The jury has spoken, and these nine tales are guilty of murder! Enjoy life behind bars!
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Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs
Normally Theodosia wouldn’t attend a black tie affair for all the tea in China. But she can hardly say no to her hunky, handsome boyfriend, Max, who directs public relations for the Gibbes Museum in Charleston. Max has organized an amazing gala opening for an exhibit of a genuine eighteenth century Chinese teahouse, and the crème de la crème of Charleston society is invited.
In the exotic garden staged in the museum’s rotunda, a Chinese dragon dances to the beat of drums as it weaves through the crowd. The guests are serenaded by a Chinese violin as they sample an assortment of tempting bites. And to give them a memento of the occasion, there’s even a photo booth. But Theodosia makes a grim discovery behind the booth’s curtains: the body of museum donor Edgar Webster.
While Theodosia prefers tea service over the service of justice, this case is difficult to ignore—especially after Max becomes a suspect. Now she must examine the life of the fallen philanthropist and find out who really wanted him to pay up…
A Simple Murder by Eleanor Kuhns
Five years ago, while William Rees was still recovering from his stint as a Revolutionary War soldier, his beloved wife died. Devastated, Will Rees left his son, David, in his sister's care, fled his Maine farm, and struck out for a tough but emotionally empty life as a traveling weaver. Now, upon returning unexpectedly to his farm, Rees discovers that David has been treated like a serf for years and finally ran away to join a secluded religious sect—the Shakers.
Overwhelmed by guilt and hoping to reconcile with his son, Rees immediately follows David to the Shaker community. But when a young Shaker woman is brutally murdered shortly after Rees's arrival, Rees finds himself launched into a complicated investigation where the bodies keep multiplying, a tangled web of family connections casts suspicion on everyone, and the beautiful woman on the edge of the Shaker community might be hiding troubling ties to the victims. It quickly becomes clear that in solving Sister Chastity's murder, Rees may well expose some of the Shaker community's darkest secrets, not to mention endanger his own life.
The Monet Murders by Terry Mort
Hollywood, 1934. Prohibition is finally over, but there is still plenty of crime for an ambitious young private eye to investigate. Though he has a slightly checkered past, Riley Fitzhugh is well connected in the film industry and is hired by a major producer―whose lovely girlfriend has disappeared. He also is hired to recover a stolen Monet, a crime that results in two murders initially, with more to come.
Along the way Riley investigates the gambling ships anchored off L.A., gets involved with the girlfriend of the gangster running one of the ships, and disposes of the body of a would-be actor who assaults Riley’s girlfriend. He also meets an elegant English art history professor from UCLA who helps Riley authenticate several paintings and determine which ones are forgeries.
Riley lives at the Garden of Allah Hotel, the favorite watering place of screenwriters, and he meets and unknowingly assists many of them with their plots. Incidentally one of these gents, whose nom de plume is ‘Hobey Baker,’ might actually be F. Scott Fitzgerald . . .
Silent Murders by Mary Miley
Vaudeville actress Leah Randall took on her most daring role ever when she impersonated missing heiress Jessie Carr in order to claim Jessie's inheritance in The Impersonator. Now that the dust has settled around that tumultuous time in her life, Leah has adopted Jessie's name as her own and moved to Hollywood, where she's taken a modest but steady job in the silent film industry.
Jessie's thrilled when Bruno Heilmann, a movie studio bigwig, invites her to a party. She's even more delighted to run into a face from her past at that party. But the following day, Jessie learns that sometime in the wee hours of the morning both her old friend and Bruno Heilmann were brutally murdered. She's devastated, but with her skill as an actress, access to the wardrobes and resources of a film studio, and a face not yet famous enough to be recognized, Jessie is uniquely positioned to dig into the circumstances surrounding these deaths. But will doing so put her own life directly in the path of a murderer?
Murder, She Wrote: Death of a Blue Blood by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
Jessica Fletcher and her friend Scotland Yard detective inspector George Sutherland are invited to attend a New Year’s Eve Ball at Castorbrook Castle, thanks to her British publisher. Shortly after arriving in the idyllic English countryside, Jessica discovers the body of a lady’s maid in the garden.
While their host, Lord Norrance, his family, and party guests squabble over the tragic death in perfectly mannered, thoroughly British style, family relations are strained as old wounds are reopened and cutting remarks are freely handed out.
As midnight beckons at the ball, the merriment crashes to a halt when Norrance falls ill and dies, apparently poisoned—and the number of suspects with a grudge against the lord of the manor sprouts like English ivy. Now it’s up to Jessica and George to find the killer—or killers—before another corpse welcomes in the New Year….
Murder on the Horizon by M.L. Rowland
Gracie and her Search and Rescue teammates are searching along the highway in the middle of the blisteringly hot Mojave Desert when they make a grisly discovery—a trash bag containing human body parts. Not long after, Gracie's growing friendship with a ten-year-old runaway draws her unwittingly into the secretive, hate-filled world of the boy's family—a group of gun-toting extremists. As a wildfire roars into Timber Creek, Gracie finds herself caught up in an explosive plot that, unless she stops it, will destroy countless innocent lives.
Murder of an Open Book by Denise Swanson
Her honeymoon may have been less than relaxing, but Skye Boyd née Denison is still high on marital bliss with her new husband, Wally. The fact that their family is about to get bigger is even more exciting, even if Skye is dealing with morning sickness—and trying to hide the news from her ever-meddling mother, May.
But Skye quickly comes crashing down from cloud nine when the body of one of her coworkers, science teacher and volleyball coach Blair Hucksford, is found in the school swimming pool. The troublesome trainer was on the bad side of almost everyone on staff and many of the girls on her team, leaving Skye to sort through a huge roster of suspects. Now she must figure out which wronged party was mad enough to kill, and quickly—before someone else in town gets bumped off. . .
Murder and Moonshine by Carol Miller
All small towns have secrets—-and plenty of them—-as every small-town waitress knows. Daisy is no different. A young, recently separated waitress at H & P's Diner in sleepy southwestern Virginia, she hears more than her fair share of neighborhood gossip while serving plates of hash and peach cobbler. But when a reclusive old man shows up at the diner one day, only to drop dead a few minutes later, Daisy quickly learns that some secrets are more dangerous to keep than others—-especially when there are money and moonshine involved.
The man's death was suspicious, and no longer sure who she can trust, Daisy turns sleuth while also seeking to protect her sick mother and keeping a handle on Aunt Emily, her goading, trigger-happy landlord. Caught between whiskey and guns, a handsome ATF agent and a moonshine-brewing sweet talker, and a painful past and a dangerous present, Daisy has her work cut out for her. There's trouble brewing in her small town, and before it passes, many secrets will come to light.
Murder by Candlelight by Michael Knox Beran
In the early nineteenth century, a series of murders took place in and around London which shocked the whole of England. The appalling nature of the crimes―a brutal slaying in the gambling netherworld, the slaughter of two entire households, and the first of the modern lust-murders―was magnified not only by the lurid atmosphere of an age in which candlelight gave way to gaslight, but also by the efforts of some of the keenest minds of the period to uncover the gruesomest details of the killings.
These slayings all took place against the backdrop of a London in which the splendor of the fashionable world was haunted by the squalor of the slums. Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Thomas De Quincey, Thomas Carlyle, and Percy Bysshe Shelley and others were fascinated by the blood and deviltry of these crimes.
In their contemplations of the most notorious murders of their time, they discerned in the act of killing itself a depth of hideousness that we have lost sight of, now living in an age in which murder has been reduced to a problem of social science and skillful detective work. Interweaving these cultural vignettes alongside criminal history, acclaimed author Michael Beran paints a vivid picture of a time when homicide was thought of as the intrusion of the diabolic into ordinary life.