Inquisitive and down-to-earth, Paislee makes a charming sleuth in this suspect-packed mystery.


A class trip involves a budding sleuth in murder.

Paislee Shaw lives in Nairn, a peaceful Scottish town, with her son, Brody, her Scottish terrier, Wallace, and the grandfather she’s recently been reunited with. She’s agreed to chaperone Brody’s class trip to the gardens of the Leery Estate, where she hopes to get a message to Shawn Marcus, the son of Lady Leery and the landlord of her knitting shop and several nearby shops that all face eviction notices. When Shawn’s look-alike cousin, Charles, is shot to death just across a hedge from Paislee, she plunges into a nightmare investigation of the dysfunctional Leery family. Paislee has already crossed swords with DI Zeffer, but his disapproval does not deter her when her livelihood is at stake. Lady Leery is infamous for her much younger lovers, several of whom were on the scene along with Aila Webster, the 30-year-old illegitimate daughter she recently brought into the family business. A little snooping reveals that Shawn, whose kidney transplant from Aila did not last, is desperate for another organ. Charles, the perfect match, wanted a lot of money for his kidney, but Shawn seems an unlikely suspect in his murder, since he wanted Charles alive. When Paislee’s bestie, Lydia, invites her as her plus-one at a fancy company dinner to be held at Leery Estate, she sees a perfect opportunity to learn more about the family dynamics, save her store, and solve a murder.

Inquisitive and down-to-earth, Paislee makes a charming sleuth in this suspect-packed mystery.

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4967-2601-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.


In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.


No oceans in Minnesota, you say? That won’t stop Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, who are clearly determined to burn through their bucket list on the federal government’s dime.

The murders of three Coast Guard officers chasing a suspicious boat in Florida waters by crooks who set fire to the boat moments after abandoning it send shock waves through the DEA, the FBI, and eventually the U.S. Marshals Service. In short order Lucas and his colleague and pal Bob Matees find themselves on a task force Florida Sen. Christopher Colles convenes to find the drugs the fugitives managed to dump into the Atlantic before they shot their pursuers and arrest everyone in sight. The duo’s modus operandi seems to be to talk to everyone who’s seen anything, and then talk to everyone they’ve mentioned, and so on, taking regular breaks to drink, reminisce, and swap wisecracks. Everything is so relaxed and routine that fans of this long-running series will just know that Sandford has something more up his sleeve, and he does. Eventually the task force’s net widens to make room for Virgil, who, working with Marshal Rae Givens, hires himself out to the criminals as a diver who can retrieve those drugs while Lucas and his allies work their way higher and higher up the food chain of baddies. The cast is enormous and mostly forgettable, but Sandford manages to work up a full head of steam when Lucas realizes that his scorched-earth tactics have put Virgil and Rae in serious danger.

Sprawling and only intermittently suspenseful till that last act: below average for this distinguished series.

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-08702-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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