The Infinite Blacktop by Sara GranWhat happens: In her 3rd outing, eccentric P.I. Claire DeWitt describes three cases she's been involved in: the disappearance of a fellow teenage sleuth in 1980s Brooklyn, a cold-case double murder in 1990s Los Angeles, and her own attack by a homicidal driver in 2011 Oakland.
Who it's for: Those who like critically acclaimed, noir-ish novels featuring troubled, philosophical detectives.
Want a taste? "This was how it always was and always will be, exactly as it was meant to be."
The Vanishing Box by Elly GriffithsStarring: Brighton, England DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto, who met in a secretive World War II unit nearly ten years ago.
What happens: Edgar is called to a murder scene where a body is arranged as if in a famous Jane Grey painting...which calls to mind the poses that the young women in Max's new opening act create.
Series alert: This 4th Magic Men novel is a charming holiday mystery featuring romance and a well-crafted plot. To start with the 1st book (and see character relationships develop), pick up The Zig Zag Girl.
The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson; translated by Victoria CribbIntroducing: Hulda Hermannsdottir, a dogged 64-year-old Detective Inspector with the Reykjavik Police who's being forced into retirement.
What happens: With two weeks left on the job, Hulda's begrudgingly allowed to select a cold case to investigate. She picks the murder of a Russian asylum seeker -- and not everyone's happy about it.
For fans of: This debut in the Hidden Iceland series should please readers of Arnaldur Indridason's Iceland-set mysteries as well as Anne Holt's Hanne Wilhelmsen novels, which star an older female detective.
The Hollow of Fear: The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry ThomasThe premise: Sherlock Holmes doesn't exist; he's an alter ego made up by socially ruined Charlotte Holmes, who uses her extraordinary powers of deduction to succeed as an inquiry agent in Victorian London.
What happens: Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson (a former actress), Charlotte helps her sister (who, unable to speak, is hidden away by their parents), her half-brother (whose life is in danger), and a friend (whose estranged wife is discovered dead on his estate).
Series alert: This is the 3rd book in the atmospheric, cleverly plotted Lady Sherlock historical mystery series that begins with A Study in Scarlet Women.
The Frangipani Tree Mystery by Ovidia YuIntroducing: Chen Su Lin, a clever 16-year-old with a limp due to polio, who wants a job, not an arranged marriage, and turns amateur sleuth to help police Inspector Thomas Le Froy when a young Irish woman on the governor's household staff is killed.
What it is: A charming traditional mystery set in British-controlled 1930s Singapore written by an award-winning Singaporean writer.
Series alert: This is the 1st in the new Crown Colony series.
If You Like: Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series
Recipes for Love and Murderby Sally AndrewWhat it's about: In rural South Africa, 50-something Tannie Maria (tannie means "auntie" in Afrikaans and is a term of respect), writes a newspaper column that combines food and advice (recipes included).
What happens: Maria pens advice for an anonymous abused woman and then investigates a murder...much to the chagrin of a handsome cop.
Why Alexander McCall Smith fans might like it: Featuring a kind-hearted detective, it's the 1st in a charming cozy series set in Africa by a writer who knows and loves her part of continent.
A Red Herring Without Mustardby Alan BradleyStarring: Flavia de Luce, a precocious, quirky (and adorable, but don't tell her) 11-year-old chemist, who lives in a large house in a 1950s English village with her widowed father and two tormenting older sisters.
What happens: Flavia draws on her knowledge of poisons, Romani lore, and more to discern what happened to a long-missing child and figure out who committed a murder in the present.
Why Alexander McCall Smith fans might like it: This witty 3rd in a series beautifully describes rural village life and the relationships therein, and features a sleuth whose personal life plays a role in each book.
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem KhanWhat happens: In Mumbai, India, Inspector Chopra is forced to retire from the police after more than 30 years due to a heart attack. On his last day at work, he begins to investigate a drowning...together with his new sidekick, a baby elephant.
Series alert: This acclaimed book is the 1st of four (so far) in the Baby Ganesh Agency investigation books.
Why Alexander McCall Smith fans might like it: It has a fascinating, well-drawn setting, endearing characters, and warm wit and wisdom.
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