Wednesday, March 29, 2017

April 2017 New Mystery Releases!

It's getting warmer here in Phoenix, and my reading speed is increasing. I guess I'm just not a cold weather gal regardless what I'm doing!

By the time I write up this monthly post, I've usually read all the advance reading copies that I've marked in red, and I'm very happy to say that one of them will be added to my Best Reads of 2017 list. (And since it's the fourth in a series, I've been making purchases so I can read the others....)

If I have my reading timed properly, I am able to weed out any books that weren't my cup of tea, and that happened this month, too. You'll still be reading my review, it just won't be recommended. In a way, I was glad to take that book off the list because it was bulging at the seams. Now it's back down to my normal baker's dozen.

As usual, I've grouped all the books by their release dates, and I've included all the information you'll need to find them at your favorite book spots. I hope I've managed to name a few that tickle your fancy!

=== April 4 === 

Title: Of Books and Bagpipes
Author: Paige Shelton
Series: #2 in the Scottish Bookshop cozy series set in Edinburgh and Sterling, Scotland.
ISBN: 9781250057495
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Hardcover, 320 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books

Synopsis: "Delaney Nichols has settled so comfortably into her new life in Edinburgh that she truly feels it’s become more home than her once beloved Kansas. Her job at the Cracked Spine, a bookshop that specializes in rare manuscripts as well as other sundry valuable historical objects, is everything she had dreamed, with her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, entrusting her more and more with bigger jobs. Her latest task includes a trip to Castle Doune, a castle not far out of Edinburgh, to retrieve a hard-to-find edition of an old Scottish comic, an “Oor Wullie,” in a cloak and dagger transaction that Edwin has orchestrated.

While taking in the sights of the distant Highlands from the castle’s ramparts, Delaney is startled when she spots a sandal-clad foot at the other end of the roof. Unfortunately, the foot’s owner is very much dead and, based on the William Wallace costume he’s wearing, perfectly matches the description of the man who was supposed to bring the Oor Wullie. As Delaney rushes to call off some approaching tourists and find the police, she comes across the Oor Wullie, its pages torn and fluttering around a side wall of the castle. Instinct tells her to take the pages and hide them under her jacket. It’s not until she returns to the Cracked Spine that she realizes just how complicated this story is and endeavors to untangle the tricky plot of why someone wanted this man dead, all before getting herself booked for murder.

Title: Caramel Crush
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Series: #9 in the Cupcake Bakery cozy series set in Scottsdale, Arizona.
ISBN: 9780399583810  
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages

Synopsis: "Love is in the air at Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Angie prepares for her wedding, but co-owner, Mel, is preparing for a breakup. Her old friend, Diane Earnest, is dumping her fiancé after discovering he’s only marrying her for her money. She wants Mel to personally deliver a batch of caramel breakup cupcakes to the louse and give her a play-by-play of his reaction.

When Mel finally tracks the man down, the look on his face isn’t the reaction she was expecting: he’s dead. After the police arrive and see the incriminating cupcakes, Diane becomes their prime suspect. If she hopes to taste freedom again, Mel and Angie must make sure the real killer gets their just desserts...

Title: Earthly Remains
Author: Donna Leon
Series: #26 in the Commissario Guido Brunetti police procedural series set in Venice, Italy.
ISBN: 9780802126474 
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Hardcover, 304 pages

Synopsis: "Donna Leon’s bestselling mystery novels set in Venice have won a multitude of fans for their insider’s portrayal of La Serenissima. From family meals to coffee bars, and from vaporetti rides to the homes and apartments of Venetians, the details and rhythms of everyday life are an integral part of this beloved series. But so are the suffocating corruption, the never-ending influx of tourists, and crimes big and small. Through it all, Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti has been an enduring figure. A good man who loves his family and his city, Brunetti is relentless in his pursuit of truth and some measure of justice.

In Earthly Remains, the twenty-sixth novel in this series, Brunetti’s endurance is tested more than ever before. During an interrogation of an entitled, arrogant man suspected of giving drugs to a young girl who then died, Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret. In the fallout, he realizes that he needs a break, needs to get away from the stifling problems of his work.

When Brunetti is granted leave from the Questura, his wife, Paola, suggests he stay at the villa of a relative on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the laguna. There he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny’s Natural History. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until Davide Casati, the caretaker of the house on Sant’Erasmo, goes missing following a sudden storm. Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his leave of absence and understand what happened to the man who had become his friend.

Title: Ragdoll
Author: Daniel Cole
Standalone Police Procedural set in London.
ISBN:  9780062653956 
Publisher: Ecco
Hardcover, 384 pages

Synopsis: "William Fawkes, a controversial detective known as The Wolf, has just been reinstated to his post after he was suspended for assaulting a vindicated suspect. Still under psychological evaluation, Fawkes returns to the force eager for a big case. When his former partner and friend, Detective Emily Baxter, calls him to a crime scene, he’s sure this is it: the body is made of the dismembered parts of six victims, sewn together like a puppet—a corpse that becomes known as 'The Ragdoll.'

Fawkes is tasked with identifying the six victims, but that gets dicey when his reporter ex-wife anonymously receives photographs from the crime scene, along with a list of six names, and the dates on which the Ragdoll Killer plans to murder them.

The final name on the list is Fawkes.

Baxter and her trainee partner, Alex Edmunds, hone in on figuring out what links the victims together before the killer strikes again. But for Fawkes, seeing his name on the list sparks a dark memory, and he fears that the catalyst for these killings has more to do with him—and his past—than anyone realizes.

Title: A Clash of Spheres
Author: P.F. Chisholm
Series: #8 in the Sir Robert Carey historical series set in Elizabethan England and Scotland.
ISBN: 9781464208287 
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Hardcover, 296 pages

Synopsis: "It's late August 1592. Sir Robert Carey, cousin to Queen Elizabeth from the wrong side of Henry VIII's blanket, remains at his post on the Borders at Carlisle. He has at last been confirmed by his monarch as Deputy Warden, is still deeply in love with Lady Elizabeth Widdrington while despising her elderly, abusive husband (will the man never die?). And he remains estranged from his dour but lethal henchman, Henry Dodd, Land-Sergeant of Gilsland, who is currently serving as one of the sergeants of the Carlisle Castle guard. Dodd can't forgive Carey for taking the high road at the conclusion of the incident at Dick of Dryhope's tower, when Sir Robert called out the Carlisle garrison, but "honourably and skillfully avoided the bloody-pitched battle" that seemed inevitable. Dodd is old-school and would have preferred to exterminate as many under Wee Colin Elliott, and also Grahams, as he could. Not for him, but for peace to the Debatable Land.

Sir Robert Cecil, Privy Councillor to the Queen, warns of a new challenge: the King of Spain's "intentions in Scotland." Will Cecil be sending a pursuivant to the Borders to suss out, and possibly interrupt, whatever plots are in progress against England?

Now it's Autumn. We meet Marguerite, an over-sexed and unhappy wife. Father Crichton, a Jesuit, formerly of Spain. A man who says his name is Jonathan Hepburn but, curiously, thinks in Deutsch. Marguerite's elderly husband Sir David, a Groom of King James' VI's Bedchamber, a jealous man. Various disloyal Scottish Earls. Janet Dodd, wife to Henry, who learns an interesting thing from Mrs. Hogg, the midwife. Hughie Tyndale, a would-be-assassin. Mr. John Napier, a philosopher and mathematician with a revolutionary theory of how the solar system works. Mr. Simon Anricks, a toothdrawer (and philosopher, too) bearing a secret letter from England, who becomes delighted with Mr. Napier. Queen Anne (of Denmark), not yet a mother. And King James, not your usual monarch, plus his court, sycophants, and (former) lover Lord Spynie, who is still plotting revenge. So many spheres of influence or disruption in play.

Events come to a head at the King's court in Edinburgh where a great Disputation on the differences between the Ptolemaic and the Copernican systems, and a demonstration of the planets will be staged, a clash of spheres mirroring the same at the human level.

Title: A Fever of the Blood
Series: #2 in the Frey & McGray historical thriller series set in Victorian Scotland and England.
ISBN: 9781681773452  
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Hardcover, 432 pages

Synopsis: "New Year's Day, 1889. In Edinburgh's lunatic asylum, a patient escapes as a nurse lays dying. Leading the manhunt are legendary local Detective 'Nine-Nails' McGray and Londoner-in-exile Inspector Ian Frey.

Before the murder, the suspect was heard in whispered conversation with a fellow patient―a girl who had been mute for years. What made her suddenly break her silence? And why won't she talk again? Could the rumours about black magic be more than superstition?

McGray and Frey track a devious psychopath far beyond their jurisdiction, through the worst blizzard in living memory, into the shadow of Pendle Hill―home of the Lancashire witches―where unimaginable danger awaits.

=== April 11 ===

Title: Athenian Blues
Author: Pol Koutsakis
Series: #1 in the Stratos Gazis series set in Greece.
ISBN: 9781908524768
Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
Paperback, 278 pages

Synopsis: "The first in the Stratos Gazis mystery series and the first time this Greek novelist is available in English.

Stratos hates being called a hitman. A conscientious fixer is what he is. He fixes problems that very few can deal with. Things that people are willing to pay handsomely to get done, without wanting to know about the small stuff. Stratos is their man, provided that his meticulous research shows him that the targets deserve their fate.

But now, in the midst of the Greek economic and political crisis, this film-noir loving assassin takes on the highest-profile case of his career. He finds himself caught between the most beloved lawyer in Greece, known as "the guardian of the poor," and his actress wife, the most desirable woman in the country. They are both in dire need of his killing services, but which one is telling the truth? Helped by three childhood friends—Costas Dragas, a homicide cop; Teri, a transsexual high-class hooker; and Maria, the passion of his life—he discovers that truth, in shattered loves and broken families, is, as ever, a relative thing.

Title: Dangerous to Know
Author: Renee Patrick
Series: #2 in the Lillian Frost and Edith Head historical series set in late 1930s Los Angeles.
ISBN: 9780765381866
Publisher: Forge Books
Hardcover, 336 pages

Synopsis: "Los Angeles, 1938. Former aspiring actress Lillian Frost is adjusting to a new life of boldfaced names as social secretary to a movie-mad millionaire. Costume designer Edith Head is running Paramount Pictures’ wardrobe department, but only until a suitable replacement comes along. The two friends again become partners thanks to an international scandal, a real-life incident in which the war clouds gathering over Europe cast a shadow on Hollywood.

Lillian attended the Manhattan dinner party at which well-heeled guests insulted Adolf Hitler within earshot of a maid with Nazi sympathies. Now, secrets the maid vengefully spilled have all New York society running for cover – and two Paramount stars, Jack Benny and George Burns, facing smuggling charges.

Edith also seeks Lillian’s help on a related matter. The émigré pianist in Marlene Dietrich’s budding nightclub act has vanished. Lillian reluctantly agrees to look for him. When Lillian finds him dead, Dietrich blames agents of the Reich. As Lillian and Edith unravel intrigue extending from Paramount’s Bronson Gate to FDR’s Oval Office, only one thing is certain: they’ll do it in style.

Renee Patrick's Dangerous to Know beguilingly blends forgotten fact and fanciful fiction, while keeping Hollywood glamour front and center.

=== April 18 ===

Title: The Decorator Who Knew Too Much
Author: Diane Vallere
Series: #4 in the Madison Night/Mad for Mod cozy series set in Palm Springs, California.
ISBN: 9781635111958
Publisher: Henery Press
Paperback, 264 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books

Synopsis: "When Interior Decorator Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with handyman Hudson James, she expects designing days and romantic nights. But after spotting a body in the river by the job site, she causes a rift in the team. Add in the strain of recurring nightmares and a growing dependency on sleeping pills, and Madison seeks professional help to deal with her demons. She learns more about the crime than she’d like thanks to girl talk with friends, pillow talk with Hudson, and smack talk with the local bad boys. And after the victim is identified as the very doctor she’s been advised to see, she wonders if what she knows can help catch a killer. An unlikely ally helps navigate the murky waters before her knowledge destroys her, and this time, what she doesn’t know might be the one thing that saves her life."

Title: Cold Earth
Author: Ann Cleeves
Series: #7 in the Shetland Island police procedural series set in the Shetland Islands in Scotland.
ISBN: 9781250107381
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Hardcover, 400 pages

Synopsis: "In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main road and sweeps down to the sea.

At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and water smash through a house in its path. Everyone thinks the home is uninhabited, but in the wreckage he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. Perez soon becomes obsessed with tracing her identity and realizes he must find out who she was and how she died.

Cold Earth is the seventh book in the beloved Shetland series, which is now a major success for the BBC.

Title: Fallout
Author: Sara Paretsky
Series: #19 in the V.I. Warshawski private investigator series set in Chicago and Kansas.
ISBN: 9780062435842 
Publisher: William Morrow
Hardcover, 448 pages

Synopsis: "To her parents, she's Victoria Iphigenia. To her friends, she's Vic. But to clients seeking her talents as a detective, she's V.I. And her new case will lead her from her native Chicago... and into Kansas, on the trail of a vanished film student and a faded Hollywood star.

Accompanied by her dog, V.I. tracks her quarry through a university town, across fields where missile silos once flourished — and into a past riven by long-simmering racial tensions, a past that holds the key to the crimes of the present. But as the mysteries stack up, so does the body count. And in this, her toughest case, not even V.I. is safe.

=== April 25 ===

Title: No Charm Intended
Series: #2 in the Cora Crafts cozy series set in North Carolina.
ISBN: 9781496704665 
Publisher: Kensington Books
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books

Synopsis: "Settling into her new life and career in small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, Cora Chevalier is preparing to host a “wildcrafting” retreat at her Victorian home. But a specter hangs over the venture when beloved local nanny Gracie Wyke goes missing. Amidst leading their guests in nature hikes, rock painting and making clay charms, Cora and her business partner, Jane, team up with Gracie’s boyfriend, Paul, to launch their own investigation into her disappearance when the local police prove unhelpful.

Cora and her crafters take Paul in, believing he is in danger and not the suspect police have made him out to be. However as they uncover new clues and a body turns up at a local abandoned amusement park, Cora and Jane begin to question their decision. With more questions than answers arising, is Cora crafty enough to untangle a knot that could put an innocent in jail—and permanently destroy her reputation?

Title: A Good Day to Buy
Author: Sherry Harris
Series: #4 in the Sarah Winston/Garage Sale cozy series set in Massachusetts.
ISBN:  9781496707512
Publisher: Kensington Books
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books

Synopsis: "When Sarah Winston’s estranged brother Luke shows up on her doorstep, asking her not to tell anyone he’s in town—especially her ex, the chief of police—the timing is strange, to say the least. Hours earlier, Sarah’s latest garage sale was taped off as a crime scene following the discovery of a murdered Vietnam vet and his gravely injured wife—her clients, the Spencers.

All Luke will tell Sarah is that he’s undercover, investigating a story. Before she can learn more, he vanishes as suddenly as he appeared. Rummaging through his things for a clue to his whereabouts, Sarah comes upon a list of veterans and realizes that to find her brother, she’ll have to figure out who killed Mr. Spencer. And all without telling her ex . . .

There's quite a wide variety of books on this list, isn't there? 

I'm going to give some Cover Love to two books in particular this month. The first is The Decorator Who Knew Too Much. I love the eye-catching bright colors, and from the time I was a baby until I graduated from high school, my grandmother made most of my clothes. (Classmates' mothers would come to my mother to ask where she'd purchased dresses I wore to school.) I can spot illustrations from McCalls/Butterick/Simplicity patterns anywhere, and they bring back a lot of memories. 

The second cover is Cold Earth. Again the colors catch my eye, and there's something about that stark stone house atop a windy hill that makes me want to know more. (And you should've seen the happy dance I did when I learned that Ann Cleeves will be at The Poisoned Pen in April!)

Did any of these titles make it onto your wish lists? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know!



  1. I've got the first Scottish Bookshop book on my Kindle so am looking forward to trying it.

  2. Some great ones coming out this month, Cathy! Cleeves, Paretsky, and a new Donna Leon. I just wish there were time to read it all...

    1. There never is, but I'll also never stop trying!

  3. I'm excited for the new Donna Leon--can't get enough of Venice or Guido Brunetti! The Scottish bookshop one also appeals.

    1. I'm going to have to get back to Donna Leon's series!

  4. Oh, I can't wait for the new Paretsky and Donna Leon. And sometime I have to dig into Cleeves' Shetland series.

    And so many covers are good. I agree about the Cleeves' cover, but so many cozies' covers are attractive, too.

    I don't like the cover with a cloak-wearer's back to the reader. It does zilch for me. Would rather see a face and the front of a person.

    Oh, gosh, though, where is the time to read? I've been watching too many movies lately and overdosing on MSNBC news programs.

    1. I know what you mean, Kathy. There's never enough time.

  5. Donna Leon and Sara Paretsky, plus the new procedural in London (some of my favorite descriptors for books!) and the thriller in Greece all made my list.

    And when I looked up Fever of the Blood on Goodreads, it was described as the 2nd in the series, not a standalone. I also think this book could be a topic for cover comparisons, because the cover you have here (which I liked) is not the only one out there ...

    1. I'm looking forward to the thriller set in Greece. I've really enjoyed all of Jeff Siger's books, and it will be interesting to see a Greek writer's work in the same genre.

      I do most of my checking through Amazon since that's where I get the synopses, and Amazon doesn't say a word about A Fever of the Blood being part of a series. When I looked it up on Stop, You're Killing Me, there it is-- listed as #2 in a series with the third just out in the UK. Too bad we can't get all these websites on the same page, eh? Thanks for the info. I'll be correcting this post!


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!