Wishing a Happy Halloween to one and all. Hey, we’re mystery writers, of course we love Halloween. I’m the witch, naturally 🙂
Bart J. Gilbertson, Deathbed & Breakfast (Pookotz Sisters Mysteries #1)
Jean Erhardt, Small Town Trouble: A Kim Claypoole Mystery
Kate Eileen Shannon, Social Insecurity (Brigid Kildare Mysteries #1)
Pamela Rose, Sherlock’s Home: The Adventure of the Contentious Crone
Robert Warr, The Barkers Dozen – Reminiscences of an Early Police Dog
Richard Forester, a retired CEO for a major software company, and his granddaughter Penny show up at the Pookotz Bed & Breakfast one evening and find themselves in some rather unpleasant company. All the guests somehow seem to be connected to Richard’s past and when he is found dead the next morning, everyone is suspect. However, there are a few wrinkles that the inn’s owners Edna and Mildred Pookotz need to iron out as the investigation unfolds. Not only was Richard deathly ill, but he was also accused of embezzling $750,000 which is still unaccounted for. The local Sheriff suspects that this victim’s death is not a natural one, so he–and the sisters–set forth to discover who the murderer is.
Meet Kim Claypoole, restaurateur, reluctant heroine and amateur sleuth with moxie galore. In Small Town Trouble, the first in a series from mystery writer Jean Erhardt, Claypoole’s adventure begins as she leaves her home in the Smoky Mountains to help save her mother Evelyn from financial disaster. Claypoole leaves in her wake her Gatlinburg doublewide, her restaurant, The Little Pigeon and her restaurant partner and sometimes best friend Mad Ted Weber as well as a budding secret love affair that’s hotter than an Eskimo in July. Claypoole’s savior complex leads to more trouble when she bumps into an old flame in her hometown who asks for her help clearing her hapless brother of murder charges. In true Claypoole fashion, she gets more than she bargained for when she gets dragged into a complicated quest to find the true killer complete with topless tavern dancers, small town cops, and a stream of backwater characters. Can Claypoole muddle her way through the murky depths of this bizarre murder mystery before it’s too late? With biting humor and wit, Small Town Trouble will leave you guessing what’s around the next corner in the quirky life of Kim Claypoole.
Brigid Kildare is not your typical hard boiled private eye. But she doesn’t pretend to be. No matrimonial. No child custody. No bodyguard or surveillance work. No process serving. Brigid is strictly data. Asset searches, background searches, computer security, pre-employment screening, and basically any type of records research is what she deals in. And you really could not expect anything else. After all, your average five foot tall, blue eyed, blond (one friend describes her as looking like a Christmas tree angel) is rarely the person you would send out after a bail jumper. Oh, and there is that whole one leg thing – ADA aside, most people don’t think of an amputee as the go to person for a security job. But in SOCIAL INSECURITY, the first in the Brigid Kildare Mystery Series, professional PI, Brigid Kildare, turns amateur sleuth when old ladies in the Federal Hill area of Providence start to go missing and she can’t get the police to believe her. As her assistant and long time friend, Kevin, puts it: “Honey, if an old lady like Jessica Fletcher can do it, a one-legged PI and her gay PA can do it too!” Brigid solves the mystery, along with an odd cast of friends and family, but not before four old ladies have died, she has caught the eye of a handsome Providence detective, and she discovers that not everyone who is close to her is what they appear to be
Life imitating art? That’s Finn Sherlock’s first bizarre thought when she stumbles across a dead body within the Civil War era hiding place inside Sherlock’s Home Mystery Bookstore. Thinking that it’s her gnome-like Uncle Oz costumed to play the part of a fortunetelling druid for ‘All Hallows’ Eve,’ she is relieved when she learns that the hooded figure is not her favorite uncle, but the town’s favorite outcast, Odds Bodkins. Unfortunately, murder suspects abound due to the fact that the mystery bookstore and its adjoining 221b Bakery were the first stop on the Leapers Point’ Halloween circuit and any number of people were on the scene for the annual ‘Fright Night’ tour. More than that, Odds Bodkins was almost universally detested; far too many would agree that the assisted demise of the loathsome little witch was more treat than trick…possibly even a community service. With a little help from Uncle Oz and her identical twin sister, Echo, Finn sets out to discover who amongst the congenial southern townsfolk had the audacity and plain bad manners to murder the contentious crone right under the Sherlock family noses. Was it the fire and brimstone preacher Willie Ping? ‘Blooming Idiots’ talented but slightly mental florist? Or what about fluffy nonagenarian Eula May Binks…can anybody really be that sugary sweet? But, when the local Sheriff, Wavy Davey, learns that it was Uncle Oz’s Halloween prop – a bona fide hangman’s noose – that was the murder weapon, there’s more heating up inside the 221b Bakery than just the ovens.
The detective got the praise, but the dog did the digging… The book consists of twelve linked stories that deal with the cases of Richard Thompson who is a Scotland Yard detective in Victorian Britain. Unlike the Sherlock Holmes type of story the hero is a member of the official police service. What gives these stories their special twist is that they are narrated by Snuffles, who is the Inspector’s Springer Spaniel. Snuffles is an extremely likeable narrator although he is quite arrogant in some of his opinions and has a tendency towards bad puns, he is, however, a dog it would be a pleasure to know. The location for these stories range from the foggy streets of Victorian London to grand country houses and crimes committed during country house weekends. The prejudice that existed between different classes forms a theme (uncomfortable to our modern views) that runs through the book giving it a true flavour of its period. Although Richard Thompson is a very good detective we learn that most of his cases are actually solved by Snuffles who interviews the animal witnesses. The dog is left with the problem of telling his master what he has learnt without revealing that he can talk. All I will say is that he is a most resourceful Spaniel. The book contains some great illustrations by Phillip Lee that hark back to pictures in The Strand Magazine that accompanied the Sherlock Holmes stories. This book gives interesting insights into Victorian society as well as being a great story in keeping with the cosy mysteries genre.