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  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 7:00 pm on 2018/02/28 Permalink
    Tags: , caribbean rim, donna leon, duel to the death, elizabeth george, , , laura childs, Mystery, , plum tea crazy, randy wayne white, the disappeared, the punishment she deserves, the temptation of forgiveness: a commissario guido brunetti mystery, to die but once   

    The Best New Mysteries of March 2018 

    Spring is just around the corner, but there’s still plenty of time to get cozy with a mystery or five! Some of our favorite fictional gumshoes are back on this case this week, including Donna Leon’s inimitable Guido Brunetti, and Randy Wade White’s iconic, laconic Doc Ford. Curl up in your favorite armchair and get ready for some backseat detectiving!

    The Punishment She Deserves (Inspector Lynley Series #20), by Elizabeth George
    The quiet, historic English town of Ludlow is devastated when one of their model citizens, deacon Ian Druitt, is accused of a terrible crime. When Ian dies while in police custody, all the signs point to suicide, but Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, sent to Ludlow to investigate, feels there’s more to the case. And after just a bit of digging around and talking to local residents, Barbara realizes that the town is a spider’s nest of buried secrets and lies.

    The Disappeared (Joe Pickett Series #18), by C. J. Box
    The new governor of Wyoming has a job for Joe Pickett in the masterful 18th novel in the Joe Pickett series. An important British executive has mysteriously vanished after a visit to a fancy guest ranch, and the British Embassy is growing concerned about her whereabouts. In the meantime, Pickett’s friend Nate Romanowski has come to him asking for an intervention on behalf of falconers who have legal permits, but are still being prevented from hunting with eagles. As he looks into both situations, it becomes clear that someone will stop at nothing to keep Pickett in the dark.

    To Die but Once (Maisie Dobbs Series #14), by Jacqueline Winspear
    In the months after Britain’s declaration of war on Germany, London investigator Maisie Dobbs finds herself caught up in the search for a missing young apprentice who had been hard at work on a mysterious government contract. As Maisie’s investigation brings her into the orbit of a powerful and dangerous wartime opportunist, she finds herself drawn towards an explosive confrontation that may force her to abandon one of her dearest dreams.

    Caribbean Rim (Doc Ford Series #25), by Randy Wayne White
    Doc Ford is always willing to help a friend in need, but his buddy Carl Fitzpatrick has gotten in trouble of the Florida Division of Historical Resources, which is an organization you want to stay on the good side of. When the division’s director vanishes, along with some of Fitzpatrick’s treasures and a list of his uncharted wreck sites, things get even hairier. Since Fitz’s explorations haven’t always been on the up and up, he can’t go to the police for help—so instead he drags marine biologist Doc into a dangerous mess of thievery and double-crossing. Fortunately, it’s the kind of mess Doc thrives on…

    The Temptation of Forgiveness: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, by Donna Leon
    The 27th mystery in Leon’s lushly realized series set in Venice finds the Commissario tasked with investigating the teenaged son of a friend of his wife’s, whom she fears has gotten into drugs. When the woman’s husband is found unconscious and with a head injury, Brunetti wonders whether the boy may have something to do with the suspicious accident. But the truth, as he grows closer to it (while wading through the endless bureaucracy and red tape he has come to expect from his job), is far more sinister than he ever would have believed.

    Duel to the Death (Ali Reynolds Series #13), by J. A. Jance
    Rogue artificial intelligence program Frigg has complicated things for High Noon Enterprises employee Stuart Ramey by gifting him with a vast Bitcoin fortune. See, Stu took down Frigg’s evil creator, and Frigg is just trying to get with the winning team. Stu seeks help from Ali Reynolds in an effort to put an end to Frigg’s meddling—but it turns out the that Graciella, the right-hand woman to terrifying drug cartel El Pescado, also has Frigg in her sights; only she’s hoping to use the program to become immensely rich and powerful. This fast-paced techno-caper will please longtime fans of the series and win new ones.

    Plum Tea Crazy (Tea Shop Series #19), by Laura Childs
    Nothing goes together better than tea and cozy mysteries, as Childs’ perfect series can attest. Theodosia Browning owns the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston S.C., an enviable existence which is shaken up when she and her tea sommelier friend Drayton witness a man, banker Carson Lanier, falling three stories from a widow’s walk to his death. What appears at first to be a terrible accident is revealed as a grisly murder when it is learned that the victim was shot with a crossbow. As Theodosia investigates, she discovers a variety of suspects, all of whom had keen motivation to shuffle Carson off this mortal coil (including an ex wife and a real estate partner). A dark mystery is lightened by recipes and—yes!—tea time tips.

    What March mysteries are you digging into?

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  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 5:00 pm on 2018/01/31 Permalink
    Tags: charles finch, death of an honest man, down the river unto the sea, force of nature, jane harper, joanne fluke, , joseph knox, laura lippman, , , Mystery, night moves, raspberry danish murder, sirens, sunburn, the woman in the water, ,   

    The Best New Mysteries of February 2018 

    As the bleak winter months drag on, it becomes even more important to take time to do the things you enjoy. For armchair detectives, this means stocking up on some of February’s best new mysteries. From twisty tales of murder and mayhem, to cozy cloak-and-daggers, our latest bumper crop of whodunits has got you covered.

    Night Moves (Alex Delaware Series #33), by Jonathan Kellerman
    When a wealthy family returns home after an evening dinner, they discover a mutilated corpse sitting in their den. Detective Alex Delaware and his friend on the LAPD, Milo Sturgis, are having trouble finding any leads save the suggestion, from one of the family, that their cartoonist neighbor is “weird”, which is a long-shot of a lead, but it’ll have to do. Longtime fans of Kellerman’s long-running Alex Delaware Series will love the gruesome 33rd installment, which is conveniently also a good place for new readers to start from.

    Raspberry Danish Murder (Hannah Swensen Series #22), by Joanne Fluke
    Newlywed Hannah Swensen Barton has barely had time to savor her newfound wedded bliss when her husband Ross vanishes without a trace. Unable to piece together his disappearance, she throws herself into a baking frenzy to help fill holiday orders at The Cookie Jar, including a raspberry Danish tasty enough to help anyone forget about their troubles at home. But before P.K., Ross’s assistant at KCOW-TV, gets the chance to try the delectable pastry, he is murdered. P.K. had been sitting at Ross’s desk at work and driving his car—was he the murderer’s target, or was it Ross? Dig into the delicious 22nd mystery in this toothsome series.

    Force of Nature, by Jane Harper
    There’s nothing quite as awful as a corporate retreat, is there? Especially when it involves a trek into the great outdoors. Five colleagues are compelled to put on hiking boots and trek off into the mud…but only four make it back. And their stories don’t add up. As Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk begins investigating the disappearance, he finds himself stumbling down a rabbit hole of betrayal, inter-office intrigue, and long-buried secrets. Harper’s dazzling debut is not to be missed.

    Down the River Unto the Sea, by Walter Mosley
    A new standalone novel by the author of the Easy Rawlins series introduces Joe King Oliver, who has had what you might call a very difficult time of things. A former cop who found himself framed for assault by fellow NYPD officers, he was sent to Rikers Island, where he endured (and meted out) his fair share of abuse and brutality, and finally ended up in solitary. Now free, Joe’s post-prison life is a quiet one, revolving around his work as a private detective with the aid of his teenage daughter. Until he receives a mysterious note in the mail from a woman claiming to be the person who was paid to frame him. Joe realizes that he cannot rest until he gets to the bottom of his own case, but discovering the truth means aligning himself with a sociopath and wading into a fray of dirty cops and crooked lawyers.

    Death of an Honest Man, by M. C. Beaton
    Honesty is the best policy, but when newcomer Paul English moves to the town of Cnothan and begins attending church in Lochdubh, his policy of brutal truth-telling gets him in trouble, fast. English likes to call things as he sees them, and this essentially involves insulting every townsperson he comes across (he even has the nerve to tell everyone’s favorite laconic police sergeant, Hamish Macbeth, that it’s obvious he dyes his red hair). Before long, nearly everyone English has met would cheerfully kill him—and then someone does. It’s up to Hamish to solve this crime, but when basically everyone is a suspect, it’s far from an open and shut case. The entertaining 33rd installment in the Hamish Macbeth Series will delight longtime fans and win new ones.

    Sunburn, by Laura Lippman
    No one is quite who they seem in Lippman’s riveting noir masterpiece. Polly and Adam first encounter each other in a small town in Delaware. Adam is drawn to Polly’s air of mystery, but she’s not the only one with secrets. Even as they begin a passionate affair that is sure to end in disaster, each continues to hold back, engaging in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. As Polly and Adam’s lives become more tightly entwined, the stakes grow ever higher, until a suspicious death threatens to destroy them both. Be warned: you’ll want to finish this one in a single sitting.

    Sirens, by Joseph Knox
    Disgraced undercover officer Aidan Waits has been given the perfect assignment—perfect because it involves infiltrating the inner circles of dangerous drug lord Zain Carver, so it’s basically a suicide mission, and Aidan’s superiors are not particularly concerned about his health and safety. But Aidan will not be underestimated. He’s been assigned to save young Isabelle Rossiter from Zain’s dangerous influence, and he’s going to do it, even if it costs him everything. Which in fact it may, especially because his interest in her has gone beyond purely professional…

    The Woman in the Water, by Charles Finch
    The eleventh book in the Charles Lenox series is a prequel, taking readers back to the illustrious detective’s early days, when he was fresh, inexperienced, and eager to prove himself. When the discovery of a woman’s body in a naval trunk just off a small island in the middle of the Thames is linked to an anonymous letter sent to the paper suggesting that the killer will strike again, and soon—Lenox sees the opportunity to advance his career he’s been looking for. But his efforts to solve the case attract the killer’s attention, putting Lenox’s inner circle in danger. With a frightening murderer and a desperate young detective, The Woman in the Water will delight longtime fans of the series, while providing the perfect entry point for new readers.

    Claws for Concern, by Miranda James
    Delighted new grandfather Charlie Harris is keeping busy in the 9th novel in James’ endearing series. Through volunteering at the local library, he’s befriended an elderly man who is doing genealogical research that ends up being shockingly close to home. At the same time, true-crime author Jack Pemberton has become obsessively focused on making Charlie the subject of his next book. Fortunately, Charlie’s Maine Coon cat Diesel is up for the challenge of helping him get to the bottom of an unsolved murder. Heaped with Southern Charm and with a puzzling mystery at its heart, Claws for Concern is the perfect story to curl up with on a cold February night.

    The Gate Keeper (Ian Rutledge Series #20), by Charles Todd
    Ian Rutledge is driving around aimlessly after his sister’s wedding when he encounters a startling scene: a woman standing over a bloodied body in the middle of the road. The shaken woman insists that she is not the murderer; that the man was killed by a passerby, and Ian persuades Scotland Yard to give him the case despite the fact that he is a witness after the fact. The victim’s name was Stephen Wentworth, and he appears to have been generally well-liked, except by his own family, who refers to him as a murderer. As Ian digs deeper into the case, a second death makes it clear that the killer is not finished, and in fact may just be getting started.

    What mysteries are you sleuthing on this month?

    The post The Best New Mysteries of February 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 5:00 pm on 2017/11/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , barbara ross, cheryl honigford, , eggnog murder, , hark the herald angels slay, homicide for the holidays, , lee hollis, leslie meier, , Mystery, , , thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd, , vicki delany   

    The Best New Mysteries of December 2017 

    Holiday-themed mysteries are lighting up the shelves this month, giving armchair gumshoes the opportunity to delve into halls decked with murder, and explore the hazardous properties of eggnog. From standalone story collections, to new titles in beloved long-running series, we’ve got a collection of new mysteries that will knock your reindeer-patterned socks off.

    Homicide for the Holidays, by Cheryl Honigford
    When burgeoning radio star Vivian Witchell stumbles upon a stack of cash in a locked drawer in her late father’s desk, she takes the opportunity to hire dashing detective Charlie Haverman to help her investigate. Viv begins to wonder if she should have left well enough alone when the trail of clues begins to point toward her beloved, upstanding father’s potential involvement with none other than Al Capone. The second novel in the Viv and Charlie Mystery series, set in 1938 Chicago, will delight fans of period mysteries featuring colorful characters.

    Eggnog Murder, by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross
    You’ll never look at eggnog the same way after enjoying this creamy collection of stories spiked with murder and deceit. The famously unhealthy beverage is prominently featured in all three holiday-themed tales—and yes, it’s laced with poison in at least one story. This delicious tongue-in-cheek trio will help you get in the “bah, humbug!” spirit just in time for the holidays.

    Hark the Herald Angels Slay, by Vicki Delany
    As one might expect, the town of Rudolph, NY is filled with the Christmas spirit all year long—but especially during the languid summer months, when Santa arrives on a boat to enjoy his summer vacation on the lake during a Christmas in July celebration. But when Max Folger, the ex-fiance of Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, arrives in town as well, Merry is perturbed. It quickly becomes obvious that Max’s explanation for why he is there—that he’s working for a magazine that’s covering the festivities—is a ruse. Max is there for one reason and one reason only: To win Merry back. But that plan is derailed when he’s found dead, strangled in her store, and Merry’s busy to-do list includes catching a murderer.

    Murder for Christmas, by Francis Duncan
    Fans of good old fashioned murder mysteries in the style of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot series will want to settle in for a long winter’s read with this sharp Christmas-themed tale. A number of guests have gathered at Benedict Grame’s country house for some holiday revels, including amateur investigator Mordecai Tremaine. As tends to happen when may different visitors gather together under one roof, tensions are high among the partygoers—and things take a grisly turn when the a body dressed as Santa Claus is found under the tree. Can Mordecai unmask the killer before anyone else gets a deadly, unwanted gift for Christmas?

    Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d (Flavia de Luce Series #8), by Alan Bradley
    In the eighth novel in Bradley’s wickedly charming Flavia de Luce series, the young prodigy has been thrown out of Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, and she’s delighted to be sailing back to England. Unfortunately she is greeted upon her return with the terrible news that her father is ill. Flavia’s irritating sisters and cousin are ruining her homecoming—until she stumbles upon the body of a lonely woodcarver in his cottage in the woods. The man is hanging upside down on the back of a door, the only living witness on the scene is an unperturbed cat. Things pick up quickly for Flavia after that, and fans of this precocious young detective will thoroughly enjoy her vigorous investigation into this shocking murder.

    Christmas Caramel Murder (Hannah Swensen Series), by Joanna Fluke
    Trouble is brewing this holiday season in Lake Eden, Minnesota. Hannah and her buddy Lisa are providing the refreshments for this year’s production of A Christmas Carol, but Lisa is not thrilled that her husband has been cast as Santa…and his ex-girlfriend as Mrs. Claus. Before the show can get off the ground, though, Mrs. Clause is found dead in the snow…in a costume that is definitely not g-rated. Everyone’s a suspect in this madcap mystery which comes with 12 bonus holiday recipes from The Cookie Jar!

    A Christmas Return: A Novel, by Anne Perry
    When her investigation into a long-ago murder that sundered a friendship prompts the arrival of a mysterious and disturbing Christmas package on her doorstep, grandmother Mariah Ellison, the winning star of Perry’s newest Christmas-themed mystery, finds herself traveling to Surrey to pay a visit to her estranged friend, the murdered man’s widow, in an effort to make amends. There, she teams up with the victim’s grandson, who is hot on the killer’s (cold) trail. But now that they’re stirring up old crimes, every new lead puts this unlikely pair deeper into danger.

    Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women, by Emily Brightwell
    Christopher Gilhaney seems to have made enemies at a recent Guy Fawkes Night dinner party—judging by the fact that he was shot dead later that night. Granted, he did spend the evening insulting every guest in attendance, to the mortification of hostess Abigail Chase. The mystery of Christopher’s murder, which is suspected to be related to a botched robbery, remains unsolved six weeks later, and Inspector Witherspoon’s expertise is called upon. But the holidays are approaching, and Witherspoon and his household at large are concerned that their holiday plans are at risk of being interrupted. Can they put this one to bed, or will the truth forever elude them?

    The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers, by Peter Lovesy
    What do you get for the crime reader who has everything? How do you get your favorite armchair gumshoe into the holiday spirit? And where can you find 18 hilarious, chilling, and bizarre stories centering around suspicious mall Santas, mysterious dinner parties, and stolen diamonds? The answer to all of these questions (and so many more) is The Usual Santas, A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers, an anthology featuring stories by some of your favorite Soho Press authors and their most unexpectedly twisted Christmas-themed tales.

    How the Finch Stole Christmas, by Donna Andrews
    Eschewing his typical one man show, Meg’s husband has decided to launch a full-cast production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol—starring their sons Josh and Jamie as Tiny Tim and young Scrooge of course, with Meg as stage manager. But the faded-star celebrity he brought into town to play Scrooge has brought a whole lot of trouble with him, in the form of a veritable zoo of animals, including a collection of finches. Fans of Andrews’ lively and charming Meg Langslow series will be crowing about the twisty 22nd installment.

    What mysteries are you digging into this December?

    The post The Best New Mysteries of December 2017 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 7:30 pm on 2017/11/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Mystery,   

    10 Absolutely Essential Agatha Christie Novels 

    Tomorrow, Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express chugs into theaters with a full head of steam, and naturally, there’s been an accompanying surge of interest in the source material—perhaps the most famous of mystery master Agatha Christie’s long and stories career.

    But then, when aren’t millions of people obsessing over the fiendish cases concocted by the Grand Dame of mysteries? Every day, someone discovers her for the first time. After all, to read one Christie book is to want to read them all. Christie was a genius. She played fair with the reader even as she constructed diabolical plots loaded with so many plausible red herrings and misdirections, it’s often impossible to predict whodunnit it on your first read.

    Ah, but those first reads are glorious. If you’ve never read a Christie novel before, or if you’re simply looking to read for the cream of the crop, here are our picks for the 10 Agatha Christie books every mystery buff simply must read.

    The Murder of Roger Akroyd
    Still the greatest twist ever in the history of mystery stories, bar none. The controversy over whether Christie plays fair with the reader rages to this day—but anyone arguing that she doesn’t is just dealing with sour grapes after having their mind blown, because a reread will demonstrate that Christie never cheats with this story of a wealthy widower who is murdered in a small English town. Anyone unspoiled reader who claims to guess who the killer is before the final reveal is almost certainly lying.

    The ABC Murders
    Christie was still experimenting with form in this 1936 novel, mixing first- and third-person narration to add new levels of twisty complexity. Her legendary Inspector Hercule Poirot receives three letters detailing the serial murders of people whose initials are A.A., B.B., and C.C., and the race is on to solve the riddle before the fourth victim is killed. Containing one of the most audacious red herrings in mystery history, this novel’s solution establishes a trope Christie more or less invented, and is still used to this day by writers seeking to throw readers off the scent.

    Murder on the Orient Express
    One of Christie’s most famous novels for a reason, it remains a part of modern pop culture for two reasons: one, the devious twist behind the solution to the murder, and two, the sumptuous descriptions of a train ride, and a lifestyle long vanished from the world (while there are still train rides labeled “Orient Express,” they are mere recreations for tourists). It’s was a slower, more elegant world (assuming you had the money), and long before CSI came along to put the brilliant detectives like Poirot out of business—but in the end, it’s that absolutely amazing twist that makes this such an incredible read, even today.

    And Then There Were None
    It’s a simple premise: eight people are invited to a remote island under various pretenses, trapped there, and murdered one-by-one as punishment for past crimes they’d seemingly gotten away with. The result is widely regarded as Christie’s best book, and is today the most popular mystery novel of all time, with more than 100 million copies sold. Christie also named this book the most difficult of her novels to plan and write, which makes perfect sense once you’ve discovered the solution. The level of intricacy involved in pulling this one off makes it an absolute must-read.

    Curtain
    Hercule Poirot, the fussy, fearless Belgian detective who was Christie’s greatest creation, meets his final case. Although Christie’s writing had suffered a serious decline by the time this novel was published (just a year before her death), it’s one of her strongest works, with a twist that catches every Poirot fan off guard. This may be because Christie actually wrote it 30 years before, when she worried that World War II might, well, kill her. She wrote Poirot’s last case—setting it in the same location as his first—and locked it in a vault, bringing it out only when she knew she had no more novels in her.

    Death on the Nile
    One of Christie’s twistiest puzzles is set during a holiday in Egypt, where Hercule Poirot meets a couple being stalked by the husband’s former lover. The couple books a cruise down the Nile to escape the woman, but she follows (as does Poirot). Several murders are committed on board, including the murder of the unfortunate wife. As each crime occurs, the sense of danger and paranoia increases to a level almost impossible to withstand. It seems impossible it will all fit together in any sort of sane way—but once again, Christie proves to be smarter than all of us.

    Endless Night
    Probably the last really good book Christie wrote before her natural decline took away her genius, this is also the novel Christie herself named her favorite. Published in 1967, it’s a dark story that puts the detection in the background, as the crime is revealed to the reader only partway through. Instead, it’s a fascinating study of greed, guilt, and desperation that proves beyond a doubt that Christie was not only a great designer of mysteries, but a flat-out great writer.

    Peril at End House
    Another Poirot adventure, this one finds him investigating a series of crimes at a country estate called End House, and pivots on one of Christie’s smartest misdirections. Let’s just say always you have to be on guard against your own assumptions when reading Christie. This is one of those books where the solution almost makes everything seem too obvious—if not for the fact that, a few pages before the reveal, the atmosphere was tense with mystery, and finding the truth seemed nearly impossible.

    The Mysterious Affair at Styles
    The very first Hercule Poirot case (and Christie’s first published novel overall) is also one of her best, a story that captures a long-gone time and place—in this case, England, immediately following World War I]. A classic mystery setup sees a wealthy woman poisoned, and Poirot, a recent refugee from Belgium, called on by a friend to assist in solving the crime. As Christie’s first novel, it’s a little more concerned with scene setting and description than some of her more efficient later works, but it’s a satisfying mystery all the same, and introduces one of the greatest detective characters of all time.

    The Murder at the Vicarage
    In the first novel to feature Christie’s other famous detective, Miss Marple, someone everyone in town wanted dead turns up murdered, and there is not one but two confessors to the crime. Miss Marple is a fantastic creation—a seemingly mild, unexceptional old woman whose keen intellect catches clues others miss and makes deductive leaps others would never dream of. The determined, gentle pressure of her investigative techniques eventually bring out the truth—which is naturally something Christie made very plain, but which readers almost always misconstrue. It’s a classic.

    The post 10 Absolutely Essential Agatha Christie Novels appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 3:00 pm on 2017/10/31 Permalink
    Tags: , alexander mccann smith, anne canadeo, , city of lies, death in the stacks, , , hardcore twenty four, harry dolan, , , , knit to kill, , Mystery, , , sleep no more: 6 murderous tales, the house of unexpected sisters, the man in the crooked hat, , the trouble with twelfth grave darynda jones, , victoria thompson   

    The Best New Mysteries of November 2017 

    Happy November, gumshoes! This month, take advantage of a long, relaxing holiday weekend (or, hours of traveling to see family and friends) to get in some uninterrupted reading time! Stock your nightstand or suitcase with a few of these page-turners and keep fall mysterious.

    Hardcore Twenty Four, by Janet Evanovich
    As her many fans are aware, to know Stephanie Plum is to love her. Evanovich’s long-running series following the madcap exploits of Jersey’s most illustrious bounty hunter takes a spooky turn when headless bodies begin turning up left and right. Although initially they’re corpses from the morgue, when a homeless man is found murdered and decapitated, someone has clearly upped their creepy game, Stephanie is compelled to take the case. In the meantime, she’s bunking with professional grave robber Simon Diggery and his pet python, and concerned about Grandma Mazur’s online dating escapades. Tall blonde and handsome Diesel is also back in town, which is stirring things up for Stephanie and her perennial paramours, sexy cop Joe Morelli and the enigmatic Ranger. Treat yourself to the latest mystery in the Plum series!

    City of Lies, by Victoria Thompson
    This exciting new series by the author of the Gaslight Mystery Series introduces readers to Elizabeth Miles, a savvy con artist in the Robin Hood vein who makes a brazen living divesting wealthy men of their fortunes…until the day she and her brother cross the wrong wealthy man and end up fleeing for their lives. Elizabeth stays safe by hiding among a group of privileged women whose activism she comes to admire…and in time her admiration extends to Gideon, the son of the group’s matriarch. But Elizabeth has been playing a deadly game, and her past is on the verge of catching up with her.

    The Man in the Crooked Hat, by Harry Dolan
    For two years, former Cop Jack Pellum has been searching for his wife’s murderer—whom he is convinced is a suspicious, fedora-wearing stranger he observed in her vicinity a few days before her death. But his obsessive quest, which has so far been fruitless, is jumpstarted when a message relating to the suicide of a local writer cracks the case wide open. And when Pellum crosses paths with Michael Underhill, a man with a dark hidden past who has everything to lose now that he’s found the perfect girlfriend, he finds himself closer than ever to finding out the truth, which is might be more than he can handle. A relentless plotter who sketches out unforgettable characters, if you’re a mystery fan and you haven’t read Dolan yet, put him on your list.

    How the Finch Stole Christmas, by Donna Andrews
    Eschewing his typical one man show, Meg’s husband has decided to launch a full-cast production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol—starring their sons Josh and Jamie as Tiny Tim and young Scrooge of course, with Meg as stage manager. But the faded-star celebrity he brought into town to play Scrooge has brought a whole lot of trouble with him, in the form of a veritable zoo of animals, including a collection of finches. Fans of Andrews’ lively and charming Meg Langslow series will be crowing about the twisty 22nd installment.

    Knit to Kill, by Anne Canadeo
    Lucy Bing, a member of the storied Black Sheep knitting group, is getting married! To relax before the nuptials, the group accepts an invitation from Suzanne Cavanaugh’s friend Amy to spend the weekend on Osprey Island. But their relaxing getaway is ruined when an unpleasant local resident falls from a cliff to his death—and investigators believe he was murdered. When suspicion falls on Amy’s husband, it’s up to the Black Sheep knitters to untangle this unsettling mystery—which features a diabolical killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

    The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, by Darynda Jones
    Jones’ 12th Charley Davidson novel continues to blend mystery, romance, and the paranormal into a delightfully offbeat series. Son of Satan (and Charley’s husband) Reyes Farrow has been a bit peeved ever since she accidentally trapped him in Hell, which is understandable. But he’s not the only one making her life difficult these days—her startup PI venture is also keeping things very lively, and someone’s begun going after humans with an awareness of the supernatural. Can Charley protect them, despite her suspicion that she’s protecting them from someone she cares deeply about? If you haven’t yet met Charley Davidson, start at the beginning with the uproarious, award-winning First Grave on the Right.

    The House of Unexpected Sisters, by Alexander McCall Smith
    In this nuanced, slow burn mystery, the 18th in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Precious Ramotswe is approached by a woman fighting against what she calls an unfair dismissal from her job—for being rude to a customer. Although Mma Ramotswe initially takes her side, as more information comes to light, she begins to come to a troubling conclusion. Not only that, she discovers the existence of a local woman, a nurse, with the same last name of Ramotswe—which comes as something of a shock. When Mma Potokwani informs her that an unsavory man from her past has returned to Botswana, very likely in an effort to deliberately seek her out, Mma Ramotswe realizes she has her work cut out for her when it comes to unraveling the mysteries of her past and present, which have become entangled together.

    Sleep No More: 6 Murderous Tales, by P. D. James
    This cunning assortment of previously uncollected stories from the indomitable author of Death Comes to Pemberley is filled with tales of crimes committed long ago, complete with the chilling rationalizations that so often accompany them. Take a deep dive into the heart of a killer, and explore the push-pull in the minds of murderers, witnesses, orchestrators of the perfect crime, and unwitting victims. James’s formidable talent shines just even more brightly in her shorter works.

    A Christmas Return: A Novel, by Anne Perry
    When her investigation into a long-ago murder that sundered a friendship prompts the arrival of a mysterious and disturbing Christmas package on her doorstep, grandmother Mariah Ellison, the winning star of Perry’s newest Christmas-themed mystery, finds herself traveling to Surrey to pay a visit to her estranged friend, the murdered man’s widow, in an effort to make amends. There, she teams up with the victim’s grandson, who is hot on the killer’s (cold) trail. But now that they’re stirring up old crimes, every new lead puts this unlikely pair deeper into danger.

    Death in the Stacks, by Jenn McKinlay
    Brier Creek Library’s annual Dinner in the Stacks is a delightful fundraising event that should be lifting the spirits of the library’s staff—who instead find themselves under the thumb of miserable new library board president Olive Boyle, who is ruining everything. When Olive threatens bright new hire Paula, Lindsey Norris berates her—and she fears repercussions on the night of the big event. However, Olive is found dead in the middle of Dinner in the Stacks, with nonother than Paula crouching over her. Can Lindsey clear her name, or will Paula get the book thrown at her? Don’t miss the eighth book in this charming series for mystery-minded bibliophiles.

    Parting Shot, by Linwood Barclay
    A young man swears he has no memory of stealing a Porsche and murdering a girl while inebriated—an act which devastated the small community of Promise Falls and unleashed a barrage of threats against his family. Against his better judgment, Cal Weaver reluctantly agrees to investigate the threats, but before long he finds himself sucked into a brutal quest for revenge.

    The Secret, Book & Scone Society, by Ellery Adams
    The first book in a new series that combines a few of everyone’s favorite things—books, baked goods, and deep, dark secrets. Nora Pennington resides in beautiful Miracle Springs, North Carolina, a place renowned for the healing properties of its hot springs. Nora owns Miracle books, and she has a talent for drawing out people’s stories about their lives—in exchange for her uncannily perfect book recommendations. When a businessman is found dead before he can keep his appointment with Nora, she forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, which gives members a place to turn for support and a feeling of camaraderie—as long as they first reveal their darkest secrets first. As the members of Nora’s club begin to investigate the businessman’s mysterious death, they discover a sense of community—along with some hidden dangers.

    What mysteries are you excited about this month?

    The post The Best New Mysteries of November 2017 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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