Our monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Easter mysteries, crime novels and thrillers by indie and small press authors.
The holiday mysteries cover the broad spectrum of crime fiction. We have cozy mysteries, small town mysteries, culinary mysteries, animal mysteries, paranormal mysteries, historical mysteries, police procedurals, crime thrillers, police officers, amateur sleuths, drug dealers, vanished bodies, stolen Fabergé eggs, missing children, kidnappings, deadly Easter egg hunts, crime-fighting bakers, crime-fighting hairstylists, crime-fighting dogs and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Easter.
As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday mysteries is also crossposted to the Indie Crime Scene, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things crime fiction several times per week.
As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.
And now on to the books without further ado:
MacFarland has been asked to solve a murder–but the body has disappeared!
The Easter Evader, a special holiday novella, just in time for those enjoying the Easter holidays who want something short to read. MacFarland must find out what happened to the body of a deceased teenager. Was it stolen for nefarious purposes, or is something even more sinister going on? Rufus and MacFarland join forces to solve the case of the Easter Evader.
When an innocent family is taken hostage in their home no one is prepared for how fast it all goes terribly wrong.
With the small community of Lawrence still reeling from shock, detectives Nick Cooper and Tobe White stand among the dead bodies knowing it’s not over. Relief that the two young daughters have survived quickly turns to fear for their missing father, somehow impossibly vanishing from a house surrounded by police.
The mystery deepens as Nick and Tobe realize they know every gunman lying dead here – up to last night they were the leaders of the biggest criminal gang in the country. The desperate search and rescue efforts soon collide with their own challenging investigation into a deeper, older tragedy.
Where they begin to learn just how far someone will go for those he truly, dearly hates.
Crime thriller set in London in the present. Taking place over an eight day period during Easter, what starts as a massive police effort to finally end the criminal career of London’s biggest home-grown drug dealer turns into a nightmare as lives are lost, reputations destroyed, and personal relationships are shattered.
Nineteen years ago, as a teenager, Detective Inspector Ray Chalmers applied to join the Metropolitan Police Force, arguing it needed people like him from the City’s huge social housing estates as they could best relate to the criminals’ outlook and lives. But he told lies on his application form. Now, when agreeing to join the Serious Crime Squad that is after London’s biggest drug dealer, he omits to mention he once lived with the man’s sister-in-law.
In attempting to get his revenge on the man for destroying his teenage years, Ray leaves no stone unturned, using his private knowledge of the man. But no-one is prepared for the murderous response of the dealer’s secret Russian business associates.Then Ray’s secret past returns to haunt him when he meets the nineteen year old girl that he abandoned when she was only five months’ old. She has all the answers to the case, but is also the go-between for the drug dealer and his Russian associates, and has long written off her life as valueless. She also has her own secret agenda and, clashing with Ray, unleashes her resentment on him without caring about the possible consequences to herself. It leaves a guilt-stricken Ray with no choice but to prevent her from self-destruction, and stake everything on bringing the dealer and his associates to justice.
Parker Bell is being yanked back to Po’thole once again. This time she’s involved in an international mystery surrounding a Fabergé Easter Egg and a Russian billionaire.
Snowbirds Anne and Chauncey Livingstone aka Tsar Chauncey and Tsarina Anne winter in Po’thole, pronounced Po Ho by the natives and Pot Hole by anyone north of the Georgia state line, from the frigid tundra north (Maine). They have a Fabergé egg. Is it real or is it a fake? What does Russian billionaire Anatoly Petrov have to do with it?
Bestselling author and computer company owner Parker Bell is back in her hometown for international mystery, intrigue, and, of course, Po’thole’s own brand of craziness with the Lady Gatorettes – Misty Dawn, Mary Jane, Rhonda Jean, Flo, and Myrtle Sue – five hormonal caffeine-and-sugar infused women who are die-hard University of Florida football fans.
Why are the Russians so intent on trying to kidnap or kill everyone over the Fabergé Easter egg? Why in Po’thole of all places?
A hilarious romp with crazy characters and believable enough that it might be true. The Fabergé Easter Egg is the 3rd book in the Parker Bell Cozy Mystery series.
When a priceless Fabergé egg goes missing from a locked room in the London townhouse of Russian oligarch Yevgeny Ivanov, everybody quickly suspects Eva Hart, Ivanov’s cleaning lady and single mother.
But Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd has her doubts about this theory, for Eva Hart has no motive, since the egg is unsellable on the free market. But what does Eva’s little daughter Emily know? And what happened to the egg?
This is a mystery novelette of 7500 words or approx. 25 pages.
Sunday, March 31, 1929
Mrs. Wilson Jones (Louise) of Albany, Georgia, wakes up on yet another Sunday morning to discover her husband didn’t come home after carousing down at Louray’s by the river.
But she doesn’t have time to worry. Easter dinner will be at her sister’s house and Mrs. Jones has biscuits to bake. So, she turns on the radio, begins to sing with The Chambers Family Quintet, broadcasting over WSJ in Atlanta, and gets the buttermilk out of the icebox. There’s work to be done and Mrs. Jones is a good cook, keeps a clean house, and always delivers on her promises.
Welcome to a year of holidays with Nick Williams and Carter Jones!
This is the eight in a series of short stories all centered around specific holidays.
Each story is a vignette that stands on its own and takes place from the 1920s to 2008.
The smell of burnt cake is not a good omen for Annie when she arrives at the Black Cat Cafe. But little does she know that her Aunt Leona’s cooking disaster is only the first of many problems she’ll be served in a big basket of cracked Easter eggs.
Annie quickly learns that being in charge at the Black Cat Café isn’t all chocolate-covered strawberries and carrot cakes. In addition to the variety of tasty pastries she needs to make for Easter, she stumbles on a body and what appears to be a robbery.
With money disappearing from bank accounts, snooping seniors appearing out of the blue, and clues turning up in the most unlikely places, Annie’s problems sizzle more than Leona’s hot cross buns.
Determined to help her new friends, Annie and her therapy dog land in the middle of a murder investigation. Clues pile higher than a basket of Easter eggs, all pointing to one of the seniors. Annie searches for something to keep her friend from landing in a jail cell but instead, Annie ends up right in the killer’s crosshairs.
Hare today, dead tomorrow… Can a stylish sleuth pull a rabbit out of her hat to solve an Easter murder in this to-dye-for cozy mystery?
When hairstylist Marla Vail attends an Easter egg hunt at historic Tremayne Manor, she’s only there to fix hair for a client, Bonnie “Blinky” Morris. But when she’s asked to comb the grounds for leftover goodies, Marla discovers more than just a few dyed eggs. The dead body in the bunny costume is definitely not having a good hare day. And Blinky seems to have disappeared down a rabbit hole.
When trying to solve a murder, everyone needs a friend who’s all ears. For Marla, that’s her husband, homicide detective Dalton Vail. They make an eggcellent team. Dalton isn’t the kind to leap to conclusions, but with his wife seven months pregnant, and knowing Marla finds crime-solving to be irresistible, he worries about her running off on another hare-raising adventure.
Marla’s peeps are hoping for a happy ending, but she may have found a basketful of trouble this time. Can she crack the case before Blinky becomes the next victim?
Spring is in the air and with the warm weather comes an abundance of babies; human and otherwise. Things seem to be right on course until Jack Frost comes to town throwing the entire town of Ashton Falls into chaos. When Zoe sees the Easter Bunny running from a murder scene during a freak snowstorm she must track down the ‘Cartoon Bandits’ in order to catch a killer.
In the first ever crossover episode, Zak and Zoe join forces with Hawaiian visitors Luke and Lani, to find out who killed a historian visiting Ashton Falls in order to find a treasure map left by his grandfather a hundred years earlier. Meanwhile, Ellie and Levi move in with Zak and Zoe while the boathouse is being renovated and Alex helps Ellie prepare the nursery for baby Eli who is due to be born any day. Throw in some humor and Easter fun and you have a Zak and Zoe crossover mystery.
It comes down to a few critical seconds as Zoe is forced to either outsmart a genius or watch her husband die.
With Easter only a week away, Zoe is pulled into a dangerous game after Zak is kidnapped, and the person who kidnapped him, challenges Zoe to The Sleuthing Game. Zoe is told that the only way to gain Zak’s freedom is to complete the challenges in the time allotted.
If she fails, Zak will die.
Zoe had promised she would retire from sleuthing now that she had an infant to care for, but the stakes are high, so she leaves the kids with Ellie, while she and Levi set out to beat a madman at their own game.
Meet Lord James Harrington and his delightful wife, Beth; residents of the tiny village of Cavendish, deep in the heart of West Sussex in England. They adore hosting seasonal events, running their country hotel, keeping the local folklore alive and listening to the latest murder mystery on the wireless. But mysteries don’t always remain on the airwaves…
It’s Easter and the Cavendish residents are discussing the traditional festivities along with the proposed Easter egg hunt on the Harrington estate. But when the vicar’s dog digs up a bone, things take a turn for the worse. Retracing the dog’s walk, James uncovers a skeleton buried in the woods. Studying the remains, he identifies a number of expensive items. With the likelihood that the victim could be someone well-to-do, James is concerned that he may know the victim and puts his sleuthing hat on.
With investigations under way and a long list of suspects with motive and opportunity, James is confident that it won’t take long to solve the mysterious death. But a chance conversation turns the whole enquiry on its head. With his good friend, DCI Lane, involved in a current murder enquiry, James takes it upon himself to delve deeper. His questions take him from the quiet village of Cavendish to the beautiful city of Boston where more surprises await. James calls upon many of his contacts to help him track down the murderer. Will he bring the killer to justice or is he on a wild goose chase?
Join James, Beth and the Cavendish regulars as they enjoy the Easter events and embark on another adventure.
A father’s love and family anguish. Hank Green’s young son, Bobby, is lost in a cave beneath a water-drenched swamp of the Chesapeake Bay. The wilderness is known for Native American mystery as well as an unsolved World War Two secret. Even worse, a powerful Easter Sunday storm with its flood surge is barreling down. Hank rushes to join the team of experienced local firemen and friends who will try to find and rescue his son before the boy drowns. Yet he feels once again his own numbing personal terror. He is overcome by a lifelong claustrophobic fear of entering closed spaces like caves. It’s a phobia he inherited from his immigrant father, a displaced person from the 1945 European war, and his own Vietnam experience. He knows if the others lose hope and fail, he will go on alone and risk his life to save his child. He must find a way to conquer his weakness but time is running out.
When a jewelry shop in the Old Market is robbed, and an expensive jeweled egg is stolen, it seems someone might be out to ruin Easter.
For pie shop owner Bertha Hannah, however, she has very little time to think about crime as she is preparing for the annual city Easter Egg Hunt at the community gardens. Businesses and churches from all over the city are contributing to the event, and Bert has a new pie recipe planned for the day.
Festivities are brought to a screeching halt, however, when a body is found in the bushes. Is this new death connected to the egg robbery? When the finger of accusation seems to be pointed in the direction of a friend, Bert knows it is up to her to solve this mystery before the Easter Bunny hops away with all the clues.
Being in charge of the annual Easter Egg Hunt is challenging enough for Agnes and Eleanor, but even more so when they assist Bernice in finding rabbits for the event. Unfortunately for the sleuths, instead of bunnies, they stumble across a body.
The sleuths are hunting for the killer now, but soon it appears the killer is hunting for them too. Can Agnes and Eleanor outsmart the killer or will they become the next victims?
To bunnies everywhere! From jackrabbits to cottontails to lovable lop-eared cuties, chinchillas, harlequins, dwarfs, angoras and each and every breed, I dedicate this mystery to the rascally rabbits of the world. Oh, and especially to chocolate Easter bunnies. My favorite kind.
It’s almost Easter. Time for bunnies, bonnets, and bonbons. Not bedlam. Unless you’re Lora Weaver, that is.
With the scent of spring in the air and the promise of a long weekend looming, Lora is looking forward to a few days relaxing with her beau Adam, taking long walks and short naps snuggled together in the warm glow of Easter chocolate wrappers.
Until Lora spots a bouquet of Easter lilies at the home of bff Camille Caron’s aunt and soon finds herself donning a bunny suit and slinging more than Easter eggs.
Whiskers deep in a mêlée of sparring seniors, Lora must keep herself from falling into a rabbit hole she can’t escape. All while grappling with the clamorous Caron clan, mama-to-be Tina, and Lora’s enigma of a boss, Laurent, who may be hiding more secrets than a Kinder egg.
The Easter Egg Ennui is a holiday novella from the Lora Weaver series.
APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS
And a bouquet of murderous intrigue…
Amateur sleuth (and ace baker) Claire Andersen is back! Winter melts to spring in scenic Galway, Maryland, uncovering blooming friendships new and old, a shyly budding romance, the rotten stench of organized crime, and family drama more garish than Claire’s emerging blood lilies.
Settling in just fine to her new Appalachian digs (and getting the hang of this whole proprietress of a B&B thing, too!), NYC native Claire Andersen is living a cozy small town fairy tale. There are quirky local characters and adorable little shops, not to mention a kitchen full of mouth-watering baked goodies. She’s a veritable June Cleaver—if Leave It to Beaver were nestled in the mountains and June were a recently retired empty nester, that is.
There’s just one problem. Claire can hardly say “Gee, golly” before her newly-acquainted and much-beloved neighbor winds up murdered in cold blood, right before Galway’s annual Easter parade. Hot off the heels of her last murder, Claire can’t help but get involved (much to the chagrin of the well-meaning albeit bumbling town sheriff). She can hardly help herself, after all. The murder did take place right next door … and the victim’s family is staying in her B&B… Ever the hostess, poking around is the least she could do.
Little does Claire know the victim’s family is just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the iceberg consists of age-old secrets so duplicitous, they’d make Eddie Haskell run for the hills.
Mix in Claire’s feisty sidekick Evelyn, her ever-lovable bloodhound Rupert, and a mountain of mocha and strawberry buttercream cupcakes—and Claire finds she’s in business. The sleuthing business. Perhaps even the mafia business. But she’d better tread carefully—or she’ll wind up another discarded, frozen body in the aforementioned iceberg (with a spring thaw nowhere in sight).
It’s springtime in Spicetown and Mayor Cora Mae Bingham discovers there may be trouble blooming along with the rhododendrons!
With construction in full throttle in the new subdivisions and the income tax filing deadline looming over her head, Mayor Cora Mae Bingham is revamping the Annual Easter Eggs-Travaganza and trying to figure out who is in the Easter bunny suit this year, when a dead body has to be added to her To-Do list.
Harrie McKinsey and her best friend and business partner Ginger Vaughn discover that some secrets are best left buried when retired Senator Philip Lawrence hires their editing firm to assist him with a book about the famous unsolved 1950 murder of a cocktail waitress that led to the end of illegal casinos in New Mexico. When the Albuquerque newspaper announces that Senator Lawrence is writing the book, one person with a connection to the case is murdered and another narrowly escapes death. Despite the best efforts of Ginger’s husband and an FBI agent Harrie finds infuriatingly attractive, the energetic pair cannot resist trying to discover who is so anxious to destroy the book, the senator and his big secret. But will their proficiency and pluck be up to the challenge when they land in a dark house with a cold, calculating killer who has nothing else to lose?
A boyfriend changes everything!
In book five of the Becky Tibbs cozy, ghost mystery series, Becky must learn how to juggle her personal and business life now that she has a real boyfriend! This is a first for Becky and her new schedule sometimes feels overwhelming.
At Becky’s encouragement, Bobby and Barbara have finally decided to accept their special ability too. At least, they are open to using their gift if the opportunity presents itself.
Barbara actually manages to help someone new with their ghost problem and the meeting turns into something more. Unlike Marty, Barb’s ex-boyfriend, this new person, Christopher, accepts Barbara and her capabilities exactly as she is. In fact, he is impressed.
Jealousy rears its ugly head!
Marty finally goes off the deep end and Becky must help Patty come to terms with his rage.
Becky’s epiphany, or sudden realization, is a concept that would be beneficial to everyone.