America 1883: Cassie Gwynne feels like she’s finally found where she belongs, settling into her new life in Florida with her aunt and her mischievous kitten Esy. When a traveling theater group arrives in town Cassie can’t resist signing up for the chorus. But the production goes awry from the start and soon death takes center stage... With costumes going missing and strange voices heard coming from the dressing room, the cast are convinced they are cursed. And when the lead actor, William Gage, has a fatal accident, Cassie is certain someone is deliberately targeting the play. Off-stage Mr. Gage was known as a notorious flirt, so could a jilted lover be out for revenge? Determined that the show must go on, Cassie launches her own investigation into the peculiar events. She quickly discovers an expensive, embroidered handkerchief stashed away on the lighting platform. This part of the theater is supposed to be out of bounds, so could the cagey chorus girl or the uppity understudy have something to hide? When she returns at night to look around, Cassie is almost flattened as the wooden scenery crashes to the stage. Is this just the latest in a long line of catastrophes or is somebody out to stop Cassie learning the truth? Can Cassie solve the mystery and make it to opening night or will it be curtains for her too? Plot Most Peril is by Genevieve Essig.
214 Palmer Street is by Karen McQuestion. A house with a secret. A woman with nothing to lose.When Maggie sees the beautiful Venetian blinds moving in the Caldwells’ front window, she freezes. Her favorite neighbours Cady and Josh are away, so who is in their house? The pretty young woman who answers the door tells a convincing story. She’s Sarah. The house-sitter. Just here for a month. An old friend of Cady’s who needed a place to stay. She’s pleasant and warm, and Maggie wanders back to her house thinking she might have made a new friend. Yet she can’t help but wonder why Cady never mentioned Sarah. What Maggie doesn’t know is that on the other side of the door, Sarah is starting to panic. No one was meant to see her at 214 Palmer Street…
“Help!” she screams, kicking as hard as she can against the closet door. But it’s nailed shut, and nobody can hear her. She drops to her knees and curls into a ball like she did as a little girl, praying someone will find her before it is too late… When the body of single mother Melissa Rollins is found trapped inside a bedroom closet in her immaculate suburban home, Detective Jo Fournier races to the scene. The small town of Greenfern is sweltering in a heatwave, and Jo is horrified to find that Melissa’s heating was turned up to the max whilst she died of thirst. Who would kill a devoted mother in such a cruel way? Searching the house for clues, Jo’s team discovers that the front door was locked from the inside. And with no sign of a break-in, they realise the killer must be someone Melissa knew. But everyone in the frame has an alibi… As she delves deeper into the case, Jo uncovers a link between Melissa and a recent cold case: another single mother who was tied up and brutally murdered. Someone is on a mission to kill local mothers, and Jo knows they will claim their next victim soon. But as temperatures continue to rise and the team works around the clock to stop a twisted killer, someone from Jo’s past catches up with her. They’re watching her family’s every move, and they will stop at nothing to get revenge… Can Jo save the people she loves and catch the killer before it’s too late? Her Silent Prayer is by M M Chouinard.
Lake View House is by Helen Phifer. Icy water laps against the wooden jetty. But the girl doesn’t notice the cold as she slips slowly under the freezing surface… Running from a devastating relationship that almost cost her everything, Maddy Hart impulsively accepts a job as a live-in caretaker at imposing Lakeview House. She has no memories of having visited the crumbling mansion on the banks of Lake Thirlmere before, but when she arrives, something about the house feels familiar… The more time Maddy spends in the house, the more unsettled she feels. Why does the local story about the last woman who lived here, who drowned on her wedding day, chill Maddy to the bone? By day, she clears out the dusty rooms, but in the dead of night it’s hard to explain away the eerie noises or crackly radio she hears hours after she turned it off. Slowly, Maddy begins to fear that her worst nightmare is coming true, has her past caught up with her…? When a soaking wet wedding dress is left on Maddy’s doorstep she feels completely trapped. It is her exact measurements. Is her ex trying to send her a message? Or has Maddy’s digging uncovered an even deadlier secret? Will this perfect escape become the perfect trap?
My family keep telling me I’m safe. But why don’t I believe them? I stand at the very edge of the cliff face, looking at the roaring ocean below my feet. I’m in no danger, in fact my husband and his sister talk just feet away from me, watching my every move. They’re worried I’m losing my mind, and I sense their nerves as they watch me looking down on the jagged rocks below. Behind them sits our summer house. Apparently it’s my favourite place in the world, not that I can remember. Since the car accident, I’ve struggled to recall a lot of important things in my life, like giving birth to my daughter, Violet, just days after the crash. Or my supposedly perfect marriage… As I stare at the huge expanse of blue below, I have a flashback to the day of the crash—an argument, my husband’s face red with anger. Why is it so different to what everyone else is telling me about my life? Beads of sweat gather on my neck. If my memory is true, my life and my children’s lives are in danger. What really happened the day of the accident? And is there anyone I can trust? The Breakdown is by Arianne Richmonde.
Watch Her Disappear is by Lisa Regan. The girl’s prom dress, the color of champagne, shimmers in the dying light. A corsage of wilting pink sweetheart roses decorates her wrist. She is perfectly still, lying on the ground like a delicate china doll, trapped forever in a sleep from which she will never wake… When a call comes in about a young girl found dead at a high school prom—her life drained away from a fatal stab wound—Detective Josie Quinn drops everything to attend the scene. Taking in the girl’s neatly braided hair, Josie feels a flicker of recognition. But no one comes forward to identify this innocent child, murdered on what should have been the happiest night of her life. Trawling missing persons files, Josie realizes where she has seen the girl before. Gemma Farmer disappeared a few months ago, shattering her family. But why would her body appear now, on her sixteenth birthday? Josie’s only clue is the five neat little cuts on Gemma’s pale arm. Days later, another missing girl shows up, tucked neatly into her bed on the morning of her birthday, her favourite teddy beside her, her skin as cold as ice—and the autopsy reveals scars on her arm matching Gemma’s. Her head spinning, Josie fears the marks are a serial killer’s twisted way of counting his victims. But where are the other girls he’s killed, and how many more could follow? The case takes a terrifying turn when a local teen goes missing just days before she turns sixteen. Clock ticking, Josie turns the town upside down in search of answers. But when her own chief comes forward with a missing piece in this devastating puzzle spanning decades, will it be enough to get inside the mind of the most unexpected and elusive killer she has ever encountered, or will another precious life be taken?
Gone to Her Grave is by Wendy Dranfield. In the golden morning light, a beautiful young woman lies diagonally across the bed, dressed for a night out, her long lashes pressed against her cheeks as if she’s sleeping. But the crimson that creeps across the sheets tells the story of an innocent woman who has drawn her last breath… Detective Madison Harper is pulled away from Thanksgiving preparations when a local care worker, Terri Summers, is found dead in her home on the outskirts of Lost Creek, Colorado. Terri’s inconsolable mother can’t understand who would hurt such a kind soul who had dedicated her life to helping others. But analysis of the blood spatter at the scene indicates Terri knew her attacker, that she looked them right in the eye before her life was taken. The awkward way Terri’s body is positioned catches Madison’s attention. Carefully moving her, she finds a bracelet—possibly a child’s—with a single red bead clenched in the woman’s fist, as if she was hiding it. It’s the lead Madison so desperately needs, but the sudden death of one of her own team sends the investigation into a tailspin. With her coworkers crumbling around her, Madison must work day and night to trace the bracelet and crack the case. But when she’s dragged back into the disappearance of a woman and child from years ago, and finds a link to someone in her own family, can Madison stop this twisted killer before another precious life is taken? And at what cost?
A lovely day out takes a dark turn when a complaining customer is found dead… Luckily amateur sleuth Belinda Penshurst is on the scene – and ready to investigate! Belinda Penshurst has always loved Brabourne Gardens. A keen animal lover, she enjoys walking its winding paths and listening to the excited squeals of schoolchildren encountering the kind of wildlife you don’t normally find in England. So when one of the visitors is found strangled, she’s determined to learn whodunnit – and why. The victim, Simon Carter, had a reputation for making trouble… But surely that’s not a good enough reason to want him dead. Together with retired detective Harry Powell, Belinda investigates the goings-on behind the scenes, and learns that some of the staff are more savage than the animals. Is it Estelle Samuels, the anti-social owner, who clearly has something to hide? Or the security guard who takes his job too seriously? Most worrying of all, Belinda’s ex Ivan was there when the body was found, and she’s determined to clear his name. As suspicions swirl, one thing’s for sure: if Belinda keeps following the killer’s tracks, she might find herself in their sights… Can she sniff out a murderer, before she becomes prey? Murder at the Gardens is by Lisa Cutts.
Silent Little Angels is by Jennifer Chase. The water ripples as the girl’s body escapes the reeds and floats silently upwards. Her beautiful face—blue eyes frozen open, skin as white as snow—breaks the surface. But it’s too late, this innocent soul has taken her final breath… When camp counselor Carolyn Sable’s body is found floating in a lake beside Eagle Ridge Summer Camp, Detective Katie Scottmust dig deep to stay focused. As a child, Katie spent many happy weeks at that camp toasting marshmallows on the fire with her best friend Jenny… until the day Jenny disappeared. The loss will always haunt Katie, but Carolyn’s inconsolable family need answers. Searching the area, the devastating discovery of two more bodies sends the case into a tailspin. Suddenly on the hunt for a serial killer, Katie’s blood turns to ice when she finds newspaper clippings about her own past cases planted near one of the bodies. Was this twisted killer banking on Katie taking the lead? And why? Carolyn was adored by children and staff at the camp, so Katie thinks her sudden resignation is key to cracking the case. Uncovering a tragic accident involving a group of children the weeks before Carolyn left, Katie knows she’s getting close. But when the carefully laid trap Katie sets to catch Carolyn’s killer backfires, Katie finds herself in unthinkable danger and unable to even trust her own team. Can she stay alive long enough to crack the toughest case of her career, and how many more innocent lives will be lost before she does?
For seven years I believed my husband was dead – until the note arrived this morning… The day her husband Tom disappeared, Rachel’s life fell apart. Childhood sweethearts with two young children, they’d done everything together. And then, suddenly, Tom was gone. Without a word, without a note, without a single sign of where he might be, leaving Rachel to survive alone. Now, nearly seven years later, Rachel has come to terms with life as a single mother, caring for their children who still secretly long for their father’s miraculous return. But in his absence, Tom’s hidden life started to emerge, and Rachel has discovered things a wife should never have to. A secret life that betrayed everything Rachel thought she knew. Not knowing where he’d gone was no longer the main worry keeping her awake at night – it seemed much more likely he’d been silenced. Forever. Until today, when – with just one month until Tom is to be declared legally dead – Rachel receives a note in handwriting she recognises with dread: My darling, I’ve missed you so much. Give me a chance to explain. I’m coming home. The husband she’d lost is alive. And so are all his secrets… The Widow's Husband is by Lesley Sanderson.
The Light House Girls is by B R Spangler. The girl shivers in the boat, trying to hold back her sobs as the man silently rows them towards the lighthouse under a dark sky. She thinks desperately of her big sister, how they’d laughed just a few hours before as they rode the Ferris wheel at the funfair. Will she ever see her again? When the body of a teenage girl is found abandoned on a beach by a lighthouse in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Detective Casey White is first on the scene. Breaking the news to the heartbroken parents, Casey is distraught to learn of a second tragedy: the girl’s eight-year-old little sister Shawna is missing too. Searching the lighthouse building, Casey soon finds traces that Shawna was kept there: her clothes, a teddy bear. Someone has been keeping her alive, but where have they taken her? When she learns that the girls were together at a visiting funfair the night they were taken, Casey races to interview the workers, but is only met with silence and turned backs. Digging into old cases, Casey’s blood runs cold as she realises there’s been a murder in the same location as the travelling fair going back years. Now the funfair has disappeared without trace. Thinking back to a shadowy figure she noticed by the hall of mirrors, Casey is certain when they find the fair, they will find the killer hiding in plain sight. But with the whole town terrified for their daughters,can Casey hunt them down before it’s too late for little Shawna?
Murder in the Neighborhood is by Ellen J Green. On 6 September 1949, twenty-eight-year-old Howard Barton Unruh shot thirteen people in less than twelve minutes on his block in East Camden, New Jersey. The shocking true story of the first recorded mass shooting in America has never been told, until now. The sky was cloudless that morning when twelve-year-old Raymond Havens left his home on River Road. His grandmother had sent him to get a haircut at the barbershop across the street—where he was about to witness his neighbor and friend Howard open fire on the customers inside. Told through the eyes of young Raymond, who had visited Howard regularly to listen to his war stories, and the mother trying to piece together the disturbing inner workings of her son’s mind, Murder in the Neighborhood uncovers the chilling true story of Howard Unruh, the quiet loner who meticulously plotted his revenge on the neighbors who shunned him and became one of America’s first mass killers. With Ellen’s access to Howard’s diaries, newly released police reports and psychiatric records alongside interviews with surviving family members, Murder in the Neighborhood is a compulsive page-turner that will have you asking—how well do we ever really know those around us? Are we ever really safe?
A Body on the Beach is by Dee Macdonald. Super sleuth Kate Palmer is Cornwall’s answer to Miss Marple, but when the semi-retired nurse finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time can she prove her innocence and solve her most puzzling case yet? Kate Palmer thought spending the day at Tinworthy’s annual summer party would involve sea air, sunshine and Cornish cream cake – how very wrong she was! After a showdown with her new nemesis Sienna Stone, Kate goes for a cliff-top walk to cool off. But she is horrified to spot Sienna’s body on the sandy beach below. Rumours swirl around the close-knit Cornish community and all eyes are on Kate. Half the village witnessed her argument with Sienna. When Kate finds herself cast as a suspect and is accused of murder, can she solve the crime and clear her name? Kate knows that plenty of people disliked Sienna but would any of them go so far as to kill her and frame Kate? Could it be Sienna’s long-suffering husband Irving? Her jealous younger sister Sally? Or Timmy Thomson, the local loner who was infatuated with her? Just as Kate thinks she’s getting closer to an answer, Timmy is found dead in his own home. Does his untimely demise mean the other suspects, including Kate, are next on the killer’s list…? With time running out, Kate needs to find out the truth. Can she solve the case and save herself? Or have her days of sleuthing come to an end?
The Girl Before Me is by Laura Wolfe. I’m so worried. You aren’t safe in that apartment! You have to get out. Before it’s too late… When Rachel moves into a new apartment with her young daughter, Lily, it’s with a huge sense of relief. After escaping an abusive marriage, this perfect downtown fourth floor rental, within minutes from the lake, feels like the new beginning the two of them deserve. It’s a place to call home. A place for them to grow together. A place for them to heal. And, as Lily starts at a nearby elementary school, and Rachel begins to develop feelings for her neighbor, Alex, who lives just down the hall, she dares to hope that their life is looking up. But soon handwritten letters begin to arrive for someone called Annie. Alex says she was just the tenant who lived there before, who moved out one day without a word. Tentatively Rachel opens the first letter, intending to return it to the sender. But the note says ‘Annie. I’m so worried. You aren’t safe in that apartment! You have to get out. Before it’s too late.’ Something happened to Annie. And Rachel is not nearly as safe as she thinks she is…