Harlem Sunset by Nekesa Afia1927 Harlem: Louise Lloyd happily works at a club owned by her girlfriend Rosa's brother. But when the three awaken after a party to find Rosa covered in blood and a body nearby, Louise turns sleuth again in this atmospheric sequel to Dead Dead Girls.
Reviewers say: "A vivid crime story and an engrossing depiction of an era" (Kirkus Reviews).
Read this next: For other mysteries set in 1920s New York, try Stephen Spotswood's Fortune Favors the Dead or Katharine Schellman's Last Call at the Nightingale.
Rock of Ages by Timothy HallinanWhat happens: Junior Bender, a burglar and unofficial PI, is hired by Hollywood mobster Irwin Dressler to find out who's skimming money from his music tour featuring aging rock stars. Complicating matters, Junior's teenage daughter, who's staying with him while his ex is away, has no idea what he does for a living.
Series alert: Rock of Ages is the clever, funny 8th Junior Bender mystery; the 1st is Crashed, but newcomers can start here.
Reviewers say: "Outstanding" (Publishers Weekly); "The one-liners come as if fired from a Gatling gun in this gem of a novel" (Booklist).
Death and Hard Cider by Barbara HamblyStarring: Benjamin January, a free Black musician in 1840 New Orleans who trained as a surgeon and occasionally works as a detective.
What happens: During a political campaign party featuring Henry Clay, violence breaks out over a young woman, who is later murdered. To clear a friend's name, January battles racism and powerful men.
Reviewers say: This evocative 19th Benjamin January outing is "one of the best in a not-to-be-missed series" (Booklist).
Vera Kelly Lost and Found by Rosalie KnechtFamily problems: In 1971, Brooklyn PI Vera Kelly and her girlfriend Max are asked to visit Los Angeles and Max's wealthy family, who disowned Max for being gay several years earlier. When Max disappears not long after their arrival, Vera goes undercover to find her.
Series alert: Following Who Is Vera Kelly? and Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery, this 3rd book once again offers a stylish, well-plotted novel.
Read this next: Nicole Upson's Josephine Tey mysteries, which feature a lesbian main character a couple of decades earlier in England, or Max Tomlinson's 1970s San Francisco-set Colleen Hayes novels.
Peril at the Exposition by Nev MarchLocation changes: In 1893, PI Jim Agnihotri and his new wife Diana move from British-ruled India to Boston, but Jim's new job soon sends him to Chicago to investigate a murder at the World's Fair. After receiving an odd message about explosives and no word from Jim for days, Diana heads to the Windy City herself, determined to find her husband.
Series alert: This is the compelling 2nd in the Captain Jim Agnihotri series following the award-winning Murder in Old Bombay.
For fans of: richly detailed historical mysteries with intriguing characters, such as Sujata Massey's Perveen Mistry books, Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy mysteries, and Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January novels.
Death and the Conjuror by Tom MeadWhat happens: Joseph Spector, a magician in 1936 London, helps his friend, Scotland Yard Inspector George Flint, after a psychotherapist is found brutally murdered in his locked office.
For fans of: acclaimed debut novels; Golden Age mysteries; impossible crime mysteries; John Dickson Carr.
Reviewers say: "stellar" (Publishers Weekly); a "superior pastiche" (Kirkus Reviews).
If you like: Laura Childs' Tea Shop Mysteries
A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby ColletteIntroducing: Bronwyn "Win" Crewse, a 20-something MBA grad who's returned to small-town Ohio to reopen her family's traditional ice cream parlor.
What happens: A con artist with a connection to Win's family shows up, and after Win discovers his body in the snow, the cops suspect her dad. So it's up to Win, her grandfather, and her friends to clear his name.
Why you might like it: This appealing cozy mystery series opener features a warm relationship between Win and her family, plus ice cream-making details and recipes.
Tea & Treachery by Vicki DelanyIntroducing: Lily Roberts, a former Manhattan pastry chef who has opened a small tea shop near her grandmother's beautiful Cape Cod bed-and-breakfast.
What happens: A real estate developer planning to build a huge hotel next door is found murdered near the B&B's steep staircase to the beach.
Why you might like it: Combining a coastal setting, clever plotting, tea facts, and yummy recipes, this 1st in a series should delight Laura Childs fans who love all things tea related.
The Pawful Truth by Miranda JamesStarring: widowed grandfather and kindly college librarian Charlie Harris, whose Maine Coon cat, Diesel, goes with him almost everywhere.
What happens: After Charlie enrolls in a history course at his Mississippi college, another older student is found dead. With the help of friends, Charlie investigates in this 11th Cat in the Stacks series entry.
Why you might like it: The Pawful Truth is intricately plotted, funny, filled with Southern charm and quirkiness, and the characters are just as important as the plot.
Double shot death
by Emmeline Duncan
Sage Caplin brings her Portland coffee cart to an annual, eco-friendly music festival only to end up investigating the murder of one of the performers in the second novel of the series following Fresh Brewed Murder. Original.
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