The Diabolical Bones by Bella EllisStarring: Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë, pen-wielding sisters who live in a Yorkshire parsonage with their father and brother...and solve crimes.
What it's about: In December 1845, the skeletal remains of a child are found in a nearby home's chimney. The sisters set out to find who the child was, which has them checking out local rumors, monster stories, and abusive child labor practices.
Series alert: Full of Gothic atmosphere, this is the compelling sequel to The Vanished Bride; the author is currently working on the 3rd Brontë Sisters mystery.
Cruel as the Grave by Cynthia Harrod-EaglesStarring: likeable DCI Bill Slider, whose wife is expecting their second child any day.
What happens: In London's Shepherd's Bush area, Slider and his dedicated team investigate the murder of a handsome fitness trainer who had multiple romantic partners. Despite the dead man's girlfriend being covered in blood, Slider thinks she may be innocent.
Series alert: This is the witty, well-plotted 22nd Bill Slider mystery; readers can start here, but those who want to see characters develop should start earlier in this popular series.
Blood Grove by Walter MosleyWhat happens: In the summer of 1969, Black Los Angeles PI Easy Rawlins, a World War II vet, agrees to help a traumatized white Vietnam vet, who says that while trying to save a woman, he thinks he killed a Black man -- but the scene of the supposed crime is completely clean.
Why you might like it: Featuring unforgettable characters, this atmospheric 15th Easy Rawlins mystery takes place against the backdrop of the social and political changes of the 1960s.
Award buzz: The National Book Foundation recently presented Walter Mosley with the 2020 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
Picnic in the Ruins by Todd Robert PetersenWhat it's about: Crossing paths with two inept criminals hired to steal Native American maps, Ph.D. student Sophia Shepard, who's in the Utah-Arizona border region working on her dissertation, finds herself on a madcap trip that involves a magician, a German tourist, a local sheriff, and a video game designer.
Why you might like it: Picnic in the Ruins is a clever noirish caper with a vivid setting that thoughtfully looks at the ethics of artifact collection.
For fans of: Tony Hillerman, Carl Hiaasen, and William Boyle's A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself.
Knock Knock by Anders RoslundWhat happens: After new murders mimic old ones, Stockholm DS Ewert Grens, who's nearing retirement, looks for the now-adult girl who survived years ago and was put in witness protection...but her records are missing. Meanwhile Hoffman, a police informer, faces an underworld threat to his family and wants Grens' help.
Series alert: Knock Knock, which has also been published as Three Days, is the 8th Grens novel overall and the 4th pairing Grens and Hoffman; previous entries were co-written with the late Börge Hellström. All of these suspenseful books can be enjoyed on their own.
Aunt Dimity's Good Deed by Nancy AthertonWhat it's about: When her husband must miss their planned trip to England to visit the charming cottage she's inherited, Lori Shepherd 's father-in-law goes in his place. When the older man goes missing, Lori sets out to find him, guided by the ghost of Aunt Dimity.
Series alert: This is the 3rd in a bestselling cozy series; the 24th and most recent book, Aunt Dimity and the Heart of Gold, came out last year.
Read this next: Carolyn G. Hart's Bailey Ruth mysteries, which star a ghost; Donna Andrews' Meg Langslow mysteries, which also has quirky characters and chronicles family and village life.
Good Man Gone Bad by Gar Anthony HaywoodWhat happens: South Central Los Angeles PI Aaron Gunner works two cases, both featuring men accused of murder who may be innocent. One is a PTSD-suffering Afghan War vet accused of killing his boss, and the second is Gunner's cousin Del, whom the police claim shot his wife and injured his adult daughter before killing himself.
Series alert: Back for his 7th outing after a 20-year lapse, Vietnam Vet Aaron Gunner may be a bit older but he's just as appealing.
For fans of: atmospheric L.A.-set crime novels, like those by Walter Mosley, Michael Connelly, and Joe Ide.
The Good Detective by John McMahonStarring: rural Georgia detective P.T. Marsh, who's drinking too much after the accidental deaths of his wife and son.
What happens: His troubles culminate the morning after he beats up the abusive boyfriend of a stripper and awakens with little memory of the previous evening -- and learns the man is dead. Did P.T. kill him? Adding to the questions, the boyfriend seems to have taken part in a hate killing hours before his own death.
Why you might like it: This 1st in the P.T. Marsh series is a debut that was named a 2019 New York Times Top 10 Crime Novel, and it offers a complex mystery that examines grief, race issues, and what it means to be good. The 3rd entry, A Good Kill, comes out in June.
An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten; translated by Marlaine DelargyWhat it is: a dark, slyly humorous collection of five crime stories by Helene Tursten, who writes the Irene Huss police procedurals.
Starring: Maud, a cunning 88-year-old Swedish woman who lives happily alone in her roomy apartment in Gothenburg -- and who has no compunction with dispatching those who bother her.
What happens: Maud handles a local celebrity who covets her apartment, foils the engagement of her long-ago lover, and even meets Inspector Huss after a body is found in Maud's apartment.
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