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.
And Now She's Gone by Rachel Howzell HallWhat it's about: After years doing research at a firm, 39-year-old African American Grayson Sykes has her first solo job as a PI for the group.
The case: A doctor's girlfriend has been missing for weeks and the cops think she left of her own accord. Now, Gray, who has secrets and troubles of her own, must find the truth. But it's all more complicated than it first appears...and that's before Gray's past catches up with her.
Read it for: the captivating characters; the wry humor; the atmospheric setting; the suspenseful, twisty plot.
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.
A Deception at Thornecrest by Ashley Weaver1934 England: Heavily pregnant Amory Ames is at her Kent Country house when a nice young lady arrives...claiming to be married to Amory's handsome husband, Milo.
What happens: As Amory is dealing with one newcomer, another visitor appears in the village who upends the town and its Springtide Festival in a case involving secret identities, seduction, and murder.
Series alert: Like the earlier entries, this 7th in the Amory Ames series has a pleasing mystery, witty banter, and a dashing couple.
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.
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.
A House of Ghosts by W.C. RyanThe setup: In winter 1917, Lord and Lady Highmount host a weekend house party on an island off the Devon coast, with plans for a séance in hopes of contacting their two sons lost in the raging war. Among the guests are two Secret Intelligence Service employees, including socialite Kate Cartwright, who suspect a spy's hiding among those at the party.
What happens: A storm traps the guests and a murder occurs, and Kate, who can see ghosts, investigates along with her partner.
What it is: a pleasing paranormal spin on the classic traditional mystery, written by Irish author W.C. Ryan (who as William Ryan penned the Captain Alexei Korolev series set in 1930s Russia).
Ghouls, ghouls, ghouls
by Victoria Laurie
What it's about: While in Ireland at the haunted ruins of Dunlow Castle, M. J. and the crew of Ghoul Getters face their most dangerous foe yet in the form of a deadly phantom who is guarding a hidden treasure.
Series alert: This is the fifth book in Laurie's Ghost Hunter Mystery series featuring paranormal medium M. J. Holliday.
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