This month's best new mysteries include a tale of British espionage, a thriller featuring a difficult main character and a story of a South African winery weekend gone awry.
Lucy Stone usually lets the mysteries come to her quaint hometown of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, but in the 21st installment of the Lucy Stone Mystery series, the popular sleuth is unexpectedly whisked off to the romantic streets of Paris. It’s not a first for Stone, as prolific series author Leslie Meier has sent her on junkets to Manhattan and England on occasion. Still, in French Pastry Murder, she’s a little out of her element.
It’s impossible! The body of a young woman, dead only a few hours, is discovered in a pose that suggests she was trying to claw her way out of her own grave. To add an even more macabre touch, the gravesite is that of a woman who has been dead for two years.
Ever wonder what happened after the end of Pygmalion (the original play on which the film My Fair Lady is based), as Eliza Doolittle’s emerging independence wars with Professor Henry Higgins’s attempts to ensure that she remains under his proverbial thumb? Fear not. The pseudonymous D.E. Ireland (a debut team of two authors, Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta) has imagined an alternative.
If ever a book were tailor-made for a David Fincher movie adaptation (Se7en, Zodiac, etc.), it’s Lauren Beukes’ latest dark, genre-bending mystery.
Fans of Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad novels have undoubtedly been eager to discover the protagonist of her fifth book, The Secret Place. The wait is over, and this time Detective Stephen Moran takes the spotlight in this clever, fast-paced mystery set at an all-girls Irish boarding school.
Victorian London comes alive in Anne Perry’s tension-filled new mystery, Blood on the Water, the 20th novel in her best-selling William Monk series.
Monk, commander of London’s River Police, is on patrol with his deputy, and the two watch a large pleasure craft as it wafts sounds of music and laughter across the water. Suddenly, they witness a terrible explosion and fire that sinks the boat within minutes, leaving few survivors.
September is a big month for mysteries this year, both in terms of excellence and page count (close to 2,000 pages in the four books here—truly a reviewer’s marathon!). If ever there were a month deserving of four Top Picks, this is it.
Question: How does one possibly attempt to add to the crime canon of Agatha Christie, whose 80 mystery novels and short story collections have sold more than two billion copies, trailing only the Bible and her countryman William Shakespeare? Answer: Very. Very. Carefully.
Julia Keller's debut mystery, A Killing in the Hills, introduced prosecuting attorney Belfa “Bell” Elkins and the small Appalachian town of Acker's Gap, West Virginia. In Summer of the Dead, Keller's third mystery set in Acker's Gap, Bell faces a new murderer, as well as family challenges and the burdens of the coal mining community.
The opening acknowledgements in Summer of the Dead hint at a heartbreaking story: "Some years ago I met the wise and stalwart wife of a coal miner in McDowell County, West Virginia. She had created a place for her husband under the big kitchen table; because of his many years spent working underground, and injuries to his spine, he was only comfortable in a crouching position. The story has haunted me ever since, and it inspired a key element of this novel."
Keller shed some light on this inspiration and the questions and challenges of caretaking.