On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys BowenHistorical Cozy. In April 1935, Wallis Simpson, an American socialite on her second marriage, has entranced the Prince of Wales, and both are attending a house party in Italy. Georgie Rannoch, 35th in line to the British throne, agrees to act as the queen's eyes and ears at the gathering...which means she's present when a murder occurs. Georgie also helps an unmarried pregnant friend, secluded in a nearby clinic. Like the others in the lighthearted Royal Spyness mysteries, this 11th provides a fascinating glimpse at British aristocracy.
Down a Dark Road: A Kate Burkholder Novel by Linda CastilloMystery. Joseph King, an Amish man convicted of murdering his wife, escapes prison and heads to Painters Mill, Ohio, where his children live. Chief of Police Kate Burkholder, who grew up Amish and was close friends with King as a kid, finds him; he claims he's innocent and says evidence supports him. When a police sniper kills King, Kate doesn't back off trying to find the truth in this 11th entry in the gritty series. If you enjoy atmospheric rural settings, well-drawn characters, and a no-nonsense heroine, also try Julia Keller's Bell Elkins series, featuring a West Virginia prosecutor (the 1st is A Killing in the Hills).
Gone to Dust: A Novel by Matt GoldmanMystery. Minneapolis, Minnesota PI Nils Shapiro takes on a messy -- literally and figuratively -- case when he agrees to help a police detective friend in a wealthy suburb: whoever murdered Maggie Somerville at her mansion appears to have emptied dozens of vacuum cleaner bags over the house, making viable DNA evidence unlikely. With a wisecracking detective, irreverent humor, and plenty of red herrings, Gone to Dust is fresh and fun. Though this is a debut novel, readers are in good hands: Matt Goldman is an Emmy Award-winning writer.
The Devil's Muse by Bill LoehfelmPolice Procedural. It's Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, and tough-as-nails rookie police officer Maureen Somerville is working her first night parade. She knew it'd be crazy, but she didn't think that within a few minutes of each other she'd see an overdose victim run into a car and hear a shooting, which injures multiple people (including a child). While Maureen and her fellow cops try to capture the bad guys in this fast-paced 5th outing, they deal with partiers, gangbangers, drama-seeking videographers, an incompetent detective, and complicated race relations.
Murder in Mayfair: An Atlas Catesby Mystery by D.M. QuincyHistorical Mystery. "Had his mount not lost its shoe on the return journey to London, Atlas Catesby would not have been in a position to purchase another man's wife." That attention-grabbing first line introduces Atlas, an adventurer and fourth son of a Baron, who rescues the woman being sold by her husband in a small English village. Unfortunately for her safety, the well-to-do woman wants to go home to her young sons, even if her husband wants to get rid of her. When her husband is murdered, both Atlas and the woman are suspects, and Atlas needs to clear their names. Fans of Deanna Raybourn's work will appreciate the 19th-century history, mystery, and romance found here.
What's your real name, writer?
Dishing the Dirt: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. BeatonMystery. Agatha Raisin is no one's idea of a meek, humble person. So when a new therapist arrives in her Cotswold village, goes out with Agatha's ex-husband, and snoops into Agatha's background, Agatha pushes back, threatening the woman. Loudly. That's a problem when the therapist turns up dead. M.C. Beaton is one of several pseudonyms that prolific Scottish author Marion Chesney uses (she also writes historical romances). Dishing the Dirt is the 26th outing for Agatha; the 28th and latest in the series, The Witches' Tree, comes out in October.
The Silver Swan by Benjamin BlackHistorical Mystery. A beautiful woman is found dead, washed up on the rocks, an apparent suicide. Her husband asks pathologist Quirke, an old school acquaintance, to skip the autopsy because he doesn't want his wife to be cut. But Quirke, who's been sober for six months, notices a puncture mark on her arm, and he not only does the autopsy, but also begins digging into the lady's past. Booker Prize-winner John Banville, writing under the pseudonym Benjamin Black, produces a "tense, engrossing tale of passion, crimes, and chaos" (Booklist) in this well-written follow-up to Christine Falls.
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert GalbraithMystery. PI Cormoran Strike, a 35-year-old who lost a leg in Afghanistan, has spent the night in his bare-bones London office after a relationship-ending fight with his long-term girlfriend. He sports a cut on his face (she threw an ashtray) as he rushes out the door, barreling into a new temp secretary he can't afford. The forgiving temp, Robin, quickly proves herself useful when the brother of a famous model -- who supposedly jumped from the top of her penthouse apartment -- hires them. Entering the realm of the mega-rich, Strike and Robin uncover the truth in this 1st mystery by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling; the 3rd and most recent entry is Career of Evil.
Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth PetersHistorical Mystery. In 1922 Egypt, Amelia Peabody, her husband Emerson, and their son Ramses want to dig in the Valley of the Kings, but to do so, they need Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter to give up their concession. When they don't, the Peabodys head to Luxor, anyway, only to become embroiled in intrigue that may involve Emerson's charming half-brother. This 18th Amelia Peabody book once again combines fascinating characters, a complex mystery, and Egyptian history. Elizabeth Peters was a pen name of Barbara Mertz, an Egyptologist who died in 2013. The 20th and final Amelia Peabody book, The Painted Queen, was published in July; Peters began it and author Joan Hess, her good friend, completed it.
The Daughter of Time by Josephine TeyClassic. Mystery. Hospitalized Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is bored. Bed-bound, he's tired of starring at the ceiling, so an actress friend encourages his interest in a historical mystery: did Richard III murder his nephews in order to become king? Researching history and legends and testing out theories on those around him, Grant comes to a thought-provoking conclusion. The Daughter of Time is considered by some critics to be one of the great mystery novels of all time. It is the 5th of six Inspector Grant novels by Scot Josephine Tey, whose real name was Elizabeth MacKintosh, and the last book published before her death in 1952. Intrigued by Tey? Nicola Upson writes a series featuring the author as detective; the 1st is An Expert in Murder.
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