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.
The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson; translated by Victoria CribbIntroducing: Hulda Hermannsdottir, a dogged 64-year-old Detective Inspector with the Reykjavik Police who's being forced into retirement.
What happens: With two weeks left on the job, Hulda's begrudgingly allowed to select a cold case to investigate. She picks the murder of a Russian asylum seeker -- and not everyone's happy about it.
For fans of: This debut in the Hidden Iceland series should please readers of Arnaldur Indridason's Iceland-set mysteries as well as Anne Holt's Hanne Wilhelmsen novels, which star an older female detective.
The Hollow of Fear: The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry ThomasThe premise: Sherlock Holmes doesn't exist; he's an alter ego made up by socially ruined Charlotte Holmes, who uses her extraordinary powers of deduction to succeed as an inquiry agent in Victorian London.
What happens: Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson (a former actress), Charlotte helps her sister (who, unable to speak, is hidden away by their parents), her half-brother (whose life is in danger), and a friend (whose estranged wife is discovered dead on his estate).
Series alert: This is the 3rd book in the atmospheric, cleverly plotted Lady Sherlock historical mystery series that begins with A Study in Scarlet Women.
The Frangipani Tree Mystery by Ovidia YuIntroducing: Chen Su Lin, a clever 16-year-old with a limp due to polio, who wants a job, not an arranged marriage, and turns amateur sleuth to help police Inspector Thomas Le Froy when a young Irish woman on the governor's household staff is killed.
What it is: a charming traditional mystery set in British-controlled 1930s Singapore written by an award-winning Singaporean writer.
Series alert: This is the 1st in the new Crown Colony series; the 2nd, The Betel Nut Tree Mystery, is also out this month.
If You Like: Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series
Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally AndrewWhat it's about: In rural South Africa, 50-something Tannie Maria (tannie means "auntie" in Afrikaans and is a term of respect), writes a newspaper column that combines food and advice (recipes included).
What happens: Maria pens advice for an anonymous abused woman and then investigates a murder...much to the chagrin of a handsome cop.
Why Alexander McCall Smith fans might like it: Featuring a kind-hearted detective, it's the 1st in a charming cozy series set in Africa by a writer who knows and loves her part of continent.
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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