The Spy Shop Mysteries are quirky/cozy+ (slightly edgier than cozy) books set on and around Galveston Island, Texas. There are five books in this series. Although the book covers are fanciful, these books are not appropriate for young readers. PG16.Once a successful HR executive who plummeted off the corporate ladder, Xena Cali relocates to Galveston Island, Texas, and opens the Paradise Lost Spy Shop and a private investigation practice in the gritty Strand Historical District. Xena uncovers and must overcome several challenges related the store’s former “residents.” At the same time, business owners are on edge about of a string of recent burglaries. A rag-tag crime watch group makes solving the case harder and weirder. Amazon link.
Xena’s latest case has her headed to the Biological and Aquatic Research Labs (BARL) where a popular marine biologist was found dead in a large tank with an octopus named Fred wrapped around her body. The police think Fred did it, but the victim’s manager knows he’s innocent and has hired Xena to find the killer before Fred is euthanized in two weeks. Amazon link.
Honeymooners hoping to find a quiet spot for a romantic picnic instead discover the dead body of a bird-watching guide. The murder rattles the local birding association as they prepare for the yearly influx of Sandhill Cranes and wanna-be ornithologists who flock to the island to watch them. With The Pelican Man as their sidekick, Xena and team explore the dark side of birding and the tenuous relationship between commerce and nature to solve the case. Amazon link.
Rodent Roger, a popular Galveston Island exterminator, goes missing the day after he tells Xena about a concerning uptick in green iguana sightings on the island. They’re crapping in people’s boats and falling from trees. Are the lizards swimming over from Florida to escape the pythons, or is something more nefarious afoot? This is a murder mystery so… yes. Xena and her team will have to jump on cruise ships and negotiate with a romance writer to solve this convoluted case. Amazon link.
The Mystery Writers Guild Conference is about to kick off in Galveston. But when a dead body is found in the convention center, hundreds of armchair sleuths insert themselves in the investigation. Local police hire Xena’s team to help make sense of the chaos and find the killer before their prime suspects go home to bloody their literary crime scenes. She’ll re-write the ending a few times before the thrilling climax finishes the story. Amazon link.