Author Archives: Lucy Peaden

Julie Hyzy. Grace Interrupted. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2011.

The grounds of Marshfield Manor are buzzing as history enthusiasts have started transforming the museum site into an 1860s Civil War campground for the upcoming week-long living history program. As scholars and buffs – and men, women, and children – reenact the past, there is one person who would not like a repeat of a certain previous episode. Unfortunately for Grace Wheaton, curator of the manor, she is about to get a bad case of déjà vu. What started as a minor disturbance with two strange women ended with a living listory leader dead. This scenario is all too familiar for Grace, whose tenure was fast-tracked as a result of her predecessor’s murder at the Manor only a few months earlier. As painful as those memories are for Grace, she learned much from them, and those lessons are proving useful this time. In the midst of trying to be useful to the detectives without getting in their way, Grace is also trying to negotiate the relationship she has with Jack Embers, the hunky landscape architect of Marshfield Manor. As she learns more about Jack, his family, and their past, Grace must use her strong discernment skills to trust her feelings. Her new, sweet friend, Bootsie the kitten, helps Grace relax and reflect on what she’s feeling.

Grace Interrupted is the second novel in the “Manor House Mystery” series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Hyzy, Julie, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Julie Hyzy. Grace under Pressure. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2010.

If ever there was the time for Grace Wheaton to prove herself during her probationary period as Assistant Curator of Marshfield Manor, here it is. Screaming right in her face. What started as a regular day at her new job at the crown jewel of Emberstowne, North Carolina, ended with Grace trying to calm down a deranged visitor in the fancy tearoom, the Birdcage. Sadly, the day also included in the murder of Grace’s boss. With new responsibilities – and power – to keep the manor and museum running smoothly in the wake of this tragedy, Grace tries to help the overworked police get to the bottom of why anyone would want to kill the easy-going and respected curator. She immediately suspects that the true target was the estate’s owner, Bennett Marshfield, who had just testified against someone accused of running a Ponzi scheme. As Grace uncovers important clues, she also discovers long-buried family secrets. Exposing any of them could cost her her job – or even her life.

Grace Under Pressure is the first novel in the “Manor House Mystery” series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Hyzy, Julie, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Sheila Turnage. Three Times Lucky. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012.

Moses “Mo” LoBeau is no stranger to mysteries. Found as an infant floating down the Tar River on some debris during a powerful hurricane, the rising sixth grader’s very existence is something of an oddity around Tupelo Landing. Which is not to say that she is shunned by the (fictional) eastern North Carolina town; on the contrary, Mo is a star. Helping her guardians, Colonel LoBeau (who found and named her) and Miss Lana, run the local cafe (which serves such specials as peanut butter and banana on Wonder Bread and Mountain Dew as the drink du jour), Mo is beloved by all of the hotspot’s customers. Although she would love to know who her “Upstream Mother” is, and she tries to find her by sending letters in bottles along nearby tributaries, Mo is content. But then Joe Starr, a lawman with too many questions about the Colonel, shows up, and  Miss Lana goes missing.  The town is shocked when Mr. Jesse is found murdered and Mo’s best friend, Dale Earnhardt III, was the last to see him alive. With all this trouble so close to home, Mo steps up as pint-sized detective to crack the multiple cases. In doing so, she preserves  the only family she has ever known and returns her close-knit village to normalcy.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Coastal Plain, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Turnage, Sheila

Casey Mayes. A Killer Column. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2011.

Derrick Duncan, the demanding syndicator of Savannah Stone’s newspaper puzzles, has just been found stabbed with a steak knife in a luxury Raleigh hotel. This would be cause for celebration if only Savannah had not be the one who discovered his body. The fact that only moments before his death she had slapped him across the face – in front of his executive assistant, Kelsey – for firing her does not help her situation. Luckily for Savannah, many people were delighted to see him go, so there are lots of suspects. Plus, she has her husband Zach, the former Charlotte chief of police, and Jenny Blake, her college roommate and a top lawyer, to help draw attention to other people who may have been left disgruntled by Derrick’s behavior. Savannah visits many City of Oaks landmarks as she uses her logic, matched with Zach and Jenny’s professional expertise, to solve the crime and to keep her job.

A Killer Column is the second novel in the “Mystery by the Numbers” series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mayes, Casey, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wake

Ann Tatlock. Traveler’s Rest. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2012.

There is an old adage about letting going of what you love: if it returns it was yours all along, if it doesn’t it never was. But what if you are the one who was let go, and you never wanted to be in the first place?

Jane Marrow finds herself in that heartbreaking situation when her fiance, Seth Ballantine, returns from Iraq a quadriplegic. He loves her, but Seth is unwilling to let Jane forfeit a “normal life”: to be carried over the threshold by her husband, to become a mother, and to be free of full-time care giving responsibilities.  He worries that she will waste her life away with him and will eventually resent him if they go through with the wedding. For her part, Jane is unwavering: she is resolved to never leave Seth or to give up on their plans, even though practically everyone has given her an “out”. Seth finally explains that her insistence on staying together is hampering his recovery, so she gives him some space.

At the Veterans Affairs hospital in Asheville, Jane meets a variety of people who support her and Seth in this difficult time. Two Ugandan cousins serve as aids in the hospital, and they always lighten the mood. A retired doctor with an uncomfortable past, Truman Rockaway, helps Jane understand forgiveness and faith. And Jon-Paul Pearcy is a volunteer musician at the VA who shows Jane and Seth that it is possible to live a full life with a disability. Along the way, Jane learns about love, trusting God, and letting go.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Tatlock, Ann

Casey Mayes. A Deadly Row. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2010.

Savannah Stone isn’t pleased that her husband Zach, the retired police chief of Charlotte, North Carolina, is going back to the Queen City to help with a murder investigation, but she knows that she can’t stop him. Their friend, Mayor Grady Winslow, appears to be in danger, and besides, Zach misses the thrill of the hunt. That’s one of the benefits of Savannah’s job as a crossword puzzle maker – she can work on the go and even help Zach solve cases from time to time. As much as Savannah and Zach hate leaving their new happy home in Parson’s Valley, they are excited to return to their old stomping grounds. From the get-go, Savannah and Zach are confronted with questioning their friends to find out who has already murdered two people. As they collect clues left by the villain, the Stones realize that they are in danger. Using her gifts as a math whiz, Savannah cracks the code – and uncovers a mystery about her own family.

A Deadly Row is the first novel in the “Mystery by the Numbers” series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Mayes, Casey, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Casey Mayes. Mystery by the Numbers Series.

Puzzles require patience, and luckily for Savannah Stone, her husband Zach knows that better than anyone. As a popular crossword puzzle designer, Savannah has a method for each of her creations that demands quiet and room for trial and error. Zach appreciates these techniques because before he retired as police chief of Charlotte, North Carolina, he employed many of them himself. Now that Zach is doing consultant work with police forces around the country, Savannah finds herself following him on his adventures (after all, she can always fax her puzzles into her syndicate). But she isn’t just along for the ride: Savannah’s penchant for cracking codes complements Zach’s detective expertise. As they work together to solve problems quickly, their love for each other is a mystery to no one.

Find all the novels in the “Mystery by the Numbers” series at the UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries by clicking on the titles listed below:

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, Mayes, Casey, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Piedmont, Series

Ann B. Ross. Miss Julia to the Rescue. New York: Viking, 2012.

Change is on the way. Even though Miss Julia has known all along that Lloyd (her late husband’s love child) would leave her cozy nest someday, she never expected to dread it so much. To cope, she takes on a fun project: renovating the house for when her husband, Sam, returns from the Holy Land.

Just as Miss Julia has settled into her summer routine, she receives an ominous phone call. It sounds like it is from Mr. Pickens, a private investigator who is away on the job, but the connection is lost before she can confirm it. Knowing that Hazel Marie, his wife, is worried about his well-being after not hearing from him, Miss Julia embarks on an expedition to find him. She picks up Etta Mae Wiggins on the way out of Abbotsville, and the two women soon find themselves in the backwoods of West Virginia. When the local sheriff refuses to give them any information about their friend, our steel magnolia performs a jail– er, hospital-break to get the injured Mr. Pickens back to North Carolina.

Even though everyone is back in their proper places, all is not well. The West Virginia lawman is sure to follow the trio back to question Mr. Pickens, and that could mean trouble for Miss Julia and Etta Mae. A strange local has returned to town, and she has set her sights on hijacking Miss Julia’s carpenter, Adam. Worse than stealing her talented worker, Miss Julia fears this New Age religious leader is trying to influence his thinking. As always, Abbotsville is lucky to have Miss Julia save the day!

Miss Julia to the Rescue is the thirteenth novel in the “Miss Julia” series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Henderson, Humor, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Ross, Ann B.

Stephanie S. Tolan. Applewhites at Wit’s End. New York: Harper, 2012.

It’s the end of the world!

Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but what sort of proclamation would you expect from a family of artists who picked up their New York City lives to establish a “creative compound” in rural North Carolina and then discovered that their finance adviser embezzled all of their money? The Applewhites’ various livelihoods are at risk unless they can think of some way to stay afloat — and fast! Fortunately, it does not take long for the bunch of innovative free-thinkers to come up with a solution: an expensive summer camp for gifted and talented children. After all, who would not what to send their special child to a camp that is run by famous professional artists?

Everything is under way and the Eureka! summer camp is up and running. There are a few things, however, that the Applewhites did not plan for: dietary restrictions, an unwillingness to “rough” the hot summer, and campers’ aversions to branching out to other arts. In other words, spoiled, uncooperative children. Things begin to change, though, when unsigned and alarming letters are sent to the camp. Just as the camp’s very existence is threatened, the Applewhites and the campers band together to find the value in each other and to save Eureka!

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Tolan, Stephanie S.

Barbara O’Connor. Greetings from Nowhere. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Loneliness is a difficult state. Although everyone feels that emptiness at one point or another, no two people experience it in exactly the same way. Aggie Duncan is a widow who has just made the difficult decision to sell Sleepy Time Motel, which she and her beloved husband ran happily for decades. Willow Dover had a perfect life until her mother moved to Savannah, Georgia, leaving her with a heartbroken, distant father. Loretta Murphy, an adopted girl who has just received a box containing mementos of her deceased birth mother, is consumed with curiosity about this woman she never knew. And Kirby Tanner has always acted out as a way to get noticed, but now because of all of that negative behavior he is being sent away to a school for difficult children.

Although these four vary in age and background, they find the friendship they need over a few days in Shawnee Gap, North Carolina. Willow’s father has just offered to buy the Sleepy Time from Aggie; Loretta’s family is visiting while on an excursion in the Smokey Mountains to find the meaning behind some of her mother’s belongings, and Kirby and his mother need a place to stay after her car breaks down on the way to his new school. Along with Aggie’s cat, Ugly, they realize how good it feels to have each other in the midst of big changes in their lives.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Children & Young Adults, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, O'Connor, Barbara