Twisted at the Root: A Jane Lawless Mystery by Ellen HartStarring: Minneapolis restaurateur/private detective Jane Lawless, her retirement-age lawyer father, Ray, and her best friend, vibrant theater director Cordelia Thorn.
What happens: When new evidence surfaces, Jane helps her dad work to free an innocent man (whom he defended in court four years earlier) and try to locate the real murderer.
Series alert: This is the tightly-plotted 26th entry in the Lambda Award-winning Jane Lawless series, and newcomers can start here.
Paper Son by S.J. RozanStarring: Chinese American private detective Lydia Chin and her Kentucky-born partner, Bill Smith, who work out of New York's Chinatown.
What happens: On orders from Lydia's domineering mother, Lydia and Bill head to the Mississippi Delta to prove the innocence of Lydia's distant cousin, who's been accused of killing his father.
Welcome back! This 12th Lydia Chin and Bill Smith novel has terrific dialogue and is the first book to feature the entertaining PIs since 2011.
If You Like: Downton Abbey
Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman by Tessa ArlenWhat it's about: The morning after Lady Montfort's annual summer costume ball, the murdered body of her husband's unpleasant nephew is found and two others go missing, causing Lady Montfort and her housekeeper to set out to solve the mysteries together.
Series alert: This initial entry in the Lady Montfort series is set in 1912 and offers an engaging, well-researched depiction of the era.
Why Downton Abbey fans might like it: the country estate setting, the Edwardian time period, and the upstairs-downstairs relationships.
The Mitford Murders by Jessica FellowesIntroducing: Louisa Cannon, a down-on-her-luck young Londoner in 1919 who finds work as a nursemaid to the (real-life) Mitford family.
What happens: She investigates with teenage Nancy Mitford and a handsome railway cop when a retired military nurse is killed on a train.
Why Downton Abbey fans might like it: it's set during the inter-war period, examines social classes, and Jessica Fellowes is the niece of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and has written several nonfiction books about the show.
A Pinch of Poison by Alyssa MaxwellWhat it is: a delightful historical cozy that follows Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her maid, Eva Huntford, as they investigate a poisoning death at a girls' boarding school.
Series alert: This 2nd in a series that now numbers four offers likable characters, hints of romance, and a traditional mystery feel.
Why Downton Abbey fans might like it: the post-World War I setting, the interplay between aristocrats and servants.
A Duty to the Dead by Charles ToddWhat happens: After being injured, World War I nurse Bess Crawford is recovering back in England where she delivers a dying soldier's strange message to his family. Bess stays on with the family for a while...and becomes embroiled in a murder case.
Series alert: This is the 1st in a popular, atmospheric series. The 11th entry, A Cruel Deception, comes out in October.
Why Downton Abbey fans might like it: the World War I setting at a family estate where secrets and allegiances prove life-changing for many.
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