One Extra Corpse by Barbara HamblyHollywood, 1924: Young British widow Emma Blackstone assists her American film star sister-in-law Kitty Flint while also writing screenplays for Foremost Productions and playing amateur sleuth.
What happens: A movie director who's one of Kitty's many exes calls about a matter of life and death. But before he can tell her what the trouble is, he's fatally shot in a case that involves communists, federal agents, and Hollywood's ugly side.
Series alert: Following Scandal in Babylon, this is the fun 2nd Silver Screen historical mystery and it "more than delivers on the promise of its predecessor" (Publishers Weekly).
Who Cries for the Lost by C.S. HarrisLondon, England, 1815: When his dear friend, Irish forensic surgeon Paul Gibson, needs help clearing his name, Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin investigates the mutilation and murder of an aristocrat with a surprising connection to the woman Gibson loves.
Why you might like it: Set in June 1815 in the days around Waterloo, this well-researched novel offers fascinating history, well-wrought characters, and a deft whodunit plot.
Series alert: While this "highly engaging" (Kirkus Reviews) novel is the 18th in a popular series, newcomers can still start here.
Time's Undoing by Cheryl A. HeadWhat happens: Against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement, Meghan McKenzie, a young Black journalist with the Detroit Free Press, digs into the unsolved murder of her great-grandfather in 1929 Birmingham, Alabama.
Read it for: the moving dual timeline narratives; the richly detailed combination of mystery, family history, and timely social justice issues.
Try this next: Wanda M. Morris' Anywhere You Run, Tracy Clark's Chicago mysteries, or Tamron Hall's As the Wicked Watch.
Murder Your Employer by Rupert HolmesWelcome to... The McMasters Conservatory, dedicated to educating desperate people planning to kill those who richly deserve it.
Why you might like it: Set in the 1950s, the novel is written in the form of a guide by the dean of the school and includes journal entries from three students wanting to murder their evil bosses and get away with it.
Read this next: For other quirky, darkly humorous crime books, try Elle Cosimano's Finlay Donovan novels, William Boyle's A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself, or Tim Dorsey's Serge Storms series.
Murder Under a Red Moon by Harini NagendraWhat it's about: After her new mother-in-law asks for help, 19-year-old Kaveri Murthy, who has a talent for mathematics, examines a company's accounts...and upsets a killer in 1921 Bangalore.
Why you might like it: This fast-paced follow-up to The Bangalore Detectives Club has recipes and charming secondary characters who assist with Kaveri's investigations.
For fans of: Sujata Massey's Perveen Mistry mysteries, which also feature a determined woman sleuth in 1920s India.
Murder at an Irish Bakery by Carlene O'ConnorReality bites: Murder comes to Kilbane, Ireland, when a reality baking show mixes up a complex confection of rivalries, secret weapons, poisoning, and murder.
What happens: Garda Siobhan O'Sullivan sifts through the facts to solve the case with help from her new husband, DS Macdara Flannery.
Series alert: This tasty 9th Irish Village mystery serves up "distinctive, captivating characters [and] a gripping plot full of surprises" (Publishers Weekly).
A Sinister Revenge by Deanna RaybournStarring: Veronica Speedwell, a lepidopterist and independent-minded Victorian lady, and natural historian Revelstoke "Stoker" Templeton-Vane, who are linked both professionally and romantically.
What happens: Though Veronica and Stoker are presently on less than cordial terms, they reunite to help Stoker's brother, Lord Templeton-Vane, who's receiving threatening letters.
Series alert: This 8th Veronica Speedwell mystery has witty prose, intricate plotting, romantic elements, and lush descriptions.
Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. SutantoWhat happens: Vera Wong lives alone above her San Francisco tea shop, which has seen better days. But after Vera finds a dead body one morning, the victim's friends and family visit the scene, and Vera not only enjoys the company, she decides to solve the murder!
Media buzz: Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films and Mindy Kaling's production company are teaming up to bring this charming cozy to the small screen.
Read this next: Mia P. Manansala's Tita Rosie's Kitchen mysteries, Laurien Berenson's Peg and Rose Solve a Murder, or Jennifer J. Chow's Death by Bubble Tea, the 1st in her new L.A. Night Market mysteries.
A Tempest at Sea 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: In disguise after faking her death to escape Moriarty, Charlotte takes a risky job that might give her her old life back -- but first she must complete an assignment for the crown, solve a murder, and survive time onboard a ship with loved ones, including her mother.
Series alert: This is the 7th in the atmospheric Lady Sherlock historical mystery series; newcomers who want to best appreciate the books should begin with A Study in Scarlet Women.
The White Lady by Jacqueline WinspearWhat it's about: Reclusive Elinor White lives in 1947 Kent, England, but she was once a spy, including as a child in World War I-era Belgium. After she makes friends with a neighbor girl, Elinor takes on a powerful crime family and reaches into her past for help, but surprises await.
Why you might like it: This "smart, nuanced" (Publishers Weekly) standalone by the author of the Maisie Dobbs mysteries covers a trio of time periods and has a compelling heroine and intricate plotting.
Read this next: Cara Black's Night Flight to Paris, Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope mysteries, Ashley Weaver's Electra McDonnell novels, or Allison Montclair's Sparks & Bainbridge mysteries.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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