Monday, March 01, 2010

Firsts on the 1st: New Series Characters Being Introduced in March 2010 Mysteries

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently updated its list of as well shelved new March paperbacks on The Mystery Bookshelf. In this post, which we're calling Firsts on the 1st, we're introducing readers to new series characters who will make their debut during March.

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Glazed Murder by Jessica Beck
More information about the book

Title: Glazed Murder
Author: Jessica Beck
Series Character: Donut Shop with Suzanne Hart
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Suzanne Hart is the owner and operator of Donut Hearts coffee shop in April Springs, North Carolina.

Her first case: Meet Suzanne Hart, owner and operator of Donut Hearts coffee shop in April Springs, North Carolina. After her divorce from Max, an out-of-work actor she’s dubbed “The Great Impersonator,” Suzanne decided to pursue her one true passion in life: donuts. So she cashed in her settlement and opened up shop in the heart of her beloved hometown.

But when a dead body is dumped on her doorstep like a sack of flour, Suzanne’s cozy little shop becomes an all-out crime scene. Now, everyone in town is dropping by for glazed donuts and gruesome details. The retired sheriff warns her to be careful—and they’re all suspects. Soon Suzanne—who finds snooping as irresistible as donuts—is poking holes in everyone’s alibis …

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The Dogs of rome by Conor Fitzgerald
More information about the book

Title: The Dogs of rome
Author: Conor Fitzgerald
Series Character: Alec Blume
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Commissario Alec Blume is an ex-patriate American living in Rome.

His first case: On a hot summer morning, Arturo Clemente is sloppily murdered in his Roman apartment by a mysterious slasher. Though the murder appears amateurish, even random, Clemente is no ordinary victim. An animal rights activist campaigning against dogfighting, he is married to a prominent politician and sleeping with Manuela Fusco, the daughter of a dangerous crime boss.

Police inspector Alec Blume has a favorite suspect, but the investigation is already being manipulated by both the Senate and the Fusco crime ring. As the details of the case continue to trickle out, Blume soon realizes he is being watched from on high—and that solving this crime may be the least of his worries. Angry, sleep-deprived, and unsure who to trust, Blume is losing control of his investigation. As the mob tightens its grip on the city, and with the killer still at large, Blume’s struggle for justice may cost more innocent lives.

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The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello
More information about the book

Title: The Clouds Roll Away
Author: Sibella Giorello
Series Character: Raleigh Harmon
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Raleigh Harmon is a forensic geologist in Richmond, Virginia.

Her first case: Closing her assignment with the FBI's Seattle office, forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon returns to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, expecting a warm welcome. Instead she finds herself investigating an ugly cross burning at a celebrity's mansion and standing in the crosshairs of her boss at the Bureau. And the deeper Raleigh digs into the case, the murkier the water becomes...until she's left wondering who the real victims might be.

To make matters worse, Raleigh's personal life offers almost zero clarity. Her former confidant is suddenly remote while her former boyfriend keeps popping up wherever she goes. And then there's her mother. Raleigh's move home was supposed to improve Nadine's fragile sanity, but instead seems to be making things worse.

As the threads of the case begin crossing and double-crossing, Raleigh is forced to rely on her forensic skills, her faith, and the fervent hope that breakthrough will come, bringing with it that singular moment when the clouds roll away and everything finally makes sense.

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Enemies Among Us by Bob Hamer
More information about the book

Title: Enemies Among Us
Author: Bob Hamer
Series Character: Matt Hogan
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Matt Hogan is an undercover FBI agent.

His first case: When undercover FBI agent Matt Hogan totals three vehicles in an out-of-policy Beverly Hills pursuit of a fleeing Arab drug runner, he incurs the wrath of the Bureau hierarchy. To avoid an almost certain suspension, he accepts a new assignment tracking terrorist cell groups while posing as a volunteer at a nonprofit charity. What he doesn't know is the ripples of danger from this case will threaten not only his life but the safety and security of the entire nation.

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Drink the Tea by Thomas Kaufman
More information about the book

Title: Drink the Tea
Author: Thomas Kaufman
Series Character: Alec Blume
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Willis Gidney is a private investigator in Washington DC.

His first case: Willis Gidney is a born liar and rip-off artist, an expert at the scam. Growing up without parents or a home, by age twelve he is a successful young man, running his own small empire, until he meets Shadrack Davies. That’s Captain Shadrack Davies, of the D.C. Police. Davies wants to reform Gidney and becomes his foster father. Though he tries not to, Gidney learns a small amount of ethics from Shad -- just enough to bother a kid from the streets for the rest of his life.

Now Gidney is a PI, walking those same streets. So it's no surprise that when his closest friend, jazz saxophonist Steps Jackson, asks Gidney to find his missing daughter, Gidney is compelled to say yes -- even though she's been missing for twenty-five years. He finds a woman who may be the girl’s mother -- and within hours she turns up dead. The police accuse Gidney of the murder and throw him in jail.

Maybe Gidney should quit while he’s behind. But when his investigation puts him up against a ruthless multinational corporation, a two-faced congressman, and a young woman desperate to conceal her past, Gidney has no time left for second thoughts. In fact, he may have no time left at all.

Winner of the 2008 PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest.

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Bulletproof Mascara by Bethany Maines
More information about the book

Title: Bulletproof Mascara
Author: Bethany Maines
Series Character: Nikki Lanier
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Linguist Nikki Lanier joins the “confidential side” of cosmetics giant Carrie Mae, whose charity foundation uses covert means to help women.

Her first case: When Nikki Lanier signs up as a cosmetics rep at Carrie Mae, it's hardly her idea of a dream job. With a degree in linguistics and a hard-core workout regimen, the twenty-six-year-old redhead once had hopes for a real career. But unemployed and desperate to escape life at home with her nagging mother, she'll try anything—even selling makeup to housewives. Soon, Nikki learns that the powder and lipstick are simply cover-up for the Carrie Mae Foundation: a secret organization of international espionage and high-tech mascara founded for the purpose of “helping women everywhere.”

Whisked off to Thailand with the legendary Carrie Mae agent Val Robinson, Nikki is soon in over her head. Between investigating the abduction of a human rights activist, tracking down a murderous arms dealer, keeping up with her wildly dangerous new partner, and occasionally trying to date a hunk who may or may not be CIA, Nikki has to use all the courage and cosmetic technology she's got to bring down the bad guys and get out alive.

With the support of the colorful Carrie Mae crew, Nikki will overcome even the most harrowing obstacles—including incessant phone calls from her mother—or die trying.

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Our Lady of Immaculate Deception by Nancy Martin
More information about the book

Title: Our Lady of Immaculate Deception
Author: Nancy Martin
Series Character: Roxy Abruzzo
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Roxy Abruzzo is the owner of Bada Bling Architectural Salvage in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania).

Her first case: Roxy Abruzzo is a loud-mouthed, sexy, independent-minded niece of a Pittsburgh Mafia boss trying to go (mostly) straight. She’d like to stay completely out of her uncle Carmine’s shady business dealings, though he's trying to reel her in. She'd like to concentrate on the architectural salvage business she runs mostly on the up and up for a tidy profit. She'd like to keep her rebellious teenage daughter on the straight and narrow. But Roxy knows where all the good intentions in the world usually lead, and when she can’t help herself from tucking away an ancient Greek statue that's not really hers, she pays for it by getting caught up in the chaos surrounding the sordid murder of the statue’s former owner, heir to a billion-dollar Pittsburgh steel fortune.

Of course, she has plenty of help getting in and out of trouble, including her sidekick “Nooch” Santonucci, too dumb to say no to whatever Roxy wants to do and strong enough to do it; her widowed aunt Loretta, a lawyer whose big hair and short skirts are as big a help to her in court as her brains; and Patrick Flynn, ex-marine, professional chef, and former high school flame, fresh from Afghanistan to torture Roxy, just like old times.

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The Alchemy of Murder by Carol McCleary
More information about the book

Title: The Alchemy of Murder
Author: Carol McCleary
Series Character: Nellie Bly
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Nellie Bly is an international reporter in the late 19th century.

Her first case: The world’s most famous reporter, the intrepid Nellie Bly, teams up with science fiction genius Jules Verne, the notorious wit and outrageous rogue Oscar Wilde, and the greatest microbe-hunter in history, Louis Pasteur. Together, they must solve the crime of the century.

They are all in Paris—the capital of Europe and center of world culture—for the 1889 World’s Fair. A spectacular extravaganza dedicated to new industries, scientific discoveries, and global exploration, its gateway is the soaring Eiffel Tower. But an enigmatic killer stalks the streets and a virulent plague is striking down Parisians by the thousands. Convinced that the killings are connected to the pandemic, Nellie is determined to stop them both ... no matter what the risks.

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Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay
More information about the book

Title: Sprinkle with Murder
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Series Characters: Cupcake Bakery with Mel Cooper and Angie DeLaura
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the characters: Melanie "Mel" Cooper and Angie DeLaura own the bakery Fairy Tale Cupcakes.

Her first case: Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are finally living out their dream as the proud owners of the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery. But their first big client is a nightmare. She's a bridezilla who wants 500 custom cupcakes for her wedding.

When Mel stumbles upon the bride-to-be dead-by-cupcake, she becomes the prime suspect. To save themselves and their business, the ladies need to find the real murderer, before the cupcake killer ices someone else.

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At Witt's End by Beth Solheim
More information about the book

Title: At Witt's End
Author: Beth Solheim
Series Character: Sadie Witt
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Sadie Witt is the owner of the Witt's End Resort.

Her first case: Things are really bustling at the Witt's End resort in Northern Minnesota. Clients are vying for one of the few remaining rentals, except Cabin 14. Thing is, no-one gets out of Cabin 14 alive.

Sadie isn't your typical sixty-four year old senior citizen. She has things she wants to do and shouldn't be expected to solve a murder while trying to prevent an unscrupulous sheriff's deputy from shutting down the lakeside resort she owns with her straight arrow sister. But that's exactly what Sadie Witt must do. When five guests with hidden agendas arrive at Cabin 14, they're stunned to learn that the flamboyant Sadie is their conduit to the hereafter. Clad in the latest fashion trends -- fads typically reserved for those without sagging body parts -- and sporting hairdos that make bystanders want to look away but can't, Sadie realizes one of the guests has been murdered and must work against the clock to untangle the web and prevent further mayhem.

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The Lord Is My Shepherd by Debbie Viguie
More information about the book

Title: The Lord Is My Shepherd
Author: Debbie Viguie
Series Character: Psalm 23 with Cindy Preston and Jeremiah Silverman
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the characters: Church secretary Cindy Preston and Rabbi Jeremiah Silverman are amateur sleuths.

Her first case: Cindy’s church is getting ready to celebrate Easter, and Jeremiah’s Temple is preparing for Passover when Cindy literally stumbles over the body of an unknown man lying dead in the sanctuary. The church was locked, and a bloody cross necklace on the floor seems to be the only clue. The killer is likely a member of the congregation, but there are hints that similar deaths have happened in the past. Are Cindy and Jeremiah dealing with a serial killer? They have to unravel the clues before Easter Sunday arrives and more people die.

Cindy and Jeremiah come from two different worlds, even though they work right next door to each other. Cindy is a strong Christian who lives a normal but somewhat dull life, working as a church secretary. Jeremiah is a Reformed rabbi with a mysterious past full of danger and excitement. But one eventful Easter/Passover week, the two find themselves working together to solve a murder and stop a serial killer from striking again. Solving the mystery should put an end to their alliance, but the church secretary and the rabbi quickly find themselves enmeshed in another mystery. Soon the two form a friendly alliance and friendship, exploring personal history and faith and growing closer with each passing adventure. Despite their differences Cindy and Jeremiah find a lot of common ground.

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For a list of more mysteries scheduled for publication during March, please visit our home page. If you're interested in new paperbacks, visit where you can discover a library of new mysteries, also updated with March 2010 releases.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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