Tuesday, December 28, 2021

January 2022 New Mystery Releases!

I'm putting this post together on the Wednesday before Christmas. Denis and I just got back from the Desert Botanical Garden, all is quiet, and since I'm behind on blogging, I figured this would be the perfect time for a little catch-up. Come to think of it, writing blog posts isn't the only thing that needs to be caught up.

I use Firefox as my browser, and last month they decided to do away with a staple of my online life, Speed Dial, in which I kept track of all my important bookmarks. Did they give any warning? Heavens to Murgatroyd, no! I just logged on one day and found it was -- POOF!-- gone. This isn't the first time that Firefox has done this to me with the same thing, and I know one way to get around it, but I decided to be contrary and not do it. I am slowly gathering together my bookmarks, and I'll have to come up with the best solution to squirrel them away somewhere that Firefox can't get to them. 

One of the things that this debacle messed up for me was all the blogs I like to keep track of, so... if some of you haven't heard from me in awhile, that's why.

Time to drag this post back on track! The following list contains my picks of the best new crime fiction being released throughout the month of January. I've grouped them by their release dates, and the covers and synopses are courtesy of my favorite showroom, Amazon.

Let's see if I've chosen any titles that tickle your fancy, too.

=== January 4 ===

Title: Palms, Paradise, Poison
Series: #3 in the Teddy Creque police procedural series set in the British Virgin Islands and Cuba.
224 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "Constable Teddy Creque, the sole police officer on the tiny, sun-soaked island of Anegada, is used to weathering storms. So when Hurricane Leatha hits the Caribbean with brutal force, his main concern is keeping the island’s two hundred residents safe.

Teddy expects the power to go out. He expects the phone lines to go down. But he doesn’t expect the radioed message from the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force headquarters, informing him of a dangerous escaped prisoner. Queen Ya-Ya is a practitioner of ancient Afro-Cuban rites – and rumor has it she can kill with magic.

Teddy doesn’t believe in magic, and when he easily recaptures the dignified, imposing Queen Ya-Ya, he doesn’t believe his prisoner is dangerous either. But when she mysteriously kills a man from inside her locked cell, before vanishing once more into the night, Teddy is forced to reconsider . . .

This page-turning mystery from award-winning author John Keyse-Walker takes readers on an exciting journey from the storm-tossed British Virgin Islands to the heart of Cuba, and is a perfect pick for readers who like their mysteries international, atmospheric and adventurous.

Title: Spirits and Smoke
Author: Mary Miley
Series: #2 in the Mystic's Accomplice historical series set in Chicago in the 1920s.
224 pages
Synopsis: "December, 1924. Young widow Maddie Pastore feels fortunate to be employed by the well-meaning but fraudulent medium Carlotta Romany. Investigating Carlotta’s clients isn’t work she’s proud of, but she’s proud of how well she does it.

Maddie’s talents, however, draw them unwelcome attention: sharp-eyed Officer O’Rourke from the Chicago Police. He doesn’t believe in spiritualism – but in a city packed with mobsters, con artists and criminals, he’ll take any help he can get.

It’s not long before Maddie has a case to bring him. Why did teetotal banker Herman Quillen die of alcohol poisoning? And who is the gold-toothed man claiming to be his brother, and demanding the spirits reveal where Herman hid his money?

All Maddie wants is to uncover the truth – but to her horror, she’s soon mixed up in a tangled web of secrets and deception that leads to the heart of Chicago’s violent gangs . . . and she’ll need all her wits about her if she, and her loved ones, are going to make it out again alive.

Spirits and Smoke, the sequel to The Mystic’s Accomplice, to is an ideal pick for readers who enjoy Jazz Age mysteries with feisty female sleuths, sparkling historical detail and Prohibition high-jinks

Title: Gone Missin'
Author: Peggy O'Neal Peden
Series: #2 in the cozy Nashville mystery series set in Tennessee and Mexico.
192 pages
Synopsis: "Travel agent Campbell Hale isn’t surprised when she hears her good friend, socialite and talented artist Bitsy Carter, has booked a luxury Mexican spa vacation through her agency. Bitsy often takes solo trips abroad, and who’d want to spend February in grey Nashville when they could avoid it?

She is, however, extremely surprised – and extremely worried – when Bitsy doesn’t come back.

What could compel warm, friendly Bitsy to run away without telling anyone her plans? And most puzzling of all: what could make her leave her small children behind?

The answers lie in Zihuatanejo, and Campbell barely needs to twist new boyfriend Detective Sam Davis’ arm to get him to agree to accompany her there. Campbell’s determined to uncover the truth, but will this be a vacation to remember . . . or one to die for?

Title: The Maid
Author: Nita Prose
Standalone amateur sleuth mystery set in Canada.
304 pages

Synopsis: "Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

=== January 11 ===

Title: A Three Book Problem
Author: Vicki Delany
Series: #7 in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop cozy series set in Massachusetts.
320 pages 

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "It's a crisp, early October weekend, and business is slowing down as fall descends at the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium and adjacent Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room. Wealthy philanthropist and prominent Sherlockian David Masterson has rented Suffolk Gardens House, where he plans to entertain his friends in a traditional English country house weekend.

As the chosen caterers, Jayne Wilson and Gemma Doyle get to work preparing lavish meals and setting up Sherlockian books and props for entertainment. Meanwhile, police detective Ryan Ashburton has taken time away from his duties to assist in the kitchen. It quickly becomes apparent that David's guests don't like each other--or their host. Plus, some of them aren't even acquainted with the adventures of the Great Detective.

Before Gemma can ponder their relationships a poisoned dart sails through the window of the library, presenting Gemma Doyle with a three-book problem.

Title: A Flicker in the Dark
Standalone thriller set in Louisiana
368 pages
Synopsis: "When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, her own father had confessed to the crimes and was put away for life, leaving Chloe and the rest of her family to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.

Now twenty years later, Chloe is a psychologist in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. While she finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to achieve, she sometimes feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. So when a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, seeing parallels from her past that aren't actually there, or for the second time in her life, is Chloe about to unmask a killer?

From debut author Stacy Willingham comes a masterfully done, lyrical thriller, certain to be the launch of an amazing career. A Flicker in the Dark is eerily compelling to the very last page.

Title: Wolf Hollow
Series: #1 in the Lew Ferris police procedural series set in Wisconsin.
288 pages
Synopsis: "It's mid-May in the tiny northwoods Wisconsin town of Loon Lake, and the fish are biting. Walleye's not the only thing on the hook. There are rumors that a precious vein of nickel and copper is buried on the property of wealthy Grace McDonough, and the drilling is about to begin. But not if environmentalist Pete Ferris can help it.

When Grace's 24-year-old son, Noah, is caught in a sordid sex crime, police chief Lew Ferris makes the arrest. But a day later, Lew is stricken when her brother Pete turns up dead, a bloody pry bar found in the woods nearby. Then, Grace's body is discovered in a car at the bottom of a river--and Noah has vanished. Lew puts out a statewide APB, but before long, Noah is also found murdered on the McDonough property.

It's beginning to look like mother and son were killed by the same person. And when Lew learns that her brother had planned to file a lawsuit to prevent drilling for the sulfide mine, a key piece of the puzzle suddenly falls into place.

Lew is beginning to close in on the truth. But has the killer set his bait again, angling for his biggest catch yet?

=== January 25 ===

Title: The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Author: Eva Jurczyk
Standalone mystery set in the rare books department of a large university.
336 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
Synopsis: "Liesl Weiss long ago learned to be content working behind the scenes in the distinguished rare books department of a large university, managing details and working behind the scenes to make the head of the department look good. But when her boss has a stroke and she's left to run things, she discovers that the library's most prized manuscript is missing.
Liesl tries to sound the alarm and inform the police about the missing priceless book, but is told repeatedly to keep quiet, to keep the doors open and the donors happy. But then a librarian unexpectedly stops showing up to work. Liesl must investigate both disappearances, unspooling her colleagues' pasts like the threads of a rare book binding as it becomes clear that someone in the department must be responsible for the theft. What Liesl discovers about the dusty manuscripts she has worked among for so long―and about the people who care for and revere them―shakes the very foundation on which she has built her life.
Title: Murder at a Scottish Social
Author: Traci Hall
Series: #3 in the Scottish Shire cozy series set on the north coast of Scotland.
288 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Opening her shop Cashmere Crush and making a new home for herself, her son Brody, Gramps, and their black Scottish terrier Wallace in the beautiful Scottish village of Nairn is a dream come true. So Paislee is happy to give back by donating a luxurious cashmere sweater for an auction to raise money for the Nairn Food Bank. She’s less happy to make the acquaintance of a clique of competitive moms at the charity event, who treat a baking contest like it’s life or death. It turns out to be the latter for Queen Bee Kristen Buchanan when a peanut-laced shortbread cookie triggers her fatal nut allergy.
Who would poison Kristen? How about half the town? But when Paislee’s pal Blaise is suspected, the sweater-selling sleuth leaps into action to unravel the mystery. Along with gruff but handsome DI Mack Zeffer, she has to sort through a batch of suspects without becoming this cookie-cutter killer’s next target…

Title: A Valiant Deceit
Series: #2 in the Olive Bright historical series set in World War II England.
320 pages
Synopsis: "Returning to Pipley following her FANY (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry) training, Olive is eager to step up her involvement in the war effort. Her pigeons are being conscripted to aid the Belgian resistance, and it’s up to Olive to choose the best birds for the mission. To protect the secrecy of their work, she must also continue the ruse of being romantically involved with her superior, Captain Jameson Aldridge, a task made more challenging by the fact that she really does have feelings for the gruff Irish intelligence officer.
But perhaps the greatest challenge of all comes when an instructor at Station XVII, the top-secret training school housed at Brickendonbury Manor, is found dead in Balls Wood by a troop of Girl Guides. The police quickly rule Lieutenant Jeremy Beckett’s death an accident, but based on clues she finds at the scene, Olive begins to suspect he might have been a spy. Involving the reluctant Jamie, she is determined to solve the murder and possibly stop a threat to their intelligence efforts which could put the Belgians—not to mention her pigeons—in grave danger.

Well... how did I do? Did I choose any books that tickled your fancy? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. Hi Cathy, I was curious about your Firefox Speed Dial sounds interesting. I don't use FF, but I may have a solution. I believe your SD is a FF extension. More than likely your FF had an update, thus your SD extension no longer works - its common that extensions designed for other versions of the browser won't work with the updated browser. Sometimes the browser developer updates the extension and sometimes they don't.
    I discovered a replacement/alternative - at this link there is a link to a video to show you how to import your data into this one. It is called Group Speed Dial. It was updated 12/10/2021 so should be up to date for your FF browser version. If it doesn't meet your expectations you can just remove the Group Speed Dial extension.


    Hope this is helpful - its so irritating when something just stops working.
    Healthy, safe, and happy New Year Cathy.

    1. Thanks so much for this, Ev. I'll check it out. The Speed Dial I was using had been erased because it had been warned by Firefox that it had some sort of problems that the developers did nothing to correct, so Firefox got rid of the add-on.

  2. Some great-looking books coming out this month, Cathy! It's nice to see a new Delany among them. I give her so much credit for writing different sorts of series as she does.

  3. Several of these caught my eye, Cathy, especially The Maid. I've been seeing that cover all over the internet for so long that I thought it had already been published. It seems to be getting a really big promotional push from its publisher.

    The other one that jumped out at me, of course, is The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections...that title was all the hook they needed to catch me.

    1. Yes, that title grabbed me and wouldn't let go!

  4. A FLicker in the Dark and The Department of Rare Books are two that I'm looking forward to reading next year! :D

  5. You certainly did pick a few that tickled my fancy! Peggy Gone Missin, The Three Book Problem, The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Murder at a Scottish Social and A Valiant Deceit. Wolf Hollow sounds intriguing because it takes place in Wisconsin, which is where I live. But it sounds a bit too intense for me. You did a good job, Cathy!

  6. It's A Flicker in the Dark, Wolf Hollow (a new procedural!), and the Rare Books for me :)

  7. A very nice list of reads and I've got one of them already.

  8. Well, a lot of these books look tempting, but I'll wait for the reviews. Then I'll really know whether I want to read them or not.

  9. What's the Vicki Delaney bookshop series like, Cathy? Very tempted by it.

    1. I really enjoy the series, Cath. Good mysteries, some humor, and the main character Gemma retains a bit of an edge-- just like Sherlock would. I prefer characters who aren't too saccharine.

  10. Will be back to check this out, so many good titles! I have been looking forward to A Valiant Deceit.


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