Howloween Murder by Laurien BerensonStarring: Melanie Travis, who raises show dogs and works with struggling students as a tutor at a Connecticut private academy.
What happens: The school's elderly secretary is accused of poisoning a homemade marshmallow puff that killed a neighbor, so Melanie seeks the real murderer as Halloween nears.
Series alert: This lighthearted 26th in a popular cozy series features a cast of likeable characters (human and canine) and deft plotting.
In a Midnight Wood by Ellen HartWhat happens: Attending an arts festival in the small town of Castle Lake, Minnesota, 53-year-old restaurateur and true crime podcast host Jane Lawless and her best friend Cordelia Thorn investigate after the bones of a long-missing teenager are unearthed in a local cemetery.
Read it for: personable characters; an intricate plot; chapters that alternate between the time of the murder and the present day.
Series alert: Though this is the 27th entry in the award-winning Jane Lawless mysteries, newcomers can start here.
The Finisher by Peter LoveseyThe setup: Curmudgeonly police detective Peter Diamond of Bath, England is working crowd control during a springtime half marathon when he spots a violent criminal he put away years ago.
What happens: A female runner goes missing, and Diamond and his team investigate, even searching the parts of the ancient city that are underground, in a case that might involve human trafficking.
Series alert: This is the atmospheric, intricate 19th Peter Diamond mystery by octogenarian Peter Lovesey, who published his first mystery (starring Victorian London's Sergeant Cribb) 50 years ago.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard OsmanWhat it's about: When a contractor at an English luxury retirement village is murdered, four members of its crime club try to crack the case.
Reviewers say: "British TV celebrity [Richard] Osman mixes mirth and murder in his exceptional debut" (Publishers Weekly); "A top-class cozy infused with dry wit and charming characters" (Kirkus Reviews).
Read this next: If you like witty, unorthodox British police detectives, try Christopher Fowler’s delightful Bryant & May books; for short stories involving a mystery-solving group, grab Agatha Christie's Tuesday Night Club.
Grave Peril by Jim ButcherStarring: cynical Chicago wizard-for-hire Harry Dresden, who finds lost items and conducts paranormal investigations.
What happens: With the help of his friend Michael, who's a sword-carrying knight, Harry tries to figure out why a powerful ghost is wreaking havoc and targeting Harry's friends, not to mention dealing with the vampires and demons who are afoot as well.
Series alert: This 3rd in the bestselling Dresden Files cleverly combines fantasy and mystery elements and features likeable characters, action-packed plots, and zippy dialogue. The 17th book in the series, Battle Ground, came out in September.
Ghost in Trouble by Carolyn HartStarring: Bailey Ruth Raeburn, a fashion-conscious emissary from Heaven's Department of Good Intentions....and its biggest rule-breaker.
What happens: Kay Clark's former boyfriend comes home to Adelaide, Oklahoma and dies in what appears to be an accident. Kay thinks it was murder, and now Bailey Ruth's assigned to keep her safe and sort it all out.
For fans of: Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series, who may like this 3rd entry in a funny, heartwarming supernatural series set in a small town.
Ghost Stories : Classic Tales of Horror and Suspense
by Leslie S. Klinger
The ghost story has long been a staple of world literature, but many of the genre's greatest tales have been forgotten, overshadowed in many cases by their authors' bestselling work in other genres. In this spine-tingling anthology, little known stories from literary titans like Charles Dickens and Edith Wharton are collected alongside overlooked works from masters of horror fiction like Edgar Allan Poe and M. R. James
Murder on Millionaires' Row by Erin LindseyStarring: spirited 19-year-old Rose Gallagher, an Irish American housemaid working in a Fifth Avenue brownstone in 1886 New York.
What it's about: Rose investigates after her handsome British boss mysteriously disappears, and she finds herself dealing with Pinkerton agents as well as ghosts and other supernatural elements.
Series alert: This delightful series debut mixes paranormal mystery with a hint of romance. Rose's adventurous 3rd outing, The Silver Shooter, arrives in November, where you'll find her heading out west.
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