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"The mystery plot is convincing and motives abound, but the vivid characters are the main draw, in particular the wryly observant Randall, who narrates the story with verve. Fans of cozies with a paranormal twist will be rewarded." —Publishers Weekly
Flamboyant actor Leo Pierson's Art Nouveau treasures have been stolen, including a one-of-a-kind Lalique glass dragonfly he claims is cursed. David Randall, 302 Grace Street's private eye, agrees to recover the valuables before he realizes murder has raised its ugly head in the Parkland art community. Samuel Gallant of the museum board is missing, until Randall and his landlord/consultant Camden find Gallant's body stuffed in a museum closet. When another board member suffers a fatal accident and the art critic for the Parkland Herald is attacked, Randall suspects the stolen dragonfly is indeed cursed. He investigates Richard Mason, curator of the Little Gallery, whose artwork consists of ugly mechanical sculptures, and Nancy Piper, finance manager at the Parkland Art Museum.
Meanwhile, Camden struggles against psychic visions he's had since birth, taking pills to limit sudden intense visions. His wife, Ellin, fends off Matt Grabber, a television celebrity healer threatening to take over her Psychic Service Network and using his two large pythons to emphasize his bid. The pythons take a liking to Camden, upping his stress level, while he takes more pills hoping his visions—and the snakes—disappear. Kit, a new tenant at Grace Street, is a young rock star who is also psychic. As Camden becomes more addicted, Kit becomes an early warning system, alerting Randall to the next attack.
Randall works to solve the murders, find the jeweled collection, help Cam, deter Grabber and his pythons, romance the young lovely Kary, and avoid stray curses. A spirit on the Other Side surprisingly requests his help, a spirit with ties to the stolen pieces of Art Nouveau.
"...readers seeking a cozy, feel-good mystery will enjoy this outing to Grace Street. The delightful characters navigate their worldly and otherworldly challenges with affection and humor, and Tesh maintains a whimsical tone that doesn't detract from the serious subject matter." —Publishers Weekly
Camden's friend Rufus Jackson receives a letter from his ex-wife, Bobbi, and he's surprised to learn he's the father of a baby. When Bobbi is found murdered in her home and her baby stolen, Rufus becomes suspect number one. PI David Randall immediately takes the case.
But Randall is almost sidetracked from the case by a series of what appears to be never-ending favors. When he takes his friend Cam to the Carlyle House to sing for a concert, Cam encounters Delores Carlyle, a troubled spirit trapped inside a huge mirror, who wants to see her daughter, Beverly, one last time. Beverly Carlyle will come to the house on one condition: that Randall find a home for her surly teenage son, Kit, and a band for her obnoxious daughter, Frieda. Kit is welcome at 302 Grace, but to secure a spot for Frieda, Randall has to get a local girl group a gig at a local nightclub. The owner agrees, if Cam will pose as a teenager and spy on a rival club. Cam agrees if Randall will take him to Green Valley to answer some questions about his past. And another ghost is haunting the hot dog restaurant, refusing to talk to Cam.
In addition to the tangle of deals, Randall has to contend with Rufus being hell-bent on revenge, the return of Cam's telekinesis, and growing concern that if the baby—a girl named Mary Rose, as it turns out—is found, Rufus, might not want to keep her.
But where is Mary Rose?
Riley Evensong knows it’s her destiny to rule Eldenfair and is suspicious of this human who's been asked over by the reigning king to help solve a technical problem. A strange social media fad called Flitter has all the young fae enchanted and is causing havoc, but this is only the beginning of the evil spells drifting in from the Other Side.
Riley must put aside her resentment of Mel, and Mel must come to terms with his emerging magic so together they can save Fairy tales from becoming warped beyond recognition.
Oh, and there's a talking animal side kick, of course.
Warned away from interfering in a police homicide investigation, Randall focuses on finding the box, searching for a missing diamond bracelet, and handling the crises embroiling his unique housemates in their rambling home on Grace Street. It will take a stroke of magic to connect the interlocking circles of these crimes.
"A solid mystery with a plethora of suspects and quirky regulars."—Kirkus Reviews
It's Christmas in Parkland, North Carolina, and PI David Randall is looking forward to his mother's visit, even though he knows she'll want to talk about his daughter, Lindsey, who died in a car accident. Further dampening the season's cheer, his psychic friend Camden has harrowing flashbacks to a murder: Randall and Camden found Camden's friend Jared Hunter brutally stabbed. Among the suspects is Boyd Taylor, Randall's client. Jared had served time for breaking into the Parkland Museum of History. Bert Galvin, son of the editor of the Parkland Herald, was also involved.
And what of the inept superhero, the Parkland Avenger? The Superhero Society of Parkland insists the Avenger isn't one of them. Are these things all somehow related?
David Randall, a private detective short of work, invites his psychic friend Camden into a case. Miss Viola Mitchell, an aging local actress, has recently been reported missing. The Parkland PD's Jordan Finley objects to the pair inspecting Viola's home, claiming the police don't need their help. Moments later, despite the array of birds and cats perfuming the residence, Cam advises Finley, "Check the basement."
Viola is neatly planted there in a square of dirt. Who would kill her? Why? Are others targeted? Is a local performer twisted by jealousy? Could a role in a Parkland Little Theatre production have caused her death? Cam goes undercover at the theater while rejecting demands from his fiancée that they marry this month. His psychic gifts have expanded to levitate objects. He fears for their children. She wants to put him on television.
Meanwhile, a new Grace Street client, owner of popular BeautiQueen Cosmetics, is searching for her arrogant, absconding partner. Randall tracks him to Clearwater, Florida, and soon finds himself chasing shoplifters stealing pharmaceuticals and helping a jazz musician woo his woman while failing to woo his own love, Kary. Will Randall and Cam piece all this together?
2018 ALA Book Club October Pick, Things that Go Bump: Paranormal Mysteries
David Randall's perfect family life came derailed when his little daughter Lindsey died in a car crash. Thrown out by his second wife and wanting to leave a dead-end detective agency to start his own, he reluctantly accepts his psychic friend Camden's invitation to stay in Camden's boarding house in Parkland, North Carolina.
Meanwhile, working the case of the murder of Albert Bennett, Randall's only clue is a notebook filled with odd musical notation. When another client, Melanie Gentry, hires him to prove her great-grandmother was murdered by her lover, composer John Burrows Ashford, over authorship of "Patchwork Melodies," Randall sets out to find a connection to Bennett's murder, as well as to the murder of a Smithsonian director, who was preparing a new PBS documentary on early American music.
Randall's investigations lead him to another notebook, where he finds not only "Two Hearts Singing," Ashford's most famous song, but a valuable early copy of Stephen Foster's "Oh! Susanna," hidden in the cover. But things become more complicated when Ashford's spirit parks itself in Cam...and refuses to leave until Randall proves Ashford's innocence.
Murder by witchcraft?
Private investigator and former beauty queen Madeline Maclin thought she'd seen it all in her small North Carolina town of Celosia. Yet Evil Turns, fifth in the lively series by Jane Tesh, opens with a young man's body covered in strange occult symbols found in a local vineyard, putting Maddy on notice that there is more than one witch in the neighborhood.
Years ago, a group of women in town formed Darkrose Coven, a practice now taken up by younger residents who insist that their dark rose tattoos only honor their favorite character from the popular Pagan Desires books and movies. Has the old coven reappeared? Is the new coven responsible for the ritualistic murder? Intrigue unfolds as Celosia prepares for its centennial. The Women's Improvement Society, led by wealthy, obnoxious Amanda Price, plans to create an outdoor musical drama, Flower of the South, extolling Emmaline Ross, one of the state's first vintners. Amanda steamrolls past City Councilmember Harold Stover, who fears Celosia cannot afford this costly venture, and Nathan Fenton, who refuses to let her use his Camp Lakenwood land for the production. When Harold is murdered, Amanda is the prime suspect. She hires Maddy to prove her innocence. Are the two murders connected? What about Megan Underwood, a local wiccan from the defunct commune, Peaceful Meadow, which had ties to the Darkrose Coven? Megan complicates Maddy's inquiries, drifting in and out of town claiming she is Emmaline reborn.
What is the secret the Darkrose Coven is so desperate to hide? Maddy is stretched to the limit. Not only is she juggling her time investigating murder suspects, feuding locals, and a long-ago missing infant, she also has to fend off threats by a disreputable goon from her husband's past - her talented and charming spouse, Jerry Fairweather, had once been a con artist. Their current life together, committed to the straight and narrow, could be totally wrecked. Madeline needs magic of her own to unravel the twists and turns of tangled relationships and to find one singular lost soul.
When Wendall Clarke announces plans to open a new art gallery downtown, it's both the talk of Celosia, North Carolina and the envy of its residents. But the news is upstaged when Clarke is found murdered, prompting beauty queen turned private investigator Madeline Maclin to take on the case.
Faced with a laundry list of suspects including a furious exwife, a competing business owner, and jealous local artists, Madeline's also struggling to keep her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather, out of handcuffs.
If Jerry wasn't enough trouble on his own, enter Honor Perkins, dead set on luring him back into a life of crime. Between foiling Perkins' plans, stabilizing her marriage and possibly being pregnant, Madeline juggles her responsibilities as she races to solve the crime before the killer strikes again—or her life falls apart.
When the doctor’s grandson, Tylin, decides to move in, Flickfoot realizes he may have an ally, if he can convince Ty that the spiders are harmless. But as horrifying and threatening as Dr. Vil’s monsters are, Flickfoot discovers far worse creatures plot to take over Specter. He needs Ty’s help, even though Ty has connections to the mysterious Star Cult and a secret that could ruin everything.
Jerry doesn't feel worthy of anyone's love--bad news for Madeline--although she thinks Jerry's sister Harriet knows more about the accident that killed their parents than she'll say.
Madeline is hired to find Kirby Willet, an eccentric inventor who left boxes of his belongings, including one filled with money, at Frannie Thomas house. Meanwhile Voltage Films director, Josh Gaskins, is in town and thinks Jerry's old house will be perfect for his horror film, ""Curse of the Mantis Man,"" about Celosia's mythical beast. Is this monster actually real?
Celosia is also hopping with the Pageantoids, rabid fans from Madeline's days as a beauty queen, who have come to Celosia to produce more pageants. And then there's Rick Rialto, one of Jerry's shady con artist friends.
When Gaskins is murdered, Madeline uncovers several suspects and is forced to make--and investigate--some hard bargains. At least one of which is with Jerry.