Sunday, May 01, 2011

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

New Hardcover Mysteries from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently updated its list of May 2011 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 during May.

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If You Can't Stand the Heat by Robin Allen
Print Edition

Title: If You Can't Stand the Heat
Author: Robin Allen
Series Character: Poppy Markham
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Poppy Markham is a former chef turned public health inspector in Austin (Texas).

Her first case: Poppy practically grew up at the family restaurant in Austin, and, until recently, worked as a sous chef under her surly stepsister Ursula. Poppy's not sure if her dad will ever forgive her for leaving the family business to become a public health inspector — the most reviled figure in the restaurant industry — but when he asks her back into the kitchen to help out during the restaurant's grand re-opening, she can't refuse. Chaos ensues when the guest of honor, Michelin-rated chef Évariste Bontecou, is found stabbed to death with Ursula's knife. Sacrebleu!

Sorting through everyone who had it in for the hot-headed, philandering French chef is worse than deboning a Coho salmon. Could it be the bad boy sous chef eyeing his chance at the top or the conniving waitress rumored to be Évariste's paramour du jour? The closer Poppy gets to the truth, the hotter things get. And as everyone knows: if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

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Senestre on Vacation by Z. K. Burrus
Print Edition

Title: Senestre on Vacation
Author: Z. K. Burrus
Series Character: Thomas Senestre
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Thomas Senestre is a cop in the Carolinas.

His first case: Senestre, insomniac and half-hearted cop, is a man haunted by the dead. He "jollies" himself through long nights by questioning … everything. Just now, he is the doing his best to impersonate a fellow delighted to be vacationing in the overcast, blustery burg of Pantego where seagulls foul the benches and high tides flood the streets.

Summoned to Pantego by his mother’s alleged friend, he’s supposed to be helping discover Adora Phelps’s stalker. Thomas Senestre has issues: with reality, with mom, with people in general. But there is one thing he excels at: watching. So who, in Pantego, is watching, stalking, Thomas Senestre?

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Cherry Beach Express by R. D. Cain
Print Edition

Title: Cherry Beach Express
Author: R. D. Cain
Series Character: Steve Nastos
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Steve Nastos is a police detective in Toronto.

His first case: When Nastos is wrongfully accused of murdering his dentist — a man whom he believes committed an unspeakable crime against his daughter — he decides to take the law into his own hands. Freed on bail, he attempts to track down the actual killer in a town where laws are seen more as guidelines and law enforcement agents adhere to their own moral relativism. Handicapped by a recovering alcoholic lawyer, a rogue cop, and a two-faced judge, Nastos has the cards stacked against him. As his estranged yet beloved wife inadvertently becomes involved in the case, the stakes become higher, and Nastos is forced to protect her.

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Bingo Barge Murder by Jessie Chandler
Print EditionKindle Edition

Title: Bingo Barge Murder
Author: Jessie Chandler
Series Character: Shay O'Hanlon
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Shay O'Hanlon co-owns a coffee shop in Minneapolis (Minnesota).

Her first case: As co-owner of The Rabbit Hole, a quirky-cool coffee shop, Shay finds life highly caffeinated but far from dangerous. That is, until her lifelong friend Coop becomes a murder suspect. The victim was Kinky, Coop's former boss and the unsavory owner of The Bingo Barge, a sleazy gambling boat on the Mississippi. The weapon? Kinky's lucky bronzed bingo marker.

While unearthing clues to absolve Coop, Shay encounters Mafia goons hunting for some extremely valuable nuts. Looking for the murderer without help from the cops proves risky—especially with distracting sparks flying between Shay and the beautiful yet fierce Detective Bordeaux. When Shay's elderly friend and landlady is held for ransom by the mob, all bets are off. Can Shay find the killer before the stakes get any higher?

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Daggers and Men's Smiles by Jill Downie
Print Edition

Title: Daggers and Men's Smiles
Author: Jill Downie
Series Characters: Ed Moretti and Liz Falla
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the characters: Ed Moretti and Liz Falla are police officers on the English Channel Island of Guernsey.

Their first case: Moretti and his new partner Falla investigate vicious attacks on Epicure Films, an international production company shooting a movie about an Italian aristocratic family at the end of the Second World War. When vandalism escalates into murder, Moretti must resist the attractions of a glamorous American woman, consolidate his working relationship with Falla, and establish whether the murders on Guernsey go beyond the island.

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Pocket-47 by Jude Hardin
Print Edition

Title: Pocket-47
Author: Jude Hardin
Series Character: Nicholas Colt
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Nicholas Colt is a private investigator in Florida.

His first case: Fifteen-year-old Brittney Ryan has taken to the streets. Leitha, her older sister and legal guardian, hires Colt to find her and bring her home. Piece of cake, Colt thinks. With Brittney's forbidden boyfriend's address in hand, he plans to make a surprise visit and put this one in the scrapbook.

But something more sinister is behind Brittney's disappearance, and Colt soon finds himself in an ever-widening maze of deceit, betrayal, and murder. When Colt learns what the mysterious phrase "Pocket-47" means, he is haunted even more by the plane crash that killed his family and rock band twenty years ago-a crash he now realizes might not have been an accident.

Determined to save Brittney, Colt struggles to untangle the threads of his own tortured past. Unfortunately, one of the most heinous and violent criminals in modern history has other ideas.

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Punctured by Rex Kusler
Print EditionKindle Edition

Title: Punctured
Author: Rex Kusler
Series Character: Jim Snow
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Private investigator Jim Snow is a former Las Vegas homicide detective.

His first case: Snow and his sister Karen have never been very close. In fact, they haven’t seen each other since their mother’s funeral two years ago, despite living just three miles apart. But then Snow gets a panicked phone call from Karen telling him that her estranged husband has been murdered and she is the number-one suspect. Snow agrees to help, seeing as he’s the only family she has left. Plus he is a Las Vegas homicide detective—or at least, he was until he quit the force to become a full-time poker player.

But while his crime-fighting skills may be a little rusty, even he has to admit Karen is a likely suspect. She stands to collect on her dead husband’s life insurance, which is quite the coincidence considering she’s been living on her first two husbands’ insurance for years. Snow isn’t sure whether or not his sister is innocent, and there’s only one way to find out.

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No Hearts, No Roses by Colin Murray
Print Edition

Title: No Hearts, No Roses
Author: Colin Murray
Series Character: Tony Gerard
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Tony Gerard is a private investigator in 1950s London.

His first case: Tony lives a peaceful life. That is until a routine call from the glamorous Beverly Beaumont, asking him to investigate the disappearance of her brother, ends in the discovery of a body and a face from the past. A face from Paris, 1945.

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Missing Persons by Clare O'Donohue
Print EditionKindle EditionPrint and/or NookBook Edition(s)

Title: Missing Persons
Author: Clare O'Donohue
Series Character: Kate Conway
Format: Trade Paperback

What we know about the character: Kate Conway is a Chicago television producer.

Her first case: The cause of death is undetermined, but the cops peg Kate as the main suspect when her soon-to-be ex-husband, Frank, is found dead. To make matters worse — and weirder — Frank's new girlfriend suddenly wants to be friends.

Happy for the distraction, Kate throws herself into a new work assignment for the television program Missing Persons, the story of Theresa Moretti, a seemingly angelic young woman who disappeared a year earlier. All Kate wants is a cliché story and twenty-two minutes of footage, but when the two cases appear to overlap, Kate needs to work fast before another body turns up — her own.

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Flowerbed of State by Dorothy St. James
Print EditionKindle EditionPrint and/or NookBook Edition(s)

Title: Flowerbed of State
Author: Dorothy St. James
Series Character: Casey Calhoun
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Casey Calhoun is a free-spirited organic gardener for the White House.

Her first case: Casey's passion for organic gardening and eye for detail have carried her into the most important patch of land in America — the President's Park, on which sits the most important home in America: the White House.

But while she's readying the final touches on an innovative cultivation program for the First Lady to inspect, she's attacked from behind by an unknown assailant who then disappears. When she comes to, she notices some damaged foliage that leads her and the Secret Service to a dead woman in a trash can.

With the biggest opportunity of her life ready to bloom, and all the President's men plowing up her perfect plans, Casey has to dig in and root out a killer before she ends up planted herself …

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Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder
Print EditionKindle Edition

Title: Purgatory Chasm
Author: Steve Ulfelder
Series Character: Conway Sax
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Conway Sax is an auto mechanic.

His first case: The job seems simple. Conway, a no-nonsense kind of guy with a knack for solving difficult problems, has never liked obnoxious blowhard Tander Phigg. But a promise is a promise. Tander’s a Barnburner, a member of the unique Alcoholics Anonymous group that rescued Conway, and when a Barnburner has a problem, Conway takes care of it. Besides, all Tander wants is to get back his baby, a vintage Mercedes that’s been in a shady auto shop far too long.

But Conway soon discovers there's much more to the problem than Tander first let on – especially when Tander turns up dead. Conway was the last person seen with the victim, and on top of that, he has a record, making him the cops’ top suspect. He must catch the killer to clear himself, but beyond that, he’s a man who honors his promises, even when the guy he made them to is dead.

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These Dark Things by Jan Merete Weiss
Print EditionKindle EditionPrint and/or NookBook Edition(s)

Title: These Dark Things
Author: Jan Merete Weiss
Series Character: Natalia Monte
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Captain Natalia Monte of the Carabinieri is a police officer in Naples (Italy).

Her first case: When a beautiful college student is found murdered in the catacombs beneath a monastary, Natalia is assigned to investigate. Could the killer be a professor the student had been sleeping with? A blind monk who loved her? Or perhaps a member of the brutal Napali criminal organization, the Camorra? As Natalia pursues her investigation, the crime families of Naples go to war over garbage-hauling contracts; and all across the city heaps of trash pile up, uncollected. When one of Natalia's childhood friends is caught up in the violence, her loyalties are tested, and each move she makes threatens her own life and the lives of those she loves.

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For a list of more 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 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.

Harlequin Mira Mystery and Suspense Titles for May 2011 Save 20% On Your Order has released the list of May 2011 titles in their Mira imprint, the brightest stars in women's fiction. From all titles available, we've only listed those that are mystery, thriller, or suspense on this page.

For more information about the book from, click on the title or cover; other purchase options are also provided.

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Dark Angel by Karen Harper (print and/or Kindle editions)

Dark Angel by Karen Harper
Maplecreek Amish Trilogy (3rd in series)

One morning Leah Kurtz goes to wake her adopted infant daughter and instantly knows something is terribly wrong. She is convinced that her baby has been switched with another child. Afraid that no one will believe her, Leah turns to an unlikely ally, despite the fact that her Amish community frowns on its members seeking help in the outside world.

0Dr. Mark Morelli studies the genetic illnesses that plague the Amish, but he has other, private reasons for coming to Maplecreek … reasons that may be tied to the mysterious disappearance of Leah's daughter.

Together, Leah and Mark must uncover a conspiracy—before there are deadly consequences.

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The Restorer by Amanda Stevens (print and/or Kindle editions)Barnes & Noble (print and/or NookBook editions)Kobo eBooks

The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.

It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer—and to his other victims—lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

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The Hypnotist by M. J. Rose (print and/or Kindle editions)Barnes & Noble (print and/or NookBook editions)Kobo eBooks

The Hypnotist by M. J. Rose
The Reincarnationist (3rd in series)

Haunted by his inability to stop the murder of a beautiful young painter twenty years ago, Lucian Glass keeps his demons at bay through his fascinating work with the FBI's Art Crime Team. Investigating a crazed collector who's begun destroying prized masterworks, Glass is thrust into a bizarre hostage negotiation that takes him undercover at the Phoenix Foundation—dedicated to the science of past-life study. There, to maintain his cover, he submits to the treatment of a hypnotist.

Under hypnosis, Glass travels from ancient Greece to nineteenth-century Persia, while the case takes him from New York to Paris and the movie capital of the world. These journeys will change his very understanding of reality, lead him to question his own sanity and land him at the center of perhaps the most audacious art heist in history: a fifteen-hundred-year-old sculpture the nation of Iran will do anything to recover.

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Solve the Mystery of a Murdered Countess and Missing Count in Mystery Chronicles: Betrayals of Love, New from BFG

Games of Mystery

Games of Mystery is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual game from Big Fish Games released today and available to BFG Club members. You can find out more about these games by visiting our Mystery Games: Big Fish Download Games page or by clicking on the links provided below.

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Mystery Chronicles: Betrayals of Love
Mystery Chronicles: Betrayals of Love

When a Countess is discovered murdered, Commissaire Jean Bertineau asks for your help in this high-profile case. Traveling to France, you hope to quickly get to the bottom of this gruesome murder. Upon arriving, though, you learn that the Count has now disappeared! You must solve the mystery of these crimes before he, too, becomes a killer's victim.

See also the other game in this series, Mystery Chronicles: Murder Among Friends.

Mystery Chronicles: Betrayals of Love may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (131.33 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

Get any standard game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card! (Collector's Editions earn 3 punches each, half-way towards your free game!)

Read Ms. Terri's reviews of the adventure and casual mystery games featured on this site, including Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy, Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses!, Enlightenus, and many more!

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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Games of Mystery is your source for mystery-themed video, electronic, and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations!

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