- Ellie Alexander's Caught Bread Handed, the fourth book in her Bakeshop series
- Stephanie Blackmoore's Engaged in Death, the debut of her Wedding Planner series from Kensington
- Amy Boyles' Scared Witchless, the debut of her Bless Your Witch series
- Cheryl Bradshaw's Hickory Dickory Dead, the debut of her Maisie Fezziwig series
- Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson's The Memory of a Murder
- Mary Corrigan's Final Fondue, the third book in her Five-Ingredient culinary series
- Judith Cranswick's Blood Hits the Wall, the fourth book in her Fiona Mason series
- Leighann Dobbs' No Scone Unturned, the 12th book in her Lexy Baker series
- Cheryl Hollon's Cracked To Death, the third book in her Webb's Glass Shop series
- Richard Houston's Letters To Die For, the fourth book in his Books To Die For series
- Julie Hyzy's Grace Sees Red, the seventh book in her Manor House series
- Violet Ingram's Death by Nail Gun, the second book in her Kim Murphy PI series
- Ally Kershaw's The Catering Kill-tastrophe, the third book in her Willowbrook series
- Helena Lamb's Deadly Mischief, the second in her Brides Bay series
- Laura Levine's humorous Murder Has Nine Lives, the 14th book in her Jaine Austen series
- Kate Lucky's The Heirloom Piano Murder, the third book in her Sammy Young Piano Tuner series
- Mary Marks' Something's Knot Kosher, the fourth book in her Quilting series
- Rayna Morgan's Murder at the Pier, the debut of her Sister Sleuths series
- Meredith Potts' bargain collection Cozy Mystery Three Sleuth Set
- Rose Pressey's Take a Haunted Walk with Me, the fifth book in her Haunted Tour Guide series
- Sara Rosett's Marriage, Monsters-in-Law and Murder, the ninth book in her Ellie Avery series
- Beth Sherman's Murder Down the Shore, the fifth in her Jersey Shore series
- Liz Turner's novella Murder at the Festival, #4 in her Cozy Mystery in the Mountains series
- Hannah Weaver's Amish Secrets: Shunned House
- Natalie Woodley's novella Maid to Murder, the debut of her Molly Westbrook series
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
The past couple of days have been great ones for new cozy mystery releases, so we thought we would summarize them here. Among the new releases are:
at 5:04 PM
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Who Drives the Plot: Criminal Versus Sleuth
Joyce T. Strand, Author
"The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic."-G.K. Chesterton
Despite more than 50 years of reading mysteries beginning with my very first Nancy Drew, I never viewed them from the perspective that the criminal creates and drives the plot as Mr. Chesterton suggests.
However, when I examined my newest mystery, The Reporter’s Story, I had to admit that the crimes themselves drove my protagonist’s actions as she responded as an amateur sleuth. And, from Chesterton’s viewpoint, the criminals did create the plot.
But I would hastily add that the character of my protagonist contributed to how she responded, or in Chesterton’s words, how she became the criminal’s critic. She had multiple options open to her in her response to the crimes. Her character traits, driven by her intense desire to become a world-class front-page reporter, pushed her to make the choices to solve a crime—to get her story—that many others might walk away from.
The same can be said for Sherlock Holmes and the infamous Moriarty. Of course, the villain creates the crime, but how Holmes responds is also unique with many options available in his “critique” of the evil deeds of his adversary. We know that he used the powers of deduction. It’s elementary, so to speak.
So there’s more to a compelling mystery than the criminal’s creativity.
This is especially true of the amateur sleuth’s story. A detective dedicated to solving crime could be viewed as a responder or a critic. It’s his job to solve the crime, and he acts in response to the criminal’s behavior in order to stop him.
But an amateur sleuth has so many more options, not the least of which is to ignore the crimes. For example, as we read about Mary Higgins Clark’s innocent characters being pulled into a quagmire of crime, we see them behave in a very different manner than Stieg Larsson’s vengeful and tough Lisbeth Salander. Or, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch pursues his criminal in a different manner than Dick Francis jockeys drawn into the latest horse racing mystery.
Regardless, whether we view a mystery as driven by the crimes of the antagonist, or led by the reactions of the amateur or professional sleuth, we become intrigued by the puzzle itself. We welcome red herrings and thrive on eliminating them as the solution. Most of the time we cheer for the sleuth to solve the crime—unless the criminal is Robin Hood. Then, maybe not.
We love the challenge and the intrigue. Some of us enjoy more suspense and bloodshed. Others prefer a more “cozy” approach.
But we appreciate a well-developed criminal and sleuth—a despicable villain or more thoughtful one just trying to make a living. And we turn the pages faster when the sleuth has difficulty uncovering the criminal and makes some mistakes along the way and maybe even gets into some danger. We love our characters to be fleshed out by a well-conceived plot.
So, yes, maybe we can view our criminals as the creator of our mystery and our protagonists as the critic. But, oh my, there’s so much more to it—highlighted by the characters themselves and the puzzle pieces they choose to solve the mystery.
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About The Author
Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it contemporary and historical mysteries set in California. All of her published six novels are inspired by actual events and/or real people, although they are definitely fictionalized.
Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California's Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike her protagonist Jillian Hillcrest, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. Strand lives with her two cats and collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and enjoys exploring and writing about the growing wine region in the Ramona Valley near San Diego.
About The Reporter’s Story
A house burglary in 1912 San Francisco that the victim denies happening piques Emma Matheson’s reporter instincts. Why would a not-so-wealthy businessman deny that recovered loot was his and forego collecting his $8,000 worth of stolen jewelry? Why did he fire his maid and butler who originally reported the theft? The more she pursues the burglary that wasn’t a burglary, the more she sees it as a major story, involving murder, intrigue, and smuggling. Can she solve it and write the story that could project her to become the world-famous reporter she so covets? Or will she become one of its victims?
Additional info about Emma: Emma Matheson is a young woman determined to be a star front-page reporter despite the bias against women in her day.Her mother died when she was born. She was reared by her father who runs a newspaper in Sacramento. She grew up learning about the newspaper business. Her father valued education and insisted she attend university before starting her career. She is bright, determined, a great writer — but a bit naive.
at 4:30 AM
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
This month the first Tuesday is as late as it possibly could be in the month. There are a bunch of good new mystery releases though, so let's get to them:
- Isabella Alan's Murder, Handcrafted, the fifth book in her Amish Quilt Shop cozy series
- MJ Arlidge's Detective Helen Grace mystery/thriller Liar Liar
- Kendra Ashe's Grim Grinning Ghouls, the latest in her Izzy Cooper paranormal cozy series
- Donald Bain's continuation of Margaret Truman's Capital Crimes series, Deadly Medicine
- Laura Bradford's Eclair and Present Danger, the debut of her Emergency Dessert Squad cozy mystery series
- Lynn Cahoon's Tea Cups and Carnage, the latest in her Tourist Trap cozy mystery series
- Dorothy Cannell's Goodbye, Ms. Chips, the 13th in her Ellie Haskell cozy series
- Kate Carlisle's Books of a Feather, the 10th book in her Bibliophile cozy mystery series
- Amanda Carmack's Elizabethan historical mystery Murder at Fountainebleau
- Sheila Connolly's seventh Museum cozy mystery Dead End Street
- EJ Copperman's Written Off, the debut of his Mysterious Detective series
- Episodes 19-21 in Matthew Costello and Neil Richards' Cherringham British cozy mystery series
- Krista Davis' The Diva Serves High Tea, the 10th book in her Domestic Diva cozy mystery series
- Kathryn Dionne's Six Mile Canyon, the debut of her Savannah Swift Psychic mystery series
- Kay Finch's The Black Cat Knocks on Wood, the second book in her Bad Luck Cat cozy mystery series
- Sarah Fox's Deadly Overtures, the third book in her Music Lover's cozy mystery series from Witness Impulse
- Shelley Freydont's A Golden Cage, the second in her Newport Gilded Age historical mystery series
- Eileen Goudge's Swimsuit Body, the second book in her Cypress Bay series
- Lily Harper Hart's Grave Decisions, the seventh book in her Maddie Graves paranormal cozy mystery series
- 11 books in Joan Hess' Arly Hanks cozy mystery series have been reissued for Kindle
- Mary Kennedy's A Premonition of Murder, the third book in her Dream Club cozy mystery series from Berkley
- Kassandra Lamb's Missing on Maui, the fourth book in her Kate on Vacation cozy series
- Joyce and Jim Lavene's Until Our Last Embrace, the reissued fourth book in their sheriff Sharyn Howard series
- Amanda Lee's paranormal suspense novel Rising Covenant, the debut of the Living Covenant Trilogy from the author of the popular Wicked Witches of the Midwest series
- Sophie Littlefield's boxed set A Bad Day for Murder: The Stella Hardesty Series Books 1-4
- 8 books in Stefanie Matteson's Charlotte Graham cozy mystery series have been reissued for Kindle
- Jennifer McAndrews' A Shattering Crime, the third book in her Stained Glass cozy series
- Joanne Pence's Four O'Clock Sizzle, the fourth book in her Inspector Rebecca Mayfield series
- Summer Prescott's Marshmallow Creme Killer, the seventh book in her INNcredibly Sweet culinary cozy series
- Claire Robyns' The Butler Didn't Do It, the second book in her Maddox Storm cozy series
- J Tood Scott's western crime novel The Far Empty
- Maggie Sefton's Knit to Be Tied, the latest in her popular Knitting mystery cozy series
- Shawn Reilly Simmons' Murder on a Designer Diet, the third book in her Red Carpet Catering culinary cozy series from Henery Press
- Stuart Woods' Dishonorable Intentions, a Stone Barrington mystery
- James Ziskin's fourth Ellie Stone mystery Heart of Stone