Mystery Reviews


This is a superb book that tells the story of two boys, one black and one white, growing up in a small Mississippi town in the 1970s. A teenage girl disappears, and the main suspect is the white teenager, but no charges are ever brought because there is no evidence. Still, the town ostracizes him for 25 years, until another girl goes missing. So much is excellent in this book, namely the nuanced portrayal of these main characters and of their parents and friends, who weave in and out of their lives, and the rural Southern society and landscape, which is an important part of the plot. Rarely do you find a novel with such crisp yet delicate dialogue, which does so much to reveal character and plot. It is so often very brief, only one word or two, but so much is said or implied. The title comes from the rhyme that Southern children learn when spelling "Mississippi", but the duality implied by the repeated phrase is a major theme in this book. It’s the best fiction I’ve read in a long time. Recommended by Pat.
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060594671
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Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - May 17th, 2011

“The classic trifecta of talent, heart, and a bone-deep sense of storytelling….A masterful performance, deftly rendered and deeply satisfying. For days on end, I woke with this story on my mind.”
   — David Wroblewski



If you enjoy British cozy mysteries, you’re going to love G.M. Malliet’s WICKED AUTUMN, the first book in a new series.  It’s set in Nether Monkslip (a traditional English village) and features Max Tudor, an Anglican vicar/sleuth and former MI5 agent.  Wanda Batton-Smythe has many enemies, as well as a deadly peanut allergy!  Extremely well-written with a nice dash of humor. Recommended by Rochelle.
Wicked Autumn: A Max Tudor Novel (Max Tudor Novels) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250004109
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Published: Minotaur Books - August 7th, 2012

"Hugely funny, exquisitely well written, a tongue-in-cheek village mystery to be savored. G.M. Malliet's arch tone and wry humor make her a writer to be treasured."
--Julia Spencer-Fleming, bestselling author of ONE WAS A SOLDIER

BREAKDOWN by Sara Paretsky (publication date January 2012)

Yea. V.I. Warshawski is back on target. The tale twists and turns, includes her important husband as her steadying compass, and ends up with an unexpected conclusion. Set in Chicago and focusing on teen girls involved in an occult ritual, Warshawski meets some powerful parents who may be harmed by their daughters’ actions and proximity to a murder. She tries to stay focused on the clues without alienating those who might help her. Paretsky gives some hints but I stayed perplexed and not wanting to put the book down most of the time. V.I. Warshawski was my first female detective and I’m delighted to see her back in form. Recommended by Julie.
Breakdown (V.I. Warshawski Novels) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451238801
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Published: Berkley Books - December 4th, 2012

A strange crime gets V.I. Warshawski involved with some of Chicago's most rich and powerful players in this thriller from New York Times bestselling author Sara Paretsky.


Kinsey Millhone is the modern emancipated woman engaged in a brutal world. As she says she’s a “big fan of forgiveness as long as I’m given the opportunity to get even first.” Chapter 1 is the most brutal, and much reading is required to see how it ties in with the rest of the story. In the next chapter Kinsey sees shoplifting in a store, reports it, and is hurt by the perpetrator’s cohort. Shoplifting as a national profession? Two people found dead, considered possible suicides? Kinsey is hired by the lover of the shoplifter to find out answers about his partner. Even when he backs out Kinsey continues on out of determination, a commitment to the truth. She’s 38 and with the support of her next door neighbor and some friends she’s going to make this come right. S. Grafton is 68 and I want her to get through Z with the same fervor she put into this novel. Recommended by Julie.
V Is for Vengeance: A Kinsey Millhone Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780425250563
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - October 30th, 2012

Private detective Kinsey Millhone feels a bit out of place in Nordstrom's lingerie department, but she's entirely in her element when she puts a stop to a brazen shoplifting spree. For her trouble she nearly gets run over in the parking lot by one of the fleeing thieves and later learns that the one who didn t get away has been found dead in an apparent suicide.

SILENT IN THE GRAVE by Deanna Raybourn

SILENT IN THE GRAVE by Deanna Raybourn is the first in the series featuring Lady Julia Grey. Set in an upper-class Victorian England environment, this book and the others in the series are very entertaining----I’ve really enjoyed all of them. Lady Julia investigates the death of her husband in this one, and she’s a very smart cookie. Clever, well-written, fast-paced and with a dash of humor. Recommended by Rochelle.
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ISBN: 9780778328179
Availability: Backordered
Published: Mira Books - January 1st, 2010

"Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave."

These ominous words are the last threat that Sir Edward Grey receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, he collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.


I thoroughly enjoyed M.L. Longworth’s DEATH AT THE CHATEAU BREMONT.  The lovely Provence setting, much talk of wine and food, interesting sleuths (a chief magistrate and his former girlfriend, a law professor) and murder in a noble family come together in a sparkling new mystery. Recommended by Rochelle.
Death at the Chateau Bremont (Provencal Mystery #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143119524
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Published: Penguin Books - June 28th, 2011

The first installment in the beloved, sumptuous mystery series set in Provence, featuring chief magistrate Antoine Verlaque and his old flame Marine Bonnet, who must team up to solve a pair of murders

The newest book in the Proven al Mystery series, The Secrets of the Bastide Blanche, is available now from Penguin Books


MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson is a delightful British comedy of manners, set in a small English village. A retired army major adjusts to village life, a snobbish, social-climbing son and finds himself attracted to the Pakistani woman who runs a small shop. Told with clever, dry wit and much insight, this funny, polished novel is a joy to read! Recommended by Rochelle
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (Random House Reader's Circle) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812981223
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Published: Random House Trade - November 30th, 2010

In the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary in the English countryside lives Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, the Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea.


The Keeper of Lost Causes by Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen features a flawed Copenhagen police detective who is almost killed while on duty. His two colleagues didn’t fare as well. When he returns to duty, he’s been relegated to the department basement and must head up Department Q a newly created special investigative division that looks into unsolved homicide cases.
The Keeper of Lost Causes Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525952480
Availability: Special Order
Published: Dutton Adult - August 23rd, 2011

Jussi Adler-Olsen, author of "The Absent One," is Denmark's premier crime writer. His books routinely top the bestseller lists in northern Europe, and he's won just about every Nordic crime-writing award, including the prestigious Glass Key Award-also won by Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, and Jo Nesbo.

SLEEPING MURDER by Agatha Christie

If you’re hungering for a tried-and-true, reliable British mystery, you can’t beat Agatha Christie’s Sleeping Murder. Though she falls in love with a house for herself and her new husband, Gwenda begins to get the odd feeling that a door ought to be in a place where there isn’t one.
Sleeping Murder: Miss Marple's Last Case (Miss Marple Mysteries #13) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062073723
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Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - April 1st, 2011

In Agatha Christie’s classic, Sleeping Murder, the indomitable Miss Marple turns ghost hunter and uncovers shocking evidence of a perfect crime.

THE HYPNOTIST by Lars Kepler

THE HYPNOTIST by Lars Kepler, a pseudonym for a literary couple who live in Sweden, isn’t just another brooding Scandinavian crime novel. It’s a worthy successor to Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy. A family is murdered, but there is one survivor: a disturbed adolescent. The story switches to Erik Maria Bark, a well-known psychiatrist and hypnotist who stopped practicing hypnotism several years ago.
The Hypnotist Cover Image
By Lars Kepler, Ann Long (Translator)
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ISBN: 9781250007582
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Picador USA - November 22nd, 2011

A Time Magazine Top 10 Fiction book for 2011
One of the Wall Street Journal's Top 10 Mysteries of the Year 2011

Prepare for The Hypnotist to cast its spell