Less detection than baking—but the baking is nearly as urgent as in Mildred Pierce.

A GLIMMER OF DEATH

The creator of Newark private eye Tamara Hayle dials back the wisecracks and bumps up the paranormal hints to launch a new series featuring a widowed African American realtor whose workplace is a hot mess.

Losing her husband and their baking partnership, D&D Delights, a year ago was a double blow to Odessa Jones. Her job with Risko Realty in the fictional New Jersey suburb of Grovesville hasn’t begun to make up for her losses; as her boss, Charlie Risko, constantly reminds her, she has yet to sell her first house. On the plus side, she has second sight. To the frustration of her Aunt Phoenix, the “glimmer girl” who’s her authority on all things extrasensory, Dessa hasn’t learned to manage her gift. But it does seem that when she smells nutmeg, as she does one day at the office, death is in the air—in this case, the death of Charlie Risko, shot with the gun he was always playfully waving at his agents. There’s no lack of suspects, since Charlie was a tough man to like, and his much younger widow, Tanya, shows up at his memorial service with an array of bruises. The local cops, finding young realtor Harley Wilde’s fingerprints on the murder weapon, promptly arrest him, but Dessa can’t believe he’d pull the trigger despite his bouts of PTSD. Dessa’s no better an amateur sleuth than she is a paranormal conduit, and justice isn’t done until after two more of her colleagues die.

Less detection than baking—but the baking is nearly as urgent as in Mildred Pierce.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4967-2778-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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The lavish food descriptions and appended recipes are the best parts of this anemic mystery.

CANDY SLAIN MURDER

Christmas is coming, but so is trouble for South Lick, Indiana.

Robbie Jordan, owner and chief cook at Pans ’N Pancakes, returns from solving a murder in California just in time for the holiday rush, which is complicated more than most Christmastimes by a number of surprises that disrupt her circle of friends. First, her assistant, Danna Beedle, gets a visit from Marcus Vandemere, a young biracial man claiming to be her half brother, an assertion that thrills Danna despite the doubts of some friends and relatives. Next comes a fire that nearly destroys the home of anesthesiologist Dr. William Geller, a racist whose wife, Tina, reportedly left him years ago. When a skeleton turns up in the attic, the not-so-esteemed doctor has some explaining to do. Robbie’s nemesis, Detective Octavia Slade, who recently married Robbie’s former boyfriend, is more willing than usual to accept help from Robbie, who has a knack for finding things out. The next to die is Tina’s twin, Toni, who knew Marcus from karate classes. Toni’s husband is the prime suspect, but Robbie’s convinced the fatalities are connected. With help from her boyfriend and her network of friends, she attempts to clear things up before the killer spoils her holiday by adding her to his list.

The lavish food descriptions and appended recipes are the best parts of this anemic mystery.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4967-2317-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Quirky characters add depth to a romantic mystery that explores cultural divides.

LEMON DROP DEAD

A small Ohio town where both Amish and "English" people live attracts tourists, babies, and killers.

Bailey King is not Amish, but the grandmother with whom she runs Swissmen Sweets is, so she has a foot in both camps in Harvest. She also has a cable television show filmed in New York and a busy boyfriend in Deputy Aiden Brody, whom she’s helped solve several murder cases. Long ago, when her assistant, Emily Keim, was a teenager, the girl's family forced her to give up a baby she bore out of wedlock. Now that Emily’s pregnant again, her friends decide to have a baby shower, something Esther Esh, Emily’s grumpy sister, would never have thought of on her own. Soon after a stranger approaches Emily and says she’s looking forward to Emily’s baby meeting her older sibling, the stranger’s found dead in the family pretzel shop Esther runs. Bailey knows that she must investigate to protect Emily. A threatening letter from Esther that Aiden finds on the body identifies the stranger as Rosemary Weiss, from nearby Wooster. Although Bailey’s shaken by a job offer Aiden’s received from Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which would take him away from Harvest, she soldiers on. Tracking down Emily’s daughter, Hannah, is the easy part of her quest for the truth. The hard part is choosing the most likely suspect from among the many Rosemary’s past provides before the guilty party strikes again.

Quirky characters add depth to a romantic mystery that explores cultural divides.

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4967-2204-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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