The Lost Traveller: A County Cork Mystery by Sheila ConnollyStarring: American Maura Donovan, who inherited a charming pub in an Irish village a year ago and is settling in and making friends.
What happens: Discovering a badly beaten body on her property, Maura tries to solve the crime to save her business's reputation.
Series alert: This is the charming 7th in the cozy County Cork mysteries.
For fans of: Carlene O'Connor's Irish Village mysteries; or Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series, which follows another Bostonian, one who inherits land in an English village and becomes a sleuth.
Headlong by Cynthia Harrod-EaglesWhat happens: DCI Bill Slider and his team investigate when a famous literary agent dies -- and even though his superiors want it to be an accidental death and not suicide, Slider realizes it's actually a murder.
Series alert: Though this is the 21st entry in this witty London-set police procedural featuring delightful dialogue (complete with British slang) and appealingly believable characters, newcomers can still start here.
You might also like: John Harvey's Charlie Resnik mysteries (which are grittier) or Christopher Fowler's Bryant & May mysteries (which are quirkier).
A Murderous Marriage: A Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery by Alyssa MaxwellWhat happens: In 1920, on the Isle of Wight, 20-year-old Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady's maid, Eva, try to catch a killer after the cops suspect Phoebe's sister Julia of murder (her much older, much richer husband was found dead the morning after their love-less wedding).
For fans of: Downton Abbey, Jessica Fellowes' Mitford mysteries, or Tessa Arlen's Lady Monfort mysteries.
Series alert: This is the cleverly plotted 4th entry in a cozy series.
The Widows by Jess MontgomeryStarring: Lily Ross, a pregnant mother of two whose Ohio sheriff husband was recently murdered; Marvena Whitcomb, a coal miner's widow, a labor organizer, and the mother of a missing teenage girl.
What it's about: In this debut novel, it's 1924, and Lily and Marvena team up to find the sheriff's killer and Marvena's daughter.
Did you know? Lily and Marvena are based on Ohio's first female sheriff Maude Collins and labor organizer Mary Harris "Mother" Jones.
For fans of: Amy Stewart's Kopp sisters novels.
The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir; translated by Victoria CribbWhat happens: Newly demoted Reykjavik police detective Huldar teams up a second time with child psychologist Freyja (see The Legacy for their 1st outing). After a school's time capsule is opened, an anonymous letter inside indicates several people, identified only by initials, will be killed -- and then the first victim is found.
Read it for: the Icelandic setting; the clever, fast-paced plot; vivid characters; and tons of atmosphere.
For fans of: Scandinavian crime novels, Tana French, and Ragnar Jonasson.
Trigger by David SwinsonWhat happens: Retired DC cop and recovering drug addict Frank Marr, now a PI, tries to prove his ex-partner's innocence after he shoots and kills an African American teen while on the job. Marr knows there are bad cops, but he also knows Al Luna isn't one of them, so what happened?
Why you should read it: This 3rd (and possibly final) book in the Frank Marr crime series features realistically flawed characters, an atmospheric look at the seedy side of DC, and wonderfully crisp dialogue.
Enjoy: the reappearance of a memorable character from the 1st book in the series, The Second Girl, who plays a large role here.
In Farleigh Field: A Novel by Rhys BowenWhat it's about: World War II reaches British shores, changing life at the Kent estate of Lord Westerham, when one of his daughters secretly works at Bletchley Park. Then, a paratrooper, possibly a German spy, fatally lands at the home -- MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell covertly investigates and tries to learn if someone was aiding him.
Winner of: an Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel and a Macavity Historical Mystery Award.
For fans of: Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope mysteries, Charles Todd's books, and Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs novels.
The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown by Vaseem KhanStarring: former police inspector Chopra, now a PI after retiring due to health problems, and Ganesh, his baby elephant sidekick.
What happens: At a special exhibit in Mumbai, India, a daring thief steals part of the British Crown Jewels in what appears to be an impossible crime. Chopra, who was there at the time, agrees to help an old friend, who oversaw security and is now a suspect.
Series alert: This 2nd charming outing for Chopra won a Shamus Award and evocatively describes modern India; look for book 5, A Bad Day at the Vulture Club, later this year.
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica LockeWhat it's about: In a rural East Texas town, the body of a black lawyer from Chicago is found in a bayou, followed several days later by that of a white woman. African American Texas Ranger Darren Mathews investigates and finds a complex case of love and hate.
Why you should read it: With fully realized characters and a timely look at race relations in the U.S., this powerful book by Attica Locke (who's written and produced for TV's Empire) is the 1st in a planned series.
Winner of: both an Edgar and an Anthony Award for Best Novel as well as a Dagger Award.
Sleeping in the Ground: An Inspector Banks Novel by Peter RobinsonWhat happens: A wedding at a picturesque Yorkshire church is interrupted by gunfire, leaving five dead. DS Alan Banks and his team work with Banks' ex, profiler Jenny Fuller, to unravel the killer's identity and figure out a motive.
Series alert: This well-plotted 24th Inspector Alan Banks mystery slowly builds tension until the surprising conclusion. The 25th entry in the series, Careless Love, was recently released.
Winner of: an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel.
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