Taken to the Cleaners


Dolores Johnson - 1997
    mystery stars a Denver dry cleaner and recent divorcee who comes across a bloody men's suit and, despite the disappearance of potential witness, tries to discover the whereabouts of its owner.

A Diet to Die For


Sarah Steding - 2013
    Working for the food-centric Yummy Channel, it’s hard to resist temptation. But when there’s a crime for Jen to solve, it’s easy as pie. . . .Baker extraordinaire Bess Brantwood is one of the Yummy Channel’s brightest stars—and biggest divas. Despite the off-camera drama, Jen has to admit that Bess’s chocolate buttercream cupcakes drizzled with caramel are simply to die for—and kill for, as it turns out—when Bess’s body, like a baked good gone bad, is discovered . . . in a Dumpster.Who iced the cupcake queen? Jen is determined to find out. With the help of her BFFs—fab foodblogger Gabby and lively life coach Elizabeth—she starts sifting for clues. She’s got all the ingredients to solve the perfect crime, including one delectable detective, one divalicious diary, and enough industry rivals for a battle of the network stars. But is Jen prepared to risk her life as well as her waistline? No matter how you slice it, revenge is sweet—and loaded with carbs.

Murder in Miniature


Margaret Grace - 2008
    First in a big new series. Geraldine Porter thought that being the chairwoman of the local Dollhouse and Miniatures Fair would give her leisure time to spend on her favorite craft. That was before a fellow miniatures afficionado is suspected of murder, leaving Gerry to prove the woman's innocence-or die trying.

Shop Till You Drop


Elaine Viets - 2003
    Once on the fast track to success, Helen Hawthorne is now going nowhere fast.  She traded in her chic life for a shabby one.  And now she's on the fun, jumping from city to city and dead-end job to dead-end job, trying to stay one step ahead of her past...After two weeks as the new salesclerk at Juliana's, Fort Lauderdale's ultra-exclusive clothing boutique, Helen still feels out of fashion.  And since the only crime likely to be committed around here is being old-or worse, looking old-Helen figures she is safe.  Until she discovers the manager has been embezzling money and selling designer drugs along with the designer clothes.  Add murder to the mix-and Helen's dead-end job is downright deadly.

What's a Girl Gotta Do?


Sparkle Hayter - 1994
    To top it all off, Robin becomes a suspect in a brutal murder. Gathering her wits, her perfume atomizer spiked with cayenne pepper, and her Epilady, she turns reluctant gumshoe to find the real killer and clear her name—all this while doing an undercover assignment at a sperm bank with her loathsome boss. But Robin is going to need more than wisecracks and makeshift weapons to solve this murder and not become a corpse herself.

All Things Murder


Jeanne Quigley - 2014
    Over her thirty-two year career on the soap opera Days and Nights, her character has been a businesswoman, wife (multiple times), mother, prison inmate and fugitive. None of that prepared Veronica for the role of real-life sleuth.When Veronica cannot land a new part after the soap's cancellation, she returns to her Adirondack hometown for what she hopes is a temporary visit. No sooner does she arrive than Veronica finds herself in a swirl of turmoil, with her neighbor at the center. In the span of a few hours, powerful businesswoman Anna Langdon extends an invitation to Veronica to discuss a business proposal, ends a short romance with Veronica’s high school beau, threatens to evict one of her retail tenants and thwarts a deal to build a mall on local farmland. Veronica receives an unexpected welcome-home present when she finds Anna's body the next morning, the cast-iron skillet used to kill her lying at her feet. Soon Veronica is chasing leads with the help of friend Mark Burke and her former co-star Alex Shelby.Twists straight from a soap script, including two leading men vying for her attention, entangle Veronica as she gathers clues. Will Veronica solve the case, or will the killer be as elusive as an acting job? And will she play the heroine or the damsel in distress?

Dead Body Language


Penny Warner - 1997
    Suddenly, dead bodies begin turning up in the most unusual places, setting Connor on a hunt for a killer. You might say Connor has a sixth sense when it comes to investigating...but she only has four of the usual five senses. Connor Westphal is deaf. But being hearing impaired doesn't stop Connor from pursuing the murderer. Without sound to distract her, she attends to subtleties that others overlook and ultimately unravels the mystery.

Dying to Be Thin


Kathryn Lilley - 2007
    In just a week, plus-sized TV producer Kate Gallagher has been laid off because of her weight and dumped by her boyfriend. So she enrolls in a weight loss clinic in Durham, NC. Soon, Kate's ready to sell her soul for some sweets. But when a diet guru turns up dead with fondue forks where his eyes were, Kate loses her appetite-and has a breaking story on her hands...

Bahamarama


Bob Morris - 2004
    The first step toward getting his life back together is meeting up with his beautiful magazine mogul girlfriend, Barbara, on Harbor Island in the Bahamas. But making it out of Florida proves to be more trouble than a gator with a toothache--and even deadlier. Zack barely leaves the state alive before he discovers Barbara's been kidnapped and her ex-lover, a photographer, murdered. Once again trouble has come knocking on Zack's door. But this time he's fighting back, with the help of a Royal Bahamanian police superintendent, his trusted mystical Taino Indian friend Boggy, and a cast of the most colorful characters ever to step into the warm Bahama sun.As unpredictable as island trade winds, Bahamarama twists and turns its way to a stunning conclusion and announces the arrival of a writer who is sure to surprise and delight mystery fans for years to come. Bahamarama is a 2005 Edgar Award Nominee for Best First Novel.

Buying Time


Kelly Cochran - 2012
    As a personal concierge, she sells her time to those who don't have enough. One of the perks of her business is focusing on other people's lives so she doesn't have to face the demons in her own.When Aspen's most loyal customer dies and his suicide looks eerily like murder, she anonymously tips off the police so she won't expose a secret she desperately needs to keep. But, murder and mayhem are a bothersome duo and she soon finds herself caught in a web of chaos.A string of crimes, long enough to make a real detective sweat, threaten her livelihood and ultimately her life. Aspen's only hope to untangle the mess before they cause permanent damage is to track down who's responsible. Pursuing the truth means solving the mystery of a decade-old land deal, while juggling a quirky DJ and his dog, an eccentric paraplegic, a curious set of twins, and a flirtatious neighbor with spy gadgets.

Grounds for Murder


Tara Lush - 2020
    In front of a gossipy crowd in the small Florida town of Devil's Beach, Lana's normally calm demeanor heats to a boil when she runs into the arrogant java slinger. Of course, Fabrizio "Fab" Bellucci has a slick explanation for jumping ship. But when he's found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana's café, she becomes the prime suspect.Even the island's handsome police chief isn't quite certain of her innocence. But Lana isn't the only one in town who was angry with Fabrizio. Jilted lovers, a shrimp boat captain, and a surfer with ties to the mob are all suspects as trouble brews on the beach.With her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista sporting a punk rock aesthetic at her side, Lana's prepared to turn up the heat to catch the real killer. After all, she is a former award-winning reporter. As scandal hangs over her beachside café, can Lana clear her name and win the championship -- or will she come to a bitter end?

Maid for Murder


Barbara Colley - 2002
    She leads a quiet, simple, "practical" life--and it suits her just fine. Business is booming at her housecleaning service, Maid-for-a-Day--and in her down time, she loves reading mystery novels and hanging out with her parakeet, Sweety Boy. Everything's perfect. Well, "almost" everything. . .Charlotte doesn't mind polishing silver, scrubbing toilets, or dusting bookcases--but she can't stand dealing with her rich clients' dirty laundry. And when it comes to the much-talked-about Dubuisson family, there's an awful lot of it--especially since Jackson Dubuisson was found murdered in his study.Now this exclusive enclave is abuzz with all kinds of gossip--and some very sinister speculation. A chatty socialite keeps hinting that Jackson's extra-marital affair may have been the death of him. His mother-in-law--who's quite possibly senile--has revealed more of the Dubuisson family's secrets than Charlotte ever wanted to know. And then there's his widow, Jeanne. Charlotte refuses to desert her in her time of need--but suspects she may have something to hide. One thing is certain: someone wanted Jackson dead--and that someone is not coming clean. . .Surrounded by possible suspects and hounded by a tenacious police detective, Charlotte wishes she could stick to her own policy of staying out of clients' personal business. Problem is, she's never been able to walk away from a mess. And this is the biggest one she's ever seen. . .

Vengeance is Mine


Joanne Fluke - 1986
    But never anything like this. Not here in St. Cloud, Minnesota. A local activist has been found murdered, his body frozen like a statue and placed in a Winter Carnival ice sculpture display. Next a vicious hate crime puts a man in the ICU. And locked away in the Holy Rest mental ward, a deranged man of the cloth prays for more sinners to be punished—and waits for a sign from above. These seemingly random acts lead police chief Steve Radke to Michele, who could be the next pawn in a madman’s chess game of life and death, good versus evil…

Die Buying


Laura DiSilverio - 2011
    But there's no time to be bored when someone 'liberates' a 15-foot python from the Herpetology Hut, and a mannequin turns out to be a very real corpse.

The Hotel Detective


Alan Russell - 1994
    The newbie hotel detective is quickly overwhelmed when a murder-mystery weekend descends on the hotel at the same time as a Bob Johnson convention (yes, the attendees are all named Bob Johnson)—and that’s before a bra thief strikes, a contractor leaps to his death, and two more dead bodies turn up. Mayhem has checked in to the Hotel California. So, as it turns out, has a murderer. Like the little Dutch boy, Am must try and plug one leak after another. Will he be able to get the job done before yet another hotel guest checks out forever? Revised and updated edition Also available in a new paperback edition upon release A Q&A with Author Alan Russell Q: It has been a long time since the Hotel Detective books were released. What prompted their rerelease? A: I wrote the books as a young man, and many readers fell in love with the series. For more than twenty years people have been asking me, “When is the next Hotel Detective book coming out?” Q: And when is the next Hotel Detective book coming out? A: If this rerelease of the first two books proves popular, my hope would be to release the third book in the series by 2020. Q: What about this series do readers like? A: I wrote these books while I was a general manager at a resort hotel in La Jolla. Not coincidentally, the mysteries take place at an oceanfront resort in La Jolla. I think readers love getting an “inn-side” look at the operations of a hotel. Q: Reviewers have said these are a “departure” from your usual novels. A: Although I often use humor in my novels, the hotel novels were written with the express purpose of making readers laugh. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you shouldn’t read these books. Q: Is it difficult writing comedic novels? A: I would like to think I have a natural bent for doing it. That said, humor is very subjective. Over the years there have been very few mysteries written for laughs. It is a tough nut to crack. Q: You apparently succeeded, though. These books received starred reviews, and you won the Lefty, a prestigious award given to the best comedic mystery. A: It’s nice having an outlet for my warped sense of humor. Q: You are best known for your Gideon and Sirius novels. Are these series in any way similar, and do you think your Gideon and Sirius readers would like these books? A: Readers who appreciate Gideon’s wisecracks would probably like Am Caulfield, the main character in the Hotel Detective novels. Am’s humor is more situational, but in both men gallows humor runs deep.