In real life, British author Peter James rides regularly with the Sussex police on their rounds. This fascination with police procedures and the milieu of law enforcement is amply displayed in his best-selling Roy Grace crime novels, now in its 11th installment with You Are Dead.
There’s trouble among the upper crust of 1930s London society, and in Ashley Weaver’s absorbing second mystery, Death Wears a Mask, the lovely and aristocratic Amory Ames is once again at the ready. She unmasked a murderer in Weaver’s 2014 debut, Murder at the Brightwell, and now a wealthy acquaintance has sought her help in ferreting out a thief.
The dead man’s ID says his name is James Putnam. The unfortunate victim of a motor vehicle accident, Putnam was killed instantly on the highway when an oncoming car jumped the divider and plowed head-on into his Porsche.
The problem is that James Putnam has been dead for 15 years.
Italian-born author Elsa Hart lived in China for a time, absorbing knowledge of its history, customs and manners, and in her exceptional debut mystery, Jade Dragon Mountain, she evokes its essence for readers in often dreamlike, mesmerizing prose.
It takes only a few pages of the suspenseful mystery After the Storm to hurl readers into the heart of a violent tornado touching down near the little town of Painters Mill in rural Ohio, bringing widespread destruction and even the death of an infant. In the twister’s aftermath, a different kind of damage works its way to the surface, as Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the site of an old barn where human bones have been unearthed in the wake of the storm.
In a windblown field near the sea in Norfolk, England, a land developer’s excavating machine uncovers first a silver wing, then the cockpit of an American World War II fighter plane, then the ghostly remains of a long-dead pilot staring up from inside.
Author Seán Haldane explores the frontier culture of 1869 British Columbia in an award-winning novel that wades through people’s preconceptions and ideas about savagery and civilization, set at a moment when geographic boundaries are expanding and Charles Darwin’s ideas are just beginning to challenge old frames of mind. This singular story offers a lively, up-close look at Victorian manners and views of that time, set in the context of cold-blooded murder.
The World War II era is fertile soil for writers of crime fiction, and Francine Mathews follows hard on the heels of her exceptional Jack 1939 (2012) with a crackerjack espionage thriller, Too Bad to Die, both set in that time. Mathews, a former intelligence analyst for the CIA, knows all the tricks of the trade, and her novel imagines the words and actions of bona fide participants in one of the seminal events of that war—the Tehran Conference in 1943, where Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin come together to plan their final move against Nazi Germany, the invasion of Europe.
Crime fiction groupies can usually form a pretty quick mental picture of the cop, PI or little old lady detective in any new mystery novel, and that take remains, embedded in the reader’s imagination, for the duration of the story.
Don’t look for a boilerplate story or predictable characters in Becky Masterman’s surprising second mystery, Fear the Darkness. There’s no letdown after Masterman’s first book, the Edgar Award finalist Rage Against the Dying. Her extraordinary heroine, 59-year-old FBI retiree Brigid Quinn, is front and center for a second time in this surprising thriller.