Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding: A Royal Spyness Mystery by Rhys BowenStarring: penniless Georgiana "Georgie" Rannoch, who was 35th in line for the British throne before she withdrew from her position to marry Darcy O'Mara, an Irishman with a secretive government job.
What happens: Georgie plans her summer 1935 wedding (the king and queen are attending) and takes over the running of her godfather's country house...only to find that the servants might be trying to kill her.
Series alert: This is the charming 12th in the Royal Spyness mysteries, but newcomers can start here.
Sweet Little Lies by Caz FrearIntroducing: Cat Kinsella, a too-empathetic (according to her boss) 26-year-old London detective constable estranged from her family.
What happens: A cold case from Cat's childhood is related to a new murder investigation -- and her pub-owner dad may have connections to both.
Who it's for: This compelling British police procedural debut has fascinating characters (especially Cat) and a twisty plot that will appeal to fans of Tana French, Ann Cleeves, and Susie Steiner.
City of Ink: A Mystery by Elsa HartWhat it's about: In this evocative historical mystery set in 1711 Beijing, formerly exiled librarian Li Du, now working as Chief Inspector Sun's assistant, is drawn into a murder case that may not be the crime of passion it seems and also tries to clear his dead mentor's name.
For fans of: If you like Eliot Pattison's Shan Tao Yun mysteries and don't mind leaving modern Tibet and China behind, you'll appreciate the graceful writing, complex characters, and intricate plots found here.
Series alert: This is the 3rd in the acclaimed Li Du series; the 1st is Jade Dragon Mountain.
The Ruin by Dervla McTiernanIntroducing: police detective Cormac Reilly, who's back in Galway to be near his girlfriend after being part of an elite Dublin squad for years.
What happens: Reilly's given a cold case that he worked as a rookie -- the OD death of a single mom that left 15-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack orphans. At 25, Jack has apparently died by suicide...but his pregnant doctor girlfriend and troubled sister think it was murder.
Who it's for: Benjamin Black and Tana French fans may like this slow-burn debut's realistic characters and evocative Irish setting.
A Tale of Two Murders: A Dickens of a Crime by Heather RedmondWhat happens: On Epiphany in January 1835, young London journalist Charles Dickens falls for Kate Hogarth, the daughter of his editor; the two investigate the poisoning of Kate's 17-year-old neighbor, a death that's similar to another young lady's demise exactly one year earlier.
Is it for you? With a complex plot unfurled in an unhurried manner, this 1st in a series will be fun for Charles Dickens fans as well as those who enjoy lighthearted historical mysteries with a hint of romance.
The Silkworm by Robert GalbraithWhat it's about: London P.I. Cormoran Strike, a veteran and amputee, and his young assistant Robin investigate the brutal murder of a writer whose latest novel exposed other people's secrets; Robin also plans her wedding, but her fiancé disapproves of both her work and her boss.
Series alert: This is the cleverly plotted 2nd in a series by J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith (the 4th, Lethal White, just came out).
Media buzz: These compelling books have been adapted for TV; in the U.K., the show's title is Strike, and in the U.S., it's C.B. Strike.
The Silence of the Library by Miranda JamesStarring: middle-aged Mississippi librarian Charlie Harris and Diesel, his 36-pound Maine Coon cat, who goes with him almost everywhere.
What happens: Electra Barnes Cartwright, the nearly 100-year-old author of a Nancy Drew-esque series, agrees to attend a special exhibit at the Athena Public Library...and the result is excitement and then murder.
Don't miss: This 5th entry in a fun cozy series features excerpts of one of Cartwright's vintage teen detective novels.
Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRaeWhat happens: Four women -- American librarian Janet; her Scottish friend Christine; Janet's 38-year-old daughter, Tallie; and Tallie's reporter friend, Summer -- buy a bookshop in Scotland. But before they can settle in, a body is found at Janet's vandalized home; now, while preparing for the town's literary festival, the ladies also investigate a murder.
Read it for: the cozy small-town setting and the eccentric characters.
Series alert: This is the 1st in the Highland Bookshop Mystery series; the 2nd, Scones and Scoundrels, came out earlier this year.
The Last Dickens by Matthew PearlWhat happens: After his clerk is murdered while picking up a copy of Charles Dickens' final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, American publisher James Osgood and the dead man's sister leave Boston for London in search of the manuscript and a killer.
Read this next: Pick up Dan Simmons' Drood, which is spooky, critically acclaimed, and covers Dickens' troubled last years (mystery writer Wilkie Collins, who's jealous of Dickens, is the narrator); or to see what all of the fuss is about, pick up The Mystery of Edwin Drood and read Dickens' own words.
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew SullivanStarring: Lydia Smith, a Denver bookstore clerk who, as a child, was the only survivor of a still-unsolved triple murder.
What happens: Lydia investigates when one of her regular customers hangs himself at the store (with a picture of ten-year-old Lydia in his pocket)...and leaves her his meager belongings, including books that contain coded clues.
Reviewers say: This debut is "an intriguingly dark, twisty story" (Kirkus Reviews), and it "will have particular appeal for puzzle solvers and booklovers" (Booklist).
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