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When a dinner guest of Eugenia Potter is found poisoned, supposedly from Mrs. Potter's famous twenty-seven-ingredient chili, the flabbergasted hostess knows she must act quickly before someone else is murdered.From the Paperback edition.
Kernels of Truth....When Eugenia Potter stumbles upon some ancient pottery shards on her ranch, she feels a profound connection with the past. And a deep desire to learn more about the relics. Now, she's heeding the call of her soul--by visiting an archaeological camp amid the magnificent cliff dwellings of Colorado's Mesa Verde.But strange things are happening at Mesa Verde, from the director's increasing mental confusion to a visitor's grisly death. Even a Talking Circle--a traditional ritual facilitated by the passing around of an ear of blue corn--doesn't reveal the source of the trouble. And when a busload of teenagers on a hiking trip disappears without a trace, Mrs. Potter begins some digging... to unearth a cruel scheme, a long-buried secret, and the deadly fruits of a killer's dark hungers.From the Paperback edition.
Hours after the Port Frederick Civic Foundation got wind of a highly unusual bequest: a $4 million Kansas cattle ranch, director Jenny Cain hops a flight west. She arrives at the hospital room of the gravely ill benefactor, Charles W. "Cat" Benet, to find that he's already dead. Murdered. Could charming Quentin Harlan, the ranch hand, be Cat Benet's killer? Or did Cat's estranged daughters, unhappy ex-wives and their jealous second husbands have something to do with his death?
After the brutal murder of her friend Carol Margolis, Jenny Cain travels to New York, where she takes charge of Carol's job and the murder investigation.
Jenny Cain would never forget the hot Massachusetts summer day fate knocked at her door. Fate was a teenaged boy with rumpled clothes, a motorcycle, and a shocking but credible story: Jenny's husband, Geof, was his biological father. The boy, David Mayer, wasn't looking for an emotional reunion, but he did have an agenda. His parents -- and he was quick to make the point that Geof was nothing to him -- died earlier in the year, a murder/suicide according to the police. The cops were wrong, David said, and Geof was a cop, and he owed it to David to prove that Ron Mayer did not kill his invalid wife and then himself. As David lured Jenny and Geof to carefully placed clues, including two bizarre videotaped confessions of "sin," another murder was committed. And Jenny knew that no matter what the truth was about David Mayer's parents, her own life and marriage would be altered forever....
Award-winning author Nancy Pickard has been receiving high acclaim for her mystery series starring sleuth Jenny Cain. This time Cain finds herself following the trail of a possible paranoid schizophrenic slasher--only to uncover clues that put her squarely in the sights of a cold-blooded murderer! "An outstanding mystery series that just keeps getting better".--ALA Booklist. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Wisteria Lane has nothing on the grandes dames of mystery. . . . In the expert hands of fourteen unsurpassed storytellers, being a housewife takes on a whole new meaning. Get ready for a lethal mix of meddling mothers-in-law, creepy neighbors, cheating husbands, fickle female friends, careers left behind, out-of-control kids, steamy sex, and much, much more in this thrilling collection of never-before-published stories! Go behind the lace curtains and PTA smiles to explore the often mind-numbing reality of being a housewife. You'll laugh, you'll scream, you'll recognize yourself or your best friend in each of these deadly situations. Join Nevada Barr, Barbara Collins, Carole Nelson Douglas, Eileen Dreyer, Vicki Hendricks, Suzann Ledbetter, Elizabeth Massie, Christine Matthews, Denise Mina, Marcia Muller, Sara Paretsky, Nancy Pickard, S. J. Rozan, and Julie Smith on a riotous ride through the dark but often hilarious corners of the housewife psyche. In Deadly Housewives, the murders and mysteries on Wisteria Lane will look like an elementary-school bake sale compared to the thrills and suspense that these masters cook up!
As director of the Port Frederick Civic Foundation, Jenny Cain is privy to the charitable intentions of the town's wealthiest citizens. There's eccentric old Arnie Culverson, who's promised millions to the local art museum. Who's found there one bright winter morning, neatly tucked into a priceless antique Chinese bed. With pillow and blanket. Dead. Then another dearly beloved donor dies in the night. And the killer leaves behind a nasty rhyme suggesting rich and beautiful Jenny will be next!
The layered plot of the latest in the excellent Jenny Cain series (SAY NO TO MURDER) finds the Port Frederick, Mass., sleuth probing the cause of her recently deceased mother's insanity. Cain discovers that her mother's mental collapse many years before coincided with the bankruptcy of the family business. The closing of Cain Clams created considerable unemployment locally and countless enemies for the Cains--one such foe may now be trying to prevent the amateur detective from delving further into her family's past and the town's secrets. As she tracks down public mysteries, Cain unearths painful personal issues; an attempt on her life, construed as an effort at suicide, forces her to deal with the legacy of her mother's madness. Pickard masterfully resolves both plot lines in this affecting, provocative novel centering around the mystery at the heart of mother-daughter relationships.
Sex, violence, evil, and betrayal -- the shocking murder case splashed across the Florida headlines has all the right elements for true-crime writer Marie Lightfoot's next bestseller. And tell the tale she does, in a book that reveals the secrets of a love affair gone fatally wrong. But there are disturbing twists, which leave Marie sensing in her gut that something does not jibe. Twist number one: the accused is a man of the cloth, who has allegedly killed his wife in collusion with his lover. Twist number two: a pair of young girls find the body in an abandoned mansion, adding the death of innocence to the magnitude of the crime. Twist number three: a shattering conviction turns the case on its ear. And the ultimate blow: for the first time in her career, Marie fails to win the the killer's confidence during a jailhouse interview. Suddenly, she knows with certainty there ia more to the story than even she realized -- and her conscience won't let her rest. Then an unexpected visitor -- a shock in itself for the reclusive writer -- confesses something that not even the police know. The revelation may he the missing piece in a terrifying puzzle -- evidence that teaches Marie a bone-chilling lesson as threatening danger slowly encircles her: to err is human, but underestimating the criminal mind can be deadly. Nancy Pickard premiered gutsy Marie Lightfoot in the national bestseller The Whole Truth, and kicked off a thrilling new series with "an intriguing story, fascinatingly told" (The Philadelphia Inquirer). Now, Pickard once again "pushes the presumed limits of [crime fiction]" (Los Angeles Times) as she sends this complex heroine into a jagged maze with one destination: the darkest realm of human nature.
Jenny Cain was thrilled about the Liberty Harbor Restoration, a picturesque collection of shops, museums and restaurants. But when a runaway truck barreled into the project committee, it seemed someone in Port Frederick was out to sink Liberty Harbor. Then a wooden cross raised in unholy wrath made the message clear. Murderously clear. As director of the town's Civic Foundation, Jenny should have been glad when police detective Geof Bushfield reeled in a prime suspect. Unfortunately, it was the one person she was desperate to prove innocent. Fishing for a ruthless killer, she had to bait her trap fast - before the cold New England waters closed in over her own head!
One beautiful summer afternoon, Jody Linder receives shocking news: The man convicted of murdering her father is being released from prison and returning to the small town of Rose, Kansas. It has been twenty-three years since that stormy night when her father was shot and killed and her mother disappeared, presumed dead. Neither the protective embrace of Jody's three uncles nor the safe haven of her grandparents; ranch could erase the pain caused by Billy Crosby on that catastrophic night. Now Billy Crosby is free, thanks to the efforts of his son, Collin, a lawyer who has spent most of his life trying to prove his fathers innocence. Despite their long history of carefully avoiding each other in such an insular community, Jody and Collin find that they share an exclusive sense of loss. As Jody revisits old wounds, startling truths emerge about her family's tragic past. But even through struggle and hardship, she still dares to hope for a better future--and maybe even love. Look for special features inside.
A DINNER TO DIE FOR. Summoned from her Arizona ranch to take charge of her teenage great-nephew and his twin sister, Genia Potter takes a rental on the Rhode Island coast. Old acquaintance Stanley Parker is only too happy to welcome her. And soon Genia is busily preparing for the tasting party that she and Stanley are hosting that evening at her cottage. An avid cook and recipe collector, Stanley has already roped Genia into collaborating on The Secret Ingredient Cookbook, chock-full of Rhode Island culinary mysteries. Now is their chance to test some recipes and solicit others from each of the invited. Stanley has carefully selected six guests. And each has been asked to contribute a recipe with one secret ingredient. Genia asks no questions-until the lobster bisque is cold and all but one are present. Where is Stanley? Dead. And unlamented. Has one of the guests concocted a secret recipe for murder? Everyone has a motive. And everyone has a secret-including Genia's troubled great-nephew, the prime suspect.
The blank page, the impossible deadline, the exhilarating rush of inspiration, the perils of publication: There is no profession more maddening or more rewarding than being a writer. Yet surprisingly, all writers, no matter how famous or successful, pass through the same sequence of stages in the course of their careers. It was this remarkable insight that inspired veteran writers Nancy Pickard and Lynn Lott to pool their talents and write a book. The result is one of the wisest and liveliest guides to the literary life ever written--a volume of astonishing revelation, warm reassurance, brilliant encouragement, and welcome humor. Drawing on their own experience as writers of fiction and nonfiction as well as the insights of scores of colleagues, Pickard and Lott follow the trajectory of the writer's life from the first time that inner voice whispers "I want to write" to the burst of accomplishment that comes when the book is finished, the vision expressed, the dream made real. No matter what you write or how much recognition you've received, if you're serious about writing as a profession, you are bound to pass through the seven steps on the writer's path. Pickard and Lott call these steps Unhappiness, Wanting, Commitment, Wavering, Letting Go, Immersion, and Fulfillment. Are you sunk in a pit of loneliness and confusion, burdened by pressures you can neither name nor escape? Welcome to the stage of Unhappiness, what Pickard and Lott call the "precreative state. " Don't worry, Tolstoy and Stephen King have been there before you, and somehow they cleared the abyss of Wanting (desires you can't shake, jealousies that sting like bees) and climbed the ladder of Commitment. Wavering is where you hit the wall, tread water, and succumb to the dread paralysis of writer's block and the abuse of unsympathetic editors and critics. E. B. White said a writer is like a surfer waiting for the perfect wave--and in the stage of Letting Go, that wave finally crests, releasing the torrent of creativity that carries you through the deeply satisfying stages of Immersion and Fulfillment. Pickard and Lott are the buddies every writer dreams of--always there to light the way and lighten your mood, generous with advice and sympathy, and bold enough to give you the occasional kick in the pants. Whether you're a "wannabe" writer or a published literary veteran, you're bound to find this book a source of true delight, vital wisdom, and lasting inspiration.
With The Whole Truth and Ring of Truth, award-winning author Nancy Pickard introduced the intrepid Marie Lightfoot, a gutsy and charismatic true-crime writer, and kicked oV a sensational new series that sealed her reputation as one of today's top practitioners of "chilling, fast-paced, and original" thrillers (Detroit Free Press). Now Marie Lightfoot faces an unusually challenging case because this time it's personal -- painfully so, as it concerns the central mystery of her life: her parents' disappearance. My dear Marie, Do you give any thought to life after death? They say that when dead people hover around the living, it is because they are stuck at the place where they died. They can't move on. I hope for your sake that doesn't happen to you, Marie, because I don't think you'll want to linger in the place where I will kill you.... When the first E-mail arrives it seems like a joke: A man writes that he loves Marie's work and wants her to collaborate with him by becoming his victim and writing a book about her own murder right up to the moment of her death. If she doesn't cooperate, he promises, he will hurt someone close to her. Marie is merely unsettled until more threatening E-mails arrive and the young children of her lover, State Attorney Franklin DeWeese, become targets of vicious pranks. Until the police can apprehend her tormentor, Marie has no choice but to play along, following her "co-author's" instructions to write her life story and return to her birthplace, a small town in Alabama. There Marie seeks out a group of the town's most prominent citizens. Forty years ago, they worked clandestinely in the civil rights movement alongside her parents, who disappeared during the explosive summer of 1963. Trying to untangle the divided loyalties, secrets, lies, and misunderstandings that have obscured the truth about her parents, Marie races to unravel the secrets of the past and outwit a killer before she is forced to write her final page. Filled with rich characterizations, steadily escalating suspense, and a rare depth of emotion, The Truth Hurts draws readers into a mystery that spans the present day and the tense, heartbreaking early days of America's civil rights movement. In a novel as complex and captivating as her inimitable heroine, Nancy Pickard keeps readers guessing until the Wnal page is turned.
Small Plains, Kansas, January 23, 1987: In the midst of a deadly blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger scours his father's pasture, looking for helpless newborn calves. Then he makes a shocking discovery: the naked, frozen body of a teenage girl, her skin as white as the snow around her. Even dead, she is the most beautiful girl he's ever seen. It is a moment that will forever change his life and the lives of everyone around him. The mysterious dead girl-the "Virgin of Small Plains"-inspires local reverence. In the two decades following her death, strange miracles visit those who faithfully tend to her grave; some even believe that her spirit can cure deadly illnesses. Slowly, word of the legend spreads. But what really happened in that snow-covered field? Why did young Mitch Newquist disappear the day after the Virgin's body was found, leaving behind his distraught girlfriend, Abby Reynolds? Why do the town's three most powerful men-Dr. Quentin Reynolds, former sheriff Nathan Shellenberger, and Judge, Tom Newquist-all seem to be hiding the details of that night? Seventeen years later, when Mitch suddenly returns to Small Plains, simmering tensions come to a head, ghosts that had long slumbered whisper anew, and the secrets that some wish would stay buried rise again from the grave of the Virgin. Abby-never having resolved her feelings for Mitch-is now determined to uncover exactly what happened so many years ago to tear their lives apart. Three families and three friends, their worlds inexorably altered in the course of one night, must confront the ever-unfolding consequences in award-winning author Nancy Pickard's remarkable novel of suspense. Wonderfully written and utterly absorbing, The Virgin of Small Plains is about the loss of faith, trust, and innocence . . . and the possibility of redemption. From the Hardcover edition.
"Nancy Pickard pushes at the presumed limits of [crime fiction]" said the Los Angeles Times Book Review, praising the award-winning creator of the Jenny Cain mysteries. Now, Pickard blurs the line between fiction and reality in a novel of gripping intensity, and premieres a superb new heroine: true-crime author Marie Lightfoot. For her next surefire bestseller, Marie is covering the trial of a Florida killer -- a case that penetrates her own life, layer by disturbing layer. Whether real like Ted Bundy, or imagined like Hannibal Lecter, few killers of our time are in the same league as Raymond Raintree. And as he stands flanked by lawyers in a Florida courtroom, waiting to be convicted for the murder of Natalie Mae McCullen, Marie Lightfoot is taking it all in. A small, gutsy blonde renowned for her true-crime bestsellers, Marie knows the graphic and disturbing case will make her best book yet -- because Raintree's shocking crime, vile beyond imagining, is also impossible to turn away from. But there is something about the case -- and Raintree's involvement -- that bothers her. No one knows where Raintree, a man as slight and immature as a preteen boy, took Natalie after he abducted her. No one knows how Natalie -- bright, independent, and with no fear of the dark -- could be lured into a stranger's boat on a lonely waterway. And only one witness saw a man who may have been Raintree motoring along in a water taxi on the night Natalie disappeared. Even if the police can't provide answers, Marie intends to leave no loose ends. Starting with a prison meeting with Raintree, the steely-nerved writer follows a twisted path that leads to Natalie's parents, to a coincidence that doesn't quite gel, and to a place she has resisted all her life: the dark recesses of her own soul, where she hides the secrets of her own lost past. When Raymond escapes, Marie -- a curious contradiction of celebrity author and introspective loner -- becomes a sitting duck for a killer who just might be smart enough to outwit her. And evil enough to take her to hell before she dies. A masterpiece of psychological suspense, The Whole Truth is a compelling look at our fascination with the horrific crimes of our time. Nancy Pickard's characters are as close to flesh and blood as fiction can get -- and her writing is as close to perfection.