Killer Words by V.M. BurnsStarring: Samantha "Sam" Washington, the widowed owner of a small-town Michigan bookstore who also writes historical British cozies.
What happens: Sam, her Nana Jo, and Nana Jo's friends from the Shady Acres Retirement Village investigate when a local police detective is arrested for murdering a mayoral candidate.
Why you might like it: Like the other Mystery Bookshop books, this lighthearted 7th entry has appealing characters and includes excerpts of Sam's work in progress, giving readers two mysteries in one.
Bryant & May: London Bridge Is Falling Down by Christopher FowlerFeaturing: eccentric elderly police detectives Arthur Bryant and John May, plus others in the secretive London-based Peculiar Crimes Unit.
What happens: Investigating the death of 91-year-old Alice Hoffman, a former government security expert, Bryant and May find she's part of a group of older women with ties to intelligence work (and somehow to London Bridge) who may all be in danger.
Series alert: This18th Bryant & May mystery -- which is sadly the final entry -- once again provides quirky characters, delightful humor, twisty plotting, and fascinating bits of history.
Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino; translated by Giles MurrayThe problem: It looks like the wealthy man whom everyone thinks got away with murder 20 years ago has managed to kill and get away with it again -- then he's murdered during an annual street parade.
The solution: When all of the suspects have alibis, Tokyo's Detective Chief Inspector Kusanagi asks for help from Detective Galileo, his physics professor friend who has a Holmesian way of looking at things.
Who it's for: This 4th Detective Galileo mystery to be translated into English works for newcomers to the series as well as Golden Age mystery readers and international crime fans who like intricate plots.
Hello, Transcriber by Hannah MorrisseyNew in town: Hazel Greenlee, an unhappily married aspiring writer, has just moved with her husband to a crime-ridden Wisconsin town for his work. She finds a job as a night-shift police transcriber, gets caught up in several investigations, and starts an affair with an enigmatic detective.
Why you might like it: This gritty debut by Hannah Morrissey, who has worked as a police transcriber, offers suspense, first-person narration, and complex relationships.
Read this next: Try Liz Moore's Long Bright River or Jane Harper's The Survivors for more mysteries with a strong sense of place and a melancholy tone.
Murder Under Her Skin by Stephen SpotswoodStarring: Willowjean "Will" Parker, a former knife thrower with Hart & Halloway's Traveling Circus and Sideshow, who's now a New York City detective working for genius Lillian Pentecost, who has multiple sclerosis.
The circus is in town: In small Stoppard, Virginia, the latest stop for Hart & Halloway's, someone's put a knife in the back of the Amazing Tattooed Woman, so Will and her boss head south to uncover who did it.
Series alert: Like Fortune Favors the Dead, this sprightly 2nd Pentecost and Parker novel offers witty narration, 1940s period atmosphere, and appealing characters.
Books You May Have Missed
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle CosimanoIntroducing: Finlay Donovan, a struggling romantic suspense novelist and single mom to two preschoolers in suburban Virginia.
Big mistake: Taken for a contract killer after being overheard talking plot with her book agent, Finlay -- who has no intention of killing anyone -- finds herself scrambling when she discovers the man she was supposed to murder dead in her garage.
Series alert: This is the delightfully funny first adult book by Edgar-nominated author Elle Cosimano; her 2nd in the series, Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead, comes out in February.
Bone Canyon by Lee GoldbergWhat it's about: L.A. County Sheriff’s Department members resent Eve Ronin, a young homicide detective promoted due to a viral video. Tensions escalate when Eve and her mentor investigate human remains discovered after a Santa Monica Mountains fire, which connect to a six-year-old gang rape that may have ties to Eve's fellow officers.
Series alert: Bone Canyon, the twisty 2nd Eve Ronin novel after Lost Hills, is followed by the recently released Gated Prey.
For fans of: other compelling, tightly plotted police procedurals set in L.A., like Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch or Renee Ballard novels.
How Lucky by Will LeitchWhat happens: After witnessing the possible kidnapping of a college student, 26-year-old Daniel -- who can't speak and uses a wheelchair due to his spinal muscular atrophy -- tries to solve the mystery with the help of his stoner best friend and his dedicated caregiver.
For fans of: Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Sarah J. Harris' The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder, or the movie Rear Window.
Author buzz: Will Leitch is the founding editor of Deadspin; How Lucky, his debut adult novel, is set in Athens, Georgia, where he lives.
Murder at Mabel's Motel by G.A. McKevettWhat happens: In tiny McGill, Georgia, in the mid-1980s, Stella “Granny” Reid raises her seven grandchildren, dates the local sheriff, and investigates after a notorious gang leader is poisoned.
Series alert: The charming 3rd in the Granny Reid mysteries follows Murder in Her Stocking and Murder in the Corn Maze.
Why you might like it: Murder at Mabel's Motel focuses on Granny, but also offers an entertaining look at Savannah Reid (13 years old in this book), who, as an adult, stars in her own cozy mystery series set in California (the 26th entry, A Few Drops of Bitters, was released in July).
When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLainWhat happens: In 1993, after a personal tragedy, San Francisco police detective Anna Hart retreats to her Northern California hometown. There, she helps the sheriff, a childhood friend, in his search for a missing teen whose disappearance eerily resembles that of another girl years earlier.
Did you know? This is the lyrical, atmospheric first mystery by the bestselling author of The Paris Wife, who uses both her own experiences in foster care and the real-life murder of Polly Klaas to inform the novel.
Reviewers say: "stunning" (Publishers Weekly); a "multilayered mystery enriched by keen psychological and emotional insight" (Kirkus Reviews).
Contact your librarian for more great books!