Wednesday, November 05, 2014

New Christmas-Themed Mysteries for 2014!

I know many of you like to read Christmas-themed mysteries during the holiday season, so I've rounded up over a dozen new books that are sure to cause an excess of cheer at this time of year. I've organized them by release dates, and I've included all the information you'll need in order to find them at all your favorite "book procurement locations." Book synopses are courtesy of Amazon, my favorite showroom. 

Happy Holiday Reading!

=== Available Now ===

Title: Christmas in Paradise
Author: Kathi Daley
ISBN:  9781500980801
Publisher: CreateSpace
Paperback, 240 pages

Synopsis: "Christmas in Paradise is a magical time of year that TJ has always looked forward to with happy anticipation. This year her holiday spirit is marred by the anticipated arrival of two new men in her life. When one of the men ends up dead, TJ must juggle community plays, Christmas tree cutting, sleigh rides, and holiday shopping, with a complex murder investigation in order to save someone she loves."

Title: Shadows on a Maine Christmas
Author: Lea Wait
ISBN: 9781564745477  
Publisher: Perseverance Press
Paperback, 224 pages

Synopsis: "Antique print dealer Maggie Summer has come to Maine for a storybook Christmas with her beloved Will Brewer and his Great-Aunt Nettie, who has gathered together her longtime friends for holiday celebrations. Maggie and Will love each other, although Maggie is determined to adopt children and Will has misgivings. But this problem is put on hold when Maggie hears cryptic references by Aunt Nettie’s old friends to buried secrets from their youth. One elderly woman suffers from dementia, remembering those past events better than the gifts she just opened. Will she blurt out information about an old crime so dangerous that someone would commit murder to prevent its being revealed? Blackmail and murder are only the beginning. It may be a Merry Christmas—but who will still be around to see in a Happy New Year?"

Title: Festive in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
ISBN: 9780399164446
Publisher: Putnam
Hardcover, 400 pages

Synopsis: "Personal trainer Trey Ziegler was in peak physical condition. If you didn’t count the kitchen knife in his well-toned chest.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas soon discovers a lineup of women who’d been loved and left by the narcissistic gym rat. While Dallas sorts through the list of Ziegler’s enemies, she’s also dealing with her Christmas shopping list—plus the guest list for her and her billionaire husband’s upcoming holiday bash.

Feeling less than festive, Dallas tries to put aside her distaste for the victim and solve the mystery of his death. There are just a few investigating days left before Christmas, and as New Year’s 2061 approaches, this homicide cop is resolved to stop a cold-blooded killer." 

Title: Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past
ISBN: 9781426754210
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Hardcover, 160 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books

Synopsis: "When someone buys the old Honeycutt house, Nora Bonesteel is glad to see some life brought back to the old mansion, even if it is by summer people. But when they decide to stay through Christmas, they find more than old memories in the walls. 

On Christmas Eve, Sheriff Spencer Arrowood and Deputy Joe LeDonne find themselves on an unwelcome call to arrest an elderly man for a minor offense. As they attempt to do their duty, while doing the right thing for a neighbor, it begins to look like they may all spend Christmas away from home. In a story of spirits, memories, and angels unaware, Sharyn McCrumb revisits her most loved characters who know there is more to this world than the eye can see, especially at Christmastime.

Title: A Crafty Christmas
Author: Mollie Cox Bryan
ISBN: 9780758293565
Publisher: Kensington
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages

Synopsis: "Christmas is just around the corner, and the ladies of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop are thrilled when Sheila wins the first place prize in a scrapbooking design contest: a ten-day scrapbook-themed cruise in the Caribbean. Vera and Paige decide to tag along, which should pose the perfect opportunity to learn some new techniques, mingle with fellow croppers, and get in some rest and relaxation before the chaos of Christmas. But when Sheila finds a famous crafter dead, and investigators determine she was poisoned, the luxury cruise veers toward disaster as Sheila becomes the number one suspect - or was she really the intended victim? Just as the croppers begin un-wrapping the truth, a storm strands them at sea, and they'll find it's harder than ever to survive the holidays with a killer on deck..." 

Title: Death of a Christmas Caterer
Author: Lee Hollis
ISBN: 9780758294517  
Publisher: Kensington
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages

Synopsis: "Who better than food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell to book a caterer for the Island Times holiday party? But Hayley's quest for a cook turns into the pursuit of a killer who caters to no one...Office Christmas parties can sometimes mean career suicide - but they rarely lead to murder. Hayley thought Garth Rawlings would be the perfect caterer for this year's bash, but when the gourmet sees her budget, he goes galloping. Unfortunately his run is short-lived. Garth is found dead on the floor of his kitchen, with his delectable creations burning in the oven. Faced with a spread of suspects, Hayley is determined to discover who would want to take out the Christmas caterer, because - no matter what the season - justice must be served...

Title: A Midwinter's Tail
Author: Sofie Kelly
ISBN:  9780451414717
Publisher: Signet
Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages 

Synopsis: "Winter in Mayville Heights is busy and not just because of the holidays. Kathleen is hard at work organizing a benefit to raise money for the library’s popular Reading Buddies program. She has her hands full hosting the event. And when a guest at the gala drops dead, her magical cats, Owen and Hercules, will have their paws full helping her solve a murder.

The victim is the ex of town rascal Burtis Chapman, but she hasn’t lived in the area in years. And though everybody is denying knowledge of why she was back in town, as Kathleen and her detective boyfriend, Marcus, begin nosing around, they discover more people are connected to the deceased than claimed to be. Now Marcus, Kathleen, and her uncanny cats have to unravel this midwinter tale before the case gets cold

Title: The Nightingale Before Christmas
Author: Donna Andrews
ISBN: 9781250049575
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Hardcover, 304 pages

Synopsis: "As the holidays draw near in Caerphilly, Mother volunteers to take part in in a big Christmas-themed decorator show house—each room of a temporarily untenanted house is decorated to the hilt by a different decorator for the public to tour.  Of course, Mother insists that Meg pitch in with the organization, and she finds herself surrounded by flamboyant personalities with massive egos clashing and feeling their professional reputations are at stake.  Then the rooms start to be sabotaged, and an unfortunate designer turns up dead—making Mother a prime suspect.  Can Meg catch the real killer in time to save Mother the indignity of arrest?

Title: Ho-Ho-Homicide
Author: Kaitlyn Dunnett
ISBN: 9780758292834
Publisher: Kensington
Hardcover, 304 pages

Synopsis: "In HO-HO-HOMICIDE, when an old friend asks Liss MacCrimmon Ruskin and her husband Dan to spend a week on a Maine Christmas tree farm, evaluating its potential as a profitable seasonal business, Liss thinks they’re in for an idyllic vacation. Boy is she wrong!

Between a missing person, an unidentified body, a mysterious maze, and a series of “accidents” there’s no time to relax. To add to the pressure, the deadline to open a cut-your-own operation at the Christmas tree farm for the current season is fast approaching. And then there’s that other matter, the very personal one Liss hoped she and Dan would have time to talk about once they were away from their usual busy routine.

HO-HO-HOMICIDE is set five years after the end of the last entry in the series (VAMPIRES, BONES, AND TREACLE SCONES). Liss hasn’t been involved in solving a single murder in the interim and is hoping her luck will hold.
Not a chance!

Title: Treacherous Tart
Author: Ellie Grant
ISBN: 9781451689563
Publisher: Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages

Synopsis: "It’s Christmastime at Pie in the Sky, Aunt Clara’s pie shop, and she has a new beau, Donald Wickerson, who loves her Marvelous Mince Pies.

Unfortunately, it seems that this holiday, Donald might only be interested in Aunt Clara for her money. Ryan and Maggie research his background and find he’s had several wives who met with unfortunate “accidents” that left him wealthier. Now they have to convince Aunt Clara that her boyfriend is after more than just her pie recipes.

When Donald stumbles into Pie in the Sky and dies after being shot, Aunt Clara is devastated—and also a suspect, since everyone in Durham knows about Donald from Ryan’s newspaper article. Now Maggie and Ryan will have to prove that someone else in the long list of people he’d wronged finally got the courage to end his life.

Title: Christmas Cozy
Author: Kathi Daley
ISBN: 9781502402042
Publisher: CreateSpace
Paperback, 202 pages

Synopsis: "Christmas in Ashton Falls is always a magical time of year. The first big snow has arrived, the tree in the town square has been decorated, the window displays completed, and Hometown Christmas is just around the corner. Zoe finds herself knee deep in holiday shopping and Children’s wishes as she and Zak play host to nine year old Scooter Sherwood and his friend Alex. Although a bit hectic, the magic of Christmas is in full bloom and things couldn’t be more perfect until Zoe finds the body of history teacher Holly Jolly in the Ashton Falls High School Christmas Tree lot run by best friend Levi Denton and is pulled into a dangerous holiday investigation.

Title: A New York Christmas
Author: Anne Perry
ISBN: 9780345548467
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Hardcover, 176 pages

Synopsis: "The year is 1904. Twenty-three-year-old Jemima Pitt, the daughter of Thomas Pitt, head of Britain’s Special Branch, is crossing the Atlantic. She is traveling with an acquaintance, Delphinia Cardew, who is to marry the aristocratic Brent Albright in a high-society New York wedding—a grand affair that will join together two fabulously wealthy families, titans of the international financial world.

But Jemima senses a mysterious shadow darkening the occasion. Missing from the festivities is Delphinia’s mother, Maria, who is marked by disgrace. Nearly sixteen years ago, Maria abandoned young Delphinia and disappeared—and now the Albrights refuse to mention her name. But when Harley, the groom’s charismatic brother, asks Jemima to help him search for Maria and forestall the scandal that would surely follow if the prodigal parent turned up at the wedding, she agrees to assist him.

From Hell’s Kitchen to Fifth Avenue, the Lower East Side to Central Park, Jemima trudges through strange, snowy streets, asking questions but getting few answers—and never suspecting that she is walking into mortal danger, from which not even a handsome young police officer named Patrick Flannery may be able to protect her.

Title: On Borrowed Time
Author: Jenn McKinlay
ISBN: 9780425260739
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages

Synopsis: "Between preparing the library for the holidays and juggling the affections of ex-boyfriend, Captain Mike Sullivan, and her new crush, actor Robbie Vine, Lindsey has her hands full. But the mysterious disappearance of her world-traveling playboy brother takes precedence over all.

Afraid that involving the police could brew trouble for Jack, Lindsey takes matters into her own hands. But as her quest for her brother embroils her in a strange case involving South American business dealings and an enigmatic and exotic woman, it’ll take the help of both her library book club—the crafternooners—and her eager-to-please suitors to keep Jack from ending up in hot water…

=== November 24 ===

Title: A Last Goodbye
Author: J.A. Jance
ISBN: 9781501103698
Publisher: Pocket Books
Digital Short Story, 80 pages

Synopsis: "Ali Reynolds is finally getting married to her longtime love B. Simpson. They wanted a simple Christmas Eve wedding, but nothing is ever simple with Ali. Even as a motley crew of her friends—Leland Brooks, Sister Anselm, and others—descend on Vegas, the bride-to-be finds herself juggling last-minute wedding plans and a mystery in the form of a stray miniature dachshund. Ali’s grandson rescues the little dog, but Ali’s not in the market for a new pet right before her honeymoon, and leaves no stone unturned in hunting for the dog’s owner. But what she finds is more than just a shaggy dog story…Bella’s elderly owner has vanished, and her son seems to be behind it. So it’s Ali and B. to the rescue—and still making it to the church on time!

=== December 2 ===

Title: Death With All the Trimmings
Author: Lucy Burdette
ISBN: 9780451465900
Publisher: Signet
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages

Synopsis: "It may be Christmastime, but thoughts of peace on earth, good will toward men, don’t seem to extend to the restaurant biz. Hayley has been assigned to interview Edel Waugh, chef/owner of Key West’s hottest new restaurant. But off the record, Edel reveals someone’s sabotaging her kitchen and asks Hayley to investigate.

Things heat up fast when the restaurant is set on fire—and a body is discovered in the charred wreckage. Is someone out to destroy the chef’s business—or actually kill her? Amid holiday festivities like the lighted boat parade and visiting relatives who stir up mixed emotions, Hayley needs to smoke out an arsonist and a killer who may turn up the heat on her next

Title: Murder, Served Simply
Author: Isabella Alan
ISBN: 9780451413659
Publisher: Signet
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages

Synopsis: "Angie’s parents are visiting Rolling Brook for Christmas—but unfortunately, her ex is joining them. Luckily, Angie has no time to dwell on her romantic troubles as she prepares her store, Running Stitch, for the town’s traditional progressive dinner, featuring a sleigh ride stopping at each shop for a different course of the meal.

The meal ends with an Amish-themed Christmas play at the Swiss Valley Hotel and Barn. But the performance is cut short when an actress falls from the scaffolding to her death. After the sheriff suspects foul play, tensions between the Amish and Englisch heat up, as do rivalries among the acting troupe. Now Angie and her quilting circle must stitch together clues before they’re the ones running for cover…

Hopefully I've managed to tickle a taste bud or two for holiday mayhem!


  1. Cathy - Well, these do sound like the kind of mix of holiday and murder that only a crime novelist could create ;-). Thanks for sharing.

    1. You're welcome, as always, Margot!

  2. Hi Cathy, looks like some good reading for the Holidays. The Sharyn McCrumb looks interesting. Thanks!

    1. I've got a copy of Sharyn McCrumb's book, and I'll be reviewing it before Christmas, Dorothy! :-)


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