All Abigail Timberlake wants is to run her antiques store, The Den of Antiquity, in peace. In charming Charlotte, North Carolina, this shouldn’t normally be a problem, but at Abby’s store murder is always on sale. First, her batty junk-collector aunt is strangled; next, a dead body turns up in an 18th-century wardrobe; then an old woman is murdered outside Abby’s shop for the deceptively valuable vase she was carrying. The list goes on and the bodies pile up, and Abby always seems to be caught in the crossfire, whether it’s dodging killers, dealing with her boorish ex-husband and his new trophy wife, or falling for handsome police detectives. It’s almost enough to make a girl want a change of scene, and in the eighth book, Nightmare in Shining Armor, Abby does move to Charleston, South Carolina for a time. Happily, she returns to the Old North State in the sixteenth and final book, The Glass is Always Greener. These cozy murder mysteries are perfect for lazy days at the beach or adding some spice to your lunch break!
Set in North Carolina:
1. Larceny and Old Lace
2. Gilt by Association
3. The Ming and I
4. So Faux, So Good
5. Baroque and Desperate
6. Estate of Mind
7. A Penny Urned
16. The Glass is Always Greener
Try the first book in the series, Larceny and Old Lace, today! Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library Catalog.
- Paid in Full. Kernersville, NC: Alabaster Books, 2005.
- Burned. Kernersville, NC: Alabaster Books, 2005.
- Dead Right. Kernersville, NC: Alabaster Book Publishing, 2007.
- Wake-Up Call. Kernersville, NC: Alabaster Book Publishing, 2008.
- The Double Lie. Kernersville, NC: Alabaster Book Publishing, 2011.
Harry Caine is a detective of the old school: he likes his drinks strong and his women frisky, and he makes his own rules. When this series opens, Harry is closing his private investigation agency in Silicon Valley. After a misadventure at sea, Harry makes West Palm Beach, Florida his home. He opens a new agency, hires an assistant, Mona, and takes on cases that have him on the move from California to the Caribbean to North Carolina. Only the novels with a North Carolina setting are described in this blog.
- The Alto Wore Tweed. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2002.
- The Baritone Wore Chiffon. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2004.
- The Tenor Wore Tapshoes. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2005.
- The Soprano Wore Falsettos. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2006.
- The Bass Wore Scales. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2006.
- The Mezzo Wore Mink. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2008.
- The Diva Wore Diamonds. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2009.
- The Organist Wore Pumps. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2010.
- The Countertenor Wore Garlic. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2011.
- The Treble Wore Trouble. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2012.
Hayden Konig, the main character in this series, is one busy man. He’s the police detective in the fictional little North Carolina mountain town of St. Germaine. He’s also the choirmaster and organist at the local Episcopal church, St. Barnabas, and an aspiring mystery writer. Hayden pecks out his novels on Raymond Chandler’s 1939 Underwood No. 5 typewriter, something he bought at an auction at Christie’s. It was quite a splurge. Hayden thought it would provide inspiration, but he soon finds that his little town gives him more material than he can use. Over the course of the series, Hayden encounters civic clubs battling over who’ll have the prime time for the living creche display, nudity at a nearby church camp, a missing gorilla, diamonds in the town’s time capsule, a chicken known as Binny Hen the Scripture Chicken who selects passages from the Bible, an assortment of flaky and funny townsfolk, and dead bodies that turn up in the choir loft with unsettling frequency.
April Springs, North Carolina is Suzanne Hart’s hometown, so she is not about to leave it when her marriage breaks up. Suzanne moves back in with her mother and buys the donut shop in the heart of downtown. There trouble finds her. First, a body is left outside the shop early one morning, then someone dies after eating one of Suzanne’s donuts. Even when Suzanne has no apparent connection to the murder, the local police chief suspects her. Continually feeling that she has to clear her name, Suzanne wades into any number of mysteries in her town. Along the way, readers get to know an endearing cast of characters, including Suzanne’s mother, ex-husband, Max, her best friend, Grace, and George, a retired policeman who helps Suzanne. Even Suzanne’s nemesis, Police Chief Martin, is gently portrayed in this cozy mystery series.
As a bonus to readers, each book includes recipes for some of the baked goods mentioned in the novel. Sweet!
Glory, North Carolina, might seem like the typical quiet Southern town, but much happens there to keep life interesting. While many who grew up in Glory could not wait to move to bigger cities like Raleigh or Atlanta after their high school graduation, some find themselves back home after a few years away. Two siblings, Mark and Roxie Treymayne, returned after their mother’s illness. Although they planned to be back just temporarily, they have found reasons to stay. Mark and Roxie have discovered worthwhile careers at Roxie’s new newspaper business, The Glory Examiner, and entertainment in antics of a group of local geriatric crime-hunters. Most exciting for the siblings, though, is the fact that they have both found passionate, loving relationships–Mark with Susan, a reporter and Roxie with Nick, the sheriff. As it turns out, you can go home again.
Cat Hood and Lily Cameron have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Although they occasionally argue about matters such as women, the two are always supportive of each other. For example, Cat helped Lily get her business, Girls with Hammers, started, and Lily celebrates Cat’s literary achievements. Although being a lesbian is not always easy in rural Galway, North Carolina, the pair stand by each other with compassion and honesty. Their friends and families, though ever changing, also provide Cat and Lily with guidance, respect, and love.
- Witch Way to Murder. New York: Avon, 2005.
- Charmed to Death. New York: Avon, 2006.
- The Trouble with Witches. New York: Avon, 2006.
- Witch Hunt. New York: Avon, 2007.
- The Witch Is Dead. New York: Avon, 2007.
- The Witch’s Grave. New York: Avon, 2009.
- The Seventh Witch. New York: Avon, 2010.
Small-town librarian Ophelia Jensen and her grandmother, Abby, have special gifts: they are both witches with psychic powers. Although Ophelia would rather forget about her abilities, they come in handy when people are in danger. Over the past few years, the duo has helped to save their neighbors in usually sleepy Summerset, Iowa, and a missing teenager in an isolated part of Minnesota, all while trying to understand their supernatural powers. Although Ophelia struggles with her mysticism, her grandmother assists her with each case to show her how important their magick is.
Of interest to readers of this blog is the seventh novel in the “Ophelia and Abby Mystery” series, titled The Seventh Witch. Ophelia, Abby, and other family members have traveled to their homestead in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for Great-Aunt Mary’s 100th birthday party. Unfortunately, the celebration is overshadowed by some decades-old land battles with other local witches as well as a rogue family member. As Ophelia begins to uncover family secrets and good witch/bad witch battles, she realizes that she must save someone dear to her from danger who is at the center of the contention – Abby!
Tommi Poag is a cheerful fifty-something woman who is trying the make it on her own after her husband leaves her for a younger woman. After decades as homemaker, she now works for a small insurance agency and lives in a little condo in Greensboro, North Carolina. Because Tommi has a big heart and curious nature, she quickly gets involved in the troubles of others. It turns out that Tommi is a good, if unorthodox, investigator. Her investigations cause her to bump into her ex, but Tommi is making new friends as she solves crimes large and small.
Ben Perkins is comfortable in his position at Where There’s Soap, the family-run soap-making business. He works with his mother and siblings, and he gets to know his clients in Harper’s Landing, North Carolina well. However, strange events happen in this quiet town, and they all have connections to the Perkins family. Ben’s relatives trust him to get to the bottom of all of these mysteries, which usually have potential to affect them and the store negatively. As he juggles clearing the Perkins family name and solving the crimes, Ben looks for love. Although content with his life, shake-ups keep things interesting for Ben and the reader.
With a setting as unusual as a lighthouse in the mountains of North Carolina, it is not surprising that strange things happen there. The lighthouse is the focal point of Hatteras West Inn, the hotel run by Alex Winston in Elkton Falls. Although Alex would like to keep the atmosphere quaint at the inn, a series of murders has given the destination some undesired attention. Along with his friend and housekeeper, Elise, Alex must get to the bottom of the mysteries occurring at Hatteras West if he is to stay in business. With bizarre guests and a police force that is not interested in his input, Alex’s quick wit allows him to solve the cases and to save the inn’s reputation.