Galway Girl: A Jack Taylor Novel by Ken BruenWhat it's about: Reeling from the death of a loved one, Irish PI Jack Taylor, an alcoholic ex-cop, tries to figure out who's killing Galway's police officers and discovers a personal connection to the killers.
Series alert: This is Jack's acclaimed 15th outing. Newcomers interested in following Jack's ups and (many) downs may want to start with the 1st book, The Guards.
For fans of: gritty Irish crime novels; tough, troubled detectives; dark humor; crisp writing.
Lady Takes the Case by Eliza Casey1912 Yorkshire, England: Facing money woes and with their 19-year-old daughter, Lady Cecelia, having no prospects yet, Lord and Lady Avebury pin their hopes on a match between their studious son and an American heiress newly arrived in England.
What happens: After a dinner guest is poisoned and her kind brother becomes a suspect, Cecelia forms an unlikely team with the heiress's maid in order to find a killer in this well-plotted series debut.
For fans of: Downton Abbey; country house settings.
The Spotted Dog: A Corinna Chapman Mystery by Kerry GreenwoodFeaturing: baker and amateur sleuth Corinna Chapman; her ex-Mossad agent boyfriend Daniel; her young employees, such as recovering addict Jason; and the quirky denizens of her charming Melbourne, Australia, neighborhood.
What happens: When a Scottish veteran suffering from PTSD comes to Daniel for help after his dog is kidnapped, Corinna helps investigate and is soon dealing with computer viruses, religious zealots, drug gangs, break-ins, and more.
Series alert: This 7th entry in the Corinna Chapman series will please fans of atmospheric character-driven mysteries.
A Step So Grave by Catriona McPhersonWhat it's about: In 1935, Dandy Gilver travels with her family to the Scottish Highlands to meet her son Donald's fiancée at a remote estate. When Donald's future mother-in-law is murdered, Alec, Dandy's investigative partner, joins her to sort out who killed the woman, who seemingly had no enemies.
Series alert: Dandy's 13th outing has dry wit, eccentric characters, intricate plotting, and an evocative country house setting.
For fans of: P.G. Wodehouse, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Agatha Christie.
The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols: Adapted from the Journals of John H. Watson... by Nicholas MeyerWhat it's about: Investigating the murder of a British Secret Service agent in 1905, Sherlock and Watson, accompanied by an enigmatic woman, board the Orient Express headed for Russia to uncover a plot that involves an anti-Semitic tract.
Why you might like it: This slow-building 4th in a series (after 1974's The Severn-Per-Cent Solution, 1976's The West End Horror, and 1993's The Canary Trainer) wonderfully captures Dr. Watson's narrative voice.
About the author: Nicholas Meyer is also a screenwriter and film director (he's helmed several Star Trek movies, including Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan).
Starring: Classic Authors
The Tale of Hill Top Farm: The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig AlbertWhat happens: In 1905, following the death of her beloved fiancé, author and animal lover Beatrix Potter purchases a Lake District farm. Just after her arrival, an elderly neighbor suddenly dies and several items go missing from local buildings. Potter as well as various animals (who converse amongst themselves) look into the two mysteries.
Series alert: This is the charming 1st entry in a delightful cozy historical mystery series by veteran author Susan Wittig Albert.
Locked Rooms: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. KingWhat happens: In 1924, Mary Russell and her much-older husband, Sherlock Holmes, arrive in Mary's hometown of San Francisco.
The problem: The visit causes Mary unexplained anxiety and strange dreams...and the couple wonder if the car accident that killed Mary's family years ago was actually murder. When they meet Dashiell Hammett, a struggling writer who supplements his income with detective work, the trio team up to find out.
Series alert: This 8th in a popular series (the 1st is The Beekeeper's Apprentice) is well-researched and provides loads of atmosphere.
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell1854 London: Author and opium addict Thomas De Quincey is promoting his controversial satirical essay about 40-year-old killings when someone replicates the murders, making him Scotland Yard's top suspect. Luckily, his strong-willed daughter Emily helps him search for the real killer.
About the author: Well known for his adventure novel First Blood (the basis for the film Rambo), author David Morrell has written a variety of books, including the fast-paced, thoroughly researched Thomas De Quincey trilogy, of which this is the series opener.
Who it's for: Though this book is set across the pond and several decades earlier, fans of Caleb Carr's The Alienist should try it.
The Dante Chamber by Matthew PearlStarring: Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
What happens: In 1870 London, grisly murders related to the work of Dante occur just as they did five years earlier in Boston (see The Dante Club). With her brother Dante Gabriel missing, Christina enlists the help of others to find him before he becomes a victim or is arrested for the crimes.
For fans of: compelling, suspenseful, and well-plotted literary mysteries.
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A Talent for Murder by Andrew WilsonStarring: "Queen of Crime" and young mother Agatha Christie, whose husband is having an illicit affair, causing her to be threatened by a blackmailer who wants Agatha to kill his wife.
Why you might like it: It offers an intriguing explanation of what Christie was doing when she disappeared for 11 days in December 1926.
Try this next: If you like this 1st in a series, pick up Nicola Upson's atmospheric Josephine Tey mysteries, which also feature a real mystery author turned fictional detective.
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