Wednesday, February 26, 2020

March 2020 New Mystery Releases!

As I write this post, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and it's about 80°F.(27°C.). This is the weather people flock to Arizona for each winter.  Baseball's spring training is about to start, and on Presidents Day, 18,000 cars were rented at Sky Harbor International Airport's Rental Car Center. And for 18,000 cars to go out, 18,000 cars had to come back in, so tens of thousands of people were packing the airport. Needless to say, the roads were a bit congested, too.

Me? I'm enjoying the weather and reading some excellent books. You'll find out about those in the days to come, but today it's time to share my picks of the best in new crime fiction that's being released throughout the month of March.

I've grouped my choices by their release dates, and book covers and synopses are courtesy of Amazon. Let's take a look to see if I've chosen any titles that tickle your fancy enough for you to add them to your own lists.

=== March 3 ===

Title: Death in Avignon
Author: Serena Kent
Series: #2 in the Penelope Kite cozy series set in France.
351 pages

Synopsis: "After an eventful first few months in Provence, it seems Penelope is finally settling into her delightful new life, complete with a gorgeous love interest in the mayor of St. Merlot.

When Penelope and the mayor attend a glamorous gallery opening, Penelope’s biggest worry is embarrassing herself in front of her date. But the evening takes a horrifying turn when a controversial ex-pat painter, Roland Doncaster, chokes to death.

A tragic accident? Or a malicious plot? Reluctantly drawn into the murder investigation, Penelope discovers that any number of jealous lovers and scheming rivals could be involved. And with dashing art dealers to charm, patisseries to resist, and her own friends under suspicion, Penelope will need to draw upon all her sleuthing talents to uncover the truth.

Set against the stunning vistas of Provence, Serena Kent returns with the second installment of her charming mystery series featuring the unflappable Penelope Kite."

Title: Eight Perfect Murders
Author: Peter Swanson
Series: #1 in the Malcolm Kershaw amateur sleuth series set in Boston.
288 pages

Synopsis: "Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”—chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne's Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox's Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain's Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald's The Drowner, and Donna Tartt's A Secret History.
But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookstore in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. There is a killer is out there, watching his every move—a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife.
To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects . . . and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leaves more victims dead—and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape."

Title: The Panda of Death
Author: Betty Webb
Series: #6 in the Gunn Zoo cozy series set in California.
288 pages

Synopsis: "California zookeeper Theodora Bentley is now happily married to Sheriff Joe Rejas. The Gunn Zoo is celebrating the arrival of Poonya, an adorable red panda, who forms a strong bond with Teddy. All appears fairytale blissful in the small Monterey Bay village of Gunn Landing until Teddy's mother-in-law, mystery writer Colleen Rejas, has discovered through DNA testing that Joe has sired a son he knew nothing about. Dylan Coyle, 18, arrives to meet his biological family... and then is arrested for murder.

By the end of the book, besides solving the crime, Teddy and Colleen have learned that the term "family" does not always mean blood kin. It often includes those who―although no blood relationshipare still held close in our hearts.

=== March 10 ===

Title: Precious You
Standalone Thriller
336 pages

Synopsis: "To Katherine, twenty-four-year-old Lily Lunt is a typical “snowflake.” It seems like the privileged, politically correct millennial will do whatever she can to make it big as a writer, including leveraging her family’s connections. To Lily, Katherine Ross, a career woman in her early forties, is a holdover from another era: clueless, old-fashioned, and perfectly happy to build her success on the backs of her unpaid interns.

When Lily is hired as the new intern at the magazine where Katherine is editor in chief, her arrival threatens the very foundation of the self-serving little world that Katherine has built. She finds herself obsessively drawn to Lily, who seems to be a cruel reminder of the beauty and potential she once had—things Lily uses against Katherine as she slowly begins to undermine her, sabotaging her work and turning the magazine’s new publisher against her. Is Katherine being paranoid? Or is Lily seeking to systematically destroy her life? As Katherine tries to fight back, a toxic generational divide turns explosive and long-buried secrets are exposed—with deadly consequences for both. . . .

Title: Journey of the Pharaohs
Series: #17 in the NUMA Files thriller series set in Scotland and Egypt.
432 pages

Synopsis: "In 1074 B.C., vast treasures disappear from the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs. In 1927, a daredevil American aviator vanishes on an attempted transcontinental flight. And in the present day, a fishing trawler--along with its mysterious cargo--sinks off the coast of Scotland. How are these three mysterious events connected? And, more importantly, what do they mean for Kurt Austin and his NUMA team?

As they search for answers, the NUMA squad join the agents of the British MI5 to take on a wide-reaching international conspiracy. Their common enemy is the Bloodstone Group, a conglomerate of arms dealers and thieves attempting to steal ancient relics on both sides of the Atlantic. Kurt and his team soon find themselves wrapped up in a treacherous treasure hunt as they race to find the lost Egyptian riches. . . before they fall into the wrong hands.

=== March 17 ===

Title: The Safety Net
Author: Andrea Camilleri
Series: #25 in the Inspector Montalbano police procedural series set in Sicily.
272 pages

Synopsis: "Vigàta is bustling as the new filming location for a Swedish television series set in 1950. In the production frenzy, the director asks the locals to track down movies and vintage photos to faithfully recreate the air of Vigata in that time. Engineer Ernesto Sabatello, while rummaging in the attic of his house, finds some films shot by his father from 1958 to 1963, always on the same day, March 27 and always the same shot; the outside wall of a country house. Montalbano hears the story, and intrigued by the mystery of it, begins to investigate its meaning. Meanwhile, a middle school is threatened by a group of armed men and a closer look at the situation finds Montalbano looking into the students themselves and finally delving into the world of social media."

Title: Mrs. Mohr Goes Missing
Author: Maryla Szymiczkowa
Series: #1 in the Zofia Turbotynska historical series set in late nineteenth-century Cracow, Poland.
368 pages

Synopsis: "Cracow, 1893. Zofia Turbotyńska—professor’s wife and socialite—is bored at home, with little to do but plan a charity auction sponsored by the wealthy residents of a local nursing home and the nuns who work there.

But when one of those residents is found dead, Zofia finds a calling: solving crimes. Ridiculed by the police, who have declared the deaths of natural cause, she starts her own murder investigation, unbeknownst to anyone but her loyal cook Franciszka and one reluctant nun. With her husband blissfully unaware of her secret, Zofia remakes herself into Cracow’s greatest—or at the very least, most surprising—amateur detective.

Full of period character and charm, Mrs. Mohr Goes Missing proves that everyone is capable of finding their passion in life, however unlikely it may seem.

=== March 24 ===

Title: The K Team
Series: #1 in the K Team P.I. series set in New Jersey.
304 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Corey Douglas and his K-9 partner, Simon Garfunkel, have recently retired from the police force. Not ready to give up the life yet, they come up with a proposal for fellow former cop, Laurie Carpenter, and her investigating partner, Marcus. Laurie and Marcus – who help out Laurie’s lawyer husband Andy on cases – have been chafing to jump back into investigating on their own, so they are in.

They call themselves the K Team, in honor of Simon. Their first job as private investigators comes to them from Judge Henry Henderson, who's known as a very tough but fair judge, and they've all come up against him in court at one time or another. Though it's hard to believe, Judge Henderson is being blackmailed and extorted, and he doesn't want to involve the police--he needs the K Team to figure out why.

Title: Running Out of Road
Series: #3 in the Buck Schatz retired cop series set in Memphis, Tennessee.
288 pages

Synopsis: "Once, Detective Buck Schatz patrolled the city of Memphis, chasing down robbers and killers with a blackjack truncheon and a .357. But he's been retired for decades. Now he's frail and demented, and Rose, his wife of 72 years, is ill and facing a choice about her health care that Buck is terrified to even consider. The future looks short and bleak, and Buck's only escape is into the past. 

But Buck's past is under attack as well. After 35 years on death row, convicted serial killer Chester March finally has an execution date. Chester is the oldest condemned man in the United States, and his case has attracted the attention of NPR producer Carlos Watkins, who believes Chester was convicted on the strength of a coerced confession. Chester's conviction is the capstone on Buck's storied career, and, to save Chester's life, Watkins is prepared to tear down Buck's reputation and legacy."

=== March 31 ===

Title: A Fatal Yarn
Author: Peggy Ehrhart
Series: #5 in the Knit & Nibble cozy series set in New Jersey.
336 pages

*Upcoming review in Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "The trees in Arborville, New Jersey, have started sporting sweaters. Part of the trend of public knitting art? Not exactly. An anonymous activist has been wrapping trunks in yarn to cover red X's that mark certain trees for removal by the town so they don't interfere with power lines. When the town's mayor—who supports cutting down the trees—is murdered, Pamela wonders if the tree hugger committed homicide to prevent arborcide. A knitter is arrested, but it's one of Knit and Nibble's own—the harmless Roland DeCamp, who was seen arguing with the mayor. Pamela is sure the police are barking up the wrong tree. With the help of her reporter friend Bettina, she branches off on her own investigation to root out the real killer . . ."

Title: Murder at the Mena House
Series: #1 in the Jane Wunderly historical series set in Egypt.
288 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Egypt, 1926. Fiercely independent American Jane Wunderly has made up her mind: she won’t be swept off her feet on a trip abroad. Despite her Aunt Millie’s best efforts at meddling with her love life, the young widow would rather gaze at the Great Pyramids of Giza than into the eyes of a dashing stranger. Yet Jane’s plans to remain cool and indifferent become ancient history in the company of Mr. Redvers, a roguish banker she can’t quite figure out . . .

While the Mena House has its share of charming guests, Anna Stainton isn’t one of them. The beautiful socialite makes it clear that she won’t share the spotlight with anyone—especially Jane. But Jane soon becomes the center of attention when she’s the one standing over her unintentional rival’s dead body.

Now, with her innocence at stake in a foreign country, Jane must determine who can be trusted, and who had the motive to commit a brutal murder. Between Aunt Millie’s unusual new acquaintances, a smarmy playboy with an off-putting smile, and the enigmatic Mr. Redvers, someone has too many secrets. Can Jane excavate the horrible truth before her future falls to ruin in Cairo . . . and the body count rises like the desert heat?

I think March is an interesting mix of tried-and-true with something new, don't you? Did any of these books get added to your own lists? Which ones? Do tell!


  1. Andrea Camilleri's soul goes marching on! More Montalbano adventures. Great.
    And David Rosenfelt's new series is out. More books to add to those lists.

  2. Oh, it's great to see a new Betty Webb coming out, Cathy! And of course, that Camilleri (I do miss him...). What an indelible mark he left on the genre! Glad you're having some lovely warm weather!

    1. I soak up this weather like I'm a big old sponge!

  3. Several of these sound really good, but the cover and description for Mrs. Mohr Goes Missing is the one that I'd choose first. :)

  4. 1920's Egypt is calling - I miss Amelia Peabody, and am curious to see what this tale will be like. And the Rosenfelt is appealing, too.

    1. Murder at the Mena House really appeals to me, too. The first thing I thought of when I read the synopsis was "Amelia Peabody!"

  5. I just received an arc of Precious You, it’s not out until April here though.

    1. The release dates for the same books between Australia, the UK, and the US can be interesting sometimes!


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