Review: TRIPLE CROWN by Felix Francis

51sNDuu+HRLTRIPLE CROWN, by Felix Francis ((G.P. Putnam, 2016, $25.99) takes us back to Kentucky, where Jeff Hinkley, investigator for the British Horseracing Authority, has been called on to unearth a spy in the American horse-racing community. Someone is trying to influence the races that make up the prestigious Triple Crown (the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes) by taking out the challengers to the horse most favored to win. Drugging is suspected, but every raid seems to be fore-stalled, and no evidence is ever found. When three of the prime contenders in the Kentucky Derby come down with the same rare disease, and are disqualified, Jeff goes undercover to find out who is trying to fix the races, and who is the mole in the Federal Anti-Corrution Sports Agency (FACSA). It’s a fascinating look at the underbelly of American horse-racing, as Jeff deals with horses, trainers, and jockeys, and learns just how far some people will go to attain their goals. A great ride, by a master.

Review provided by Roberta Rogow

Review: A MEMORY OF MUSKETS by Kathleen Ernst

51HTbdGAdsLThe past often impact on the present in Kathleen Ernst’s Choe Ellefson mysteries. A MEMORY OF MUSKETS (Midnight Ink, 2016,$14.99) has Chole embroiled in a battle over the part played by German immigrants in the Civil War. She’s all for highlighting the home front, but her boss wants a battle, even though there never was one in Wisconsin! At the same time, her fiance, Roelke McKenna, is having disturbing feelings about one of the buildings on the Old World Wisconsisn Museum’s property. A hidden diary flashes us back to the tumultuous 1860’s, and the tortured soul of a young German girl, promised to one man but in love with another. Both stories collide when one of the Civil War buffs who portray soldiers in the mock battle is found dead on the grounds of the museum. What’s worse, valuable antiques are missing from the museum’s back storage rooms, and someone is using the re-enactment as a venue for peddling fake photographs. Between them, Chole and Roelke sort out who is who, what is real, and how to leave the past in the past, and go forward into a brighter future. Photographs a the end of the book show some of the artifacts mentioned, and the author’s acknowledgments give more information about Civil War events.

Review provided by Roberta Rogow

New Release: A CAST OF VULTURES by Judith Flanders

514zs9cMQqLA CAST OF VULTURES by Judith Flanders / Mystery / Released March 1, 2017 by Minotaur Books

Normally sharp-witted, book editor Sam Clair stumbles through a post-book launch party morning with the hangover to end all hangovers.  But before the Ibuprofen has even kicked in, she finds herself entangled in an elaborate saga of missing neighbors, suspected arson and an odd, unidentified body.

By the time the grisly news breaks that the fire has claimed another victim, Sam is already hot in pursuit.  Armed once again with her biting commentary, her boyfriend Inspector Jake Filed, and her stalwart Goth assistant, Sam must track down the murderer and face a pair of Thugs-‘R’-Us in this uproariously funny and fast-paced mystery.

JUDITH FLANDERS is the New York Times bestselling author of The Invention of Murder, The Making of Home and is one of the foremost social historians of the Victorian era.  She is a contributor to the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Spectator, and the Times Literary Supplement.  Before turning her hand to writing, Judith worked as an editor for various publishing houses, including the publications department of the National Portrait Gallery, London.  She lives in London.

 

New Release: LOVE & DEATH IN BURGUNDY by Susan C. Shea

51fRjVeLF7LLOVE & DEATH IN BURGUNDY by Susan C. Shea / Mystery / Released May 2, 2017 by Minotaur Books

Francophiles and Agatha Christie fans will savor this charming new series from critically acclaimed author Susan C. Shea.  LOVE & DEATH IN BURGUNDY introduces a witty and sophisticated village mystery willed with complex characters, and beautiful depictions of decadent food and the French countryside.

After three years of living in the small town of Reigny-sur-Canne, all Katherine Goff really wants is to be accepted by her neighbors into their little community.  But as an American expat living in the proud region of Burgundy, that’s no easy task.

When the elderly Frenchman who lives in the village chateau is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the town is turned into a hot bed of gossip and suspicion, and Katherine suddenly finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the small town’s secrets.  A motherless teenaged, a malicious French widow, a brash music producer, and a would-be Agatha Christie are among those caught up in a storm that threatens to turn Katerine’s quite life upside down.  As more and more of the villagers’ secrets are brought to light Katherine must try and figure out who, if anyone, in the town she can trust, and which one of her neighbors just might be a killer.

Susan Shea’s atmospheric mystery novel is filled with good Chablis, french cheese, and of course murder.

SUSAN C. SHEA spent more than two decades as a non-profit executive before beginning her career as a mystery author.  Susan is past-president of the northern California chapter of Sisters in Crime and secretary of the national SinC board, a member of MWA, and blogs on CriminalMinds.  She is also at the author of the Dani O’Rourke mystery series.  Susan lives in Marin County, California and travels to France as often as she can.

BOOK EXCERPT: BEARLY DEPARTED by Meg Macy

518dJQQperLBEARLY DEPARTED by Meg Macy / Cozy Mystery / Released May 30, 2017 by Kensington Books

The Silver Bear Shop & Factory might be the cutest place around, but there’s nothing warm and fuzzy about murder. . . .

As manager of the family business, thirty-one-year-old Sasha Silverman leads a charmed life. Well, except for the part about being a single divorcée with a ticking biological clock in small-town Silver Hollow. And that’s just kid’s stuff compared to Will Taylor, the sales rep who’s set on making drastic changes to the business her parents built from scratch—with or without Sasha’s approval. . . .

But before Will digs his claws in, someone pulls the stuffing out of his plan . . . and leaves his dead body inside the factory. Reeling from shock, Sasha’s hit with more bad news—police suspect her hot-tempered uncle may have murdered Will. Sasha’s launching her own little investigation to expose the truth and prove Uncle Ross’s innocence. As she tracks Will’s biggest rivals and enemies for clues, Sasha can’t get too comfy—or she’ll become the next plaything for a killer. . . .

“You’ll fall in love with this delightful debut mystery.” —Victoria Thompson, bestselling author of Murder in Morningside 

BOOK EXCERPT

By this time in my life, at thirty-one, I planned to be a happy suburban wife chauffeuring three kids and the dog in a van. That plan had quickly shorted out. Now I managed my parents’ business in Silver Hollow, Michigan. A toy shop exclusive to teddy bears fulfilled my love for children. I could make them happy, helping them choose a best friend, and then send them home. No tears, no temper tantrums, only happy faces and squishy hugs for their new toys.

“Hey, lady? Catch!”

A pugnacious little boy tossed a bear, which I grabbed before it bounced off the ceiling fan. “Ms. Sasha, that’s what you can call me,” I said and placed the bear in a bin chock full of other brown bears. “Let’s not play catch, though.”

He flashed a mischievous grin and grabbed a white bear. This time, I gave him an ‘I dare you’ stare. The little rascal squinted at me, gauging if I was serious, and then resorted to twirling the toy by one ear over his head. That didn’t worry me. Our bears were nearly indestructible – depending on the abuse, of course.

Continue reading “BOOK EXCERPT: BEARLY DEPARTED by Meg Macy”

New Release: MURDEROUS MAYHEM AT HONEYCHURCH HALL by Hannah Dennison

61lIVUJheYL._SY346_MURDEROUS MAYHEM AT HONEYCHURCH HALL by Hannah Dennison / Mystery / Released May 2, 2017 by Minotaur Books

The fourth installment of the Honeychurch Hall mysteries finds Antique dealer Kat Stanford opening her antique business in the Devon countryside.  Word of mouth spreads but the erratic behavior of Kat’s first client causes suspicion and when he winds up connected to the Honeychurdh family a multilayered mystery presents itself.

Kat’s mother, Iris, also has a mystery of her own – the only copy of her new manuscript never arrives at her publisher.  There is every possibility that Muriel Jarvis, the postmistress and notorious busybody, may expose Iris’ secret identity as the bestselling romance writer Krystalle Storm.

In the spine-tingling climax, both past and present collide as Kat fights for her life and those she holds most dear, dancing once again with the dark forces lurking behind the grandeur of Honeychurch Hall.

HANNAH DENNISON began her writing career as a trainee reporter for a small West Country newspaper in Devon, England.  Hannah is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of American, the Willamette Writers, British Crime Writers’ Association and Toastmasters International.  She is also the author of the Vicky Hill mysteries.

 

New Release: DEVIL’S BREATH by G.M. Malliet

519-NHxK9uL._SY346_DEVIL’S BREATH A Max Tudor Mystery by G.M. Malliet

Mystery / Released April 11, 2017 by Minotaur Books

When the body of glamorous film star Margot Browne washes ashore, Max’s former colleague Patrice Logan, heavily pregnant, asks Max for help.  It’s a perfect “closed circle” murder since Margot must have been killed by one of the actors, stylists, screenwriters, or second-tier royalty aboard the yacht where she was vacationing.  Patrice suspects the yacht’s owner, a playboy film director she’s been keeping tabs on for smuggling, but Max isn’t so sure.  Max and DCI Cotton interview the suspects as they loll about one of the luxury hotels dotting the waterfront.  Tipped by the playboy director, Max uncovers the truth about the star’s life.  But would Margot kill – or be killed – to keep her lurid past in the past?

Max’s investigation uncovers a host of motives but only one killer:  it seems Margot is not the only person on board with a secret they’d kill to keep.

G.M. MALLIET’S first St. Just mystery won the 2008 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as a best book of the year.  It was nominated for several awards, including the Anthony, the Macavity, and a Left Coast Crime award for best police procedural.  She has since been nominated for nearly every major crime-writing award, including the Anthony (audiobook and short story).  Her series debut, Wicked Autumn, featuring a former MI% agent turned vicar of a small English village debuted in the autumn of 2011.  She attended graduate school in Cambridge and Oxford; she and her husband travel frequently to the U.K., the setting for her books.