Our atmosphere is warm and friendly, with oak/cherry bookcases labeled with the historical era, international to local mysteries or other subject matter of the books on the shelves, and comfortable seating, inviting you to browse your chosen subject.   If you're unsure where to start, our knowledgeable staff will be happy to act as your guide through fact or fiction, history or mystery, adults' or childrens' books.

Often, you can discuss your opinion about a book with other like-minded (or not) readers,or even the author who caused your joy, thoughtfulness, queries, or maybe dissent, because five different reader/writer discussion groups meet here;and C&S has frequent signings for authors of histories, biographies, & mysteries, for both adults & children.

 


 

Words & Music

SPECIAL EVENT in coordination with FPCC MUSIC FEST !

Good stories & great songs in a 60's "coffee house" setting...

Discussion & Signing with Author Joan Hess & the Daughter of the Late Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz)

Title: The Painted Queen

Description


Egypt, 1912--Amelia Peabody and her dashing archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless, stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti and Amelia finds herself the target of assassins in this long-awaited, eagerly anticipated final installment of Elizabeth Peters' bestselling, beloved mystery series.

Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo, when a man with knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word--"Murder"--before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried was a sheet of paper with Amelia's name and room number, and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: "Judas." Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye.

It quickly becomes apparent that someone saved Amelia from a would-be assassin--someone who is keeping a careful eye on the intrepid Englishwoman. Discovering a terse note clearly meant for Emerson--Where were you?"--pushed under their door, there can be only one answer: the brilliant master of disguise, Sethos.

But neither assassins nor the Genius of Crime will deter Amelia as she and Emerson head to the excavation site at Amarna, where they will witness the discovery of one of the most precious Egyptian artifacts: the iconic Nefertiti bust. In 1345 B.C. the sculptor Thutmose crafted the piece in tribute to the great beauty of this queen who was also the chief consort of Pharaoh Akhenaten and stepmother to King Tutankhamun.

For Amelia, this excavation season will prove to be unforgettable. Throughout her journey, a parade of men in monocles will die under suspicious circumstances, fascinating new relics will be unearthed, a diabolical mystery will be solved, and a brilliant criminal will offer his final challenge . . . and perhaps be unmasked at last.

Author Joan Hess & the Daughter of the Late Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz) will discuss & sign the final installment in the Amelia Peabody Series

    

Barbara in her garden

Photo by Osmund Geier

Barbara Mertz (A.K.A.) Elizabeth Peters:

Barbara Mertz was born in Canton, Illinois on September 29, 1927.  Her father was a typesetter and her mother was an elementary school teacher.  Both of her parents encouraged her imagination and her love of books.  She was also heavily influenced by her Great Aunt Ida Tregellas, a high school principal in Chicago who took her to museums and encouraged her to read broadly.  The eldest of three daughters, Barbara attended Oak Park Township High School and then went on to college at the University of Chicago.

After completing her BA in 1947 at the age of 20, she went on to earn a PhD  from the Oriental Institute (OI) in 1952 at the age of 25.  She was proud to have worked with John A. Wilson, who oversaw her dissertation on “Certain Titles of the Egyptian Queens and Their Bearing on the Hereditary Right to the Throne.”  Following her marriage to fellow OI student Richard Mertz, she had two children, Elizabeth and Peter; she divorced her husband in 1969.

In 1964, she published Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs:  A Popular History of Ancient Egypt, which was followed by a second well-received non-fiction book, Red Land, Black Land:  Daily Life in Ancient Egypt.  She went on to publish mystery novels under the names Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters, authoring over 70 books and a number of short stories by the time of her death at age 85.  She was a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of KMT: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt, and also belonged to the Egypt Exploration Society and the James Henry Breasted Circle of the University of Chicago Oriental Institute.

After her children were grown, Mertz settled in an historic farmhouse near Frederick Maryland, surrounded by her cherished cats, garden, and friends (not necessarily in that order).  In 1989, nearby Hood College awarded Dr. Mertz an honorary degree, and the Elizabeth Peters-Barbara Michaels Scholarship is still awarded by Hood to students showing excellence in writing.  Barbara Mertz died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Frederick on August 8, 2013.

 

Joan Hess

Joan Hess is a fifth-generation resident of Fayetteville, Arkansas (think bicycles, Girl Scouts, touch football with the guys, walking to and from school, tennis in the park, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates in junior high--all that stuff).

She received a B.A. in art from the University of Arkansas in 1971 and a M.A. in education from Long Island University in 1974. After a few false starts, she managed to combine the degrees and for several years taught art to three and four year-olds in a private preschool (where she found her level of expertise in the art world).

Ms. Hess began writing in 1984 (although, technically, she began in 1982 and wrote ten--yes, ten--unpublishable romance novels). Her first mystery, STRANGLED PROSE, came out in 1986 (yes!!!), and since then she has written twenty-one more mystery novels.

Joan in Razorback Red Ms. Hess was a member of the Board of Directors of the Mystery Writers of America and chairperson of the 1992 Edgar Best Novel committee (and two terms on the short story committee--can you say "slow learner?"). She is a former president of the American Crime Writers League and president for life of the Arkansas Mystery Writers Alliance (since she organized it and recruited all three other members), as well as a member of Sisters in Crime, Authors Guild, and a columnist for Mystery Scene Magazine.

She serves as the executive vice-president of the Whimsey Foundation, an organization that honors significant achievement in comedic mystery fiction.

She has been a guest lecturer at Southwest Missouri State University, Xavier University, the University of Arkansas, the University of Missouri (KC), Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, and Rice University in Houston.

She is a full-time writer and the mother of two. She has no discernible Southern accent. Her hair is not natural.

 

The Painted Queen: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062083517
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - July 25th, 2017

Authors Discussion & Signing with Kristen Lepionka and Lori Rader-Day

Authors Discussion & Signing  with Kristen Lepionka for The Last Place You Look 

                               and Lori Rader-Day for The Day I Died.

                                       

                                                                                 

About the Book:

Nobody knows what happened to Sarah Cook. The beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton—black and from the wrong side of the tracks—was convicted of the murders and is now on death row. Though he’s maintained his innocence all along, the clock is running out. His execution is only weeks away when his devoted sister insists she spied Sarah at an area gas station. Willing to try anything, she hires PI Roxane Weary to look at the case and see if she can locate Sarah.

Brad might be in a bad way, but private investigator Roxane Weary isn’t doing so hot herself. Still reeling from the recent death of her cop father in the line of duty, her main way of dealing with her grief has been working as little and drinking as much as possible. But Roxane finds herself drawn in to the story of Sarah's vanishing act, especially when she links the disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl.

The stakes get higher as Roxane discovers that the two girls may not be the only beautiful blonde teenagers who’ve turned up missing or dead. As her investigation gets darker and darker, Roxane will have to risk everything to find the truth. Lives depend on her cracking this case—hers included.

About the Author:

Kristen Lepionka grew up mostly in her local public library, where she could be found with a big stack of adult mysteries before she was out of middle school. In the name of writing research, she has gone on multiple police ride-alongs, taken a lock-picking class, trespassed through an abandoned granary, and hiked inside an Icelandic volcano. Her writing has been selected for McSweeney s Internet Tendency, Grift, and Black Elephant. She is also the editor of Betty Fedora, a semi-annual journal that publishes feminist crime fiction and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her partner and two cats."    

 

                                                                     

About the Book:

Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves with only a glance--at their handwriting. Hired out by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn hoping to find happiness, Anna likes to keep the real-life mess of other people at arm's length and on paper. But when she is called to use her expertise on a note left behind at a murder scene in the small town she and her son have recently moved to, the crime gets under Anna's skin and rips open her narrow life for all to see. To save her son--and herself--once and for all, Anna will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she'd rewritten.

About the Author:

Lori Rader-Day is the author of the Anthony Award-winning mystery The Black Hour and the Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning mystery Little Pretty Things, both from Seventh Street Books. Her third novel, The Day I Died, was published published by Harper Collins William Morrow on April 11, 2017.

Her fiction has been previously published in Ellery Queen Mystery MagazineTimeOut ChicagoCrab Orchard ReviewFreight Stories, and in the anthology Dia de los Muertos (Elektrik Milkbath Press), and others. Bestselling author Jodi Picoult chose her story as the grand prize winner of Good Housekeeping’s first fiction contest.

Originally from central Indiana, Lori grew up frequenting the local libraries, reading all the Judy Blume and Lois Duncan she could get her hands on. Then she discovered Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark. Lori may have wandered off the mystery writer path a few times, but we all knew she would get back there eventually.

Lori studied journalism at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, but eventually gave in to her dream and studied creative writing at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Now a resident of Chicago for fifteen years, Lori has a favorite deep dish pizza (Lou Malnati’s) and she's active in the area’s crime writing community. She is the president of the Midwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, a board member of Sisters in Crime Chicagoland, and a member of the International Thriller Writers. She says "Chicago is a really great town in which to be a mystery writer."

                               

                                                                                            

 

The Last Place You Look Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781250120519
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - June 13th, 2017

Centuries & Sleuths Top Ten Quarterly Bestsellers for First Quarter 2017:

Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore's bestsellers for the First Quarter of 2017. These Bestsellers are determined by a variety of factors (e.g. Author Signings, Mystery & History Discussion Groups' choices, Special Programs, Newspaper & Magazine listings, etc,) in addition to customer & staff recommendations. 

 

Murder, Stage Left Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781504041119
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mysteriouspress.Com/Open Road - March 7th, 2017

Staff Pick Logo
The Whole Art of Detection: Lost Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780802125927
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mysterious Press - March 7th, 2017

Staff Pick Logo
Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler: A True Love Story Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781476700281
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - January 14th, 2014

Staff Pick Logo
I Let You Go Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101987506
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley Books - November 29th, 2016

The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780143036494
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - October 2005

The Riverview Murders: A Paul Whelan Mystery Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781626817678
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Diversion Publishing - February 17th, 2015

Staff Pick Logo
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781137280152
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - March 22nd, 2016

Staff Pick Logo
1938: Hitler's Gamble Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780465022052
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Basic Books (AZ) - May 10th, 2011

Staff Pick Logo
Hidden Graves: A PI Mystery Set in Chicago Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780727886644
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Severn House Publishers - February 2017

Staff Pick Logo
Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories Volume I Cover Image
$6.95
ISBN: 9780553212419
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bantam Classics - November 1st, 1986

Subscribe to Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore RSS