Who’s your favorite Texas mystery sleuth and/or author? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll see what I can dig up on that sleuth or author.
Bestselling author Sandra Bretting is back with the sixth entry in her Hatmaker series. What the Hatmaker Heard takes milliner Missy DuBois to a southern planation for a lavish wedding. Missy made the bride’s headdress, but the nervous bride is afraid it will unbalance as she walks down the aisle. She asks Missy to attend the rehearsal and help her catch her balance. Missy is glad to help, despite the need to plan her own upcoming wedding. All goes well until after the rehearsal when Missy overhears a quarrel between bride and groom. Next morning, the groom is missing—until Missy discovers his body at the bottom of an old, unused sugar silo. Then she has more to catch than balance. All six Hatmaker books are set on Louisiana’s Great River Road and exude southern charm.
Bretting , a California native who now lives in Texas, also writes in the Christian inspirational genre. A former journalist, she was feature writer for the business section of the Houston Chronicle.
Houston area author S. C. Perkins offers the second in her Ancestry Detective Mysteries. In a complicated plot, Lineage Most Lethal ties a Texas setting with World War II espionage and involves the grandfather of genealogist Lucy Lancaster. An unknown man on the street presses something into Lucy’s hands and then collapses and dies at her feet. The object is a Mount Blanc pen, which her grandfather, a WWII vet and, unknown to Lucy, a former spy, identifies as the key to a microdot reading. Following the key, they find a list of names, including two who are already dead. Lucy must use her genealogy skills to trace the ancestors of those on the list, including Lucy, her new genealogy client, and her grandfather, and to trace the killer who wants to end several lineages.
Perkins is a fifth-generation Texas who grew up on stories of her ancestry. Her first Ancestry Detective Mystery, Murder Once Removed, was named the Malice Domestic 2017 Best First Traditional Mystery.
In August, watch for The Body Business by Gay Yellen. It’s a new edition of a 2014 title, from a new publisher, SkipJack Publishing. When first published, the title was a Pages from the Heart Romance Writers finalist and won a Romance Novel of Excellence Award from D’tale Magazine. When her best friend at work goes missing, Samantha Newman begins to question the strange staff losses and peculiar profit reports at the Houston company she helped build. To make matters worse, her job is undermined by a tenacious rival. How can she find her friend without getting caught in a web of deceit?
As doubt deepens, Samantha asks the FBI for help. They send Carter Chapman, a mystery man with motives of his own. He’s on a mission, and it wasn’t supposed to include a beautiful corporate executive with her own set of problems. But when a terrible event puts the two of them on the same path to discovery, they each must decide if some secrets are worth the price.
The second book in the series, The Body Next Door, published in 2016 earned Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem and Readers’ Favorite Mystery Awards. It will reappear later this year, and a third new book, The News Body, is scheduled for 2021.
Yellen previously won journalism awards for her work as former managing editor of D Magazine.
And let’s not leave out the gentlemen. In the early spring, Rick Treon published a prequel novella, Live with the Truth. Now he’s back with the official first title in his Bartholomew Beck series, Let the Guilty Pay. Beck is a washed-up true crime writer who hasn’t published a book in twenty years and is reduced to working on a pipeline. But everything changes when he finds the battered body of a coworker, the murder eerily like the case that ended his writing career, including one gruesome detail. Back then, he lied to the police, put his lies in a best-selling book, and sent the wrong man to Death Row. Now he knows he must face up to his lies and let the guilty pay.
Treon’s short story, “The Other Man’s Daughter,” is included in the 2020 anthology from the High Plains Writers centennial anthology. His previous novel, Deep Background, also makes use of his background in journalism. Disgraced reporter Levi Cole returns to his hometown in rural Texas to help an old friend solve a murder, but soon finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy to cover up political corruption. Before turning to writing full time, Treon was a reporter for several Texas newspapers.