Gillian Roberts is the author of the Anthony-award winning Amanda Pepper mystery series that features a Philadelphia high school English teacher and her significant (but undernamed) other (and now fiancé), C. K. Mackenzie.
Sleuth...private investigator...detective. Many names for the same job, but the role itself comes in all shapes and sizes.
Presenting a variety of detectives, culled from the various novels both published and distributed by Untreed Reads. Whether it's a gritty clown or a children's book author, a pig or an investigator of crimes in the nursery rhyme universe, you'll discover a wide variety of short mysteries here from both best-selling authors and fresh voices.
This anthology contains the first new Amanda Pepper mystery in nearly a decade from award-winning mystery author Gillian Roberts, as well as original stories from Kara L. Barney, Amber Rochelle Gillet, Janet Majerus, Lesley A. Diehl, Neil Plakcy, Kaye George, Whit Howland, Albert Tucher, Herschel Cozine, Rodolfo Peña and Wade J. McMahan.
Amanda's friend Sasha's stepmother has just committed suicide—although, according to Sasha, Phoebe Ennis would never have killed herself, especially not while having a drink and wearing a red silk blouse and red sandals with four-inch heels. Amanda isn't persuaded, but reluctantly agrees to help investigate the woman's demise, though the evidence for foul play is slim. True, the middle-aged compulsive collector of knickknacks wasn't universally loved. Phoebe's own son hated her, and she bored her friends to death with hints of her "royal" lineage. And with four marriages behind her, she was already preparing to announce her renewed availability on the Net. But when another woman is found dead in Phoebe's house, it becomes clear that something is indeed murderously amiss, and much closer to home than Amanda or anyone else could have imagined.
No matter the season, the Philadelphia private school where Amanda Pepper teaches English is never a center of tranquility. But with Halloween and the annual Mischief Night party only days away, the hope is that nothing more than old-fashioned vandalism and pranks will take place.
No such luck. Trouble erupts long before the witching hour, as the school is plagued by a series of mishaps ranging from the trivial to the potentially deadly–and most of which seem to center on a group of popular seniors.
A fire alarm rings during a test; all the orange and black paint is stolen from the art room; the mustard packets are taken from the cafeteria. Perhaps more serious: chemicals and equipment disappear from the science lab, as does one of Amanda's exams and her attendance book. And the dapper new science instructor, Juan Reyes, receives a threatening message recalling that a teacher was once flayed to death by his students.
As Amanda juggles teaching, moonlighting as a private investigator with her husband, C.K. Mackenzie, and coping with C.K.'s visiting sixteen-year-old high school-dropout nephew, she tries to find out what, or who, is behind the ominous events.
Before she can unmask the tricksters, the turmoil in the school increases when students rise up against the administration's censuring (and censoring) of a campus poet. Then unrest escalates into a lethally explosive menace, and Amanda receives a warning that there is more–and far worse–to come.
Traditionally, Old Philadelphians keep a low profile. They associate with one another and leave life as discreetly as they have lived it. So Philly Prep English teacher Amanda Pepper, who thinks her only current problems are keeping her well-meaning family from hijacking her wedding, is understandably stunned to discover a perfect specimen of the species dying at the foot of the school’s marble staircase.
It is anybody’s guess what led to Tomas Severin’s apparent fall and, indeed, why he was in the building in the first place. More questions arise when Amanda enters her otherwise empty classroom and finds a take-out cup of herbal tea laced with the party drug her students call roofies. Why would a middle-aged Philadelphian have a date-rape drug in his tea? Why does he have Amanda’s name scribbled in his pocket notebook?
Hired by a member of the Severin family household, Amanda and her fiancé, C.K. Mackenzie, realize that many people felt their lives would improve if Tom’s life ended–-making it seemingly impossible to determine who’d been harassing Severin with threatening phone calls. Tom Severin leaves behind angry ex-wives, one recently dropped fiancée, and the current (about to be exed) Mrs. Tomas Severin. As secrets are unearthed, and cruelties old and new revealed, it’s apparent that the end of Tom is just the beginning of the grief he caused.
In the City of Brotherly Love, nobody knows a thing about Emmie Cade, a young widow who “appeared from nowhere,” and in the blink of an eye was engaged to Leo Fairchild, a middle-aged bachelor with a fortune. 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.
Enter Amanda Pepper who, after completing her day of teaching English at Philly Prep, now moonlights as a P.I. along with C.K. Mackenzie, former homicide detective, current graduate student at Penn. The two of them are hired by Mrs. Fairchild to find out who the charming but evasive Emmie Cade really is. At thirty-two, the young woman has changed her address and name more often than some women change nail polish—and deliberately or not, she's provided no clues or access to her past.
For Amanda, becoming C.K. Mackenzie's investigative partner is an exhilarating change from the politics and problems of the new school term, and a welcome distraction from the ordeal of meeting her own prospective in-laws. She's determined to prove herself an able investigator by ferreting out Emmie Cade's secrets, but almost immediately, instead of looking at events of the past, she's forced to deal with the here and now—including murder.
In the stately nineteenth-century homes on Philadelphia’s Delancey Street, the wilder passions scarcely ruffle the peace. Murder is unthinkable, particularly a murder involving an upscale book discussion group, of which schoolteacher Amanda Pepper is a devoted member. Nevertheless, on the day after a heated discussion of a fictional heroine’s suicide, book group member Helen Coulter falls to her death from her roof garden. Helen’s death is declared a suicide but Amanda is convinced otherwise. Why is this admirable woman dead? And if she was killed, who performed the heinous act? Amanda’s investigations will draw her into a zone of great danger, where Helen Coulter’s ice-hearted killer is once more ready to strike. . . .
Available for the first time in ebook format, this special edition includes a new introduction from author Gillian Roberts and an exclusive interview with Amanda Pepper herself!
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 him. And to run into the possibility of becoming the next victim herself.
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 "pollute the mind." When murder follows, Amanda becomes enmeshed in old secrets and young lives.
In her new novel starring Philadelphia schoolteacher Amanda Pepper, Gillian Roberts once again mixes mystery and mirth. This time Roberts explores Philadelphia's unique flesh and blood "historical monument"-- the Mummers, who live (and perhaps are willing to die) for a few hours of glory every New Year's Day.
The famous Mummers' Parade is an extravaganza that draws enormous crowds who cheer through chattering teeth, as more than thirty thousand clowns, string bands, and fancy brigades strut their stuff up Broad Street. But this year, while the music blares and the Mummers dance, a reveling Pierrot suddenly sinks to the ground, shot dead.
Amanda is, at first, only a horrified spectator. But when the prime suspect--her friend and fellow teacher at Philly Prep--falsely claims to have been with her at the time of the murder, Amanda can no longer stay on the sidelines.
Is the murder a flare-up of deadly rivalries? Is it connected with the disappearance, the week before Christmas, of another Mummer, the heir to a meat-packing family? Does someone disapprove of the Mummers' feathers, sequins, and string bands? And why is no one in the tight-knit world Amanda investigates willing to tell the truth about anything?
With Amanda on the scene, the who in whodunit doesn't stay secret for long. In The Mummers' Curse, Gillian Roberts is, as always, at the head of the parade.
Well-known Broadway playwright and TV producer Lyle Zacharias is throwing himself a lavish birthday party in his hometown of Philadelphia. Guests include his current wife, ex-wives, friends, former partners—not to mention Amanda Pepper and her own irrepressible mother, Bea. Yet when Lyle drops dead in the middle of a speech, it appears the likely perpetrator is none other than Bea, whose gift was fifty delicious, but apparently poisoned, tarts!
It's up to Amanda to clear her mother's name and find the real murderer…before he or she strikes again! But Amanda herself may be the next target! Who says teaching isn't exciting? With any more excitement, Amanda will have to retire before she hits thirty-one…if she lives that long!
Mellow old Philadelphia, where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have flourished for centuries, now has a new claim to fame. The City of Brotherly Love has been proclaimed number one in the nation...for hostility. English teacher Amanda Pepper, crabbily gearing up for summer school at exclusive Philly Prep, feels she fits right in with the hostility mode.
And it's going to get worse. Amanda gets her first prickling of unease in her own classroom, where a reading of Romeo and Juliet activates some very strange chemistry. Then the computer science teacher begins receiving anonymous "go-back-to-Africa" phone calls. A young Vietnamese boy dies in a drive-by shooting. And late one night, outside a Chinatown massage parlor, student April Tuong is kidnapped.
Random violence? Perhaps. But Amanda refuses to let gentle April vanish without at least asking a few questions, starting in her own classroom.
Gillian Roberts's Philadelphia is the real thing. So, too, are her wit and humor, and her gripping story of Amanda's tenacious search for the missing girl--along the brick streets of historic Philadelphia, in exotic Chinatown, and through the shady, sinister back alleys of the impoverished. The truth, when she finds it, is appalling, deadly, and much too close to home.
Amanda Pepper'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. When a witness identifies Sasha as having been at the scene, she Goes Directly To Jail and does not pass "Go." Under the boardwalk and between the slot machines, and sometimes with the help of a motley crew of gamblers, Amanda works to unearth the truth and free her friend.
Book three in the Anthony Award-winning mystery series featuring Amanda Pepper, the resourceful English teacher at Philly Prep. Available for the first time in ebook format!
Amanda is sorting books for a school fundraiser, when she comes across a book for battered women that contains a special and frightening message from its original, anonymous owner. Desperate to learn who donated the books, Amanda's search leads her to deliberate brutality and its cold-blooded consequences.
Book two in the Amanda Pepper mystery series. Available for the first time in ebook format!
Amanda attempts to instill the spirit of Christmas by having her students prepare and serve a meal for the homeless, but her plan backfires. 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 with his daughter, Amanda's student, one of three people who insist they alone started the fire. Amanda wants to solve the crime with her sometime boyfriend and cop C.K. Mackenzie, and is equally determined to teach the the elusive killer a lesson or two as well.
From Gillian Roberts, the Anthony Award- winning author of CAUGHT DEAD IN PHILADELPHIA.
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The debut of Philly Prep English teacher and accidental sleuth, Amanda Pepper, (and of C.K. Mackenzie, homicide detective) won the World Mystery Convention's "Anthony" for best first mystery.
When the body of a colleague is found dead in Amanda's living room, she has to clear herself of suspicion—and make sure she isn't the next victim as well. And all she's got as a clue to the real killer's identity is a locket shaped like Winnie-the-Pooh.