Meet Jessie Harleman in this contemporary women’s novel about love, lust, friends, and family. Jessie and Kevin have been happily married for twenty-eight years. With their two grown kids now out of the house and living their own lives, Jessie and Kevin have reached the point they thought they longed for, yet slightly dreaded. But the house that used to burst at the seams now has too many empty rooms. Still, Jessie is a glass-half-full kind of woman, eager for this next period of her life to take hold. The problem is, nothing goes the way she planned. This novel that explores growth and change and new beginnings is written by the authors of The Val & Kit Mystery Series.
Val embarks on a Mother’s Day visit to her mom in Door County, Wisconsin, a peninsula filled with artists, lighthouses, and natural beauty. Her daughter, Emily, has arrived from LA to accompany her, and at the last minute her best friend, Kit, invites herself along. Val and Kit have barely unpacked their suitcases when trouble and tension greet them, in the form of death and a disturbing secret they unwittingly brought with them. As they get to know the locals, things take a sinister turn. And when they suspect someone close to them might be involved in blackmail—or worse—Val and Kit do what they do best: they take matters into their own hands in their obsessive, often zany, quest to uncover the truth.
In this latest stand-alone, No. 6 in The Val & Kit Mystery Series, the lifelong friends are vacationing in England. After four days of sightseeing in London, the fiftysomething Val and Kit move on to a rented cottage in the bucolic village of Little Dipping, where Val’s actress daughter, Emily, and son-in-law are temporarily living and where Emily has become involved in local theater. Val and Kit quickly immerse themselves in village life and befriend several locals, including the leader of the Brownie troop, the pub owner and his wife, and a curious eight-year-old named Ivy. They also manage to rub more than one of the locals the wrong way. Nevertheless, they revel in the English countryside as well as the theatrical activities, despite Val’s ex-husband showing up and some troubling news from home. The harmony of the village is soon broken by the vicious murder of one of their new friends. The shocking events that follow are only slightly more horrific than one from the past that continues to confound local authorities. Since the crimes threaten to involve Emily, Val and Kit return to their roles as amateur sleuths, employing their own inimitable ways.
When one of them receives a mysterious letter, BFFs Val and Kit begin to unravel a sordid story that spans a continent and reaches back decades. It also takes them to Palm Desert, California, a paradise of palm trees, mountains, blue skies . . . and now murder. The men in their lives—Val’s favorite detective, Dennis Culotta; her boss, Tom Haskins; and Kit’s husband, Larry—play their (un)usual parts in this adventure that introduces a fresh batch of suspicious characters, including Kit’s New York–attorney sister, Nora, and their mother. Val faces an additional challenge when her daughter, Emily, reveals her own startling news. Val and Kit bring to this story their (a)typical humor, banter, and unorthodox detective skills. Like all the books in The Val & Kit Mystery Series, this fifth one can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.
Roz and Patty
This first book in a murder-mystery series introduces Realtor Valerie Pankowski and her best friend since childhood, Kit James. Val, who has just signed her divorce papers and a lease on a new apartment, receives a call from a prospective client, Mavis Woodstock (a vaguely familiar name). Mavis insists she has to sell her house as quickly as possible, but then doesn't keep her scheduled appointment. Kit, whose glamour belies her bold and often brash ways, remembers Mavis from their school days, an unattractive girl who was ignored when she was lucky, ridiculed when she was not. She also remembers Mavis being the only daughter in a large family that was as frugal as it was wealthy. When Val and Kit cannot locate Mavis, they begin an investigation, encountering along the way a little romance, a lot of deception, and more than one unsavory character. here.
In this fourth book of The Val & Kit Mystery Series (a stand-alone, like the first three), our ladies are back home in Downers Grove. Val is busy selling real estate, eager to take a potential buyer to visit the home of a widow living alone. He turns out not to be all that he claimed, and a string of grisly events follows, culminating in a perilous situation for Val. Her lifelong BFF Kit, however, is ready to do whatever necessary to ensure Val’s safety and clear her name of any wrongdoing. The dishy Detective Dennis Culotta also returns to help, and with the added assistance of Val’s boss, Tom Haskins, and a Downton Abbey–loving Rottweiler named Roscoe, the ladies become embroiled in a murder investigation extraordinaire. As always, we are introduced to a new cast of shady characters as we welcome back the old circle of friends.
This is No. 2 in The Val & Kit Mystery Series. When Kit suspects Larry of having an affair with one of his employees, Susan Reed, she enlists Val’s help in uncovering the truth. The morning after a little stalking expedition by the lifelong friends, Val reads in the newspaper that Susan Reed was found shot to death in her apartment the night before, right around the time Kit was so certain Larry and Susan were together. Were they having an affair? And did Larry murder her? The police, in the form of dishy Detective Dennis Culotta, conduct the investigation into Susan’s murder, hampered at times by Val and Kit’s insistent attempts to discover whether Larry is guilty of infidelity and/or murder. As the investigation heats up, so does Val’s relationship with Detective Culotta.