Maxwell, who always puts an interesting spin on her country-house mysteries set between the great wars, delivers once again...

A MURDEROUS MARRIAGE

A marriage made to save a family’s fortunes comes to a quick and unfortunate end.

Lady Julia Renshaw knows she has to marry a wealthy man to keep up the family estate even though she’s in love with someone else. Her sister Phoebe urges her to back out of her engagement to wealthy Viscount Annondale, who wants to produce an heir with an aristocratic wife. But Julia insists that if she can provide an heir and inherit the estate, the family will be secure for life once her much older husband passes on. She tells Phoebe that unless she marries well, their younger brother, Fox, will be unable to maintain the estate and provide for them. Strangely, Annondale insists that the wedding reception be held on the yacht named for his first wife and docked at Cowes. After a catered meal, he quickly dismisses his guests except for those who will accompany the couple on their honeymoon cruise: his sister, Veronica Townsend; his best man, Sir Hugh Fitzallen; Mr. Mowbry, the wedding photographer; and Annondale’s cheeky secretary, Mildred Blair. When Julia arrives at her family’s hotel in the middle of the night with a badly cut hand and a story of Annondale’s accusing her of flirting with the photographer in front of the crew, her sisters and her loyal former maid, Eva, realize that the honeymoon has well and truly ended. Julia returns to the yacht to find Annondale missing. When his body washes up near the yacht club and blood is found on the railing, she’s arrested for his murder. Both Phoebe and Eva have experience in solving mysteries (A Devious Death, 2017, etc.), and since they know Julia’s innocent and the police aren’t looking for other suspects, they plan to use all their sleuthing skills to find out who else wanted Annondale dead.

Maxwell, who always puts an interesting spin on her country-house mysteries set between the great wars, delivers once again in this tale of love, hate, revenge, and country houses in peril.

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4967-1739-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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A top-notch psychological thriller.

COLD COLD HEART

In Hoag’s (The 9th Girl, 2013, etc.) latest, talented young newscaster Dana Nolan is left to navigate a psychological maze after escaping a serial killer.

While recuperating at home in Shelby Mills, Indiana, Dana meets her former high school classmates John Villante and Tim Carver. Football hero Tim is ashamed of flunking out of West Point, and now he’s a sheriff’s deputy. After Iraq and Afghanistan tours, John’s home with PTSD, "angry and bitter and dark." Dana survived abduction by serial killer Doc Holiday, but she still suffers from the gruesome attack by "the man who ruined her life, destroyed her career, shattered her sense of self, damaged her brain and her face." What binds the trio is their friend Casey Grant, who's been missing five years, perhaps also a Holiday victim, even if "[t]he odds against that kind of coincidence had to be astronomical." Hoag’s first 100 pages are a gut-wrenching dissection of the aftereffects of traumatic brain injury: Dana is plagued by "[f]ear, panic, grief, and anger" and haunted by fractured memories and nightmares. "Before Dana had believed in the inherent good in people. After Dana knew firsthand their capacity for evil." Impulsive and paranoid, Dana obsesses over linking Casey’s disappearance to Holiday, with her misfiring brain convincing her that "finding the truth about what had happened to Casey [was] her chance of redemption." But then Hoag tosses suspects into the narrative faster than Dana can count: Roger Mercer, Dana’s self-absorbed state senator stepfather; Mack Villante, who left son John with "no memories of his father that didn’t include drunkenness and cruelty"; even Hardy, the hard-bitten, cancer-stricken detective who investigated Casey’s disappearance. Tense, tightly woven, with every minor character, from Dana’s fiercely protective aunt to Mercer’s pudgy campaign chief, ratcheting up the tension, Hoag’s narrative explodes with an unexpected but believable conclusion.

A top-notch psychological thriller.

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-95454-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

A KILLER EDITION

Too much free time leads a New Hampshire bookseller into yet another case of murder.

Now that Tricia Miles has Pixie Poe and Mr. Everett practically running her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, she finds herself at loose ends. Her wealthy sister, Angelica, who in the guise of Nigela Ricita has invested heavily in making Stoneham a bookish tourist attraction, is entering the amateur competition for the Great Booktown Bake-Off. So Tricia, who’s recently taken up baking as a hobby, decides to join her and spends a lot of time looking for the perfect cupcake recipe. A visit to another bookstore leaves Tricia witnessing a nasty argument between owner Joyce Widman and next-door neighbor Vera Olson over the trimming of tree branches that hang over Joyce’s yard—also overheard by new town police officer Cindy Pearson. After Tricia accepts Joyce’s offer of some produce from her garden, they find Vera skewered by a pitchfork, and when Police Chief Grant Baker arrives, Joyce is his obvious suspect. Ever since Tricia moved to Stoneham, the homicide rate has skyrocketed (Poisoned Pages, 2018, etc.), and her history with Baker is fraught. She’s also become suspicious about the activities at Pets-A-Plenty, the animal shelter where Vera was a dedicated volunteer. Tricia’s offered her expertise to the board, but president Toby Kingston has been less than welcoming. With nothing but baking on her calendar, Tricia has plenty of time to investigate both the murder and her vague suspicions about the shelter. Plenty of small-town friendships and rivalries emerge in her quest for the truth.

An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0272-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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