A Cookie to Die For by Kira Seamon

About the Book

Charming, heartwarming cozy mystery novella from award-winning author Kira Seamon. Heather Moore has just picked a huge basket of her own peaches for neighbor Graham Barclay, but when she walks over to deliver them to him, she walks into a crime scene! When Charlotte, Graham's stunning white Persian indoor cat suddenly leaps into her arms from the bushes, she knows something is very wrong . . . dead wrong! Just as she's puzzling all this out, Graham's granddaughter, Madeleine, pulls up lame in his driveway - with a car that has overheated and won't drive any further.

While breaking the news to Madeleine about her grandfather's death, Heather gets drawn into the Barclay family secrets and nothing is as it appears. Madeleine is going into hiding and needs a secluded place to stay. Heather has just the place for her. Meanwhile, other townspeople keep coming up to her with more and more suspicious news about that family and Heather decides that she better start an investigation of her own. Graham's cookie empire looks like it's crumbling to pieces as it is attacked from all sides . . . and even worse . . . it seems that he may have taken his famous cookie recipe to the grave with him! Can Heather chip away at the evidence and milk her sources to save the day? Suspects are lining up in her mind and she knows someone will be caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

Become charmed by the cute pets in this story, including Blossom, Heather's loyal and adorable pug dog, and Charlotte, the Barclay family's brave cat. Smile as Heather finds one creative way after another to keep ahead of all the incoming news as she pieces together what happened and finds justice for Madeleine. This sparkling, fast-paced novella will warm your heart and entertain you.

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“How is your daughter Ginger, and what did I just hear you say about Graham’s cookies? Unavailable everywhere? How can that be?”

Heather posed her questions to Coco even as she got out her smartphone and started researching the world-famous graham cracker cookies that Graham Barclay’s company was known for. Graham’s Grahams was founded by Shellesby’s most famous resident using a secret recipe that purportedly only he knew. He put chocolate chips in his graham crackers, but that wasn’t what made them special. There was apparently a hefty dose of a rare honey that was credited with their addictive appeal, but no one knew which type of honey he used. His cookie recipe was constantly attempted by other companies and home bakers alike, but no one could ever make the same delicious goodness that was a Graham Graham.

“Unavailable, as in out-of-stock everywhere! Check out his website. It says there is a supply-chain issue.” Coco shook her head in dismay and her tightly curled brown hair danced about her face. Heather visited the company’s website to duly see that across the front of the homepage in all capital letters was the message that the cookies were unavailable for the time being.

“Wow, that is surprising. Let’s talk more - I’ll be right outside!” Heather said as Coco went to the kitchen to pick up another diner’s order, served it to the customer, and then went outside to Heather’s table with a solemn expression.

“Have you heard the day’s other big news? Graham’s cookies aren’t the only things . . . um . . . out-of-stock. He’s apparently ‘out-of-stock' too. Graham was found dead this morning!”

Heather decided to not divulge to Coco that she found his body, so she could perhaps learn more about what happened. “Yes, I heard! I am heartbroken - it is such bad news.”

“I have heard that Graham was being blackmailed by his business partner and that Graham was in the process of dissolving the partnership. I wonder if that had something to do with the death?”

“Who was his partner?”

“Wellington Davis . . . Olivia, the front desk manager over at the All-Seasons hotel, texted me that a certain Wellington Davis checked in recently. Apparently, he flew in from NYC last night.”

“Really? Do you know why the partnership was on the rocks?”

“Well, I heard from a customer who sat on the same board as Wellington, that he wanted a much bigger stake in the company than he currently had. I think Graham was being pressured by him to give him 75% of his entire business empire.”


“I hear it was even worse. I think Wellington also wanted to have Graham sign over his mansion on Blueberry Lane to him instead of it going to his granddaughter, as was intended.”

Heather’s mind was reeling, and she felt her thoughts whirling around in her head as fast as the wind gusts she was being subjected to.

“Are you still OK out here, or do you want to move inside?”

“I’m fine. I prefer the wind to that terrible thunderstorm we had last night.”

“Oh, me too,” Coco said as she quickly slipped back inside and returned with an enticingly warm giant oatmeal-raisin cookie on a delicate bone china plate. She also brought a small teapot and filled Heather’s cup of tea.

“That is a bombshell indeed! That Wellington fellow sounds like he was strong-arming Graham from every angle.”

“That’s what my sources tell me,” Coco said as she jumped as she felt a text enter her phone along with the accompanying beep. “Hold on here, another text from Olivia!” Coco pulled out her phone from her back pocket, intensely scanned the text, and scrolled hurriedly.

“She says Wellington came to the lobby and asked her if the hotel had a safe. He said he has an important document he needs to safeguard while he’s there.”

“I wonder what else he has up his sleeve?” Heather’s mind was trying to do an inventory of all the potential suspects and motives for the murder of Graham Barclay. She knew in this small town, a murder like this didn’t just happen; there must have been a reason for it. And I will get to the bottom of this and find justice for Graham, she thoughtA niggly feeling made her feel uneasy. I just feel like I am forgetting a detail or something, but I don’t know what it is. Oh well, maybe it will come back to me, she hoped.

About the Author

Kira Seamon is an award-winning author and earned FIRST PLACE in the 2022 Winter Pinnacle Book Awards in Romance, FIRST PLACE in the 2022 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards in Romance, FIRST PLACE in the 2022 BookFest Awards in Humorous, FINALIST in the 2022 Book Excellence Awards in Romance, SECOND PLACE in the 2022 Bookfest Awards in Girls & Women, SILVER AWARD in the 2022 Literary Titan Book Awards, SILVER MEDAL in the 2022 Global Book Awards, BRONZE MEDAL in the 2022 Readers' Favorite Book Awards, and HONORABLE MENTION in the 2022 BookFest Awards in Coming of Age categories. She writes under her real name, Kira Seamon, and her pen name, Krista Lockheart. Her cozy mysteries are filled with characters with her signature charm, kindness, and furry pets! She lives in New London, CT.

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PASSPORT TO SPY by Nancy Cole Silverman

About the Book

After losing her job as an investigative reporter for The Phoenix Gazette, Kat Lawson has a new gig. The FBI has asked her to work undercover as a reporter for Journey International to cover Munich, Germany's festive holiday scene-an excuse to get close to Hans von Hausmann, a very charismatic and popular museum curator suspected of hiding a cache of stolen masterpieces believed to be part of the World's Largest Art Heist. The job comes with lots of perks: airfare, travel expenses, the opportunity to see the world...and for a seasoned reporter like Kat, nothing she can't handle. But, when a trusted source is found dead, Kat realizes the tables have been turned. Armed with evidence that will expose a cache of artwork stolen from museums and the homes of wealthy Jews during the 2nd World War, Kat must find a way to avoid being caught by the German Polizie, who have enough evidence to charge her with murder, and those who want her dead to keep their hidden treasures forever secret. The hunter has become the hunted; now, Kat has a target on her back.

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December 1999
Munich, Germany

As a journalist, I know better than to insert myself into the center of a news story. Especially when reporting on a murder. Getting into the middle of an investigation could have serious consequences. I could end up dead. That’s what I kept telling myself as I hid from my would-be assassin as he searched for my whereabouts on the icy Alpine slopes south of Munich. I had taken a chance and now had nobody to blame except myself. Let me start at the beginning of my story, where, hopefully, I can explain why I had a target on my back, and what I needed to do about it. My name is Kat Lawson, and up until a year ago, I had worked as an investigative reporter for the Phoenix Gazette, which had dismissed me because of an inappropriate workplace relationship with my boss. Him, they kept—me, they fired. Which might explain how I found myself working for Journey International, a travel publication and a front for the FBI. An excuse for the bureau to send select journalists undercover to retrieve information and pass it along.

My assignment was simple enough. I was to go to Munich, Germany, to meet with Hans von Hausmann and his sister, Erika Schönburg, celebrity curators for The Gerhardt Galerie, a new museum featuring a mixture of old-world masters and modern art. The Galerie was preparing for a show featuring Fruits on the Table with a Small Dog by Paul Gauguin, a French postimpressionist. According to my FBI handler, Sophie Brill, an art historian and holocaust survivor, the painting had been stolen in 1970 from a private gallery in London and recently bought by an American collector who, upon hearing about the unveiling, feared he had been duped.

The painting had an estimated value of between 10 and 30 million Euros. One of several the collector had bought over the years from Viktor Sokolov, a Russian art dealer specializing in finding rare works of art. But, when the collector heard about the unveiling of the same painting in Germany, he immediately contacted Sokolov and told him of his concern. Sokolov assured his American collector that he had nothing to worry about. Yes, the Gauguin had once been stolen but later found and returned to its original owner in London. However, the owner, happy to have Fruits on the Table back on his walls, now wanted to sell it so that he might expand his collection and asked Sokolov if he could find a buyer. Which the Russian was happy to do.

As for the Gauguin about to be unveiled in Munich, Sokolov assured his client the museum had no doubt purchased a fake and was probably none the wiser—and if they were—they weren’t about to say anything. Whether the Gerhardt Galerie was involved in shady dealings, the FBI had no proof and, along with Interpol, had agreed to investigate any possible connections Hans or his sister Erika might have a link to organized crime. My job was to go to Munich, attend the unveiling, introduce myself to Hans and Erika as a reporter working for Journey International, and snoop around. Since I had no connections to the art world and was a new face for the Germans, everyone agreed I was a good fit for the assignment.

What I wasn’t supposed to do, at least as far as the Germans were concerned, was to physically interfere with Interpol’s investigation of Viktor Sokolov, of which I had no problem—thugs are not my thing. And secondly, and even more important, I was not to publicly expose what the FBI and those in the art world suspected was Gerhardt’s Hoard, a hidden cache of masterpieces lost during the 2nd World War that Hans and his sister were suspected of hiding and using them to finance their wealthy lifestyle. If that sounded odd, Sophie suggested I consider Gerhardt’s Hoard from the German’s point of view. The war had ended better than fifty years ago, and any rumblings, much less proof of Gerhardt’s Hoard today would be an uncomfortable reminder of the German atrocities—a situation the Germans were anxious to avoid.


About the Author

After twenty-five years in news and talk radio, Nancy Cole Silverman retired to write fiction. Her Carol Childs Mysteries features a single mom whose day job as a reporter at an LA radio station often leads to long nights solving crimes. Her Misty Dawn series is centered on an aging Hollywood Psychic to the Stars, who supplements her day-to-day activities as a consultant to the LAPD. Silverman’s newest series, The Kat Lawson Mysteries, is centered on a disgraced investigative reporter who finds herself working for an international travel publication as an undercover agent for the FBI.

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Murder in Masquerade (A Lady of Letters Mystery) by Mary Winters

About the Book

Extra, extra, read all about it! Countess turned advice columnist Amelia Amesbury finds herself playing the role of sleuth when a night at the theatre turns deadly.

Victorian Countess Amelia Amesbury’s secret hobby, writing an advice column for a London penny paper, has gotten her into hot water before. After all, Amelia will do whatever it takes to help a reader in need. But now, handsome marquis Simon Bainbridge desperately requires her assistance. His beloved younger sister, Marielle, has written Amelia's Lady Agony column seeking advice on her plans to elope with a man her family does not approve of. Determined to save his sister from a scoundrel and the family from scandal, Simon asks Amelia to dissuade Marielle from the ill-advised gambit.

But when the scoundrel makes an untimely exit after a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto, Amelia realizes there’s much more at stake than saving a young woman’s reputation from ruin. It’s going to take more than her letter-writing skills to help the dashing marquis, mend the familial bond, and find the murderer. Luckily, solving problems is her specialty!

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About the Author

Mary Winters
is the author of the Lady of Letters historical mystery series. She also writes cozy mysteries under the name Mary Angela. A longtime reader and fan of historical fiction, Mary set her latest work in Victorian England after being inspired by a trip to London. Since then, she’s been busily planning her next mystery—and another trip! Find out more about Mary and her writing, reading, and teaching at marywintersauthor.com.

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Pet Momma Cozy Mysteries by Maryann Shanesy

About the Series

An amateur sleuth and her rescue cat investigate mysterious happenings in their small town.


A CATastrophic Neighborhood

Tarsey Quinston and her husband Steve are excited about moving to their new home in the picturesque community of Bluffington Hills. It turns out the neighborhood isn't as idyllic as they hoped. Mystery overshadows the community with quirky neighbors, an angry property manager and the suspicious death of the town seamstress. With a nudge from her cat, Tarsey feels compelled to find out what happened with the unsolved case. As the layers of perfection are peeled away and drama within the Homeowners Association causes uproar, the property manager and Tarsey's cat suddenly go missing. Now desperate to find her beloved pet, Tarsey must solve the mystery of what happened to all three of them before there is a CATastrophic situation!

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A Ghostly Clue

It’s the Christmas season in the charming small town of Starport Cove. But amid shopping for gifts, decorating, baking sugar cookies, and organizing the Christmas Bazaar, the discovery of a body is not the holiday event that anyone expected. When antique store owner Milton Cenford is found dead in a suit of armor, amateur sleuth Tarsey Quinston is determined to find the killer.

As quirky visitors arrive in town and create more questions than answers, Tarsey finds herself investigating rumors of a missing historic diary penned by a First Lady from Starport Cove and looking into paranormal activity.

Will the discovery of a mysterious hidden passageway and an encounter with a ghost lead Tarsey and her intuitive cat Silver down the path to danger? Or will they finally unveil the identity of the killer?

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About the Author

Maryann Shanesy is a native of Maryland who has always enjoyed writing. A lifelong lover of mysteries and anything gardening, she is a pet momma to a rescue dog and cat that brighten her life. She and her husband have two wonderful daughters and live in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She hopes you will enjoy her cozy mysteries.

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Playing Dead by TG Wolff


Playing Dead by TG Wolff

The nightmare is over. Alexander “Rotten” Carter is dead. But when his body is dumped in Cleveland Homicide Detective Jesus De La Cruz’s neighborhood, there are more questions than answers. Rotten was dressed up like the king of hearts, right down to the dagger in the suicide king’s temple. The elaborate staging is perplexing at the same time seems to be sending a message.

As Cruz investigates, he discovers Rotten Carter was more complex than the simple villain he had painted him to be. So is his murder, which is related to the deaths of his two lieutenants months prior. Both were strangled and found, with playing cards in their mouths. Jacks.

As the body count climbs, connection tie back to a dead CI and an accident that made a cop a widower. A web becomes apparent with one man in the middle: Narcotics Detective Matt Yablonski. But is he the spider or another fly?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: February 2024
Number of Pages: 398
Series: The De La Cruz Case Files, Book 4
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

The crime scene was around the corner, no more than ten houses from Cruz’s own. Two streets came together at a sharp angle, creating oddly shaped yards. An island was formed at one of the peaks, surrounded by roadway. It was the length of one of the yards facing it. Geometric colors showed brightly in the morning sun, giving the landscape a third dimension it didn’t naturally have. Cruz approached, his mind transforming the lines and shapes into the macabre corpse.

“I called 9-1-1 and, thankfully, no one else has come out,” Binnie, the girls’ father, said. He stood guard over the island in worn sweatpants and a sweatshirt. He was barefoot.

“Aurora kept the girls. She’ll settle them down.”

“Good. I didn’t want them to see this, not any more than they had.” Binnie turned until he and Cruz were side by side. “The island was part of the city’s Color the Corners Chalk Festival. It took the artist two days to do it.”

That explained the background, a mosaic reminiscent of a stained-glass window, but not the character on it. Cruz thought Francie’s description of a costume was accurate. The victim, male, White, was in his twenties. The torso was covered by a tunic, the kind a knight might wear. Instead of regal, the tunic was decorated with hearts in groups of twos and threes, some facing up, others down. The costume was thin fabric. Details were printed on, not embroidered. The legs were dressed in a pair of tights, the red color coordinated with the tunic. The feet were bare.

The arms were bare as well. One was bent at the elbow with the hand resting on the lower abdomen. The other was positioned upward. The hand curled around the hilt of a long dagger, the blade buried in the head. It was an unnatural position that forced the wrist, elbow, and shoulder out of a flat alignment.

Cruz rounded to the base of the figure. He recognized it. “Someone made him into the king of hearts. Better get shoes on, Binnie,” he advised as vehicles began arriving at the scene. “This isn’t going to be quick.”

“I’ll put some coffee on,” he said and headed to the house directly behind them.

There was no estimate on when the man had died. His body temperature was lower than was naturally possible given the weather. The nighttime low bottomed out around fifty degrees. The body was low forties. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner would use methods more sophisticated than temperature to estimate time of death.

A cursory review of the body found no cuts, wounds, or contusions aside from the knife in the head. The blade had been driven in above the left ear. The handle was wrapped in leather, the complicated over-under weave spoke of skill and craftsmanship. Cruz examined the round, silver ball at the end and found it to be slightly flattened and marred with scratches.

Something about the position of the mouth drew Cruz’s attention. He applied pressure on the chin, opening the jaw. Inside was the white edge of folded paper. Widening the opening, he gently pulled. The folded item came easily. It wasn’t paper exactly. It was thicker. Coated. He turned it over, both sides printed in a blue elaborate pattern reminiscent of…a playing card.

He unfolded it, revealing the king of hearts.

Rising, he compared the body position to the card. It was a match.

He pictured the man resting his head on a table. His killer standing over him, holding the dagger in position with one hand and using a hammer in the other to drive the point deep. There were no defensive signs. It was as if the man simply lay down and allowed the knife to be driven into his head. The ME would tell him if the man was incapacitated via drugs or other means.

Wherever happened, it didn’t happen here. Beneath the body was the chalk of the drawing. The lines separating the colors were disturbed directly beneath but even that was minor. There was minimal transfer to the back of the clothing. The man was set in place, not dragged, which meant either multiple people were involved or one person strong enough to handle a body. The man was average to short with sinewy arms and legs. Cruz put him in the 160-pound camp.

Ready to tackle the timetable, Cruz went up the short walk to where Binnie waited with a cup of coffee.

“It’s nice and hot,” he said, holding out the insulated Cleveland Browns cup.

Cruz went up one step to accept. “I appreciate it. Tell me what happened this morning.”

“You know, Cruz, I can’t tell you much. I was dead asleep when Sunny screamed. You know how it is, one second out cold, then wide awake. I went to the front door. I could tell there was something on the island but not what it was.” He pointed to the screen now hiding the crime scene. “It didn’t make sense until I was nearly to the sidewalk. I told the girls to go get you and ran back in the house to get my phone. I didn’t even think about shoes. I called 9-1-1 and waited for you or them to arrive.”

“What time was this?”

Binnie pulled out his phone and searched for outgoing calls. “Eight minutes after seven. The sky was light but the street still dark. You know. You arrived just a few minutes later.”

Cruz did know but wanted details to supplement his own observations. “What about cars on the street? Anyone leaving the area? Any vehicles that didn’t belong?”

His witness thought for a moment, then shook his head. “Everything was quiet. I didn’t even see anyone walking their dog yet.”

“I had someone go house-to-house. Anyone who was awake was in their kitchen or backyard. There was no answer next door. Any idea where your neighbor is?”

“Metro General Hospital. He works first shift in the maintenance department. He left at twenty to seven. When he started his car, I woke enough to read the clock and decide it was too early to get up.” Binnie pointed to a pair of patrol officers waving their way. “I think they want you.”

“We’re close to wrapping up here. Let me see what they need, then we’ll go to my house. I need to ask your daughters a few questions.” Cruz left the porch, turning his attention to the officers. “What do you have?”

“The victim has been identified as Alexander Carter, age twenty-seven,” the leading officer answered. “His listed address is his parents’, but he’s spent a lot of time as a guest of the county. In and out for possession, assault, petty theft. He’s—Detective?”

Cruz stalked to the protective tent.

“Detective? Cruz?” The officer hurried to keep up.

Cruz took a knee next to the dead man’s shoulder and studied the face. He’d seen it in pictures a dozen times, only twice in person. In every case, the eyes had been narrowed with hate, the chin tipped up in challenge.

“Do you know this guy?” the officer asked.

“Not just me. We’ve been after Rotten Carter since July. Send me the information on his next of kin. I’ll make the trip after we wrap here, and I follow up with the girls. Go back through the neighborhood, see if anyone here knows our vic.”

The officers left the tent to execute orders while Cruz studied the man he daydreamed about killing. Without the attitude he wore like skin, Rotten Carter had a clean-cut look. He didn’t have ink tatted across his body or battle-earned scars saying the man fought his way through life. He could have been a family man with a white-collar job.

He could have been an ordinary guy earning an honest living.

But he wasn’t.

Rotten Carter was a mid-level dealer who had been on Cleveland police’s radar for years. His sister, Natasha “Sasha” Carter was a confidential informant to Cruz’s best friend, Narcotics Detective Matt Yablonski. Sasha snitched with her brother’s permission or at least knowledge. She fed information on Rotten’s competition, keeping her brother’s territory solid.

One day last January, Sasha got in touch with Yablonski and asked for a meetup. She didn’t follow their normal protocols, wanting Yablonski to come to her place. He arrived at the agreed upon time and found Sasha overdosing. Yablonski called for backup and began CPR. Rotten walked in and misread the situation. While Rotten and Yablonski fought, Sasha died.

Rotten blamed Yablonski. He focused his energy and resources on finding the man who killed his sister. Bad luck or bad timing put Rotten in the same place at the same time as Yablonski, and Yablonski’s wife, Erin.

Rotten saw his opportunity for revenge and took it.

That night, Erin and Aurora were driving to a restaurant for a celebratory night out. Rain poured down, making the street dark and the road slick. There was no evidence Rotten Carter tracked Erin’s car through downtown Cleveland. There was no proof Rotten drove the car and instigated the crash. There were no witnesses to point to Rotten as the reason Erin Yablonski was dead and Aurora’s legs might never be the same.

And yet there was no doubt.

Alone in the tent with the corpse of the man he hated, Cruz felt empty. This didn’t fix a damn thing. And now, it would be his job to find the killer who had done him and the rest of the city a favor.

Cruz didn’t want the job, but he wasn’t going to pass it on. He was going to use it to his advantage and prove Rotten Carter was behind the crash.

Closure. That’s what he could give Aurora and Yablonski.


Excerpt from Playing Dead by TG Wolff. Copyright 2024 by TG Wolff. Reproduced with permission from TG Wolff. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:


TG Wolff writes mysteries that play within the gray area between good and bad, right and wrong. She specializes in puzzles, giving you everything you need to solve the mystery. Diverse characters mirror the complexities of real life and real people, balanced with a healthy dose of entertainment. TG Wolff is the co-creator and co-host of Mysteries to Die For podcast. She holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Catch Up With TG Wolff:
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Instagram - @tg_wolff
Twitter/X - @tg_wolff
Facebook - @Mysteries2Die4


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Last Seen in Havana by Teresa Dovalpage

Last Seen in Havana

A Havana Mystery Book 4

by Teresa Dovalpage

Genre: Mystery 

A Cuban American woman searches for her long-lost mother and fights to restore a beautiful but crumbling Art Deco home in the heart of Havana in this moving, immersive new mystery, perfect for fans of Of Women and Salt.

Newly widowed baker Mercedes Spivey flies from Miami to her native Cuba in 2019 to care for her ailing paternal grandmother. Mercedes’s life has been shaped by loss, beginning with the mysterious unsolved disappearance of her mother when Mercedes was a little girl. Returning to Cuba revives Mercedes’s hopes of finding her mother as she attempts to piece together the few  scraps of information she has. Could her mother still be alive?

Thirty-three years earlier, in 1986, an American college student with endless political optimism falls deliriously in love with a handsome Cuban soldier while on a spontaneous visit to the island. She decides to stay permanently, but soon discovers that nothing is as it seems in

The two women’s stories proceed in parallel as Mercedes gets closer to the truth about her mother, uncovering shocking family secrets in the process . . .

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Death Under the Perseids

A Havana Mystery

(Prequel to Last Seen in Havana)

There’s no such thing as a free cruise in Cuban American author Teresa Dovalpage's addictively clever new Havana mystery.

Cuban-born Mercedes Spivey and her American husband, Nolan, win a five-day cruise to Cuba. Although the circumstances surrounding the prize seem a little suspicious to Mercedes, Nolan’s current unemployment and their need to spice up their marriage make the decision a no-brainer. Once aboard, Mercedes is surprised to see two people she met through her ex-boyfriend Lorenzo: former University of Havana professor Selfa Segarra and down-on-his-luck Spanish writer Javier Jurado. Even stranger: they also received a free cruise.

When Selfa disappears on their first day at sea, Mercedes and Javier begin to wonder if their presence on the cruise is more than coincidence. Mercedes confides her worries to her husband, but he convinces her that it’s all in her head.

However, when Javier dies under mysterious circumstances after disembarking in Havana, and Nolan is nowhere to be found, Mercedes scrambles through the city looking for him, fearing her suspicions were correct all along.

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Writer, translator and college professor, Teresa Dovalpage is a Cuban transplant firmly rooted in New Mexico. She is the author of twelve novels, among them the Havana Mystery series, three short story collections and four theater plays. She lives with her husband, one dog and too many barn cats. Her website is http://teredovalpage.com

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Last Seen Leaving by Kelly Charron

About the Book

Alice Penn is a successful thriller writer about to marry the man of her dreams. But when she doesn’t return home after her bachelorette party, and instead, wakes up in a dark concrete cell, she fears all her secrets have finally caught up to her.

She’s been taken and she’s not alone. A distorted voice crackles over loudspeakers, promising her that she’ll experience all the torturous things she’s done to her characters.

Weaving together glimpses from her fiance, friends, and a local cop, truths about Alice emerge, revealing secrets and lies none of them could anticipate. How well do they know one another? And did they ever really know Alice at all? Soon the world is watching, searching for the missing woman who is quickly becoming a national sweetheart. As the investigation digs deeper into her past, evidence is uncovered posing the question if Alice is worth saving at all.

As her captor’s games become increasingly dangerous, Alice has to play to survive. Only one of them will make it out alive.

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The hot, sticky air made Alices dress cling to her like a second skin. Her stomach rolled and the small drum inside her head was relentless, not to mention the skull-grinding pressure in her temples and behind her eyes. Cottonmouth made her desperate for a cold glass of water, and shed like to throw in a handful of aspirin.

Alice opened one sticky eyelid, prepared for the unforgiving glare of the morning sun that always snuck through her bedroom blinds. In its place was complete blackness. A blackness shed rarely experienced living in a busy city. Even in the middle of the night, the light from the street lamps crept in through her window. This wasnt her bedroom.

She bolted upright, Her hand immediately cradled her head as it pounded more violently. She swallowed hard as a wave of queasiness struck. This wasnt just a hangover. She was woozy and disoriented, with her body not feeling like her own.

Alices head, back, and knees ached.

Her hands trailed the space around her, feeling at her sides. 

This was not her bed. Her fingers met the thick, scratchy comforter that she was lying on. She owned nothing like it, and neither did London or Kara. Her heartbeat quickened, producing a whooshing in her ears. As the blood rushed to her head, so did a wave of dizziness. Then, without warning, Alice bent forward and emptied her stomach, the pressure making her head spin like she was on an out of control merry-go-round.

Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she skittered back, carefully avoiding the mess shed made. Where the hell am I?” she whispered.

Her mind scrolled through the last flashes of memory from the night before. Her bachelorette. She, London, and Kara had gone to Jakes Pub for drinks. They toasted to her engagement, danced, laughed, did a few shots, and then it got blurry. A flash of a taxi ride. Standing in front of her house.

Her throat squeezed, an invisible hand around her windpipe. The humid air grew heavier, adding tightness to her tender chest.

Focus Alice. There had been shots of tequila, but enough to do this? Enough to land her somewhere completely unknown? Her hand moved to the top of her head. The plastic tiara was gone. Her fingers entwined in the knotted nest, and her scalp ached like shed been dragged around by her hair.

Why was it so dark in here? Tingles of panic spread through her nerve endings. Something wasnt right.

Hello! Anyone?” her voice squeaked. This isnt funny!”

She held her breath as if it could help her to hear. She was blind, yet her eyes scanned for anything that might pop out in the darkness. Her heartbeat grew louder. She remained quiet, waiting for someone to call to her—to tell her where she was and how shed gotten there.

When no reply came, she tried again. The desperation, thick and heavy in her voice, startled her.

All at once, a tsunami of alarm hit. She gasped, crawled back, patted the floor, and swiped at the space around her. Anything to help orient herself.

Where was she? Where was she? Where was she?

The phrase looped inside her confused head.

The floor was cold and rough beneath the blanket, maybe cement. Alice kept moving back until she hit something and a dull pain spread through her spine. She pressed her shaking body into the wall and forced herself to stand, the coolness of the stone wall both shocking and invigorating against the heat of her skin.

The stillness and quiet of the space invaded her.

Scotts smiling face flashed in her mind. She wanted him. No, she needed him. Where was he?

She tapped on the floor in front of her with her foot. It was solid. No holes or carpets. Just a sheet of hard concrete. She slid her foot out in front of her, testing the ground. When it moved without hitting anything, she inched a bit farther.

Keep it together, Alice. Youre okay.

She counted twenty-five tentative steps with her hands out before her knuckles scraped a wall. The sting on her skin told her it was more unfinished concrete.

She was in a cement box.


About the Author

Kelly Charron is the author of adult psychological thrillers and cozy mysteries. All with murderous inclinations and moderate amounts of humor. She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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19 CRIMINALS: A Romantic Comedy Mystery Novel by Larissa Reinhart

About the Book


Turner & Hooch meets Mr. & Mrs. Smith in the eighth book of the Wall Street Journal bestselling Maizie Albright Star Detective series. For fans of rom-com mysteries, like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum or Jennifer Crusie’s Liz Danger series—readers who like quirky characters, funny fast-paced plots, and amateur sleuthing heroines who earnestly agonize over (but not between) murder and marriage.

#WannabeMrsSmith Ex-celebrity and current (assistant) private investigator Maizie Albright finds her already strange life has become even odder. Her new partner is two hundred pounds and canine. And her ex-partner/still-boyfriend is on the wrong side of her infidelity case.

Not that Wyatt Nash is cheating.

At least not on Maizie. She thinks Nash is cheating on his boss. Her dad. Which sounds much worse than it is. Except it is (maybe) worse than it sounds…

It's Spy vs. Spy — or rather, Detective vs. Detective — when Maizie and Nash realize they're both tailing the same subject for very different reasons. Can Maizie out-investigate Nash to learn the secrets he’s probing into at her father’s company?

Secrets she fears are much darker (and stinkier) than the secret DeerNose formula.

Secrets possibly related to old rivalries and a recent murder.

Her relationship is on the line, but it's more than her heart at stake. Her career rests on this case. And there’s a killer at large. One who will do anything to keep dark secrets from getting dragged into the light.

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#MoreThanAFeeling #ThatDogWontHunt

The next morning, Cuddles and I walked from the old office, Nash Security Solutions, to my new office, Albright Security Solutions—or A.S.S, as Tiffany had gleefully pointed out one day.

The day was clear, sunny, and smelled like donuts. I had spent the night at the office to prevent Cuddles from eating Nash. Cuddles slept in the La-Z-Boy. Nash and I had lain side-by-side on the hide-a-bed couch, afraid to make any sudden movements. After supervising the donut-making shift, Lamar knocked on the door, ready to take his morning nap. Before he could enter, Cuddles had bounded from the chair and attacked the door.

Thankfully, Lamar had a strong heart. As a retired Black Pine police officer, Lamar also knew dogs. Cuddles had eaten donuts for breakfast.

They were my donuts, but whos counting?

Me, apparently.

Cuddles,” I said, yanking on his leash. Its been a treat. I guess. When we get to the office, well say our goodbyes. Please dont barf donuts in the office. Annie is a bit of a clean freak.”

A bird flew past. Cuddles dragged me the length of the block but lost the bird. He ate a gum wrapper instead.

In front of the big shop window, I ordered Cuddles to sit and stay so I could catch my breath and massage my shoulder. Listen,” I panted. Tiffany, Rhonda, and Annie. We like them. Annies my boss, you met her. Shes like an M&M. Hard shell, sweet center. Rhondas a marshmallow. Tiffanys more like a jawbreaker.”

A whine curled from somewhere deep in Cuddleschest.

Maybe I shouldnt use food analogies for you,” I said. Tiffanys actually a nail esthetician, and Rhondas been working on her license to do hair. But because of unfortunate circumstances, they are no longer working for LA HAIR. Annie convinced Vicki to hire them. Were expanding the shop.”

Cuddles looked at the glass where Albright Security Solutions” had been painted to look old-timey, like the rest of the building. My ex-manager/still-mother Vicki Albright owned the business and had hired Annie to run it. As a Hollywood insider and an amazing businesswoman, Vicki believed architecture should tell a visual story. The story said Maltese Falcon. However, we thought of ourselves as Charlies Angels.

In reality, we were more like a younger, crime-solving version of the Golden Girls.

You got it? Dont hurt them. And dont eat anything.”

We entered, and the bell above the door rang. Cuddles snarled and snapped at the bell. From the other side of the brick wall, voices bellowed over the buzz of saws and the whine of a condenser. Cuddles whipped around, growling at the wall. Rhonda shrieked and backed into the corner behind the desk. The door to the office slammed. Cuddles bounded toward the back of the room, pulling me along with him.

Good grief, Cuddles,” I said. Sit. Stay.”

Cuddles sat. Looked at me with pain in his eyes. But stayed.

Rhonda peered around the corner. The office door cracked. Annie and Tiffany poked their heads out.

I figured you for one to get a purse-sized dog,” said Tiffany. I was way off.”

This is Amanda Hearns dog. Brian wouldnt take him.”

We remember,” Rhondas voice shook.

I looked at Annie. Any luck?”

Not yet. The rescue places are calling around.” Annie shoved a piece of gum in her mouth. Hes obeying you. Thats an improvement.”

I glanced at Cuddles. Drool ran from the corners of his mouth like long, slimy icicles. He looked at me. No, stay.”

Cuddles sighed.

What are we going to do?” said Rhonda. Weve got a client coming any minute.”

Maizie, youre going to have to handle the dog while hes here,” said Annie. Take Cuddles for a walk or something.”

Cuddles cocked his head and pawed at my leg.

No. Stay.” I turned back to Annie. But I meet clients. I do the fieldwork. I need to get a feel for them.”

Annie shrugged.

I looked at Rhonda. Come meet Cuddles. Hes actually very nice once he learns he doesnt want to kill you.”

No, thank you. Im not taking something that big for a walk.” She disappeared around the corner. Im good with him learning not to kill me from a distance.”


Tiffany laughed and backed into the office.


About the Author

A Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Larissa loves to tell funny stories about sassy Southern women looking for love (and sometimes dead bodies) in all the wrong places, like in her international award-winning Cherry Tucker Mystery, Maizie Albright Star Detective, and Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series. You might have seen Larissa and her family with their little dog, Biscuit, on HGTV's House Hunters International "Living for the Weekend in Nagoya" episode. They’re back in Georgia where Biscuit has a bigger yard and now barks at deer instead of crows.

Check out LarissaReinhart.com to learn more and get a free story while you're visiting.

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