Lea Wait

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USA Today best-selling author and speaker Lea Wait wrote the Mainely Needlepoint mystery series, the Shadows Antique Print mystery series, and the Maine Murder Mystery series.

"When I was single I was an adoption advocate and adopted four daughters. Now I write mysteries and historical novels about people trying to find love, acceptance, and a place called home."

Click here for a printable list of Lea Wait's books.

By popular demand! Lea’s bibliography on historical needlepoint.

Be one of the first to hear about Lea’s book news! Send your email address to her daughter at lilgootch720@hotmail.com.

Lea's daughters wish to inform you that Lea passed away on August 9, 2019.
Photo by Bob Thomas

Click or tap her photo for past events.

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Order the ninth book now!
Publication date: November 26, 2019

Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 978-1496716750
Also available as an e-book

Haven Harbor is an authentic coastal Maine town—which makes it the perfect location for a new film production. But now it’s become the scene of a crime...

Needlepointers Angie and Sarah are helping with set design for the movie being shot in their little New England hometown—but as the lighthouse and the wharves bustle with activity, a real-life drama is about to unfold. The director, Marv Mason, has been harassing the pretty young female lead, and the two exchanged heated words at a lobster bake. Now someone’s lowered the boom on him.

After a wayward piece of sound equipment sends him to his death, theories fly about who went off-script. Meanwhile, a local woman’s tragic story about a true love lost at sea, which originally inspired the film, may lead to murderous revelations from long ago. Angie’s got to unravel these mysteries, and may need to give more than one killer the hook!

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Order the eighth book now!
Publication date: April 30, 2019

Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 978-1496716736
Also available as an e-book

Ike Hamilton is part of the Haven Harbor community, even though he lives on disability payments and bottle deposits. Many of Mainely Needlepointers are among those who help him out. But the townspeople are shocked when Ike is found brutally murdered. Who would do such a thing? Could it be a troubled teenaged boy who has just arrived in town?

"A real page turner all the way to its shocking motive and surprise ending. I just loved this book. Keep'em coming!" ---- Suspense Magazine

“Wait blends in many details about needlepointing and running a small crafts business into the story, including bits of historical information about samplers and their creators, which begin each chapter. The importance of family, especially to those who lacked one growing up, is effectively woven through the tale. The lovingly described Maine coastal setting will appeal to those who enjoy Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone and Sarah Graves' Jake Tiptree cozies, also set in Maine.” –--- Booklist

“The cozy hamlet of Haven Harbor, Maine, takes care of its own. Themes concerning the welfare of both children and adults set Wait’s latest entry in her needlepoint series apart.” ---- Kirkus


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Sheepscot River Press
ISBN 978-1798971246
Paperback $12.00 or $5.99 e-book

It’s April of 1865. Disabled Civil War veteran and lawyer Aaron Stone, visiting his Aunt Cornelia in upstate New York State and hoping to end the pain and nightmares only opium and morphine can mitigate, finds a bludgeoned body revealed by receding Erie Canal flood waters. He’s determined to identify the unknown man and bring peace to the man’s family, but his quest leads him to uncover secrets that, if revealed, would be disastrous for his aunt, for an attractive young woman who lives nearby, and for other women in the area. Does truth always equal justice? Aaron Stone is forced to decide.

From reader reviews on Amazon:

“The title of “Justice & Mercy” is brought shockingly into play in Lea Wait’s conclusion. The treatment of women in the post-Civil War period was quite different from what we usually think. You’ll want everyone you know to read Lea Wait’s gripping “Justice and Mercy.”
“I loved this book. To me, it is her best yet. The characters come alive in the pages, despite the tough topic. An American Civil War veteran returns home after losing an arm at the battle of the Wilderness. He soon finds that New York laws are not to his liking as he prepares a woman in court. Aaron soon learns the only way to clear her name is to discover the truth behind her husband’s death.”
“Awesome! I read the book twice, cheering the women on!”
“A powerful look at relationships between men and women prior to women’s rights ... a quick read I highly recommend.”

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Sheepscot River Press
ISBN 978-0-9964084-9-3
Paperback $10.00 or e-book

It’s 1777, and the war for American independence is not going at all well. Rory and Sarah, young teenagers who’ve recently immigrated from Scotland to the coast of Maine, are eager to help their new country ... but what can they do? Alternating their adventures (Sarah’s on the home front, in Wiscasset and Boothbay, Maine, when the British invade, and Rory’s, heading to Saratoga with the York Militia,) CONTRARY WINDS is the exciting story of how in times of danger and challenge, everyone with courage has a part to play. Based on true events; historical notes included.

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Sheepscot River Press
ISBN 978-0-9964084-8-6
Paperback ($10.00) or ebook.

Between 1780 and 1860 English landowners evicted tens of thousands of Scottish Highlanders from the hills and glens where their families had lived for generations. Some Scots were lucky enough to be sent to populate Canada or Australia. Others joined refugees from the Irish potato famine and the industrial revolution in the increasingly industrialized cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, creating some of the worst slums in British history. FOR FREEDOM ALONE is the story of one Highland family, a father and his three children, struggling to keep their family, and their hope, alive in 1848 Edinburgh. Father finds there are few jobs for men; women and children can be paid less, so are more desirable employees. Meggie, fifteen, is lucky to find work at a hotel; twelve-year-old Rab, tries to learn the ways of the streets, while little Kirstie, only four, huddles in a dark room to be safe. A story of courage and survival for readers of all ages, especially those whose ancestral roots are deep in the Scottish Highlands.

Lea Wait writing as Cornelia Kidd

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Crooked Lane Books
Available in hard cover and e-book formats
Publication date: June 12, 2018 – Order now!

          Maine’s Quarry Island has a tight-knit community built on a solid foundation of family, tradition, and hard work. But even on this small island, there are secrets.
Anna Winslow and her husband Burt and son Jake are a lobstering family with deeps roots on the island. But Anna’s life changes dramatically when she learns she has a younger sister, who grew up in a very different world. Izzie visits the island, and the two sisters bond over solving a murder that is very close to home … and make plans for their futures.
And …there are recipes.

“I enjoyed the deft plotting and the cast of characters, especially Anna and Izzie, a formidable team I look forward to knowing better in future books.”
– Suspense Magazine

“An intoxicating read ... really sets the stage for an amazing series ...”
– Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

“Very highly recommended ... riveting from beginning to end by a master of the genre ...”
– Midwest Book Review

“Entertaining ... Kidd clearly knows coastal Maine ... (Anna) and Izzie prove to be a formidable force, one that will easily sustain a series.”
– Publishers Weekly

“A wicked good mystery brimming with family secrets, authentic characters, a rustic Maine island setting, and plenty of good food. You can practically smell the salt air and taste the lobster rolls.”
– B.B. Haywood, NYT bestselling author

“Compelling .. I couldn’t put it down.”
– Barbara Ross, author of the Maine Clambake mysteries

“A five-star hit!”
– Edith Maxwell, bestselling author of the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Local Food Mysteries, and the Country Store Mysteries


New: read the three-page prequel online now.

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Pizza To Die For ... a different kind of Lea Wait mystery! Protagonist Mikki Norden is spunky and capable ... even in the most hilarious circumstances. Moving from Seattle to the suburbs of New Jersey, she’s trying to feel at home. But are the wacky characters she keeps meeting really typical Jerseyites?

At fourteen, protagonist and future chef Mikki Norden is ready for any kitchen emergency – except the unexpected death of her mentor, Mr. Baldacci. But Mikki’s learned a lot about solving crimes from her mother, an almost-published mystery author. So when local police rule Mr. B’s death a heart attack, she knows she has to prove otherwise.

Mikki grows up fast as she discovers secrets surrounding Mr. B and his restaurant .. and within her own family.

For anyone over the age of ten who loves a good mystery ... and a good laugh.

“Light whodunit . . . a well crafted mystery with plenty of suspects (and) a great cast of characters ... a fun read."   —Dru’s Book Musings (2017 winner of Mystery Writers of America Raven Award)

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Order the most recent novel in the Shadows Antique Print Mystery series.

Maggie Summer is making big changes in her life. The antique print dealer has taken a sabbatical and moved to Maine to run an antiques mall with Will Brewer, her significant other. And she will finally adopt the daughter she’s been longing for. However, the troubled girl doesn’t want any part of the plan, showing affection only for the harbor seals, which remind her of her “real mother.” But someone starts shooting the seals–and a young fisherman is murdered. Then Will confesses a secret from his past, and Maggie begins to wonder if this is the biggest mistake of her life.

“Shadows on a Morning in Maine is an extraordinary novel by a master of the mystery/suspense genre ... unreservedly recommended for community library collections and the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs.” - Midwest Book Review

Read the two-page prequel online now.

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Want to know more about Lea and her artist husband, Bob Thomas? Living and Writing on the Coast of Maine takes you inside a year in their lives with wry humor and insights, as they love each other, Maine, and making a living writing and painting. A must read for anyone wondering what it would be like to live in Maine ... or be a published author.

Read the free exerpt online now.


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