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Pronzini/Muller series

mullerBill Pronzini and Marcia Muller might be considered America’s first family of detective fiction.  Bill created his “Nameless” detective in 1971 and has written over 40 novels in the series.  Marcia created Sharon McCone in 1977 and has written over 30 novels in the series.  They married in 1992 and were soon collaborating on a new series starring John Quincannon, a character developed by Pronzini for his historical series that are a happy blend of western and detective genres.  Quincannon meets PI Sabina Carpenter, a former Pinkerton operative and they set up a detective agency in San Francisco.  The Bughouse Affair (Forge, 2013) was the first Carpenter and Quincannon novel.  The fifth book in the series, The Dangerous Ladies Affair (Forge, 1/2017), contains a delicious locked room puzzle.  Needless to say, all these books are wonderful.  Both writers have been honored with the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master award.

–posted 2/13/2017

Posted February/13/2017

Jack Swyteck’s new case

Jack Swyteck’s Cuban mother died when he was born. His father, a policeman with a law degree and political ambitions, eventually becomes Florida’s governor. Jack rebels against his father’s repellant law-and-order politics and is determined to make his name as a defense lawyer representing death row prisoners. True to form, his hard work and passion for justice, leaves little energy for romance and his troubles with women are legendary, though beautiful FBI agent Andie Henning sparks his interest most frequently. Like Jack, author James Grippando was a Miami-based criminal lawyer until he became a full-time author. His first published novel, The Pardon, was an immediate success. His next five novels were stand-alones, then Grippando created his series character, Jack Swyteck in 2002. In  Most Dangerous Place (Harper, 2017), the 14th book in the series, Swyteck comes to the aid of Isa Bornelli, an old-friend’s wife, who is arrested for the murder of a man who raped her while she was a college student a dozen years earlier.  Grippando’s suspenseful legal thrillers always reach #1 on best-seller lists.

–posted 2/8/2017

Posted February/4/2017

Drew Farthering, debonair detective

deeringFans of Lord Peter Wimsey (Dorothy Sayers) and Thomas Campion (Margery Allingham) will love these mysteries set England in the 1930s.  Drew Farthering has been cut from the same cloth: he is upperclass, debonair and clever at solving murder mysteries.  He is helped by his American fiancée, Madeline Parker, and friend and estate manager, Nick Dennison.  Together they the solve mystery using  methods from their favorite novels.  Murder on the Moor (Bethany, 2/2017), is the fifth book in the series.  Drew’s Eton classmate “Beaky” Bloodworth seeks help when his bride, Sabrina, becomes a suspect in a series of murders in the village of Bunting’s nest.  In spite of the fact that author Julianna Deering is a fifth-generation Texan who  lives in Dallas, she has captured the genre with style.

–posted 2/3/2017

Posted January/31/2017

Amateur detective Sam Clair

A Cast of Vultures (Minotaur, 2017) is the third book in a series of funny, light-hearted mysteries starring Samantha (Sam) Clair, a book editor at Timmins & Ross in London. Sam describes herself as a middle-aged, middlingly successful  editor who has learned to cope with the daily problems that arise in a busy publishing house—difficult authors, lost manuscripts, no-show assistants, etc.  Sam meets handsome CID Inspector Jacob Field when he comes to question her about a mysterious package in book one, A Murder of Magpies (Minotour, 2015), and he plays a part in subsequent novels.  In addition to clever plots and twist endings, readers will enjoy this send-up of the publishing world.

–posted 1/30/2017

Posted January/30/2017

Pop Goes the Murder by Kristi Abbott

pop goes theThe Popcorn Shop mystery series features Rebecca Anderson and her popcorn-loving poodle Sprocket who return to her hometown of Grand Lake, Ohio, after a failed marriage to celebrity chef, Antoine. Rebecca starts a gourmet popcorn shop called POPS and  this being a mystery cozy series, bodies start popping up.   Grand Lake’s Sheriff Dan Cooper has been Becka’s best friend since second grade and they make a nice team of investigators.  So far there are only two books in the series, but with a plucky heroine, a great dog and recipes for popcorn breakfast bars included, how can you go wrong?  Kernel of Truth (Berkley, 2016) begins when “Coco” Bittles, a friend who owns the chocolate shop next door to Rebecca’s, is murdered.  In Pop Goes the Murder (Berkley, 2017), we meet ex-husband Antoine who comes to town to film a segment for his TV show.  Kirsti Abbott has written a variety of non-fiction titles.  This is her first venture into fiction.

–posted 1/18/2017

Posted January/19/2017

Blood and Bone by Valentina Giambanco

BloodandboneWhen we first meet her, Alice Madison has just been promoted from Seattle’s uniformed police to its Homicide Detective unit.  She is assigned to work with experienced but uncommunicative Detective Sergeant Kevin Brown.  Spencer and Dunne are the other members of the squad—one a Japanese-American and the other a husky, red-haired Irishman—both easy-going and friendly.  Madison lives in a house inherited from her grandparents, who looked after her from an early age.  At age 8 Madison lost her mother, leaving her haunted by an unhappy childhood, details of which are gradually revealed as the series unfolds.  Blood and Bone (Quercus, 1/2017) is the third installment of this police procedural series.   It concerns a serial murderer who may still be at large.  Author V.M. Giambanco, a native of Italy, lives in London.

–posted 1/9/2017

Posted January/18/2017

The Divided City by Luke McCallin

divided cityCapt. Gregor Reinhardt was a Berlin police detective, happily married with one son before events swept him into the German military police. By 1943 his wife is dead, his son alienated. He is demoralized, suicidal and drinking heavily while stationed in Sarajevo. Then a double murder, that of a beautiful young photographer and a German officer, gives him the chance to revive his investigating skills. British author Luke McCallin has extensive experience as a relief worker and peacekeeper in war torn countries.  The Divided City (Berkley, 2016) is the third novel to feature Capt. Reinhardt.  It is set in Berlin in 1947.  It concerns two dead bodies found in a building in the city’s American sector. One victim is identified as a British officer. The other seems to have been killed in a ritual manner.

–posted  12/29/2016

Posted December/27/2016

Ill Met by Murder by Elizabeth Duncan

ill met by murderElizabeth J. Duncan, author of the Penny Branigan series of cozy mysteries, has started a second series starring Charlotte Fairfax, formerly the costume mistress of the Royal Shakespeare Company.  Charlotte is now the leading light of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, which produces one of Shakespeare’s plays every year.  Charlotte creates the costumes, but seems to be involved in every aspect of the small town theater group, even when mayhem and murder strike.  Charlotte’s boyfriend Police Chief Ray Nicholson helps her investigate.   Ill Met by Murder (Crooked Lane, 2016) is the second installment in the Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery series.

–posted   12/23/2016

Posted December/19/2016

Elizabeth Gunn’s Denny’s Law

Denny'sLawHomicide detective, Sarah Burke of Tucson, Arizona is an interesting protagonist for a police procedural.  Among her personal problems are:  a bad divorce left her broke, her sister has major drug problems and she is trying to provide a good home for her niece Denny.  Professionally she must tackle a wide range of problems:  big-time builders and small-time gamblers, cotton growers and cattle herders, drug-runners and people smugglers, copper miners, bioscientists, snowbirds and, of course undocumented immigrants.  Nevertheless, she is a successful cop, well worth following.  The newest Sarah Burke novel is Denny’s Law (Severn, Dec. 2016).  Sarah is the second series detective that Elizabeth Gunn has created.  Her Jake Hines/Trudy Hanson series set in a small city in southeast Minnesota is now up to ten books.

–posted 12/16/2016

Posted December/17/2016

Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

McDermidScottish author Val McDermid has written four successful police procedural series, the most popular of which is the Hill ⁄Jordan series which was adapted for the highly successful television drama; Wire in the Blood, starring Robson Green.  Her newest novel  Out of Bounds (Atlantic Monthly, Dec. 2016) is the third in the series featuring Detective Inspector Karen Pirie of the Historic Case (read cold case) Unit in Fife, Scotland.  Karen is intense and not happy sitting at a desk, so she jumps at every opportunity to get out in the field, even if her boss disapproves.  Like other crime novels set in Scotland, readers get to see the seamier side of the country and its people.  McDermid creates great women characters.  Readers will enjoy meeting DI Karen Pirie.

–posted 12/6/2016

Posted December/16/2016

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