Tea & Treachery by Vicki DelanyIntroducing: Lily Roberts, a former Manhattan pastry chef who has opened a charming tea shop near her grandmother's beautiful Cape Cod bed-and-breakfast.
What happens: A real estate developer planning to build a hotel right next door is found murdered near the B&B's staircase to the beach.
Who it's for: With a pleasing setting, clever plotting, tea facts, and yummy recipes, this delightful 1st in a new series should please fans of well-wrought cozy mysteries.
Dead West by Matt GoldmanWhat happens: Minneapolis PI Nils Shapiro heads to Hollywood on a supposedly easy job: make sure that wealthy Beverly Mayer's grieving grandson, whose fiancée recently died in a tragic accident, isn't wasting all of his money trying to start a film studio. What Nils finds is a smart man surrounded by users and that the "accident" was actually murder.
Series alert: Though this is the 4th Nils Shapiro novel readers new to the series can easily start here.
Once You Go This Far by Kristen LepionkaWhat happens: After Columbus, Ohio, PI Roxane Weary helps a fatally injured woman on a hiking trail, the woman's grieving daughter hires her, believing the fall was no accident. This draws Roxane into a complex situation that has her going back and forth to Canada for answers.
Series alert: Fans of this award-winning series will be interested in this 4th entry's developments, but newcomers can start here, too.
A Royal Affair by Allison MontclairStarring: The proprietors of The Right Sort Marriage Bureau: up-for-anything Iris, a spy during the war, and aristocratic widow Gwen, who lives with her young son in her wealthy in-laws' Kensington mansion.
What it's about: In 1946 London, the women are hired to covertly investigate the complex past of the dashing Greek prince who has captured 20-year-old Princess Elizabeth's heart.
Series alert: This 2nd in a charming series offers engaging lead characters, an intriguing look at post-World War II England, and fascinating details about the British Royal family during that time.
The Eighth Detective by Alex PavesiStarring: Grant McAllister, a mathematician who, some 20 years ago, wrote a paper about the rules of whodunits as well as seven short stories demonstrating them (which are all included within this novel); Julia Hart, a book editor who wants to re-edit and publish Grant's work.
What happens: Julia travels to Grant's remote Mediterranean island home to work with him -- and discovers that the books have strange errors and may hide even greater mysteries than she first thought.
Who it's for: Those who like creative storytelling and mystery novels' puzzle aspects will best enjoy this fresh, intricately plotted debut.
Raven Black by Ann CleevesIntroducing: Dogged police inspector Jimmy Perez, who's returned home to the Shetland Islands after separating from his wife.
What happens: In one of the area's insular communities, a teenage girl who'd moved there from London a year ago is killed. Perez hunts for the murderer as locals point fingers at one of the last people to be seen with the victim, an elderly man with intellectual disabilities.
Why Louise Penny fans might like it: This acclaimed 1st in the Shetland series (which inspired U.K. television's Shetland) offers atmosphere to spare, an isolated locale, and deft plotting.
A Killing in the Hills by Julia KellerThe setup: In tiny Acker's Gap, West Virginia, a "shabby afterthought of a town," 17-year-old Carla Elkins witnesses the efficient shooting of three elderly men by an unknown person in a diner on a Saturday morning.
The aftermath: As Carla gradually recalls details about the shooter, her estranged mom, obsessively driven county prosecutor Bell Elkins, works to solve the case.
Why Louise Penny fans might like it: This award-winning debut novel by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist features lyrical writing and a complex investigator working in a vividly depicted small town.
Wicked Autumn by G.M. MallietIntroducing: Max Tudor, the handsome new vicar in Nether Monkslip, who's also a former MI5 officer.
What happens: The quiet village's most overbearing woman dies in suspicious circumstances at the Harvest Fayre, leading Max to suspect foul play and wonder if one of his new parishioners is a killer.
Why Louise Penny fans might like it: Though more lighthearted than Penny's novels, this 1st in a series provides a modern village setting, charming characters, and a clever whodunit.
A Test of Wills by Charles ToddIntroducing: Shell-shocked World War I veteran Ian Rutledge, who's secretly tormented by a dead Scottish soldier's voice and has just returned to duty as a Scotland Yard Inspector in 1919.
What happens: A jealous colleague has Ian assigned to a hot-potato case that could push him over the edge. In the village of Warwickshire, a retired colonel has been murdered and the prime suspect is a decorated war hero, who's also a friend of the Prince of Wales.
Why Louise Penny fans might like it: In this layered 1st in a series, the introspective Rutledge must maneuver his way through several figurative minefields in order to solve the complex case and hold on to his sanity.
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