Solemn Graves by James R. BennStarring: Irish American Army Lt. Billy Boyle, a former Boston cop who's now a special detective for General Eisenhower.
What happens: Just after D-Day, Billy and two friends investigate an American officer's murder at a Normandy farm near the top secret Ghost Army (which is using inflatable tanks to trick the enemy).
For fans of: This 13th Billy Boyle World War II mystery should please those who like Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope novels (Maggie starts off working for Winston Churchill) or Martin Limon's George Sueno and Ernie Bascom mysteries (featuring Army investigators in 1950s Korea).
The Infinite Blacktop by Sara GranWhat happens: In her 3rd outing, eccentric P.I. Claire DeWitt describes three cases she's been involved in: the disappearance of a fellow teenage sleuth in 1980s Brooklyn, a cold-case double murder in 1990s Los Angeles, and her own attack by a homicidal driver in 2011 Oakland.
Who it's for: those who like critically acclaimed, noir-ish novels featuring troubled, philosophical detectives.
Want a taste? "This was how it always was and always will be, exactly as it was meant to be."
The Vanishing Box by Elly GriffithsStarring: Brighton, England DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto, who met in a secretive World War II unit nearly ten years ago.
What happens: Edgar is called to a murder scene where a body is arranged as if in a famous Jane Grey painting...which calls to mind the poses that the young women in Max's new opening act create.
Series alert: This 4th Magic Men novel is a charming holiday mystery featuring romance and a well-crafted plot. To start with the 1st book (and see character relationships develop), pick up The Zig Zag Girl.
If You Like: Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series
A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan BradleyStarring: Flavia de Luce, a precocious, quirky (and adorable, but don't tell her) 11-year-old chemist, who lives in a large house in a 1950s English village with her widowed father and two tormenting older sisters.
What happens: Flavia draws on her knowledge of poisons, Romani lore, and more to discern what happened to a long-missing child and figure out who committed a murder in the present.
Why Alexander McCall Smith fans might like it: This witty 3rd in a series beautifully describes rural village life and the relationships therein, and features a sleuth whose personal life plays a role in each book.
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem KhanWhat happens: In Mumbai, India, Inspector Chopra is forced to retire from the police after more than 30 years due to a heart attack. On his last day at work, he begins to investigate a drowning...together with his new sidekick, a baby elephant.
Series alert: This acclaimed book is the 1st of four (so far) in the Baby Ganesh Agency investigation books.
Why Alexander McCall Smith fans might like it: it has a fascinating, well-drawn setting, endearing characters, and warm wit and wisdom.
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James RuncieIntroducing: unconventional clergyman Sidney Chambers, who teams up with a police inspector friend on various occasions to investigate a suspicious suicide, a jewelry theft, the unexplained demise of a jazz promoter, and a shocking art forgery.
Why Alexander McCall Smith fans might like it: the people and places are just as or more important than the mysteries in this collection of interlocking short stories, the 1st in the Grantchester mysteries.
Did you know? The TV show Grantchester is based on James Runcie's books, but aren't as cozy and introspective and are faster paced.
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