Tag Archives: Penguin Random House

A scene from THE PARIS SPY by Susan Elia MacNeal

The Paris Spy is the newest installment in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling series by Susan Elia MacNeal. The brilliant mathematician and codebreaker extraordinaire, Maggie Hope, continues her work in the Special Operations Executive. This time, she must secretly navigate Nazi-occupied France to find two women during the darkest days of World War II.

It’s springtime in Paris, 1942. The Nazis have captured one of England’s most intrepid spies, who soon discovers that the Germans have a mole working deep in the British SOE. From Paris, Maggie Hope must unmask that traitor—before the enemy learns WWII’s deadliest secret: the site of the planned Allied invasion in Normandy.

The Paris Spy is MacNeal’s most captivating story to date in her award-winning series. Blending thoroughly researched WW II historical facts with one-of-a-kind storytelling and a resourceful, daring heroine, this is an unforgettable read that will transport you straight to Paris.

An Excerpt

“The Rue Cambon entrance didn’t have anything for me, André,” a woman’s voice interrupted. The newcomer was enveloped in a cloud of jasmine and cigarette smoke. “But I’m expecting an envelope with ballet tickets. Would you be a darling and check for me?”

She waggled bony shoulders in exasperation, glancing at Maggie. “Sometimes things for the Rue Cambon side are left here and vice versa—one really must be careful of that.”

The woman was petite, slender, and somewhere in her fifties, Maggie guessed, although her gamine appearance defied age. Her skin was deeply tanned, her hair dyed black, and her cheeks rouged. She wore a simple black suit, but ropes of pearl and gold necklaces and bracelets rattled as she moved. She regarded Maggie with a basilisk gaze. “Nice dress,” she said finally.

Maggie suddenly realized who the woman was. “Th—thank you, Mademoiselle,” she managed, glad she had chosen to wear the Chanel.

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, known by her nickname “Coco,” was one of the most famous couturieres and perfumers in the world. She was renowned for taking women out of huge and heavy frilly hats and fussy corsets, and dressing them instead in boyish toppers and creations of tailored streamlined jersey. She’d also created costumes for stage and film, alongside Cocteau, Diaghilev, and Picasso, in addition to creating the world’s most famous perfume, Chanel No. 5, named for her lucky number. She was, in short, a living legend.

“They’ve put you up on the top floor, I suspect?” Chanel asked, her gold chain bracelets jangling as the receptionist looked through cubbyholes for any stray envelopes for her. Maggie nodded. “That’s where I am now as well. I used to have a suite, overlooking the Place Vendôme. However, as you may have noticed,” the couturier continued, her voice hard, “times have changed.”

“As always, you’re correct, Mademoiselle,” André said, handing her an envelope with her name written in beautiful calligraphy.

Chanel took it and opened it, pulling out two tickets. “Excellent,” she said. Then, as she unfolded the accompanying note, her crimson-painted lips pursed.

“Everything all right, Mademoiselle?” asked André.

“Fine, fine.” She waved a hand, brushing off his concern. “André here is the best in the business,” she told Maggie. “Whatever you need he’ll procure—an abortionist, a drug dealer, even a hit man. Anything goes at the Ritz.” Maggie looked shocked, which seemed to please the designer. “And what brings you to Paris?” Chanel continued, tucking everything into her quilted lambskin handbag.

Maggie fixed a smile on her face. “I’m pleased to say I’m in town for fashion, Mademoiselle. My trousseau, to be specific. And a wedding dress.”

“Ah ha! And whose ateliers will you be visiting?”

“Nina Ricci,” Maggie answered, glad she had memorized the designers who still had shops open. “Jacques Fath, Germaine Leconte, Jean Pateau, Lanvin … and, of course, Schiaparelli—”

Chanel rolled her black eyes. “L’Italienne.” Maggie could tell it wasn’t a compliment. “Don’t go to that one. Besides, she’s left Paris for New York, the traitor.”

“But I’m going to them only because your atelier is not open, Mademoiselle Chanel.” Maggie had done her homework. Coco Chanel had closed hers in 1940, when the Occupation had begun, proclaiming it was “no time for fashion.” However, she’d kept her perfume boutique across the street from the Hôtel Ritz open and had made a wartime fortune selling Chanel No. 5 to eager Germans wanting a fragrant souvenir of their Paris sojourn to take home to their wives and sweethearts. From all reports, she was doing a brisk business.

“A response to the times,” was all Chanel said. “You speak French well. But you’re not French or else you would be using the Rue Cambon entrance.” She grazed Maggie’s cheek with an immaculately manicured scarlet-painted fingertip. “And not German, either. Swiss?”

“Irish.”

One tweezed eyebrow rose. “Irish?”

Maggie nodded. “Born there. But raised in America for most of my life, shuttling between the two countries. I’m living in Lisbon at present.”

“Lisbon, yes—I’m thinking of opening a shop there. Madrid, too. Perfume only, of course—at least for now. Yes, Irish,” she said, appraising Maggie, like a jeweler inspecting a diamond under a loupe. “I should have guessed with that red hair…”

“Your room is ready, Mademoiselle,” the receptionist said to Maggie, gesturing to a groom in buttoned uniform, white gloves, and cap, waiting with her key.

Maggie smiled. “Thank you.”


You can read more about Maggie in The Paris Spy, the seventh book in the “Maggie Hope” mystery series.

Maggie Hope has come a long way since serving as a typist for Winston Churchill. Now she’s working undercover for the Special Operations Executive in the elegant but eerily silent city of Paris, where SS officers prowl the streets in their Mercedes and the Ritz is draped with swastika banners. Walking among the enemy is tense and terrifying, and even though she’s disguised in chic Chanel, Maggie can’t help longing for home.

But her missions come first. Maggie’s half sister, Elise, has disappeared after being saved from a concentration camp, and Maggie is desperate to find her—that is, if Elise even wants to be found. Equally urgent, Churchill is planning the Allied invasion of France, and SOE agent Erica Calvert has been captured, the whereabouts of her vital research regarding Normandy unknown. Maggie must risk her life to penetrate powerful circles and employ all her talents for deception and spycraft to root out a traitor, find her sister, and locate the reports crucial to planning D-Day in a deadly game of wits with the Nazi intelligence elite.

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Advance praise for The Paris Spy

“With its riveting plot and cliff-hanger finish, this is a solid addition to a series as well researche as it is entertaining” —Booklist

“A fast-paced climax leads to an ending that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment” —Publishers Weekly

“You will grieve with Paris. You will be outraged by the destruction. You will be terrified for all the heroes, be there with them every step, and care desperately that they succeed and survive. And perhaps above all, like me, you will be overwhelmed with their sacrifice for the freedom we still enjoy.” —Anne Perry, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series and the William Monk series

“This has to be Maggie Hope’s most exciting adventure yet. Vivid and fast-paced, crammed with authentic detail, The Paris Spy is an extraordinary trip through the edgy drama of wartime Paris, skillfully plotted and studded with cameos by real historical figures.” —Jane Thynne, author of the Clara Vine series

“The Paris Spy is a mystery you won’t put down until the absolutely stunning conclusion. Only Susan Elia MacNeal—and the extraordinary Maggie Hope—could wrap such a tale of courage and betrayal around a secret that will cost lives and honor to protect.” —Charles Todd, New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge series and the Bess Crawford series

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About the author
Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of The New York Times– and USA Today-bestselling Maggie Hope mystery series, starting with the Edgar Award-nominated and Barry Award-winning Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.

The next book in the series, The Paris Spy, was released on August 8, 2017.

Her previous books include: Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, His Majesty’s Hope, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, and Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante. The Maggie Hope novels have been nominated for the Edgar, the Macavity, the ITW Thriller, the Dilys, the Sue Feder Historical Fiction, and the Bruce Alexander Historical Fiction Awards.

A former book and magazine editor whose first job was assistant to novelist John Irving, she graduated cum laude and with departmental honors from Wellesley College, cross-registered for courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University.

Susan is married and lives with her husband, Noel MacNeal, a television performer, writer and director—who works with Sesame Street, the Muppets, and HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver—and their son in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Connect with Susan at susaneliamacneal.com, on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Muffin to Fear by Victoria Hamilton

Muffin to Fear by Victoria Hamilton is the fifth book in the “Merry Muffin” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, July 2017

In the latest from the national bestselling author of Much Ado About Muffin, newlywed baker Merry Wynter has some unwanted guests looking for ghosts at Wynter Castle.

While Merry is distracted by her quickly planned marriage to Virgil Grace and a blissful honeymoon in New York, her friend Pish invites the ghost-hunting crew from the TV show Haunt Hunt to investigate Merry’s home, Wynter Castle. Merry soon discovers that not only is the crew out of sync, there are so many feuds and squabbles, it’s a miracle they get a show produced at all.

It all goes from bad to worse when the show’s psychics claim to have contact with people murdered on Merry’s property. When two cast members are found dead, Merry and Virgil must figure out who’s picking off the Haunt Hunt team before their hard-earned happily ever after is cut short.

Includes Delicious Recipes!

Love, love, love this story. Merry is back, married and finds herself thrust into murder, psychics and reality TV and what a tangled web of deception these reality people live in. The mystery was nicely done keeping me glued to the pages. The author did a great job with the suspect pool and I love that every time I thought I knew the identity of the killer, she changed direction until I got the aha moment and enjoyed watching it all play out when it was clear who was behind the deed. I also like that they treat Lizzie with respect and she is definitely a favorite of mine and I enjoyed watching her grow and come into her own. Boasting a wonderful cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a lovely small-town feel, this is one of the best book in this delightfully charming series and I look forward to new adventures with Merry and her friends.

A day in the life of Ruth Clagan by Julianne Holmes

When I moved back to Orchard, Massachusetts last fall, it was to run the Cog and Sprocket after my grandfather’s death. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I’d run the shop since GT (Grandpa Thom) had married Caroline Adler shortly after my beloved grandmother’s death, and GT and I had fallen out over the marriage. I half expected to come back, close up, and move on.

But the Berkshires worked their magic on me. The minute I walked into the shop, and saw the inventory waiting to for a clockmaker to take care of it, I was sold. Add to that reconnecting with the Reed family, being fed at the Sleeping Latte, liking Caroline a great deal, and Ben the handsome barber next door, and how could I leave? With a lot of help I got the Cog and Sprocket refreshed so I could live there, and Bezel the shop cat let me move in.

The only thing that still haunted me? The Town Hall across the street. The Town Hall was not the hub of government in Orchard, though some town meetings were still held there. So was the Holiday Bazaar, Orchard Glee Club concerts, Girl Scout meetings, some classes, and a few other events. The building needed some sprucing up, but that was going to happen thanks to some budget wrangling. What wasn’t in the budget was refurbishing the old clock tower. That’s where I came in.

When I took over my grandfather’s shop, I started looking through his old notebooks, and realized he’d been obsessed with reopening the clock tower. His drawings reached out, and pulled me into his dream. I began to do some research, and found out that the dream wasn’t as farfetched as it first appeared. Over the years, my grandfather had been collecting the bits and pieces to do the replacement. I could have waited, I should probably have waited, until it made more sense to try and reopen the clock tower. But, as with all things clock related, making sense wasn’t really the point.

Clocks were partially about keeping time. But for clockmakers, they are about the craft of capturing time. Getting a clock tower up and running is a mechanical feat. It also requires a commitment to climbing the tower once a week, every week, winding it 350 revolutions, and making fine adjustments to ensure accuracy. So many folks had moved their clock towers to electric mechanisms because of the work required to maintain them. But where’s the fun in that? No, Clagans are clockmakers. The clock in the Town Hall was the largest clock in Orchard. How could I not honor my grandfather, and make this happen?

Now, I’m weeks away from reopening it. All I have to do is raise some more money, get the rest of the pieces manufactured, install the clock itself, get the bell in the tower, wind it, and hope it all works. All of that, plus dealing with any new hurdles the town manager, Kim Gray, throws at me. I’ve never been one to wish someone ill, but Kim sure isn’t making friends these days.

It would be a lot easier if she wasn’t around. . .


You can read more about Ruth in Chime and Punishment, the third book in the “Clock Shop” mystery series.

Expert clockmaker Ruth Clagan has another murder on her hands in the third Clock Shop Mystery from the author of Clock and Dagger.

Years ago, the serenity of picturesque Orchard, Massachusetts, was shattered by a fire that destroyed the town’s beloved clock tower. Ruth inherited the dream of repairing it from her late grandfather. Now that she’s returned home to run his clock shop, the Cog & Sprocket, she’s determined to make it happen, despite wrenches that are being thrown into the works by her least favorite person, town manager Kim Gray.

A crowd of residents and visitors are excited to see the progress of the tower at a fund-raiser for the campaign, until Kim is found crushed under the tower’s bell, putting an end to all the fun. The list of suspects is so long it could be read around the clock, and it includes some of Ruth’s nearest and dearest.

Time’s a-wastin’ as Ruth tries to solve another murder in her beloved Orchard while keeping the gears clicking on her dream project.

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About the author
Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. The first in the series, the Agatha nominated Just Killing Time, debuted in October 2015. Clock and Dagger was released in August 2016, and Chime and Punishment came out on August 1, 2017. As J.A. Hennrikus, her Theater Cop series will debut in the fall of 2017 with A Christmas Peril. She has short stories in three Level Best anthologies, Thin Ice, Dead Calm and Blood Moon. She is on the board of Sisters in Crime, and is a member of MWA and Sisters in Crime New England.

She blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Killer Characters. Connect with Julianne at JHAuthors.com, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Afton Tangler by Gerry Schmitt

Last night was like something out of a nightmare. A medical helicopter was shot down just as it was making its final approach over the Mississippi River to land at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Two pilots killed, dozens of students injured, rotor blades carved into the side of the Science Building, debris scattered everywhere. To top it off, a cooler containing a human heart crashed through one of the dorm windows. I’m Afton Tangler and even though I’m a family liaison officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, I was one of the first responders who helped retrieve that mangled heart.

Just a few hours later, I was sitting in a meeting with a deeply troubled deputy chief, three world-weary detectives, a guy from the NTSB, and a tech from our IT Department. After watching footage hastily gleaned from three different cameras, the consensus on the crash seemed to be either terrorism or sabotage. But I thought there might be more going on here. I even ventured my opinion that the transplant patient, Leland Odin, the man who was literally lying on the operating table, waiting for his unsalvageable heart, was somehow involved.

Odin’s a millionaire, you see. A business tycoon who headed Diamond Shopping Network, a major home shopping company. On the surface Odin looks squeaky-clean, but I think someone wanted him dead. Could be a business rival or maybe even an associate within his own company. Whatever the case, I’m guessing that Odin crossed the wrong person – and made them angry enough to exact a clever and spectacular revenge. Because now, with no donor heart available, Odin will probably die within a matter of days.

Obviously we jumped on Odin’s family and business associates immediately. Met with his wife, partner, attorney, and step-daughter, tried hard to pound out some answers. They all claimed to know nothing at all, told us Odin had no enemies.

Clearly he did.

But we just lucky, we got a break. The University of Minnesota Police located what they guessed was the shooter’s nest. The third floor of the Huang Sheng Noodle Factory where the surface-to-air missile was fired. When I arrived at the Noodle Factory on the opposite bank of the river, it was a total bugout. Tactical Response’s shiny black SUV’s were parked everywhere, accompanied by a huge contingent from Crime Scene, MPD, UMPD, and even INS.

When I was finally allowed to take a peek upstairs, it looked like the perfect place to shoot down a helicopter. A narrow window afforded a bird’s-eye view directly across the river, right up a leafy green riverbank to the University of Minnesota Medical Center and their private helicopter landing pad.

There weren’t a lot of clues, but we’re going to work with what we found. A cigarette butt from a pack of expensive Chinese cigarettes, a brand called Double Happiness. And shaky descriptions of two Asian people who rented the upstairs room, but left after only a few hours. But here’s the weird thing – the occupants were a young man and an old woman.

We immediately covered the airports and bus terminals, hoping to detain our possible suspects before they made a hasty exit. Instead, things got even stranger. Because we just received word that Jay Barber, Odin’s business partner and one of the people we interviewed, has been kidnapped. Apparently, Barber went out running to clear his head and disappeared in a pouf of smoke. All that was found of him was one scuffed running shoe that was tearfully identified by his wife.


You can read more about Afton in Shadow Girl, the second book in the “Afton Tangler” thriller series.

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree. . .

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage. . .

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About the author
Gerry Schmitt is the author of Shadow Girl, an Afton Tangler Thriller, and Little Girl Gone, the first book in the series. Writing under her pen name Laura Childs, she is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-nine mysteries that include the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Her books have also been on the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller lists as well as having won the prestigious Favorite Character Award from the Romantic Times Book Review. Gerry is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won dozens of TV and radio awards, and written and produced two reality TV shows. She and her professor husband enjoy travel and their two Shar-Pei dogs.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a hardcover copy of Shadow Girl. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends August 4, 2017. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt

Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt is the second book in the “Afton Tangler” thriller series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, coming August 1, 2017

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree. . .

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage. . .

This fast-moving and well-written drama immediately grabbed my attention quickly becoming a page turner that I could not put down. The author does a great job in staging this grippingly riveting tale where there was a no holds bar on the part of the villains and when their mission comes a bit too close to Afton, this mama bear takes action that had my adrenaline pumping as fast as I could read to see how this will all play out.

The visually descriptive narrative kept me immersed in all the action as I was rooting for the team of Afton and Max as their pursuit of these ruthless beings took them to a hospital, an abandon building, a chapel, a park and last but not least, the railroad tracks. All the while, this gang continues to wreak havoc on a city that is looking for them.

The suspenseful nature, the intrigue, the intensifying need to capture their prey and the pivotal role of the key players, including Bonaparte, all came together in a wild and frenzy ride where time did not stop for the wicked as the aftermath was vividly captured on the page. Boasting a wonderful cast of characters with engaging dialogue, the author did an outstanding job in telling this dramatic story and I can’t wait to see what new opportunities await Afton in the next book in this terrific series.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author.

A day in the life of Janice Grover by Victoria Hamilton

I’m Janice Grover, wife of Simon Grover, the manager of the bank. When we moved to this little town 20 or so years ago – Autumn Vale, in western New York, in case you don’t know – I swore to myself I was never going to toe the corporate wife line again; all those Manhattan cocktail parties talking to people I loathed, trying to help my husband climb his way up the corporate banking ladder. I didn’t know back then that his ladder was always going to be descending to a lower floor. He’s not a dumb guy, but some people are born with no filter, some are born a little wild or weird, and some people (lookin’ at you, Hubby!) are born with naiveté in their bones. He’s so naïve he thinks people are telling him the truth. He was always going to be taken advantage of, and several people in his banking circle did just that, using him as a ladder rung on their climb to the top, while pushing him down.

And so we got transferred to Autumn Vale, New York, what his snickering co-workers called a ‘podunk’ town.

But I couldn’t have been happier when Simon was appointed manager of the Autumn Vale Community Bank. We moved here with our young boys and I dedicated myself to getting big and crazy. Simon and I are both large people and I figure, I’m never going to disappear in a crowd so why not be who I really am? That’s when the name for my business, Crazy Lady Antiques & Collectibles, came to me. I found my niche, but even that was getting kind of boring after a few years, I have to say.

And then. . . Merry, Pish and Shilo showed up. It was happy days for me, even though Simon and I went through a rough patch when we found out he’d been taken advantage of (Again!) by someone he trusted. In truth, he’d gotten lazy even by Autumn Vale standards, so he needed the kick in the pants to make him brush up on his banking skills. We’re pretty close to retirement anyway, but at least, with Pish’s help (that guy is a financial genius!) Simon has been given a second chance to go out with dignity.

But we’re supposed to be talking about a day in my life, right? For the last while that has been taking care of my antique store almost every day. It doesn’t get a whole lot of walk-in foot traffic, admittedly, but that may all change if what Merry and Pish have planned comes to fruition. I can’t talk about it, but some of the most interesting things I’ve done lately have involved helping them find props for operas. I’m hoping that will continue, and maybe even more. Then when my shop day is done, it’s home with Simon, dinner and TV, or some event at Wynter Castle. It’s a simple life.

But now. . . Merry invited that ghost hunting reality show to the castle. . . or actually Pish did; he’s such a pushover, in his own way. I’ve played a fortune teller at town events before, and I have all the gear, including a crystal ball and tarot cards, as well as my latest find, an old Ouija board with a handmade planchette. So I’ve been invited by the show producer to come to the castle and hold a séance. I’m going to see what comes of it. Maybe I’ll actually get on TV! That would be a hoot. Those ghost hunters are interesting folk, but they sure do quarrel a lot. The whole town is abuzz with excitement, though!

I just hope we don’t have any eeevil spirits coming through tonight!!

~::~


You can read more about Janice in Muffin to Fear, the fifth book in the “Merry Muffin” mystery series.

In the latest from the national bestselling author of Much Ado About Muffin, newlywed baker Merry Wynter has some unwanted guests looking for ghosts at Wynter Castle. . .

While Merry is distracted by her quickly planned marriage to Virgil Grace and a blissful honeymoon in New York, her friend Pish invites the ghost-hunting crew from the TV show Haunt Hunt to investigate Merry’s home, Wynter Castle. Merry soon discovers that not only is the crew out of sync, there are so many feuds and squabbles, it’s a miracle they get a show produced at all.

It all goes from bad to worse when the show’s psychics claim to have contact with people murdered on Merry’s property. When two cast members are found dead, Merry and Virgil must figure out who’s picking off the Haunt Hunt team before their hard-earned happily ever after is cut short.

Includes delicious recipes!

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About the author
Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of two bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.

Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything. . . except writing!

Connect with Victoria on Facebook, on the Merry Muffin Mysteries Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of Muffin to Fear, a bookmark, a Cozy up to a great mystery! pen and fridge magnet! Open to US and Canadian addresses only! The giveaway ends July 31, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of Postmistress Cassie Miller by Jean Flowers

I’m beginning to think I’ve brought a curse on my hometown.

Before I returned to North Ashcot, Massachusetts as its postmistress, the town was relatively crime free. A few B&Es and a carjacking or two per year, some shoplifting and teen vandalism, all quickly solved. While I’d been building my post office career in Boston, my hometown rolled along peacefully, the loudest noises coming from the soccer field. No screams in the night, no gun shots.

Since I came back, however, the crime rate has soared. I heard someone in line at the post office joke that in our zip code, COD is beginning to mean Cause of Death. Really! I’d deny it, but just a few minutes ago, I heard about a third murder among my friends. Dennis Somerville, physics professor at the local community college and guitarist for The Ashcots, our neighborhood band, has been shot in his home. The artificially pretty lady on the TV news has called it a robbery-gone-bad, but I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that there’s more to it.

For one thing, Dennis stormed up to my counter yesterday, demanding that I investigate threatening letters he’d received. How I wish I’d paid attention. Instead, I’d invoked the postal service’s official investigative body. As if that were a paragon of speedy justice. For another thing, lately, when I was involved in any way, a crime was never as simple as surprising a thief.

Right after the news, my phone rang and it was my BFF Sunni on the line, Police Chief Sunni Smargon, to most citizens. Another feeling washed over me—that she was about to give me orders to stay out of the Somerville murder case. I was not a sworn police officer, did not have a badge, blah, blah, blah.

I was lucky that the retired postmaster, Ben Gentry, was pining for his old job and only too happy to fill in for me. Which left me free to walk around Dennis’s campus and also casually interview his fellow musicians. I was also lucky that my boyfriend, Quinn Martindale, was a great cook and loved to take over my kitchen, thus freeing me to snoop around and trail suspects, should I be so inclined.

Which I was. And which got me into a bit of trouble, and—maybe—danger. The result was—well, never mind. It’s all written down if you care to read it.

The good news is that I’m fine and back at my job, so I don’t see what all the fuss was about my health and safety in the first place. Will I follow orders the next time? We’ll just have to see.


You can read more about Cassie in Addressed To Kill, the third book in the “Postmistress” mystery series.

Love is in the air for postmaster Cassie Miller and the residents of North Ashcot, Massachusetts. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and the town is gearing up for a special dinner dance at the senior center. With the local musical group performing at the dance displaced from their regular practice location, Cassie is all too happy to host them during off-hours at the post office.

But not everything is coming up roses. When one of the musicians, Dennis Somerville, is found shot in his home, rumors swirl over who might have wanted him dead. Cassie must determine if there is a link between a string of recent break-ins and Dennis’s murder before another victim winds up with more than a broken heart.

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About the author
Jean Flowers is one of the pen names of Camille Minichino, a retired physicist turned writer. Camille is the author of twenty-five mystery novels in four series: the Periodic Table Mysteries, the Miniature Mysteries (as Margaret Grace), and the Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries (as Ada Madison).

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Addressed To Kill. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends July 28, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life with Devereaux Sinclair by Denise Swanson

Season of the Witch

Hi! Dev Sinclair here.

I own Devereaux’s Dime Store and Gift Baskets in Shadow Bend, MO. Shadow Bend is a small town about an hour or so (depending on traffic) from Kansas City. While we have quite a few families who moved to our tiny community to get away from the urban sprawl, most folks were born here. Those are the people that worry me.

While it’s not a secret that in addition to my wholesome gift baskets, I also make sexy ones, folks can pretend that they have no idea what goes on in the back of my store. But I got tired of the charade, and have decided that this year I’ll do a naughty Halloween display as well as the usual pumpkins and scarecrows.

Maybe having Jake Del Vecchio renting the upstairs for his new private investigation firm gave me false courage. Jake is one of the guys that I’m dating. The town doctor, Noah Underwood is the other. But I promised them both that I would choose between them by Halloween, so if I have to put on my big girl panties to do that, I might as well, fess up to the erotic side of my business while I’m at it.

Of course, I hadn’t planned on having to investigate a kidnapping while I was trying to make such a momentous decision. And when the kidnapping turned into a murder; that was even worse.


You can find out which man Dev chooses in Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh, My. The sixth book in the “Devereaux’s Dime Store”, a humorous romantic mystery series, released on July 4 and is available as an e-book, mass-market, or audible book.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Between a Book and a Hard Place comes the latest Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery—and it packs a bite.

Opening up a dime store in her hometown of Shadow Bend, Missouri, Devereaux “Dev” Sinclair thought she’d left the wilds of city life behind her. But she’s about to discover that even rural life can be beastly. . .

Handsome private investigator Jake Del Vecchio has rented the office space on the second floor above Devereaux’s dime store, and Dev now finds herself embroiled in his first case, which involves Gabriella Winston, the missing wife of wealthy philanthropist Elliot Winston.

Elliot is determined to open a wildlife park on the edge of town but is facing all sorts of angry opposition—including Gabriella. After the Winstons have a bitter fight, Gabriella disappears, and their house is ransacked. The authorities are quick to claim Elliot killed his wife, but Dev’s not so sure. One thing is certain: Claws are out in Shadow Bend. . .

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About the author
New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson lives in rural Illinois with her classical composer husband and whatever wildlife wanders into her yard. She writes the Scumble River, Devereaux’s Dime Store, and coming soon the Chef-to-Go mystery series. Denise also writes the Change of Heart and Delicious Love romances.

All comments are welcomed.

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Flash Giveaway ~ Single Malt Murder by Melinda Mullet

Abigail Logan never expected to inherit a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands. But in the first novel of an engaging new series blending fine spirits with chilling mystery, Abi finds that there are secrets lurking in the misty glens that some will go to any lengths to protect . . . even murder.

When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.


Melinda is giving away three (3) audio copies of SINGLE MALT MURDER. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The audio book will be sent directly by the author. Contest ends July 3, 2017. Good luck everyone!


About the author
Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children.

Melinda lives just outside of Washington, DC with her whisky-collecting husband, two extraordinary young women she is proud to call her daughters, and an obedience school drop out named Macallen.

All comments are welcomed.

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