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The “Ice Queen” Inspector

The Inspector Sarah Quinn series stars the cool and intrepid Detective Quinn, known as the “Ice Queen” to her colleagues in the Birmingham (England) Police Department. Invariably Sarah runs into the ruthlessly determined TV reporter Caroline King, and the fur flies when they clash over the same investigation. Nevertheless, they cooperate reluctantly when necessary to bag the evil doers. Author Maureen Carter is a former newspaper reporter, broadcast journalist, BBC TV News presenter and producer. Her vivid characters, humorous banter and surprise twists will please most mystery fans. Child’s Play (Severn, 4/2014) , the fourth in the series, weaves two crime stories together. One is an old case in which 10-year-old Pauline Bolton murdered her five-year-old friend Susan Bailey, and the other is a current kidnapping of 16-year-old Caitlin Reynolds.

–posted 5/28/2014

Posted May/28/2014

Rise of the Policewoman

Merle Jacob, well-known librarian and author, credits Dorothy Uhnak as the creator of the first fictional female police detective.  Her New York City police detective Christie Opara first appeared in The Bait (Simon and Schuster, 1968).  In Christie, we see many of the traits that still characterize female police protagonists.  She is tough and witty; beautiful, blonde and young (26 years).  She is a single mom; her policeman husband was killed in the line of duty.  There is an occasional hint of romance between Christie and her boss, Casey Reardon.  After writing only three books starring Christie, Uhnak went on to write non-series crime novels like  Law and Order (Simon and Schuster, 1973) that won her more fame and best-seller status.  Uhnak was herself a policewoman with the New York City Transit Police for fourteen years.  Her first book was the non-fiction  Policewoman: A Young Woman’s Initiation into the Realities of Justice (Simon & Schuster, 1964), written while she was still in uniform.  To read Merle Jacob’s article in the Severn House newsletter, click here.  Most of Uhnak’s books are now available in Kindle editions.

–posted 5/28/2014

Posted May/28/2014

Astrologer/private eye

Here is a new twist: an astrologer/private eye.  David Lowell runs the Starlight Detective Agency in New York City, using his astrological charts to help solve crimes.  He is assisted by his daughter Melinda who is a young defense attorney, his hacker sidekick Mort, patient assistant Sarah and bodyguard Andy.  David’s “birth charts and street smarts” always unravels the mystery. The third book in the series. Murder in the 1st House (Poisoned Pen, 4/2014) begins when surgeon Ethan Williamson offers Lowell big money for his help.  His wife and Kevin, his 15-year-old son are missing.   Kevin’s twin brother, Edward, who lives with Ethan, is desperately in need of a kidney transplant. Author Lewis Scott Mitchell is a practicing astrologer. He has worked at the Mercantile Exchange in New York as an astroeconomist, where he authored a newsletter, “Trading By Starlight.”

–posted  5/18/14

Posted May/18/2014

First mystery best seller

Who wrote the first ever mystery novel to become a best seller?  According to Terry Farley Moran, it was Mary Roberts Rinehart whose book The Man in Lower Ten (Bobbs-Merrill, 1909) ranked number four on the annual roster of the time.  To read Terrie Farley Moran’s informative article on Mary Roberts Rinehart, which appeared in Macmillan’s blog Criminalelement.com .

–posted  5/18/2014

Posted May/18/2014

A chambermaid detective

Amateur sleuth Lucy Campion is a chambermaid in magistrate Hargraves family home where she is treated with more kindness and consideration than is common in Restoration London.  Through her eyes we meet the other household maid Bessie, the cook, Lucy’s brother Will and handsome young Adam Hargraves, who is home after finishing his studies. Rumors of murder and plague are spreading rapidly through the city and Lucy is horrified to learn that someone close to her has been accused of murder.  American author Calkins studied British history and infuses her knowledge of the period into her historical mystery with a deft hand.  A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate won admiring reviews when it was published by Minotaur in 2013. Now Calkins has penned a sequel, From the Charred Remains (Minotaur, 2014), that continues the story through the Great Fire of London in 1666.

–posted 5/12/14

Posted May/12/2014

Wendy Hornsby

Amateur sleuth Maggie MacGowen is a documentary filmmaker.  She is divorced with a teenage daughter, Casey, a tall 12-year-old when the series begins.  They live in San Francisco, but reluctantly move to Los Angeles to be close to Maggie’s sister and to Mike Flint, an attractive police detective Maggie finds irresistible. Maggie is clever, funny and tough.  The research skills she has learned while making documentaries also come in handy when she is investigating a crime and the wide circle of acquaintances a filmmaker develops gives Maggie plenty of contacts. Readers will enjoy the insights into the business of film making.  The Color of Light (Perseverance, 3/2014) is the ninth book in the Maggie MacGowen series.   It spins an intriguing tale about the improbable connections that help solve a cold case murder. Author Wendy Hornsby has written two earlier books about heiress Kate Teague and homicide detective Roger Tejeda.

–posted 5/4/2014

Posted May/3/2014

 
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