of business mogul Augustus de Kruk, at the Kingsburys’ waterfront compound in Kittery Harbor, Maine. For reporter Sunny Coolidge, an assignment from the Harbor Courier to cover the event is like catnip. But when Sunny photographs men pulling the body of a dead woman out of the water, the Kingsburys’ private security isn’t happy. They claim the woman’s death was an accident, but the story seems fishy. Now, with a little help from her police officer boyfriend and her cunning cat Shadow, Sunny is determined to get the scoop on a killer.

The second title in the Honeychuch Hall mystery series by Hannah Dennison comes out this month. It is Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall and it follows Murder at Honeychurch Hall. Set at an English manor house, fans of British mysteries and Downton Abbey are sure to enjoy this contemporary take on murder at the manor house. When the body of a transport minister is discovered in the grounds on Honeychurch Hall, suspicion about his unusual demise naturally falls on the folks in the village. After all, who could possibly want a high-speed train line built in their front yard? News of the murder soon reaches our heroine Kat Stanford’s nemesis Trudy Wynne. A ruthless tabloid journalist and the ex-wife of Kat’s discarded lover, Trudy is out for revenge. She is also interested in exposing–and humiliating–Kat’s mother Iris, who is secretly the international bestselling romance writer Krystalle Storm. As the body count begins to build, Kat becomes inextricably embroiled in the ensuing scandal. Is the minister’s death the result of a local vendetta, or could it be connected to her mother’s unusual (to say the least) past?

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