Cozy Amateur Sleuth

The Inspector's Wife

The Inspector's Wife
By m j hollingshead
Cover art: Teresa Powell

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London newcomer Alec Strand and his elderly neighbor Ellen Higgins find themselves drawn into intrigue, danger and turmoil following one of London's famous 'Pea Souper' fogs. The aftermath of that vapor filled night brings danger and worry neither Alec nor Higgins had anticipated.

The wife of Chief Inspector Patrick Edwards, C I D, has gone missing and it is only through the quick thinking of Alec and Mrs. Higgins that Maggie is saved from certain death at the hands of a 'bent copper.' Edwards has had his hands full with the baffling series of postal stamp thefts and burgeoning series of murders of young women. Bodies are popping up in parks all around the city. Now, to top it all off Maggie is being held by a madman bent on revenge.

Reviews for The Inspector's Wife

This mystery has some good characters who do draw you into the story although I found the colloquial speech kind of distracting at times. There are several plot lines which the author flips between. At the start it is kind of confusing but it does all sort it self out soon. Each story line (which does tie together -well- at least mostly and in a rather round about way) I was quite put out when one seemingly major story line ends rather abruptly and for no reason making me wonder what was the point of that character anyway. Overall a good effort but some flaws. Try it especially if you like Scotland Yard and that stiff upper lip, pip pip, cheerio stuff.
Stacey's Cadvision Reviews

Felt immediately drawn in - could feel the wetness of the fog and the menace it masked. Author Hollingshead has captured the flavor of London and whetted my appetite for more!
Teresa Powell

Wonderful book, makes the reader feel like they are in London,and a part of the action,its as if you were transported into the story yourself, I could hardly wait to turn page after page, This author M. J
Hollingshead has a wonderful way of expressions in this book, I really love every minute of it, can't wait for another from this author.
Barbara Bowers

Read it twice and liked it even more the second time through. Enough to make Sir Arthur Conan Doyle proud! Two thumbs up!
Patrick Satterwhite

Cat's Paw: Blue Death

Cat's Paw: Blue Death
By m j hollingshead
Cover art: Teresa Powell

to order, please email Molly

Once again Alec Strand and Ellen Higgins find themselves drawn into danger, mystery and intrigue. Aboard a train bound for the northernmost tip of Scotland Alec discovers himself looking down the business end of a nasty looking handgun just as night is falling and a storm has begun to rage.

Alec and his friend Will Blackwell were expecting a nice holiday on a remote farm doing nothing more dangerous than mucking out the cattle and feeding the chickens for Will's Uncle Tony and Aunt Carrie when they boarded the north bound train. Now they and a new friend the lads meet on the train are caught up in the center of a desperate race for possession of 'the blue death.' The deadly substance stolen from MI6 laboratories has passed hands so many times no one is certain exactly where it is except the frightened girl Will Blackwell knows he must protect.

Higgin's quick thinking following a short-lived cryptic telephone call from Alec brings that sprightly old bird into the thick of it once more.

Reviews for Cat's Paw

The story starts in a nice, chatty way. Then, just when you think that coziness reigns, tension takes over. "Get on the first available train and simply go. Doesn't matter where. Beetle off as fast as you can. Just get away from London, Marilyn." On a train bound for Scotland, terrified, beautiful young Marilyn turns to Alec for help, involving him n a perilous chase. Deftly written, the novel entwines several plots. There is George Hawley, determined to avenge his mother's death and stepping right in the line of danger. There is a mysterious series of homicides. And there is Sir Henry Winston, my favourite character. He is lovingly fleshed out, although he is one of the baddies. But: "For all of his 'hidden'life Lord Henry Winston was a good and sympathetic person. He never wanted anyone killed without awfully good cause." This is the kind of humour that m j hollingshead generously sprinkles all over her nail-biting mystery.
Christine Spindler, author of the Inspector Terry Mysteries

A Right Awful Murder

Right Awful Murder
Book 3 in the series
by m j hollingshead
Cover Art: Teresa Powell

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John Fish, The Eel knows too much. The petty criminal captured in book one (The Inspector’s Wife) has served nearly the whole of his sentence. What he knows is the causal factor behind the death of more than one inmate up at Armley prison. The information is not something Fish sought. Fish is helpless to prevent the nighttime murder of his friend Sean McCougal days before The Eel himself is supposed to be released from prison. If he can only stay alive, Fish vows he will turn away from crime and find himself a new occupation. It won’t be easy. The ones who are most likely to do him harm are those society believe is protecting them.

With the whole of London in which he can hide himself who knows why John Fish has chosen to come to Euston?

Once again Mrs. Higgins and Alec Strand are caught up in a mesh of increasing jeopardy, conspiracy and puzzlement as one more time the unlikely duo offer their assistance to the local constabulary.

Higgins, her black velvet hat with the squashed roses intact, encores in proving her mettle. Her hatpin is put to good use while Alec does his best to keep John Fish out of the hands of a crazed assassin sent to do him in.

The Agent

The Agent: Murder By Accident
By m j hollingshead
Cover art: Teresa Powell

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Computer whiz Kevin Wilson has become convinced that he is jinxed and has somehow hexed a series of murders into happening. It is only by the help and intervention of literary agent Nolly Penderson that Kevin comes to realize that the murderer is a flesh and blood person and not any hex.

Nolly and Kevin use Kevin's computer skills to track the Arlington Virginia woman they are sure is creating havoc among a group of people who have nothing in common other than a thrown away carton of children's book manuscripts written by a retired Missouri school teacher.

Only quick thinking will save Nolly from the desperate murderer who finally throws caution to the wind and meets Nolly in face to face confrontation.

Reviews for Murder By Accident

I am not the most serious mystery buff, but this one certainly kept me wanting more as I just couldn't figure out who really did it in this 'who done it'. Great reading for Halloween! !
Alma Hepp

As an avid reader of mysteries, ie: Gardner, Creasey, Grafton, I say I think this will rank right up at the top of the list! It is hard to fool a mystery buff, but this one kept me guessing!
Elaine Leeth

The Agent: Murder by Design The Agent: Murder By Design
Writers Club Press
by mj hollingshead
Cover Art: Teresa Powell

Nolly Penderson: The tall, blond, fiftyish widowed Nebraska native has been living and conducting business as a literary agent in Arlington, Virginia following the death of her husband. With one solved mystery (The Agent: Murder By Accident) under her belt, Nolly is primed and ready for action.

Kevin Wilson: downsized, temporarily homeless (The Agent: Murder By Accident) the computer expert has become an integral player for the Arlington PD. Kevin lives on the third floor in Brakehurst Building.

Hooks' Enterprises may not be all that it seems at first glance.
When young Mike Heath, a Hooks' employee, just up and disappears while hurrying to bring medicine to his ailing tot Nolly Penderson is again caught up in the intrigue. Nolly finds herself in a possible 'heap of trouble' when she tries to learn something about Hooks and somehow manages to break into the covert files managed by Rudy Hooks' right hand man Freddie Heber.

Kevin uses his skill on the computer to stop Freddie before the sinister operative can trace the breach to Nolly and The Brakehurst District. LT Doug Patterson is mighty glad Kevin and his computer prowess are available to the Arlington PD and not to the criminals who are behind Heath's disappearance.

Nolly Penderson's chocolate zuke cake
 2 ½ C cake flour  ½ C cocoa
 2 t baking soda  1 t allspice
 ¾ butter flavor Crisco  2 C sugar
 2 eggs  1 t vanilla
 1 C buttermilk  1/3 C boiling water

Add grated zucchini squash
I like a cup to a cup and half
Pour battering into greased 13 X 9 X 2 pan
Batter will be thick
Bake 1 hour at 350
Eat as is, or frost:
1 stick butter, can sub butter flavor Crisco
1 box powdered sugar
4T cocoa
1 t vanilla
spread over cake
sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Review for Murder By Design

Michael Heath, a devoted husband and father of an infant, calls the pharmacist across the street to request medicine for his colicky baby. Their family is fortunate to live in a quiet neighborhood where everyone still knows one another, and pharmacists can be called in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, Michael takes his safety for granted. On his way back, on a street where traffic is nonexistent at that time, Michael carelessly rushed across the street from between two cars headlong into a white van. He crawls off the street into some bushes, where he dies.

The story doesn't lie with the death of an innocent, however. The truth lies in the contents on the van that stopped when the driver realized he'd hit something. Specifically, the truth lies with a beaten and bound man who escaped, was captured, and thrust back into the back of the van. The owner of the van also owns Hooks Industries, the company building the mall in town. Indeed, the administrative assistant at Hooks Industries would be shocked to learn that the European backers passing through her office with heavy brief cases and closed door conferences carry large stacks of money.

When Nolly Penderson hears the news account of the missing young man retold by vicious rumormongers masquerading as news reporters, she packs a casserole and visits the widow. Nolly's certain that there's more to the story than reporters or police will uncover, so she begins her own investigation. Ruling out the wild speculation of the news media, Nolly approaches the investigation with a generous amount of common sense. Doesn't take her long to learn that Hooks Industries employed Michael. Previous experience leads her to believe there's more to the story, especially when more bodies turns up.

mj hollingshead distinctively reflective prose once again reveals a strong, feminine style that strikingly different from most suspense/murder styles. With a meandering flow that revels in melodic detail and embraces the idiosyncrasies and the motivations of her characters, hollingshead allows the reader to luxuriate in her language, as opposed to the typical hard hitting, straight flow typical of the genre. The result is a fascinatingly intricate creation that reaches beyond the superficial "whodunit" to embrace the "who" and "why".
Cindy Penn, Wordweaving

If you're looking for a breathtaking plot, fresh ideas, intriguing characters, wicked humor and lots of surprising twists, then look no further. "The Agent: Murder by Design" has it all.
Christine Spindler, mystery author


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