The Vanishing Type by Ellery AdamsLove is in the air: Miracle Springs, North Carolina, book store owner Nora and the other women of The Secret, Book, and Scone Society help Deputy Andrews propose to their friend and fellow member Hester during a screening of Little Women.
The problem: Someone defaces copies of The Scarlet Letter by removing the word "Hester," and a stranger is murdered.
Who it's for: This 5th outing for Nora will please book-centric cozy fans and others who enjoy small-town mysteries starring a core group of friends.
Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne AllenThe setup: Adrift in her small Texas hometown, new college grad Annie McIntyre waitresses and parties with her cousin.
What happens: After a young coworker is murdered and found on Annie's family's land, she teams up with her detective grandfather to get justice for her friend, learning about the PI trade as they hunt a killer.
Did you know? This layered debut mystery novel won the Tony Hillerman Prize and paints "a dark picture of hardscrabble Texas" (Kirkus Reviews).
A Rip Through Time by Kelley ArmstrongAway from home: In Edinburgh visiting her dying grandmother, Canadian homicide detective Mallory Atkinson is attacked and wakes up in 1869 as an injured housemaid.
Living in the past: Mallory's doctor employer, with help from a police officer, investigates a murder. Believing it's linked to her own attack, Mallory thinks if they can find the killer, she'll also find a way back home.
For fans of: other British-set mysteries with well-wrought supernatural elements, like Julie McElwain's Kendra Donovan mysteries (starting with A Murder in Time), Paraic O'Donnell's Gothic-tinged The House on Vesper Sands, or Oscar de Muriel's Frey and McGray novels.
The Sacred Bridge by Anne HillermanWhat happens: While visiting Lake Powell, Navajo Nation Police Sgt. Jim Chee finds a murdered Navajo artist and agrees to help the local police. Back home in New Mexico, his wife, officer Bernadette Manuelito, goes undercover to find the Mercedes-driving killer of a hitchhiker.
Series alert: This is the 7th book in Anne Hillerman's popular Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito series, which is an offshoot of her late father Tony Hillerman's beloved Leaphorn and Chee novels.
Read this next: William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor mysteries; David Heska Wanbli Weiden's Winter Counts.
An Eternal Lei by Naomi HiraharaPandemic problems: Leilani Santiago is in Hawaii trying to save her family's shaved ice business, but COVID hits, ceasing tourist business.
More problems: Leilani and her sisters rescue a drowning Japanese woman wearing a special lei, who's then hospitalized in a coma. Knowing the lei came from her best friend's flower shop, Leilani investigates and finds more than she bargained for when a murder occurs.
Why you might like it: This evocative 2nd in the Leilani Santiago series "seamlessly integrates real-life Covid impacts into a plot that's peopled with fully realized characters" (Publishers Weekly).
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert ThorogoodStarring: Judith Potts, a 77-year-old happily living on her own in a somewhat crumbling mansion outside of an English town, who drinks, works crossword puzzles, and generally does what she likes.
The club: One evening while swimming in the Thames, Judith hears a gunshot and discovers her neighbor murdered. Setting out to solve the case, she teams up with a dog walker, the vicar's wife, and a cop who's in over her head.
For fans of: Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club books, Agatha Christie, and Helene Tursten's An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good.
April in Spain by John BanvilleWhat happens: While vacationing in Franco's Spain with his wife, Quirke, a Dublin pathologist, sees a young woman he thought was dead and summons his daughter, who'd been her friend, as well as an Irish detective. Meanwhile, an Irish killer is also headed to the country.
Series alert: This is the 8th and most recent Quirke mystery, but it's the first published under the Booker Prize-winning author's real name (previous entries appeared under the pseudonym Benjamin Black).
Reviewers say: "This leisurely paced tale crackles with the kinetic energy of an approaching thunderstorm" (Booklist); "Great fun from a masterful writer"(Kirkus Reviews).
Mimi Lee Cracks the Code by Jennifer J. ChowStarring: Mimi Lee, a Los Angeles pet groomer who has a telepathic cat named Marshmallow and a lawyer boyfriend named Josh.
What happens: When a friend offers the use of her Catalina Island rental property for free, Mimi, Josh, and Marshmallow expect good times, but what they get is murder and strange island happenings.
Series alert: This 3rd Sassy Cat mystery has "original characters, clever banter, and a laid-back California vibe" (Publishers Weekly).
In a Midnight Wood by Ellen HartWhat happens: Attending an arts festival in the small town of Castle Lake, Minnesota, Jane Lawless, a 53-year-old restaurateur and true crime podcast host, and her best friend investigate after the bones of a long-missing teenager are unearthed in a local cemetery.
Read it for: personable characters; an intricate plot; chapters that alternate between the time of the murder and the present day.
Series alert: Though this is the 27th entry in the award-winning Jane Lawless mysteries, newcomers can start here.
The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall SmithWhat it's about: After lots of pushing by her ambitious co-director, Mma Precious Ramotswe, owner of Botswana's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, takes some vacation days.
What happens: In addition to helping an abused boy, Mma Ramotswe can't help herself and secretly helps a part-time employee of the agency on a case involving a war hero.
Series alert: This is the charming 16th entry in the leisurely paced No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. The most recent novel, the 22nd outing for Precious, is The Joy and Light Bus Company.
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