Category Archives: Novels Set in Fictional Places

5. Novels Set in Fictional Places

Elizabeth Spann Craig. A Body at Book Club. United States: Elizabeth Spann Craig, 2014.

abodyatbookclubMyrtle Clover may be in her 80s but she can still think of better things to do with her time than go to book club meetings where no real literature will be discussed. But, a missing cat has forced Myrtle into attending book club in order to get the word out around the fictional town of Bradley, North Carolina. Pasha may not be a house cat, but Myrtle cares about her and wants to make sure she’s safe. After making her announcement, Myrtle finds herself quite teary-eyed and makes her way inside Rose Mayfield’s, the hostess for book club, house in search of a tissue. Instead of tissue, Myrtle stumbles upon a neighbor, Naomi Pelter, dead in Rose’s living room. Now she wasn’t there just thirty minutes ago.

Naomi had emailed Rose to let her know that she was sick and couldn’t make book club. Her death seems to be from natural causes, but Myrtle decides her son Red, the police chief, should be called anyhow. Whether or not Naomi died from natural causes, the story would still be a good one to write up for the town paper. So, of course Myrtle is determined to sniff out all the details. When it’s discovered that Naomi was poisoned, Myrtle already has her suspicions and sets out with her widower sidekick Miles to begin her investigation. Handing out flyers about Pasha is the perfect excuse to talk to suspects. Red wants her off the case and blocks her at every turn. Myrtle decides Red must be the one off his rocker when she gets a call from Greener Pastures telling her that she’s been added to their waiting list and they need to set up an interview and tour to determine if she would be a good fit for their retirement community.

The case is looking like a no-brainer for Myrtle. There are other suspects, but Rose Mayfield had a grudge against the victim and was very vocal about it. However, there is a twist; another murder knocks out the biggest suspect. On top of that, Myrtle and Miles have a falling out over his not caring about Pasha. Nevertheless, Myrtle is not giving up on solving these crimes. The return of Pasha and reconciliation with Miles helps Myrtle to focus on the case. As Myrtle draws ever closer to the killer, the danger to her life continues to increase. Confronted with death, who would have ever thought Greener Pastures would be Myrtle’s salvation?

A Body at Book Club is the sixth novel in the Myrtle Clover Mysteries. Read on to find out if our favorite octogenarian sleuth will retire for good.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Craig, Elizabeth Spann, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Jessica Beck. Deep Fried Homicide. United States: CreateSpace, 2014.

Suzanne’s Hart’s normal day at Donut Hearts in April Springs is shattered by a “dark stranger in a severe suit.” Inspector Terry Hanlan hasn’t come to the shop to catch a last-minute donut, but instead to inform Suzanne that her boyfriend, Jake Bishop, has been shot in the line of duty. Suzanne rushes out with hardly a thought at all to the shop.

Jake was shot tracking down a killer in Hickory. Jake escaped with his life; the same cannot be said of the killer. Jake’s wound will require him to take a lot of rest and wear his arm in a sling. So, when he’s released he will be going to stay with Suzanne at the cottage while he recuperates. This will be interesting; Suzanne, her mother, and Jake all in the same house.

But, upon arriving at the hospital, Dorothea, Suzanne’s mother, informs Suzanne that she’s bought a house in town and will be moving there so Jake can have her downstairs bedroom. Even more surprising is the fact that Dorothea has gotten engaged to Chief Martin and plans to stay in the other house permanently. After adjusting to this announcement, Suzanne realizes that this is a good thing for her mom and also for her. She hasn’t ever lived on her own and will get the chance to do so after Jake gets better.

However, Jake’s road to recovery and Suzanne’s time off from Donut Hearts won’t be as tranquil as she hoped. Apparently the killer Jake took down had a partner, Rusk, who is out for revenge. Rusk might be after Jake, but Suzanne is in danger as well. Heather Masterson, who was in prison for poisoning her aunt and coming after Suzanne, is on the loose and may very well be on the way to finish what she began.

With two killers who want the couple dead, how will Jake and Suzanne fare? This thirteenth book in the Donut Shop Mystery series is filled with action and surprises that will keep readers hooked until the very end.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Beck, Jessica, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Mary L. Ball. Stone of Destiny. USA: Prism Book Group, 2013.

stoneofdestinyTaylor Harrison is the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company. Moving further up within the company is Taylor’s highest priority. For Taylor, work always comes before play. Nevertheless, work does not come before family. Taylor’s parents often traveled while she was growing up, and they still do so now. Because of this, Taylor has spent most of her time with her paternal grandparents. Now that her grandfather has passed on, her grandmother, Kay Harrison, is the most important person in her life. Granny Kay has decided to sell their family home in Liberty Cove, North Carolina. When she asks Taylor for assistance in getting the place ready, Taylor can’t help but take some time off from her busy schedule. Taylor will soon discover Granny Kay actually wants Taylor there to search the house for a lost family ring.

Also unbeknownst to Taylor, Granny Kay and her best friend Louise are matchmaking. The contractor, Brent Roberts, who Granny Kay has employed to work on the house, is actually Louise’s nephew. The two ladies are hoping that the young couple will hit it off. There is chemistry between Taylor and Brent, but Taylor has no time to get involved. Right now, her career is her complete focus.

When Taylor miraculously uncovers the ring from a loose floorboard and Brent gets Taylor to agree to regularly going out with him, it looks like life couldn’t get much better. Then Taylor gets offered a promotion that might end the relationship. This promotion would require Taylor to oversee the building of a new Mugful’s in Panama.

Deciding to take the job, Taylor asks Brent not to contact her again. Additionally, the separation is the furthest that Taylor has ever been away from Granny Kay and will be hard for the both of them. But, it is only three years and Taylor will make sure to come back every few months to visit her.

Soon after the move, Granny Kay falls seriously ill. Will Taylor risk her position with Mugful’s when her boss denies her the leave? If she returns to North Carolina, what will happen with her and Brent? Most importantly, will Granny Kay pull through?

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Ball, Mary L., Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship

Margaret Maron. Designated Daughters. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2014.

daughtersReaders of Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott series are used to Deborah’s large family, and Maron kindly helps readers to keep them straight by providing a family tree in recent books.  In Designated Daughters, Deborah’s Aunt Rachel briefly takes center stage.

Aunt Rachel has always been an easy going, neighborly person who made friends with many of the people who came to her vegetable stand.  Although never a gossip, Aunt Rachel has been privy to a lot of secrets.  Nearing death, she begins to unburden herself of some of those stories–not in a way her family understands but clearly enough to unnerve at least one listener.  When the family steps away from her room, someone smothers this sweet woman.

The family is both horrified and puzzled.  Even though Deborah has promised Dwight that she will not interfere in the homicide investigation, this is her family.  Deborah begins to match up some of her aunt’s ramblings with the stories of neighbors and kin.  A church man who hit his wife, a house fire that killed a mother and her young daughters, a cowbird egg, a revealing bathing suit–which one of these references would incite someone to murder a woman already in hospice care?  Through Deborah’s investigations, readers learn more about the Knotts family history while Deborah identifies the killer.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coastal Plain, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Elizabeth Spann Craig. A Body in the Backyard. United States: Elizabeth Spann Craig, 2013.

abodyinthebackyardOctogenarian Myrtle Clover has finally gotten her yardman, Dusty, and his wife Puddin over to work on her house in the fictional town of Bradley, North Carolina. Puddin might not make a great housemaid but Dusty does a good job on the yard, whenever they make it over to Myrtle’s. So, Myrtle’s excitement is dampened just a bit when Dusty discovers a body in her backyard. Of course this provides Myrtle with the perfect excuse to get some information on the case. But, it also gives Dusty and Puddin an excuse to stop their work. And Myrtle can’t help but be disappointed in herself for having no idea that a murder occurred in her own backyard.

Myrtle’s neighbor and closest friend Miles soon identifies the victim as his cousin Charles. Cousin Charles isn’t the kind of cousin you claim, he’s the black sheep that you hope never gets mentioned. Myrtle and Miles suspect that Charles had come back to Bradley to beg Miles for money. But Myrtle and Miles soon discover that there are a few people who would have had a motive to kill Cousin Charles, including a cuckolded husband, a scorned woman, and a protective father. When the protective father, Lee Woosley, turns up murdered in Myrtle’s backyard as well, Myrtle’s son, Red, starts to be concern for her safety at the house. In order to scuttle Red’s plan to send her to Greener Pastures Retirement Home, Myrtle knows she must solve this mystery fast. In their search for the murderer, Myrtle and Miles discover that Miles wasn’t the only one hiding his connection to Cousin Charles–there may be even more suspects to consider.

A Body in the Backyard is the fourth title in the Myrtle Clover Mysteries. Myrtle Clover has an uncanny talent for finding bodies in her small town, so it’s a good thing she also has the ability to solve these crimes.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Craig, Elizabeth Spann, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Elizabeth Spann Craig. Death at a Drop-In. United States: CreateSpace, 2013.

In the fictional town of Bradley, North Carolina, Myrtle Clover isn’t looking forward to attending “society matron,” Cosette Whitlow’s drop-in. Myrtle has only agreed to attend because her best friend, Miles, has asked her to come and deter the widows from descending upon him. As a lady in her 80s, Myrtle might not look too threatening, but at six feet tall and toting a cane, she can intimidate when she wants.

Cosette is always mentioning to Myrtle’s son Red how much her own mother enjoys living in Greener Pastures Retirement Home. If not talking about that, she’s bragging on how advanced her grandson is or trying to take over someone’s charity position. She kindly lends a hand throughout all of town, but there is nothing kindly about the way she deals with people. Myrtle and Miles hope to show their faces and head out soon afterwards. But, when the two walk in on a small spectacle in the kitchen involving Cosette, Felix, and an enraged Sybil, Myrtle’s interest is peaked. Is there an affair going on between Felix and Cosette?

However, things soon settle back down into boring sophistication and Miles and Myrtle are ready to make their exit. When the two can’t find Cosette to thank her, Cosette’s husband Lucas enlists them to help search her out. Myrtle discovers Cosette in the yard; she’s been hit over the head with a croquet mallet and Red, the chief of police, is called in. There are many suspects in this case and Myrtle is determined to investigate and write up the story for the town newspaper. There’s a new cub reporter in town though who might stand in her way. But, when a second murder occurs, Myrtle starts putting information together, and it looks like she’ll either end up with the scoop or in a grave of her own. How will Myrtle Clover work her way out of this one?

Death at a Drop-In is the fifth book in the Myrtle Clover Mystery series. Myrtle Clover remains just as sprightly as ever and is written proof that the young aren’t the only ones who can be the center of an exciting story.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Craig, Elizabeth Spann, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Donna Ball. High in Trial. Mountain City, GA: Blue Merle Publishing, 2013.

highintrial Book seven in the Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries opens in 1992 with a car wreck that was never reported, although later one of the drivers, Jeremiah Allen Berman, was arrested for a robbery-turned-murder. This leaves readers wondering what this scene will have to do with present-day events.

Continuing on, we discover that our heroes, Raine and her golden retriever Cisco, are in Pembroke, South Carolina for the opening weekend of AKC competitive agility trials. Raine and Cisco have trained all winter. They are up for their first event and the day is looking promising, especially since Miles, Raine’s boyfriend, has come out to support them. All is well until they reach the hardest part of the course for Cisco, the pause table, where a dog is required to “…come to a screeching halt on the table, stay perfectly still for five seconds, and then take off like lightning again on cue.” Cisco nails it! But, a miscalculation by either him or Raine leaves Raine flat on her back with a nosebleed. Nevertheless, Raine pushes through the rest of the course and the two earn their first blue ribbon of the competition. This victory is soon overshadowed by the discovery that one of the other competitors was brutally murdered in the night. It begins to look like corruption has infiltrated this world of sportsmanship.

Back home in Hansonville, North Carolina, Buck Lawson, Raine’s ex-husband, is acting sheriff since Sheriff Roe Bleckley, Raine’s uncle, has decided to retire after a heart attack. Roe’s mail still continues to be sent to the sheriff’s office and Buck stumbles upon a notification of the release of a felon named Jeremiah Berman. Such notifications are not routine. Buck’s interest is piqued; he soon learns that it was Raine’s father, Judge Stockton, who wanted to keep tabs on when Jermiah Berman was released. In his search to find out why Judge Stockton would have wanted this information, Buck learns that Berman had it out for Stockton and, with the judge’s death, has now turned his rage upon Raine. Reasoning why will lead to the unearthing of secrets that are sure to change Raine’s world forever.

In this seventh book in the series, the chapters alternate between Pembroke and Hansonville; readers will be engaged by both stories and looking forward to the discovery of how the two intertwine.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Ball, Donna, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Mark Feggeler. Damage. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2013.

Ray Waugh does not have a particularly exciting life.  He’s been a reporter for the Citizen-Gazette, Tramway County’s local newspaper.  In his job he has covered more than his share of petty crimes, commission hearings, and ribbon cuttings. The story of those ribbon cuttings is depressingly familiar: land that had been farmland or woods is converted into a high-end, restricted golf community that fails to live up to the developer or the residents’ expectations. Why do they keep building those things?

As Damage opens, Ray is at yet another ribbon cutting, taking photos and making sure that he gets everyone’s name.  Edgar Redmond, the Tramway County sheriff is there, along with two principal investors in the project, Coreen and Evan Wallace, and Redmond’s daughter, Mimi, who is a director at a nearby retirement center.  Little does Ray know that less than twenty-four hours later he and his cousin Billy will find Evan Wallace murderer and Mrs. Wallace near death–and evidence that a high school buddy was at the scene of the crime.  Is this a case of an angry, addicted man taking revenge over an employment rejection, or could it be that the county’s more upstanding citizens had a hand in these crimes? Ray wants to clear his old friend, but at what personal cost?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Feggeler, Mark, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Ruth Moose. Doing It at the Dixie Dew. New York: Minotaur Books, 2014.

doing itBeth McKenzie was brought up by her grandmother, Mama Alice, in Littleboro, North Carolina.  Beth went off to college and rarely came back, but when Mama Alice has an accident and requires care, Beth gives up her so-so life up North and comes home.  Once there, Beth feels the tug of memories and traditions, so much so that when Mama Alice dies, Beth decides to remake the family home into a bed-and-breakfast.

Beth has bet all she has–and all she can borrow–on this new venture.  Imagine her horror when a guest dies on opening night.  Miss Lavinia Lovingood was well into her eighties, so Beth believes that her death was natural, if untimely.  But the police chief thinks otherwise–and he’s right.  Suddenly Beth’s new business is in jeopardy even as she and that handsome carpenter Scott Smith put the final touches on the sun-porch-turned-tearoom.

Scott is just one of the characters who readers can hope to see in future novels.  Local pharmacist Malinda Jones, Beth’s housekeeper, Ida Plum, and that antagonist police chief  all look to be characters who could appear in future books.  The fictional setting for the novel, Littleboro, bears a strong resemblance to Pittsboro, North Carolina, the small town that the author calls home.

Ruth Moose is an accomplished poet and short story writer.  This is her first novel.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Moose, Ruth, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Jessica Beck. Sweet Suspects. United States: Jessica Beck, 2014.

Oh those high school years–our feelings were so strong, and we were so foolish!  Suzanne Hart is not too worried about her upcoming high school reunion.  Since she’s moved back to her hometown of April Springs, she sees many of her former classmates on a regular basis, and it’s old news to them that she’s divorced from her high school boyfriend, Max.  But some of her classmates have embarrassments from high school that are less well known–minor crimes, unwise photo sessions, unfortunate hookups, unrequited loves–mistakes that they hope will stay in the past.

The last thing that any of the revelers at the April Spring High School reunion wants is to be confronted with indiscretions from their teenage years, but Zane Dunbar loves to stir things up.  Zane, a bully in high school, appears to be drinking his way through the reunion, insulting and threatening anyone who crosses his path, including his wife.  When Zane is murdered the next day, there are plenty of suspects–including Suzanne’s good friend, Grace.  To clear Grace’s name, Suzanne drops everything to investigate Dunbar’s death. (She even takes a day off from her donut shop!)

This is the twelfth novel in the Donut Mysteries series. Like the earlier books in the series, it includes recipes for some tasty morning treats

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Beck, Jessica, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places