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Dixie Hemingway lives

Dixie Hemingway, a very likeable young woman, is a pet-sitter and amateur detective living on Siesta Key, near Sarasota, FL.  She had worked as a deputy in the  local sheriff’s office, but after the death of her husband and three-year-old daughter in a senseless car accident, she needed to do something else.  Dixie lives next door to her protective older brother Michael who is a fireman and an excellent cook.  When not eating at Michael’s, Dixie chows down at the Village Diner where Judy and Tanisha make sure she doesn’t starve. The small town atmosphere, the tropical birds and ravishing sunsets and, of course, lots of appealing dogs and cats give these cozies lots of appeal. Romantic interest is provided by Lieutenant Guidry from Sarasota’s homicide division and local lawyer Ethan Crane.   When author Blaize Clement died in 2011, her son John took over the series and is keeping Dixie alive.  The Cat Sitter’s Nine Lives (Minotaur, 7/2014) is the ninth book  in the series.  Clement’s fans are very pleased with the titles John has produced.  The series is best read in the correct order, which is the same as the chronological order.

–posted 7/27/2014

Posted July/22/2014

Anthea Fraser

If you are looking for some satisfyingly old fashioned classic British mysteries, try Anthea Fraser’s series about Detective Chief Inspector David Webb of Stillingham, England.  This gentle and methodical police chief leads his team through sixteen novels, the last ten of which have titles taken from the English folk song Green Grow the Rushes, O.   Unlike many of today’s character-driven mysteries, the puzzle is paramount in Fraser’s books, yet  there is enough development of personalities to warrant reading the books in the correct order.   Even as a child, Anthea Fraser wanted to be a writer.  After her children were born, she wrote  a few paranormal tales and romantic suspense novels before turning to the mysteries which have won her a wide readership in England and the U.S.  Beware, you will find hard cover copies of many Fraser titles only in large print editions, though they are now available for the Kindle at bargain prices.  And when you have finished with DCI Webb, you can move on to Fraser’s second successful series, the Rona Parish mysteries (q.v.).

–posted 7/21/2014

Posted July/21/2014

Jeff Abbott

abbotTexan Jeff Abbot is a versatile writer.  He has created three series and a number of best-selling standalone thrillers.  Inside Man (Grand Central, 7/2014) is the fourth installment of his Sam Capra novels.  We first meet Sam as a young CIA agent stationed in London as he receives a frantic call from his wife Lucy asking him to meet her outside the building where he is working,  Capra does so just in time–the building explodes killing everyone inside. As the only survivor Capra is branded as a murderer and a traitor by the CIA.  And  Lucy has disappeared.  Eventually Sam  winds up owning and running an international  chain of bars and investigating the crimes that seem to find him.

–posted 7/13/14

Posted July/13/2014

Junior Bender

herbie's gameJunior Bender arrived on the scene in Crashed (Soho Crime, 2010), but I haven’t caught up with him until now.  Herbie’s Game (Soho, 7/2014) is the fourth book in the series about this lovable, wise-cracking crook turned private eye.  After 22 years as a successful burglar, Junior gets blackmailed by a crime boss into investigating a problem for her.  As a detective, Junior lacks certain skills and collects the customary eccentric side-kicks to help him.  Even his precocious 12-year-old daughter Rina tries to help.  Set in Los Angeles, like his Simeon Grist series, author Timothy Hallinan will keep you laughing to the end.  Fans of Donald Westlake and Carl Hiaasen will enjoy these.

–posted 7/6/2014

Posted July/6/2014

Spike Sanguinetti

You will enjoy the glimpses of Gibraltar and Tangiers that Thomas Mogford gives us in his thrillers featuring  Gibraltar-based tax lawyer Spike Sanguinetti who is reluctantly drawn into investigating when a friend is accused of murder.  Spike fits the amateur detective mold:  he is a debonair and melancholy bachelor whose immersion in the melting-pot culture of the region helps him solves the cases he takes on.  Love interest is supplied by Zahra, a mysterious Bedouin woman and Jessica Navarro, one of his closest friends.  Hollow Mountain (Bloomsbury, 2014) is the third book in this series  The unique dangers and villains Sanguinetti faces make exciting reading that fans of Michael Dibdin’s Aurelio Zen may also enjoy.  Thomas Mogford lives with his family in London.

–posted 7/1/2014

Posted July/2/2014

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