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THE GHOST GOES TO THE DOGS

A delightful tale sure to appeal to pet lovers and fans of quirky whodunits alike.

A bookstore owner and a hard-boiled ghost tackle two dog-centric mysteries.

Back in 1947 New York City, tough shamus Jack Shepard is hired by a terrier with a C-note and an explanatory letter around her neck. Meanwhile, in present-day Quindicott, Rhode Island, bookstore owner Penelope McClure is immersed in preparations for Pet Mystery Week, which will include a variety of events culminating in a pet parade. Ever since Jack was shot dead in her shop, his ghost has lingered on, helping Pen solve crimes while she helps him solve some in the 1940s. When an insistently barking dog belonging to Jane Cunningham, one of the customers helping Pen organize the pet week, shows up at the bookstore, Pen and her son, Spencer, follow him through town, eventually finding a badly wounded Jane. The police write it off as a hunting accident, but Jane’s doctor thinks the wound is from a small caliber bullet fired at close range. Pen takes in Jane’s dog, Sparky, and she and Jack resolve to discover the truth. Their quest is complicated by a backbiting crew of pet lovers quarreling over the events for the pet week and some episodes in Jane’s past that could have made her enemies. Back in 1940s New York, Jack cares for the terrier Toto Two while he watches out for a threatening gangster fresh out of prison. When Pen returns to his time period, they attempt to solve Toto Two’s case, helped by a key Pen finds attached to her collar that proves a valuable clue. Jack may be a figure of Pen’s imagination, but he’s real enough to strike sexual sparks as they work together to solve past and present crimes.

A delightful tale sure to appeal to pet lovers and fans of quirky whodunits alike.

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780425255490

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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THE COMFORT OF GHOSTS

A fitting finale to a marvelously entertaining series full of finely drawn characters often scarred by the horrors of war.

Farewell, Maisie Dobbs.

Once a maid in Lady Rowan Compton’s household, then a university student, a nurse, and an agent of the British Secret Service, Maisie has blossomed into a psychologist and private investigator. Her first husband, James Compton, died while test-flying an experimental aircraft. The end of World War II finds her living in the Dower House of the Compton estate with her second husband, Mark Scott—an American diplomat—and their adopted daughter, Anna, and comforting her former mother-in-law, Lady Rowan, who’s just lost her own spouse. When she hears there are squatters living in the Comptons’ London house, Maisie heads to Belgravia, where she finds four teenagers in residence along with an ailing Will Beale, the son of Maisie’s business partner, who survived a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Checking with her old friend DCI Robbie MacFarlane, whose help she’d asked in finding the previously missing Will, she gets a bad feeling about Robbie’s interest in the squatters. Worried about the youngsters, who were part of some secret government project, Maisie talks them into letting her into the house to help Will. When they admit they witnessed the murder of a Nazi sympathizer that the government wants covered up, she moves the group to a safer place. Her investigation of the murder discloses a mass of nasty secrets. One of the teens found a packet of letters under the floorboards of the Compton house belonging to one of Maisie’s fellow maids, killed in an explosion, who had a child with James when they were very young. Finding that child, who was put up for adoption, may be the most challenging task Maisie’s ever undertaken.

A fitting finale to a marvelously entertaining series full of finely drawn characters often scarred by the horrors of war.

Pub Date: June 4, 2024

ISBN: 9781641296069

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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