Review: <i>A Single Spy</i> by William Christie Review: A Single Spy by William Christie David Cranmer Read David Cranmer's review! <i>Incendiary</i>: New Excerpt Incendiary: New Excerpt Michael Cannell The search for a serial bomber who stalked the streets of 1950s NYC. <i>The Fallen</i>: New Excerpt The Fallen: New Excerpt Eric van Lustbader The 2nd book in the Testament series. Review: <i>Brew or Die</i> by Caroline Fardig Review: Brew or Die by Caroline Fardig Janet Webb Read Janet Webb's review!
From The Blog
April 27, 2017
Loving the Unlikable: My Favorite Female Characters
Marianne Delacourt
April 27, 2017
Q&A with Patricia Abbott, Author of Shot in Detroit
Patricia Abbott and Katherine Tomlinson
April 26, 2017
Backgammon: “The Cruelest Game” in Film and Literature
David Cranmer
April 26, 2017
A Field Guide to Sociopaths, Psychopaths, Narcissists, and Other Abusers: An Interview with Zak Mucha
Thomas Pluck and Zak Mucha
April 25, 2017
Page to Screen: Rumble Fish & The Outsiders
Brian Greene
Showing posts by: Doreen Sheridan click to see Doreen Sheridan's profile
Apr 21 2017 3:00pm

Cooking the Books: Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross

Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross is the 4th book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series, nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Novel.

This 4th installment of the Maine Clambake Mystery series has been nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Novel, and deservedly so! Julia Snowden has decided to give up her career and New York City lifestyle to open a restaurant with her boyfriend Chris in her hometown of Busman's Harbor, Maine. Meant as a place for the locals to have a nice dinner out during the off-season—when all the other nice restaurants have closed—Gus’s Too is slowly finding its feet and a regular clientele. Julia is also gradually settling into the studio apartment over the restaurant that came as part of the lease, a place of her own after months of living with her family.

The Monday after Thanksgiving promises to be slow, but bad weather and a traffic accident detain the nine guests that Gus’s Too does serve until well into the night. Imagine Julia's surprise when the corpse of one of those guests, the only single man in the group, is discovered in the walk-in freezer the next morning! And if it isn't terrible enough to find a body in her building, items related to the death begin disappearing from her apartment over the course of the next few days. Scared but determined, Julia begins to investigate in order to find a murderer and stop a sinister intruder whom she fears may be one and the same.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Apr 19 2017 4:45pm

Cooking the Books: Musseled Out by Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is back to her best in this gripping tale that takes a good hard look at the lives of those involved with the commercial lobster catch in Maine. Summer is drawing to an end, and our heroine Julia Snowden must decide whether to return to her venture capitalist job in New York City or stay with her loved ones in Busman's Harbor.

The Snowden Family Clambake Company that she came home to save looks like it'll do just fine without her … until Peter Thwing, hotshot restaurateur, comes nosing around to open a rival company right by hers. Mostly, it's been her hot-headed brother-in-law Sonny who's had to deal with him—often publicly, loudly, and angrily. It's thus almost inevitable that Sonny becomes the prime suspect when Peter's corpse is fished out from under an abandoned lobster boat.

[Recipes and pictures included below!]

Apr 14 2017 3:00pm

Review: Design for Dying by Renee Patrick

Design for Dying by Renee Patrick is the 1st book in the Lillian Frost & Edith Head series, nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel.

This delightful novel of Old Hollywood is as heady and beguiling as the champagne that flows freely at the parties that litter its pages. It imagines famed costume designer Edith Head as a mystery-solver and mentor to our plucky fictional heroine Lillian Frost, who came to Hollywood to become a movie star but found herself far more talented at selling underthings at the department store Tremayne’s.

When a glamorously dressed corpse is found in the alley outside Lillian’s former boarding house, the newspapers lose little time in dubbing the unidentified body “The Alley Angel.” Lillian’s worst fears are realized when two LAPD detectives—grumpy Hansen and handsome Morrow—show up at her workplace to show her some pictures. Lillian identifies the dead woman as her former roommate, the aspiring and penniless starlet Ruby Carroll.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Design for Dying...]

Apr 14 2017 12:00pm

Review: Devil’s Breath by G. M. Malliet

Devil's Breath by G. M. Malliet is the 6th book in the Max Tudor series.

I’ve always enjoyed the novels in G. M. Malliet’s Max Tudor series and find that they tend to get better as the series progresses. That said, I haven’t been the good completist that I usually am, and so I want to know (since I have woefully skipped past books 4 and 5 to get here): where is Suzanna Winship, and why are she and DCI Cotton not together?!

Ahem. DCI Cotton does make an appearance here, of course, as a body is found washed ashore at Monkslip-super-Mare, the delightfully named resort town in the parish administered by our hero—Anglican priest, former MI5 agent, and resident of the nearby village of Nether Monkslip—the Reverend Maxen “Max” Tudor. Ordinarily, Max would be happy to leave all the investigating to his good friend Cotton, especially with his wife and young child to dote on, but MI5 has other plans.

His former boss attaches him to the case in order to further an investigation that began when the deceased film star Margot Browne was still aboard the globe-trotting yacht Calypso Facto. MI5 suspects at least one of the passengers or crew of being involved in an international drug-smuggling ring, and so calls in Max when their active agent becomes indisposed and needs to come ashore.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Devil's Breath...]

Apr 12 2017 5:00pm

Cooking the Books: Boiled Over by Barbara Ross

With the loss of the Snowden Family Clambake Company no longer imminent, our heroine Julia Snowden can focus on helping to make something else a success too: the inaugural Busman’s Harbor Founder's Weekend that she's still not sure how she got herself roped into. Spearheaded by the energetic head of the Tourism Board, Bunnie Getts, the weekend promises to be a huge boon for the many local businesses that rely on tourist dollars, Julia's included. Everything seems to be going swimmingly till a charred human foot falls out of the log pile the Snowden Family Clambake Company set up on the town's bustling main pier.

When suspicion falls on a young employee who bolts at the discovery, Julia becomes determined to prove his innocence, which puts her on a quest that will take her to the heart of blueberry country in northern Maine. She'll discover, though, that the seeds of this murder were sown in New York City decades earlier, where greed destroyed the lives of many and continues to cast a long shadow many states and years away.

[Recipes and pictures included!]

Apr 5 2017 4:45pm

Cooking the Books: Clammed Up by Barbara Ross

At the end of this delightful series debut, I literally squealed like a schoolgirl with glee. It’s easy to discern why this novel and several of its sequels have been nominated for the Agathas, among other awards: the writing is whip-smart, the characters are deeply sympathetic, and—most importantly—the murder mystery is clever and compelling.

Our heroine, Julia Snowden, has left behind New York City and her life as a venture capitalist to help resuscitate the family business, the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Providing visitors to Busman’s Harbor with an authentic Maine dining and sailing experience, the company is also the only thing keeping several local families afloat, Julia’s included. When a murder occurs that threatens to shut down not only the entire clambake season but the company for good, Julia has to go into high gear to find a murderer in order to save both her family’s livelihood and her mother’s childhood home.

The beautiful white elephant of Morrow Island has been host to clambakes, memories, ghosts, and secrets for as long as Julia has been alive. But a murderer may put an end to far too many things far too soon, including perhaps Julia’s own life.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Mar 29 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs

The 18th installment of the Tea Shop Mystery series has our heroine, the beautiful and clever Theodosia Browning, attending a Rat Tea—a reprise of the charitable events that helped eradicate rat infestations in early 20th-century Charleston, South Carolina. Along with Drayton—the sommelier of the tea shop she owns—she is the guest of Doreen Briggs, social powerhouse and devoted wife of Beau, until poor Beau drops dead of poisoning.

Intrepid Theo does her best to save him but to no avail. Her grace under pressure is not lost on the otherwise rapidly collapsing Doreen, who engages Theo to find out whether someone really did poison Beau’s cup of pekoe and help bring the murderer to justice, if so. Drayton, somewhat uncharacteristically, is encouraging. Doreen has promised the historical society for which Drayton volunteers a very large grant if Theo is able to solve the case. This somewhat offsets Theo’s reluctance, as does the involvement of a handsome police detective who is coming into his own at the Charleston PD.

[Recipes and pictures included below!]

Mar 22 2017 5:00pm

Cooking the Books: Cold Pressed Murder by Kelly Lane

In this delightful 2nd installment of the Olive Grove mystery series, Eva Knox collides with not one but two dead bodies and has to contend with a whole passel of sisterly secrets and gossipy townsfolk.

It’s the weekend of Abundance, Georgia’s, Farm Family Fare—held this year at the Knox family’s olive oil plantation. Three celebrity chefs are headlining the event, raising funds for the local needy. Eva is grinning and bearing her way through both the oppressive heat and the incessant disapproval of her eldest sister—prim, pretty southern belle Daphne—when a local farmer literally collapses on top of Eva. And if that isn’t enough tragedy for one festival, the next morning one of the celebrity chefs is found dead in the deceased farmer’s refrigeration truck.

[Recipe and pictures below!]

Mar 15 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Roux the Day by Linda Wiken

The 1st book in the Dinner Club Mystery series, Toasting Up Trouble, introduced us to Linda Wiken’s excellent palate. The follow up, Roux The Day, continues to serve up exquisite recipes, this time from a very thematically appropriate source.

Beth Brickner, one of the members of the Culinary Capers cookbook club to which our heroine J.J. Tanner belongs, has chosen The Mystery Writers Of America Cookbook for their monthly dinner. She also urges the members to read a novel by the author of their chosen recipe in addition to preparing their dishes.

[Recipe and pictures included!]

Mar 9 2017 4:30pm

Review: The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman

The Widow's House by Carol Goodman is a chilling Gothic novel and a harrowing tale of psychological suspense set in New York’s Hudson Valley.

I have always enjoyed Carol Goodman’s elegant, literary Gothic tales of murder and madness, so keep that in mind when I say that her latest novel The Widow’s House is far and away the best thing she’s written to date. It’s the kind of book that’s so good it inspires you to want to write as well. It’s the kind of book that, at the risk of sounding not quite sane myself, you feel loves you. From its complex plot, sophisticated emotional and psychological examinations, and copious literary references, you can tell that it appreciates its readers, whom it assumes love books and writing and good storytelling as much as its unreliable narrator Clare Martin does.

And, oh, what a wonderful storyteller Clare is! As an unhappy teenager, she harbored dreams of becoming a famous novelist, and towards this end won a scholarship to the local college near her family’s apple farm in upstate New York. She worked her way into the prestigious writing seminar of the prickly, perceptive Professor Alden Montague, where she met fellow student and rising star Jess Martin, whom she married soon after. Jess published a critically acclaimed bestseller only a year after graduation, allowing them to live the literary life of their dreams in New York City.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of The Widow's House...]

Mar 8 2017 5:30pm

Cooking the Books: The Silence of the Flans by Laura Bradford

Winnie Johnson is back with her delightful cast of friends and neighbors in this second installment of Laura Bradford’s Emergency Dessert Squad mystery series. Since getting her baked goods delivery business up and running four months ago, Winnie has been enjoying not only the profits, but also the delighted smiles of her dessert recipients—as well as the company of her business professor boyfriend, Jay Morgan. He’s been a bit distracted lately though, and when Winnie discovers that he’s agonizing over failing a troubled student, she offers to let the young woman, Alicia Worth, intern with her for college credit.

Unfortunately, Alicia seems incapable of taking anything seriously. That changes, though, when her very first delivery with Winnie results in the poisoning death of the recipient—a conscientious and unpopular journalism student with a bent for uncovering scandal. The local press is only too quick to latch onto the Emergency Dessert Squad’s involvement in the murder despite Winnie’s complete lack of motive.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Mar 6 2017 1:00pm

Review: Mister Memory by Marcus Sedgwick

Mister Memory by Marcus Sedgwick is set in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century, where a man with a perfect memory murders his wife in a dazzling psychological puzzle that reveals the strange connection between memory and fate (available March 7, 2017).

Belle Epoque Paris was one of the most glittering and artistically celebrated places in modern history, and with good reason. Between the years 1871 and 1914—a period of relative peace bracketed by wars and bloody political violence—feats of art, architecture, and engineering sprang forth from this cradle of progress, including such marvels as the Eiffel Tower, Impressionism and Modern Art, and the Paris Metro. Less well-known were the advances in modern policing that were first attempted by the French police forces, including the originally derided but now commonplace method of fingerprinting, in large part to combat the rising tide of crime that was almost inevitably the side effect of rapid urban development at the turn of the 20th century.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Mister Memory...]

Mar 1 2017 5:30pm

Cooking the Books: War and Peach by Susan Furlong

In this day and age, it’s hard to separate even the most innocent of entertainment from current affairs and politics. So, coming across the 4th book of the Georgia Peach Mystery series—as gently subversive and possibly prescient as it is—was a quiet reminder that cozy mysteries that incorporate divisive issues can acknowledge the realities of everyday social struggles while still serving as mental comfort food (and providing recipes for the physical kind, too!). Though I’m guessing that many of Susan Furlong’s readers might not even notice—so light is her touch—while reading her entertaining latest novel, War and Peach.

Set in the small town of Cays Mill, Georgia (and hello, a map of the town is included in the front—an artistic detail that always makes my nerdy heart go pitter-pat), War and Peach stars Nola Mae Harper—former wild child turned humanitarian aid worker—who came home to help with her family peach farm several books ago. Now she’s running Peachy Keen, a specialty store featuring the by-products of her family farm, and trying not to get too involved in the upcoming mayoral election.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Feb 22 2017 5:30pm

Cooking the Books: Mission Impawsible by Krista Davis

I’ve greatly enjoyed Krista Davis’s Domestic Diva series, so I was quite excited to check out her Paws and Claws series—even though I’m jumping in here on the 5th book, Mission Impawsible. In the pet-friendly but entirely fictional, alas, town of Wagtail, Virginia, Holly Miller runs the Sugar Maple Inn with her sprightly grandmother, Oma. They’re preparing the inn for Animal Attraction, a matchmaking event for pet owners, and have invited a celebrity matchmaker to assist with the proceedings. 

Oma is quite intent on matching Holly with someone new, despite Holly’s reluctance, which only deepens when her ex-boyfriend shows up in town needing a place to stay for the event. He claims to want her back, which puts her off the idea of romance altogether (and the guy that the celebrity matchmaker does wind up pairing her off with is no prize either, in my opinion). Still, Holly is determined to make the experience a terrific one for her guests, unwanted or otherwise, as she helps both the lovelorn and the meddling fumble their way towards happiness.

[Recipes and pictures included below!]

Feb 15 2017 6:15pm

Cooking the Books: Pop Goes the Murder by Kristi Abbott

The 2nd book in Kristi Abbott’s A Popcorn Shop Mystery series is a sassy delight. Set in Grand Lake—a resort town on the banks of Lake Erie, Ohio—Pop Goes the Murder features our heroine, Rebecca Anderson, and her poodle, Sprocket. Grand Lake was where Rebecca grew up, but she fled small-town life as soon as she could and married celebrity chef Antoine Belanger. Alas, the marriage was not to last.

So Rebecca came home to open POPS, a gourmet popcorn shop and cafe that serves the only decent coffee in town. Her sister, Haley, married Rebecca’s best friend while she was away and gave birth to Rebecca’s first nephew, and Rebecca is getting to know her family, old and new, all over again. Add to this a budding romance with the town’s only good lawyer, Garrett, and Rebecca is beginning to relish small-town life.

[Recipe and pictures below!]

Feb 8 2017 6:00pm

Cooking the Books: Dead Cold Brew by Cleo Coyle

It’s easy to see why Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mystery series is such a bestseller—16 books in and it's still going strong with terrific plotting and charm!

Dead Cold Brew finds our heroine, Clare Cosi, back in New York City running her coffeehouse, Village Blend, for her former mother-in-law, the beloved Madame. When a series of shootings that seems to be targeting cops comes to Clare’s attention, her boyfriend, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn, assures her that it’s all coincidental … until another shooting targeting Mike and his squad outside of Village Blend itself turns Clare into an eyewitness.

[Recipe and pictures below!]

Feb 1 2017 6:00pm

Cooking the Books: A Death at the Yoga Cafe by Michelle Kelly

It has been a long time since I’ve identified as readily with the amateur detective heroine of a cozy mystery novel as I have here with Keeley Carpenter, protagonist of A Death at the Yoga Cafe. Having left the village of Belfrey, England, as a teenager who was deeply affected by the recent death of her beloved father, Keeley went to India first to study yoga, then to New York City to teach it. When her somewhat estranged mother, Darla, contacts her to say that she wants to put up Keeley’s father’s butcher shop for sale, Keeley decides to return home and transform the space into a vegetarian cafe cum yoga studio.

In the 1st book of the series, Keeley was forced to solve a murder to save her own life. Now, in the 2nd book, Keeley has settled back into village life with her new boyfriend, Police Detective Ben Taylor, and is looking forward to the additional traffic a local arts festival will bring to her cafe. Business has been good, and she’s begun to turn a small profit despite the best efforts of her nemesis and childhood frenemy, Raquel, who also happens to own the local diner.

[Recipe and pictures below!]

Jan 30 2017 5:30pm

Review: Black Feathers, Edited by Ellen Datlow

Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales is a dazzling anthology of avian-themed fiction guaranteed to frighten and delight, edited by Ellen Datlow, one of the most acclaimed horror anthologists in the genre (available February 7, 2017).

Is there any horror editor more acclaimed—and deservedly so—than Ellen Datlow? I’ve particularly loved her updated fairytale series, so when I heard she had an avian-themed collection of short stories coming out soon, I was practically shivering with excitement.

Horror stories are oftentimes crime stories exaggerated to grotesque proportions, with the supernatural and uncanny occasionally standing in for the unsolvable; as a genre, it’s a literary detour past thriller and a dive over the boundary into terror. Black Feathers is no different, with a collection of tales of murder and abductions and madness—with birds, helpful or sinister or often both, as its central theme—from authors as renowned for their non-horror writings as Joyce Carol Oates and Pat Cadigan.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Black Feathers...]

Jan 25 2017 5:30pm

Cooking the Books: Crime and Catnip by T.C. LoTempio

Nick Charles has got to be the best crime-solving animal sidekick I’ve come across in ages. Here, in the 3rd installment of the Nick & Nora Mystery series (and yes, the name is a cute homage to the classic detective duo), the overweight cat is always on hand to help his owner Nora as she investigates a young woman’s disappearance at the behest of the woman’s wealthy aunt, Violet Crenshaw.

Violet also has another job for Nora: catering the local museum’s annual gala. Cruz, California might be a small town, but their museum boasts cachet enough to host an exhibit of items straight out of Arthurian legend from the catalog of a premier British collector. Since the unveiling of this exhibit will coincide with said annual gala, Nora’s menu is expected to reflect the Arthurian theme, presenting another layer of creative challenge.

[Recipe and pictures below!]

Jan 18 2017 5:30pm

Cooking the Books: The Good, the Bad and the Guacamole by Rebecca Adler

A music festival has come to the small town of Broken Boot, Texas, and while it’s certainly good business for our heroine Josie Callahan’s family’s restaurant, she’s still a little leery of musicians after her unhappy breakup with her musician former fiancé. Her best friend, Patti Perez, however, is not of the once-bitten, twice-shy inclination, as she’s only too happy to start things up again with her ex-boyfriend, the music festival’s headliner, Jeff Clark.

Hoping to get a scoop to jumpstart her own stalling career as a reporter, Josie heads over to Patti’s house the night after Jeff sleeps over to try to get an exclusive interview. What she gets instead is the discovery of Jeff’s corpse in the living room, face down in a bowl of guacamole.

[Recipe and pictures below!]