Like a Sister by Kellye GarrettFirst lines: "I found out my sister was back in New York from Instagram. I found out she'd died from the New York Daily News."
What it's about: Columbia grad student Lena Scott believes her estranged reality star half-sister Desiree didn't accidentally overdose -- but who would kill her? And why was she found near Lena's Bronx home? Lena investigates, which means dealing with her and Desiree's hip-hop mogul dad, glitzy influencers and reality stars, and deadly secrets.
Read it for: authentic New York City locations, twisty plotting, and probing looks at social media, reality TV, racism, and sexism.
Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. ManansalaWhat happens: Even as her new cafe prepares to open, Lila Macapagal steps in as a last-minute judge for the local beauty pageant she won as a teen -- but when the head judge is killed and Lila's cousin becomes the main suspect, she adds "solve a murder" to her to-do list.
Is it for you? This sequel to Arsenic and Adobo once again serves up witty writing, engaging characters, and delicious Filipino food (with recipes), but it also deals with serious topics like PTSD and grief.
Still hungry? For more culinary cozies, try Raquel V. Reyes' Mango, Mambo, and Murder, Abby Collette's Ice Cream Parlor mysteries, Vivien Chien's Noodle Shop novels, or Vicki Delany's Tea by the Sea books.
The Shadow of the Empire by Qiu XiaolongWhat happens: In 7th-century China, poetry-loving Judge Dee is asked by a powerful person to investigate when a famed poetess/courtesan confesses to killing her maidservant even though the facts don't add up.
Series alert: This is the "brilliant" (Publishers Weekly) 1st in a planned series based on real-life Tang Dynasty figure Di Renjie.
For fans of: the author's Inspector Chen Cao mysteries; Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee mysteries from the 1950s-1960s, which feature the same character.
Murder Most Fowl by Donna AndrewsStarring: Meg Langslow, a busy blacksmith in rural Virginia who lives with her drama professor husband and two kids, deals with her eccentric extended family's shenanigans, and solves the occasional murder.
Double trouble: Meg's husband is directing Macbeth and rehearsals are underway even as medieval Scots reenactors from the college's history department camp in nearby woods. When a documentary filmmaker takes embarrassing footage of a number of the players, he ends up dead.
Series alert: This is the witty, delightful 29th outing for Meg; her 31st book, Round Up the Usual Peacocks, is due in August.
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan BradleyStarring: Flavia de Luce, a precocious 11-year-old budding chemist who lives in a 1950s English village with her strapped-for-cash widowed father and two tormenting older sisters.
What happens: Flavia's father rents their manor house to a film crew at Christmas, and the whole village descends to watch the film stars do a charity performance of Romeo and Juliet scenes -- but a blizzard strands people overnight and someone is strangled with a length of film.
Series alert: This 4th entry of ten in a well-plotted, charming series should delight fans of traditional mysteries; newcomers may want to start with the 1st book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher MooreWhat it is: a funny, fantastical hardboiled mystery version of A Midsummer Night's Dream that stars court jester Pocket and his two associates, Drool and Jeff (a pet monkey).
What happens: Washed ashore in Greece, Pocket upsets a duke, goes on the run, encounters faeries (including King Oberon), witnesses the killing of Robin Goodfellow (aka Puck), and is hired to solve the murder.
Series alert: Following Fool and The Serpent of Venice, Shakespeare for Squirrels is the bawdy, banter-filled 3rd novel featuring Pocket.
Macbeth by Jo Nesbo; translated by Don BartlettWhat it is: Norwegian author Jo Nesbo's gritty noir take on Shakespeare's Macbeth as set in a rundown 1970s Scottish industrial port city.
What happens: With the help of Lady, the ambitious wife of SWAT team leader Macbeth, drug kingpin Hecate manipulates Macbeth into killing Duncan, the new anti-drug police commissioner.
Want a taste? "In District 3 the rain-laden wind swept across police HQ, Inverness Casino and streets where the rain had driven most people indoors, although some still hurried around searching or escaping."
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