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Amanda, the protagonist of the longer-running series, is an English teacher who by In the Dead of Summer is heavily into a relationship with C. Mackenzie, a Louisiana transplant to Philadelphia who runs a private investigation service. Amanda is teaching at Philly Prep, where there have been a number of assaults against minority staff and students.

A boy is killed in a drive-by, and a favorite student disappears, as Amanda searches for the racist perpetrators. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "Roberts gives Amanda an appealingly dry wit—perfectly suited for taking on bureaucratized political correctness. When another Mummer and fellow teacher becomes the prime suspect, he claims that he had been with Amanda all the while. Mackenzie agrees to help Amanda get to the truth, but when a gun is discovered in her purse, she becomes a suspect as well.

Booklist 's Emily Melton commented on the author's "breezy humor, lighthearted writing style, inventive plot, and likable cast of characters. Crusader Reverend Harry Spiers, head of the book-burning Moral Ecologists, is murdered in The Bluest Blood , in which the bluebloods of the title are Neddy and Tea Roederer, who are benefactors of the school library. Their son and the stepson of the murdered Spiers are best friends, and after Amanda talks to them, her list of suspects grows.

Melton observed that "the focus on First Amendment rights and censorship will hit home with librarians and library supporters. In Adam and Evil , Adam Evans is the bright but unstable student about whom Amanda worries, and who becomes a suspect when a librarian is murdered on a field trip to the Free Library.

When Adam disappears, the police, including Mackenzie, are certain that he killed the woman.

Mummers' Curse

Amanda enlists the aid of her sister, Beth, who knew the victim, and they come up with a list of suspects that includes the deceased women's former husband, who took everything when they divorced, and the woman's sister, who had borrowed money from her.

Jenny McLarin noted in a Booklist review that "book lovers will enjoy Roberts's detours into the pricey hobby of book collecting. Helen Hath No Fury is dedicated to the author's book group friend who died in a bicycle accident. The story finds Amanda in a book group, a member of which dies from a fall from the rooftop garden of her four-story historic home.

Helen's death is ruled a suicide, but Amanda does not agree. She also becomes involved in the disappearance of Petra Yates, a student who had confided in Amanda that she was pregnant, and also that she would be disowned by her family if they should learn of her condition. A Publishers Weekly writer observed that the author "skillfully negotiates some rather tricky emotional waters" in this series "notable for its smooth mix of traditional mystery conventions with the darker underpinnings of modern crime fiction.

Joe Hartlaub opened his Bookreporter.

Before Mackenzie and Amanda are able to give her their report, the woman dies, not of natural causes as is first thought, but at the hands of someone who did not want the investigation to continue. Hartlaub praised the novel on a number of fronts, for the balance between Amanda's personal and professional lives, for the narrative, which he felt is "moving," and for the "memorable" plot.

Greber also wrote her You Can Write a Mystery under her pseudonym. She covers developing character and plot, working with point of view and setting, and well as guides for revision and submission.

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Ilene Cooper, who reviewed the volume in Booklist , noted that plot mechanics are often the cause of failed stories, and commented that the author's "basic but too-often-overlooked advice will keep your story on track. I never questioned why I wanted to, any more than I would question the desire to sing.


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However, I was too timid and unsure of myself to commit to writing until I was suddenly in my mid-thirties, and I realized two decades had passed while I talked about writing someday. I decided that someday had come. A wealthy and politically ambitious parent, Alexander "Sandy" Clausen, turns the event into a lavish, catered publicity and personal photo-op.

Worse, his party ends in fire and death, and his daughter, Amanda's student, is one of three people who insist they alone started the fire. Amanda never loses her sense of humor, and her upbeat narration gives the story its breezy verve. Someone has donated a book about domestic violence to the school fund-raiser, and has annotated it in the margins.

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Amanda reads the frightening words "I know he will kill me. He says so. I believe him. He will kill me soon," and hopes this cry for help comes in time for her to prevent a murder. In the process, she learns hard lessons about the consequences of this form of brutality. When her father is sidelined with an injury, Amanda reluctantly accompanies her mother to the fiftieth birthday of an old acquaintance who is using the occasion to make peace with a host of former friends.

His attempt is more than futile—it's fatal. He dies, poisoned, at his own party.

Read More From Gillian Roberts

And worse, Amanda's mother's gift—the home baked tarts the dead man loved— turn out to be the murder weapon. Amanda's friend Sasha has a photography assignment in Atlantic City, and she invites her broke schoolteacher friend to come along for a free mini-vacation. But the two quickly discover there's more to lose than money at the shore when Sasha finds a stranger bludgeoned to death in her bed. In the Dead of Summer - Read the first chapter - Buy it! Something's very wrong about the English classroom's chemistry during a special summer school program.

The class is reading Romeo and Juliet , but the population of Philly Prep seems as star-crossed as Shakespeare's lovers. A Vietnamese girl disappears. There's a drive-by shooting outside the school. An Afro-American computer teacher receives hate messages on her answering machine. Amanda's tenacious search for the missing girl takes her to Chinatown, to neighborhoods filled with new immigrants and old prejudices and ultimately to dark truths much too close to home.

Read Mummers' Curse Reads Book Online,Top Vampire Books Read Online Free

Roberts gives Amanda an appealingly dry wit. The Mummers' Curse - Read the first chapter - Buy it! It's New Year's Day, which means it's time for Philadelphia's flesh-and-blood "historical monument"—the Mummers—to strut their stuff. Amanda's happily watching the parade along with her young niece and Mackenzie—until a reveler in fancy dress is shot dead in front of thousands of viewers—without anyone seeing the gunman.

To make matters worse, when a suspect is finally found, he insists he was with Amanda during the crucial time, and to make matters still worse, the murder weapon ultimately is discovered—inside Amanda's pocketbook. Roberts effectively balances the subject of pride, Philadelphia's local color and Amanda's mounting problems.

The Bluest Blood - Read the first chapter - Buy it! The ultra-elegant fund-raiser in a fabled Main Line mansion benefits Philly Prep's Library, and gives Amanda a chance to play Cinderella for a night. The first clue that all might not go well is the host's figure hanging in effigy outside the estate, put there by the "Moral Ecologists" who have a long list of classic books that "pollutes the mind.

Adam and Evil - Read the first chapter - Buy it! When a high school senior shows signs of mental illness, Amanda attempts to get him help, but she's rebuffed by his parents. When the same boy then becomes the prime suspect in a murder at the Philadelphia Main Library, and runs away, Amanda who knows he's confused and in need of help—whether or not he committed the crime—has no choice but to run after. And to run into the possibility of becoming the next victim herself.

The day after Amanda's book club heatedly discusses a fictional woman's suicide, one of the members, Helen Coulter, falls to her death from the roofgarden of her house. Helen's death is declared a suicide, but because of what she'd said during the book discussion, the rest of the group, including Amanda, have trouble accepting this verdict. In order to interest the police in investigating her death, the women pool their individual memories and definitions of who Helen was.

But as Helen's own story begins to take shape, the picture becomes still murkier and more dangerous for all concerned. Claire and Present Danger - Read an excerpt - Buy it! However, as her marriage date approaches, Emmie's mother-in-law to be, the ailing, autocratic Claire Fairchild, receives anonymous letters. They suggest, none too subtly, that there's a great deal to learn about the mysterious young woman, none of it good, and much of it involving the violent deaths of the men in her life.