Mystery Preview, May 2012-August 2012

Award-Winning Authors
In Edgar Award winner Thomas H. Cook’s The Crime of Julian Wells (Mysterious Pr: Grove Atlantic. Aug. 2012. ISBN 9780802126030. $24), a celebrated true-crime writer could be his own next topic‚ he’s found dead in a boat drifting about a Montauk pond. Winner of the Agatha, Anthony, and Barry awards, plus multiple Lefty and Bromberg awards for best funny mysteries, Donna Andrews sets out to prove herself again with Some Like It Hawk (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781250007506. $24.99), set in The Town That Mortgaged Its Jail. All employees have been evacuated from the town’s public buildings by the mortgage holder but for one holdout clerk, Phineas Throckmorton, who needs blacksmith Meg Langslow’s help when he’s framed for murder.

Bill Pronzini, winner of the Edgar, Macavity, and inaugural Shamus awards, brings back the Nameless Detective, whose wife goes missing in the Sierra foothills (Hellbox. Forge. Jul. 2012. ISBN 978076532565. $24.99). In Macavity Award winner Rebecca Cantrell’s A City of Broken Glass (Forge. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9780765327345. $25.99), journalist Hannah Vogel, in 1938 Poland for a festival, rushes to cover the story when she learns that 12,000 Polish Jews have been deported from Germany. Loren D. Estleman, winner of a Shamus Award for his debut novel, Sugartown, and several for his short stories, returns with Burning Midnight (Forge. Jun. ISBN 9780765331205. $24.99), another Amos Walker mystery set in Detroit.

Two other authors who have won awards for their stories (this time Agathas) have full-length works to offer this summer. In Simon Wood’s Hot Seat (Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781780290232. $28.95), Aidy Westlake, Pit Lane magazine’s Young Driver of the Year, has it made‚ until he discovers the mechanic of a rival team with his throat neatly slashed. Marcia Talley, who has also won an Anthony for her short fiction, returns with The Last Refuge (Severn House. Jun. 2012. ISBN 9780727881533. $28.95), set during the filming of a reality show called Patriot House, 1774. The young widow cast as a maid receives a text message from her Navy SEAL husband, presumed dead‚ and then disappears.

Winner of Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine’s Barry Gardiner Award, and Edgar and Anthony nominees as well, mother-and-son team Charles Todd temporarily forsakes Det. Ian Rutledge to write another Bess Crawford mystery (An Unmarked Grave. Morrow. Jun. 2012. ISBN 9780062015723 $24.99). Intrepid nurse Bess finds a murdered British officer hidden among victims of the 1918 Spanish influenza and goes after the killer. Barbara Cleverly, who’s claimed the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award, moves the action up to 1933, as Scotland Yard detective Joe Sandilands investigates a teacher’s murder at a Sussex boarding school where students have an odd way of disappearing (Not My Blood. Soho Crime. Aug. 2012. ISBN 9781616951542. $25).

You have to love an award named Dagger in the Library, won by Jim Kelly. In his new work, Death’s Door (Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781780295190. 28.95), all 75 holiday travelers who saw one of their number murdered back in 1994 are summoned when new evidence surfaces‚ and one of them ends up dead. Linda Castillo, winner of a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, gets appropriately atmospheric in Gone Missing (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jun. 2012. ISBN 9780312658564. $24.95), featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder’s efforts to locate a vanished Amish teenager.

Three authors whose first works received special attention are publishing this summer. Since winning the Edgar and Shamus awards for Best First Novel a decade ago, Steve Hamilton has written numerous Steve McKnight best sellers; now we get dumped with McKnight on an empty Upper Peninsula airstrip with five dead bodies in Die a Stranger (Minotaur. Jul. 2012. ISBN 97803120640217. $25.99).

Gerrie Ferris Finger, who aced the 2009 Malice Domestic/St. Martin’s Minotaur Best First Traditional Novel Competition, returns with the tale of a recovering-addict mother and missing daughter in The Last Temptation (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781432825898. $25.95). Finally, librarian Eleanor Kuhns has won 2011’s Mystery Writers of America/Minotaur Books First Crime Novel Competition. Set in 1796 Maine, A Simple Murder (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. May 2012. ISBN 9781250005533. $24.99) features soldier turned traveling weaver Will Rees, accused of murdering a Shaker woman.

Finally, don’t forget Vengeance (Holt. Jun. 2012. ISBN 9780805094398. $26), a tale involving a businessman’s suspicious suicide that stars Quirke, consultant pathologist at the Hospital of the Holy Family in Dublin. Author Benjamin Black, whose Quirke novels have been big hits, is of course the Man Book prize winner John Banville.

Two Scandinavian Queens
In The Stonecutter (Pegasus. May 2012. ISBN 9781605983301. $25.95), the latest from Sweden’s best-selling female author, Camilla Läckberg, a little girl’s body is found caught in a fisherman’s net in the isolated resort town of Fjällbacka. And as local detective Patrik Hedstrom realizes, she didn’t just drown. Drowning also features in Danish author Sara Blaedel’s Only One Life (Pegasus. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781605983509. $25). When an immigrant girl from Jordan is found in the Hollbraek Fjord, with concrete tied around her neck and strange marks on her back, Inspector Louise Rick suspects an honor killing, but then the girl’s best friend is found battered to death.

Set in Foreign Lands
In lovely St. Denis in the Dordogne, Martin Walker’s beloved chief of police, Bruno Courrèges, has his hands full when a contemporary corpse is dug up by archaeologists looking for Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal remains (The Crowded Grave: A Mystery of the French Countryside (Knopf. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9780307700193. $28.95). In Janet Hubbard-Brown’s Champagne: The Farewell (Poisoned Pen. Aug. 2012. ISBN 9781464200779. $22.95; pap. ISBN 9781590588222. $14.95), NYPD detective Max Maguire is attending friend Chloe’s wedding in France when Chloe’s widowed aunt turns up dead. Alas, Max is barred from the case when it’s assigned to juge d’instruction Olivier Chaumont, with whom she had just shared a star-dusted evening,

In Mario Vichi’s Death in August (Pegasus. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781605983516. $25), the first in a new crime series, Inspector Bordelli is whiling away his time during a hot, sticky Florence summer in 1963 when he’s called to investigate the death of a wealthy signora‚ apparently from an asthma attack, but Bordelli is not convinced. In contemporary Milan, as seen in Conor Fitzgerald’s The Namesake: A Commissario Alec Blume Novel (Bloomsbury USA. Jun. 2012. ISBN 9781608198450. $25), magistrate Matteo Arconti’s namesake is found dead near a court building in what turns out to be a threatening message to Rome.

In 1992 Warsaw, former democracy activist Julian Krol refuses to believe that his sister has committed suicide, as the police claim in Steven Owad’s Hard Currency (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Jun. 2012. ISBN 9781432825799. $25.95). Meanwhile, international best seller Roberto Ampuero, currently Chile’s ambassador to Mexico and a creative writing professor at the University of Iowa, finally gets English publication with The Neruda Case (Riverhead: Penguin Group (USA). Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781594487439. $26.95).

Surprise. Bernard Knight has turned away from his Crowner John and Dr Richard Pryor books to write Dead in the Dog (Severn House. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9780727881618. $28.95), a Fifties murder mystery set in Malay and starring pathologist Tom Howden, who investigates an attack on an English planter’s home (maybe it wasn’t a local bandit?). In Martin Limon’s Joy Brigade (Soho Crime. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781616951481. $25), it’s 1972, and word has it that North Korea is planning to storm the DMZ and take South Korea. Sgt. George Sue√±o’s assignment? Stop the invasion.

When two Gypsies are found burnt to death in an olive grove on the near-sacred isle of Tinos, no one cares except Andreas Kaldis, the ominous head of Greece’s special crimes division. Target: Tinos: An Inspector Kaldis Mystery (Poisoned Pen. Jun. 2012. ISBN 9781590589762. $22.95; pap. ISBN 9781590588222. $14.95) should demonstrate author Jeffrey Siger’s feel for the Greek islands; a former Wall Streeter, he now lives much of the time on Mykonos (and who wouldn’t?).

Tarquin Hall’s The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken: A Vish Puri Mystery (S. & S. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781451613155. $24) brings us to Delhi, where the father of a leading cricket player from Pakistan is felled by butter chicken that’s been poisoned. In Susan Oleksiw’s The Wrath of Shiva: An Anita Ray Mystery (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Jun 2012. ISBN 9781432825911. $25.95), Anita’s cousin fails to arrive home as expected, and a maidservant who falls into a trance proclaims that she will never return. And what’s this about missing heirlooms?

Merry Olde England
In Judith Cutler’s Guilt Trip (Severn House. May 2012. ISBN 9780727881427. $28.95), antiques dealer Lina Townend accepts a role in an amateur production of Curtain Call, whose title has an uncomfortably prophetic ring. Amy Myers’s Classic Calls the Shots (Severn House. Jun. ISBN 9780727881502. $28.95) also has an actorly twist, as car detective Jack Colby investigates the disappearance of a 1935 Auburn speedster on a film set in Kent‚ and encounters something more dangerous.

In Pauline Rowson’s A Killing Coast (Severn House. May 2012. ISBN 9780727881441. $28.95), Detective Inspector Horton decides that a body found off Portsmouth harbor got there accidentally, then must change his mind and prove that his judgment is up to snuff. Lots going on in Peter Guttridge’s The Thing Itself (Severn House. Aug. 2012. ISBN 9780727880819. $28.95), as best-selling thriller writer Victor Tempest is found dead, his disgraced chief constable son tries to crack a cold-case murder from 1934, DS Sarah Gilchrist investigates a massacre, and Balkan gangsters cause trouble in Brighton. Guttridge is the Observer’s crime fiction critic.

In Linda Regan’s Street Girls (Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Jun. 2012. ISBN 9781780290218. $28.95), a man is stabbed to death in South London while soliciting an underage prostitute, and DI Georgia Johnston is understandably alarmed when it’s suggested that her partner’s teenage daughter go undercover to help solve the crime. Sara Foster’s Beneath the Shadows (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jun. 2012. ISBN 9780312643362. $24.99) is set in North Yorkshire, where Grace and Adam move to escape London. And then Adam vanishes.

American Tough
In Kirk Russell’s Counterfeit Road (Severn House. May 2012. ISBN 9780727881458. $28.95), homicide inspector Ben Raveneau of San Francisco’s Cold Case Unit receives a videotape of the murder of former Secret Service Agent Alan Krueger, which took place beneath the unfinished Embarcadero Freeway 20 years. Jon Talton’s Powers of Arrest (Poisoned Pen. May 2012. ISBN 9781590589991. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590588222. $14.95) takes us to Cincinnati, where homicide detective Will Borders hobbles along with a cane but is still determined to find the killer of star cop.

Billed as country noir, Brad Smith’s Crow’s Landing (Scribner. Aug. 2012. ISBN 9781451678536 pap. $12) sets Virgil Cain to fishing on the mighty Hudson River, where he pulls up a battered cylinder containing pure cocaine. Paul Doiron’s Bad Little Falls (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Aug. 2012. ISBN 9780312558482. $24.99) puts registered Maine guide Mike Bowditch on remote Canadian border, where a drug dealer has apparently been murdered in the midst of a blizzard.

In William Kent Krueger Trickster’s Point (Atria. Aug. 2012. ISBN 9781451645675. $24.99), Cork O’Connor is bow hunting in the Minnesota wilderness when his companion, the state’s first Native American governor-elect, is shot through the heart‚ with one of O’Connor’s own arrows. And you’d think that Ken Hodgson’s Tombstone Blues (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Aug. 2012. ISBN 9781432826031. $25.95) was a cozy, since it features a historic Tombstone bed-and-breakfast. But the owners are two gay hit-men (plus one elderly mom), working to rid America of scumbags in the name of national security, and new employee Samantha must join in the family business‚ or else.

Al Lamanda’s Sunset (Five Star: Gale Cengage. May. ISBN 9781432825843. $22.95) stars former police detective John Bekker, a drunken wreck after his wife’s murder in front of their young daughter by thugs working for mobster Eddie Crist. But now a dying Crist says he wasn’t responsible for the crime and hires Bekker to find the real murderer. In Mark de Castrique’s The 13th Target (Poisoned Pen. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781590586150. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590588222. $14.95), Russell Mullins quits the secret service after his wife’s death and goes to work for a private protection company, guarding Federal Reserve exec Paul Luguire‚ whose apparent suicide sets a lot in motion.

In Jeanne Matthews’s Bonereapers (Poisoned Pen. Jun. 2012. ISBN 9781590586181. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590588222. $14.95), Dinah Pelerin is doing work at the all-important Doomsday Seed Vault in Norway when she finds herself caught up in the marital troubles of an American presidential candidate‚ and murder. Memoirist Joy Castro’s mystery debut, Hell or High Water (St. Martin’s. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781250004574. $25.99), features a go-getting young reporter at the Times-Picayune whose search for a missing tourist in New Orleans leading to something more. Finally, Judy Clemens continues her “Grim Reaper” mysteries with Dying Echo (Poisoned Pen. Aug. 2012. ISBN 9781464200212. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590588222. $14.95).

American Cozy
In Frederick Ramsay’s yummy-sounding Scone Island (Poisoned Pen. Aug. 2012. ISBN 9781464200533. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590588222. $14.95), Sheriff Ike Schwartz of Picketsville, VA, and his fiancée, president of the local university, look for a little peace and quiet on Scone Island. But no such luck. Glen Ebisch’s Breaking the Rules (Five Star: Gale Cengage. May 2012. ISBN 9781432825829. $25.95) stars intrepid advice columnist Laura Magee, who’s investigating rumors that some local construction is interfering with a historic site. Too bad the architect in question is so attractive‚ and that Laura doesn’t approve of his best friend, the new beau of Laura’s girlfriend.

In Jeanne Glidewell’s Haunted: A Lexie Starr Mystery Novel (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9781432825942. $25.95), so cozy there are holiday recipes, Lexie thinks that turning her boyfriend’s bed-and-breakfast into a haunted house for Halloween is a good idea‚ until people start turning up dead. People also start turning up dead in Flo Fitzpatrick’s Serenade to a Cuckoo: A P.L. McGinnis Mystery (Five Star: Gale Cengage. Aug. 2012. ISBN 9781432826017. $25.95). Poor P.L., she’s enjoyed playing Detective Jocelyn Girard on television, but this is different.

Finally, in Mary Daheim’s The Wurst Is Yet To Come: A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery (Morrow. Jul. 2012. ISBN 9780062089830 $23.99), Judith McMonigle Flynn works the state bed-and-breakfast booth at Oktoberfest to assuage critics of her own bed-and-breakfast, where a dead body or two has been known to surface. But dead bodies show up at Oktoberfest, too. Charles Atkins’s Vultures at Twilight (Severn House. May 2012. ISBN 9780727881410. $28.95), a series starter, features two female sleuths in Connecticut said to be of a certain age. They might want to head down Miami way to meet Harry Lipkin, proclaimed the world’s oldest detective, who tracks a trinket thief in Barry Fantoni’s Harry Lipkin, Private Eye (Doubleday. Jul. ISBN 9780385536103. $24.95).

Coming next time: Historical Mystery














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.