"A true delight."
Welcome to the quaint historic village of Dorset, the jewel of Connecticut's Gold Coast. And say hello to the mismatched romantic duo of Mitch Berger and Desiree Mitry, the freshest, funniest crime-solving team to come along since Nick and Nora Charles.
Every year, the Gant family performs an annual ritual desecrating the tomb of Aurora Bing. The Gants have held a grudge against the legendary silent film star for almost eighty years, but for Sherm Gant and his son, things have become personal. Aurora's only grandchild, Hubie Swope, has shut down Sherm's notoriously rowdy beachfront bar, and refuses to allow The Pit to reopen until Sherm undertakes expensive upgrades. This means war. And when The Pit catches fire and Hubie someone's charred remains are found in the rubble, it also means murder.
Who killed Hubie Swope? Crime-fighting duo Mitch and Des have no idea. Not only are Sherm and his son prime suspects, but so are the women in Hubie's life. To their surprise, Mitch and Des discover that Dorset's building inspector, a quiet widower who repaired cuckoo clocks in his little house on Lavender Lane, was secretly juggling four girlfriends at once. And then there's Gaylord Holland, a builder who had a beef of his own with Hubie. Dorset is in turmoil, and only New York City film critic Mitch Berger and Connecticut State Police Resident Trooper Des Mitry can put it back together.
Minotaur Books, hardcover, February 2016, ISBN: 9781250076113
"...an excellent addition to the wonderfully whacky and intriguing Des Mitry and Mitch Berger series... a playful, eye-opening reminder that one day I will be old."
The historic New England village of Dorset has actually elected a living, breathing woman as its First Selectman. And now she's about to undertake the Historic District's biggest public works project in a generation-the widening and re-grading of Dorset Street. The job has needed doing for ages but the previous First Selectman, Bob Paffin, always opposed it. So did a lot of Dorset's blue-blooded old guard.
The long put-off dig uncovers a body buried underneath the pavement in front of the Congregational Church. It belongs to Lt. Lance Paffin, Bob Paffin's older brother, a dashing U.S. Navy flyer who went missing off his sailboat the night of the country club's spring dance more than forty years ago. Everyone had assumed he just left town. But now it's clear Lance has been under Dorset Street this whole time, and that he was murdered.
Des and Mitch soon discover that there are deep, dark secrets surrounding Dorset's elite, and some very distinguished careers have been built on lies.
Minotaur Books, hardcover, March 2014, ISBN: 9781250041975
"Funny, smart and the perfect antidote to the seasonal treacle, ....Don't mistake this for a traditional holiday novel with lots of cute bits. Handler knows how much sugar needs a dose of realism. This is the perfect 'day after' book."
—The Globe and Mail
Three blizzards have blanketed the village in forty inches of snow. Bryce Peck, Mitch's blue-blooded neighbor out on Big Sister Island, has just been found dead of a drug overdose. Young Kylie Champlain has slammed her car head-on into an office building after she's caught trying to shoplift a pair of Ugg boots. And a grinch has taken to stealing the mail from Hank Merrill's postal route, which happens to be the main route through the historic district.
Stealing the U.S. mail is a serious federal crime, but Des soon discovers that she's onto something much bigger: a black-market prescription drug gang with ties to organized crime. And now a fourth blizzard is on its way. And so is another murder. And, somehow, the man in her life has managed to land himself smack dab in the middle of the whole mess. Not to mention that he's in way over his head with Josie Cantro, the beautiful and treacherous life-coach who just may be responsible for it all. If Des doesn't act fast, this will truly be a Christmas to remember—but for all of the wrong reasons.Listen to David's podcast from the Westport CT public library
Minotaur Books, hardcover, October 2012, ISBN: 9781250004543
"...a whirlwind of hilarity, mystery, crime drama, and romance. It is best described by a one-word expression that is often used by Mitch Berger's dad, Chat: 'Sa-weet'."
This newest adventure featuring the mismatched crime-fighting duo of New York City film critic Mitch Berger and Connecticut State Resident Trooper Desiree Mitry presents Des with her first genuine racially charged case in the historic New England village of Dorset, the gem of Connecticut's Gold Coast. Mitch, meanwhile, is about to experience his own close encounter of the first kind. His retired parents are on their way up from Vero Beach to meet the new woman of color in their nice Jewish boy's life. Not to mention her steely father.
Otherwise, life is pretty normal in Yankee Eden.
It's that rarest of seasons in Dorset—Indian Summer. After a cold, stormy September the month of October has turned so freakishly warm that it's hard to believe it's football season. And what a strange football season this is for Tyrone "Da Beast" Grantham, the famously volatile superstar linebacker who has been wreaking havoc on the gridiron every October since he was a 15-year-old kid back in the mean streets of Compton, California. A six-feet-four, 240-pound hit-seeking missile, Da Beast is the most dominant, fearsome middle linebacker in the NFL. He is also one of the league's worst citizens. The NFL commissioner has had to ban him from league play this season due to "conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the league." Da Beast has been ordered to go somewhere peaceful and get it together. Trouble is he and his entourage have chosen to get it together in an $8 million waterfront estate in Dorset, where life is about to become anything but peaceful.
Minotaur Books, hardcover, October 2011, ISBN: 9780312648350
"Well paced and cheerfully written, this book has a number of fun perks."
—RT Book Reviews
Back when Mitch was a chubby thirteen-year-old living in Stuyvesant Town, Beth Breslauer, a lovely blond single mother, lived across the hall with her son, Kenny. These days, she's a wealthy widow who owns a condominium in the Captain Chadwick House, the Dorset Historic District's most exclusive condo complex. Kenny is engaged to marry Mitch's yoga teacher, Kimberly Farrell. Kimberly's parents are Beth's neighbors. They are also social pariahs. Her father was one of the Wall Street power brokers responsible for the sub-prime home loan meltdown and her mother is praying that Kimberly's elaborate engagement party will endear them to their lost friends.
Meanwhile, Augie Donatelli, a retired police detective who manages the Captain Chadwick House, is positive he's figured out the identity of the infamous Dorset Flasher, an elusive, ski-masked figure who has been terrorizing wealthy widows after dark. He also believes that Beth is the proud descendent of a long line of professional thieves. He demands that Des do something about it, but Des dismisses his charges as the wild rants of a lonely, bitter drunkard, which is rather unfortunate—because when Augie turns up dead, Des is included in the round-up of suspects. That leaves it up to Mitch to find out what really happened, even though it means he'll have to find out more about the people in his life than he ever wanted to.
Minotaur Books, hardcover, October 2010, ISBN: 9780312574857
"Fans will eagerly await the next installment in this edgy cozy series."
Something has gone very wrong on bucolic Sour Cherry Lane. A straight-arrow high school student has started throwing wild sex parties. The distinguished history professor across the lane has gone missing. His estranged wife, a popular author of children's books, is strung out on crystal meth. And the new man in her life is under surveillance by a joint federal and state drug task force.
It's not exactly a day in Yankee paradise for Desiree Mitry, the alluring resident trooper of Dorset, Connecticut. Especially when you throw in those unwelcome fainting spells she's been having ever since she broke it off with pudgy New York film critic Mitch Berger and took up again with her ex-husband, U.S. Attorney Brandon Stokes.
Mitch has moved on with his life. Said goodbye to Dorset and hello to a new high-profile television career. Not to mention a newly slimmed down and styled self. Des is completely out of his system. Or so Mitch thinks.
Des, meanwhile, is furious to discover that a major drug cartel has been operating in Dorset right under her nose. And even more furious when she finds out that the task force has been working closely with none other than her very own Brandon Stokes, who hasn't told her one word about it. When Des confronts Brandon she is told—ordered—to keep clear of the entire operation.
Not surprisingly, Resident Trooper Des Mitry will not be told what to do in her own town. Not by an ex-husband who is starting to show his true colors again. Especially when one of those troubled Sour Cherry Lane residents turns up dead. Des will pursue this case her way. The only problem is that her way gets her in way too deep. And there's only person who can possibly get her out.
The question isn't whether Mitch will ride to her rescue. Of course he will, whitened smile and all. The question is whether the two of them will live to tell about it.
Minotaur Books, hardcover, July 2008, ISBN: 9780312376697
"Handler once again delivers a top-notch tale of crime and intrigue."
A storm is brewing in Dorset.
Poochie Vickers, the local aristocrat, is becoming even more eccentric in her old age. She's taken up shoplifting and reckless driving but refuses to see a doctor. Her worrisome daughter, Claudia, is angling to take over the family fortune, which makes some of the would-be beneficiaries uneasy. Two of Dorset's biggest troublemakers are being released from prison. And the bad blood between these two families, rich on the one hand, swamp Yankee on the other, could come to a boiling point: Two young people from the families are dating, to no one's delight but their own.
Someone is bound to snap, and someone does, resulting in the brutal murder of a harmless and homeless man who went about town collecting recyclables.
While Des is trying to track down the murderer, she's also trying to wrap her head around the idea of marrying Mitch. When so many things are going wrong, loving someone seems like a big risk.
Handler's fifth novel in this charming and edgy series displays his deftness in creating memorable, distinctive characters and for crafting uniquely entertaining mysteries.
Minotaur Books, hardcover, March 2006, ISBN: 9780312342111
"This is a cozy series with a bit of an edge, and it's terrific with its setting on the windswept coastline, and above all, for the wonderful relationship between these two decent people who have found love and are determined to hang onto it."
Everyone from Hollywood heavy hitters and supermodels to rap music stars and high-profile athletes are invited to a party to honor legendary film director Ada Geiger at the faux Castle her husband built for her in Dorset, Connecticut. This is just the kind of event Mitch Berger hates even though he idolizes Ada and credits her for inspiring him to become a film critic. It's too late for him to cancel. But Mitch gets a lucky break when a snowstorm hits.
One by one, the regrets come flowing in. The gathering is pared down to just a few people: Ada's son and his wife up from New York, the Castle's caretaker and her brother Les, Mitch and his beautiful police officer lover, Des Mitry, and a few others. It's the snowiest winter anyone under the age of ninety can remember in Dorset with six more inches falling every three days, stranding the guests at the Castle. But any romantic notions that may have crossed Mitch's mind are dashed when one by one the people at The Castle are killed off. Delving into the investigation, Des and Mitch are faced with their toughest case yet—one that might leave both of them dead...
Minotaur Books, hardcover, October 2004, ISBN: 9780312307356
St. Martin's Paperbacks, mass market paperback, November 2005, ISBN: 9780312985790
"Handler does an outstanding job of describing the colorful townspeople and their various peccadilloes. Nick and Nora updated for modern times."
It's the peak of the tourist season on the beautiful Connecticut gold coast. But this is no ordinary July for the picture-perfect village of Dorset—or for transplanted New York film critic Mitch Berger and his alluring love, Resident State Trooper Desiree Mitry. When famous, and combustible, movie star Tito Molino plunges to his death from a cliff just outside town, Des's investigation—along with a ravenous celebrity press corps and gawkers by the thousands—threatens to reveal secrets too terrible to imagine. But just when things seem to be at their worst, Mitch and Des's close friends are suddenly implicated in the case, and suspicion falls even on Mitch himself...
Minotaur Books, hardcover, November 2003, ISBN: 9780312307141
St. Martin's Paperbacks, mass market paperback, October 2004, ISBN: 9780312985783
"The author's skill at depicting everyone from young children to aging adults and investing his characters with delightful quirks or grievous flaws makes this a superior read."
So much for the peace and quiet New York film critic Mitch Berger expected to find in his antique carriage house overlooking Long Island Sound. Nothing can shelter him from the goings-on in nearby Dorset. A violent death in a speeding Porsche...an attempted suicide by the school superintendent...and dirty politics are about to propel Mitch out of the shadows into a starring role. And then there's his new love, resident state trooper Desiree Mitry...
Des has transferred out of her position as the highest-ranking black woman in the state police homicide department to give more time to the art for which she has a sure talent. But as she soon learns, Dorset's bucolic exterior hides some ugly secrets. The femme fatale daughter of a famous local sculptor is killed in a car explosion that makes tabloid headlines. Now Des is on the case, saddled with a pushy former colleague, and reaching out to Mitch for an extra pair of eyes—and arms—in a case that threatens to tear the town apart...
Minotaur Books, hardcover, November 2002, ISBN: 0312280157
St. Martin's Paperbacks, mass market paperback, November 2003, ISBN: 9780312987046
"The beginning of what looks to be a swell series."
Mitch Berger, a top film critic with a major New York newspaper at a surprisingly young age, has become almost a recluse since his wife died one year ago. He spends his time secluded in his apartment or in the dark recesses of a screening room. Although he continues to dazzle moviegoers and the film elite with his criticisms, his editor and good friend is alarmed about him. As a scheme to pull him out of the doldrums of his grief, she gives him a non-film assignment—to do a color story on the wealthy and social homeowners on Connecticut's Gold Coast. It takes some doing, but in the end Mitch agrees.
He is fortunate to find a cottage to rent on Big Sister, the absolute top-of-the-line private island outside the town of Dorset. His landlady, Dolly, is pleasant and friendly, but some of the other inhabitants of this small piece of land, although too well bred to come right out and say it, are not happy to have Mitch, born of parents only one generation away from Eastern Europe and raised on the city's pavements, arrive in their back yard. But Dolly, whose husband has recently left her, needs the money, and at least she is more than gracious.
The discovery of a body during a bout of optimistic gardening in Dolly's back yard brings on the other main player—Lieutenant Desiree Mitry, one of only three women on the Connecticut State Police major crimes squad, the youngest of the three, and the only black. A dedicated officer, she is the terror of everyone who doesn't really want to give a home to one of her stray cats. She is, as well, a closet artist and a complicated and beautiful woman, and she intrigues Mitch from the start.
Minotaur Books, hardcover, October 2001, ISBN: 9780312280031
Minotaur Books, mass market paperback, October 2002, ISBN: 9780312986100