Don't sleep on these soft-boiled mysteries! These eight books still pack quite the punch!
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Pride V. Prejudice by Joan Hess
Claire Malloy, for as long as she can remember, has been the local bookseller and owner of the Book Depot and the widowed mother of teenage Caron, who frequently speaks in ALL CAPS. But her life has changed dramatically in recent years. Claire has married her longtime beau, Deputy Police Chief Peter Rosen. Still the owner of the Book Depot, Claire has passed the day-to-day running of it on to her very efficient employees. With Caron inching ever closer to college, there's but one thing that remains steadfastly unchanged-Claire's astonishing ability to attract, find, or even just randomly stumble across trouble.
Summoned for jury duty, the prosecutor on a murder case, harboring a grudge against her husband, decides to humiliate Claire and dismiss her. Having done so in spectacular enough fashion to make the local news, Claire decides that revenge will be the next dish she serves. She hunts down the defendant in the case, a woman accused of murdering her husband, and offers to help prove her innocence. And not just because Claire wants to humiliate the prosecutor. There are only two problems. One-the defendant is looking guiltier by the minute. And two-the worst day imaginable has finally come: Claire's dreaded new mother-in-law is coming to visit and life in prison is starting to look good.
Poison Ivy by Cynthia Riggs
On her first day as adjunct professor at Ivy Green College, Victoria Trumbull recognizes the stench emanating from her classroom as more than just dead mice. Brownie, the groundskeeper's mangy mutt, soon discovers a second body hiding beneath a cluster of poison ivy.
The stakes have never been higher for Ivy Green, which is on the brink of losing already-lukewarm support from its accredited partner, Cape Cod University. Thackery Wilson, the founder of Ivy Green, worries that the bad publicity from the murders will obliterate the financial and academic support the tiny college and its dependent students desperately need. As the bodies continue to pile up, all tenure committee members, Victoria and Brownie find themselves hunting a serial killer and trying to save the college.
Neighing with Fire by Kathryn O'Sullivan
Fire Chief Colleen McCabe is enjoying a quiet summer and her budding romance with Sheriff Bill Dorman. However, her peaceful start to the tourist season is shattered when a tropical storm blows through Corolla and unearths a body buried under a vacation home boardwalk. When callous land developer Denny Custis dies in a suspicious fire, Colleen has a hunch the two deaths are linked.
As she and Bill investigate, they discover that virtually everyone, including Colleen, has had a beef or run-in with Denny and a motive for murder. When Pinky Salvatore becomes the primary suspect, Colleen is determined to clear his name. Despite his and Denny's well-documented housing development rivalry, Colleen is convinced that the real killer is still out there.
While digging through an ever-widening list of suspects, Bill and Colleen become embroiled in a vicious battle between those committed to saving Corolla's wild horses, those protecting the endangered piping plover shore bird, and a greedy tour company who would destroy their habitats.
The Cat Sitter's Whiskers by Blaize & John Clement
Set in the sleepy beach-side town of Siesta Key, Florida, Dixie heads off for work one morning in the dimly lit hours before sunrise.
Her very first client of the morning is Barney Feldman, a Maine coon cat with a reputation for mischief who's guarding his vacationing owner's valuable collection of decidedly creepy antique masks. But someone's hiding in the house when she arrives, and they sneak up and knock her out cold. When the cops arrive at the house, there's just one problem: no one has broken in and nothing is missing.
Searching for answers, Dixie soon finds herself hopelessly trapped in a murky world of black market antiques, dark-hearted secrets, and murderous revenge
Slated for Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan
When the body of well-liked and respectable Glenda Roberts is discovered at the bottom of a former slate mine, now a busy tourist attraction, pandemonium erupts in the North Wales town of Llanelen. Penny Brannigan finds herself drawn into the investigation when jars of her house-brand hand cream are found among counterfeit inventory Glenda and her sister were selling.
Police are convinced that the mine operator whose asthmatic son suffered an almost-fatal attack due to the merchandise is responsible for Glenda's death. But Penny's not so sure. A visit to Glenda's mother only deepens her conviction that a hidden family secret is the real reason for the murder.
Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison
When the body of a transport minister is discovered in the grounds on Honeychurch Hall, suspicion about his unusual demise naturally falls on the folks in the village. After all, who could possibly want a high-speed train line built in their front yard?
News of the murder soon reaches our heroine Kat Stanford's nemesis Trudy Wynne. A ruthless tabloid journalist and the ex-wife of Kat's discarded lover, Trudy is out for revenge. She is also interested in exposing—and humiliating—Kat's mother Iris, who is secretly the international bestselling romance writer Krystalle Storm.
As the body count begins to build, Kat becomes inextricably embroiled in the ensuing scandal. Is the minister's death the result of a local vendetta, or could it be connected to her mother's unusual (to say the least) past?
Death, Taxes, and Cheap Sunglasses by Diane Kelly
Tara's career comes with a lot of pros and cons-which is a nice way of saying that she's kick-a$$ in her fight against professional con-artists. And she's tough enough to deal with all the money-launderers, tax-evaders, and other such criminals who cross her path…Until her own boyfriend, Nick, joins their leagues. Now all bets are off.
Nick is about to go deep undercover-and the stakes are higher than Tara could have ever imagined. It's all part of a joint task force with the DEA to bring down a powerful, violent drug cartel. It's going to take more than a pair of dime store shades for Tara to bring their dark deeds to light. Can she help Nick without blowing his cover…and ending up in harm's way herself?
To Die Fur by Dixie Lyle
Deirdre has her hands full, as usual. Working as a Jill-of-all-trades for a zany billionaire like Zelda Zoransky means the daily grind is closer to a juggling act, and this week is no exception—especially when her side job is directing spiritual traffic in Zelda's pet cemetery. With ZZ hosting a party for some of the world's wealthiest animal collectors and a rare albino liger named Augustus in residence at the private zoo, Foxtrot is ready for trouble to take a big bite out of her schedule…
She doesn't have to wait long. The half-ton big cat is dead, and there's a houseful of colorful suspects, each one wackier than the next. But if they were all bidding to buy him, who would want Augustus dead? With the help of Tango's feline telepathy and Whiskey the canine shapeshifter, Foxtrot learns that there's much more to Augustus than meets the eye. Now they just have to sniff out a killer before any more fur flies…