Humorous Mysteries

  • Humorous Mysteries

Humorous Mysteries have the same characteristics of other mystery stories, except they are laced with humor.  They are intended to make the reader laugh. The events can be strange, or the characters may act in ways that make the reader laugh.  Is there any reason why you can’t laugh while reading a mystery book?  Try these humorous tales.

Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth

Tamar Myers

An Amish Bed and Breakfast Mystery with Recipes PennDutch Mysteries #1 “Bubbling over with mirth and mystery.” –Dorothy Cannell “A delicious treat!” –Carolyn G. Hart This debut mystery introduces Magdalena Yoder, prim, proper, and persnickety proprietor of the PennDutch Inn, where guests luxuriate in the true “Amish experience,” (read: doing Magdalena’s chores and paying top dollar for the opportunity!). When one of her more reclusive guests takes a tumble down the PennDutch’s picturesquely steep staircase and breaks his neck, the timing couldn’t be worse. It’s the start of hunting season – and her inn is packed to capacity! What at first seems to be a horrible accident (and insurance nightmare for Magdalena!) could turn out to be a much more sinister event; and when another mishap occurs, Magdalena is certain there is a killer in her group – and it’s up to her to sniff out the culprit...before the world’s most incompetent town sheriff throws her in jail! Readers will delight in this laugh-out-loud cozy mystery debut – and relish the country cooking recipes included.

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Antiques Roadkill

Barbara Allan

Determined to make a new start in her quaint hometown on the banks of the Mississippi, Brandy Borne never dreams she'll become the prime suspect in a murder case. . . Moving back in with her eccentric, larger-than-life mother, Brandy Borne finds small-town Serenity anything but serene. It seems an unscrupulous antiques dealer has swindled Vivian out of the family's heirlooms. But when he is found run over in a country lane, Brandy becomes Murder Suspect Number One--with her mother coming in a very close second. . . The list of other suspects is impressive--the victim's business seems to have been based on bilking seniors out of their possessions. And when the Borne "girls" uncover a few very unsavory Serenity secrets, they become targets for a murderer whose favorite hobby seems to be collecting victims. Don't miss Brandy Borne's tips on antiques! "Cozy mystery fans will love this down-to-earth heroine with the wry sense of humor and a big heart." --Nancy Pickard "With its small-town setting and quirky characters, Antiques Roadkill is fun from start to finish. Dive in and enjoy."--Laurien Berenson

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Death Warmed Over

Kevin J. Anderson

Zombie P.I. Dan Chambeaux, along with his human partner and ghost girlfriend, tries to juggle his unnatural caseload, including a resurrected mummy who is suing the museum that put him on display, while trying to figure out who killed him. Original.

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Murder With Peacocks

Donna Andrews

Three Weddings...And a Murder So far Meg Langslow's summer is not going swimmingly. Down in her small Virginia hometown, she's maid of honor at the nuptials of three loved ones--each of whom has dumped the planning in her capable hands. One bride is set on including a Native American herbal purification ceremony, while another wants live peacocks on the lawn. Only help from the town's drop-dead gorgeous hunk, disappointingly rumored to be gay, keeps Meg afloat in a sea of dotty relatives and outrageous neighbors. And, in whirl of summer parties and picnics, Southern hospitality is strained to the limit by an offensive newcomer who hints at skeletons in the guests' closets. But it seems this lady has offended one too many when she's found dead in suspicious circumstances, followed by a string of accidents--some fatal. Soon, level-headed Meg's to-do list extends from flower arrangements and bridal registries to catching a killer--before the next catered event is her own funeral...

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Calamity Jayne

Kathleen Bacus

How does a blonde spell "Farm"? E-I-E-I-O Tressa Jayne Turner has had it up to here with the dumb-blonde jokes and a childhood nickname that's harder to get rid of than her favorite pair of cowboy boots. Thanks to one Rick Townsend, Iowa Department of Natural Resources officer, local hottie, and general pain in Tressa's behind, everyone knows her as "Calamity Jayne". Just because she may be a little accident prone and trouble seems to sometimes find her, Tressa can't get anyone in her small town to take her seriously. That is, until Tressa finds a seriously dead body and an opportunity to get "Ranger Rick" and a skeptical citizenry to see that she's no longer that skinny kid with scraped knees. How? By resurrecting her job as a reporter for the hometown paper and solving a murder no one else believes happened... no one, that is, except the killer. Now Tressa is one not-so-dumb blonde who's out to gain a little hometown respect—or die trying. Calamity Jayne Mysteries: Calamity Jayne – book #1 Calamity Jayne and the Fowl Play at the Fair – book #2 Calamity Jayne and the Haunted Homecoming – book #3 Calamity Jayne and the Campus Caper– book #4 Calamity Jayne in the Wild, Wild West– book #5 Calamity Jayne and the Hijinks on the High Seas– book #6 Calamity Jayne and the Trouble with Tandems– book #7 What critics are saying about the Calamity Jayne Mysteries: "Filled with dumb-blonde jokes, nonstop action and rapid-fire banter, this is a perfect read for chick-lit fans who enjoy a dash of mystery." ~ Publishers' Weekly "Fun and lighthearted with an interesting mystery, a light touch of romance and some fascinating characters." ~ RT Book Reviews "Throw in two parts Nancy Drew, one part Lucille Ball, add a dash of Stephanie Plum, shake it all up and you’ve got a one-of-a-kind amateur sleuth with a penchant for junk food and hot-pink snakeskin cowgirl boots. A word to the wise: if you’re prone to laughing out loud when reading funny books, try not to read Calamity Jayne when you’re sandwiched between two sleeping passengers on an airplane…sometimes we learn these things the hard way." ~ Chick Lit Cafe "Bacus provides lots of small-town fun with this lovable, fair-haired klutz and lively story, liberally salted with dumb-blond jokes." ~ Booklist *starred review*

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Murder 101

Maggie Barbieri

Safely away from the chaos of Manhattan, St. Thomas, a small college on the banks of the Hudson River in the Bronx, is supposed to be tranquil, bucolic, and serene. Unfortunately, English professor Alison Bergeron has found it to be anything but. Recently divorced from a fellow professor and even more recently without a car---it was stolen---she has been hoofing it to school. One Friday evening, two NYPD homicide detectives drop by her office. The good news is that they found her beat-up Volvo; the bad news is that the body of one of the students in her Shakespeare seminar was in the trunk. Not only are Alison's chances of getting the car back bleak, but suddenly she's the primary suspect on a list that includes, among others, the murdered student's drug-dealing boyfriend, Vince, and the girl's father's business rivals (he's head of an old Italian family . . .). Accused of a crime that she didn't commit, Alison enlists her best friend, Max's, emotional support and services as an amateur sleuth. Their fumbling efforts to clear Alison's name could land her in even hotter water with Detective Bobby Crawford, the handsome investigating officer (and former altar boy)---not to mention the nuns at St. Thomas. . . . Maggie Barbieri's charming professor and down-to-earth detective make an unlikely but lovable team in her delightful debut mystery.

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Monsieur Pamplemousse

Michael Bond

Monsieur Pamplemousse, inspector of food and detective extraordinaire, is delighted to have the chance to dine once more at the famed La Langoustine, a restaurant nestling in the hills of Provence. Life as an undercover researcher for a top-class culinary guide can be lonely, and Monsieur Pamplemousse is ever grateful for the companionship of his friend and helper, Pommes Frites, a bloodhound with a finely-tuned nose. Will La Langoustine win the longed-for jewel in the chef’s crown, a third Red Stockpot? The signs are promising as Monsieur Pamplemousse and Pommes Frites await the delicacy of the house, chicken wrapped in a pig’s bladder and stuffed with truffles and foie gras, and the room is filled with a mouth-watering aroma of herbs, wine and spices. As Monsieur Pamplemousse stands to make his first cut with a characteristically deft movement, the outer casing collapses to reveal not the expected treat but a dish of far more grisly proportions. Clearly someone wants Monsieur Pamplemousse out of the way, but nothing delights the detective more than the chance to practise the skills he learnt in his sleuthing days at the Sûreté...

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Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King’s Daughter

Simon Brett

It's that glorious period between the two world wars, and the exiled king of Mitteleuropa is visiting the ancestral home of the Duke of Tawcester. When the ex-king's daughter is kidnapped, noblesse obliges the Duke's handsome, brave, and rather stupid son (known to all as Blotto) to drive off to the rescue. Luckily, he's aided by his brilliant sister, Twinks. Plus, he's got a really swell car.

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Stuff To Die For

Don Bruns

Best friends James Lessor and Skip Moore are hardly on the fast track. While James works as a line cook at Cap’n Crab, Skip spends his days selling – or rather, attempting to sell – security systems to people who (a) have no money, and (b) have nothing they care to protect. James and Skip aren’t upwardly mobile, but they’re about to get literally mobile when James spends a surprise inheritance on a white box truck. An investment in the future, he surmises, as these two are starting a business --solely devoted to hauling other people’s stuff. But the fledgling business takes a shocking turn when James and Skip unload the contents of their first moving job and find some unexpected cargo -- a bloody human finger. James and Skip must scramble to stay one step ahead of the perpetrators of the gruesome crime in this witty, gritty mystery about big dreams, big ideas -- and big trouble. Instead of chasing the American dream, James and Skip will be running for their lives.

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A Salty Piece of Land

Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett, bestselling author of "A Pirate Looks at Fifty," and hero to parrotheads everywhere, gives readers a humorous adventure set in the Caribbean, involving a lighthouse, a mystery, a wild cast of characters, and more than a few bottles of tequila. It's not on any chart, but the tropical island of Cayo Loco is the perfect place to run away from all your problems. Waking from a ganja buzz on the beach in Tulum, Tully can't believe his eyes when a 142-foot schooner emerges out of the ocean mist. At its helm is Cleopatra Highbourne, the eccentric 101-year-old sea captain who will take him to a lighthouse on a salty piece of land that will change his life forever. From a lovely sunset sail in Punta Margarita to a wild spring-break foam party in San Pedro, Tully encounters an assortment of treasure hunters, rock stars, sailors, seaplane pilots, pirates, and even a ghost or two.

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Candy Apple Red

Nancy Bush

Like love, murder is never cut and dry, especially when Jane Kelly's debut case involves hitting the trail with her ex-boyfriend to track down a man accused of murdering his own family.

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Killer Hair

Ellen Byerrum

Fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian tackles her first deadly fashion crime in Washington, D.C., "The City Fashion Forgot." A beautiful dead hairstylist, a straight razor, and a horrible haircut? The D.C. cops call it an open-and-shut case of suicide. But Lacey's nose for nuance, her subtle style instincts, and her "punk goddess with a heart of gold" hairstylist, Stella, tell her this fashion crime is really murder. Wading through a murderous swamp of diva hairstylists, Washington political scandals, and suspiciously "assisted" suicides, Lacey must tease out the twisted truth before she falls victim to the Capital City's next fatal coiffure. Only her wits and style sense can save her, along with the help of her screwball stylist, a short-circuited psychic, and the one man out of her past she thought she'd never have a second chance with. And they say a bad haircut can't kill you! Or can it? Lacey's Fashion Bite of the Day: "Never wear pink to testify before the Special Prosecutor! Accused of high crimes? Dress in high style, not like a little Bo Peep who has lost not only her sheep, but her wits as well." Killer Hair begins the Crime of Fashion Mysteries.

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Size 12 Is Not Fat

Meg Cabot

Heather Wells Rocks! Or, at least, she did. That was before she left the pop-idol life behind after she gained a dress size or two -- and lost a boyfriend, a recording contract, and her life savings (when Mom took the money and ran off to Argentina). Now that the glamour and glory days of endless mall appearances are in the past, Heather's perfectly happy with her new size 12 shape (the average for the American woman!) and her new job as an assistant dorm director at one of New York's top colleges. That is, until the dead body of a female student from Heather's residence hall is discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft. The cops and the college president are ready to chalk the death off as an accident, the result of reckless youthful mischief. But Heather knows teenage girls . . . and girls do not elevator surf. Yet no one wants to listen -- not the police, her colleagues, or the P.I. who owns the brownstone where she lives -- even when more students start turning up dead in equally ordinary and subtly sinister ways. So Heather makes the decision to take on yet another new career: as spunky girl detective! But her new job comes with few benefits, no cheering crowds, and lots of liabilities, some of them potentially fatal. And nothing ticks off a killer more than a portly ex-pop star who's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong . . .

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Confessions of a Teen Sleuth

Chelsea Cain

America's favorite girl detective is back to set the record straight. According to our titian-haired heroine, she was not in fact a fictional character, but an intrepid real-life sleuth who investigated some of the twentieth century's biggest mysteries. And the famous series she starred in was not cooked up by a team of writers, but plagiarized from her exploits by her nosy college roommate Carolyn-who, not surprisingly, got a whole lot wrong. Here are the daring escapes, brilliant hunches, and dependable stock characters, including interlopers from numerous other beloved series, that have delighted generations of fans. And here, also, are the details of teen-sleuth life that you never saw: the secret romances, reckless driving, minor drinking problems, political action, and domestic drama that have, up till now, remained hidden from these brave detectives' adoring public.

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Snobbery with Violence

Marion Chesney

Exposing a suitor's dishonorable intentions toward the daughter of a new client, captain Harry Cartwright is hired by a wealthy marquis to solve a house party murder, a case that is complicated by the host's determination to preserve discretion, in a mystery set in the Edwardian era. 30,000 first printing.

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Fast Women

Jennifer Crusie

Following her divorce, Nell Dysart takes a job working for a detective agency and finds herself knee deep in embezzlement, bribery, blackmail, arson, adultery, murder, and passion with her boss, Gabe McKenna.

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Swift Justice

Laura DiSilverio

Charlotte "Charlie" Swift prefers working alone. That's why after eight years as an Air Force investigator she became a PI rather than a cop. She lives alone, she works alone, and aside for the occasional flirtation with sexy cop Connor Montgomery or her hunky neighbor Father Dan, she likes it that way. Then her silent partner flees the country, leaving his wife, Gigi, with nothing but the house, the Hummer, and a half interest in Swift Investigations. Charlie ends up with a heap of debt and Gigi, who has decided to be a not-so-silent partner. This change comes about while Charlie is trying to find the mother of a baby abandoned on a client's doorstep. While following leads, she sends Gigi out on crazy assignments, hoping that the pampered socialite will be driven to quit. However, when the baby's mother turns up dead, there's a murderer on the loose, and Charlie will need all the help she can get. Swift Justice is a Lefty Award finalist for best humorous mystery.

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The Shroud of the Thwacker

Chris Elliott

Known to millions for his television and film roles, Chris Elliott is one of the most beloved comedians of his generation. With his novel The Shroud of the Thwacker, Elliott delivers a laugh-out-loud parody that will delight mystery lovers as well as his devoted fans. Set in New York City in 1882, the story hilariously chronicles the adventures of police chief Caleb Spencer and his two cohorts, Evening Post reporter Liz Smith and mayor Teddy Roosevelt, as they unravel the mystery of the world's first (and most bizarre) serial killer: Jack the Jolly Thwacker. The elusive Thwacker dresses his victims in outlandish costumes, leaves behind taunting poetry, and leads the authorities on a wild chase through New York streets and landmarks (complete with gas-powered wooden cell phones, carriages, gaslights, and the original Original Ray's Pizzeria). In a bizarre twist, Chris Elliott himself joins the action, using time travel and historical documents to uncover the Thwacker's identity. With a wink and a nod to Patricia Cornwell, The DaVinci Code, and Caleb Carr's mysteries, Elliott does for the historical crime genre what Douglas Adams did for science fiction in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

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One For The Money

Janet Evanovich

Discover where it all began—#1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich’s first “snappily written, fast-paced, and witty” (USA TODAY) novel in the beloved Stephanie Plum series featuring a feisty and funny heroine who “comes roaring in like a blast of very fresh air” (The Washington Post). Meet Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. In Stephanie’s opinion, toxic waste, rabid drivers, armed schizophrenics, and August heat, humidity, and hydrocarbons are all part of the great adventure of living in Jersey. She’s a product of the “burg,” a blue-collar pocket of Trenton where houses are attached and narrow, cars are American, windows are clean, and (God forbid you should be late) dinner is served at six. Out of work and out of money, Stephanie blackmails her bail-bondsman cousin Vinnie into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. Stephanie knows zilch about the job requirements, but she figures her new pal, el-primo bounty hunter Ranger, can teach her what it takes to catch a crook. Her first assignment: nail Joe Morelli, a former vice cop on the run from a charge of murder one. Morelli’s the inamorato who charmed Stephanie out of her virginity at age sixteen. There’s still powerful chemistry between them, so the chase should be interesting…and could also be extremely dangerous.

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Full House

Janet Evanovich

Full House Janet Evanovich Polo instructor Nicholas Kaharchek senses danger the minute he sees Billie Pearce. She represents everything he's always avoided. Happy in her home life, a divorced mother of two, Billie is the epitome of stability. She's also irresistibly fascinating to the footloose Nick, who is instantly attracted...in a car crash sort of way. Their fateful meeting will put them on a collision course of seduction, dysfunction, mayhem, murder—and maybe even love...

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Metro Girl

Janet Evanovich

Alexandra (Barney) Barnaby roars onto the Miami Beach scene in hot pursuit of her missing baby brother, "Wild" Bill. Leave it to the maverick of the family to get Barney involved with high-speed car chases, a search for sunken treasure, and Sam Hooker, a NASCAR driver who’s good at revving a woman's engine. Engaged in a deadly race, Bill has "borrowed" Hooker's sixty-five-foot Hatteras and sailed off into the sunset...just when Hooker has plans for the boat. Hooker figures he'll attach himself to Barney and maybe run into scumbag Bill. And better yet, maybe he'll get lucky in love with Bill's sweetie pie sister. The pedal will have to go to metal if Barney and Hooker want to be the first to cross the finish line, save Bill, Hooker's boat...and maybe the world.

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Luck of the Draw

Carolina Garcia Aguilera

Mandated by her mother to reclaim the family's glory by restoring a glamorous Havana casino that they lost when Castro took power, Esmerelda sets out to find and rescue her journalist sister, a mission that brings her to the seedy bars and back alleys of Las Vegas. By the author of One Hot Summer. Reprint.

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The Man with a Load of Mischief

Martha Grimes

Long Piddleton had always been wary of newcomers. But the quiet town was stunned when the first stranger was found dead, upended in a butt of ale in the cellar of the Men with a Load of Mischief. Then the second body appeared, swinging in place of the mechanical man above the door of the Jack and Hammer. Suddenly Long Piddleton had good reason to be wary of everyone! Its cozy pubs and inns with their polished pewter and blazing hearths had become scenes of the most bizarre crimes. Who were the victims? And who was the murderer? A stranger? A maniac? Or the disarmingly friendly man next door?

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Ghost at Work

Carolyn Hart

Bailey Ruth Raeburn has always been great at solving mysteries. Why should a little thing like her death change anything? In fact, being dead gives her more of an opportunity to be on top of events. Bailey Ruth is delighted that her unique position as a ghost makes it possible for her to lend a helping hand, sometimes seen and sometimes not. And if anybody needs a little help, it's Kathleen, the pastor's wife. There's a dead man on her porch, and once the body is discovered, the pastor is sure to become a suspect. Uncharitable people might call it meddling, but Bailey Ruth knows Kathleen needs her help! As a member of Heaven's Department of Good Intentions, Bailey Ruth goes back to earth to extricate Kathleen from a dire situation. If Bailey Ruth has to bend a few rules to help Kathleen save her family, Wiggins, her fussbudget supervisor, will make sure it all turns out right in the end.

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Staggerford

Jon Hassler

The classic novel of a small Minnesota town—and of one school teacher who calls it home This utterly charming, deeply poignant debut remains perhaps the signature achievement of beloved novelist Jon Hassler—once hailed by The New York Times as “a writer good enough to restore your faith in fiction.” It’s the story of a week in the life of Miles Pruitt, a thirty-five-year-old bachelor who teaches high school English in Staggerford, Minnesota. And though it is only a week, it’s an extraordinary week, filled with the poetry of living, the sweetness of expectation, and the glory of surprise that can change a life forever. Praise for Staggerford “Witty, intelligent, compassionate . . . an absolutely smashing first novel.”—The Plain Dealer “You’ll remember it for a long time.”—The Minneapolis Tribune “One of the year’s truly freshly conceived and carried out novels, one whose not always so gentle ironies address themselves to a broader range of life than is to be found in Staggerford, Minnesota.”—The Kansas City Star “A thoroughly convincing X-ray vision of small-town life . . . so sincere, so true, so honest with itself, and so very, very funny that a reader often has to wipe the tears out of the corners of his eyes before he can—as he must—read on.”—The Houston Post “Very entertaining . . . [Miles is] one of the most likable protagonists of modern fiction.”—The Pittsburgh Press “Staggerford, Minnesota, is a town out of control. It is as weird and convoluted as any lover of comic fiction could wish.”—Boston Herald American

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Them Bones

Carolyn Haines

Meet Sarah Booth Delaney, an unconventional Southern belle whose knack for uncovering the truth is about to make her the hottest detective in Zinnia, Mississippi . . . if it doesn't make her the deadest. No self-respecting lady would allow herself to end up in Sarah Booth’s situation. Unwed, unemployed, and over thirty, she’s flat broke and about to lose the family plantation. Not to mention being haunted by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her sorry state—or to suggest a plan of action, like ransoming her friend’s prize pooch to raise some cash. But soon Sarah Booth’s walk on the criminal side leads her deeper into unladylike territory, and she’s hired to solve a murder. Did gorgeous, landed Hamilton Garrett V really kill his mother twenty years ago? And if so, what is Sarah Booth doing falling for this possible murderer? When she asks one too many questions and a new corpse turns up, she is suddenly a suspect herself . . . and Sarah Booth finds that digging up the bones of the past could leave her rolling over in her grave.

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Name Dropping

Jane Heller

This tale of murder and mistaken identity in a Manhattan apartment building is “a rollicking and delectable read” by a New York Times-bestselling author (People). A teacher at a fancy Manhattan preschool, Nancy Stern spends her days cleaning spills, moderating bathroom breaks, and preventing that one kid in the back of the room from eating glue. With America’s precious future in her hands, Nancy rises to the occasion—but sometimes she yearns for something a little more glamorous. Meanwhile, another woman by the name of Nancy Stern has moved into her apartment building—and as if the constant mail mix-ups aren’t annoying enough, every mistaken delivery and misdirected message reminds her that the other Nancy Stern is outshining her by far. That pile of exclusive party invitations spilling out of her mailbox? Not for her. The stunning coat that’s arrived straight from the cleaners? Not a chance. And that smooth voice on the other end of the line calling to ask Nancy out on a blind date? Now that is something the penthouse-floor Nancy Stern doesn’t have to find out about . . . But while her night out with the hunk stirs up a romance, The Other Nancy gets murdered. And suddenly the real identity of not just the killer, but the intended victim, is a mystery in desperate need of solving . . . “Very funny . . . When teacher Nancy accepts a blind date meant for the other Nancy, things rapidly spiral out of control. Murder and mayhem follow, all in Heller’s trademark witty and entertaining style.” —Library Journal “A charmingly improbable love story.” —USA Today

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Finn Fancy Necromancy

Randy Henderson

Writers of the Future grand prize winner Randy Henderson presents a dark and quirky debut in Finn Fancy Necromancy, his tale of the magical and dangerous Arcane world that exists alongside our own. Finn Gramaraye was framed for the crime of dark necromancy at the age of fifteen, when the surviving victim of a dark ritual was found in his bedroom. Convicted and exiled to the Other Realm for twenty-five years—twenty-five years as a disembodied soul, tormented by the Others—Finn is now being set free. But his return is met by a magical attack on his escorts, and he finds the body of the woman he was accused of attacking all those years before, freshly murdered with necromancy—the perfect frame job. Finn has only a few days to discover who is so desperate to keep him out of the mortal world, and find enough evidence to prove it to Arcane Enforcers who already view him as a criminal. Unfortunately, his family is little help. Father has become a mad magical inventor. Brother Mort fears that Finn wants to take over the family business. Sister Samantha is now a jaded hacker allergic to magic. And simple but sweet brother Pete still believes he's a werewolf because of a childhood dog bite. Finn is joined by Zeke, a former Arcane Enforcer and fellow exile seeking to prove himself worthy of returning to duty—even if that means proving Finn guilty. Together, they will battle magical creatures, family drama, and the challenges of Finn's love life as they race to solve the mystery of who wants Finn returned to exile, and why. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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Death of a Romance Writer and Other Stories

Joan Hess

Presents a collection of mystery stories, including "Too Much to Bare" and "Death in Bloom."

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Malice in Maggody

Joan Hess

After a crossbow killing at a cheap roadside motel, Ozarks police chief Arly Hanks finds herself investigating her first murder case. Her marriage over and career gone bust, Arly Hanks flees Manhattan for her hometown: Maggody, Arkansas. In a town this size, nothing much ever happens, so Arly figures she’s safe as the town’s first female chief of police—until the husband of one of the local barmaids escapes from state prison and heads for town. And that’s not all. An EPA official with ties to polluting the local fishing hole has suddenly vanished off the face of the earth. As if two manhunts aren’t enough to contend with, a body has been discovered at the pay-by-the-hour Flamingo Motel, shot clean through the neck with an arrow. For some reason, Maggody’s residents—all 755 of them—have gone tight-lipped, stonewalling Arly’s investigations, and Arly hasn’t a soul to trust but her half-wit deputy. Now, as Maggody’s finest, she’ll have to show a little muscle and a lot of cunning to curtail the inhospitable mountain malice that’s overtaken her town. And she’ll have to watch her own back every step of the way. From Agatha Award–winning author Joan Hess, Malice in Maggody is the novel that introduced police chief Arly Hanks—the indomitable sleuth of the popular and long-running Maggody series. Malice in Maggody is the 1st book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.

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Bad Monkey

Carl Hiaasen

Andrew Yancy—late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff’s office—has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it’s not called the roach patrol for nothing). But first—this being Hiaasen country—Yancy must negotiate an obstacle course of wildly unpredictable events with a crew of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including his just-ex lover, a hot-blooded fugitive from Kansas; the twitchy widow of the frozen arm; two avariciously optimistic real-estate speculators; the Bahamian voodoo witch known as the Dragon Queen, whose suitors are blinded unto death by her peculiar charms; Yancy’s new true love, a kinky coroner; and the eponymous bad monkey, who with hilarious aplomb earns his place among Carl Hiaasen’s greatest characters. Here is Hiaasen doing what he does better than anyone else: spinning a tale at once fiercely pointed and wickedly funny in which the greedy, the corrupt, and the degraders of what’s left of pristine Florida—now, of the Bahamas as well—get their comeuppance in mordantly ingenious, diabolically entertaining fashion. From the Hardcover edition.

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Basket Case

Carl Hiaasen

A rollicking and hilarious novel from the bestselling author of Bad Monkey and Razor Girl. Jack Tagger’s years in exile at the obituaries desk of a South Florida daily haven’t dulled his investigative reporter’s nose for a good story. When Jimmy Stoma, the infamous front man of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies, dies in a fishy scuba accident, Jack sees his ticket back to page one—if only he can figure out what really happened. Standing in his way are, just for starters, his ambitious young editor, who hasn’t yet fired anyone but plans to “break her cherry” on Jack; the rock star’s pop-singer widow, who’s using the occasion of her husband’s death to relaunch her own career; and the soulless, profit-hungry owner of the newspaper, whom Jack once publicly humiliated at a stockholders’ meeting. Following clues from the late rock singer’s own music, Jack tries to unravel the lies surrounding Jimmy Stoma’s strange fate.

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Star Island

Carl Hiaasen

Meet twenty-two-year-old Cherry Pye (née Cheryl Bunterman), a pop star since she was fourteen—and about to attempt a comeback from her latest drug-and-alcohol disaster. Now meet Cherry again: in the person of her “undercover stunt double,” Ann DeLusia. Ann portrays Cherry whenever the singer is too “indisposed”—meaning wasted—to go out in public. And it is Ann-mistaken-for-Cherry who is kidnapped from a South Beach hotel by obsessed paparazzo Bang Abbott. Now the challenge for Cherry’s handlers (über–stage mother; horndog record producer; nipped, tucked, and Botoxed twin publicists; weed whacker–wielding bodyguard) is to rescue Ann while keeping her existence a secret from Cherry’s public—and from Cherry herself. The situation is more complicated than they know. Ann has had a bewitching encounter with Skink—the unhinged former governor of Florida living wild in a mangrove swamp—and now he’s heading for Miami to find her . . . Will Bang Abbott achieve his fantasy of a lucrative private photo session with Cherry Pye? Will Cherry sober up in time to lip-synch her way through her concert tour? Will Skink track down Ann DeLusia before Cherry’s motley posse does? All will be revealed in this hilarious spin on life in the celebrity fast lane. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Carl Hiaasen's Bad Monkey.

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A Load of Old Bones

Suzette Hill

All the Reverend Francis Oughterard had ever wanted was some peace and quiet, instead he becomes entangled in a nightmare world of accidental murder, predatory female parishioners, officious policemen and a drunken bishop. As the vicar's life spirals out of control it is his supercilious cat, Maurice, and bone obsessed hound, Bouncer, who save the day. A Load of Old Bones is a charming and farcical romp through a 1950's mythical Surrey. Praise for Suzette A. Hill: 'Perfect one-sitting summer read.' Laura Wilson, Guardian 'E F Benson crossed with Jerome K Jerome' The Times audiobooks review 'Quite why this series should be charming, astringent and witty, instead of emetically twee, I am not sure, but it is entirely delightful' Guardian 'This dry, funny British gem, with its eccentric cast of characters, will have readers laughing and eagerly awaiting the next episode' Publishers Weekly

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What Looks Like Crazy

Charlotte Hughes

While dealing with an impending divorce, her eccentric secretary, and her junk-art-collecting mother, psychologist Kate Holly feels like she needs some therapy of her own, especially after she starts to receive mysterious threats.

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M Word

Jane Isenberg

With a sensibility shaped in the sixties and kids born in the seventies, Jersey City community college professor Bel Barrett hit the big five-O in the nineties. The patronage politics of urban academia and the dreams and demands of city students threaten to burn Bel out but it's hot flashes and a fancy fundraiser that really turn the heat on. Before Bel has a chance to do justice to the tempting display of calorie-laden food, her slim and attractive boss, college president Dr. Altagracia Garcia, pops a few goodies, crumples to the floor, and is pronounced dead. Student of Murder The murder is pinned on one of Bel's students, but Bel isn't buying it. The accused is a Culinary Arts major whose best grade in English was an "incomplete," but the boy is no killer. Although President Garcia had made her presence felt at the college, she'd ground her stiletto heels into a few administrative toes in the process. But most students and faculty adored her, and finding out who wanted the assertive lady out of the way is the least Bel can do--even when it means chasing through a maze of phony clues and false leads that challenge her mid-life memory...and learning that she herself has become the target of someone majoring in murder.

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Too Big to Miss

Sue Ann Jaffarian

Too big to miss--that's Odelia Grey. A never-married, middle-aged, plus-sized woman who makes no excuses for her weight, she's not super woman just a mere mortal standing on the precipice of menopause, trying to cruise in an ill-fitting bra. She struggles with her relationships, her crazy family, and her crazier boss. And then there''s her knack for being in close proximity to dead people . . . . When her close friend Sophie London commits suicide in front of an online web-cam by putting a gun in her mouth and pulling the trigger, Odelia's life is changed forever. Sophie, a plus-sized activist and inspiration to imperfect women, is the last person anyone would ever have expected to end her own life. Suspecting foul play, Odelia is determined to get to the bottom of her friend's death. Odelia's search for the truth takes her from southern California strip malls to the world of live web-cam porn to the ritzy enclave of Corona del Mar. Praise: "I'd like to spend more time with Sue Ann Jaffarian's Odelia, a plus-size fat-liberationist with a handsome wheelchair-bound lover. Odelia...does not hesitate to give justice a small, well-plotted forward shove at every opportunity."—The New York Times "[Odelia] is an intriguing character, a true counter against stereotype, who demonstrates that life can be good, even in a world where thin is always in."—Booklist "Balancing her professional skills as a paralegal with her self-doubt as a sleuth, Odelia is one of the most believable amateur detectives in recent fiction. Beautifully plotted and carefully crafted, this is a marvelous start to an exciting new series. Strongly recommended."—Library Journal "With a cast of diverse characters, an intriguing plot, and a credible heroine, this is an enjoyable read." —Mystery Scene "Plus-size reading pleasure--try this one on!"—Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author "Sue Ann Jaffarian does a masterful job in creating the character of a plus-size woman, with different shades of angst, humor, verve, and sensualness. Once you get to know Odelia Grey, you'll love her. I know I do."—Naomi Hirahara, Edgar-winning author of Snakeskin Shamisen "Too Big To Miss is too good to miss, a fun-filled romp that introduces the delightful Odelia Grey and leaves you anxious for more of her. Odelia's definitely worth her weight in reading enjoyment."—Robert S. Levinson, author of Ask a Dead Man, Hot Paint,and The Elvis and Marilyn Affair "A plus-sized thumbs up. Jaffarian's a new sharpshooter in crime fiction, so set your sights on this Odelia Grey mystery for a tightly coiled intrigue that targets a sexy shocker."—Brian M. Wiprud, award-winning author of Pipsqueak and Stuffed "On one level, Too Big To Miss is a classic, fast-paced mystery; on another, it's a passport into a world we either inhabit or live next-door to, but rarely see in popular fiction. Sue Ann Jaffarian breaks rules and breaks ground, with humor, insight and compassion."—Harley Jane Kozak, Agatha, Anthony and Macavity Award winning author of Dating Dead Men and Dating is Murder

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Looks to Die For

Janice Kaplan

When her prominent Beverly Hills plastic surgeon husband is falsely accused of murdering an aspiring young actress, celebrity home decorator and mother of three Lacy Fields discovers a latent talent for solving crimes. By the author of The Botox Diaries. Reprint. 60,000 first printing.

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Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny

Garrison Keillor

Famous radio private eye Guy Noir leaps from A Prairie Home Companion to the page On the 12th floor of the Acme Building, on a cold February day in St. Paul, Guy Noir looks down the barrel of a loaded revolver in the hands of geezer gangster Joey Roast Beef who is demanding to hear what lucrative scheme Guy is cooking up with stripper-turned-women's-studies-professor Naomi Fallopian. Everyone wants to know-Joey, Lieutenant McCafferty, reporter Gene Williker, Guy’s ex-girlfriend Sugar O'Toole, the despicable Larry B. Larry, the dreamboat Scarlett Anderson, Mr. Kress of the FDA–and Guy faces them one by one, as he and Naomi pursue a dream of earning gazillions by selling a surefire method of dramatic weight loss. In this whirlwind caper Guy faces danger, falls in love, and faces off with the capo del capo del grande primo capo Johnny Banana.

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Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure

Diane Kelly

Tara Holloway has got your number. A special agent on the IRS's payroll, she's dead-set on making sure that money crimes don't pay... Tax cheats, beware: The Treasury Department's Criminal Investigations Division has a new special agent on its payroll. A recovering tomboy with a head for numbers, Tara's fast becoming the Annie Oakley of the IRS—kicking ass, taking social security numbers, and keeping the world safe for honest taxpayers. Or else. Tara's latest mission finds her in hot pursuit of ice-cream vendor Joseph "Joe Cool" Cullen. Along with frozen treats he's selling narcotics—and failing to report his ill-gotten gains on his tax returns. Over Tara's dead body. Then there's Michael Gryder, who appears to be operating a Ponzi scheme...with banker Stan Shelton...whose lake house is being landscaped by Brett Ellington...who happens to be dating Tara. If following that money trail isn't tough enough, now Tara must face a new conundrum: Should she invest her trust in Brett—or put him behind bars? New love always comes at a cost but justice? Priceless.

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Moon Over Manhattan

Larry King

When Allison, the glamorous but none-too-bright daughter of wealthy political commentator Arthur Vandameer, runs off to elope with her boyfriend, all kinds of colorful characters get into the act of tracking down the young lovers. Reprint.

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Liar, Liar

K J Larsen

Burned by her run-around ex-husband Johnnie Ricco, Caterina DeLuca took the skills she mastered during marriage and opened her own private eye agency. Now she’s a second-story woman, armed with a camera, ready to print 8x10 glossies for use in divorce court. The men in her big, whacko family, all Chicago cops—one a crook—aren’t sure what to make of Cat’s career choice. But hey, it’s serve and protect! Then one Rita Polansky retains Cat. Rita’s liar-liar husband is the mysterious, but seriously hot, Chance Savino. Cat is hot on his heels when an exploding building hurls her out of her stilettos and into the hospital. The FBI claims Chance was killed in the fireworks, but concussed Cat remembers a different scenario. She escapes the hospital to meet with her client. But when Rita doesn’t show, Cat breaks into her home to find Rita with a knife in her chest and two clues at the murder scene: a clutch of candy wrappers and Chance Savino, rummaging through Rita’s drawers. One surprise after another piles up. As no one else sights Savino, everyone around Cat thinks she’s crazy. Everyone except a determined killer who has put her on his “kill” list.

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What’s A Ghoul to Do?

Victoria Laurie

M.J., her partner Gilley, and their client, the wealthy, de-lish Dr. Steven Sable, are at his family's lodge, where his grandfather allegedly jumped to his death from the roof-although Sable says it was foul play. But the patriarch's isn't the only ghost around. The place is lousy with souls, all with something to get off their ghoulish chests. Now M.J. will have to to quell the clamor-and listen for a voice with the answers...

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This Pen For Hire

Laura Levine

"I'm crazy about Laura Levine's mystery series. Her books are so outrageously funny." --Joanne Fluke Smarmy personals ads. Daring declarations of love. Freelance writer Jaine Austen has penned them all. But no one needs her help more than geeky, gawky Howard Murdoch. His request is simple enough: a letter proclaiming his undying love for Stacy Lawrence, a gorgeous aerobics instructor. The fact that he's never actually met the woman gives Jaine pause--yet she soon overcomes her misgivings, and the unlikely Romeo lands a date! But his triumph is short-lived. On Valentine's Day, Howard finds Stacy bludgeoned to death with a Thigh Master--and is quickly named the prime suspect. Jaine is shocked. Sure, Howard's awkward and eccentric. But a murderer? That's hard to believe. Especially after a little sleuthing reveals a plethora of people who harbored less-than-loving feelings towards the svelte Stacy. Now Jaine had better wrangle her clues quickly, before a crafty killer catches on--and puts a whole new spin on her ghost writing career. . . "Sheer fun!" --Carolyn Hart

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Dying to Be Thin

Kathryn Lilley

Welcome to Durham, North Carolina, the diet capital of the world. Plus-sized TV producer Kate Gallagher has been told she has the “face” for TV—it’s the body she needs to work on. So, when she gets dumped by her boyfriend and laid off from her job in the same week, Kate decides to trade in her Whoopie Pies for thinner thighs and enrolls in an exclusive weight loss clinic in Durham, North Carolina. After just one day at the Hoffman Clinic, Kate is about ready to sell her soul for a White Mocha with a doughnut chaser. Working freelance on a story about her own transformation, she must endure petrified fruit and tasteless gruel, sunrise walks, and crazy neighbors. But when the clinic’s principal diet guru turns up dead with a pair of fondue forks where his eyes should be, Kate loses her appetite. Now that the menu features murder, she’s got a breaking story on her hands.

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The Spellman Files

Lisa Lutz

Izzy Spellman launches her career as a private investigator while working for the firm of her outlandishly dysfunctional family.

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The Blight Way

Patrick F. McManus

A new series by the author of The Bear in the Attic finds Idaho sheriff Bo Tully's hopes about a rekindled romance with his high-school sweetheart challenged by his father's upcoming seventy-fifth birthday celebration and a ranch murder involving numerous possible suspects. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.

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Woman Strangled — News at Ten

Laurie Moore

Recent journalism graduate Aspen Wicklow lands a job as an investigative reporter for a Fort Worth TV show, "Public Defender," where she copes with a hotshot anchor and the station manager while investigating a missing person case that turns into a homicide.

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Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth

Tamar Myers

An Amish Bed and Breakfast Mystery with Recipes PennDutch Mysteries #1 “Bubbling over with mirth and mystery.” –Dorothy Cannell “A delicious treat!” –Carolyn G. Hart This debut mystery introduces Magdalena Yoder, prim, proper, and persnickety proprietor of the PennDutch Inn, where guests luxuriate in the true “Amish experience,” (read: doing Magdalena’s chores and paying top dollar for the opportunity!). When one of her more reclusive guests takes a tumble down the PennDutch’s picturesquely steep staircase and breaks his neck, the timing couldn’t be worse. It’s the start of hunting season – and her inn is packed to capacity! What at first seems to be a horrible accident (and insurance nightmare for Magdalena!) could turn out to be a much more sinister event; and when another mishap occurs, Magdalena is certain there is a killer in her group – and it’s up to her to sniff out the culprit...before the world’s most incompetent town sheriff throws her in jail! Readers will delight in this laugh-out-loud cozy mystery debut – and relish the country cooking recipes included.

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The Pigeon Pie Mystery

Julia Stuart

When Indian Princess Alexandrina is left penniless by the sudden death of her father, the Maharaja of Brindor, Queen Victoria grants her a grace-and-favor home in Hampton Court Palace. Though it is rumored to be haunted, Alexandrina and her lady's maid, Pooki, have no choice but to take the Queen up on her offer. Aside from the ghost sightings, Hampton Court doesn't seem so bad. The princess is soon befriended by three eccentric widows who invite her to a picnic with all the palace's inhabitants, for which Pooki bakes a pigeon pie. But when General-Major Bagshot dies after eating said pie, and the Coroner finds traces of arsenic in his body, Pooki becomes the #1 suspect in a murder investigation. Princess Alexandrina isn't about to let her faithful servant hang. She begins an investigation of her own, and discovers that Hampton Court isn't such a safe place to live after all. With her trademark wit and charm, Julia Stuart introduces us to an outstanding cast of lovable oddballs from the palace Maze Keeper to the unconventional Lady Beatrice (who likes to dress up as a toucan--don't ask) as she guides us through the many delightful twists and turns in this fun and quirky murder mystery. Everyone is hiding a secret of the heart, and even Alexandrina may not realize when she's caught in a maze of love.

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