You might think you want the truth, but these nine books prove you can’t handle it!
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Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen
My mother, the glamorous and much-married actress, is hearing wedding bells once again—which is why she must hop across the pond for a quickie divorce in Reno. To offer my moral support, and since all expenses are paid by her new hubby-to-be, Max, I agree to make the voyage with her.
Crossing the Atlantic, with adventure in the air and wealthy men aboard, Mother meets movie mogul Cy Goldman who insists on casting her in his next picture. Meanwhile, I find myself caught up in the secret investigation of a suspected jewel thief. Lucky for me, the lead investigator happens to be my dashing beau, Darcy!
Mother’s movie and Darcy’s larceny lead everyone to Cy’s Hollywood home, where the likes of Charlie Chaplin are hanging about and there’s enough romantic intrigue to fill a double feature. But we hardly get a chance to work out the sleeping arrangements before Cy turns up dead. As if there wasn’t enough drama already…
Anatomy of Evil by Will Thomas
Cyrus Barker is undoubtedly England's premiere private enquiry agent. With the help of his assistant Thomas Llewelyn, he's developed an enviable reputation for discreetly solving some of the toughest, most consequential cases in recent history. But one evening in 1888, Robert Anderson, the head of Scotland Yard's Criminal Investigation Department (CID), appears at Barker's office with an offer. A series of murders in the Whitechapel area of London are turning the city upside down, with tremendous pressure being brought to bear on Scotland Yard and the government itself.
Barker is to be named temporary envoy to the Royal Family with regard to the case while surreptitiously bringing his investigative skill to the case. With various elements of society, high and low, bringing their own agenda to increasingly shocking murders, Barker and Llewellyn must find and hunt down the century's most notorious killer. The Whitechapel Killer has managed to elude the finest minds of Scotland Yard—and beyond—he's never faced a mind as nimble and a man as skilled as Cyrus Barker. But even Barker's prodigious skills may not be enough to track down a killer in time.
The Invention of Murder by Judith Flanders
Murder in Britain in the nineteenth century was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment became ubiquitous, transformed into novels, into broadsides and ballads, into theatre and melodrama and opera—even into puppet shows and performing dog-acts. Detective fiction and England's new police force developed in parallel, each imitating the other—the pioneers of Scotland Yard gave rise to Dickens's Inspector Bucket, the first fictional police detective, who in turn influenced Sherlock Holmes and, ultimately, even P.D. James and Patricia Cornwell.
In this fascinating book, Judith Flanders retells the gruesome stories of many different types of murder—both famous and obscure—from the crimes (and myths) of Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper to the tragedies of the murdered Marr family in London's East End; Burke and Hare and their bodysnatching business in Edinburgh; and Greenacre, who transported his dismembered fiancée around town by omnibus.
Plague Land by S.D. Sykes
Oswald de Lacy was never meant to be the Lord of Somerhill Manor. Despatched to a monastery at the age of seven, sent back at seventeen when his father and two older brothers are killed by the Plague, Oswald has no experience of running an estate. He finds the years of pestilence and neglect have changed the old place dramatically, not to mention the attitude of the surviving peasants.
Yet some things never change. Oswald's mother remains the powerful matriarch of the family, and his sister Clemence simmers in the background, dangerous and unmarried.
Before he can do anything, Oswald is confronted by the shocking death of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The ambitious village priest claims that Alison was killed by a band of demonic dog-headed men. Oswald is certain this is nonsense, but proving it―by finding the real murderer―is quite a different matter. Every step he takes seems to lead Oswald deeper into a dark maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife.
And then the body of another girl is found.
A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd
An explosion and fire at the Ashton Gunpowder Mill in Kent has killed over a hundred men. It’s called an appalling tragedy—until suspicion and rumor raise the specter of murder. While visiting the Ashton family, Bess Crawford finds herself caught up in a venomous show of hostility that doesn’t stop with Philip Ashton’s arrest. Indeed, someone is out for blood, and the household is all but under siege.
The only known witness to the tragedy is now at the Front in France. Bess is asked to find him. When she does, he refuses to tell her anything that will help the Ashtons. Realizing that he believes the tissue of lies that has nearly destroyed a family, Bess must convince him to tell her what really happened that terrible Sunday morning. But now someone else is also searching for this man.
To end the vicious persecution of the Ashtons, Bess must risk her own life to protect her reluctant witness from a clever killer intent on preventing either of them from ever reaching England.
Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah
She's a wife.
She's a mother.
She isn't who you think she is.
Nicki Clements has secrets, just like anybody else—secrets she keeps from her children, from her husband, from everyone who knows her. Secrets she shares with only one person: A stranger she's never seen. A person whose voice she's never heard.
And then Nicki is arrested for murder. The murder of a man she doesn't know.
As a pair of husband-and-wife detectives investigate her every word, and as the media circle like sharks, all Nicki's secrets are laid bare—illusions and deceptions that she has kept up for years. And even the truth might not be enough to save her. For although Nicki isn't guilty of homicide, she's far from innocent. . . .
LAdies Night by the Sisters in Crime Los Angeles
From Valley Girls to Valley of the Dolls, the L.A. Woman has captured our imagination and redefined the fairer sex. CJ Parker is our lifeguard, Lucy Arnaz, our studio executive, Angelyne, our reality star, and the Black Dahlia, our murder victim. L.A. neighborhoods have spawned the Beverly Hills housewife, the Hollywood starlet, the Van Nuys dominatrix, the Santa Monica Surf Betty and the Manson girls, to name a few. LAdies Night, an anthology by Sisters in Crime Los Angeles, includes stories by Julie G. Beers, Julie Brayton, Sarah M. Chen, Arthur Coburn, L.H. Dillman, Bengte Evenson, Cyndra Gernet, Andrew Jetarski, Micheal Kelly, Susan Kosar-Beery, Jude McGee, Gigi Pandian and Wendall Thomas. The anthology is edited by Naomi Hirahara, Kate Thornton and Jeri Westerson. Award winning L.A. crime novelist Denise Hamilton wrote the introduction.
Berried Secrets by Peg Cochran
When Monica Albertson comes to Cranberry Cove—a charming town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan—to help her half-brother Jeff on his cranberry farm, the last thing she expects to harvest is a dead body.
It seems that Sam Culbert, who ran the farm while Jeff was deployed overseas, had some juicy secrets that soon prove fatal, and Jeff is ripe for the picking as a prime suspect. Forming an uneasy alliance with her high-maintenance stepmother, Monica has her hands full trying to save the farm while searching for a killer. Culbert made plenty of enemies in the quaint small town…but which one was desperate enough to kill?
Better Homes and Corpses by Kathleen Bridge
In between scouring estate sales for her new interior design business, Cottages by the Sea, Meg visits the swanky East Hampton home of her old college roommate, Jillian Spenser. But instead of seeing how the other half lives—she learns how the other half dies. Jillian’s mother, known as the Queen Mother of the Hamptons, has been murdered. Someone has staged a coup.
When she helps a friend inventory the Spensers’ estate for the insurance company, Meg finds herself right in the thick of things. Cataloging valuable antiques and art loses its charm when Meg discovers that the Spenser family has been hiding dangerous secrets, which may have furnished a murderer with a motive. As Meg gets closer to the truth, the killer will do anything to paint her out of the picture…