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  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 3:00 pm on 2019/12/02 Permalink
    Tags: beating about the bush, brewed awakening, Genesis, just watch me, Mysteries, , , thriller, , , trace of evil and dangerous to know, under occupation   

    December New Releases in Mystery and Thrillers 

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    The holiday season is packed full of travel, social obligations, and time with family and friends—so there’s no better time to have a page-turning book to turn to during quiet moments, whether you’re stranded at the airport, or hiding out in the coat room. There are some fabulous holiday treats in store for mystery and thriller fans, including a compelling new antihero from the author who brought us Dexter and a perfect new British cozy starring Agatha Raisin.

    Under Occupation, by Alan Furst
    In occupied Paris in 1942, novelist Paul Ricard is handed a secret document by a stranger just before the man is killed by the Gestapo. When Ricard, realizing the document’s importance, goes out of his way to make sure it ends up in the hands of the resistance network, he finds himself unexpectedly drawn into a world of spying and subterfuge. As his involvements with anti-Nazi efforts increase, Ricard finds himself entangled with a beautiful spy and risking his life to undertake ever more dangerous assignments in this perfectly paced, edge-of-your seat historical espionage thriller.

    Genesis, by Robin Cook
    The death of twenty-eight year old social worker Kera Jacobsen seems like an open-and-shut case of a drug overdose…at first. But according to her family and friends, Kera never used drugs. And then there’s the fact that she’s ten weeks pregnant—and no one can name the father. As the mysteries and inconsistencies pile up, NYC Medical Examiner Laurie Montgomery finds herself distracted from the investigation by a medical emergency, and her new pathology resident, the slightly unconventional Dr. Aria Nichols, takes the lead. Aria plans to search genealogical databases for a match of the fetus’s DNA in the hopes of discovering possible male relatives who might lead to an identification of the father. But when a close friend of the victim’s is murdered, Laurie and Aria realize their cutting-edge investigative methods might be getting them too close to the truth—and they could be next on the killer’s list.

    Just Watch Me, by Jeff Lindsay
    The author who brought us the darkly irresistible Dexter series has a new vigilante antihero for us to root for: brilliant thief and master of disguise Riley Wolfe, who never met a priceless jewel he couldn’t steal. Until now—just as Riley is getting bored of his usual stealing-from-and-occasionally-murdering-the-superrich routine, he learns that the Crown Jewels of Iran are about to be exhibited in a Manhattan museum. These gems are beyond valuable, but stealing them is completely and utterly impossible…or is it? will Don’t miss this pitch-perfect escapist crime caper.

    Beating About the Bush (Agatha Raisin Series #30), by M.C. Beaton
    When the body of Mrs. Dunwiddy, the elderly assistant to the chairman of a local manufacturing company, turns up by the side of the road, crabby and clever Agatha Raisin is brought in to investigate. Quite a number of suspects, from a beloved donkey to several dubious factory bosses, are implicated in the crime, which keeps Agatha busy. Most concerning, however, are Agatha’s feelings for her longtime friend and sometimes-lover, Sir Charles Fraith. Will she unravel either the mystery at hand, or the one of the human heart? This charming, offbeat series is a bullseye for fans of British cozies.

    Trace of Evil: A Natalie Lockhart Novel, by Alice Blanchard
    Burning Lake, NY is an isolated town with a history as unsetting as its name. In the last few years nine transients have disappeared, and rookie detective Natalie Lockhart has been charged with investigating. The murder of local school teacher Daisy Buckner ramps things up considerably—there’s an obvious suspect, but when that suspect is found in a coma soon after the murder, it complicates things. The more Natalie digs, the more buried secrets come to light. This intricate, atmospheric mystery introduces a smart, relatable detective readers will be excited to follow into a series.

    And Dangerous to Know (Rosalind Thorne Mystery Series #3), by Darcie Wilde
    The resourceful Rosalind Thorne’s services have been retained by Lady Melbourne with regard to a delicate matter: a stack of letters of a sensitive nature relating to the poet Lord Byron have disappeared. Rosalind takes up residence at Melbourne house, posing as Lady Melbourne’s secretary while investigating the disappearance of the letters—but when she learns that the body of an unidentified woman has turned up in the Melbourne House courtyard, matters become even more concerning—and even dangerous. The third novel in this delightful Austen-inspired Regency mystery series continues to immerse readers in historical detail while shocking them with twists they didn’t see coming.

    Brewed Awakening (Coffeehouse Mystery Series #18), by Cleo Coyle
    Clare Cosi finds herself on an NYC park bench with no idea how she got there—when she wanders to a local coffeeshop where she knows she’ll be safe, she discovers that she’s been missing for the past week, and even worse, that she can’t remember the last ten years of her life. She doesn’t recognize her fiance, and she thinks her adult daughter is still a child. But the real problem is that according to security camera footage, Clare witnessed a kidnapping at gunpoint right before she lost her memory—but she has no idea what happened after that…or does she? Evidence begins to mount that Clare may have had something to do with the crime—and if she can’t reclaim her memories, she’s at risk of ending up in jail as an accomplice to a kidnapping and murder. A twisty, thought-provoking installment in a caffeinated long-running series.

    The post December New Releases in Mystery and Thrillers appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 2:00 pm on 2019/10/31 Permalink
    Tags: a christmas gathering: a novel, , , , , guilty not guilty, invitation only murder, , , , , lucy stone series, , murder she wrote: a time for murder, Mysteries, , nothing more dangerous, , robert b. parker's angel eyes, the old success, , twisted twenty-six   

    November’s Best New Mysteries of 2019 

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    Armchair detectives know that a good gumshoe is always on the case and never rests, except maaaybe during a tryptophan-filled Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Reheat a slice of pumpkin pie and unwind by the fire with one of these clever page-turners this month.

    Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum Series #26), by Janet Evanovich
    Wedding bells are ringing for Stephanie’s beloved Grandma Mazur, who is excited to be tying the knot with local gangster Jimmy Rosolli (whether Stephanie is also excited about this is up for debate). Unfortunately for all involved, Jimmy kicks the bucket from a heart attack only 45 minutes after the wedding ceremony. Now it’s up to Stephanie to protect her beloved grandmother from some nogoodniks who are convinced that Jimmy left his widow a set of very important keys. This delectable series is full of lovable characters, hilarious hijinks, and some very enjoyable mysteries to boot.

    Robert B. Parker’s Angel Eyes, by Ace Atkins
    Everyone’s favorite Boston PI heads to Tinseltown to track down a missing person in Robert B. Parker’s beloved long-running series that has been placed in the very capable hands of Ace Atkins. Boston local Gabby Leggett headed to Hollywood to become an actress, and managed to find fame and fortune—before promptly disappearing. Her mother hires Spenser to find her, and when he lands in L.A. he hooks up with his protégé, Zebulon Sixkill. Before too long things have gone south; the Armenian mob is on their trail, and a huge movie studio boss who seems to know something won’t give them the time of day. Reinforcements in the form of Chollo and Bobby Horse come to Spenser’s rescue, but is it too late?

    The Old Success (Richard Jury Series #25), by Martha Grimes
    In the twenty-fifth installment of this atmospheric series, Scotland Yard detective Richard Jury is called upon to solve three very different murders in three different counties across England. Working with the Devon-Cornwall police’s Brian Macalvie, Jury confronts the deaths of a French tourist found on an inlet, an estate owner murdered at home, and a third victim discovered in an Exeter cathedral. Fans of Martha Grimes’ police procedurals are in for a treat—her trademark wit and eccentric characters are here in spades—and new readers who enjoy this one would do well to begin at the beginning of her famed Richard Jury series.

    A Christmas Gathering: A Novel, by Anne Perry
    Lady Vespasia is not exactly thrilled to be spending Christmas with her new husband, Victor Narraway, at a gathering at their friends’ country home—she’d much rather be spending a relaxing holiday with him at home. Particularly since for Victor, who used to be the head of the London Special Branch, it appears to be a working vacation. One of the guests, the beautiful young Iris Watson-Watt, has been tasked with passing on sensitive information to Victor that should aid him in unmasking a British traitor. Years ago, in a similar situation, Victor was unable to protect another similar messenger, a young Frenchwoman, which resulted in her murder. That failure has haunted him to this day. Can he prevent history from repeating itself? And is Christmas going to be ruined for Vespasia either way? A gathering of fascinating characters at a beautiful locale plus a nailbiting plot is the perfect recipe for a cracking good holiday mystery.

    Nothing More Dangerous, by Allen Eskens
    In this powerful coming of age story threaded with mystery and intrigue, white high school freshman Boady Sanden is the new kid in his small town high school in Jessup, Missouri. Boady is having a rough time of it until the Elgins, an African-American family, move in next door. He and Thomas Elgin become friends, but their friendship comes with a price as it brings simmering racial and class tensions to the surface in their small town. Adding fuel to the fire is the suspicious disappearance of Lida Poe, a black woman who worked as a bookkeeper at a local factory and who is believed to have absconded with a hundred thousand dollars. As her story plays out, Boady learns just how tightly it is interwoven with his own in this moving, unforgettable novel by a master of the genre.

    Guilty Not Guilty, by Felix Francis
    Judge Bill Russell’s worst nightmare has come to pass: his lovely wife Amelia has been murdered, found dead in their home. Worse still, Bill becomes a prime suspect in her murder, and the cloud of suspicion surrounding him has cost him his job, and is on the verge of costing him his home and his friends. Bill knows he’s innocent, but can he clear his name by finding the guilty party—before they find him? This heart-pounding mystery features a protagonist you’ll root for and a bevy of never-saw-it-coming twists and turns.

    Murder She Wrote: A Time for Murder (Murder, She Wrote Series #50), by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land
    The fiftieth entry in this beloved series, and the fourth entry by Jon Land, goes back in time to when Jessica was a young high school teacher who had yet to solve a mystery. Her first-ever case lands in her lap when the school’s principal dies mysteriously, and Jessica finds herself compelled to investigate. Meanwhile, in the present day, Jessica’s excited to attend a retirement party for a colleague at the high school—but the festivities are marred when the colleague also ends up dead. Convinced that the present case is linked to the past, Jessica has to catch this killer before it’s too late. Fifty books strong, this terrific series remains fresh and lively, and fans will relish this glimpse into Jessica’s origins as a sleuth.

    Invitation Only Murder (Lucy Stone Series #26), by Leslie Meier
    Lucy books a trip to a private Maine island owned by oddball billionaire Scott Newman in an effort to get some rest and relaxation (and some much-needed time away from her family in Tinker’s Cove). Newman is an intense environmentalist, and a trip to his exclusive property means giving up most modern conveniences, such as cell reception (and electricity!). When a young woman is found dead at the bottom of a cliff, Lucy finds herself investigating a murder while stuck on a remote, secluded—and suspect packed—island with extremely limited resources.

    What mysteries are you digging into this month?

    The post November’s Best New Mysteries of 2019 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 4:00 pm on 2019/09/27 Permalink
    Tags: a bitter feast, a book of bones, , best new mysteries, dachshund through the snow: an andy carpenter mystery, , deborah crombie, , , Mysteries, , nicholas meyer, owl be home for christmas: a meg langslow mystery, , the adventures of the peculiar protocols: adapted from the journals of john h. watson md, the shape of night, to the land of long lost friends,   

    October’s Best New Mysteries 

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    October’s new mysteries are filled with cozies, humor, and hilarious animal puns, but if you’re also looking for a searing gothic nightmarescape, a sexy ghost captain, or a new gem in the Sherlock Holmes canon, you’re in luck there too! Adjust your deerstalker caps and get ready for a mysterious fall, gumshoes!

    To the Land of Long Lost Friends, by Alexander McCall Smith
    In the 20th novel in McCall Smith’s delightful No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Precious Ramotswe takes up with an old friend, who is having some trouble with her daughter, and is reminded once more that getting involved in family matters is often a complicated endeavor. In the meantime, Charlie has decided to propose to his girlfriend, Queenie-Queenie, but he’s having some difficulty drumming up a suitable bride price. With its likable characters and deft writing, this is a series that’s as much about humanity’s foibles and shining moments as it is about its mysteries.

    A Book of Bones (Charlie Parker Series #17), by John Connolly
    Connolly’s latest supernatural thriller in the underrated Charlie Parker series blends chilling gothic horror with an adept police procedural, resulting an almost unclassifiable—but extremely compelling—tale of good verses inter-dimensional evil. Throw in human sacrifice, a book that could end the world, and some of the creepiest villains since Hannibal Lecter, and you have a rollicking ghostly thriller that’s also superlatively entertaining.

    The Shape of Night: A Novel, by Tess Gerritsen
    In an effort to put a terrible tragedy behind her, Ava flees Boston for a sleepy seaside town in Maine. There she rents a rambling house called Brodie’s Watch, named for a long-dead sea captain who is rumored to still haunt the place. When the ghost of Captain Jeremiah Brodie shows up seeming all-too-real (and all too sexy), Ava finds herself wondering if she’s lost her mind, even as she also finds it impossible to ignore the specter’s considerable charms. But when Ava digs deeper into the house’s history, she discovers its horrible secret: every woman who has ever lived there has died. A haunting romantic thriller with an irresistible Gothic twist, this is one of Gerritsen’s best.

    A Bitter Feast: A Novel, by Deborah Crombie
    Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James and their children are excited to spend the weekend at Beck House. It’s a magnificent estate in the beautiful Cotswalds region, and the family has been invited Gemma’s detective sergeant, Melody Talbot. A charity luncheon has been planned for the weekend, catered by rising-star chef Viv Holland, who is hoping to gain a career boost from the event. But a terrible car accident, followed by several suspicious deaths, makes it a working weekend for Gemma and her husband, who are pulled into an investigation that seems to point squarely at Viv—or even at Beck House and its occupants. Crombie’s novels are full of nuanced characters, twisty plots, and local color.

    Dachshund Through the Snow: An Andy Carpenter Mystery, by David Rosenfelt
    There’s a Christmas tree at Andy and Laura Carpenter’s local pet store, decorated with wishes instead of ornaments, and one such wish touches defense attorney Andy’s heart: it’s a three part wish from a little boy named Danny: a coat for his mom, a sweater for his dachshund, and to find his missing dad. As it turns out, Danny’s dad is actually on the run after being arrested for a murder, but he swears he’s innocent. It looks like an open-and-shut case, but when Andy begins investigating, he learns that not everything quite adds up. Dog lovers will especially love the wry, clever Andy Carpenter series.

    Owl Be Home for Christmas: A Meg Langslow Mystery, by Donna Andrews
    This charming whoo-dunit takes place just before Christmas, during the annual Owl Fest Convention in Caerphilly, Virginia. A freak snowstorm strands all of the attendees at the Caerphilly Inn, which is unfortunate, as many of them are, as you might imagine, extremely eccentric. Trapped among them is Meg Langslow, there to assist her grandfather, conference host Dr. J. Mongtomery Blake, with general logistics. When one of the guests, a visiting ornithologist, is murdered, it looks like Chief Burke is set on keeping all of the attendees/suspects at the hotel until the crime is solved. Everyone is in danger of missing being at home for the holidays; that is, unless Meg can rise to the occasion and solve the murder.

    The Adventures of the Peculiar Protocols: Adapted from the Journals of John H. Watson, MD, by Nicholas Meyer
    The author the beloved Holmes mystery The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is back with his fourth “discovery” of a previously unknown case found in Watson’s journal. In this mystery that will delight Sherlock Holmes devotees, Watson and Holmes find themselves in pursuit of a document whose provocative contents have already cost a British Secret Service agent her life. The chase brings them to Russia aboard the Orient Express—on a case so dangerous, that is part of a conspiracy so shocking—that it presents an unprecedented challenge even to Sherlock Holmes.

    What mysteries are you excited to read this month?

    The post October’s Best New Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 4:00 pm on 2019/07/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , love and death among the cheetas, Mysteries, new mysteries, , terns of endearment, , the last widow,   

    The Best New Mysteries of August 2019 

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    Summer is heating up, gumshoes! Time to shrug off your sticky trench coat, put down your magnifying glass (which is now a fire hazard), and lounge on the beach with one of the scorching reads below!

    A Better Man (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #15), by Louise Penny
    Things are in an awkward place for Chief Inspector Gamache in the 15th novel in Louise Penny’s unsurpassed series. Gamache is taking up the reins in his new position as head of homicide, after his recent demotion from head of the whole force. To make matters even touchier, he’s now working alongside his former subordinate, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Although he’s being viciously attacked on social media, Gamache focuses on the task at hand: Finding woman, Vivienne Godin, who has gone missing. The further he goes in his search, the more he finds himself sympathizing with Vivienne’s agonized father. The father of a daughter himself, Gamache finds it difficult not to put himself in the father’s shoes, and ask himself what he would do. When a body turns up, the question becomes even more urgent, and the answer more unsettling.

    The Bitterroots, by C. J. Box
    Cassie Dewell is done being a sheriff’s investigator and is striking out on her own with a private practice. The last few years have been tough on her, and she relishes finally being her own boss. But things get complicated when an old pal asks Cassie to help prove the innocence of a man, part of a prominent Montana family, the Kleinsassers, who has been accused of assault. Although up on first glance this seems like an open and shut case, before long Cassie begins to realize that the accused is the black sheep of the family, and many of its members seem dead-set on his conviction. The deeper she digs into the past to find the truth, the darker and more malevolent this family’s roots grow.

    The Last Widow, by Karin Slaughter
    Will Trent and Sara Linton are back for the first time in three years in this pulse-pounding, set-aside-two-days-to-read-this-one-cover-to-cover thriller by Karin Slaughter. A month after a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is kidnapped, a bustling neighborhood in Atlanta is decimated by a series of bombs. Two hospitals, a university, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC are impacted by the destruction. Sara and Will rush to the scene, and find themselves entangled in a dangerous web that leads to Sara’s abduction. Will must go undercover to save her—and prevent the loss of many more lives. If you’ve read Karin Slaughter before, you know you won’t be able to put this one down before you reach the last page.

    Love and Death Among the Cheetahs, by Rhys Bowen
    Georgiana is finally Mrs. Darcy O’Mara, and the two are honeymooning Kenya’s Happy Valley (which Darcy soon admits is in large part because he was sent there to track down a London jewel thief, and the place is a vacation spot for the aristocracy). There they meet the terrible Lord Cheriton, who makes a pass at Georgie, who is scandalized (it is her honeymoon, after all!). Though she’s not a fan of Lord Cheriton, she’s still nonplussed when his body is discovered by the side of the road, looking as though it’s been mauled by wildlife. Lions, everyone suspects…until it begins to look as though the most obvious answer isn’t actually the right one, and there’s a devious killer in their midst.

    Terns of Endearment (Meg Langslow Series #25), by Donna Andrews
    Assorted members of the Langslow family have been invited to join Meg’s grandfather aboard a cruise where he’s been booked to give lectures on birds and the environment. But what initially appears to be a lighthearted vacation turns grave when the passengers learn that the ship has broken down in the Bermuda Triangle. Worse still, it is announced that a passenger has jumped overboard, leaving behind her shoes, and a note. It turns out she is the nemesis of a group of writers, who booked the cruise as a retreat, and some members of the group are suspicious of her death, believing that suicide doesn’t seem like her style. The ship’s captain isn’t interested in investigating the murder, feeling that it can be sorted out once they reach their destination. But Meg’s father is convinced they should investigate while the suspect is still on board. As if all this weren’t enough, grandfather’s assistant, Trevor, is nowhere to be found. The hilarious Meg Langslow mystery series is as funny and charming as it is clever—this summer is the perfect time to get on board!

    The post The Best New Mysteries of August 2019 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 4:00 pm on 2019/07/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , , crime authors, curtain, , , , , Mysteries, , new yorked, potter's field, rob hart, , sleeping murder, their time had come,   

    6 Crime Writers Who Ended a Series Voluntarily 

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    Having a hit series of books and a popular character that readers respond to is usually the dream of an author of an genre, but especially the authors of detective novels. But it can also become a burden, trapping the writer in a universe and a type of story that remains in literary amber. Still, most writers happily plug away at a series as long as readers keep showing up, and usually the only reason a popular detective stops accepting new cases is because the author retires…from this mortal coil. But not always; sometimes a writer decides to retire a character voluntarily for their own private reasons—like the six authors on this list.

    Sherlock Holmes, authored by Arthur Conan Doyle
    Doyle famously tried to walk away from Holmes in 1893’s The Final Problem, sending him over the Reichenbach Falls as he struggled with archenemy Professor Moriarity. Doyle regarded his Holmes stories as literary trifles and wanted to focus on more serious writing; he managed to resist the constant pleas for more Holmes stories for eight years before giving in and writing The Hound of the Baskervilles, published in 1901 and kicking off a second wave of Holmes stories that continued until Doyle passed away.

    Pete Fernandez, authored by Alex Segura
    Segura’s Pete Fernandez has been one of the most interesting noir detective characters in recent years, going from a shambling wreck of a life and career to something resembling stability over the course of four tightly plotted, Miami-infused novels. Segura has decided that Miami Midnight, the fifth book in the series, will be the last Fernandez mystery. Which is a shame, because Midnight digs deep into Pete as a character as he’s pulled from unofficial retirement from his unofficial career as a detective, asked by a local gang kingpin to look into the death of his son, a musician. One of the great things Segura has done with Fernandez is make his personal struggles as compelling as the cases he investigates without resorting to overblown mythology. Pete’s interesting because of the sort of personal mysteries we all carry around with us, and he’ll be missed.

    Ash McKenna, authored by Rob Hart
    McKenna’s an interesting character, a self-described “blunt instrument” who begins a journey to being a real, complete person in Hart’s New Yorked, and then continues that journey through three more books that take him all over the world. Hart’s decision to make Potter’s Field the last McKenna novel had everything to do with ending that story of personal development, of finishing the character’s tale purposefully. While he hasn’t ruled out another McKenna story at some point, it’s refreshing to see an author so in control of their character they end their series when the time feels right to them.

    Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, authored by Agatha Christie
    Christie is an unusual case, because she did, in fact, write about her two most popular characters, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, until she died. But she also voluntarily ended both series—three decades earlier. During World War II Christie worried she might not survive, and worried that meant her greatest literary creations would be orphaned without a proper send off. Her solution was to write a final case for both Poirot and Marple, then lock them away with a stipulation that they not be published until she passed away. As a result, Poirot’s final novel, Curtain published in 1975 and Marple’s, Sleeping Murder, published in 1976 just after Christie’s death. While locking novels away for thirty years on the assumption that people will still care in the future is pretty presumptuous, it certainly paid off for Christie and her fans.

    Peter Wimsey, authored by Dorthy Sayers
    Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey isn’t as famous as his contemporaries like Poirot, but he was one of the stars of early-20th century detective fiction—and the ultimate “gentleman detective” character. Wimsey was quite popular, but Sayers’ last Wimsey novel was 1937’s Busman’s Honeymoon, and aside from a short story and some references she never returned to the character. There’s speculation that Sayers, horrified at the violence and terror of World War II, decided she could no longer write about murders and the like. Which is a shame, because Wimsey, who began as a somewhat comical figure, developed into a marvelous and subtle character, and the world could have done with two or three more Wimsey novels.

    Kurt Wallander, authored by Henning Mankell
    Mankell seemed to be planning the end of Kurt Wallander, the depressed, junk food-addicted Swedish detective, more or less since his debut in 1991’s Faceless Killers. Wallander aged with the march of time, and Mankell at one point tried to pivot into a spinoff series with a new character before returning to Wallander. 2009’s The Troubled Man was the definitive final adventure for Wallander, and the character was depicted as dealing with the first symptoms of oncoming dementia, perhaps the worst thing that could afflict a man who relies on his mind and his memory. Mankell continued to write until his death in 2015, but he never returned to Wallander.

    There’s a power in deciding when and where to end your creation. What’s your favorite character’s ending?

    The post 6 Crime Writers Who Ended a Series Voluntarily appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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