Budding mystery writer Mallory was just trying to impress a politically correct girlfriend by delivering hot meals to little old ladies. The last thing he expected was to find his elderly charges such fascinating company, and when one sweet old gal meets an unexpectedly grisly fate, Mal sets out to find and stop the burglars who this time stole a life. The last thing the local sheriff needs, however, is a meddling civilian.
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What’s a good mystery story without a beautiful blonde to set things in motion? When the femme sharing a bench with Mallory in the Port City, Iowa, bus station is accosted by a scar-faced, one-eyed thug, the aspiring writer stops minding his own business and leaps into the fray with nothing but his fists and a well-aimed Pepsi bottle.
Mallory is back and facing a two-fisted whodunit: Who’s responsible for the just-discovered “lost novel” by the celebrated author of The Maltese Falcon? Is it the master, Dashiell Hammett, himself, or a very cunning counterfeiter? And who’s behind the shocking, suspicious demise of Roscoe Kane, a hard-drinking, hard-boiled crime-novel pioneer? Aptly enough, this one-two punch of a puzzle is the talk of Bouchercon, the famed convention where mystery scribes gather to honor (and murder?) their own.
Ginnie Mullens was many things in her life: tomboy, hippie, businesswoman, and inveterate gambler. Now, she’s just dead - apparently by her own hand. But “apparently” doesn’t pass muster with mystery writer Mallory, because no matter what else she may have been, Ginnie was first and foremost his friend. There’s nothing Mal won’t do to prove she didn’t go into that good night willingly…and nothing that will stop him from coming down hard on her killer.
Everybody has someone they’d secretly like to kill. For Mallory and his fellow professional mystery authors, that someone is caustic book critic Kirk Rath. And while that’s no secret, it’s certainly a surprise when a busload of writers takes part in a mountain resort’s Murder Mystery Weekend - and discovers their archenemy has been cast in the plum part of the victim. What’s more surprising is how well Kirk Rath plays dead - until Mallory discovers the most hated man on Mohonk Mountain isn’t playing.