Murder in Bel-Air by Cara BlackStarring: Fashionable Paris PI and single mom Aimée Leduc, whose American mother has worked with both the CIA and 1970s radicals.
What happens: It's 1999, and Aimée's mother (who was supposed to be with Aimée's daughter at a playgroup) disappears. A murder near the play area has Aimée desperately seeking her mom while dealing with neighborhood secrets, spycraft, and Cote d’Ivore politics.
Who it's for: This 19th Aimée Leduc novel (which works for readers who know Aimée and those who don't) will please those who enjoy character-driven mystery novels with international settings.
Almost Midnight by Paul DoironWhat it's about: A corrections officer is killed in a Maine state prison, and a prisoner, the best friend of game warden Mike Bowditch, is injured trying to help -- but it's all related to bigger crimes outside the pen.
Series alert: Newcomers can start with this 10th Mike Bowditch novel, but to follow him from his rookie year, pick up The Poacher's Son.
For fans of: C.J. Box, Nevada Barr, and William Kent Kruger's well-plotted mysteries featuring the great outdoors.
A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne FreemanWhat it is: a lighthearted, cozy Victorian mystery with a touch of romance; the sequel to the Agatha Award-winning A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder.
Starring: The Countess Harleigh, an adventurous American whose recently deceased husband only married her for her money.
What happens: When a woman she'd hoped would marry her cousin is murdered, Lady Harleigh plays sleuth, which has her unearthing all kinds of upper-crust gossip and possibly a blackmail plot.
The Shallows by Matt GoldmanStarring: Minneapolis, Minnesota PI Nils "Shap" Shapiro, who's jaded, newly 40, and in a complex relationship with his ex-wife.
What it's about: When a prominent lawyer is found dead in a pond with a fishing stringer hooked in his mouth, multiple people (the man's wife, her lover, the cops, etc.) want Nils' help.
Series alert: This is the twisty 3rd novel (after Gone to Dust and Broken Ice) to feature Shapiro, a modern version of a hardboiled detective.
The body in the castle well
by Martin Walker
The suspicious death of an American in an ancient French castle catapults Bruno into a case involving an art historian's false claims, a young falconer and a Vichy law officer with a complicated past. By the author of Fatal Pursuit
If You Like: Donna Andrews' Meg Langslow novels
Aunt Dimity Digs In by Nancy AthertonWhat it's about: American-in-England Lori Shepherd is struggling with new motherhood when the vicar asks her to find a missing historical pamphlet that details antiquities shenanigans. Lori gets help from ghostly Aunt Dimity, who communicates via otherworldly writing, and the elderly Pym sisters, who send a nanny.
Series alert: This 4th Aunt Dimity novel is just as charming as the other entries in the delightfully cozy and slightly supernatural series; the 24th book, Aunt Dimity and the Heart of Gold, came out this summer.
Why Donna Andrews fans might like it: the charming village, the highlighting of life with young twins, and the quirky characters.
Bones to Pick by Carolyn HainesWhat happens: The well-to-do 23-year-old author of a tell-all book about her hometown is found dead in a cotton field. The main suspect's upper-crust brother hires southern belle and intrepid PI Sarah Booth Delaney and her partner Tinkie to find the real killer -- and they quickly unearth some "accidental" deaths that might be related.
Series alert: This is the 6th in a humorous cozy series which now has 20 books (the latest, Game of Bones, was recently published).
Why Donna Andrews fans might like it: the witty humor, the zany characters, and the Southern small-town setting.
Birthday Party Murder: A Lucy Stone Mystery by Leslie MeierWhat happens: Part-time reporter and mom of four Lucy Stone helps plan a party for Tinker's Cover, Maine's oldest resident, Miss Tilley. But when a local attorney suspiciously dies and Miss Tilley's long-lost niece unexpectedly appears and moves in, Lucy has more things to worry about than parties, gray hairs, and her teen's coed sleepover.
Series alert: This is the lighthearted 9th Lucy Stone book; the 26th, Invitation Only Murder, hits shelves in November.
Why Donna Andrews fans might like it: the details of family life, Lucy's civic engagement, and the entertaining townspeople.
The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall PageFeaturing: Caterer Faith Fairchild, her minister husband, and their kids, who live with a friend while renovating their Maine vacation cottage.
What happens: A murder occurs at the next-door neighbor's coastal estate, where relatives have gathered to hear the elderly owner's decision of who will inherit the coveted home.
Why Donna Andrews fans might like it: The pleasing mix of crime, beloved characters, and domestic life found in this 22nd Faith Fairchild mystery (which is fine for newcomers) and all the Faith books (the 25th and most recent novel is The Body in the Wake).
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