Sunday, May 11, 2008

From Patricia

Barrett, Tracy. The 100-Year-Old Secret (Holt, $16) May. Florida teen Xena Holmes and her brother Xander, transplanted to London for their father's year as a visiting musician, discover their connection to Sherlock which entitles them to his unsolved casebook. Trained in The Game that wins them points for guessing a person's occupation by his appearance, the resourceful pair have as much fun as the reader will. First in The Sherlock Files series for ages 9-12.

Brightwell, Emily. Mrs. Jeffries Holds the Trump (Berkley, $7) June, pbo. The quiet, successful owner of a medical supply concern drowns face down off a Chelsea wharf. Inspector Witherspoon must learn who killed a man with no enemies. His housekeeper, the steadfast Mrs. Jeffries, with her team of domestic irregulars, proves the victim was solving a crime at the time of his death. The Metropolitan Police Force's secret weapon is just as comfortable in her role as she has been in the other 23 entries in this appealing Victorian series.

Lane, Vicki. In a Dark Season (Bantam, $7) May. After an old woman falls from her porch, a niece no one knows swiftly sorts Aunt Nola's belongings for sale. Widow Elizabeth Goodweather from the neighboring herb farm salvages Nola's quilts and a laptop from the clearout. This is either a concerned relative or a predator cashing in on the development threatening the Marshall County North Carolina way of life. What happened years ago in those hills leads to the answers.
Old Wounds ($7).

Olsen, Gregg., A Cold Dark Place (Pinnacle Kensington, $7) April, pbo. In the wake of a tornado in Washington state, single mom and cop Emily Kenyon suspects the teenage survivor of murdering his entire family on their farm. Emily's daughter disappears with him to support his claim of innocence. Similar crimes in other states may be her only leads. True crime writer/journalist Olsen pens his second convincing thriller following A Wicked Snow ($7).

Upson, Nicola. An Expert in Murder (Harper, $25) June. Loss of privacy is the price playwright Josephine Tey pays for success. When the young woman thrilled to meet her on the train trip from Scotland is murdered in Kings Cross station, Inspector Archie Penrose, well acquainted with Josephine, suspects the death is related to her play, Richard of Bordeaux.
Its pacifist sentiments in a world so scarred by the Great War have made it the surprise hit of the season. The ghosts from Penrose's hellish time in the trenches revisit him during the case. Blending fact and fiction, Upson launches a smart series with crime writer Tey as protagonist. Kudos for the turns of phrase and foreshadowing from the era of London in the 1930's that fix a reader's interest in the individually realized characters.

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