Mystery Sept.-Dec. 2012: Marcia Muller, Margaret Maron, M.C. Beaton, and More

U.S. Tough

When a woman acquitted of murdering her best friend is beaten up on Sharon McCone’s doorstep, McCone springs into action in Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Marcia Muller’s Looking for Yesterday (Grand Central. Nov. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780446573351. $25.99). In multiaward winner Margaret Maron’s The Buzzard Table (Grand Central. Nov. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780446555821. $25.99), Judge Deborah Knott and Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant are puzzled by a new arrival in Colleton County, an ornithologist researching Southern vultures who’s introduced as Mrs. Lattimore’s long-lost nephew. When murder strikes, the vultures appear prophetic.

Agatha Award winner Sandra Parshall returns with Bleeding Through (Poisoned Pen. Sept. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781464200274. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464200298. $14.95), featuring Mason County, VA‚ based veterinarian Rachel Goddard, who’s joined with Sheriff Tom Bridger and some teenagers to clean up trash. Alas, they come upon one of the teen’s sister, a crusading law student, wrapped in plastic. Shamus Award winner Max Allan Collins’s Target Lancer (Forge: Tor. Nov. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780765321800. $25.99) pushes Chicago P.I. Nathan Heller into the early 1960s, as he begins uncovering clues about a conspiracy to assassinate JFK.

Two resounding debuts: in Tim O’Mara’s Sacrifice Fly (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9781250008985. $24.99), police officer Raymond Donne becomes a teacher (in tough Williamsburg, Brooklyn, no less) but instinctively goes to investigate when a student named Frankie doesn’t show and finds the father beaten to death and Frankie and his sister missing. Chosen by Dana Stabenow as winner of Poisoned Pen’s first annual Discover Mystery Contest, Ronald F. Sharper’s The Righter (Oct. 2012. NAp. ISBN NA. $NA) features a Harley-riding hit woman with a conscience and a Miami lawyer-turned-sculptor who jointly challenge the local baddies. The title could change.

In M.J. McGrath’s The Boy in the Snow (Viking. Nov. 2012. 384p. ISBN 9780670023691. $25.95), a follow-up to her well-received White Heat, half-Inuit Edie Kiglatuk is in Alaska supporting her former husband’s efforts to win the famed Iditarod dog-sled race when she stumbles upon a baby left in the woods. New York Times best seller Margaret Coel’s new Wind River Reservation Mystery, Buffalo Bill’s Dead Now (Berkley Prime Crime. Sept. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780425252710. $25.95), concerns a murdered artifacts collector, while C.M. Wendelboe’s second Spirit Road Mystery, Death Where the Bad Rocks Live (Berkley Prime Crime. Sept. 2012. 368p. ISBN 9780425256114. pap. $15) stars Native American FBI Agent Manny Tanno.

U.S. Cozy

Tracking a string of thefts involving antiques and jewelry, Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation buddies find a connection to a nasty murder down in Boston (Archer Mayor’s Paradise City. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780312681951. $25.99). Professor Alison Bergeron gets cracking when the estranged uncle of her twin stepdaughters gives them $10,000 each for their birthday and then turns up dead (Maggie Barbieri’s Extra Credit. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Dec. 2012. 336p. ISBN 9781250001887. $24.99).

In Jane Tesh’s Mixed Signals: A Grace Street Mystery (Poisoned Pen. Oct. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781464200618. $24.95; pap. 9781464200632. $14.95), Parkland, NC‚ based P.I. David Randall carries on investigations into a long-ago murder, spurred on by psychic friend Cameron’s sudden flashbacks. In Anthony/Macavity nominee Sandra Balzo’s Dead Ends (Severn House. Sept. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727881748. $28.95), second in the Main Street Murders, journalist AnnaLise Griggs confronts not one but two suspicious deaths in North Carolina’s High Country.

Agatha Raisin falls for the local gardener, who ends up dead in M.C. Beaton’s Hiss and Hers (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Sept. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780312616250. $24.99). Amateur sleuth E.J. Pugh wonders what murder has to do with her Weight Watchers group in Susan Rogers Cooper’s Dead Weight (Severn House. Nov. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727881953. $27.95). Charles Atkins’s Best Place To Die (Severn House. Dec. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727882080. $28.95) opens with a fire at the local nursing home, which Lilian Campbell and best friend and lover Ada Strauss start investigating when police start ask why the smoke alarms failed to work.

In Susan Wittig Albert’s The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose (Berkley Prime Crime. Sept. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780425247761. $24.95), the Darling Dahlias of 1930s Darling, AL, are upset about the theft of county funds but delighted to find a secret code embroidered in a family heirloom. In Laura Childs’s Postcards from the Dead (Berkley Prime Crime. Oct. 2012. 336p. ISBN 9780425252758. $25.95), the tenth Scrapbooking Mystery, a TV journalist is murdered directly before a broadcast from Carmela Bertrand’s Memory Mine scrapbook store.

Betty Hechtman’s If Hooks Could Kill (Berkley Prime Crime. Nov. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780425252796. $24.95) is the seventh in the best-selling Crochet Mystery series. Kate Kingsbury’s The Clue Is in the Pudding (Berkley Prime Crime. Nov. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780425253274. pap. $15) is a special Christmas edition to the Pennyfoot Hotel series. After Pennyfoot’s sour-faced temporary housekeeper serves a guest plum pudding, he promptly keels over. Was it the hard sauce?

Lawyer Mackenzie Smith must defend a patient of a murdered psychiatrist in Margaret Truman and Donald Bain’s Margaret Truman’s Experiment in Murder (Forge: Tor. Nov. 2012. 368p. ISBN 9780765326102. $24.99).

Latino Roots

A winner of multiple regional awards, Donis Casey sets Wrong Hill To Die On: An Alafair Tucker Mystery (Poisoned Pen. Nov. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781464200441. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464200465. $14.95) in 1916 New Mexico, where Alafair Tucker has moved with her family because of her daughter’s health. Even as Pancho Villa’s border raids aggravate Anglo/Mexican tensions, a guy named Bernie Arruda ends up dead in ditch.

In Charlotte Hinger’s Hidden Heritage (Poisoned Pen. Dec. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781464200748. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464200748. $14.95), Lottie Albright works undercover after murder fouls the Carlton County Livestock feed yard, where bull wranglers and Mexican immigrants may be engaged in something illegal. Her ploy? Calling for the Mexican families whose ancestors helped colonize Kansas to tell their stories. The result? An old woman who spoke to her is murdered.


In Rick Gavin’s gritty-wry Beluga (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9781250015228. $24.99), Nick Reid and buddy Desmond are looking to invest money they took off a meth dealer, but a scheme involving a trailer full of stolen tires brings nothing but trouble, including a bunch of delta gangsters. (This is only his second novel, but Gavin is already credited with inventing raucous delta noir). Tori Carrington’s Queens Ransom (Severn House. Sept. 2012. 192p. ISBN 9780727880222 .$28.95), a Sofie Metropolis Mystery, features a Yuletide kidnapping and a lost reindeer. The action in Mitchell Scott Lewis’s Death in the 12th House: Where Neptune Rules. Poisoned Pen. Nov. 2012. ISBN 9781464200588. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464200601. $14.95) is prompted by the suspicious death of a graying rock star, with astrologer detective David Lowell investigating.

Hollywood and Its Stars

When Hollywood actor George Trowbridge is compelled to do jail time after cracking up his Ferrari, Iraq/Afghan vet‚ turned‚ insurance agent Jay Davidovich finds him a Jail Coach in Hillary Bell Locke’s latest (Poisoned Pen. Dec. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781464200243. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464200267. $14.95). In Peter James’s Not Dead Yet (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Nov. 2012. 448p. ISBN 9780312642846. $25.99), Hollywood star Gaia Lafayette finds herself stalked by a killer while shooting on location Brighton, England, and must depend on Detective Superintendent Roy Grace’s protection.

Sheila York’s Death in Her Face (Five Star: Cengage. Nov. 2012. 266p. ISBN 9781432826208. $25.95) is another of the author’s Lauren Atwill screenwriters mystery, set in glorious 1940s Hollywood. Ed Ifkovic’s Make Believe: An Edna Ferber Mystery (Poisoned Pen. Nov. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781464200809. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464200823. $14.95) moves up to 1951, when Edna Ferber goes to Hollywood to help a blacklisted friend and then must hunt her friend’s killer.


In Chris Ewan’s Safe House (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Dec. 2012. 448p. ISBN 9781250012562. $25.99), Rob Hale crashes his motorcycle on the Isle of Man and, when he asks about his passenger after he awakens in hospital, is pointedly told that that no one was with him. In Katy Munger’s Angel Among Us (Severn House. Nov. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727882011. $28.95), the fourth Dead Detective series, deceased but ever-busy cop Kevin Fahey follows up the disappearance of a schoolteacher.

Vicki Delaney’s More Than Sorrow (Poisoned Pen. Sept. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781590589854. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590589878. $14.95) features war correspondent Hannah Manning, who has sustained a brain injury and is recuperating at her sister’s small Ontario farm. She’s up in the attic reading about the past when she swears she sees a woman mistily emerge from the cold cellar. From the author of the Constable Molly Smith books.

Skeletons Out of the Closet

In Judith Cutler’s Burying the Past (Severn House. Dec. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727882097. $28.95), Detective Chief Superintendent Fran Harman’s wedding plans are disrupted when a skeleton is found in the rectory’s vegetable patch. In Jane A. Adams’s Cause of Death (Severn House. Sept. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727881731. $28.95), Rina Martin’s plans to revive her TV career are disrupted when a skeleton is found during the excavation of the local airfield and a man is subsequently murdered outside a pub. In Peter Turnbull’s The Garden Party (Severn House. Dec. 2012. 192p. ISBN 9780727882165. $27.95), a note hidden at a London hotel directs Detective Inspector Harry Vicary to the burnt-up bones of two men and opens a confounding case.

British Cozy

In Veronica Heley’s Murder in Mind (Severn House. Sept. 2012. 240p. ISBN 9780727881793. $28.95), Ellie Quicke isn’t happy when her daughter opts to become the fourth wife of local real estate magnate, especially when his children start to die. When something dreadful disrupts a slumbering British village, the Colonel steps in to help, then takes over the investigation (Margaret Mayhew’s Dry Bones. Severn House. Sept. 2012. ISBN 9780727881809. $28.95).

After Dorothy Martin visits Buckingham Palace with husband Alan, who has just received the George Cross, she, Alan, and retired Chief Inspector Jonathan Quinn find the body of a girl in St. James’s Park whom Jonathan later admits he recognizes (Jeanne M. Dams’s The Corpse of St James’s. Severn House. Oct. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727881854. $28.95). In Margaret Duffy’s Stealth (Severn House. Dec. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727882103. $28.95), crime author Ingrid Langley, who works part-time for the Serious Organized Crime Agency with her husband, Patrick, teams with Patrick to check out a suspicious colleague at an international authors’ event.


In Irish author Ruth Dudley Edwards’s Killing the Emperors: A Baroness Jack Troutbeck and Robert Amiss Mystery (Poisoned Pen. Oct. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781590586389. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781464200496. $14.95), art luminaries are being kidnapped and nastily murdered‚ and now the baroness has gone missing, too. Marjorie Eccles’s After Clare (Severn House. Nov. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727881977. $28.95), set in 1922, Lady Emily Fitzallan attends a wedding in the country at her childhood home, but the mood is dampened both by memories of her sister, who vanished long ago, and the unearthing of a soldier’s skeleton near a yew tree.

In Tasha Alexander’s Death in the Floating City (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780312661762. $24.99), Lady Emily Hargreaves travels to Venice to help Emma Callum, an old childhood enemy who’s now desperate; her father-in-law has been murdered and her husband is nowhere to be found. In the latest from Anna Lee Huber, Lady Kiera Darby is The Anatomist’s Wife (Berkley Prime Crime. Nov. 2012. ISBN 9780425253281. pap. $15), whose dead husband used his knowledge for unpleasant ends. Now, sheltering at her sister’s estate, she finds her knowledge of anatomy called on when a guest succumbs at a house party.

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. Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one!

    It’s on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!