That Old Scoundrel Death: A Dan Rhodes Mystery by Bill CriderWhat happens: Sheriff Dan Rhodes contemplates retiring as he faces down a man with a gun and investigates a murder at an abandoned school that some want to raze and others want to restore.
Read it for: wry humor, clever plotting, a well-wrought small-town Texas setting, and entertaining characters.
About the author: Sadly, Bill Crider died in 2018. That Old Scoundrel Death is his 25th and final entry in the character-driven Dan Rhodes mysteries.
The Vanishing Man: A Charles Lenox Mystery by Charles FinchFeaturing: Charles Lenox, a 26-year-old sleuth and Oxford grad in 1853 London; his butler Graham, who assists with cases; his clever neighbor, Lady Jane Grey; and Lancelot, his mischievous 12-year-old cousin.
What happens: The theft of a duke's painting finds Lenox contemplating Shakespeare, visiting a Tower of London prisoner, seeing his own name dragged through the mud, and sussing out a killer.
Series alert: This is the 2nd prequel in the Charles Lenox series and the 12th book overall.
Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna by Mario GiordanoFeaturing: the unnamed narrator, a German novelist who regularly flies to Sicily to visit his aunt; and Auntie Poldi, a wacky, Prosecco-loving widowed retiree who romances a local cop and turns amateur sleuth.
What it's about: Poldi tries to find out who cut off her neighborhood's water and poisoned a friend's dog...and then she finds a corpse.
Series alert: Also known as Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord in the U.K., this is the leisurely paced, atmospheric, and zany follow-up to Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions.
In the Dark by Cara HunterThe set up: An Oxford, England, home renovation creates an opening in a basement wall belonging to a weak, dementia-afflicted professor -- and exposes a room containing a traumatized woman and a two-year-old boy.
What happens: In his engrossing 2nd outing, Thames Valley Police DI Adam Fawley finds the facts don't add up as he unearths a link to a cold case...and then things get even more complex.
Reviewers say: "This slow-burning procedural builds with tension as the narrative moves through several cunning twists" (Library Journal).
Murder Once Removed by S.C. PerkinsIntroducing: likable genealogist Lucy Lancaster of Austin, Texas, who runs Ancestry Investigations.
What happens: A billionaire hires Lucy to investigate his great-great-grandfather's death in 1849. She digs up evidence proving the man was murdered and finds clues to who did it, too, but after the press find out, thefts and a new murder occur and the FBI sends a handsome agent to talk to Lucy, who feels compelled to stay involved.
Book buzz: Murder Once Removed won the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition.
Hunting Game by Helene TurstenIntroducing: Embla Nyström, a 28-year-old Swedish Detective Inspector with anxiety, which she battles by boxing (and she's a champ).
What it's about: Embla goes on her annual moose hunting trip with her uncle and friends, but several strange things happen and someone drowns in suspicious circumstances. Embla seeks answers and delves into the pasts of her fellow hunters, including an enigmatic outsider.
For fans of: closed-circle mysteries; the author's Inspector Irene Huss series (Nyström even appears briefly in The Treacherous Net) and other moody Scandinavian mysteries with strong female leads.
What Angels Fear: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery by C.S. HarrisWhat it's about: At the dawn of the Regency period in 1811 London, the prime suspect in the brutal rape and murder of a woman is young Sebastian St. Cyr, a war veteran and heir to an earldom. Turning fugitive, St. Cyr, a master of disguise, seeks to clear his name.
Why Anne Perry fans might like it: it's part of a long-running series, has fascinating historical details, and includes a bit of romance.
Series alert: This is the atmospheric 1st entry in the St. Cyr mysteries; the 14th, Who Slays the Wicked, comes out this month.
Fatal Enquiry by Will ThomasStarring: enigmatic private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker, whose nemesis is back in London; and Barker's clever assistant, Thomas Llewelyn.
Series alert: This is the 6th book in the acclaimed Barker and Llewelyn Victorian mysteries (the 1st is Some Danger Involved).
Who it's for: Highly developed characters, an authentic Victorian setting, and a look at social issues will please fans of Anne Perry and Alex Grecian; a tour through London bolt holes, the detective-assistant relationship, and Llewelyn's narration will please Sherlockians.
Murder in Murray Hill: A Gaslight Mystery by Victoria ThompsonStarring: Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy, a single father who recently inherited a lot of money, and his intrepid fiancée, midwife Sarah Brandt.
What happens: In late-19th-century New York, wealthy men aren't welcome to work as cops, so on his last police case, Frank looks for a missing spinster who'd responded to a “lonely hearts” newspaper ad.
Series alert: This intense 16th Gaslight Mysteries is fine for newcomers; the 22nd series entry, Murder on Trinity Place, was just published.
Anne Perry fans might like: the compelling story, vibrant Victorian setting, and well-drawn relationship between a male police detective and his female companion.
The Gate Keeper by Charles ToddStarring: Scotland Yard's Inspector Ian Rutledge, a shell-shocked World War I veteran who often hears the voice of Hamish, a dead soldier.
What happens: A nighttime encounter with a woman standing over a body on a lonely Suffolk road leads Rutledge to a tricky case in his 20th outing (the 21st entry, The Black Ascot, came out earlier this year).
Anne Perry fans might like: the vivid English setting; the intelligent, tightly woven plot; and the nuanced characters. This series will especially appeal to fans of Perry's World War I series.
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