Historical

Books of Note – July 2023

May and June brought more waiting rooms, surgery, and loads of sitting/lying around time. Here are a few of the books I’ve happily enjoyed instead of having to count the number of ceiling tiles.

“Burning Eden” by Sarah Bewley – Overworked and understaffed, Sheriff Jim Sheppard has three murders to solve while wildfires burn throughout the county.  A new doctor arrives in town and unwittingly becomes a factor in those murders. Bewley keeps us riveted in “Burning Eden” with a plot that delivers a surprise villain, a fabulous dog, and an annoying reporter as counterpoints to the wonderfully written, complex  lead characters. A ‘wow’ ending has me hooked and looking forward to a return to Eden County in “Frozen Eden.”  (Coming next year)

“Witch Hunt” by Cate Conte – First in the ‘spell-binding’ Full Moon Series, featuring Violet Mooney, crystal shop owner with mysterious, undeveloped powers she didn’t know she had. Murder, magical transport from spot to spot, reappearing relatives, unhappy townspeople, and other-worldly shenanigans, all play a role in this delightful series. “Witch Way Out,” book #3, is out now as well.

“The Midwife’s Touch” by Sue Harrison – Filled with wonderful descriptions of customs, food, and clothing of the period, this book combines the powerful stories of the prejudices people have against what they don’t understand, with the greed that overtakes their sanity. I turned the last page and was so disappointed that the book had ended. But, it is the first book in a trilogy, and to quote a line from the book, “We start from there.”

“Killers of a Certain Age” by Deanna Raybourn – nominated for multiple awards. 60 something,  lady assassins are betrayed and elect to get their revenge in the ways they do best. Wicked fun, clever twists. Never underestimate smart women. Ever.

“The New Girl” by Daniel Silva – #19 in the intense Gabriel Allon series. Throughout history, political leaders have made deals with the enemy in order to work on a common goal, each accepting that the other has special skills to achieve success. Now chief of the Israeli intelligence agency, Gabriel Allon is approached by a progressive leader in Saudi Arabia, a sworn enemy of Israel. They must work together behind the scenes to save the ‘new girl’ while preserving the stability of a more modern Middle East. Silva has created a riveting, complex plot, written in part because of the brutal killing of a real-life journalist as well as the deaths of more than 50 other journalists in one year.  Contains kidnapping, Middle East tensions, and the grim realities of negotiations with some not very nice people.

 

Happy Reading!

 

 

The National Park Mystery Series by Scott Graham

The National Park Mystery Series, by Scott Graham, features contract archaeologist Chuck Bender, Chuck’s paramedic wife, Janelle Ortega, and Chuck’s stepdaughters. The contract archeological work moves Chuck Bender and the family to different parks each summer vacation, setting the scene for stories dealing with environmental, political, and social justice issues. Janelle lends her objective suggestions to help solve the mysteries, sometimes uses her paramedic expertise, and always displays a steadying influence on Chuck and the girls.

The series began in the Grand Canyon with “Canyon Sacrifice,” a resounding success as a debut novel. A kidnapping and a murder place the family in harm’s way on the Bender honeymoon camping trip as Chuck navigates parenthood and spousal responsibilities for the first time. Readers will be mesmerized by Graham’s imageries of the Grand Canyon and the achievements/artifacts of the ancient Anasazi Indians that Bender discovered on an earlier contract dig. Prepare to be swept into the world of outdoor recreation and the wonders of archeology in the West.

Book #2, “Mountain Rampage,” moves Bender and the family to Rocky Mountain National Park where he runs a college archeology field school. The book takes place over a three-day period, with murder and mayhem that involves his brother-in-law and false accusations, and plenty of adventure to go around.

Yellowstone Standoff,” set in Yellowstone National Park, has a hair-raising premise involving rogue wolves, grizzlies, and a murdered researcher. As always, Graham delivers breathtaking descriptions of the wild and puts the reader in the middle of the terrifying action. An exciting page-turner, and the Bender family is smack dab in the middle of it all.

Book #4, “Yosemite Fall,” brings Janelle and the older daughter more to the forefront of the multi-layered storylines, with a rock-climbing competition, a deadly reunion, and a contract to solve a 150-year-old mystery as the backdrop. Janelle and Chuck are the suspects in a present-day murder, and once again, the national park is a character in the book.

Arches Enemy,” the fifth entry in the National Park Mystery Series, is set in Utah, not too far from Graham’s home in southwest Colorado. What seems like a straight forward accidental death turns into something much more. An astounding archeological find that disrupts the known timeline of interaction between several Native American tribes, is threatened by a fracking operation, and the locals are being manipulated by an unlikely source.

The core characters have developed naturally with each book as Chuck and his immediate family respond to the unfolding narratives and explore their evolving relationships. The mother subplot in “Arches Enemy” feels like Chuck is trying to herd cats – words have no influence and she is going to do what she wants to anyway. Her effect on the plot will curl your hair and remind you how nice your own mother is.

In “Mesa Verde Victim,” Bender tracks down a murderer in an area of the park with burial sites and artifacts abandoned long before by ancient Pueblo peoples. The stakes are high and the landscape descriptions marvelous.

Canyonlands Carnage” opens with thrilling white-water rafting and introduces the reader and nature enthusiasts to the spectacular world of one of the nation’s best loved parks. Mystery, murder, and mayhem mix with history to provide another great read.

Book #8 in the series, “Saguaro Sanction,” thrusts the murder of a cousin squarely into the lives of the Bender family. Graham explores the southern Arizona National Park and its archeological mysteries while addressing the cultural impact of the U.S.-Mexico border hostility.

Graham’s books are especially topical given our real-world loss of national park acreage to (IMO) misguided earlier administration policy, which chipped away at the protected lands, potentially losing ancient sites, all for the search for oil and other energy sources.

The official launch date for “Saguaro Sanction” is March 7th. Look for it.  🙂
Please visit www.scottfranklingraham.com for more information about Graham and his work.
 

 

Book List: Jessica Estavao/Jessie Crockett/Jessica Ellicott

Jessica Estavao is a talented, bestselling, award-winning New England author with several entertaining mystery series to her credit. She is one of the “Wicked Authors,” a group of women writing wicked good mysteries mostly set in New England. Take a look at the list of her books below and see if you’ve read them all. (Click on the titles to learn more about the books)

 

Granite State Mysteries  (as Jessie Crockett)

Her debut mystery in the Granite State series, “Live Free or Die”, was the 2011 winner of the Daphne DuMaurier Award for Mainstream Mystery, an auspicious beginning to her career.

 

Sugar Grove Mysteries (as Jessie Crockett)

The series begins “Drizzled with Death,” one hilarious romp through championship pancake breakfasts, maple syrup, and animals on the loose. Who knew that falling dead head first into a stack of pancakes could be used as a crime scene setting?

Drizzled with Death” – review here

Maple Mayhem

Sticky Situation

 

Change of Fortune Mysteries (as Jessica Estavao)

Jessie moved her next series back in time to 1890’s Orchard Beach, Maine, with a con artist and tarot card reader protagonist. Ruby tries to stay one step ahead of the law, while helping her straight arrow aunt keep her hotel. Great fun featuring an innovative female lead character.

 

Whispers Beyond the Veil” 

review here     

 

 

Whispers of Warning

 

Beryl and Edwina Mysteries (as Jessica Ellicott)

Jessie’s current series is set in post WW1 England and introduces the former Finishing School duo of Edwina, the conservative English character, to Beryl’s adventurous American persona. They reunite many years later in the quiet (or is it?) southern English village of Warmsley Parva when Edwina advertises for a boarder and Beryl crashes onto her property.


Beryl and Edwina, while culturally and personally quite different, are fond of each other even after years apart. They find that their distinctive talents help them wonderfully well in their new business venture, a ‘private inquiry agency’ that solves mysteries in the charming village, while earning them an income.

Ellicott has written a series that is both historically enlightening and entertaining, with the sometimes serious subject matter of the day woven into the story of the two women drawn together by economics as well as friendship. Beautifully researched, the books reveal societal views about women 100 years ago, and peek inside the quaint village shops that have survived despite the post-war challenges.

Edwina’s shrewd intellect and Beryl’s clever approach to the mysteries outwit lesser minds and create a few comical moments to save the day and befuddle the clueless. These two engaging, intelligent women will capture your hearts and minds as you enjoy these wonderful books.

 

 

 

 

Murder in an English Village” 

review here

Murder Flies the Coop

Murder Cuts the Mustard

Murder Comes to Call

 

Murder in an English Glade

Murder through the English Post

Murder at a London Finishing School” pre-order

NEW SERIES!
Jessica Ellicott has a new series, this time set in WW2 England. Titled the WPC Billie Harkness Mysteries, the first book is out now. Beautifully researched as always, it features Billie Harkness, a female police officer. Find “Death in a Blackout” here.

Enjoy them all!

 

 

 

 

 

Book List: Edith Maxwell

 

Edith Maxwell is a prolific writer of absorbing, wonderful mysteries. Each of her series feature strong, independent women, with true-to-life intelligent, sometimes challenging, families and an always intriguing boyfriend. The stories are layered, the characters are complex, and the mysteries are well drawn. Click on the book titles and fall into a great read. 

 

as Edith Maxwell:

Quaker Midwife Mysteries  The Agatha-nominated historical series features unconventional Quaker midwife Rose Carroll in late 1880s Amesbury, Massachusetts.
Delivering the Truth”   review here

Called to Justice

Turning the Tide” 

Charity’s Burden”  Agatha Award winner! Best Historical Novel 2020

Judge Thee Not

Taken Too Soon

“A Changing Light”


The Local Foods Mysteries feature novice organic farmer Cameron Flaherty and take place in the town of Westbury, Massachusetts.

A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die”  review here

’Til Dirt Do Us Part

Farmed and Dangerous

Murder Most Fowl

Mulch Ado About Murder

 

as Maddie Day:

The Country Store Mysteries feature Robbie Jordan and Pans ‘N Pancakes, her country store/restaurant in fictional South Lick, Indiana.
Flipped for Murder

Grilled for Murder”    review here

When the Grits Hit the Fan

Biscuits and Slashed Browns

Death over Easy

Strangled Eggs and Ham

Nacho Average Murder

Candy Slain Murder

Batter Off Dead”

Christmas Cocoa and a Corpse

Four Leaf Cleaver” coming in January, 2023


Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries
are set on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and feature Mackenzie Almeida and her sleuthing book club members.

Murder on Cape Cod”  review here

Murder at the Taffy Shop

Murder at the Lobstah Shack”

Murder in a Cape Cottage


as Tace Baker, now as Edith Maxwell
:
 

The Lauren Rousseau Mysteries feature Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau, a self-reliant, multi-talented woman who finds herself involved in college politics, local Massachusetts intrigue, and bodies.

Speaking of Murder” (new title is “Murder on the Bluffs”) review here

Bluffing is Murder”  review here

 

Short Fiction

The following stories of “murderous revenge and other crimes” were originally published in anthologies or magazines. Many have been republished as standalone short stories.

“An Ominous Silence” appears in Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories

“The Unfortunate Death of Mrs. Edna Fogg” in Malice Domestic 12: Mystery Most Historical 

 “Murder in the Summer Kitchen” in Murder Among Friends: Mysteries Inspired by the Life and Works of John Greenleaf Whittier. 

“The Mayor and the Midwife” in Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 

“Adam and Eva,” – free read on Kings River Life Magazine

“A Questionable Death” was originally published in the History and Mystery, Oh My! anthology and is a free read over at Kings River Life Magazine.

“Just Desserts for Johnny”

“Pickled” in That Mysterious Woman

“A Fire in Carriagetown” first appeared as “Breaking the Silence” in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold 

“The Stonecutter,” first appeared in Fish Nets: the Second Guppy Anthology

“Reduction in Force” was first published in Thin Ice: Crime Stories by New England Writers 

“Yatsuhashi for Lance” was originally published as “Obake for Lance” in Riptide: Crime Stories by New England Writers.

“An Idea for Murder,” first appeared (written as Tace Baker) in the Burning Bridges: A Renegade Fiction Anthology.

“The Importance of Blood”

“A Divination of Death” appears in Malice Domestic 13: Mystery Most Geographical.

“Sushi Lessons” appears in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible.

“An Intolerable Intrusion” appears in Edgar Allen Cozy.

 

For more information about Edith and her writing life, read the Author Profile here.

 

Happy Reading!  🙂

 

 

2022 Barnes and Noble Book of the Year Event

Barnes & Noble booksellers nominated 11 titles for its 2022 Book of the Year, in this fourth annual event. These are books they felt confident the readers would enjoy. The winner, chosen from this list by the B&N editors, was announced online on November 12th, indicated in red.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff, by Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus
Turkey and the Wolf, by Mason Hereford
What Moves the Dead, by T. Kingfisher
Babel, by R.F. Kuang
The Marriage Portrait, by Maggie O’Farrell
Apollo, Remastered, by Andy Saunders
Skandar and the Unicorn Thief, by A.F. Steadman
Ice Cold: A Hip-Hop Jewelry History, by Vikki Tobak
An Immense World, by Ed Yong
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin

Congratulations to all!

 

 

2022 – Macavity Awards

The Macavity Awards are nominated by members and friends of Mystery Readers International, and subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal. The winners were announced in September at BoucherCon in. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners, indicated in red. Mystery Readers International, Mystery Readers Journal, and the Macavity Awards, were created by Anthony Award winner, Janet Rudolph.

 

Best Mystery Novel

  • Michael Connelly: The Dark Hours
  • S.A. Cosby: Razorblade Tears
  • Val McDermid: 1979
  • Alan Parks: Bobby March Will Live Forever
  • Chris Whitaker: We Begin at the End
  • Colson Whitehead: Harlem Shuffle

Best First Mystery Novel

  • Alexandra Andrews: Who is Maude Dixon?
  • Abigail Dean: Girl A
  • Erin Flanagan: Deer Season
  • Mia P. Manansala: Arsenic and Adobo
  • Wanda M. Morris: All Her Little Secrets

Best Short Mystery  

  • Tracy Clark: “Lucky Thirteen” (Midnight Hour, Crooked Lane Books)
  • Richard Helms: “Sweeps Week” (EQMM, July/August 2021)
  • Steve Hockensmith: “Curious Incidents” (EQMM, January/February 2021)
  • R.T. Lawton: “The Road to Hana” (AHMM, May/June 2021)
  • G.M. Malliet: “The White Star” (EQMM, July/August 2021)
  • Gigi Pandian: “The Locked Room Library” (EQMM, July/August 2021)
  • Dave Zeltserman: “Julius Katz and the Two Cousins” (EQMM, July/August 2021)

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery 

  • Rhys Bowen: The Venice Sketchbook
  • Naomi Hirahara: Clark and Division
  • Susan Elia MacNeal: The Hollywood Spy
  • Sujata Massey: The Bombay Prince
  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Velvet was the Night
  • Lori Rader-Day: Death at Greenway                                                                                                                                                                     

2022 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards

From the Killer Nashville site:We believe all engaging stories have three elements: mystery, thriller, and suspense. Since 2008, the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards have recognized the best stories from the previous year told through various media utilizing the elements of mystery, thriller, and/or suspense. Judges are professional writers, book reviewers, librarians, academics, and—in specialized cases—specific industry peers. Focus is on quality, not popularity.”

Congratulations to the finalists and winners (indicated in red)!

2022 Best Action Adventure Finalists
“Murder at Buckskin Joe” – J.v.L. Bell

“Killers!: A Natalie McMasters Mystery” – Thomas A. Burns, Jr.
“Castoffs of the Gods” / Sonja Dewing
“The Cornmarket Conspiracy” / Sharon Hoisager
“Fatal Depth” / Timothy S. Johnston
“Beneath a Wrathful Sun” / M. Elliot Lamb
“The Pilate Scroll” / M.B. Lewis
“Came A Horseman” / Paul McHugh
“Alaskan Christmas Escape” / Juno Rushdan
“The Last of Her” / Brent Spencer


2022 Best Cozy Finalists

Where the Light Shines Through” –  Kathleen Bailey

“Dead on My Feet”-  Patricia Broderick
“An Embarrassment of Itches” / M.K. Dean
“Time After Tyme” / Kay DiBianca
“The Evening’s Amethyst” / M. K. Graff
“Suitable for Framing” / Lori Roberts Herbst
“The Unkindness of Ravens” / M.E. Hilliard
“Muffins & Magic” / Polly Holmes
“Death By Chance” / Abigail Keam
“The Fog Ladies: In the Soup” / Susan McCormick
“Gone Missin’” / Peggy O’Neal Peden
“Death at the Salon” / Louise Rose-Innes
“Murder Worth a Thousand Words” / Becki Willis
“Stitch, Bake, Die!” / Lois Winston


2022 Best Historical Finalists

Heirs of Falcon Point” –  Traci Abramson

“Cry of the Innocent” / Julie Bates
“The Turncoat’s Widow” / Mally Becker
“After Alice Fell” / Kim Taylor Blakemore
“The Artist Colony” / Joanna FitzPatrick
“No One Must Know” / Susan Frances
“Murder Under A Full Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Mystery” / Abigail Keam
“Murder Under A New Moon” / Abigail Keam
“The Promise of Deception” / Jessica Sly
“Zebra: Friends by Fate. Enemies by Destiny” / Jill Wallace


2022 Best Investigator Finalists

All That Fall” –  Kris Calvin

“The Blessed Bones” / Kathryn Casey
“Girl Missing” / Kate Gable
“Be Mine Forever” / D.K. Hood
“In the Name Of” / Candace Irving
“Now & Then” / Justin M. Kiska
“The Lost Dragon Murder” / Michael Allan Mallory
“The Disappearance of Trudy Solomon” / Marcy McCreary
“Striking Range: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery” / Margaret Mizushima
“Hide in Place” / Emilya Naymark
“At First Light” / Barbara Nickless
“The Labyrinth” / Owen Parr
“The Winter Girls” / Roger Stelljes


2022 Best Mystery Finalists

An Ambush of Widows” – Jeff Abbot

“Red Rabbit On The Run” –  Jodi Bowersox
“Bluff” / John DeDakis
“A Killer’s Daughter” / Jenna Kernan
“When Silence Screams” / Mark Edward Langley
“The Dark Remains” / William McIlvanney & Ian Rankin
“Spirit: An Andrea Kelley Mystery (The Archivist Book 2)” / Elle Andrews Patt
“The Archivist” / Rex Pickett
“The Scorpion’s Tail” / Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
“Grave Reservations” / Cherie Priest
“The Ruthless” / David Putnam
“Hunted in the Holler” / Drew Strickland
“Death and Consequences, An Eastern Shore Mystery” / Cheril Thomas
“The First Day of Spring” / Nancy Tucker
“Bye, Buy Baby” / Becki Willis


2022 Best Sci-fi / Fantasy Finalists

Journey to the Past” –  Esteban Corio

“Schrodinger’s Cat” –  Ronald Crittenden
“Hall of Skulls” / Jamie Eubanks
“The Last Beekeeper” / Jared Gulian
“House of Bastiion” / K.L. Kolarich
“Beryl Blue, Time Cop” / Janet Raye Stevens
“Tomb of the Queen” / Joss Walker
“Consent, Vol. 1: Erdos” / Wilson Whitlow
“Missing on Orbital 4: A Jake Hemlock Adventure” / Cory Wilcox


2022 Best Suspense Finalists

“In Harm’s Way” – Traci Abramson

“Redemption” – Traci Abramson
“Nanny Needed” / Georgina Cross
“Waiting for the Night Song” / Julie Carrick Dalton
“Hostile Intent” / Lynette Eason
“Furious: Sailing into Terror” / Jeffrey James Higgins
“Rattlesnake Road” / Amanda McKinney
“Redemption Road” / Amanda McKinney
“The Reunion” / Kiersten Modglin
“Cottonmouth: A Jessica James Mystery” / Kelly Oliver
“Woman in Shadow” / Carrie Stuart Parks
“Her Ocean Grave” / Dana Perry
“The Next Wife” / Kaira Rouda
“What Comes After” / JoAnne Tompkins
“Beneath the Marigolds” / Emily C. Whitson


2022 Best Thriller Finalists

Her Name is Knight” – Yasmin Angoe

“The Ambulance Chaser” – Brian Cuban
“The Chaos Kind” / Barry Eisler
“Devil’s Ledger” / Lorraine Evanoff
“A Slow Fire Burning” / Paula Hawkins
“Furious: Sailing into Terror” / Jeffrey James Higgins
“56 Days” / Catherine Ryan Howard
“Blink of an Eye” / Iris Johansen
“The Missing Piece” / John Lescroart
“Stone the Dead Crows” / Carrie Magillen
“The Family Tree” / Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry
“Point Option” / Ian O’Connor
“The Kingdoms” / Natahsa Pulley
“The Siren” / Katherine St. John
“Impostor Syndrome” / Kathy Wang


2022 Silver Falchion Best Books of 2021
“Girl Missing” / Kate Gable
“The Reunion” / Kiersten Modglin

 

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