Mystery Previews, February Through April 2012

Award Winners
Edgar Award winner Dana Stabenow’s Restless in the Grave (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Feb. 2012. 368p. ISBN 9780312559137. $25.99) brings together Aleut private eye Kate Shugak and Alaska State Trooper Liam from her two popular series to figure out who sabotaged aviation entrepreneur Finn Grant’s Piper Super Cub, causing a fatal crash. Next in the Anthony and Agatha award-winning Molly Murphy mysteries, Rhys Bowen’s Hush Now, Don’t You Cry (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Mar. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780312628116. $24.99) finds Molly Murphy (now Molly Sullivan) and her police-captain husband, Daniel, honeymooning at the Newport, RI, estate of Alderman Brian Hanna in spring 1904when Hanna is found dead at the base of a cliff.
In the third book from Brad Parks, the first author to win both the Shamus Award and the Nero Award for Best American Mystery, Carter Ross of the Eagle-Examiner reports on the hit-and-run death of a young woman delivering the newspaper and discovers that it might not have been an accident (The Girl Next Door. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Mar. 2012. 304p. ISBN 312667689. $24.99). Asked to evaluate a man accused of murdering his brother’s fiancée, forensic psychologist Ben Long steps out of retirement‚ and starts believing that the suspect isn’t guilty at all‚ in Derringer/ITW Thriller award winner Richard Helms’s The Unresolved Seventh (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Apr. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9781432825874. $25.95).

International Settings
In Murder at the Lantern Rouge (Soho Crime. Mar. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9781616950613. $25. eISBN 9781616950620), Cara Black invites us back to Paris as Aimée Leduc worries over partner René’s new girlfriend, Meizi, who disappears from a Chinese restaurant shortly before a murdered science prodigy is discovered‚ with a picture of Meizi in his pocket. One nurse is dead and another is nowhere to be found after a hospital blackout in Helen Tursten’s Night Rounds (Soho Crime. Feb. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9781616950064. $28.95; eISBN 9781616950071), featuring Irene Huss, a detective inspector with the Violent Crimes Unit in Goteborg, Sweden.
Former head of BBC Schools broadcasting in the Solomon Islands, Graeme Kent delivers another mystery starring Ben Kella, a sergeant in the islands’ police force and hereditary spiritual peacekeeper of the Lau people. Ben must tread carefully as he investigates acts of sabotage threatening an international logging concern (One Blood. Soho Crime. Feb. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9781616950583. $25). Johannesburg PI Jade de Jong tries to fire up her relationship with Superintendent David Patel by inviting him to go scuba diving in St. Lucia but instead finds herself investigating the murder of a diving instructor in Jassy Mackenzie’s The Fallen (Soho Crime. Apr. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9781616950651. $25).
When a British gangster is found dead near an exclusive language school located near Salamanca, having ingested poisonous mushrooms, Sir Simon Bognor joins with the Spanish Guardia Civil to find out what really happened in Tim Heald’s Poison at the Pueblo (Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Feb. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9781780290102. $28.95). In Jacqueline Seewald’s more romantic Death Legacy (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Mar. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9781432825737. $25.95), Englishwoman Michelle Hallam travels to the French Riviera for her consulting firm, meets a charming psychiatrist, then reconnects with him over a case in New York.

The Historical Record
In Mary Reed and Eric Meyer’s Nine for the Devil (Poisoned Pen. Mar. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781590589946. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590589960. $14.95), the latest John the Lord Chamberlain Mystery, it’s 548 in Constantinople, capital of the Roman Empire; the Empress Theodora is dead, presumably of natural causes; and the emperor threatens his lord chamberlain with bodily harm if he doesn’t find her murderer.
In P.C. Doherty’s Mysterium (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780312678197. $25.99), set in 1304 London, Sir Hugh Corbett investigates when a chief justice in the Court of the King’s Bench is found dead in his cell at the Abbey of Sion, where he has sought sanctuary after being accused of bribery. Could a nasty killer called Mysterium be back? Writing as Paul Doherty, the author delivers Bloodstone (Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Mar. 2012. 240p. ISBN 9781780290164. $28.95), a Brother Athelstan mystery set in 1380 England. Our hero investigates when Sir Robert Kilverby is found dead in a locked room and the precious relic he was guarding is missing. Note that Doherty will be the International Guest of Honor at the Bouchercon International Mystery Festival in Albany, NY, in 2013.
Second in a series, M.J. Trow’s Silent Court (Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Apr. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9781780290195. $28.95) stars playwright/spy Christopher Marlowe, who’s gone abroad (disguised as the member of an Egyptian troupe) to help assure that the Netherlands doesn’t fall to Catholic Spain. Roz Southey’s Airs and Graces (Crème de la Crime; Severn House. Mar. 2012. 240p ISBN 9781780290171. $28.95) moves to snowed-in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the 1730s, as musician/sleuth Charles Patterson tries to apprehend the murderer of an entire family‚ supposedly arrogant Alice Gregson, whose sister loudly proclaims her innocence.
In Anna Dean’s third Dido Kent mystery (A Woman of Consequence. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2012. 336p. ISBN 9780312626846. $24.99)‚ the first being the LJ-starred Bellfield Hall‚ Penelope Lambe supposedly spots the Grey Nun, a ghost said to haunt the ruins of an abbey in early 1800s England. But Dido suspects something more darkly down to earth and is proved right when a skeleton is found. Donald Thomas revisits the great Holmes in Sherlock Holmes and the Ghosts of Bly: And Other New Adventures of the Great Detective (Pegasus. Feb. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9781605982786. pap. $14.95).
In Death at the Jesus Hospital (Soho Constable. Mar. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9781616950842. $25. eISBN 9781616950859), the David Dickinson series starting Edwardian sleuth Lord Francis Powerscourt, three men with their throats cut (and their bodies oddly marked) are all found to be associated with ancient City of London livery company, the Silkworkers. In Sally Spencer’s Blackstone and the Great War (Severn House. Mar. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727881236. $28.95), Inspector Sam Blackstone is asked by a general to investigate his grandson’s murder in the brutal trenches of World War I.
When an earl dies mysteriously while performing in an amateur performance of the The Murder of Gonzago, Hamlet‘s play-within-a-play, Major Payne and Antonia Darcy get to work (R.T. Raichev’s The Murder of Gonzago. Soho Constable. Apr. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9781616950866. $25; eISBN 9781616950873). Moving on to the 1950s for Bernard Knight’s Grounds for Appeal (Severn House. Feb. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727881076. $28.95), Home Office pathologist Dr. Richard Pryor must wrestle with a body found in a bog, its hand tied and its head missing.

Police Procedurals
Third in the Det. Joe Burgess series (after the LJ-starred The Angel of Knowlton Park), Kate Flora’s Redemption (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Feb. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9781594153792. $25.95) has Burgess investigating the death of Reggie the Can Man, an alcoholic Vietnam vet and a high school football buddy. Oklahoma sheriff Milt Kovak investigates the murder of a woman whose husband turns out to be a polygamist in Susan Rogers Cooper’s Husband and Wives (Severn House. Apr. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727881267. $27.95). In Diane Fanning’s False Front (Severn House. Apr. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727881274. $28.95), Virginia homicide detective Lucinda Pierce realizes that the death of an FBI agent is connected to a murder she is investigating.
In Elizabeth Gunn’s The Magic Line (Severn House. Mar. 2012. 192p. ISBN 9780727881168. $28.95), Tucson detective Sarah Burke is looking into a mass killing on a peaceful residential street when one of the presumed victims runs off, so what’s up? Cynthia Harrod-Eagles turns in a new Detective Inspector Bill Slider mystery with Kill My Darling (Severn House. Feb. 2012. 272p. ISBN 9780727881373. $28.95), involving a vanished woman with a past‚ and perhaps one too many men in her life. And Detective Superintendant Henry Christie is contemplating retirement when the rape and murder of a teenage girl sets him on edge in Nick Oldham’s Instinct (Severn House. Apr. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727881328. $28.95).

Bring on the Private Eyes
When Pima Indian partner Jimmy Sisiwan is arrested in a small Arizona town, P.I. Lena Jones rushes to his aid‚ and finds herself dealing with the murder of both Jimmy’s sister-in-law, an activist opposing uranium mining, and the mine’s public relations guy (Betty Webb’s Desert Wind: A Lena Jones Mystery. Poisoned Pen. Feb. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781590589793. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590589816. $14.95.) In Paul Johnston’s The Silver Stain (Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Apr. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9781780290188. $28.95), Greek PI Alex Mavros investigates the death-by-hanging of a consultant for a film being shot on Crete about the 1941 German invasion. Suicide or murder? The film is stirring up bad memories.
Tough times for Machester P.I Sal Kilkenny in Cath Staincliffe’s Crying Out Loud (Severn House. Feb. 2012. 176p. ISBN 9780727880208. $27.95): her lover has been murdered, the petty criminal who confessed to the crime is now retracting, and a baby has been dumped on her doorstep. In a debut by K.J. Larsen, actually sisters Julianne, Kristen and Kari (a horse trainer, a minister, and a baker), Cat DeLuca has enough experience with her unfaithful husband to set up the Pants On Fire Detective Agency for the purposes of tracking down cheaters (Sticks and Stones. Poisoned Pen. Feb. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781590589212 $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590589236. $14.95).

Family Affairs
When her daughter disappears, Christine Whittington suspects her stepson, Adam. Meanwhile, Det. Rayna Godwin has enough bad memories of her daughter’s murder to thwart her effectiveness in Jonnie Jacobs’s Paradise Falls (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Feb. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9781594153785. $25.95). Brooklyn cop Lou Manfredo wants to retire, but then one of his daughters decides to join the force in Rizzo’s Daughter (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Mar. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780312538071. $24.99.
In Kate Wilhelm’s Death of an Artist (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Mar. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780312658618. $24.99), Silver Bay, OR, painter Stef is furious when she discovers that her latest husband is trying to sell her work surreptitiously‚ and then he’s found murdered. In Jane Haddam’s Blood in the Water (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Mar. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780312644345. $25.99), the husband of stuck-up Martha Heydrich is charged with murder when her body is found with that of a local teenage boy after a pool-house fire at the Heydrichs’ gated-community mansion. But then it appears not to have been Martha at all. This one’s from an Edgar and Anthony finalist.

All-American Amateurs
In Michael Lee West’s A Teeny Bit of Trouble (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780312571238. $24.99), Charleston pastry chef Teeny Templeton is alarmed to witness a murder and even more alarmed to discover that the victim’s ten-year-old daughter may be her boyfriend’s child. In Elizabeth Zelvin’s Death Will Extend Your Vacation (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Apr. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9781432825775. $25.95), recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler is enjoying a Hamptons vacation when a body washes ashore.
Archaeologist Faye Longchamp is desperately researching a Mississippi site before Deepwater Horizon oil hits when she come to the rescue of a teenaged girl whose grandmother and uncle have just been murdered in Mary Anna Evans’s Plunder (Poisoned Pen. Mar. 2012. ISBN 9781590589298. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590589311. $14.95). While running her uncle’s gun shop, Tai Randolph gets concerned when best friend Rico’s poet buddy is murdered in Tina Whittle’s Darker Than Any Shadow (Poisoned Pen. Mar. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781590585467. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590585481. $14.95). And antiques dealer Josie Prescott goes after the murderer of a doll collector in Jane K. Cleland’s Dolled Up for Murder (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9781250001849. $24.99).

Two Nice British Works
Lyndon Stacey’s No Holds Barred (SevernHouse. Mar. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727880642. $28.95) is the second mystery feature former police-dog handler Daniel Whelan and his faithful German Shepherd, Taz, who are up to their necks while helping out at a haulage firm whose owner has suffered a vicious attack. In Frances Brody’s Dying in the Wool (Minotaur: St.Martin’s. Feb. 2012. 368p. ISBN 9780312622398. $24.99), Bridgestead, England, seems so cozy, but things turn nasty when Kate Shackleton investigates the disappearance of Master of the Mill Joshua Braithwaite.

In Clea Simon’s Cats Can’t Shoot: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir (Poisoned Pen. Apr. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781590583258. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590588697. $14.95), animal psychic Pru Marlowe learns that a White Persian supposedly jostled a fancy dueling pistol, setting if off and killing her owner. But is this puss really responsible? Simon’s Grey Expectations (Severn House. Apr. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727881342. $27.95) is the next Dulcie Schwartz mystery, featuring the ghost cat Mr. Grey and the kitten Esmé, who are cozying up to Dulcie’s boyfriend even as she investigates a colleague’s murder. Marian Babson’s No Co-operation from the Cat (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Mar. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780312332402. $24.99) features harried Martha, who’s frantically testing recipes for a cookbook when she discovers that the author originally chosen for the book died eating one of the recipes. Japanese bobtail Cho-Cho-San helps out.

To pay off a gambling debt, Buster Hightower agrees to serve as security for some thugs planning an art heist, then unaccountably walks off with a painting of his own in Gary Alexander’s Interlock (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Mar. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9781432825751. $25.95). Now he’s countering a Russian assassin and pleading for help from his stand-up comic brother; humor and veggie recipes throughout. In Kerry Greenwood’s Cooking the Books (Poisoned Pen. Mar. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781590589823 $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590589847. $14.95), baker Corinna Chapman agrees to do the baking on the film set of a new soap, while someone somewhere is threatening violence for having been caught cooking the books

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.


  1. A great list, but it should include ‚ under “Award Winners” ‚ my second novel, THE NEXT ONE TO FALL (Tor/Forge. Feb 2012. 352p. ISBN 9780765326980. $24.99). My debut, THE DAMAGE DONE, won the 2011 Anthony Award for Best First Novel.