American by Day by Derek B. MillerWhat it is: the wry, intricately plotted follow-up (though it works as a standalone) to 2012's Dagger Award-winning Norwegian by Night.
What happens: Chief Inspector Sigrid Odegard leaves Oslo for upstate New York to search for her missing brother, who's suspected of killing his African American girlfriend. Sigrid connects with the witty, thoughtful Sheriff, and learns about the U.S. (and how it differs greatly from Norway) while exploring political and racial issues.
For fans of: fresh stories with strong characters and Scandinavian flair.
Death Below Stairs
by Jennifer Ashley
Introducing: Kat Holloway, the talented new cook at Lord Rankin's Mayfair mansion, who investigates when her young assistant is killed.
Series alert: This atmospheric series debut by a veteran romance author is followed closely by the 2nd entry, Scandal Above Stairs, in July.
For fans of: Emily Brightwell's Mrs. Jeffries mysteries (if you like the servant's point of view), and Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey or Veronica Speedwell novels (for those who like romance with their Victorian-era mysteries).
A Death of No Importance: A Mystery by Mariah FredericksIntroducing: intelligent, observant ladies' maid Jane Prescott, who takes a job working for the nouveau-riche Benchley family in 1910 Manhattan.
What happens: After pretty Charlotte Benchley's playboy fiancé is murdered, Jane partners with a journalist to solve the crime in a case that touches on class differences, a mining accident, anarchists, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
For fans of: Downton Abbey, Victoria Thompson's Gaslight mysteries, or Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy mysteries.
A Necessary Evil by Abir MukherjeeWhat it's about: In 1920 Calcutta, the crown prince of a small Indian kingdom is assassinated. It happens in front of Police Captain Sam Wyndham, a World War I veteran who'd worked for Scotland Yard, and Sergeant "Surrender-not" Banerjee, who'd been at Harrow with the prince. The two cops try to determine who ordered the killing, but religion, romance, and palace intrigue complicate their investigation.
Series alert: Like A Rising Man, the initial book in the series, this 2nd Sam Wyndham novel offers a strong sense of place, dry humor, a compelling plot, and well-realized characters.
Shot in the Dark: A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo CoyleWhat it's about: A dating app, Cinder, has business at Manhattan's Village Blend percolating as users meet there -- until a bitter Cinder user threatens a former date in the coffeehouse and manager Clare Cosi finds another customer floating in a nearby river. Are the two incidents related? With trouble brewing, Clare searches for a killer.
Series alert: This is the 17th engaging Coffeehouse mystery; readers who want to watch recently engaged Clare's romantic relationship develop throughout the cozy series can start with the 1st book, On What Grounds. Recipes are included.
Brutality: A Fina Ludlow Novel by Ingrid ThoftWhat it's about: Middle-aged soccer mom -- and former college soccer star -- Liz Barone is suing her alma mater for the cognitive damage she suffered as a player. When she's brutally attacked at home, leaving her in a coma, her mom hires PI Fina Ludlow, who wades through the financially lucrative and emotionally charged world of collegiate sports.
For fans of: Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, and Carol Higgins Clark.
Series alert: This 3rd Fina Ludlow mystery is a Shamus Award-winner for Best PI Novel.
Murder in Pigalle by Cara BlackWhat it's about: It's a sweltering June in Paris, the city is hosting the 1998 World Cup, and unmarried five-months-pregnant PI Aimée Leduc must find a missing girl. Her neighbor, 13-year-old budding detective Zazie, had told Aimée she'd been investigating the serial rapist who'd been attacking schoolgirls...and then the girl disappeared.
Series alert: This is the 14th book in the atmospheric, character-driven Aimée Leduc series, and it'll please those who love international mysteries, Paris, and strong, clever female detectives.
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall SmithStarring: intuitive, kind Precious Ramotswe, the founder and owner of Botswana's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
What happens: Precious investigates the unexpected losing streak of a local soccer club and her beloved white van develops an odd rumble.
Who it's for: Fans of charming cozies with strong senses of place will like this 10th in a series that inspired the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency TV show starring Jill Scott.
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