Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Firsts on the 1st: New Series Characters Being Introduced in May 2012 Mysteries

New Hardcover Mysteries from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently updated its list of May 2012 hardcover mysteries as well as shelved new May 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 American debut in print during May.

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Vultures at Twilight by Charles Atkins
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: Vultures at Twilight
Author: Charles Atkins
Series Characters: Lil Campbell and Ada Strauss
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the characters: Lil Campbell and Ada Strauss are long-time friends and neighbors in Grenville, Connecticut.

Their first case: Something wicked has come to Grenville Connecticut, a town famous for antiques and the systematic fleecing of its well-heeled elders as they down-size, sicken and die. Clearly, someone is unhappy with the status quo as high-end antique dealers are being murdered in gruesome — yet fitting — ways.

When a severed finger shows up at the Friday night auction, unlikely heroines Lil Campbell and Ada Strauss have to wonder — where's the rest of the body? A question that leads to festering small-town secrets, and the unraveling of a mystery that shows all is not well in a town famed for its postcard perfect New England charm.

For Lil and Ada the murders take a personal turn as unspeakable accusations are raised against Lil's dead husband and she becomes the focus of the killer's rage. And to make things worse — or better — the two friends are forced to confront powerful feelings for one another that threaten their idyllic lives.

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Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: Brownies and Broomsticks
Author: Bailey Cates
Series Character: Katie Lightfoot, Magical Bakery
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Katie Lightfoot is a professional baker in Savannah (Georgia).

Her first case: Katie Lightfoot's tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah's quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.

While working at the Honeybee Bakery — named after Lucy's cat — Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren't just tasty — Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!

When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben's name and find the real killer.

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Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: Frozen Moment
Author: Camilla Ceder
Series Character: Christian Tell
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Christian Tell is a Swedish police inspector.

His first case: One December morning in a small rural town on the Swedish coast, Ake Melkersson is on his way to work when his car breaks down. He spots a garage nearby, but as he approaches he realizes something is wrong. The owner of the garage lies dead, sprawled on the ground, his lower body crushed where a car has repeatedly driven over him.

The murder investigation is led by Inspector Christian Tell, known as something of a lone wolf, but he has very few clues to go on and the deceased's wife is out of the country on holiday.

Cut to 10 years earlier — Maya Granith is living at a college for troubled teenagers after escaping her shattered home and her neurotic mother. But when an older student takes an overbearing interest in her things begin to go wrong. Back in the present, another murder occurs when a man is shot in the head; again his body is driven over several times. Tell is becoming increasingly involved with a reporter but their relationship is complicated — especially when aspects of the case remind the reporter of someone she knew who went missing 10 years earlier.

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Rally 'Round the Corpse by Hy Conrad
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: Rally 'Round the Corpse
Author: Hy Conrad
Series Character: Amy Abel
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Amy Abel owns a travel agency specializing in adventure.

Her first case: It's two years since her fiancé's death. Amy Abel needs to start over. And what better way for a shy, risk-averse woman to start than to sink all her savings into a travel agency specializing in adventure. Her first project? A mystery road rally through the European countryside.

At the starting line in Monte Carlo, Amy finds herself attracted to Marcus Alvarez, the most mysterious of her two dozen game-loving clients. But the rally gets off to a rocky start when an eccentric writer, the only person who knows the game's solution, is himself murdered back in New York.

So who would kill a harmless mystery geek? And why are weird accidents beginning to happen along the way? To her horror, Amy discovers that this fictional mystery was based on a real, unsolved case, one that Marcus knows too much about. Now she has no choice but to join forces with Fanny, her domineering mother, and solve this on her own, before the killer strikes again.

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The Big Kitty by Claire Donally
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: The Big Kitty
Author: Claire Donally
Series Character: Sunny Coolidge
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Sunny Coolidge is a former New York City newspaper reporter, now living in Maine with her cat Shadow.

Her first case: Sunny Coolidge left her New York City newspaper job to go back to Maine and take care of her ailing father. But there's not much excitement — or interesting work — in Kittery Harbor. So when Ada Spruance, the town's elderly cat lady, asks for help finding her supposedly-winning lottery ticket, Sunny agrees. But when she arrives at Ada's, with a stray tomcat named Shadow tagging along, they discover the poor woman dead at the bottom of her stairs. Was it an accident — or did Ada's death have to do with that missing lottery ticket, which turns out to be worth six million dollars?

Town Constable Will Price suspects the worst. And Sunny's reporter instincts soon drive her to do some investigating of her own. Even Shadow seems to have a nose for detective work. Following the trail of the purrloined ticket, Sunny and Shadow try to shed some light on a killer's dark motives — before their own numbers are up …

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Flat Spin by David Freed
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: Flat Spin
Author: David Freed
Series Character: Cordell Logan
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Cordell Logan is a flight instructor with dwindling savings and a shadowy past.

His first case: Based in sunny Rancho Bonita — "California's Monaco" as the city's moneyed minions like to call it — Cordell Logan is a literate, sardonic flight instructor and aspiring Buddhist. When his beautiful ex-wife, Savannah, shows up out of the blue to tell him that her husband has been murdered in Los Angeles, Logan is quietly pleased. Savannah's late husband, after all, is Arlo Echevarria, the man she left Logan for.

Logan and Echevarria were once comrades-in-arms assigned to a top-secret military assassination team known as "Alpha." The only problem is, the LAPD can find no record of Echevarrias ever having toiled for Uncle Sam. Savannah wants Logan to tell the police what he knows. At first he refuses, but then, relying on his small, aging airplane, the "Ruptured Duck," and the skills he honed working for Alpha, Logan doggedly hunts Echevarria's killer.

His trail takes him from the glitzy Las Vegas Strip to the most dangerous ghettos of inner-city Oakland, from darkened, Russian Mafia haunts in West Los Angeles to the deserts of Arizona. But that's the least of his problems. It is his love-hate relationship with Savannah, a woman Logan continues to pine for in spite of himself, that threatens to consume him.

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Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: Don't Ever Get Old
Author: Daniel Friedman
Series Character: Buck Schatz
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Buck Schatz is a retired Memphis cop.

His first case: When Buck Schatz, senior citizen and retired Memphis cop, learns that an old adversary may have escaped Germany with a fortune in stolen gold, Buck decides to hunt down the fugitive and claim the loot. But a lot of people want a piece of the stolen treasure, and Buck's investigation quickly attracts unfriendly attention from a very motley — and murderous — crew.

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The Lighthouse Society by Jerry Graffam
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: The Lighthouse Society
Author: Jerry Graffam
Series Character: Jack Chandler
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Jack Chandler is an amateur investigator.

His first case: Sixteen years after Jack Chandler awoke in a hospital bed after a two week long coma, he still longed for the truth concerning his parents' deaths. The explanation of the ferryboat accident may have sufficed for a 12-year-old, but as he grew older, so did his suspicions. Over the years, his amateur investigations offered no new insight. Now 28, Jack has decided to return to his boyhood home on Carroll Island. He and his girlfriend, Kendra, have opted for the quiet island life, but when news of Jack's return spreads across the island; two groups urgently seek to get to Jack before his homecoming.

Just as Jack and Kendra prepare for their down east trip, Jack receives an anonymous phone call, which bears credence to his former beliefs and re-introduces him to an organization he had long forgotten, The Lighthouse Society.

The Society would like nothing more than to silence Jack forever, to keep him from uncovering their deadly plot. Little do they know, one of their own has other ideas. The Society's oldest member, Kyle Foster, had thought long and hard about his role in the cover-up surrounding the deaths of Jack's parents. Along with the island Sheriff and the enlisted help of a framed recluse, Foster provides Jack with clues, which enable him to bring the secret organization to justice.

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The Yard by Alex Grecian
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: The Yard
Author: Alex Grecian
Series Characters: The Murder Squad
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the characters: The Murder Squad are the only 12 detectives in Scotland Yard of Victorian London.

Their first case: Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only twelve detectives — known as "The Murder Squad" — to investigate countless murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police's spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own … one of the twelve …

When Walter Day, the squad's newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard's first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley. Together they track the killer, who clearly is not finished with The Murder Squad … but why?

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A Deadly Grind by Victoria Hamilton
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: A Deadly Grind
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Series Character: Jaymie Leighton, Vintage Kitchen
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Jaymie Leighton is a vintage cookware and cookbook collector.

Her first case: When Jaymie Leighton spies an original 1920s Hoosier brand kitchen cabinet at an estate auction, it's love at first sight. Despite the protests of her sister that the 19th-century yellow-brick house they share in Michigan is already too cluttered with Jaymie's "junk," she successfully outbids the other buyers and triumphantly takes home her Hoosier.

But that night on the summer porch where they've left the Hoosier to be cleaned up, a man is murdered, struck on the head with the steel meat grinder that is part of the cabinet. Who is this stranger — and what was he doing on their porch? Does his death have anything to do with the Hoosier?

As the police struggle to determine the man's identity, Jaymie can't help doing a little digging on her own, accompanied by her three-legged Yorkie Poo, Hopalong. But in her bid to uncover the truth about the hidden secrets of the Hoosier, Jaymie may be the one who ends up going, going … gone.

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Fixer by P. F. Lennon
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: Fixer
Author: P. F. Lennon
Series Character: Charlie Blanco
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Charlie Blanco solves problems, corporate assignments that nobody else will take.

His first case: When Charlie Blanco arrives in Paris to locate a missing businessman, he finds a young supermodel in fear of her life, and a global business that takes no prisoners. Suddenly a quick PR fix has turned into something much more sinister. Who is hunting Charlie from London to the back streets of Paris? What kind of ruthless corporation is he up against? And as the body count rises, who can he really trust?

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Ice Fire by David Lyons
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: Ice Fire
Author: David Lyons
Series Character: Jock Boucher
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Cajun-born Jock Boucher is a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

His first case: Jock Boucher has overcome modest beginnings to assume the prestigious position of U.S. District Judge. One of his first cases on the bench involves a scientist who has been hiding in mortal fear for more than twenty years. The fugitive claims that another judge accepted bribes and helped a relentless global energy company steal his intellectual property: a way to recover energy from below the subsea bed that could end America's dependence on foreign oil.

Boucher takes on the company and its powerful founder, risking not only his judicial career but his life. He follows a trail of cryptic clues to the bottom of the ocean, and soon finds himself the target of killers — and too far from the law to ever return.

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The 90s Club and the Hidden Staircase by Eileen Haavik McIntire
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: The 90s Club and the Hidden Staircase
Author: Eileen Haavik McIntire
Series Character: Nancy Dickenson
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Senior amateur sleuth Nancy Dickenson lives at the Whisperwood Retirement Village.

Her first case: The 90s Club at Whisperwood Retirement Village discovers a simmering brew of thefts, murders, and exploitation bubbling beneath its luxurious and active lifestyle.

Nancy Dickenson and fellow club members pile up clues like tricks in a bridge game to uncover the culprits and almost lose their lives. The menace grows into a bloody climax and even Nancy's suspiciously wild kitty cat Malone takes part, turning the murderer's confidence into terror.

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Don't Die Under the Apple Tree by Amy Patricia Meade
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: Don't Die Under the Apple Tree
Author: Amy Patricia Meade
Series Character: Rosie O'Doyle Keefe
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Rosie O'Doyle Keefe is a riveter in New York City's World War II shipyards.

Her first case: Life is definitely not easy for 32-year-old Rosie O'Doyle Keefe, but she can handle working in New York City's World War II shipyards — until her foreman winds up dead — right after she rebuffed his "requirements" for a promotion. Never one to sit back and hope for the best, Rosie discovers that everyone who knew the foreman had good reasons to kill him off. She also finds that she has a surprise ally in the darkly handsome police lieutenant Jack Riordan. But Jack also has to produce a viable suspect for his captain in five days — even if it has to be Rosie. Before long, the mystery spirals onto the streets of wartime New York. With the clock ticking and her freedom on the line, Rosie and Lieutenant Riordan will need to join forces to find the truth and catch the now very desperate killer … who may be much closer then they think.

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Brighton Belle by Sara Sheridan
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: Brighton Belle
Author: Sara Sheridan
Series Character: Mirabelle Bevan
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Mirabelle Bevan is a retired secret service agent in post-World War II England.

Her first case: 1951. Brighton. With the excitement of the war over and the Nazis brought to justice at Nuremberg, Mirabelle Bevan thinks her skills are no longer required. After the death of her lover she moves to the seaside to put the past behind her and takes a job as a secretary at a debt collection agency run by the charismatic Big Ben McGuigan. But when confronted by the case of Romana Laszlo, a pregnant Hungarian refugee, Mirabelle discovers that her specialist knowledge is vital. With enthusiastic assistance from the pretty insurance clerk down the corridor, Vesta Churchill, Mirabelle follows a mysterious trail of gold sovereigns, betting scams and corpses to a dark corner of Austerity Britain where the forces of evil remain alive and well.

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The Poisonous Seed by Linda Stratmann
Print and/or Kindle Edition

Title: The Poisonous Seed
Author: Linda Stratmann
Series Character: Frances Doughty
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Frances Doughty is a private detective in 1880s London.

Her first case: When a customer of William Doughty's chemist shop dies of strychnine poisoning after drinking medicine he dispensed, William is blamed, and the family faces ruin. William's daughter, 19-year-old Frances, determines to redeem her ailing father's reputation and save the business. She soon becomes convinced that the death was murder, but unable to convince the police, she turns detective. Armed only with her wits, courage, and determination, and aided by some unconventional new friends, Frances uncovers a startling deception and solves a 10-year-old murder. There will be more deaths and a secret in her own family will be revealed, before the killer is unmasked and Frances finds that her life has changed forever.

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For a list of more hardcover mysteries scheduled for publication during May, 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 May 2012 releases. See also our regularly updated eBook site for new mysteries, suspense novels and thrillers, MysterEbooks.com.

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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