The Stone Circle by Elly GriffithsWhat happens: Forensic anthropologist Ruth Galloway and DCI Harry Nelson receive threatening letters and find the bones of a girl missing since 1981, while Harry's wife gives birth (but is it his child?).
Series alert: With the threats reminiscent of letters that first brought Harry and Ruth together, this compelling 11th Ruth Galloway mystery harkens back to the 1st in the series, The Crossing Places (which is where newcomers can start to see complex relationships develop).
Read this next: If you can't get enough of good detectives and their messy marital lives, try Julia Spencer-Fleming's Reverend Clare Fergusson mysteries, which are set in New York State.
The Scent of Murder by Kylie LoganIntroducing: Jazz Ramsey, a 35-year-old administrative assistant at a girls' Catholic high school in Cleveland, Ohio, who trains cadaver dogs in her spare time.
What happens: While practicing with a new dog in an urban construction area, Jazz finds a body...and realizes she knows the victim. Jazz's handsome ex, Detective Nick Kolesov, works the case, but Jazz can't help but nose around too.
Readers should know: Though author Kylie Logan is known for her cozy mysteries, this book starts a more serious series.
The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata MasseyStarring: independent-minded, Oxford-educated Perveen Mistry, who, in 1922, is Bombay's only female lawyer.
What happens: Perveen travels to the fictional principality of Satapur to help two royal widows agree on where the ten-year-old prince should be educated and finds herself dealing with palace power plays, ancient vendettas, attempted poisonings, and suspicious deaths.
Series alert: This is the atmospheric follow-up to last year's highly acclaimed The Widows of Malabar Hill.
A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary: A Samuel Craddock Mystery by Terry ShamesThe cop: dry-witted, easygoing Chief of Police Samuel Craddock of Jarrett Creek, Texas, who's retired once already.
The missing person: Craddock's good friend, Loretta, an elderly member of the Baptist church who'd recently joined an online dating site.
The fans: Those who like Bill Crider's Texas sheriff Dan Rhodes should try this evocative 8th book in a small-town mystery series.
The Unquiet Heart by Kaite WelshEdinburgh, 1893: Aspiring physician Sarah Gilchrist finishes her first semester at medical school even as her mother matches her with a dull fiancé she doesn't want -- but when he's arrested for murder, Sarah feels compelled to investigate.
Series alert: This is the richly detailed 2nd book in the Sarah Gilchrist mysteries, which began with The Wages of Sin.
For fans of: historical mysteries featuring intelligent women, especially ones who work in medicine, such as Ariana Franklin's Adelia Aguilar series (the 1st is Mistress of the Art of Death) and E.S. Thomson's Jem Flockhart novels (which starts with Beloved Poison).
If You Like: Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie
In the Woods by Tana FrenchWhat happens: Twenty years after his two childhood best friends vanished in the woods of their small Dublin suburb, police detective Rob Ryan works with his partner and pal Cassie Maddox to investigate a new, similar murder in the same forest.
Awards info: In 2008, this debut and 1st in the Dublin Murder Squad series won an Edgar, an Anthony, and a Macavity.
Why Kate Atkinson fans might like it: it mixes elegant writing and richly drawn characters with a compelling, original story.
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert GalbraithThe opening: PI Cormoran Strike, a 35-year-old Army vet who lost a leg in Afghanistan, has spent the night in his bare-bones London office after a relationship-ending fight with his girlfriend when Robin, the new temp secretary he can't afford, arrives.
What happens next: Robin proves herself quite useful as the two investigate the suspicious death of a famous model in this 1st mystery by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling.
Why Kate Atkinson fans might like it: intricate plotting; dark humor; and a troubled PI who uses classic detective skills to solve crimes.
Missing, Presumed: A Novel by Susie SteinerIntroducing: smart, single (but lonely and looking) DS Manon Bradshaw.
What it's about: Using multiple narrators, this intricate police procedural and 1st in a series follows the high-profile case of a missing Cambridge graduate student. Meanwhile, the appealing Manon also looks into the death of a black teen and tries to help his young brother.
Why Kate Atkinson fans might like it: the Cambridge setting, authentic characters, engaging story, and the interplay of the personal and professional.
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