New England

Book List: Author Barbara Ross

 

Author Barbara Ross’ Maine Clambake Mysteries series is thoroughly entertaining with terrific writing, an engaging cast of core characters, intriguing murders, and the Maine setting that is a personality in itself. It is no wonder that the series has been nominated so often for top mystery awards. Our own NBR readers chose “Clammed Up” as a Top Ten read for that year. I have tried several of the delicious recipes in the books and can report that they are tasty and easy to make.

 

Click on the titles and check out the books:

Maine Clambake Mysteries:

Clammed Up”   (review here)

Boiled Over

Musseled Out”  (review here)

Fogged Inn”     (review here)

Iced Under

Stowed Away”  (It won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. Truly an excellent read.)

Steamed Open” (review here)

Sealed Off

Shucked Apart” (coming in February, 2021)


Jane Darrowfield Mysteries:

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody” (First in new series, review here, part of the ‘Four Books, Four Genres’ post)

Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door


Shorter Stories:

Nogged Off” – part of the Christmas collection, “Eggnog Murder”

Logged On” – novella in the Christmas collection, “Yule Log Murder”

“Hallowed Out” – novella in the Halloween collection, “Haunted House Murder


Stand Alone:
The Death of an Ambitious Woman


Buy them all and Enjoy!  🙂

 

 

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Book List: Julie Hennrikus

New England author, Julie Hennrikus, has been entertaining us with three quite different mystery series, written under three different names, for several years. In honor of her most recent book launch, “Digging Up the Remains,” a Halloween themed mystery, here’s a list of all her books. Enjoy!

 

Click on the book titles to learn more about the books.

 

The Clock Shop Mystery Series by Julianne Holmes, features expert clockmaker Ruth Clagan who inherits the clock shop, Cog & Sprocket, from her Grandfather. The bells toll for more than one body in this lovely town of Orchard, Massachusetts, and Ruth must get herself in gear to outsmart the killers. The first book in the trilogy received an Agatha nomination for Best First Mystery. If you like clocks and/or are fascinated by the history and how they work, you’ll love this series.

 

 

 

Read the review for Agatha nominated “Just Killing Timehere.

                 

Clock and Dagger

Chime and Punishment

 

The Theater Cop series by J.A. Hennrikus is actually the first series that Ms. Hennrikus worked on, but as happens with many writers, was not her first series published. She has been active in the arts field for a lot of her professional life and theater was a big part of that involvement. The drama of life in and around the stage are a focal point of this entertaining mystery series, featuring a diverse set of characters, and former cop, now theater manager, Edwina Sullivan.

 

 

Read my review of “A Christmas Perilhere.

 


With A Kiss I Die

 

The Garden Squad Mysteries, by Julia Henry, centers around a stealthy group of crime-solving, garden loving residents that fixes up neglected gardens and pathways. After dark. When nobody can see them or protest. Have digger, will weed. There are murders of course, but there are also great gardening tips, and (from the readers’ point of view) hilarious situations in which Henry places these midnight gardeners led by 65 year old Lilly Jayne. I wonder if I can hire them to take care of my neighbor’s scruffy looking sideyard….All kidding aside, the series is great.

Read my review of “Pruning the Deadhere.

Tilling the Truth

Her most recent book, “Digging up the Remains,” has a Halloween theme.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book List: Author Liz Mugavero/Cate Conte

 

Liz Mugavero, a delightful New England writer that lives in Connecticut, has written three series, all three with animals as pals (and clue finders) for the lead characters. The first book in her first series, “Kneading to Die,” garnered her an Agatha nomination for Best First Mystery. It was clever, funny, and the beginning of one of the best cozy series out there, the Pawsatively Organic Mysteries. Who can forget the kibble on the body?  Lolol  Cate Conte, Mugavero’s alter ego, pens the second series, the Cat Café Mysteries, also a big hit with the fans. Click on the titles (and a few reviews) to find out more about the enjoyable, wonderfully written books. The third series, featuring a witch as the lead character, Full Moon Mysteries, has recently been launched and is getting happy, great reviews.

 

As Liz Mugavero: 

Pawsatively Organic Mysteries:

Features Stan (Kristan) Connor, an Ex-Corporate PR Exec, & Nutty, her Maine Coon Cat. Among the fully fleshed out characters is a hunky bar owner boyfriend and his dog, making Stan’s life interesting as she navigates her new life in a small town and keeps finding bodies. Why the name for the series? Stan wants to open an organic animal treats business. Recipes included!

 

Kneading to Die” –   review here

 

A Biscuit, A Casket”   review  here

 

The Icing on the Corpse

 

Murder Most Finicky

 

Custom Baked Murder”    review here

 

Purring Around the Christmas Tree

 

Murder, She Meowed

 

As Cate Conte:   https://www.cateconte.com

The Cat Café Mysteries

Maddie James has a successful juice bar business on the west coast, but returns to her hometown of Daybreak Island off the coast of Massachusetts to take care of family matters. Maddie and a stray cat (based on one of Liz’ own cats) get caught up in murder! Maddie is a thoroughly enjoyable new character, with equally appealing love interests. The reason for the title of the series? Maddie is opening up a Cat Café, complete with cats for locals to adopt.

 

 

Cat About Town”  – review here

 

Purrder She Wrote

 

Tell Tail Heart

 

A Whisker of a Doubt,” coming in December, 2020.

 

You can read Liz Mugavero’s Author Profile here.

 

Cate Conte’s first title in The Full Moon Mystery series is the entertaining “Witch Hunt,” out now.

Happy Reading!  🙂 

 

*Many thanks to Liz/Cate for the photos and book art!  🙂

 

 

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“Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake” by Sarah Graves

 

 

Sarah Graves, author of the popular Home Repair Is Homicide series, has a spinoff series out that begins with “Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake.” The Death by Chocolate Mysteries series features the main characters we know and love from Eastport, Maine, and gives them a chocolate shop.

 

The popular crime solving, best friend duo from Home Repair, Jacobia Tiptree and Ellie White, recently opened The Chocolate Moose. The bakers sell yummy chocolate taste treats to the delighted locals and are getting ready for the July 4th weekend, doing special orders of the forenamed cheesecake as well as their regular items. Jacobia (Jake) receives an early morning call that the shop door is standing open and arranges to have the fussy lock replaced. When she arrives at The Chocolate Moose to open for the day, the lights are out, causing her to trip over something in the dark. Which turns out to be a very dead health inspector bent over a worktable, his head leaning into a pot of chocolate. A health inspector she and Ellie have been battling with since setting up business.

 

Ellie may be the last person to see the nasty inspector alive, and not under the best circumstances. She’s the most likely person to be under suspicion, but how will she be cleared of wrongdoing? And, the practical matter question: Can a chocolate shop recover from a dead guy falling into its signature chocolate? “Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake” is a wonderful beginning to the new series, featuring a great mystery with clever misdirection, warm familiar friendships, relatives with complex issues, a missing son with a surprise of his own, a hurricane, and a Maine setting that is a character in itself to be reckoned with.

 

Amid the action and suspense of the central murder plot, Graves shows us that despite the challenges of work and mayhem, family always deserves care and attention. Jacobia’s loving husband has her back in ways she isn’t always aware; her father escapes from his hospital bed, arriving home in a taxi still in his paper slippers and gown; her step-mother is craggy, smart, and fiercely defends her loved ones; her son is making his way in the world despite a few worrisome years. There are touching scenes with her father that brought tears to my eyes. Graves’ marvelously written family hits all the right notes, and the mystery in “Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake” has plenty of surprises to keep the reader turning the pages.

 

Books #2 (“Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake”) and #3 (“Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut”) are out now. Barnes and Noble, here I come.

 

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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

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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“The Gun Also Rises” & “Let’s Fake a Deal” by Sherry Harris

 

Sherry Harris has delivered two exciting new books in her Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series. “The Gun Also Rises” and “Let’s Fake a Deal” continue to follow Sarah’s life as a former military spouse who is (mostly) successful at navigating singlehood and establishing her own identity and livelihood.

 

Sarah Winston is a warm, relatable character and when she has moments of doubt, we struggle with her, weigh the pluses and minuses of her romantic choices, cheer her achievements, and groan when tragic/terrible events take over her life. She has a delightfully varied recurring support system of friends who lend texture to the stories and act as sounding boards. Sarah even has a serious ‘don’t-ask-what-he-does-for-a-living’ backup guy when needed in tight situations. We know that Sarah will eventually get through the latest challenge, but Harris creates a world so compelling that we enjoy every question, every impulsive move, and every ‘gotcha’ moment along the way.

 

 

 

In “The Gun Also Rises,” Sarah takes on her wealthiest client yet, the owner of perhaps the most extensive collection of mystery novels ever assembled. While Sarah appraises and prices the books, a treasure is uncovered – so valuable that people are willing to kill for it. Complete with scheming relatives, a stalker, a group of cult-like League of Literary Treasure Hunters, Sarah’s reporter brother Luke, clever plotting, and an original take on a famous real life missing manuscript, “The Gun Also Rises” surprises and entertains from start to finish.

 

 

 

“Two police cars squealed to a halt at the end of the driveway, lights flashing, front bumpers almost touching.” That’s the eye-popping beginning line for Let’s Fake a Deal.” Everything at Sarah Winston’s latest garage sale has been stolen from the actual homeowners and Sarah is arrested for being in possession of those stolen goods. Worse yet, the storage unit that contained the goods until the sale, had been rented using her credit card. Say what? Sarah Winston is the victim of identity theft.

 

In addition to that hot topic, Harris takes a look at sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the military in “Let’s Fake a Deal.” The decisions that women in the military must make – that men rarely face – are highlighted: report the incidents and face the innuendo and name-calling (and worse) while the case is adjudicated – or accept the objectionable behavior and keep to the chosen career path. Another timely theme, indeed.

 

Several great characters assist Sarah’s efforts to find the real thieves and to prove that her friend did not commit murder. Angelo and Rosalie are back and supportive as ever, dishing out advice and the best pizza anywhere in New England. Luke makes a brotherly appearance in tandem with another character, help comes from an unexpected source, and investigations reveal some astonishing associations – including a shocking link with the past. “Let’s Fake a Deal” includes an important romantic turn of events and if she can stay out of jail, Sarah’s future is hers to choose.

 

One of the reasons that the Sarah Winston series works so well is the importance of relationships between the characters. There are natural, warm connections that evolve with the storylines, that ebb and flow as they would with real friends and family. I come to the end of each book, wishing the next one was already at my fingertips.

 

Start with the first book in the series, “Tagged for Death,” and read them all.

 

 

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Author Profile: Julie Hennrikus

 


Meet Julie Hennrikus, a multi-talented author with three names and three different mystery series:

  • The Clock Shop series by Julianne Holmes

 

  • The Theater Cop series by J.A. Hennrikus

 

  • The Garden Squad series by Julia Henry

 

NBR: Your first series was about a Clock Shop. How did that come to be?

Julie: It’s an interesting story, actually. There was an editor who had an idea for a series. More than an idea, a pretty full book bible for a three book series. She was looking for a writer. Through some opportunistic happenings (partly thanks to Barbara Ross), I was suggested as a writer to the editor. I wrote a proposal, and got the opportunity to write the three books in the series. I’d never imagined that that would be how I was first published, but what a wonderful opportunity. I’d been trying to sell A Christmas Peril for a while, so I was grateful to have the opportunity to write the three Clock Shop books, to get them published, and to learn more about that side of the writing life. Also, I loved the series! The first book was greatly influenced by the editor’s ideas (she was so great to work with), but the next two had more and more input from me.

 

NBR: Writing as Julianne Holmes, the first book in the Clock Shop series, “Killing Time,” was so well crafted that Ms. Hennrikus received an Agatha Award nomination in the Best First Mystery category.

I was in the audience for the Best First panel at Malice Domestic when Margaret Maron interviewed the five finalists in the category. Look closely at Julie’s outfit (clock fabric). She was completely into the Clock Shop role and the onlookers loved it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NBR: Read the review for “Just Killing Time” here.

 

 

NBR: About the Theater Cop series – were you ever an actor or was your theater work always behind the scenes?

Julie: I always wanted to be an actor, but I was never that brave! Maybe I’ll find the courage as I get older. I’ve made a career working behind the scenes. I’ve run box offices, company managed shows, done marketing, run a service organization. I’ve also taught arts management classes for close to 15 years. The list is long. I love the performing arts, and am blessed to have found a way to make a life in the field.

 

NBR: With the Clock Shop series getting great reviews, Ms. Hennrikus found a home for “A Christmas Peril,” and the series highlights much of the behind-the-scenes life in the theater world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NBR: Read my review of “A Christmas Peril” here.

 

 

 

Book #2 in the series, “With A Kiss I Die,” is out now.

 

 

NBR: It looks as if you created your own arts related business. Is this a fulltime job outside of the writing?

Julie: A year ago I started Your Ladders. Most artists are taught the craft of their work, but nothing about the business side of the arts. Your Ladders is a subscription that artists can use to learn the business side of show business without having to go back to school. Getting it up and running has been more than full time, but my goal is to incorporate my writing life more and more. So many folks who have creative pursuits have to work several jobs to make it all work. I’m one of those people. But the jobs I have–writing, teaching, running Your Ladders–are all joyful pursuits.

 

My goal has been, is, to empower artists on their journey. As a published author, I navigate my own artistic journey, and know that the skills I teach have helped me move from writer to multi-published author.

 

 

NBR: The new Garden Squad series features gardening. Do you have a garden?  Photos? Tips?

Julie: I used to have a house, and loved gardening. My sister Caroline is an amazing gardener, and she is one of my sources for tips. By the way, if any of your readers has a tip they’re willing to share, please do! Here’s a form to fill out. I include tips in the back of the books. (NBR: The list in “Pruning the Dead” is practical and easy to use.)

 

There is something so joyful about gardening, isn’t there? I love writing this new Garden Squad series, and exploring the different ways of gardening. I was worried about the seasonality of the books, but Lilly Jayne has a greenhouse, so it’s working out. I’m still not exactly sure how I was inspired to create Goosebush and all the characters in the series, but I’m so glad that I was. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NBR: Read my review of “Pruning the Dead” here.

 

 

Book #2 in the series, “Tilling the Truth,” will be out later this month.

 

NBR: Do you have pets?

Julie: I do! Three years ago, a friend reached out. She was trying to place two cats who had been found in an abandoned house in Stamford, Connecticut. They both have FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), so they couldn’t be placed in a shelter. I adopted them both, and named them Fred and Ginger. Ginger was likely feral, and it took her a while to settle in. She is now a lovebug who is this close to being a lap cat. Fred is a big boy, a gray tuxedo cat. They think he was dumped, because he was fixed when they found him. He’s settled in as well. They are probably around 5 now, and are great company.

 

 

NBR: What is your favorite place to vacation?

Julie: My folks have a place on Cape Cod, so I love visiting there. And my grandparents had a place on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, and some of my happiest memories are there. But I’ve take two river cruises with my friends Marianne and Stephanie in the past five years. I know that a river cruise isn’t a place, but what a wonderful way to travel!

 

 

NBR: Are you a city gal or country gal?

Julie: I am a city gal. I live in Somerville, MA, which is a small city right outside Boston. I love the convenience, the plethora of things to do, and the different opportunities the city offers. That said, I do enjoy visits to the country. Though dead silence keeps me up at night.

NBR: LOL Me, too! I need at least crickets in the background.

 

 

NBR: Many cozy/mystery writers include food and/or cooking scenes in their books. You do that as well, especially in “Pruning the Dead.” Do you have any favorite foods or recipes?

Julie: My grandmother taught me how to bake. I have a very soft spot for pies, and make a mean apple pie if I do say so. I bake with my nieces and tell them stories about Grandma so they know her, and they also get the recipes. Her secret, by the way, was to overseason. One teaspoon of cinnamon is one tablespoon. One quarter teaspoon of nutmeg is one full teaspoon.

NBR: Great tip. I upped the seasoning in my apple tart this past weekend and the flavor really pops!

 

Julie: As for other food? I’m a decent cook, and love all sorts of food. I love going out to dinner, but at home I cook for myself. Unless I’m on deadline. Then I order a pizza and eat it for a few days.

 

 

NBR: Do you write every day? What is your favorite time to write and where?

Julie: My goal is to write every day. It is surprisingly hard to get started and to do it, but writing gives me such joy. I am a plotter, which makes a daily practice a bit easier, since I work hard at the roadmap, so sitting down and writing is a bit easier.

 

Up until last August I had an office job, so I only wrote nights and weekends. It’s so hard to get out of that habit! But now that I’m running my own business I find that my best time writing is early afternoon. I wish I could say that writing at my desk works best, but I have a big red couch, and sitting on that with my laptop is my favorite writing place.

 

Recently I got an iPad, and I installed Scrivener on it. I used the iPad to do the edits on my most recent manuscript as well. That has made my writing life much more transportable, so I may try writing outside this summer.

 

NBR: It’s rumored that Julie Hennrikus has a WIP (work-in-progress) of a thriller she’s “been noodling for a while.” We shouldn’t expect to see lots of blood in the book, but she admits a car has been blown up. Hmmm…a cozy thriller? If anyone could pull it off, Julie/JA/Julianna could.

 


Julie: I tweet under @JHAuthors, am on Pinterest and Instagram, and have a page on Facebook. I also blog on Live to Write/Write to Live, and I blog on Killer Characters on the 20th of each month. My email is jhauthors@jhauthors.com

I blog with the wonderful Wicked Authors. These women are my friends, my blog mates, and my cheering squad. Come by and visit us!

NBR: Back in November, 2018, the recipients of the 3rd annual Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC) “Champions of Artists” awards were announced. The awards are given to recognize ‘exceptional support of the artists community.’ Julie was one of the six recipients! We congratulate her for making a difference in the lives of so many artists, both on and off the stage, throughout the years. Bravo!!!

 

Many thanks to Julie Hennrikus for generously sharing so much of her time to answer my questions for the profile.  🙂  Please visit www.jhauthors.com for more about this delightful bestselling author and her books.

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