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For Tony Hillerman fans

Tony Hillerman fans should enjoy Christine Barber’s mysteries set in Santa Fe.  Her novels capture the unique atmosphere of Santa Fe and its multi-ethnic community.  Newspaper editor and volunteer EMT Lucy Newroe and Detective Sergeant  Gilbert Montoya of the Santa Fe police are sometimes antagonists and sometimes allies, in this series of police procedurals.  Author Christine Barber is herself an award-winning journalist as well as a certified emergency medical technician and firefighter. She lives in Albuquerque.  In her third novel  When the Devil Doesn’t Show (Minotaur, 4/2013) Lucy and her fellow firefighters discover the bodies of three murdered men inside a fire damaged house. Within days another house fire reveals more murdered victims.  Gil Montoya and his partner Joe Phillips find themselves on the trail of a deadly spree killer.

–posted 3/31/2013

Posted March/31/2013

Cozy series set in Indiana

Joan Spencer, a fortyish widow with a teenaged son and a grown daughter, moves to Oliver (a.k.a. Bloomington), Indiana where she renews some old friendships, joins the local symphony orchestra, finds a job and starts right in investigating murders. Readers of cozy mysteries will immediately recognize Detective Fred Lundquist as a future love interest.  Author Sara Hoskinson Frommer has been an editor, an avid quilter, and a viola player for the Bloomington (IN) Symphony Orchestra.  Her knowledge of all these topics shows up in these pleasant light mysteries.  In her newest book,  Her Brother’s Keeper (Perseverance, 4/2013) Joan is busy preparing for her daughter’s wedding when her black sheep brother, Dave, arrives earlier than expected for the big event and Fred’s mother is suspected of murder.

–posted 3/23/2013

Posted March/25/2013

Danish mystery series

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoag (Farrar, 1993) was a sensation when it was published in the U.S.  Its strong female protagonist, Smilla Jaspersen–half Danish, half Greenlander—charmed readers.  It was most likely the first Danish mystery that Americans read.  Unfortunately Hoag never wrote a sequel.  But several new mystery series by Danish authors have begun to appear lately.  Here are a few.

Adler-Olsen, Jussi

Detective Carl Mørck works in Department Q, the basement room where very cold cases come to rest.  Mørck had been one of Copenhagen’s best detectives until a bullet nearly killed him in a shooting that took the life of his two colleagues.  Now he and the others who eventually come to assist him patter about in his basement office and lead a quiet life.  But when a case captures his interest, Mørck can be surprisingly effective.  The odd characters and sometimes hilarious dialog make these lighter, but no less suspenseful than the typical dour Scandinavian crime novel.  The Carl Mørck series began in 2007.  Best-selling Adler-Olsen won the prestigious Glass Key award in 2010.  The Alphabet House (Dutton, 2015) is a stand-alone WW I thriller.

1.  The Keeper of Lost Causes (2011).  (British title: Mercy)

2. The Absent One (2012)  (British title:  Disgrace)

3.  A Conspiracy of Faith (2013)

4.  The Purity of Vengeance (2013)

5.  The Marco Effect (2014)

Blædel, Sara

Sara Blaedel worked as a journalist and television producer before founding the first dedicated crime fiction publishing house (called Sara B) in Denmark. This inspired her to start writing her own series of detective novels, which regularly hit the top of the Danish bestseller lists.  Her series features Detective Louise Rick of the Copenhagen Police Department.  She works on homicides and has had special FBI training.  She lives alone, but is quite close to her journalist friend Camilla Lind and often babysits for Camilla’s young son.  The first novel in the series, Green Dust, has not been translated into English.  So technically the titles below are numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 in Danish.  Apparently there are several later titles that have not yet been translated into English.

1.  Call Me Princess (US 2011)

2.  Only One Life (US 2012)

3.  Farewell to Freedom (US 2012)

4.  The Forgotten Girls   (US 2015)

Egholm, Elsebeth

After a career as a pianist and piano instructor Egholm published her first novel in 1999 and in 2002 began the series featuring Benedicte Svendsen, a journalist sleuth.  Unfortunately none of the six books in the series has been translated into English.  Three Dog Night, published in 2013,  is available in paperback from Headline and as a Kindle ebook) is the first volume in a new series that stars Benedicte Svendsen’s adopted son, Peter Boutrup.

Kaaberbol, Lene and Agnete Friis

Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis are the newcomers to the Danish mystery scene.  Friis is a journalist by training, while Kaaberbøl has been a professional writer since the age of 15.  Both authors have written books for children.   The Boy in the Suitcase (Soho, 2011) introduced series character Nina Borg, a nurse who works for the Danish Red Cross in Copenhagen.  Her first case is a dark thriller that became a best-seller in the U. S.  The second book didn’t fare as well, but many readers will welcome more novels starring the engaging Nina.

1.  The Boy in the Suitcase (2011)

2.  Invisible Murders (2012)

3.  Death of a Nightingale (2013)

–post revised  3/22/2015


Posted March/22/2013

New Kate Shugak

Kate Shugak is a native Aleut who lives alone on a large homestead in Alaska with her dog Mutt, half wolf, half Huskie.  She has been building up a solid reputation as a free-lance investigator in Alaska. Shugak is tough, smart, feisty, funny, and compassionate, as a good private eye should be, and like many private investigators, she has had a checkered love life. These mysteries may be a pleasant change of pace for readers–Shugak’s cases take her into real wilderness rather than urban wilderness. Alaskan author Dana Stabenow has a gift for describing native cultures and contemporary life in Alaska. She won an Edgar for the first novel in the series,   A Cold Day for Murder (Berkley, 1992).  Bad Blood (Minotaur, 2/2013)  is the 20th book in the series.  It concerns a long-standing feud between two towns with very different life styles.  Kate must prevent murder and a secret love affair from starting an all-out war.

–posted 3/19/2013

Posted March/19/2013

New Deborah Crombie

dwellindarknessDeborah Crombie’s mysteries starring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James of Scotland Yard rank high on many readers’ lists of favorite mystery series.  A Share in Death (Scribner, 1993) introduces Superintendent Duncan Kinkaid, a respected veteran detective and Gemma James, his new sergeant, a single mother of young Toby.  Duncan and Gemma make a good team then become lovers as they solve one interesting crime after another.  Duncan is divorced and estranged from his wife Victoria.  When she dies, Duncan is surprised to learn that he has a son living not very happily with his grandmother.  Eventually Kit comes to live with Duncan.  At some point Duncan and Gemma find the perfect house and combine their households.  In Necessary as Blood (Morrow, 2009) a beautiful 3-year-old girl named, Charlotte is orphaned and joins the family as a foster child.  Following the developing lives of Crombie’s characters is part of the appeal of this series, although the complex mysteries can stand on their own.   To Dwell in Darkness (Morrow, 9/2014) is the 16 book in the series.  In it, Melody Talbot witnesses an explosion at St. Pancras station.

–post revised 1/2015

Posted March/3/2013

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