Today we have a great collection of Edgar-winning author Julie Smith’s mysteries. These clever novels are filled with humor, thrills, and a good dose of  comeuppance for the bad guys. Enjoy!

Louisiana Lament : A Humorous New Orleans Mystery; Talba Wallis PI Series #3 (The Talba Wallis PI Series)
Julie Smith
4.3 Stars (72 Reviews)
Genre: African American | Mystery, Thriller & Suspense | United States

Louisiana Lament is the THIRD book in the Talba Wallis mystery series by Edgar-winning author Julie Smith.

Nobody knew who she really was … but her parties were to die for!

They’d be Queen Latifah and Danny DeVito if this were a movie. In Louisiana Lament, they’re P.I.s Talba Wallis and Eddie Valentino—Talba’s young, African-American, computer-brilliant, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and a noted poet by night; Eddie’s pushing seventy, white, hopelessly tech-challenged, and pretty much burned out. Somehow, they make it work—with Talba’s tech-and-street smarts, and Eddie’s old-school hard-earned savvy, they even complement each other.

One stormy day Talba gets an emergency call from Janessa, the sister she barely knows, and arrives to find a body floating in a swimming pool—the mortal husk of Allyson Brown, known in New Orleans literary circles as the Girl Gatsby. Like Gatsby, Allyson was one of those mysterious rich people who move to town, give amazing parties, and seem made of moonbeams.

Investigating, Talba finds the reality behind the Gatsby glamour. Allyson was a con artist who neglected her children, ignored her bills, and lied like a rug. But she wasn’t the only bad actor on the local literary scene. Fellow poet Rashad leads Talba a merry chase, leaving a trail of clues in the form of poetry, while novelists engage in fisticuffs, unseemly preening, and unforgivable arrogance.

Before it’s all over, Talba finds out just how seamy, petty, and downright murderous her fellow literati can be.

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Kindness of Strangers (Skip Langdon Mystery #6) (The Skip Langdon Series)
Julie Smith
4.3 Stars (48 Reviews)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Kindness of Strangers is the SIXTH book in the Edgar Award-winning Skip Langdon mystery series Julie Smith.


Politics makes the strangest bedfellows of all and in New Orleans, a psychopath’s running for mayor. Not just the usual harmless megalomaniac—a murderer and a monster. His supporters and a good proportion of would-be voters think he’s just a kindly preacher-man and handily crucify anyone who says otherwise. Enter Detective Skip Langdon, who met the Rev. Errol Jacomine on a case, finds him pretty much the personification of evil, and can point to a pile of corpses to prove it.

But Langdon’s fresh out of street cred. On administrative leave after shooting someone, she’s become the Cassandra of the police department—everything she says gets put down to paranoia. So finding the proof to discredit Jacomine becomes her obsession until he kidnaps a couple of kids she cares about—and then it turns into a mission from hell.

Langdon has to bull her way through a hurricane to find the small army of Jacomine’s thugs who’ve got 15-year-old Sheila, the closest thing she has to a niece, and Sheila’s friend, who’s having the mother of inappropriate love affairs—with someone dangerously close to Jacomine.


Skip tried to keep it light, obediently telling war stories until her mother called them to dinner.

Ted Gilkerson, who’d now had a couple of martinis in addition to whatever he’d swizzled earlier, wouldn’t leave her alone. “It’s the mayor who appoints the superintendent, right? If we had a decent mayor, we might get a decent chief.”

“I like the mayor,” said Camille, but he bulled on ahead.

“Only reason we got the kind of police we do is, the powers that be want it that way. Right, Skip?”

“I don’t know, Ted. I think the problems are ingrained over generations.”

“Good mayor could stop ‘em. We gotta get that asshole outta there.”

“Well, since he’s not running for reelection, I don’t think it’ll be a problem.”

“There’s always a machine guy. Jackson’s it this time.” Jackson had been accused of taking kickbacks when he served on the city council. In fact, he’d resigned over it.

“Know who I like?” said Camille. “I just love Errol Jacomine. Now he talks sense.”

Skip felt her stomach turn over.

Her mother said, “At least he’s not a racist. Perretti might be.”

“My man!” said Conrad, raising a clenched fist. Skip couldn’t conceive how the two of them could be made of the same genetic material.

“I agree with you, honey.” Their father addressed himself to Camille. “I really think he’s got something to offer.”

Skip said, “I know him. There’s something wrong with him. He’s a very, very bad man. And I don’t think Perretti’s really a racist.” She shrugged. “Just another Louisiana opportunist.”

“I think he believes what he says, and I think he’s going to kick ass,” said Conrad. “I’m voting for him.”

“Sweetheart, you can be so heartless sometimes,” said Camille. “Jacomine’s done stuff the others only talk about. He’s gotten people off drugs, he’s cleaned up neighborhoods, he’s worked for good candidates …”

Skip noticed everyone was nodding except Conrad. “I’m voting for him,” said her father.

She was losing her appetite fast.

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Other People’s Skeletons:An Action-Packed San FranciscoMystery; Rebecca Schwartz #5 (The Rebecca Schwartz Series)
Julie Smith
3.5 Stars (44 Reviews)
Genre: Metaphysical | Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Other People’s Skeletons is the FIFTH Rebecca Schwartz mystery by Edgar-winning author Julie Smith.

What she’s about to learn will rock her world!

Rebecca Schwartz, “Jewish feminist lawyer,” as she’s fond of saying, thought she knew her best friend–and her boy friend. Not to mention her family. But everything’s about to change.

Secrets spill out of these pages like hornets out of a nest, each with its own distinct sting, as author Smith weaves a thrill-packed and complicated mystery that’s as much about how little we know about our nearest and dearest as it is about whodunit.

Rebecca’s shocked when Chris Nicholson, her glamorous law partner, is arrested for murder–but not nearly so shocked as when she discovers Chris can’t come up with an alibi. What she was doing, Chris says, involves a secret so damaging she’d be drummed out of San Francisco legal circles if anyone knew. All she’ll say is what her secret isn’t–crime, drugs, sex, alcohol, addiction, illness (mental or otherwise), or an eating disorder. So what’s left? Sure enough, when Rebecca uncovers it, her world tilts on its axis—and continues to list, ever more dangerously, as the story picks up speed and this formerly rational lawyer finds her worldview threatened by things she never knew existed. At least not in her circle! And Chris is far from the only one with a skeleton in her closet.

The murdered man, Jason McKendrick, was a much-loved columnist, a carefree bachelor with a million glamorous women, who also happened to have a very special friend who slept on a filthy mattress in his apartment. As Rebecca and Chris peel back the layers of Jason’s complicated world, they find he was leading not just a double life, but maybe many more. Only one person knows what made him tick. But can she stay alive long enough to tell his story?

Fans of Nancy Pickard’s delicate psychological probes, Janet Evanovich’s wild romps, and Marcia Muller’s complex yarns will appreciate this one.

Author’s note: Some readers have felt this and the previous Rebecca Schwartz book, DEAD IN THE WATER, were somewhat different from the first three–edgier, more realistic, and…well, just not as funny. Okay, I confess. I wrote them after I started the much more serious-minded Skip Langdon series and some of that mood just spilled over. I thought they were different, too, but to tell the truth, there wasn’t much I could do about it. I just couldn’t do slapstick any more. I used to apologize by saying “Rebecca lost her sense of humor, but reading the books all these years later, I don’t think she really did. I still found the dialogue funny, but the stories were more real, not as over the top. Still, what do I know?That’s just me reviewing my own books, sort of. I mention all this because, well..caveat emptor, y’all! — Julie Smith

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Death Before Facebook (Skip Langdon #4) (Skip Langdon Mystery) (The Skip Langdon Series)
Julie Smith
3.9 Stars (55 Reviews)
Genre: Women’s Fiction | Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Death Before Facebook, formerly entitled New Orleans Beat, is the FOURTH book in the Edgar Award-winning Skip Langdon series by Julie Smith.


It’s a chilly November in 1994, and thirty-one-year-old Geoff Kavanagh surreptitiously splits his time between science fiction novels and cyberspace in his parents’ dilapidated, overgrown, uptown New Orleans mansion. Until his mother finds him dead from a suspicious fall off a ladder. Maybe he should never have posted about seeing his father murdered … because way too many people on the TOWN, a pre-Facebook virtual community, knew things about his family he didn’t even suspect. Decades-old skeletons start falling out of closets after Geoff’s untimely death, thanks to New Orleans Detective Skip Langdon. Langdon finds Geoff’s gorgeous mom strangely uninterested in her son’s fatal fall, but Mom’s apparently the only one. It seems the post has gone viral. Suddenly all the TOWNSpeople have theories—and ambition as cyberdetectives. What’s a murderer to do but kill his way out?

Calling the windup “a virtuoso spin on Rashomon,” Kirkus noted that, along the way, “Smith worms her way deeply and painfully into her cast’s layers and layers of past relations, getting deeper than ever into Skip as well.”

Written in the mid-90s, Death Before Facebook is a suspenseful online murder mystery blast from the past: THE NET meets Prime Suspect.


“When Geoff was four years old, he and his mother came home one night to find his father dead on the bedroom floor. Shot with his own revolver—he was a cop.”

“A cop!”

“In your very own department. Geoff thought he could remember coming home—climbing the stairs with his mother, going into the bedroom, and finding the body. But once he’d asked her, and she said it wasn’t like that at all. She said Geoff ran right up the stairs and went to the bathroom; meanwhile Marguerite—that’s his mother—went into the bedroom and turned on the light. It was all she could do to keep from screaming, but she didn’t want little Geoffrey to know what was going on, so she turned out the light, closed the door, and went downstairs to call the cops.”

“Pretty damn cool.”

“Well, who knows what really happened? That’s just what she told Geoff. Anyway, it got him to thinking his own memory was bogus—or might be. And after he had that dream, he kept getting these weird flashbacks, if you want to call them that, like incest survivors are supposed to have—little half-memories. Like being in bed and hearing an argument. Running down the hall. His mother’s face. His dad on the floor… actually, he had that one all the time, from before his mother told him he’d never seen that. Do you see what I’m getting at?”

“He posted this stuff?’


“Under his own name?”

“You can’t hide your identity on the TOWN—you have a user ID, but anyone can check you out in about two seconds. Geoff was Vidkid.”

“So if it was true, if he really had witnessed the murder, or had even been in the house when one was committed, he was putting it out there for the world to know. Is that what you’re saying?”

“That was our reasoning, yes. When we found out about the ‘accident’.”

Skip could see why this was the talk of the TOWN.

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True-Life Adventure(Paul Mcdonald mystery #1) (The Paul Mcdonald Series)
Julie Smith
4.1 Stars (19 Reviews)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Things were going lousy for ex-reporter Paul Mcdonald: No money, no girl friend, no bright new career as a mystery novelist … and then along came PI Jack Birnbaum with an offer. He’d detect, and Paul would write the client reports. It wasn’t much, but it would keep Spot the cat in Kitty Queen tidbits. And then this:

“That stuff’ll kill you.”

“What? Your coffee?” Jack was just doctoring his second cup.

“No. All that sweetener. You’re poisoning yourself.”

“We’ve all gotta go sometime.”

Jack went right about then. His eyes rolled back and he let go of the cup. Coffee sloshed all over my rug. His big body fell forward in the chair.

A day that begins with a body in your living room really ought to get better, but next comes burglary and after that, assault-by-cop. And Paul’s got a feeling that’s just the beginning. There must have been something someone didn’t want him to know in one of those client reports. But what?

These were the facts: I was thirty-eight. I’d spent fifteen years on one major metropolitan daily or another. I’d written six unpublished detective novels. Unpublished in spite of my name.

John D. MacDonald did it daily. Ross Macdonald did it deeper. Gregory Mcdonald did it with dash.

Wrote thrillers and got them published.

But not Paul Mcdonald.

I just wrote them, supporting my habit with clients like Jack.

I had about two hundred bucks to last me the rest of my life.

My only client was dead.

The market for mysteries was terrible.

I didn’t get out enough.

The only thing I’d ever done successfully was write newspaper stories.

And I was sitting on a great story.

A story he can sell, if he can catch the murderer before the murderer catches him.

Birnbaum’s last report concerned a kidnapped child, so Paul begins there. The trail leads him to the laboratory of a Nobel laureate geneticist, and then to City Hall, where an extremely nasty surprise awaits. But there’s an upside—lovely witness Sardis Kincannon. Nothing like falling in love while you’re running for your life!

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