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  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 3:00 pm on 2019/04/29 Permalink
    Tags: , jessica fletcher, , kylie logan, murder she wrote: murder in red, , , , ragnar jonasson, sujata massey, the island, the satpur moonstone, the scent of murder: a mystery,   

    May’s Best New Mysteries 

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    Good thing there’s a long weekend coming up in May, because you’re going to need some serious down time to get caught up on all the top-notch mysteries that are coming your way this month. There’s a new meta-detective novel from Anthony Horowitz, Jessica Fletcher is back in a shivery Murder She Wrote installment, and the newest Icelandic crime fiction virtuoso is back with the second book in a brand new series.

    The Sentence is Death (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Anthony Horowitz
    The second novel in the already addictive Daniel Hawthorne series features Hawthorne’s investigation into the murder of a famous divorce lawyer—found bludgeoned to death with a very expensive bottle of wine. But the victim wasn’t a drinker. And what’s to be made of his enigmatic last recorded words: “You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…”? Horowitz’s famously recalcitrant detective is accompanied once again by novelist Anthony, whose inexperience in the arena of crime solving is made up for by his enthusiasm. This elegantly written series full of twists and turns is very much worth getting into in its early days.

    Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Red, by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land
    Clifton Care Partners is a brand new private hospital in town that seems promising, but when Jessica’s close friend and favorite gin rummy partner, Mimi Van Dorn, checks in there for a minor, routine procedure, she never checks out. Alarmed, Jessica is convinced that Mimi’s unexpected death is due to foul play, and begins investigating the hospital in earnest. When her erstwhile beau, George Sutherland, ends up at the same hospital, her worries intensify. Can Jessica unearth the truth before someone else falls play to deadly medical malpractice?


    The Scent of Murder: A Mystery, by Kylie Logan
    Jazz Ramsay is enjoying a pretty comfortable existence in the artsy part of Cleveland. She owns her own home, has a nice job as an administrative assistant at a St. Catherine’s, a Catholic high school, and has, shall we say, a “quirky” volunteer hobby: training dogs to detect human remains. Then one day her current dog, a German Shepherd named Luther, discovers not the tooth she has hidden in an abandoned building, but the body of a young woman, dressed in Goth clothes, whom it turns out Jazz recognizes. She’s a former student of St. Catherine’s, and Jazz becomes obsessed with discovering how she met her end, unearthing much more than she bargained for in the process.

    The Island, by Ragnar Jónasson
    The Island is the followup novel to 2018’s bleakly brilliant novel The Darkness, also featuring the inimitable Insp. Hulda Hermannsdóttir, a memorable female detective of a certain age who is a bright spot in a genre rife with male detectives.  In 1987 a couple took a romantic  trip to an obscure island—with an unexpectedly tragic ending. A decade later, four friends visit the same place for a reunion of sorts, and one ends up dead at the bottom of a cliff. Jónasson’s astonishing Dark Iceland series took the US by storm in recent years, and his new series is no less breathtaking.

    The Satapur Moonstone, by Sujata Massey
    In the exciting followup to the highly impressive series debut The Widows of Malabar Hill, Bombay lawyer Purveen Mistry, a rare female attorney in British-ruled India in 1922, is enlisted to settle a dispute in the tiny state of Satpur over the education of the current maharajah, who is ten years old. Mistry soon discovers that the Satapur palace is a spider’s nest of power grabs and vengeance, and vows to protect the young maharajah from the tragic fates that suspiciously befell his predecessors.

    What mysteries are you excited to dig into this May?

    The post May’s Best New Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 7:00 pm on 2019/04/02 Permalink
    Tags: a date with murder, caridad piñeiro, , , , , jane gloriana vallanueva, jessica fletcher, let me off at the top!, marriage vacation, newt scamander, pauline turner brooks, ron burgundy, , will farrell   

    5 of the Best Books Ever Written by Fictional Characters 

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    Writing books is hard work. Okay, sometimes reading books is hard work, too, but creating a story out of thin air, and adding believable characters, a plot arc, and relatable themes to it is downright impossible, not to mention getting the thing published. That’s why it’s remarkable when someone who isn’t even a real person authors a book. You’re making us living, human writers look bad, you fictional jerks!

    Okay, so fictional people don’t actually write books, or rather, they can’t, on account of how they don’t exist. But publishing a book by a TV, movie, or literary character can work as a marketing tactic, an inside joke for fans of an existing property, or it can add an extra level of fun or irony to a project, blurring the lines between fake and not-fake. Here then are some books that were published under the names of some famous and famously not-real individuals.

    A Date with Murder, by Jessica Fletcher
    Murder, She Wrote has been off the air now for more than two decades, but its 12-year-run was so successful that there’s a nice cottage industry of delectable little mystery novels ostensibly written by Jessica Fletcher. Portrayed by Angela Lansbury, she was a successful author who wrote murder books when she wasn’t solving actual murder mysteries (and getting ideas for more books) in her quaint Maine hometown of Cabot Cove. Apart from the opening credits, viewers rarely saw Jessica Fletcher actually writing, what with the time-consuming nature of sleuthing, but she was apparently hard at work because 50 Murder, She Wrote­­-branded books (which are security blankets that read like long-form episodes of Murder, She Wrote) have been published, written by a handful of talented mystery writers.

    Marriage Vacation, by Pauline Turner Brooks
    At the center of the TV Land show Younger is Broadway legend Sutton Foster as Liza Miller, a woman in her early 40s who pretends to be a woman in her 20s so she can land a job as a PR assistant at a youth-obsessed publishing company. Eventually, she gets the chance to edit Marriage Vacation, a salacious, tell-all by Pauline Turner-Brooks, ex-wife of the company boss, Charles…whom Liza happens to be having a fling with. Liza needing to make a good book that pleases the writer without upsetting her boss raises all kinds of ethical and professional quandaries, and now Younger fans can actually read the long-talked about book, which provides both backstory to several Younger characters as well as many subtle and obvious references to the show, which, amusingly…is based on a novel by Pamela Redmond Satran.

    Snow Falling, by Jane Gloriana Villanueva
    Jane the Virgin is a soap opera or telenovela in the form of a drama-tinged comedy. It’s got a wacky premise: Having never “been” with a gentleman, Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) nonetheless becomes “with child” and decides to raise said child, with her wacky family, romantic life, and career aspirations serving as a backdrop. As the series plays out, Jane, who wants to be a writer, goes to grad school, gets a Master’s in creative writing, lands a job at a publisher, and gets her romance novel, Snow Falling, into bookstores. The text itself is a fictional roman à clef, if you will, as the not-real Jane wrote something that details her own life story, as depicted on Jane the Virgin, only she changes the setting to the early 1990s instead of current times. So who actually wrote this cheeky romance novel? Caridad Piñeiro. She even provides a “blurb” on the cover, recommending Snow Falling to readers: “Jane’s novel is so much fun I wish I’d written it myself!”

    Let Me Off at the Top!, by Ron Burgundy
    Around the time of the release of Anchorman 2 in 2013, the movie’s star and co-writer Will Ferrell took to appearing in public as his boorish, ‘70s newsman character. Part of the promotional shtick was this book, a mock version of the chatty, self-aggrandizing, celebrity memoir, the kind they used to make back when Ron Burgundy was “kind of a big deal.” But unlike Liberace or Elizabeth Taylor delivering only the non-controversial parts of their rises to fame, this real book about a fake person is full of actual weirdness as it gives the backstory to one of film’s great comic characters. You might be one of those people who quotes Anchorman all the time, but did you know that Ron Burgundy collects Spanish broadswords, or that he’s from an Iowa town sullied by the stain of a cult murder?

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by Newt Scamander
    Seven huge novels weren’t enough room for J.K. Rowling to build her vast and spectacular “Wizarding World.” In creating an entire alternate Earth where magical beings are alive, well, and dealing with the rise of Voldemort, Rowling provided so many delicious details, down to things like textbooks that Harry, Hermione, and Ron (okay, not Ron, because he was a bad student) read in their Hogwarts classes. In 2001, Rowling made those casual references into actual books for Muggles like you and me. Along with Quidditch Through the Ages, this slim volume is a mini-encyclopedia of magical creatures, which creates another big world inside of Rowling’s already big world, to the point where they made this one into a series of movies about the 1930s-set adventures of its author, ex-Hogwarts student (he was a Hufflepuff) and enchanted game keeper, Newt Scamander.

    What’s your favorite book by a fictional character?

    The post 5 of the Best Books Ever Written by Fictional Characters appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 4:12 pm on 2018/11/07 Permalink
    Tags: , allen eskens, , , , , jessica fletcher, , , mike lupica, , ,   

    November’s Best Mysteries 

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    November officially kicks off the holiday season, which means you’re putting together shopping lists and trying to pick out the perfect gifts for everybody. You have to practice self-care, though, which means that aside from choosing the best mysteries to give to your loved ones as gifts, you have to pick out a few for yourself. This week’s best mysteries include new adventures from the best in the business, including the very real Janet Evanovich and Louise Penny and the very fictional Jessica Fletcher.

    Look Alive Twenty-Five, by Janet Evanovich
    Twenty-five books in and Stephanie Plum is going strong as ever, still tackling gritty mysteries with humor, smarts, and competence to spare. This time around Plum’s attention is drawn to the Red River Deli in Trenton, famous for its pastrami and its cole slaw. More recently, it’s become famous because of its disappearing managers—three in the last month, each leaving behind a single shoe. Lula tries to convince Stephanie it’s aliens abducting humans for experiments, but Stephanie figures on something a little less exotic—and takes over running the business herself in order to get to the bottom of things. It’s certainly not the first time Plum has put herself in danger for the sake of a case—and she can only hope it won’t be her last.

    Kingdom of the Blind, by Louise Penny
    Penny’s 14th book featuring Chief Inspector Gamache begins with the retired chief of the Sûreté du Québec receiving the surprising news that he’s one of three executors of the estate of an elderly woman he’s never met. With his suspension and the events that led to it still under excruciatingly slow investigation, Gamache agrees to participate, even thought the terms of the will are outlandish, leading him and his fellow executors to wonder if the old woman was mentally sound. When a dead body turns up, however, it prompts Gamache to reconsider—because the terms of the will suddenly seem much less strange, and much more ominous. Meanwhile the drugs he allowed to remain on the streets as part of his plan to destroy the drug cartels are still out there—and if he doesn’t find them, and soon, there will be devastation throughout the city. For once, Chief Inspector Gamache is something wholly unexpected: desperate.

    Robert B. Parker’s Blood Feud, by Mike Lupica
    In response to a request from Robert B. Parker’s fans, veteran sportswriter-turned-novelist Lupica brings the late Parker’s only female private eye, Sunny Randall, back in this exciting, fast-paced seventh novel. Sunny—hypercompetent as a private detective—is struggling with her emotional state as she deals with being divorced but still drawn to her ex-husband, Richie Burke. Richie, the son of local mobster Desmond Burke, gets shot in the back one night—but the shooter makes it clear that he was left alive on purpose, and that it’s part of a grudge against the Burkes in general. A few nights later, his bookie uncle Peter is shot dead. The Burkes want to handle this on their own, but Sunny can’t stay out of it, even when her investigation beings her repeatedly up against old foe Albert Antonioni, supposedly retired after trying to bump Sunny off. Lupica does Parker proud with this energized, smart story, and Sunny’s fans old and new will be very happy with the way everything turns out.

    The Colors of All the Cattle, by Alexander McCall Smith
    The nineteenth novel featuring Mwa Ramotswe and her fellow investigators and residents of the town of Gaborone is as delightful and insightful as ever. Ramotswe is persuaded to run for a seat on the city council when it’s revealed that the arch-enemy of her agency partner Grace, Vera Sephotho, is in the race. Vera supports a terrible initiative to build a luxury hotel next to the town’s cemetery, which gives Mwa Ramotswe the moral edge in the race, but her compulsively honest answers to questions might complicate her campaign. Meanwhile, the agency deals with the investigation of a hit-and-run case even as their assistant Charlie, finally growing up, engages in his first true romance.

    A Christmas Revelation, by Anne Perry
    Perry’s tradition of offering a Christmas-themed Victorian mystery continues, this time telling the story of nine-year old Worm, an orphan living in mid-19th century London. Worm has found an ersatz family at Hester Monk’s clinic, located at the site of a former brothel, and especially in the sweet Claudine Burroughs and the sour Squeaky Robinson, who once worked at the brothel and now serves as the clinic’s bookkeeper. One day Worm sees a woman on the street who immediately infatuates him with her gentle visage—only to be apparently attacked and kidnapped. Distressed, Worm enlists the reluctant but experienced Squeaky to help him track down the lady and ride to her rescue—but of course, twists and turns abound as they walk the cobble stone streets in search of clues.

    Murder, She Wrote: Manuscript for Murder, by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land
    Fans of the classic TV show and fans of great mysteries alike will be thrilled with Land’s second outing with writer and detective Jessica Fletcher. In New York for a meeting with her publisher, Fletcher is approached by a fellow writer named Thomas Rudd who tells her he thinks their publisher, Lane Barfield, is skimming money form their royalties—and later turns up dead in a suspicious gas explosion. When she meets with Barfield, however, he can only talk about a new novel he’s acquired from an unknown writer named Benjamin Tally, and he gives Fletcher a copy of it for her opinion. Then the bodies begin to pile up: Barfield turns up dead, an apparent if unlikely suicide, and two other authors who saw the manuscript are dead as well. When Fletcher herself is attacked and left for dead before she can finish the book, she seeks out allies and digs in like only Jessica Fletcher can.

    The Shadows We Hide, by Allen Eskens
    Report Joe Talbert, Jr. reads about a man named Joe ‛Toke’ Talbert, recently murdered in a small Minnesota town. Joe never knew his father, and he wonders if this man might turn out to be his namesake. He begins looking into the man’s life and murder, and finds no shortage of suspects who might have wanted Toke dead, as he was by all reports a terrible human being and worse father. Toke’s wife died shortly before under suspicious circumstances, leaving Toke with a large inheritance, making the solution to his murder an even more complex puzzle—especially since, if Toke is in fact Joe’s father, the money would legally be his. Part personal journey, part grim mystery, Joe learns as much about himself as he does about the man who might be his father as the mystery takes a few delirious twists before the surprising, satisfying ending.

    The Whispered Word, by Ellery Adams
    Nora Pennington and the Secret, Book, and Scone Society return to run Miracle Books and feed the soul with the perfect choice of novel. A new business opens in town, Virtual Genie, offering cash for unwanted goods that it then sells on the Internet. Everyone thinks owner Griffin Kingsley is a perfect gentleman, but Nora isn’t sold. And when an obviously terrified young girl named Abilene wearing a hospital bracelet and some bruises turns up hiding in the store, followed by a pair of suspicious deaths, Nora begins to suspect that Abilene is the next target—and that Griffin Kingsley’s arrival at the same time may not be as much of a coincidence as it first appears.

    Whether it’s holiday stress, plane ride downtime, or the simple pleasures in life, nothing beats a good supply of mysteries to feed the soul while the cold weather moves in. Grab a bunch from this list and thank us later!

    Shop all mystery & crime >

    The post November’s Best Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 5:00 pm on 2018/04/30 Permalink
    Tags: , donald bain, jessica fletcher, , julia heaberlin, krista davis, murder on union square, murder she wrote: a date with murder, , , , paper ghosts, probable claws: a mrs. murphy mystery, , robert b. parker's old black magic, the diva cooks up a storm,   

    The Best New Mysteries of May 2018 

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    There are some fiendishly clever mysteries coming your way this month! Pack one of these exciting new novels in your carryon and you’ll be rejoicing at the prospect of an extra long layover…

    Robert B. Parker’s Old Black Magic, by Ace Atkins
    Decades ago, precious paintings were stolen from a venerable Boston art museum—and the crime has remained unsolved, the case long gone cold…until now. Letters containing paint chips from one of the priceless works of art cross the desk of a Boston journalist, and the museum asks PI Spenser to search for answers. When the museum’s wealthy but irritating benefactor pledges five million dollars to whomever can recover the stolen goods, Spenser and his friends Hawk and Vinnie Morris must wade into a flotsam of crooked black market art dealers, dangerous Mafia bosses, and garden-variety murderers to find the truth and secure the prize.

    Probable Claws: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery, by Rita Mae Brown
    Snow has blanketed the community of Crozet, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen is in the process of building a new work shed, which her architect friend Gary Gardner was kind enough to design for her. But then Gary is shot by a masked motorcyclist, right in front of Harry and Deputy Cynthia Cooper. Shocked by this brutal act, Harry begins to research her friend’s past in an effort to track down the killer, and is dismayed by what she finds. Just as she’s beginning to put the pieces together, there’s another murder, and Harry finds herself heedlessly pursuing a ruthless murderer and exposing bone-deep corruption that puts her (and her steadfast furry companions Mrs. Murphy and Pewter the crime-solving cats, and Tee Tucker the Corgi) into imminent danger.

    Murder, She Wrote: A Date with Murder, by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain, and Jon Land
    When Jessica Fletcher’s good friend Babs loses her husband Hal to an apparent heart attack during a party, Jessica suspects that his death was no accident. She believes it may have had something to do with a shady online dating site he was on when he and Babs were going through a rough patch—a site that may have also cheated him out of a fortune. Enlisting the help of a young hacker, Jessica finds herself coming ever closer to discovering Hal’s killer—and the closer she comes, the more her life is at stake. Fans will be delighted to discover that author Jon Land carries the torch remarkably well for late author Donald Bain (who penned every previous book in this sharp, clever series).

    The Diva Cooks Up a Storm (Domestic Diva Series #11), by Krista Davis
    The 11th novel in the delightful Domestic Diva series finds hostess with the mostess Sophie Winston delighted when her best friend Nina Reid Norwood clues her in to the hottest new craze in the world of epicureans: a pop-up gourmet dinner party. But Sophie’s enthusiasm for the enjoyable event, with its celebrity chef and fancy guest list, is dimmed when Hollis Haberman brings his brand new trophy wife to the soiree (at which his son and ex-wife are also guests). When Hollis unexpectedly bites the dust, Sophie must keep this trendy meal from becoming anyone else’s last supper.

    Murder on Union Square, by Victoria Thompson
    Newlyweds Frank and Sarah Molloy are excited to add to their family by adopting Catherine, a child Sarah rescued and has since been raising as her own. But Catherine’s legal father, an actor named Parnell Vaughan, has a claim on her, and is standing in the way of their happiness—his fiancé has urged him to make Frank and Sarah pay him a financial settlement before he will give up his parental rights. Although they agree to this shady extortion, when Frank brings the payment to Vaughan, he discovers that he has been murdered, and Frank becomes an obvious suspect. When he and Sarah begin to investigate Vaughan’s past, however, what they discover leads them down a hazardous rabbit hole they were ill prepared for.

    Paper Ghosts, by Julia Heaberlin
    12 years ago, the sister of the unnamed female narrator of Paper Ghosts disappeared, and she has single-mindedly devoted all her energy since then to discovering what happened. Her investigations eventually led her to a 61 year old documentary photographer named Carl Louis Feldman, whom she believes is the kidnapper and killer (of her sister and many others). But Feldman suffers from dementia, and insists that he does not remember his past. This does not stop her from taking him on a road trip across Texas to visit the sites of murders she believes he committed, in an effort to jog his memory and to satisfy her insatiable desire to learn the truth. A twisted, unforgettable thrill ride, this thrilling novel will leave you breathless.

    What mysteries are you staying up late to finish this month?

    The post The Best New Mysteries of May 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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