Category Archives: Mystery

Elizabeth Craig. Shear Trouble. New York: Penguin Group, 2014.

sheartroubleIn order to ensure that quilts are finished in time for the upcoming quilting show, the Village Quilters of Dappled Hills decide to have a quilting party. However, the party is unexpectedly interrupted by Beatrice Coleman’s discovery of Jason Gore with Phyllis Stitt’s shears sticking out of his body. The same shears that Phyllis was just complaining about having lost and that Beatrice set out to find. Phyllis shouldn’t have even been at the quilting party!

Phyllis is actually the member of a rival quilting team, the Cut-Ups, and she wanted to come to the quilting party in the hopes that she could join the Village Quilters since her fellow Cut-Up member, Martha Helmsley, is now dating Phyllis’ ex-fiancé Jason Gore. But, Phyllis was not to escape the couple as Martha decided to join the quilting party as well and have her fiancé stop by. Everyone seems shocked to learn of Jason’s murder occurring, but none are surprised that someone would want to murder him.

Jason has just returned to Dappled Hills after having been gone for quite some time. The first time he came to Dappled Hills, he ended up running out on Phyllis after scamming people out of their money. Because of this, there are quite a few suspects for Jason’s murder. Beatrice’s best friend Meadow is soon encouraging Beatrice to use her sleuthing skills to uncover the truth, but what Beatrice finds might just end up costing her life.

One finding is that there is an eyewitness, but he refuses to go to the cops. Maybe he doesn’t even know anything. Nevertheless, when this claimed eyewitness ends up murdered as well, Beatrice must admit that he might have been on the right track. As Beatrice continues on the hunt for the culprit, it becomes clear that this killer will halt at nothing to get away with these murders, even if that means committing another.

Shear Trouble is the fourth novel in novelist Elizabeth Craig’s A Southern Quilting Mystery series. If you are interested in starting at the beginning of the series, take a look at our blog post on the first novel in the series, Quilt or Innocence. Check out this, Shear Trouble,  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

Ellie Grant. Treacherous Tart. New York: Pocket Books, 2014.

treacherous tartMaggie Grady has been enjoying seeing her Aunt Clara celebrate the wonders of Christmastime in Durham, North Carolina with her new love, Donald Wickerson. So it is no wonder that Maggie’s Christmas mood is completely ruined when her boyfriend, Durham Weekly newspaper reporter Ryan Summerour, presents Maggie with evidence that Donald is not what he seems. Instead of being the caring and trustworthy man that he presents himself to be, Donald is a male black widow. Donald has had six wives in the past and all of them suffered suspicious deaths. He has been investigated for every death, but has escaped charges. However, the evidence against him is condemning.

Faced with breaking her Aunt Clara’s heart, Maggie just doesn’t know what to do. When Maggie finally gets up the courage to tell Aunt Clara, she won’t hear any of it. Her wonderful Donald could never do such a thing. Wouldn’t Maggie be upset if Aunt Clara suggested Ryan was capable of hurting someone? The news spreads when Ryan puts a picture in the paper with his article on Donald’s philandering ways. It looks like someone must have believed it because that same day Donald stumbles into Maggie and Clara’s shop, Pie in the Sky, bleeding from a bullet wound.

Now, as the girlfriend of the victim, Aunt Clara is under suspicion for Donald’s death. Maggie isn’t going to let her aunt end up in jail over a murderous scoundrel, so she and Ryan start digging for more information on Donald and for possible suspects. They soon find out that there are a lot of people who could have wanted Donald dead seeing as he was dating more than Aunt Clara at the time of his death, not to mention the family of Donald’s supposed victims. Just when it looks like Ryan and Maggie are onto something, another crime is carried out. Will Maggie be able to find the murderer before anyone else gets hurt? Also, Donald wasn’t the only person in town with something to hide. Will the secrets uncovered shed light on the crimes committed or will they only add to the confusion?

Treacherous Tart is the second book in the Pie in the Sky mysteries.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Grant, Ellie, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wake

Ellie Grant. Plum Deadly. New York: Gallery Books, 2013.

plumImagine being accused of theft by your employer and being escorted from your office that very day. And having all your accounts frozen. And having a guard stationed at your apartment to keep you from selling any valuable possessions. All this happens to Maggie Grady, the main character in Plum Deadly, the first book in a new series of cozy mysteries set in Durham, North Carolina.

With not much more than the clothes on her back, Maggie leaves the Big Apple and heads to Durham where her Aunt Clara welcomes her with open arms. Aunt Clara and Uncle Fred raised Maggie after her parents died in a car crash, but once Maggie left for New York, she didn’t keep in touch with her aunt and uncle. Maggie’s guilt about this is almost crushing, but Aunt Clara doesn’t acknowledge the slight. Since Uncle Fred died, Clara has been struggling to keep her bake shop open. Maggie’s reappearance is a pure blessing to Clara. In no time at all, Maggie has brought order to Clara’s accounts and cleaned up both the shop and Clara’s house.

Maggie is just about ready to take on the developer who wants to buy Aunt Clara’s building when trouble strikes. Her former boss, Lou, appears at the pie shop to tell Maggie that he knows that she is innocent and who actually stole the $3,000, 000. But hours after Lou makes this startling announcement, his body is found in the alley behind the pie shop. He’s been poisoned. Now Maggie looks to be not just a thief, but a murderer too. Rather than helping Aunt Clara with the business,  Maggie’s presence is hurting it. But that just provides added motivation for Maggie to clear her name. Will this crisis bring the two women closer together–and will the pie shop survive? Readers who try the recipes at the end of the book will no doubt be rooting for Maggie and Clara to prevail.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Durham, Grant, Ellie, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Sandra Brown. Mean Streak. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2014.

meanstreakDr. Emory Charbonneau is a pediatrician who co-owns her own practice. Emory is well-known and liked by all who know her, and she has a good reputation. In addition to being a successful doctor, Emory is a renowned philanthropist, who not only donates to worthy causes but actively participates in raising awareness of what needs to be done. One of the ways Emory contributes is by taking part in marathon races. Emory is off training for a very special race when she disappears in the mountains near Nantahala, North Carolina.

When her husband Jeff finally reports Emory missing, suspicion quickly falls upon him. It soon comes out that Jeff had more than one reason to want Emory gone. Meanwhile, Emory has suffered a suspicious head injury and has awakened to find herself held captive by a man that won’t even share his name. Her captor claims that the fog and ice are keeping them both confined as he won’t risk driving down the treacherous mountain in such weather. But why won’t he tell Emory anything about himself? Is it because he has something to hide? Is he running from the law? Was he the cause of the mysterious gash on Emory’s head? As time passes, Emory finds herself beginning to trust the sincerity of her new roommate but is unable to tell whether this is because his story rings true or because the reactions of her body are overruling the caution of her mind. Emory is willing to do anything to survive, even if that means seducing this secretive stranger.

While secluded in the mountains, Emory and her mystery man encounter a family with a young woman in need of medical help. The men of this family bring the term hillbilly to a new level and give off a dangerous vibe of their own. In order to help the young woman of this family, Emory must be willing to break the law. She said she would do anything to survive, but will Emory be able to stand by while her mystery man dishes out punishment to these men for their crimes?

After Emory is returned safely home, the danger seems to have passed. Nevertheless, there is more deception to be revealed. Did Emory fall during her run or did someone mean for her to disappear forever in those mountains?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Brown, Sandra, Macon, Mountains, Mystery, Suspense/Thriller

Kathy Reichs. Bones Never Lie. New York: Bantam Books, 2014.

bonesAs Bones Never Lie opens, Temperance Brennan’s life is quite, if a bit lonely. She is teaching at UNC-Charlotte and her mother is fairly close by in a private psychiatric clinic in the mountains. Tempe misses her former partner Andrew Ryan, and is hurt at the way he took off to nurse his sorrow after his daughter’s death.  Tempe doesn’t know if she’d want him back, but she is forced to find him when police in Vermont and Charlotte are confronted with murders that may be linked to crimes that Tempe and Ryan investigated in Montreal over a decade ago.

Tempe is still haunted by images from a basement in Montreal where Anique Pomerleau tortured and starved several young girls.  As the police were closing in, Pomerleau torched the building and escaped. Although Pomerleau was not captured, Montreal authorities had her DNA from an earlier arrest.  Now her DNA has turned up on a corpse in Vermont and one in Charlotte.  Detective Umpie Rodas from Vermont brings this information to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Force the very week that another Charlotte girl–similar in age and appearance to the dead girls–goes missing.  Both the CMPD and the State Bureau of Investigation are on the case, which will have some unexpected and unsettling twists and turns.  Longtime readers will appreciate the way that Reichs fleshes out some of the lesser characters from earlier books, especially Skinny Sliddell and Tempe’s mother, Daisy.  Readers who know Charlotte will particularly enjoy following Tempe through the city’s neighborhoods and streets.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reichs, Kathy

Colleen Coble. Seagrass Pier. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2014.

seagrasspierElin Summerall is taking it easy after a life-saving heart transplant. However, her new heart seems to have other ideas. Elin is having violent dreams – dreams that are flashbacks to her donor’s murder. Elin can’t stand idly by and keep quiet about what she knows, which leads to unwanted attention from the press and unbelief from the authorities. Not to mention that the killer is now stalking Elin. Having lost her husband, Elin is living on her own with her young daughter and aging mother. After a break-in at her house, Elin decides it’s time to get away and takes off to Hope Island, on the North Carolina coast.

The police are doubtful of Elin’s claims that she is having flashbacks to the murder of her donor, but one off-duty FBI agent, Marc Everton, is willing to try anything that may lead to solving this case. Marc’s best friend was murdered while investigating the case. When Marc finds out that Elin received the victim’s heart, he searches her out to get some answers. Captivatingly, Marc and Elin have a history – a history that catches up to Marc when he sees Elin’s five-year old daughter for the first time and realizes that she is his daughter as well. Elin kept his daughter from him for five years, but he doesn’t plan on missing out on any more of her life. Marc doesn’t know if he’ll ever be able to forgive Elin. However, Marc must put his feelings aside and solve this case so that he can keep Elin and their daughter safe. To do this, he’ll have to follow Elin to Hope Island.

Marc lives with Elin and her family on Hope Island while they work together to discover what Elin knows that could lead to her donor’s killer. Living in such close proximity soon causes forgotten passions to rise between the two. Before long, Marc is faced with the option of stepping into a ready-made family, and Elin is hoping for the chance at a love-filled marriage. Nevertheless, someone doesn’t want them together–someone is seeking to silence Elin before she can reveal what she’s discovered. Marc and Elin are in a race against time to unearth the secrets held in Elin’s new heart. Will the couple unearth more than what they are looking for? Is Marc ready to forgive Elin and possibly gain more than just a cordial relationship with the mother of his child? Is Elin ready to take another chance on love?

Seagrass Pier is the third novel in the Hope Beach series. Interested readers should consult our blog posts on the first two novels in the series, Tidewater Inn and Rosemary Cottage.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coast, Coble, Colleen, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Melissa Marr. Made for You. New York: Harper Teen, 2014.

madeforyouEva Cooper-Tilling is the town darling of fictional Jessup, North Carolina. As the granddaughter of a prominent minster and a girl born into a family with wealth and status, Eva is very popular and above reproach to most of her peers. So, it is big news when Eva is the victim of a hit-and-run, and it’s even bigger news when evidence points to the accident being a deliberate act.

While in the hospital, Eva refuses to see anyone but her closest friend Grace. But during her stay, Eva runs into her old friend Nate and the two are soon on their way to redeveloping their old friendship, but with new feelings. However, Nate and Eva’s renewed closeness only seems to make the would-be killer even more upset. The bodies of Eva’s peers start showing up with messages to Eva.

A stalker-killer and amorous feelings for Nate aren’t all Eva is dealing with after the hit-and-run. Whenever someone touches Eva she receives a vision of their death. In order to avoid these flashes, she must initiate contact with the person before they touch her. Eva confides in Grace, who is skeptical, and in Nate, who believes her. When Eva realizes that the killer will continue to go after her peers to get his message across, she quickly decides to use her new ability to her advantage. Will she be able to discover the killer before he gets his hands on her?

Throughout Made for You, readers are provided with insights into the mind of the killer, who thinks of himself as “Judge.”  This tale is a great suspenseful thriller that will capture the minds of teenagers and older readers. Do you think you can figure out who the killer is before all is revealed?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Children & Young Adults, Marr, Melissa, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Elizabeth Spann Craig. Progressive Dinner Deadly. United States: Elizabeth Spann Craig, 2013.

progressivedinnerMyrtle Clover and her best friend Miles are planning a coup in the fictional town of Bradley, North Carolina. Today at book club, they’ll suggest the reading of actual literature. Myrtle even has a back-up plan, in case things aren’t looking too good for this suggestion. What Myrtle didn’t plan for is for her horrible neighbor, Erma Sherman, to chime in when the question of changing the book club is brought up.

Erma proposes a supper club, making it look like Myrtle was hinting at this suggestion. Myrtle wishes Erma would focus on the crabgrass that keeps creeping over into Myrtle’s yard and keep her proposals to herself! Nevertheless, the suggestion of a supper club is met with enthusiasm all around –even Miles is looking excited. Many in the group are even more enthusiastic for the idea of a progressive dinner, a dinner in which the group will go from house to house throughout the night, enjoying different courses at different houses. Myrtle is completely against this idea until she is complimented on her blackberry cobbler and asked to host the dessert portion of the night.

The supper club is off to a rowdy start when guests who weren’t even a part of book club show up at Miles’s house. The event soon takes a turn for the worse when Jill and her sister, Willow, get into an argument over Jill’s husband’s taste for drinking. After that, the night continues to deteriorate, from Willow’s house where the hostess isn’t there at their arrival and then rushes off, to Jill’s house where the group is greeted by a drunken Cullen, Jill’s husband. Nevertheless, that isn’t the worst of it–that comes when Myrtle finds Jill in the kitchen, lying in a puddle of blood.

Myrtle is soon using her detective skills to search out the suspects, and she isn’t against relying on charitable acts to get close to them. Just as it seems like Myrtle has solved the case and avoided danger, there is an unexpected action that sheds new light on the murder. Will Myrtle be able to outmaneuver the suspects and solve this case before she ends up being the next victim?

Progressive Dinner Deadly is the second book in the Myrtle Clover Mystery series. Originally published as an e-book, the printed version is now available. Octogenarian sleuth, Myrtle Clover got her first taste of solving crimes in Pretty is as Pretty Dies and it doesn’t look like this spry retired English teacher will be putting down her detective cane anytime soon.

Check out 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

Sandra Balzo. Hit and Run. Sutton, England: Severn House Publishers, 2014.

hit&runJournalist AnnaLise Griggs returned home to the fictional town of Sutherton, North Carolina because her mother was struggling with health issues. AnnaLise didn’t expect to get an offer from the town’s “legendary womanizer,” Dickens Hart, to write his memoirs. Even more unexpected was the discovery that Hart is AnnaLise’s biological father.

Dickens Hart is the founder of the White Tail Lodge – a knockoff of the playboy mansion concept. After years spent womanizing, Hart is out to make amends and needs AnnaLise’s help in order to do so. Hart wants AnnaLise to look through his “big black book” and find all the women that he could have had children with through the years, so that Hart can reach out to them. His plan is to have a big Thanksgiving dinner with the mothers and their offspring, AnnaLise included. For her part, AnnaLise will bring her mother Daisy and her mother’s best friend Philomena, affectionately known as Mama, with her. All of the guests will be staying at Hart’s manor.

Out of Hart’s black book come sixty-three possibilities. From these sixty-three possibilities, only three agree to attend along with their offspring. When a fourth shows up, it is clear that Hart decided to include one of his favorite old flames, even though he couldn’t be the father of her child. With the inclusion of ex-wives for good measure, this is sure to be a drama-filled weekend.

Hart ends up being the center of all the action–but probably not in the way he expected–when he becomes the victim of a homicide in his own bedroom. A house filled with people who aren’t sad to see Hart go, and many of them with reasonable cause to have killed the man, provides the police with a multitude of suspects. However, it is soon clear that the evidence is piling up to point at AnnaLise, the only acknowledged heir. Knowing that she did not kill her father, AnnaLise must work fast to solve the case before she ends up paying for a crime she didn’t commit.

Hit and Run is the newest title in the Main Street Mystery series. This series features the journalist AnnaLise Griggs, playing up the ability of journalists to sniff out the facts and discover the truth before all others.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Balzo, Sandra, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

R. E. Bradshaw. Rainey Days. United States: R. E. Bradshaw Books, 2013.

raineydaysSpecial Agent and Behavioral Analyst Rainey Bell is surprised to see JW Wilson, a high school friend who became a State Representative, walk into her bail bondsman’s office. Rainey is on medical leave after suffering a horrifying attack while on duty. During her leave, Rainey has taken up her father’s bail bondsman business along with her father’s business partner Mackie. Rainey’s father, who was also her best friend, was gunned down while apprehending a fugitive. This happened not too long before Rainey’s attack.

The surprise of seeing JW again, and his reason for being there, is just what Rainey needs in order to break out of a funk that she’s made worse with her heavy drinking. JW has come to ask Rainey’s help in following his wife Katie. Pictures of Katie have been sent to him, along with notes. Rainey would actually be trailing Katie with the hopes of catching Katie’s stalker. Knowing what it’s like to be made into a victim, Rainey identifies with Katie and will gladly take on this job. But, why doesn’t JW want Katie to know about Rainey following her? It makes sense that he wouldn’t want it known by anyone else; he is a politician in the eye of the media. But, why not tell his wife? Wouldn’t it ease her mind to know that she’s being guarded?

Thinking this will be a routine assignment, Rainey is not ready for where this mission will take her. Soon Katie isn’t the only one who has caught the eye of the stalker. He knows that Rainey is now trailing Katie, and JW is sent a picture of the two together. This shock is nothing compared to the next to come. A single sheet of paper with a Y on it is left on Rainey’s car; a Y that mirrors the scar on her body. The Y-Man killer is back!

Over a year ago, Rainey and her partner Danny McNally were on a stakeout when Rainey stormed out of the car. It wasn’t even three weeks after her father’s murder so Rainey was angry with everyone and a little on edge with everything. While heading back to the car, Rainey was snatched by the Y-Man and came very close to death. The killer escaped and has laid low until now.

Rainey will not allow what happened to her to happen to anyone else. She vows to protect Katie; this murderer will be stopped. However, close proximity to Katie leads to a relationship that neither woman was expecting. How can Rainey protect herself, let alone protect Katie, when her mind clouds every time Katie’s around?

Rainey Days is the first book in the Rainey Bell series. Join these two women as they discover a love that they never knew existed–one they will fight to protect.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Bradshaw, R. E., Mystery, Novels in Series, Orange, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship