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Dynamic Duos

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Husbands and wives, Inspector and Sergeant, coworkers, ex-spouses, friendly enemies…these are stories of sleuthing teams working in tandem to solve mysteries.dynamic duos

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Margot Arnold.  The Midas Murders.

American anthropologist Penny Spring and British archaeologist Sir Toby Glendower have received a tantalizing invitation. Would they join old friend Jules Lefau on a three-week cruise among the Greek islands? Toby is wary of any invitation from the wily Lefau, but Penny sets off eagerly, children and grandchildren in tow. Arriving, the Springs find an astonishing assemblage of multimillionaires, entire dynasties and paramours included. Soon, however, Penny senses a dark purpose behind the festivities, especially following the sudden, mysterious death of patriarch Demetrios. Then Demetrios’s heir is found murdered, his body floating in a swimming pool. Toby, summoned from Oxford, arrives in the Mediterranean just as another attempt on the life of an heir takes place. Clearly, someone is out to eradicate an entire clan, and only Penny and Sir Toby have the wits to pursue a perilous investigation to its alarming conclusion.

Anthony Bruno. Devil’s Food.

A veteran cop on the “Jump Squad”, New Jersey State Parole Violations Search Unit, and his rookie female partner head to the Never Never Land of south Florida in search of a legendary parole violator and world-class embezzler.

Jim Butcher. Storm Front.

For Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name.

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Murder Misread.

When creative, empathetic, long-limbed, and gorgeous statistician Maggie Ryan arrives to work on Associate Professor Charlie Fielding’s project–an analysis of how the eye functions in reading–she is invited to join semiretired Professor Tal Chandler’s “celebratory” lunch. Except that he never arrives. He’s found shot to death on a path leading to a campus bridge. Whodunit? A notebook left at the crime scene implicates Charge, but a pipe found there suggests grant-seeker Bart. Still another teacher, Nora, owned the gun. Is someone framing them? Maggie befriends the widow, Anne, and soon discovers that Tal’s research probably contradicted Charlie’s; Charlie and department secretary Cindy hated each other and, possibly, were being blackmailed by Tal; the department chairman was, maybe, jealous of Tal, the previous chairman; and the president was in a money crunch, and Tal knew it. Plus: the lunchtime celebration may have referred to a new book contract for Tal or to a clean bill of health–his cancer in remission again. Bat Maggie soon discovers something even more sinister: the stories expounded by kids in one pilot study seemed to indicate child abuse from the study organizer. With an assist from her actor-husband Nick, Maggie adds up the clues, eliminates the suspects, and discovers–a murder that didn’t happen.

Jill Churchill.  It Had To Be You.

March 3, 1933, the day before Franklin Roosevelt’s inauguration. While Robert Brewster heads to Washington, D.C., to witness the historic event, his sister, Lily, travels to a nursing home near Grace & Favor. The owner, Miss Twibell, has lost an assistant nurse, and the siblings have agreed to help out. The home is full of colorful characters, including a cantankerous old man named Sean Connor, the only patient who is seriously ill. The very day the Brewsters arrive, he slips into a coma and passes away. Though saddened, no one is surprised by his death — until it’s revealed that he’s been murdered. The old man wasn’t well liked, but who would bother to murder him when he had so little time left? Several people had visited his room that morning, and there are plenty of suspects. Good motives, on the other hand, are thin on the ground. And Mr. Connor isn’t the only victim in town. Over the winter, a young man went missing and was presumed dead, though no body was found. Now that the spring sun has melted the ice, a body has surfaced. Is this the missing man or has a third crime been committed? With multiple murders plaguing the community, the Brewster siblings are more committed than ever to helping the police find a cold-blooded criminal before he strikes again.

Alisa Craig.  A Pint of Murder.

In her big lonely house on the outskirts of the tiny Canadian town of Pottersville, 87-year-old Agatha Treadway dies of botulism after eating home-preserved string beans. And Agatha’s doctor dies in an “accidental” fall the next day! These deaths naturally arouse suspicions–especially those of Agatha’s young friend and neighbor Janet, who insists on calling in the Royal Canadian Mounties. So enter Madoc Rhys, in plainclothes, looking like “an unemployed plumber’s helper.” Despite appearances, however, Rhys unearths a web of bitter, long-standing feuds among Agatha’s relatives.

Robert Crais. Taken.

When the police tell a wealthy industrialist that her missing son has faked his own kidnapping, she hires Elvis Cole and Joe Pike-and Cole soon determines that it was no fake. The boy and his secret girlfriend have been taken, and are now lost in the gray and changing world of the professional border kidnappers who prey not only on innocent victims but also on one another-buying, selling, and stealing victims like commodities. Fortunately, the kidnappers don’t yet know who the boy is, but when Cole goes undercover to try to buy the two hostages back, he himself is taken and disappears. Now it is up to Pike to retrace Cole’s steps, burning through the hard and murderous world of human traffickers . . . before it is too late.

Deborah Crombie.  No Mark Upon Her.

When a K9 search-and-rescue team discovers a woman’s body tangled up with debris in the river, Scotland Yard superintendent Duncan Kincaid finds himself heading an investigation fraught with complications. The victim, Rebecca Meredith, was a talented but difficult woman with many admirers–and just as many enemies. An Olympic contender on the verge of a controversial comeback, she was also a high-ranking detective with the Met–a fact that raises a host of political and ethical issues in an already sensitive case. To further complicate the situation, a separate investigation, led by Detective Inspector Gemma James, Kincaid’s wife, soon reveals a disturbing–and possibly related–series of crimes, widening the field of suspects. But when someone tries to kill the search-and-rescue team member who found Rebecca’s body, the case becomes even more complex and dangerous, involving powerful interests with tentacles that reach deep into the heart of the Met itself. Surrounded by enemies with friendly faces, pressured to find answers quickly while protecting the Yard at all costs, his career and reputation on the line, Kincaid must race to catch the killer before more innocent lives are lost–including his own.

Arthur Conan Doyle. The Sign of Four.

In this fascinating adventure, first published in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine in 1890, Sherlock Holmes tracks down a mysterious Indian treasure, and Dr. Watson finds romance. It is the second of four novella-length works featuring the world’s first consulting detective, and offers much insight into Holmes’s investigative methods, as well as some shocking revelations about his personal life.

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Bill Eidson. The Repo.

When Julie and Paul Baylor disappear aboard their boat, the Fresh Air, Sarah Ballard, who earns her living repossessing boats, is hired by MassBank, her biggest client, to reclaim the yacht. But this isn’t a standard repo; Baylor, who was one of MassBank’s directors, was behind on his boat payments, and the bank fears embarrassment if the details become public. The stakes: find the boat in a week or lose the bank’s business. Sarah turns to ex-DEA agent Jack Merchant for help. Why would the Baylors cut and run when Julie was about to make millions on a dot-com IPO? Jack and Sarah eventually learn the reason, but at great cost to themselves and those around them, as the bodies begin to accumulate on the trail that leads to the Baylors.

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Janet Evanovich. One for the Money.

Stephanie Plum, thirty years old, divorced, and a former discount lingerie buyer for a department store, has been out of work for six months.  Having hocked most of her major appliances to make ends meet, and having few career options, she goes to see her cousin Vinnie who operates a bail bonding company and pressures him into giving her a job.  Thus begins Stephanie’s career as a bounty hunter.  The first case she is given is to find Joseph Morelli, a vice cop wanted for killing a supposedly unarmed man.  Stephanie has a history with the handsome and irresistible Joe — all the way back to when the played “choo-choo” as children, to when she gave him her virginity behind a pastry counter of the local bakery, to when she ran him down with her father’s Buick and broke his leg.  But $10,000 would go a long way toward paying her bills, so the inexperienced, gutsy Stephanie, with some tips from Ranger, a pro, is hot in pursuit.  This is a fast, funny, gritty, well crafted story.  Joe spends as much time helping Stephanie as he does trying to dodge her, and when they decide to join forces to clear his name, the action really heats up.

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E.X. Ferrars.  Seeing is Believing.

Frances and Malcolm Chance are retired in a quiet village. Then one day their next door neightbor is shot and killed and it becomes apparent that motives for murder are many. Frances saw the killer, but start doubting the evidence of her own eyes when another murder is committed.

Elizabeth George. A Great Deliverance.

Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is getting a final chance for a promotion.  Because of her abrasive personality, she’s been unable to work with any of the detectives at Scotland Yard.  Assigned to work with Inspector Thomas Lynley, whom she despises because of his privileged upbringing, the two head to Yorkshire to investigate the murder of a man by his daughter.  She was found sitting by her decapitated father and would only say “I did it.  And I’m not sorry”, and she has refused to say another word.  The townspeople believe she is innocent, and Lynley and Havers learn to work together as they solve the case.

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Ann Granger.  A Word After Dying.

Inspector Alan Markby and foreign office official Meredith Mitchell plan a relaxing vacation in the country — a vacation that quickly turns to murder Meredith Mitchell and Alan Markby take a cottage in the country where an elderly journalist tells them about the suspicious death of an eccentric and wealthy old woman, Olivia Smeaton. Then the body of the local handyman is discovered — missing its head — and Markby and Mitchell find themselves hot on a killer’s trail.

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Martha Grimes. The Old Wine Shades.

The dog came back.” “This is a joke, right?” “No, it isn’t. . . . So do you want to hear the rest of it?” Dumbly, Jury nodded. The rest of it is told by Harry Johnson, a stranger who sits down next to Richard Jury as he’s drinking in a London pub called the Old Wine Shades. Over three successive nights Harry spins this complicated story about a good friend of his whose wife and son (and dog) disappeared one day as they were viewing property in Surrey. They’ve been missing for nine months-no trace, no clue, no lead as to what happened. He’s a fascinating bloke, this Harry Johnson-rich, handsome, unattached, and brainy about the esoteric subject of quantum mechanics, a field in which the vanished woman’s husband, Hugh Gault, excels: He’s an authority on string theory, which has some pretty funny notions about the nature of reality. Jury wonders, Is Harry Johnson winding him up? Or did it really happen? The dog did come back-but how? And from where? And when Jury investigates, all seems to be just as Harry described it. Until they find the body.

Caroline Hart.  Death Comes Silently.

When her fellow charity shop volunteer Gretchen Burkholt is murdered, Dead on Demand Mystery shop owner Annie Darling enlists the help of her husband, Max, to piece together a puzzle involving an overturned kayak, a stolen motorboat, a troubled love affair, and a reckless teenager.

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Faye Kellerman.  The Ritual Bath.

Someone has shattered the sanctuary of a remote yeshiva community in the California hills with an unimaginable crime. A woman was brutally raped as she returned from the mikvah, the bathhouse where the cleansing ritual bath is performed. The crime was called in by Rina Lazarus, and LAPD Detective Peter Decker is relieved to discover that she is a calm and intelligent witness. As Rina steers Decker through the maze of religious laws, the two grow closer — until shocking revelations threaten to come between the hard-nosed cop and the deeply religious woman.

Susan B. Kelly.  Hope Against Hope.

When someone murders Aidan Hope in his hotel room, suspicion falls on his cousin Alison, a successful businesswoman who stood to inherit sole ownership of the family business, and who has no alibi.

Dennis Lehane.   Gone, Baby, Gone.

Boston private detectives Patrick Kenzie & Angela Gennaro are hired to find four-year-old Amanda McCready, abducted from her bed on a warm, summer night. They meet her stoned-out, strangely apathetic mother, her loving aunt & uncle, the mother’s dangerous, drug-addled friends, & two cops who’ve found so many abused or dead children they may be too far over the edge to come back. Despite enormous public attention, rabid news coverage, & dogged police work, the investigation repeatedly hits a brick wall. Led into a world of drug dealers, child molesters, & merciless executioners, Patrick & Angie are soon forced to face not only the horrors adults can perpetrate on innocents but also their own conflicted feelings about what is best, & worst, when it comes to raising children. And as the Indian summer fades & the autumn chill deepens, Amanda McCready stays gone, banished so completely that she seems never to have existed. Then another child disappears…Dennis Lehane takes you into a world of triple crosses, elaborate lies, & shrouded motives, where the villains may be more moral than the victims, the missing should possibly stay missing, & those who go looking for them may not come back alive.

Paul Levine. Deep Blue Alibi.

They are Florida’s most mismatched legal duo–one a glamorous Miami blue blood, the other a Coconut Grove beach bum. And when they get together, you can throw every law right out the window…. What do you get when you mix beautiful people, family secrets, and a yacht washed up on Sunset Key with a hundred grand in cash and a dying man? If you’re Steve Solomon, you see a case that can get Solomon & Lord off the ground. If you’re Victoria Lord, you see a golden opportunity to go out on your own. With her uncle a murder suspect and her hunky ex-boyfriend back in the picture, Victoria is pushing to take control as Solomon struggles to keep from losing it. As an explosive trial looms, they’re fighting against time, the law, and each other–to expose a killer who came to paradise…and hasn’t left.

T.J. MacGregor. Storm Surge.

The murder of an old friend plunges Miami husband-and-wife PI team Mike McCleary and Quin St. James into hellish circles of aliases and shady international dealings. Just before retired criminology professor Charlie Potemkin was shot to death in his apartment, he mailed packets of information to a few friends, including Mike and Quin. The material had been passed along to Charlie by Steve Heckler, a man with shadowy government connections who can no longer be located. Mike gives the photos they received to his former employer, Miami’s Metro-Dade PD, and learns that they depict Lawrence Crandall, a developer whose efforts to acquire land occupied by senior housing had been hampered by Charlie. Rumors of irregularities in the Crandall company prompt the police to send Quin undercover as Crandall’s new secretary; in this guise, she comes up against John Gabriel Tark, a tracker and hit man who has been sent–by whom is the question–to recover Heckler’s incriminating information. As Hurricane Alfred wreaks havoc in south Florida, Mike and Quin follow separate paths to the corker of a conclusion.

Charlotte MacLeod. The Gladstone Bag.

Aunt Emma expects to spend a quiet summer vacationing, but when her bag of fake diamonds is stolen twice and a scuba diver is found dead, Sarah and Max must help her trap the villain.

A.E. Maxwell.  King of Nothing.

Fed up with the bumbling probe into the murder of an old friend in the Pacific Northwest, Fiddler and Fiona turn sleuth to investigate a Japanese samurai sword that becomes the target of the State Department, the Japanese government, and the yakuza.

Jill McGown. Death in the Family.

This gritty, sophisticated novel is the twelfth in the author’s internationally acclaimed series starring Chief Detective Inspector Lloyd and his colleague and lover, Chief Detective Inspector Judy Hill. Dean Fletcher had spent virtually all his twenty-four years doing things practically guaranteed to land him in trouble. But not until he fell for a blonde nymphet named Kayleigh Scott did he manage to totally ruin his life. Kayleigh had told him she was eighteen. In truth, she was not quite thirteen, and poor Dean was soon off to prison, a convicted sex offender, still smitten with his adolescent lover. Now he’s finally free again, only to be ensnared by two crimes that have Lloyd pulling out what’s left of his hair. One is an infant kidnapping (the child was born within hours of Lloyd’s and Judy’s own baby, Charlotte); the other is the murder of Kayleigh’s mother, Lesley, on the very eve of the family’s sudden move to Australia. Fortunately, Lloyd thinks he hears the ring of truth in Dean’s protestations of innocence. He is extremely curious about Lesley’s new lover, Ian, who has jumped headfirst into another relationship, and her old lover, Phil, whose world she had destroyed. And for all her air of placid innocence, Kayleigh herself isn’t above suspicion. With Judy out on maternity leave, Lloyd is obliged to pick his way alone through the minefield of birth, death, murder, and domestic evil.

Ann Morice. Publish and Be Killed.

Actress Tessa Crichton, researching the life of Sheridan Seymour, a celebrated Edwardian playwright whose daughter is writing a scandalous biography, investigates a murder after an unidentified body is discovered in a house rented in the Seymour name.

Anne Perry. Face of a Stranger.

His name, they tell him, is William Monk, and he is a London police detecive. But the accident that felled him has left him with only half a life; his memory and his entire past have vanished. As he tries to hide the truth, Monk returns to work and is assigned to investigate the brutal murder of a Crimean War hero and man about town. Which makes Monk’s efforts doubly difficult, since he’s forgotten his professional skills along with everything else….

Elizabeth Peters. The Mummy Case.

Amelia Peabody’s archaeologist husband Emerson is on a dig where nothing seems worthy of interest, until a sinister murder suspect turns up at the site. Danger mounts when Amelia and Emerson look for answers in an ancient tomb that nearly becomes their grave.

S.J. Rozan. China Trade.

Asian-American private investigator Lydia Chin knows New York City’s Chinatown, its people, and its ways as no outsider ever could. So when the Chinatown Museum is robbed of a set of rare export porcelains, Lydia is hired to recover them quietly – a task that quickly proves more difficult than it at first appears. Maneuvering gently around the local gangs who control the streets of Chinatown, Lydia tackles an investigation that takes her – and her sometimes partner Bill Smith – far beyond the borders of Chinatown into the equally cryptic world of art and collecting, and upstart outer-borough gangs trying to gain a toe hold in the closed world of Chinatown.

Dorothy L. Sayers. Strong Poison.

Mystery novelist Harriet Vane knows all about poisons, and when her fiance dies in a manner described in one of her books, a jury of her peers think a hangman’s noose is the answer. But Lord Peter Wimsey is determined to find Harriet innocent–and make her his wife.

Sarah Smith. The Vanished Child.

New England, 1887. The millionaire William Knight is brutally murdered and the only witness is his grandchild, Richard, who himself disappears, and is presumed dead. Eighteen years later, Richard is “recognized” in Switzerland in the person of Alexander von Reisden, and William Knight’s only son, Gilbert, is convinced that this man is the long lost child. Reisden, himself, has no memory of any childhood, and his own growing obsession with finding the real Richard is leading him closer to a shattering thruth. And to a killer, still at large….

Polly Whitney. Until Death.

Dueling divorced couple Mary “Ike” Tygart and Abby Abagnarro must put aside their personal differences to find out who killed the anchorwoman of television’s “Morning Watch”.

Kate Wilhelm. Sweet, Sweet Poison.

Charlie Meiklejohn and Constance Leidl find themselves in a rural setting, investigating suspects in a series of poisonings directed against a loud but likable pair of lottery winners from the Bronx.

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