The McLaren Mystery Series
The McLaren Mysteries feature ex-police detective Michael McLaren, who now investigates cold cases on his own in England and Scotland.
Books in the Series (in order): Cold Revenge (originally published as Siren Song), Last Seen (originally published as Swan Song), Shadow in the Smoke (originally published as Torch Song), Brush With Injustice (originally published as Hit Song), An Unfolding Trap (originally published as Rock Song), No Known Address (originally published as Love Song). An Unwilling Suspect, Arrested Flight, Photo Shoot, Empty Handed.
One year ago, Marta Hughes won a purse-choking sum of money at a local casino. She never returned home. Her body was discovered in a ditch twelve miles from her home; her car was in her driveway.
Linnet Isherwood cannot let her friend's unsolved murder rest. She convinces ex-cop Michael McLaren to return to the work he loves. He sifts through a confusing tangle of lies, misconceptions and veiled motives.
Are anonymous late-night phone calls, a vanished hitchhiker, and a stalker wielding empty beer bottles somehow related to the case? Or maybe the woman he broke off with is seeking revenge.
One dark night, popular singer Kent Harrison goes missing after his performance at Tutbury Castle. When his body's found in a forest, the police investigation focuses on Kent's ex-wife, a local herbalist, a covetous colleague, and even the curator of another castle.
But his occasional singing partner, Dave Morley, seems to have the biggest motive. He's dying to make his name, money, and the big time, especially at the medieval Minstrels Court reenactment, where Kent's appearance guarantees SRO.
To entire him into investigating, McLaren's girlfirend plays detective. But Dena ends up in great danger. now McLaren must not only solve Kent's murder but also rescue her, a hard task when a web of jealousy, anger, and lies covers the trails.
Shadow in the Smoke
Janet Ennis tragically died five years ago in what the police labeled an accidental fire. But Janet’s mother, Nora, believes it to be murder and arson. And she’s hoping ex-cop Michael McLaren can prove it quickly, for she’s losing her memory to dementia.As McLaren pokes through the case details, he becomes emotionally involved with the dead woman. Yet, Janet isn’t the only person who threatens mental well-being. A series of arsons on his own property hint that he’s upset someone connected with this case.
Motives for Janet’s murder rise like the smoky tendrils of a fire. And, motive aside, the murder scene seems a bit too pat: a drought-stricken landscape eager to lap up flames, and a conveniently locked door barring Janet’s escape.
Will McLaren solve the case while Nora can still comprehend the resolution, or will Harvester’s plans see McLaren’s career go up in smoke?
Brush With Injustice
University art student Amy Jarvis died one year ago in a murder that shocked the area. Although John Pooley had been detained by the police, they’d released him on insufficient evidence. Which didn’t stop public opinion from mentally trying and symbolically hanging John. When he conveniently died, the case seemed to die with him. Except that the local radio shock jock stirred the cold case embers to inflame citizen outrage on the one year anniversary of Amy’s death. And he again played the song mocking John, the song calling for a hit to be made on the ‘released murderer,’ the song that the DJ made into a hit.
When McLaren realizes the brooch’s significance he closes in on the murderer. But the killer has other ideas and flees. As McLaren follows the twisting trail of the killer, he hopes it doesn’t end in a different type of hit — his own planned murder.
An Unfolding Trap
Since his infancy, Michael McLaren has been the target of his paternal grandfather’s anger. So when the patriarch sends an invitation to heal the rift, McLaren travels to Scotland, eager to meet and finally end the feud. But the welcome never happens. In fact, the older man is furious McLaren’s appeared on the family home doorstep, convinced it’s some trick. McLaren, however, is confused: if the grandfather hadn’t sent for him, who had? And why? In Edinburgh, a man standing beside McLaren in a bus queue is killed in a hit-and-run accident. But McLaren wonders if the driver got the wrong person. And after an attack leaves him for dead on a wintry moor, McLaren’s convinced someone from his past is trying to murder him. As McLaren trails the hit-and-run driver from the medieval ‘underground city’ of Edinburgh to the Boar’s Rock -- the MacLaren Clan’s ancestral meeting place -- the assaults intensify, and he’s plunged into a very personal hunt for a World War II treasure. The puzzle is fascinating; he just has to stay alive to solve it.
No Known Address
Luke Barber went missing from his village, leaving no clue to his whereabouts or why he left. Now, three years later, Luke’s father hopes ex-cop Michael McLaren can find a trace of Luke, alive or dead.
As McLaren pokes through the case details, he wonders if the pressure of succeeding in tennis or music, or his upcoming marriage, was too much for the lad and he simply ran away. And McLaren’s suspicion may be correct, for he soon is assaulted and left for dead—a hint that he’s upset someone connected with this case.
McLaren eventually unearths the lies and false identity shoved at him, and uncovers what became of Luke, a discovery aided by idolatrous love and an ancient stone man.
An Unwilling Suspect
McLaren gives in to Jamie's suggestion to retreat to Windermere, Cumbria in order to heal after Dena's death. While there, McLaren becomes acquainted with his next-door neighbor when he helps her with a few odd jobs. But he soon becomes the prime suspect in her death and finds himself sinking deeper into the tangle of her murder.
The late night arson of his cabin and personal attacks nearly kill him. The ferocity of the attacks is unlike anything he's known, and he wonders if the attacker's mistaken him for someone else. The missing puzzle piece slips into place during a desperate race against Time and Tide...a race he's determined to win.
Ex-police detective Michael McLaren is determined to have a peaceful holiday after the fiasco of his first attempt at Windermere, so he stops at a bed-and-breakfast in Moorton, a village in Cumbria. But mystery and murder seek him out, and he soon succumbs to the B&B owner’s plea to investigate the year-old death of her daughter’s fiancé, a young musician.
The Lake District parish seems peaceful, but a rival musician’s jealousy and a business partner’s anger boil beneath the façade. Mix that with ‘Barmy Barry’s’ sightings of fairy lights at the castle, references to Uther Pendragon's return and the secrets in the woods, and McLaren finds his sanity shaky.
When the vicar is attacked and Barry disappears, McLaren sets a trap for the killer. But as it plays out, his concern shifts from the potential capture to praying he and his friend can escape with their lives.
Michael McLaren returns home from working a cold case in Cumbria to learn that he’s missed his uncle’s wedding in Scotland. Angry and fearful that his absence has re-opened the family rift just as it’s healed, he drives to the ancestral home, hoping his appearance and explanation will be accepted. He’s more than welcomed. His uncle asks him to investigate the murder of his first fiancée.
Fiona Lennox was found in a rowboat on a Scottish loch, shot to death during a late night photo shoot. Why would she rent a boat after dark? Did she take it out to photograph the moonlight on the water? She could’ve done, being a professional photographer, but she was also a proponent of civic and environmental causes, which she documented with her camera. Did someone linked to one of her crusades kill her, or was the motive personal?
As McLaren uncovers layers of Fiona’s life and the reason for her nocturnal outing, he and his family are targets of intensifying attacks. But it’s not until he races against a kidnapper’s deadline and the threat of a loved one’s watery death that he realizes who killed Fiona--implications that are as deep and dark as the Scottish loch.
One dark night artist Craig Saxton went missing from his village. His body was found thirty-two hours later in the river, floating like a bobber on a fishing line.
Rumors swell like tidal waves: did his ex-wife or his fiancée’s father kill this likeable young man? Or was it simply a case of jealousy by the village’s other artist? Now, two years later, Craig’s fiancée hopes ex-police detective Michael McLaren can find out.
From speaking to villagers, McLaren quickly realizes that what appears to be a straightforward investigation is fast becoming as tangled as fishing lines. Are the fish poaching incidents, the reappearance of the local ghost, and assaults on him merely to muddy the investigative waters, or are they connected to Craig’s death?
McLaren has his hands full. They become even fuller when a nemesis from his past appears one night, bent on revenge. And the inevitable struggle opens a new future for one man…and leaves the other empty handed.
Each April the members of a mystery writing group gather on Stanton Moor for camaraderie and to fuel their plots. The moody area seems the perfect setting for hatching a whodunit. Unfortunately, an unscripted mystery materializes like an unsolicited manuscript on a publisher’s slush pile—the leader of their group is found on the moor, her head bashed in and very dead.
Lesley Keeton’s murder takes on the aspects of a novel’s first draft: the suspects shadowy and the killer unnamed. Now, a year later, ex-police detective Michael McLaren is asked to tidy up the plot and expose the killer.
McLaren investigates and discovers anger and jealousy cropping up as often as editor’s red marks on a manuscript page. The group members crafted more than stories—they planned a mass exodus, fleeing Lesley’s tutelage, dictatorship and tongue lashings. Add a tinge of blackmail, an illegal business and an affair to this framework, and the deadly combination has the earmarks of a bestseller.
In the midst of this, McLaren’s lady friend arrives unannounced and disrupts the case…and unbalances his emotions. Both are tested one night in a churchyard when she stumbles into the arms of the killer…and McLaren must rescue her without letting evil go free.
Hide And Seek
Playing a mystery game seems the perfect way to celebrate Jamie Kydd’s promotion to Detective Sergeant rank. But the game turns real when a body turns up in the pretend crime scene. Perhaps worse than spoiling the party, the corpse is someone Jamie knows.
Even though the police take on the case, Jamie asks his friend, former police detective Michael McLaren, to also investigate—concerned that the victim’s criminal past may dampen the Constabulary’s usual fervor to nab his killer. It seems to have been a smart decision, for the police aren’t expending a lot of energy on the inquiry.
Suspects float around McLaren…half truthful, hard to find. More like wraiths than flesh and blood. If the victim’s burglary partner, ex-wife, or childhood friend didn’t kill Dan, who did? It’s a desperate game between McLaren and a killer who’s playing Hide and Seek.
5 stars+ rating!
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Carols for Groundhog's Day
A book of 13 Groundhog Day carols based on familiar folk tunes and Christmas carols. Ideas for hosting your own Groundhog Day party, as well as table decoration and food recipes for a buffet meal, are also included.
Cider, Swords and Straw:
Celebrating British Customs
Ready to sink your teeth into a good mystery? Now you can! Intrigued by the British customs peppering the Taylor & Graham mystery novels? Dying to know a bit about the plots of the twelve books in the series? Want to hold your own May Day or Guy Fawkes party but don’t know what authentic food to serve? In the Taylor & Graham Mysteries, customs and holidays form the backbone of each book’s plot, serving as a catalyst for the murder. Cider, Swords and Straw – Celebrating British Customs is the companion book to the novels, as well as a fascinating read in its own right. All customs featured in the mysteries are detailed and explained more fully. And with more than three hundred food recipes to make, you’ll feel as though you’re in the midst of the custom as Taylor & Graham investigate!