Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mysteries, Mysteries and Mysteries

As warmer weather slowly begins to spread throughout the US, it’s a perfect time to relax and unwind with a cozy murder mystery.

Berkley (Prime Crime) and Obsidian Mysteries have a vast number of new releases out this month including one of my all-time favorite authors with a new series and two other new series, one of which the author’s background I found particularly interesting (see if you can tell why).

CAT’S CLAW by Susan Wittig Albert

A Pecan Springs Mystery9780425245279
Berkley, 320 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780425245279
Hardcover, $25.95 

I’ve been a fan of author Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles series since the beginning. Now she delights readers with a new series, A Pecan Springs Mystery, featuring Police Chief Sheila Dawson and including China Bayles.

When Pecan Spring’s computer guru, Larry Kirk, is found dead, Police Chief Sheila Dawson believes it’s suicide, perhaps triggered by his painful divorce. However, further investigation reveals that Kirk’s death wasn’t self-inflicted. And the truth is reinforced by her friend China Bayles’ news—Larry recently asked her for legal advice in regards to a stalker. 

As a police chief in a male-dominated force, Sheila meets many challenges, especially when her theories rock the boat in high profile cases like that of George Timms. He was caught breaking into Larry’s computer shop to steal his own computer back because of dangerous personal information it contained. Now that Larry is dead, she’s sure it’s connected to the burglary. And she’s also sure she’ll get plenty of resistance on her assessment.

Timms’s time to turn himself in to the police comes and goes, and he’s nowhere to be found. In her investigation, Sheila uncovers secrets, terrible secrets that would drive anyone to kill. So who then? It’s up to Sheila to prove she’s got what it takes to hunt down the predator that’s loose on the streets of Pecan Springs.

Once again Albert brings readers interesting characters and an intriguing storyline. With the feel of a small town, Pecan Springs provides a great backdrop for murder, mystery and mayhem, along with a lot of fun and friendship. This is a fun new series to follow along with the China Bayles Mysteries.

Author Susan Wittig Albert’s website is
ADRIFT ON ST. JOHN by Rebecca M. Hale

9780425246658A Mystery in the Islands
Berkley, 320 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780425246658
Paperback, $7.99

Normally author Rebecca M. Hale’s writing features a cat, but her new series, A Mystery in the Islands, takes a different turn.

No one knows better than resort manager Pen Hoffstra that the idea of a tropical paradise is an illusion. So when a young woman named Hannah Sheridan disappears and a water taxi sinks mysteriously off the island of St. John, she is not surprised that all is not what it seems to be. 

Pointing out Hannah’s resemblance to the Amina Slave Princess from the 1733 Slave Revolt on St. John — whose ghost is rumored to haunt the island — the local community quickly latches on to the belief that her spirit is behind the sinking and disappearance. Only one person on the island knows the whole truth, and it’s not what anyone suspects.

A delightful new series with interesting twists and turns and a cast of interesting characters.

Author Rebecca M. Hale’s website is

MURDER BUYS A T-SHIRT by Christy Fifield

A Haunted Souvenir9780425246665
Berkley, 288 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780425246665
Paperback, $7.99 

An enchanting new series that looks at souvenirs, mementos of the past, a ghost and of course, a murder. 

Glory Martine has inherited her great-uncle’s souvenir shop, Southern Treasures, located in Keyhole Bay, FL. The shop is stuffed with not only collectibles and mementos of times gone by, but with a ghost who, liker her customers, refuses to let go of the past.

Glory had always dismissed ghost stories until she inherited the souvenir shop where items seem to rearrange themselves and her pet parrot, Bluebeard, is suddenly uttering phrases he couldn’t have picked up from the customers. If Glory told anyone the shop was haunted, they’d think the fresh sea air had gone to her head.

Then, at an end-of-summer party, local football hero Kevin Stanley dies, and the store starts to go haywire, Glory finally shares her secret with her best friend, who takes it seriously and is convinced the ghost is trying to send a message. Kevin’s death was no accident and it’s linked to Glory’s very own great-uncle Louis. Now Glory must dig through the junk to find the truth, before someone leaves her with a deadly souvenir of her own.

Who wouldn’t love a murder mystery set in a funky souvenir shop with zany characters and an unusual parrot? Fifield has created a fun new series to follow. Readers are drawn in with the first paragraph and held spellbound until the last page.

Christy Fifield is the pseudonym for Christy Evans, who is a mystery pseudonym used by northwest writer Christina F. York. Mystery has always been her favorite though, since her great uncle introduced her to the “Perry Mason” books when she was a child. She read each new book as he finished with it and passed it on. The die was cast, she either had to become a lawyer, or a mystery writer. As fate would have it, mystery writer won. For more on the author, visit her website at

9780425246672A Professor Sophie Knowles Mystery
Berkley, 304 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780425246672
Paperback, $7.99 

Author Ada Madison returns with her intriguing protagonist Dr. Sophie Knowles for the second installment in the Professor Sophie Knowles Mystery series.

Sophie is a professor with a way of making even the most complex math problems fun for her students. She’s busy dreaming of a getaway with her boyfriend and medevac pilot, Bruce Granville, when someone is taking away from the Emily Dickerson Library in an ambulance.

Turns out it was her friend and the school’s beloved librarian, Charlotte Crocker. She was found shot to death in the library. Sophie soon learns that her friend was more complex than she ever knew. Now, Sophie must take on some rigorous deduction homework before the chances for another murder on campus increase exponentially.

Readers are treated to another delightful story with Sophie and her unique way of solving problems. The books also includes math puzzles and games. This is a stand alone read, but the first installment in this series is THE SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER (July 2011).

Author Ada Madison is the pseudonym for Margaret Grace, which is the pseudonym for Camille Minichino. For more on the author and her writing, visit her website at


A Dog Walker Mystery9780451236272
Obsidian, 336 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780451236272
Paperback, $7.99 

The world of cozy murder mysteries will not be the same without more books by the late Judi McCoy. The latest book in her Dog Walker Mystery series was in the process of being released when the author passed away.

It’s Fashion Week in New York and Professional Dog Walker Ellie Engleman is in charge of the dogs’ modeling outfits that match their mommy-models for a fashion competition. Ellie quickly learns the designer’s life can be murder.

But before the first round closes, one of the designers drops dead of anaphylactic shock, her Epipen useless because someone’s tampered with it. The designer’s peanut allergy was as well-known as her dress designs.

With a little psychic help from the designer’s miniature schnauzer, Ellie and her canine sidekicks sort through the backstabbing rivals and bitter enemies to nab the killer. This is a fun story that will delight any dog lover. Readers get a glimpse behind the scenes at a fashion show and are treated to bits of humor throughout the story.

This is the sixth installment in the series, but is a stand alone read. Other installments include: HOUNDING THE PAVEMENT (March 2009), HEIR OF THE DOG (October 2009), DEATH IN SHOW (June 2010), BEGGING FOR TROUBLE (March 2011), and TILL DEATH DO US BARK (August 2011).

Author Judi McCoy’s website is

FIRE ENGINE DEAD by Sheila Connolly

9780425246702A Museum Mystery
Berkley, 304 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780425246702
Paperback, $7.99 

Author Sheila Connolly brings protagonist Nell Pratt, president of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society, back for another intriguing mystery.

When the entire collection of the Fireman’s Museum ironically goes up in flames, Nell Pratt discovers one of the charred pictures isn’t the one that was originally exhibited. 

But getting to the bottom of the mystery is bound to get Nell burned. Things heat up even more for Nell when FBI Agent and prospective boyfriend, James Morrison, taps her for insider knowledge of museum administrators to find the truth behind the smoke screen.

This story will entertain returning fans and new ones alike. The story flows smoothly and keeps you guessing.

This is the third installment in the Museum Mystery series, but is a stand alone read. Other installments in the series include: FUNDRAISING THE DEAD (October 2010) and LET’S PLAY DEAD (July 2011).

Author Sheila Connolly is the pseudonym for Sarah Atwell. For more on the author and her writing, visit her website at
FTC Full Disclosure - These books were sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review them. However, receiving these complimentary copies did not influence my reviews

Hope you found something here today to tempt your interest. Did you guess which author’s background I found particularly interesting and why? Thanks so much for stopping by.


  1. I never leave your blog without finding something that interests me, Mason. I'm going to check out The Pecan Springs Mystery. I haven't read her before.


  2. Mason - Oh, yay! Susan Wittig Albert has a new series! I like the China Bayles series and this one looks good, too. And I must follow up and check out the Ada Madison series. A professor of math? What a cool protagonist! Thanks for sharing these.

  3. Lot's of murder and mystery. Life wouldn't be the same if we couldn't read about those two friends.

    Great reviews, BTW.


  4. The mystery on the island, it looks interesting. It amazes me how much you read!

  5. They all look interesting but the one that grabs me is the "MURDER BUYS A T-SHIRT". I going over to amazon right now to check it out.

  6. Murder Buys a T-Shirt - I like that title!

  7. I haven't read Susan Wittig Albert for some time. The new series looks good and we're already familiar with the surroundings.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.