The Murder Book by Mark BillinghamWhat happens: After three men are murdered, DI Tom Thorne realizes the perpetrator is connected to escaped serial killer Stuart Nicklin, which means Tom, his partner, best mate, and new girlfriend are all in danger.
Series alert: This is the twisty, thrilling 18th DI Tom Thorne police procedural, and while newcomers can start here, those who've read previous entries will appreciate the story even more.
Reviewers say: "masterly...the intricate plot matches superior characterizations" (Publishers Weekly); "one of his most amazing endings ever" (Booklist).
Desperate Undertaking by Lindsey DavisRome, 89 CE: Private investigator Flavia Albia, with help from her magistrate husband, tries to unmask a killer who's brutally murdering actors and leaving their bodies staged in various unexpected locales.
Series alert: This is the 10th outing for Flavia as a main character and narrator, but she also appeared in some of Lindsey Davis' popular mysteries starring Flavia's adoptive father, Marcus Didius Falco.
Why you might like it: Desperate Undertaking offers wit, an evocative setting, an appealing cast of characters, and fascinating Roman history.
Shutter by Ramona EmersonIntroducing: Diné forensic photographer Rita Todacheene, who works for the Albuquerque police and is gifted at what she does, partly because she can see and hear ghosts.
What happens: Interspersed with flashbacks to Rita's misfit early years on the rez with her grandmother, the contemporary story follows her as she tries to calm the angry ghost of a murder victim by finding her killers.
For fans of: horror/crime combos that aren't afraid to get gruesome; David Heska Wanbli Weiden's Winter Counts; Stuart Neville's The Ghosts of Belfast.
Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise HareThe setup: In 1936 London, down-on-her-luck singer/actress Lena Aldridge wants to leave town after a murder at the club where she works...and she's conveniently offered the role of a lifetime in New York.
Setting sail: Passing as white, Lena travels on the RMS Queen Mary, and gets drawn into the fold of a wealthy New York family. When more murders occur, she wonders if she's being set up, and investigates.
For fans of: "sparkling" (Kirkus) historical mysteries with a bit of romance; novels that harken back to the Golden Age of mystery.
Dirt Creek by Hayley ScrivenorWhat happens: Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels is sent to a close-knit small town to investigate the disappearance of 12-year-old Esther. Meanwhile, Esther's best friend Veronica is equally determined to find her, with help from a classmate.
Did you know? This compelling debut by Australian novelist Hayley Scrivenor features multiple narrators and was published as Dirt Town in Australia and the U.K.
For fans of: Jane Harper's The Dry or Candice Fox's Crimson Lake series, both of which are also set in rural Australia.
Dear Little Corpses by Nicola UpsonEngland, 1939: With the fear of German bombs hitting London, more child evacuees than expected arrive in the small Suffolk village of Polstead, and in the confusion, a local girl goes missing.
What happens: Mystery writer Josephine Tey and her girlfriend Marta take in one of the evacuees, while Tey also tries to find the missing child, getting help from both her Scotland Yard friend, DCI Penrose, and local woman Mrs. Carter, aka fellow crime author Margery Allingham.
Series alert: Traditional mystery fans will appreciate this well-plotted 10th in the richly detailed series starring real-life writer Tey.
Haunted Hibiscus by Laura ChildsParty to murder: Days before Halloween, an all-too-real murder occurs at a literary haunted house fundraiser, and tea shop owner Theodosia Browning and her dedicated tea sommelier, Drayton, witness part of it.
Tea is served: Though her cop boyfriend is injured and out of commission, Theodosia, with Drayton's help, is determined to run her busy shop and unmask the killer.
Read this next: If you enjoy this engaging 22nd book in the Tea Shop Mysteries and want more tea-centric tales, try Vicki Delany's Tea by the Sea cozies (recipes included in both series).
The Wailing Wind by Tony HillermanThe setup: Navajo Tribal Police rookie Bernadette "Bernie" Manuelito checks out an abandoned truck, finding a dead body inside.
What happens: Her boss, Sgt. Jim Chee, covers for her when the FBI is upset with the crime scene handling, and Lt. Joe Leaphorn comes out of retirement to help (the new killing is linked to a supposedly solved murder from a few Halloweens ago).
Series alert: This atmospheric 15th novel in the series came out in 2002, but Leaphorn, Chee, and Bernie are still going strong since Tony Hillerman's daughter, Anne, writes novels starring her late father's characters.
Glass Houses by Louise PennyWhat happens: As Halloween draws near, a mysterious black-clad figure appears on Three Pines' village green. Soon, there's a murder, and the Sûreté du Québec's Armand Gamache investigates.
Series alert: Glass Houses is the 13th novel starring the introspective Gamache. New readers may want to pick up his 1st book, Still Life, as each novel builds on the others. Current fans will be happy that his 18th outing, A World of Curiosities, comes out at the end of November.
Read these next: other intricate mysteries with thoughtful detectives, like those by P.D. James, Donna Leon, Charles Todd, and Ann Cleeves.
Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen SpotswoodIntroducing: Willowjean "Will" Parker, our tough young narrator who's a quick learner, an ex-circus knife thrower, and the new assistant to Lillian Pentecost, a famous New York City PI who's in need of help since her multiple sclerosis has started to tire her more often.
What happens: They investigate a locked-room murder at a Halloween party, and Will falls for the wealthy victim's glamorous daughter.
Why you might like it: This debut novel and vibrant series starter offers a witty, fresh take on detective stories set in the 1940s and has fully realized characters you'll adore.
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