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Accused of high crimes? Dress in high style, not like a little Bo Peep who has lost not only her sheep, but her wits as well. Heather Wells Rocks! Or, at least, she did. That was before she left the pop-idol life behind after she gained a dress size or two -- and lost a boyfriend, a recording contract, and her life savings when Mom took the money and ran off to Argentina.

Now that the glamour and glory days of endless mall appearances are in the past, Heather's perfectly happy with her new size 12 shape the average for the American woman! That is, until the dead body of a female student from Heather's residence hall is discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft.

The cops and the college president are ready to chalk the death off as an accident, the result of reckless youthful mischief. But Heather knows teenage girls. Yet no one wants to listen -- not the police, her colleagues, or the P. So Heather makes the decision to take on yet another new career: as spunky girl detective!

But her new job comes with few benefits, no cheering crowds, and lots of liabilities, some of them potentially fatal. And nothing ticks off a killer more than a portly ex-pop star who's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. America's favorite girl detective is back to set the record straight. According to our titian-haired heroine, she was not in fact a fictional character, but an intrepid real-life sleuth who investigated some of the twentieth century's biggest mysteries. And the famous series she starred in was not cooked up by a team of writers, but plagiarized from her exploits by her nosy college roommate Carolyn-who, not surprisingly, got a whole lot wrong.

Here are the daring escapes, brilliant hunches, and dependable stock characters, including interlopers from numerous other beloved series, that have delighted generations of fans. And here, also, are the details of teen-sleuth life that you never saw: the secret romances, reckless driving, minor drinking problems, political action, and domestic drama that have, up till now, remained hidden from these brave detectives' adoring public.

Exposing a suitor's dishonorable intentions toward the daughter of a new client, captain Harry Cartwright is hired by a wealthy marquis to solve a house party murder, a case that is complicated by the host's determination to preserve discretion, in a mystery set in the Edwardian era.

Following her divorce, Nell Dysart takes a job working for a detective agency and finds herself knee deep in embezzlement, bribery, blackmail, arson, adultery, murder, and passion with her boss, Gabe McKenna. Charlotte "Charlie" Swift prefers working alone. That's why after eight years as an Air Force investigator she became a PI rather than a cop. She lives alone, she works alone, and aside for the occasional flirtation with sexy cop Connor Montgomery or her hunky neighbor Father Dan, she likes it that way.

Then her silent partner flees the country, leaving his wife, Gigi, with nothing but the house, the Hummer, and a half interest in Swift Investigations. Charlie ends up with a heap of debt and Gigi, who has decided to be a not-so-silent partner. This change comes about while Charlie is trying to find the mother of a baby abandoned on a client's doorstep. While following leads, she sends Gigi out on crazy assignments, hoping that the pampered socialite will be driven to quit.

However, when the baby's mother turns up dead, there's a murderer on the loose, and Charlie will need all the help she can get. Swift Justice is a Lefty Award finalist for best humorous mystery. Known to millions for his television and film roles, Chris Elliott is one of the most beloved comedians of his generation. With his novel The Shroud of the Thwacker, Elliott delivers a laugh-out-loud parody that will delight mystery lovers as well as his devoted fans.

Set in New York City in , the story hilariously chronicles the adventures of police chief Caleb Spencer and his two cohorts, Evening Post reporter Liz Smith and mayor Teddy Roosevelt, as they unravel the mystery of the world's first and most bizarre serial killer: Jack the Jolly Thwacker. The elusive Thwacker dresses his victims in outlandish costumes, leaves behind taunting poetry, and leads the authorities on a wild chase through New York streets and landmarks complete with gas-powered wooden cell phones, carriages, gaslights, and the original Original Ray's Pizzeria.

In a bizarre twist, Chris Elliott himself joins the action, using time travel and historical documents to uncover the Thwacker's identity. Meet Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. Out of work and out of money, Stephanie blackmails her bail-bondsman cousin Vinnie into giving her a try as an apprehension agent.

Stephanie knows zilch about the job requirements, but she figures her new pal, el-primo bounty hunter Ranger, can teach her what it takes to catch a crook. Her first assignment: nail Joe Morelli, a former vice cop on the run from a charge of murder one. She represents everything he's always avoided. Happy in her home life, a divorced mother of two, Billie is the epitome of stability.

She's also irresistibly fascinating to the footloose Nick, who is instantly attracted Their fateful meeting will put them on a collision course of seduction, dysfunction, mayhem, murder—and maybe even love Engaged in a deadly race, Bill has "borrowed" Hooker's sixty-five-foot Hatteras and sailed off into the sunset Hooker figures he'll attach himself to Barney and maybe run into scumbag Bill.

And better yet, maybe he'll get lucky in love with Bill's sweetie pie sister. The pedal will have to go to metal if Barney and Hooker want to be the first to cross the finish line, save Bill, Hooker's boat Mandated by her mother to reclaim the family's glory by restoring a glamorous Havana casino that they lost when Castro took power, Esmerelda sets out to find and rescue her journalist sister, a mission that brings her to the seedy bars and back alleys of Las Vegas.

By the author of One Hot Summer. Long Piddleton had always been wary of newcomers. But the quiet town was stunned when the first stranger was found dead, upended in a butt of ale in the cellar of the Men with a Load of Mischief. Then the second body appeared, swinging in place of the mechanical man above the door of the Jack and Hammer.

Suddenly Long Piddleton had good reason to be wary of everyone! Its cozy pubs and inns with their polished pewter and blazing hearths had become scenes of the most bizarre crimes. Who were the victims? And who was the murderer? A stranger? A maniac? Or the disarmingly friendly man next door? Bailey Ruth Raeburn has always been great at solving mysteries.

Why should a little thing like her death change anything? In fact, being dead gives her more of an opportunity to be on top of events. Bailey Ruth is delighted that her unique position as a ghost makes it possible for her to lend a helping hand, sometimes seen and sometimes not. And if anybody needs a little help, it's Kathleen, the pastor's wife. There's a dead man on her porch, and once the body is discovered, the pastor is sure to become a suspect.

Uncharitable people might call it meddling, but Bailey Ruth knows Kathleen needs her help! If Bailey Ruth has to bend a few rules to help Kathleen save her family, Wiggins, her fussbudget supervisor, will make sure it all turns out right in the end. It is as weird and convoluted as any lover of comic fiction could wish. Meet Sarah Booth Delaney, an unconventional Southern belle whose knack for uncovering the truth is about to make her the hottest detective in Zinnia, Mississippi. Did gorgeous, landed Hamilton Garrett V really kill his mother twenty years ago?

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And if so, what is Sarah Booth doing falling for this possible murderer? When she asks one too many questions and a new corpse turns up, she is suddenly a suspect herself. A teacher at a fancy Manhattan preschool, Nancy Stern spends her days cleaning spills, moderating bathroom breaks, and preventing that one kid in the back of the room from eating glue. That pile of exclusive party invitations spilling out of her mailbox? Not for her. Not a chance. And that smooth voice on the other end of the line calling to ask Nancy out on a blind date?

But while her night out with the hunk stirs up a romance, The Other Nancy gets murdered. And suddenly the real identity of not just the killer, but the intended victim, is a mystery in desperate need of solving. When teacher Nancy accepts a blind date meant for the other Nancy, things rapidly spiral out of control. Writers of the Future grand prize winner Randy Henderson presents a dark and quirky debut in Finn Fancy Necromancy, his tale of the magical and dangerous Arcane world that exists alongside our own.

Finn Gramaraye was framed for the crime of dark necromancy at the age of fifteen, when the surviving victim of a dark ritual was found in his bedroom.

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Convicted and exiled to the Other Realm for twenty-five years—twenty-five years as a disembodied soul, tormented by the Others—Finn is now being set free. But his return is met by a magical attack on his escorts, and he finds the body of the woman he was accused of attacking all those years before, freshly murdered with necromancy—the perfect frame job.

Finn has only a few days to discover who is so desperate to keep him out of the mortal world, and find enough evidence to prove it to Arcane Enforcers who already view him as a criminal. Unfortunately, his family is little help. Father has become a mad magical inventor.

Brother Mort fears that Finn wants to take over the family business. Sister Samantha is now a jaded hacker allergic to magic. And simple but sweet brother Pete still believes he's a werewolf because of a childhood dog bite. Finn is joined by Zeke, a former Arcane Enforcer and fellow exile seeking to prove himself worthy of returning to duty—even if that means proving Finn guilty. Together, they will battle magical creatures, family drama, and the challenges of Finn's love life as they race to solve the mystery of who wants Finn returned to exile, and why.

After a crossbow killing at a cheap roadside motel, Ozarks police chief Arly Hanks finds herself investigating her first murder case. Her marriage over and career gone bust, Arly Hanks flees Manhattan for her hometown: Maggody, Arkansas. An EPA official with ties to polluting the local fishing hole has suddenly vanished off the face of the earth. From Agatha Award—winning author Joan Hess, Malice in Maggody is the novel that introduced police chief Arly Hanks—the indomitable sleuth of the popular and long-running Maggody series.

Malice in Maggody is the 1st book in the Arly Hanks Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order. From the Hardcover edition. A rollicking and hilarious novel from the bestselling author of Bad Monkey and Razor Girl. When Jimmy Stoma, the infamous front man of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies, dies in a fishy scuba accident, Jack sees his ticket back to page one—if only he can figure out what really happened.

The situation is more complicated than they know. Will Bang Abbott achieve his fantasy of a lucrative private photo session with Cherry Pye? Will Cherry sober up in time to lip-synch her way through her concert tour? All will be revealed in this hilarious spin on life in the celebrity fast lane. All the Reverend Francis Oughterard had ever wanted was some peace and quiet, instead he becomes entangled in a nightmare world of accidental murder, predatory female parishioners, officious policemen and a drunken bishop.

As the vicar's life spirals out of control it is his supercilious cat, Maurice, and bone obsessed hound, Bouncer, who save the day. A Load of Old Bones is a charming and farcical romp through a 's mythical Surrey. Praise for Suzette A. Hill: 'Perfect one-sitting summer read.

While dealing with an impending divorce, her eccentric secretary, and her junk-art-collecting mother, psychologist Kate Holly feels like she needs some therapy of her own, especially after she starts to receive mysterious threats. With a sensibility shaped in the sixties and kids born in the seventies, Jersey City community college professor Bel Barrett hit the big five-O in the nineties. The patronage politics of urban academia and the dreams and demands of city students threaten to burn Bel out but it's hot flashes and a fancy fundraiser that really turn the heat on. Before Bel has a chance to do justice to the tempting display of calorie-laden food, her slim and attractive boss, college president Dr.

Altagracia Garcia, pops a few goodies, crumples to the floor, and is pronounced dead. Student of Murder The murder is pinned on one of Bel's students, but Bel isn't buying it. The accused is a Culinary Arts major whose best grade in English was an "incomplete," but the boy is no killer. Although President Garcia had made her presence felt at the college, she'd ground her stiletto heels into a few administrative toes in the process.

But most students and faculty adored her, and finding out who wanted the assertive lady out of the way is the least Bel can do--even when it means chasing through a maze of phony clues and false leads that challenge her mid-life memory Too big to miss--that's Odelia Grey. A never-married, middle-aged, plus-sized woman who makes no excuses for her weight, she's not super woman just a mere mortal standing on the precipice of menopause, trying to cruise in an ill-fitting bra. She struggles with her relationships, her crazy family, and her crazier boss. And then there''s her knack for being in close proximity to dead people.

When her close friend Sophie London commits suicide in front of an online web-cam by putting a gun in her mouth and pulling the trigger, Odelia's life is changed forever. Sophie, a plus-sized activist and inspiration to imperfect women, is the last person anyone would ever have expected to end her own life.

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Suspecting foul play, Odelia is determined to get to the bottom of her friend's death. Odelia's search for the truth takes her from southern California strip malls to the world of live web-cam porn to the ritzy enclave of Corona del Mar. Praise: "I'd like to spend more time with Sue Ann Jaffarian's Odelia, a plus-size fat-liberationist with a handsome wheelchair-bound lover. Beautifully plotted and carefully crafted, this is a marvelous start to an exciting new series. Strongly recommended. Once you get to know Odelia Grey, you'll love her. I know I do. Odelia's definitely worth her weight in reading enjoyment.

Jaffarian's a new sharpshooter in crime fiction, so set your sights on this Odelia Grey mystery for a tightly coiled intrigue that targets a sexy shocker. Wiprud, award-winning author of Pipsqueak and Stuffed "On one level, Too Big To Miss is a classic, fast-paced mystery; on another, it's a passport into a world we either inhabit or live next-door to, but rarely see in popular fiction.

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Sue Ann Jaffarian breaks rules and breaks ground, with humor, insight and compassion. When her prominent Beverly Hills plastic surgeon husband is falsely accused of murdering an aspiring young actress, celebrity home decorator and mother of three Lacy Fields discovers a latent talent for solving crimes. By the author of The Botox Diaries. Paul, Guy Noir looks down the barrel of a loaded revolver in the hands of geezer gangster Joey Roast Beef who is demanding to hear what lucrative scheme Guy is cooking up with stripper-turned-women's-studies-professor Naomi Fallopian.

Larry, the dreamboat Scarlett Anderson, Mr. Kress of the FDA—and Guy faces them one by one, as he and Naomi pursue a dream of earning gazillions by selling a surefire method of dramatic weight loss. In this whirlwind caper Guy faces danger, falls in love, and faces off with the capo del capo del grande primo capo Johnny Banana. They talked for another few minutes—until Hammond screamed.


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Shafer raced to his car and drove to the phones, which were just blocks away. He told police he passed the pick-up driving away, with Hammond screaming his name. He tried to give chase, but his transmission failed, and he watched helplessly as the truck—which had a giant fish decal on the back window—disappeared into the night. Shafer was initially considered a suspect, but was quickly cleared. Despite the telltale window sticker, police were unable to locate the vehicle or Hammond.

They believed her disappearance might have been connected to two other women who were abducted and murdered within miles of Clinton, but no one has ever been charged with the crimes. Cynthia Anderson worked as legal secretary in Toledo, Ohio, sometimes passing the time in her office by reading suspense or romance novels. In , the year-old told her mother that she had been having a recurring dream about allowing someone into her house who meant her harm. At work, she received harassing phone calls to the point her employers—lawyers Jim Rabbit and Jay Feldstein—had an emergency buzzer installed at her desk.

When Rabbit arrived at their office the morning of August 4, , they expected to find Anderson behind her desk. Instead, the front door was locked, and Anderson was nowhere to be found. The novel she had been reading was open to a passage describing a violent abduction. Her car was still in the lot.

A month later, a mysterious phone call came into police headquarters. She called a second time to tell police the house was occupied, but never contacted them again. Some theorize Anderson may have heard incriminating conversations involving a drug dealer who became concerned that she knew too much. To date, no one has been charged in connection with her disappearance.

Hours later, a conductor named Stephen Shroyer was navigating his train through the area when he noticed the teens laying motionless on the tracks; they were covered by a green tarp. Shocked, Shroyer tried to come to an emergency stop, but it was too late. The train ran directly over their bodies. A coroner would later conclude that the boys were asleep on the tracks as a result of smoking 20 or more marijuana cigarettes, a finding that both sets of parents rejected.

Owing to public pressure, the bodies were exhumed so another autopsy could be conducted. The findings revealed that the boys had had one to three marijuana joints, and that one of them was dead and one unconscious before the train ran over them. That, coupled with the fact that Henry appeared to be stabbed and Ives struck with the butt of his own gun, led a grand jury to conclude the case was a double homicide. In , the Ives family was still pursuing answers with the help of a private investigator. In a bizarre twist, former professional wrestler Billy Jack Haynes claimed he was a witness in the case.

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He came forward to assert that, at the time, he was involved in drug trafficking in the area, and had been called to the area to make sure a scheduled air drop happened without incident. In , a confidential informant told police the area the boys were in was used to drop drugs from passing aircraft. According to KATV , Haynes claimed he was present when an air-drop of cocaine took place and that the boys had witnessed the drop.

Haynes also said he helped lay the boys on the track. Police have not yet commented on his claims. Both Cosgrove and Meurer have been unable to shake the puzzling details that led up to the murder of year-old rapper Tupac Shakur. Earlier that night, the two reportedly got into a physical altercation with members of the Crips street gang. Later, while driving, the men stopped at an intersection. A white Cadillac pulled up and opened fire. Knight was grazed by a bullet, but Shakur was hit four times—twice in the chest, once in the arm, and once in the thigh—and was in bad shape; he died of his wounds six days later.

Of the many witnesses, only one came forward: Yafeu Fula, a backup singer for Shakur. Before he could try to identify any suspects or submit to further police questioning, Fula was gunned down at his home in New Jersey. On the evening of December 9, , thousands of eyewitnesses reported seeing a strange light appearing over parts of the northeastern United States and Canada.

Citizens of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania saw it, too, but they also witnessed a lot of commotion coming from what looked to be a crash site.

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Local law enforcement was said to have been quickly ordered out of the area by government officials who crowded around an acorn-shaped spacecraft embedded into the ground. Reports of the crash being a meteor or some kind of space debris circulated, but UFO researchers have long insisted the incident was extraterrestrial in origin.

Others believe it was a spy satellite that the United States wanted to disavow. While two stood guard with machine guns, a third put a fake bomb on the hood to encourage cooperation. The explosive rig was similar to one used in a robbery in Baltimore three years earlier.

A year after the Eden Prairie heist, they struck a third time. In each case, no one was able to follow in pursuit, and the thieves were never caught. The FBI believed they were far from common criminals: Their protocol was so precise that authorities suspected they might have been heavily trained in ambush or attack scenarios, possibly as a result of entering the military. Of the many notorious prison escapes of the 20th century, none proved as unbelievable as the three men who fled from the isolated Alcatraz, located on an island in San Francisco Bay, on June 11, Anyone who could successfully navigate past their cells, armed guards, and fences would then have to swim miles to shore.

Inmates Frank Morris and Allen West hatched a plan to do exactly that, and enlisted brothers John and Clarence Anglin to come along with them. West had discovered that access to the outside was possible if the prisoners pulled out the entire ventilation shaft under the sink in their cells rather than trying to cut through the bars blocking the shaft. By burrowing into the opening, they could make their way behind the cell wall and up to the roof by using the plumbing to climb up.

After eight months of surreptitious digging, the men minus West, who had trouble getting into the ventilation shaft had created paths to the roof. Once on the outside, they blew up a raft they had made from raincoats using a concertina, an instrument similar to an accordion. Then they vanished. The next morning, their bunks were discovered to be empty, and authorities began a manhunt. The raft was found, along with some personal effects, but no bodies were ever recovered.

The case was closed in , but got renewed attention in early when it was revealed a man claiming to be John Anglin had written to the San Francisco police department in claiming to be alive but in need of medical attention for a cancer diagnosis. Handwriting analysis and DNA testing on the letter were inconclusive. Though traces of his ransom have been found and numerous people have told stories of people in their lives they suspect of being Cooper, authorities have never been able to nail down a single suspect.

In , an amateur sleuth and codebreaker named Rick Sherwood came forward to state that he had analyzed letters believed to be from Cooper and read the cryptography that indicated the criminal was identifying himself as Robert Rackstraw, a Vietnam veteran with parachuting experience.

One letter hinted at three separate military units that Rackstraw belonged to. Neither has Rackstraw, who is still alive and was reportedly questioned by the FBI back in the s. Alright, Potterheads. Ready to feel old? And it seems that the books are still holding up—with both fans and collectors.

Forbes reports that a hardback edition of the book believed to contain Daniel Radcliffe 's first autograph as Harry Potter sold recently in the U. The book was owned, until this week, by Verity Collins, an extra on the first film.