Saturday, January 01, 2011

Firsts on the 1st: New Series Characters Being Introduced in January 2011 Mysteries

New Hardcover Mysteries from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently updated its list of January 2011 hardcover mysteries as well shelved new January paperbacks on The Mystery Bookshelf.

In this series of monthly posts, which we call Firsts on the 1st, we're introducing readers to new series characters who will make their mysterious debut during January.

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Frozen Assets by Quentin Bates
More information about the book

Title: Frozen Assets
Author: Quentin Bates
Series Character: Gunnhildur Gisladottir
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Sergeant Gunnhildur Gisladottir ("Gunna the Cop") is a police officer in Iceland.

Her first case: A body is found floating in the harbor of a rural Icelandic fishing village. Was it an accident, or something more sinister? It’s up to Officer Gunnhildur, a sardonic female cop, to find out.

Her investigation uncovers a web of corruption connected to Iceland’s business and banking communities. Meanwhile, a rookie crime journalist latches onto her, looking for a scoop, and an anonymous blogger is stirring up trouble. The complications increase, as do the stakes, when a second murder is committed.

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India Black by Carol K. Carr
More information about the book

Title: India Black
Author: Carol K. Carr
Series Character: India Black
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Madam India Black runs a brothel in late 19th century England.

Her first case: When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, India is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.

Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents -- and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.

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To Have and to Kill by Mary Jane Clark
More information about the book

Title: To Have and to Kill
Author: Mary Jane Clark
Series Character: Piper Donovan
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Piper Donovan works in the family bakery, Icing on the Cake, in New Jersey.

Her first case: Piper never imagined that decorating wedding cakes could be so dangerous! A struggling actress with no immediate prospects and a recently broken engagement, Piper moves back in with her parents to take stock of her life. She steps tentatively into the family bakery business and finds herself agreeing to create a wedding cake for the acclaimed star of a daytime television drama. But soon someone close to the bride-to-be is horribly murdered and it seems that that someone is ruthlessly determined to stop the wedding.

With the help of her former neighbor, Jack, a handsome FBI agent with a soft spot for the gorgeous cake-maker, Piper moves closer to the truth. And as she narrows in on a suspect, she realizes that it's hotter in the kitchen than she may be able to handle.

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The October Killings by Wessel Ebersohn
More information about the book

Title: The October Killings
Author: Wessel Ebersohn
Series Character: Abigail Bukula
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Abigail Bukula is an attorney with the South Africa Justice Department.

Her first case: Abigail was fifteen when her parents were killed in a massacre of anti-apartheid activists by white security forces. A young soldier spoke up in her defense, and she was spared. Now she’s a lawyer with a promising career in the new government, but she’s never forgotten Leon Lourens, the soldier who saved her. Twenty years later, he comes to her for help: Someone is killing off members of the team who killed her parents, and Leon is one of two still alive.

Abigail turns to Yudel Gordon, an eccentric, nearly retired, white prison psychologist, for help. To save Leon’s life they must untangle the web of politics, identity, and history before the anniversary of the raid—only days away.

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Hollywood Forever by Susan Goldstein
More information about the book

Title: Hollywood Forever
Author: Susan Goldstein
Series Character: Samantha Crowley
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Samantha Crowley is the wife of a bestselling novelist in Beverly Hills.

Her first case: April is a lovely month in Beverly Hills, but things aren't going well for Samantha, who thought her perfect world would never collapse. Her superstar husband, Benjamin, wants a divorce and everyone in Beverly Hills wants a piece of the action—from real estate agents to greedy divorce attorneys. However, Samantha has ideas of her own to even the score.

While she pursues a less conventional approach to divorce, her path crosses with someone who has an entirely different agenda for her. People are dying suddenly with one thing in common: Samantha. When the cops call it murder, all clues lead to Sam. The good life has become life on the run.

Samantha needs to summon ingenuity and nerve to stay one step ahead of both the law and a killer. Can she trust old friends and the "white knight" who has mysteriously appeared in her life?

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Falling More Slowly by Peter Helton
More information about the book

Title: Falling More Slowly
Author: Peter Helton
Series Character: Liam McLusky
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Liam McLusky is a Detective Inspector in Bristol (England).

His first case: McLusky, freshly transferred from Southampton to Bristol and just recovered from an injury in the line of duty, has no time to settle in before catching a major case. Everyday objects that have been transformed into explosive devices are being left across Bristol, maiming or killing those who pick them up.

McLusky must figure out who the killer is, while navigating the fraught internal politics of his new post. Meanwhile, an ex-partner moves into the city to study—and keep tabs on him.

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Where Death Delights by Bernard Knight
More information about the book

Title: Where Death Delights
Author: Bernard Knight
Series Character: Richard Pryor
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Richard Pryor is a forensic pathologist in 1950s England.

His first case: Returning from Singapore, Pryor uses his "golden handshake" to set up in private practice with scientist Angela Bray in Britain's Wye Valley. A friendly coroner gives them a start, and when two women both claim that human remains found near a reservoir are their relatives, the dilemma is given to them to investigate.

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A Gift for Murder by Karen McCullough
More information about the book

Title: A Gift for Murder
Author: Karen McCullough
Series Character: Heather McNeil
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Heather McNeil is the assistant to the director of the Washington DC Market Show Center.

Her first case: For fifty-one weeks of the year, Heather loves her job. But the Gift and Home trade show, the biggest show of the year at the center, is a week-long nightmare. This year’s version is being worse than usual. Misplaced shipments, feuding exhibitors, and malfunctioning popcorn machines are all in a day’s work. Finding the body of a murdered executive dumped in a trash bin during the show isn’t. The discovery tips Heather’s life—personal and professional—into havoc.

The police have reason to suspect the victim’s wife killed him, but Heather doesn’t believe it. She’s gotten glimmers of an entirely different scenario and possible motive, but questioning exhibitors about the crime doesn’t make her popular with them or with her employers. Still, other lives might be at risk, and if she doesn’t identify the murderer before the show ends, the culprit could well remain free to kill again.

Her only help comes from a company executive with ulterior motives and the Market Center’s attractive new security officer, Scott Brandon. Despite opposition from some of the exhibitors, her employers, and the police, Heather seeks to expose the killer before the show ends. To solve the mystery she will have to risk what’s most important to her and be prepared to fight for answers, her job, and possibly her life.

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Murder Your Darlings by J. J. Murphy
More information about the book

Title: Murder Your Darlings
Author: J. J. Murphy
Series Character: Dorothy Parker
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Dorothy Parker is an amateur sleuth in Manhattan during the Roaring 20s.

Her first case: One morning legendary wit Dorothy discovers someone under Manhattan's famed Algonquin Round Table. A little early for a passed out drunk, isn't it? But he's not dead drunk, just dead. When a charming writer from Mississippi named Billy Faulkner becomes a suspect in the murder, Dorothy decides to dabble in a little detective work, enlisting her literary cohorts.

It's up to the Algonquins to outwit the true culprit-preferably before cocktail hour-and before the clever killer turns the tables on them.

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If I Never See You Again by Niamh O'Connor
More information about the book

Title: If I Never See You Again
Author: Niamh O'Connor
Series Character: Jo Birmingham
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Jo Birmingham is a Detective Inspector with the Dublin Police Department.

Her first case: Single mum, streetwise detective, and spiky as hell. Recently promoted, she is one of the few female detective superintendents on the Dublin police force. But with a failed marriage behind her and two young sons at home, trying to strike the right work-life balance has run her ragged.

When Jo identifies the missing link in a chain of brutal killings, she comes under fierce scrutiny from her male colleagues in the force, especially her boss and ex-husband Dan Mason. But as the body count rises, so do the body parts. As fear stalks the city, it soon becomes obvious both to the police and to the media that a serial killer is at large.

And so Jo embarks on a terrifying psychological journey to find out who the killer is, and how he is choosing his victims. Soon she is involved in a deadly game in which there are no rules. Because the killer is waiting for her ...

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Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun by Lois Winston
More information about the book

Title: Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun
Author: Lois Winston
Series Character: Anastasia Pollack
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Anastasia Pollack is a crafts editor for American Woman magazine.

Her first case: When Anastasia's gambling-addicted husband permanently cashes in his chips in Vegas, her life craps out. She's left with two teenage sons, a mountain of debt, and her nasty, cane-wielding Communist mother-in-law. Not to mention a loan shark demanding fifty thousand dollars.

Anastasia's job makes life even stickier when she discovers the dead body of über-ambitious fashion editor Marlys Vandenburg hot-glued to Anastasia's office chair. Marlys collected enemies and ex-lovers like Jimmy Choos. When evidence surfaces of an illicit affair between Marlys and Anastasia's husband, Anastasia becomes the prime suspect. Can she sew up the case and keep herself out of jail before the real killer puts a permanent end to her investigation?

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For a list of more mysteries scheduled for publication during January, please visit our New Mysteries home page. If you're interested in new paperbacks, visit The Mystery Bookshelf, where you can discover a library of new mysteries, also updated with January 2011 releases.

Please also visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of mystery books 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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