RogerBW's Blog

Death by Water, Kerry Greenwood 20 April 2017

2005 historical detection, fifteenth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). After a series of jewel thefts aboard the SS Hinemoa, Phryne is employed by P&O as both detective and bait.

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Flowers Stained With Moonlight, Catherine Shaw 16 April 2017 - 2 comments

2005 historical epistolary mystery, second of Shaw's series. In 1892, a young woman's much older husband has been murdered; her mother brings in Vanessa Duncan to try to get the answers and avoid scandal before the police arrest the widow.

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More Work for the Undertaker, Margery Allingham 09 April 2017

1948 classic English detective fiction; thirteenth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. The decaying Palinodes are lodging in what used to be the family house, but one of them seems to have been poisoned; what is the neighbouring undertaker up to; and why is a delirious crook terrified of "going up Apron Street"?

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The Book of the Dead, Elizabeth Daly 05 April 2017

1944 mystery; eighth of Daly's books of Henry Gamadge, book expert and amateur investigator. Mr Crenshaw arrived in New York, settled his affairs and died of leukemia, with no relatives to be informed; but a casual acquaintance didn't like the look of his servant, and asks Gamadge to dig into the matter.

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Final Curtain, Ngaio Marsh 31 March 2017

1947 classic English detective fiction; fourteenth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Agatha Troy is commissioned to paint a portrait of Sir Henry Ancred, famed Shakespearian actor; the house is full of his variously ghastly family, including the chorus-girl he's taken up with.

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The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks, James Anderson 27 March 2017

2003 somewhat parodic cosy detective fiction; third and last of Anderson's novels of the Earl of Burford and Inspector Wilkins. The last two house parties at Alderley ended in murder, but surely there can't be any harm in having people down for Great-Aunt Flossie's funeral and the reading of her will?

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Asking for Trouble, Ann Granger 20 March 2017

1997 mystery; first of Granger's novels of Fran Varady. Fran is unemployed, broke, and about to be turfed out of her London squat along with her three housemates. But one of those housemates is soon going to turn up dead.

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They Found Him Dead, Georgette Heyer 14 March 2017

1937 detective fiction; third of Heyer's novels of Detective Inspector, later Superintendent, Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway. Silas Kane is found at the foot of a cliff on the morning after his sixtieth birthday party; obviously he slipped. But then his heir is quite blatantly shot, and attempts are made on the life of the next heir.

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Suddenly at His Residence, Christianna Brand 07 March 2017

1946 detective fiction; third of Brand's novels of Inspector Cockrill. Sir Richard's grandchildren visit his country house in the summer of 1944 as flying-bombs descend on London; he decides to disinherit them all, goes to spend the night in the lodge dedicated to the memory of his deceased first wife, and is found dead in the morning. US vt The Crooked Wreath.

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Queen of the Flowers, Kerry Greenwood 05 March 2017

2004 historical detection, fourteenth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne investigates a disappeared "fast" girl, and one of her adopted daughters tries to find her original father. But will Phryne manage to appear as Queen of the Flowers at the St Kilda Festival? Of course she will.

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The Weight Of The Evidence, Michael Innes 28 February 2017

1943 mystery, ninth in Innes' John Appleby series. At Nestfield University, Professor Pluckrose is found dead in his deck-chair on the Green, crushed by a meteorite; surely not an accident, and Appleby investigates.

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Castle Rouge, Carole Nelson Douglas 26 February 2017

2002 historical mystery, sixth of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler. Following the events of Chapel Noir, our protagonists variously head east to put an end to the Ripper mystery.

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Died in the Wool, Ngaio Marsh 20 February 2017

1945 classic English detective fiction; thirteenth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Florence Rubrick, sheep station owner and local MP, vanished one night from her home; her body was found some weeks later, packed into a bale of wool. Eighteen months later, Alleyn is hunting for spies in New Zealand, and informally takes on the case.

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The Three Body Problem, Catherine Shaw 11 February 2017

2004 historical epistolary mystery. In Cambridge in 1888, a young schoolmistress tries to solve the murders of three mathematicians before her beau is convicted of them.

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Chapel Noir, Carole Nelson Douglas 07 February 2017

2001 historical mystery, fifth of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler. In Paris in 1889, the Exposition Universelle is in full swing… but a notorious killer seems to have come over from London.

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Borderline, Nevada Barr 05 February 2017

2009 mystery, fifteenth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. After the events of the last book, Anna's on administrative leave; she travels with her husband to the Rio Grande for a rafting trip. They come across a nearly-dead, very pregnant woman; and apparently someone wants to finish the job.

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Coroner's Pidgin, Margery Allingham 30 January 2017

1945 classic English detective fiction; twelfth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. Back in London after three years overseas on mysterious war work, Campion just wants to catch a train; but Lugg and an unknown lady turn up in his flat with a corpse. US vt Pearls Before Swine.

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Colour Scheme, Ngaio Marsh 17 January 2017

1943 classic English detective fiction; twelfth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. At a run-down hot-springs resort in the back country of New Zealand, one guest seems to be going out of his way to offend everyone; then he vanishes.

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Death and the Dancing Footman, Ngaio Marsh 08 January 2017

1941 (some sources say 1942) classic English detective fiction; eleventh of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. For his own amusement, Jonathan Royal invites six mortal enemies to a party at his house in Dorset. Really, the first surprise is that he isn't murdered.

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Surfeit of Lampreys, Ngaio Marsh 04 January 2017

1940 classic English detective fiction; tenth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. The Lampreys are an impoverished aristocratic family; after Lord Charles's rich brother refused to give them yet another handout, he was found stabbed to death. Mad wife? Annoyed brother? Random stranger? Well, it'll never be that last in a classic mystery. US vt Death of a Peer.

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Dying to Write, Judith Cutler 26 December 2016

1996 mystery; second of Cutler's novels of Sophie Rivers, teacher in a sixth-form college in Birmingham and part-time chorister. Sophie goes on a residential writing course; one of her fellow students dies, and a tutor goes missing.

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Heads You Lose, Christianna Brand 22 December 2016

1941 detective fiction; second of Brand's novels, and first to feature Inspector Cockrill. A visitor to a country house says "I wouldn't be seen dead in a ditch in a [hat] like that"… and is soon proved wrong. The next night another woman is murdered.

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The Mill on the Shore, Ann Cleeves 19 December 2016

1994 detective fiction; seventh of Cleeves's novels of amateur private detectives George and Molly Palmer-Jones. Jimmy Morrissey was the public voice of environmentalism and conservation, but killed himself with an overdose of antidepressants. Or did he?

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Death in High Heels, Christianna Brand 15 December 2016 - 2 comments

1941 detective fiction; first of Brand's novels, and first of two featuring Inspector Charlesworth. One of the senior staff of a London dress-shop dies of poison; her co-workers are the only plausible suspects.

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Spin and Die, Stella Whitelaw 13 December 2016

2000 mystery, third in Whitelaw's Jordan Lacey series. Jordan takes on a job following a woman suspected of compensation fraud against the local department store, and then tries to track down vanishing stock in the run-up to Christmas. And of course there's also a murder.

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Traitor's Purse, Margery Allingham 11 December 2016

1940 classic English detective fiction; eleventh of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. An amnesiac Campion knows he was in the middle of dealing with a truly serious plot… but what is it all about, and whom can he trust? US vt The Sabotage Murder Mystery.

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There's Something In a Sunday, Marcia Muller 09 December 2016

1990 mystery; ninth in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco. Sharon's assigned to follow Frank Wilkinson as he spends his Sunday going round the horticultural high spots of San Francisco. But her client's obviously lying about why he wants the job done, and soon he ends up dead.

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Death at the Bar, Ngaio Marsh 07 December 2016

1940 classic English detective fiction; ninth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. In an isolated village in Devon, a game of darts at the pub ends in death. Accidental? Surely not.

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Thus Was Adonis Murdered, Sarah Caudwell 02 December 2016

1981 mystery, first of Caudwell's Hilary Tamar series. A young barrister, Julia, is taking a tour in Venice; she gets a gorgeous young man to bed, and a few hours later he's found dead, stabbed, with her copy of the Finance Act next to the body.

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Overture to Death, Ngaio Marsh 28 November 2016

1939 classic English detective fiction; eighth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Miss Campanula was killed by a booby-trapped piano, but was she really the intended victim?

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A Case of Spirits, Peter Lovesey 26 November 2016

1975 historical detective fiction; sixth of Lovesey's novels of Sergeant Cribb, policeman in Victorian London. Two thefts during séances conducted by the latest fashionable medium attract the attention of the police, but when the next séance ends in a death, mere spiritualism is clearly not the only deception going on.

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Slight Mourning, Catherine Aird 22 November 2016

1975 detective fiction; sixth of Aird's novels of Inspector Sloan and Constable Crosby. Bill Fent, local landowner, died when his car hit another at a notorious corner… but he'd have been dead before morning anyway, from the poison in his system.

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Mr Campion and Others, Margery Allingham 20 November 2016

1939/1950 collection of short mystery stories featuring Albert Campion.

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Last Bus to Woodstock, Colin Dexter 18 November 2016 - 3 comments

1975 detective fiction; first of Dexter's novels of Inspector Morse. Two young women wait for the bus out of Oxford one night; one goes to hitch a ride, and her dead body is found the next day.

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Dying Fall, Judith Cutler 16 November 2016 - 2 comments

1995 mystery; first of Cutler's novels of Sophie Rivers, a teacher in a sixth-form college in Birmingham. Finding one of her students stabbed to death in the lift is bad enough; when her best friend dies in a way that seems plausibly accidental except to people who knew him well, Sophie knows she'll have to look into the situation herself.

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Cast in Order of Disappearance, Simon Brett 12 November 2016 - 2 comments

1975 detective fiction; first of Brett's novels of Charles Paris, ageing actor. A friend and occasional lover of Charles's has been dumped by her current sugar daddy, and she asks him to return some compromising photographs. But getting in touch is going to be something of a challenge.

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Death in a White Tie, Ngaio Marsh 06 November 2016

1938 classic English detective fiction; seventh of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Someone's blackmailing London's high society as the Season begins, and Alleyn asks a friend who moves in those circles to look into it; murder will be done.

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I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, Alan Bradley 04 November 2016

2011 historical mystery; fourth in Bradley's series about Flavia de Luce, young amateur sleuth in 1950s Britain. As Christmas approaches, Buckshaw is let to a film crew who'll be making The Cry of the Raven, starring the famous Phyllis Wyvern. But not all of the company will be leaving again.

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Artists in Crime, Ngaio Marsh 31 October 2016

1938 classic English detective fiction; sixth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. At an informal residential art school, the model has been murdered – by a method all the students had talked about some days before.

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A Red Herring Without Mustard, Alan Bradley 29 October 2016

2011 historical mystery; third in Bradley's series about Flavia de Luce, young amateur sleuth in 1950s Britain. A missing baby, an assault on a Gypsy (sic) fortune-teller, and a murder in Flavia's own home will all turn out to be connected.

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The Mystery of the Yellow Room, Gaston Leroux 27 October 2016

1907 mystery. Mlle Stangerson, daughter of the famous scientist, locked herself into her bedroom… then came the sound of a struggle, shouts of "Murder", and gunfire. When her father broke down the door, she was seriously injured and the only person there – and the window-bars had not been moved.

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The Fashion in Shrouds, Margery Allingham 25 October 2016

1938 classic English detective fiction; tenth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. Georgia Wells, actress and femme fatale, attracts men like moths. But somehow, just as they start to get troublesome, they seem to die. Is Georgia less silly, and more dangerous, than she appears?

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The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag, Alan Bradley 24 October 2016 - 4 comments

2010 historical mystery; second in Bradley's series about Flavia de Luce, young amateur sleuth in 1950s Britain. Rupert Porson, the famous puppeteer (at least to those who have televisions), was passing through the village of Bishop's Lacey when his van broke down; since he's stuck there overnight, he might as well put on a show. But it's all going to go horribly wrong.

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The Affair of the Mutilated Mink, James Anderson 22 October 2016

1981 somewhat parodic cosy detective fiction; second of Anderson's novels of the Earl of Burford and Inspector Wilkins. After the last one, the Earl swore off house-parties, but it seems it's all happening again. Including the murder.

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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley 20 October 2016
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Vintage Murder, Ngaio Marsh 19 October 2016

1937 classic English detective fiction; fifth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. This time he's on holiday in New Zealand, sharing an overnight train with a touring theatrical troupe also from England, when the manager says that someone's tried to murder him. The next day, someone will succeed.

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Ask the Cards a Question, Marcia Muller 15 October 2016

1982 mystery; second in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco. One of Sharon's neighbours in her apartment building is strangled, and it looks worryingly as if Sharon's house-guest, who's prone to alcoholic amnesia, might have done it.

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Winter Study, Nevada Barr 13 October 2016

2008 mystery, fourteenth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. Anna returns to Isle Royale, this time in winter, to join the wolf/moose wildlife study; it's disrupted by an observer from Homeland Security, who clearly has a brief to shut it down and instead open the park in winter to "beef up security". Then traces of an unexpected large predator show up. Then people start to die.

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Edwin of the Iron Shoes, Marcia Muller 10 October 2016

1977 mystery; first in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco. Sharon's been looking into arson and vandalism on a street of junk and antique shops that's in the crosshairs of gentrification. But now one of the shop owners has been fatally stabbed.

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The Case of the Late Pig, Margery Allingham 09 October 2016

1937 classic English detective fiction; ninth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. Campion is called to the village of Kepesake as the recent rich incomer has clearly been murdered… but when Campion sees the body, he realises he went to the same man's funeral five months earlier.

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Blood and Circuses, Kerry Greenwood 06 October 2016

1994 historical detection, sixth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne goes undercover in a circus to try to find out who's sabotaging it; and a performer who's moved on from it is accused of murder.

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The Green Mill Murder, Kerry Greenwood 03 October 2016

1993 historical detection, fifth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). During a dance competition at the Green Mill, a figure slumps to the ground. Was he the target of his attacker – or was it Phryne? And why has her partner for the evening bolted?

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Dancers in Mourning, Margery Allingham 02 October 2016

1937 classic English detective fiction; eighth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. Someone's playing silly pranks on Jimmy Sutane, star of a successful musical; he invites Campion to look into it. But then one of Sutane's house-guests dies: accident, suicide, murder? Later US vt Who Killed Chloe?.

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Death at Victoria Dock, Kerry Greenwood 30 September 2016

1992 historical detection, fourth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). As Phryne is driving home one night, someone shoots out her windscreen. As the gunfight moves on, she gets out of the car to find an injured young man, who dies in her arms.

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Murder on the Ballarat Train, Kerry Greenwood 28 September 2016

1991 historical detection, third in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Everyone in one of the carriages on the overnight train to Ballarat is chloroformed; Phryne retains just enough consciousness to shoot out the window and let in some air. When everyone recovers, it's found that an elderly passenger has vanished. But why?

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Death in Ecstasy, Ngaio Marsh 25 September 2016

1936 classic English detective fiction; fourth of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. At a meeting of the House of the Sacred Flame, a small cult, the Chosen Vessel drinks from the Flaming Cup, gabbles nonsensically, and dies of a dose of sodium cyanide.

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Flying Too High, Kerry Greenwood 23 September 2016

1990 historical detection, second in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne takes on the case of a son whose mother is worried he'll murder his father, and then the father is indeed murdered; and she tracks down a kidnapped child.

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Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood 19 September 2016

1989 historical detection, first in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Intelligent, beautiful, rich, and bored, the Hon. Phryne Fisher travels to Australia in order to find out whether John Andrews is poisoning his wife, her clients' daughter.

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Strong Poison, Dorothy Sayers 17 September 2016 - 8 comments

1930 classic English detective fiction; fifth of Sayers's novels of Lord Peter Wimsey. Philip Boyes, writer on atheism, anarchy and free love, died of quite a lot of arsenic; Harriet Vane, who had lived with him without benefit of clergy for nearly a year until they had quarrelled three months earlier, is accused of having poisoned him. Wimsey, seeing the trial, is convinced of her innocence, not to say smitten by her; when the jury cannot agree on a verdict, he makes it his business to save her from the gallows in the month before the new trial.

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Eye of the Storm, Marcia Muller 16 September 2016

1988 mystery; eighth in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco. Sharon's sister Patsy has a new boyfriend, and a renovation project in the Sacramento Delta. But someone's playing tricks, sabotaging the project and scaring off the workers; Sharon takes a long weekend away from her job to help Patsy out.

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Blood at the Bookies, Simon Brett 14 September 2016

2008 mystery; ninth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Jude drops into the local betting shop to take shelter from a sudden hailstorm; another customer staggers out, and turns up stabbed in an alley nearby.

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Death Under the Dryer, Simon Brett 10 September 2016

2007 mystery; eighth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Carole always has her hair cut at Connie's Clip Joint, "same shape, but shorter". This time, Kyra, one of the juniors, hasn't turned up, and she turns out to have been left dead in the back room, strangled with the cord of a hair-dryer.

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Flowers for the Judge, Margery Allingham 08 September 2016

1936 classic English detective fiction; seventh of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. The Barnabas family publishing house is used to strangeness; the founder's nephew disappeared in broad daylight while walking between his house and the main road. Now Paul Brande, one of the cousins who run the firm, is found dead inside a locked room. US vt Legacy in Blood.

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The Stabbing in the Stables, Simon Brett 06 September 2016

2006 mystery; seventh in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Jude's been asked to extend her healing practice to a horse; but she doesn't expect to find the co-owner of the stables stabbed to death. Obviously it was the local "Horse Ripper", caught in the act. Or was it a jealous husband?

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The Witness at the Wedding, Simon Brett 02 September 2016

2005 mystery; sixth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Carole's son is getting married, but the bride's parents are oddly reluctant to have any announcements made… and then the father is strangled.

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The Nursing Home Murder, Ngaio Marsh 30 August 2016

1935 classic English detective fiction; third of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. In a private hospital, the Home Secretary was operated on for appendicitis: shortly afterwards he was dead, poisoned with hyoscine (scopolamine). And all sorts of people seem to have had motives.

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The Hanging in the Hotel, Simon Brett 28 August 2016

2004 mystery; fifth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Jude is helping out at the Hopwicke Country House Hotel, but the morning after a boozy meeting of the Pillars of Sussex, an organisation of local businessmen, one of them doesn't come down to breakfast… because he's hanging from a beam of his four-poster bed. Obviously a suicide…

…or obviously not, but proving it will be hard work, especially when the Pillars of Sussex close ranks to disassociate themselves from the victim. Everybody's far too willing to talk to Carole and Jude, as usual, but a key player appears for the first time three-quarters of the way through the book, which doesn't help matters.

Most of the investigation is a trudge through local businesses, and Brett's usual cast of horrible people. Everyone has something to hide, of course, and it usually reinforces how ghastly they are.

As in The Torso in the Town, the ultimate villain goes unpunished, which again seems to be a violation of the principles of murder mysteries: the detectives find themselves stymied and essentially give up and go home. But they do that seemingly because there are only a few pages left; if it were half-way through the book they'd go after some alternative source of information, and for their behaviour to be so blatantly affected by a non-diegetic element breaks my suspension of disbelief.

But in this book, the mystery is the bread on which the pâté of human drama is spread: what are these people's secrets, and how do they react as things come out? Also, this marks a significant achievement in the process of Carole's transformation into a human being, as she finds herself become able to talk with her son and his fiancée in a way she certainly wouldn't have been when the series started. (However, I think Brett realised that without having Carole as a pompous prig he loses the contrast she strikes against free-spirited Jude, so her progress from this point on is much slower and sometimes even reversed.)

Followed by The Witness at the Wedding. [more]

The Castlemaine Murders, Kerry Greenwood 26 August 2016

2003 historical detection, thirteenth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne investigates a mummified corpse found in a carnival attraction.

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Murder in the Museum, Simon Brett 24 August 2016

2003; fourth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Bracketts, an Elizabethan house, is to be turned into a museum celebrating the life and work of the local poet Esmond Chadleigh, its most famous resident. Then a skull is dug up in the garden.

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Subete ga F ni Naru 21 August 2016

2015 mystery novel adaptation, 11 episodes: AniDB, vt "Everything Becomes F" or "The Perfect Insider". Shiki Magata killed her parents when she was fourteen, but her mind was clearly disturbed, and she's a brilliant programmer; for the fifteen years since then, she's been confined to a few rooms within a research lab, with extremely restricted communication with the outside world. And yet, someone has managed to murder her.

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The Torso in the Town, Simon Brett 20 August 2016

2002 mystery; third in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). The couple who've just moved into the Big House in Fedborough, inland up the river from Fethering, throw a dinner party to try to get into the local social scene… which is somewhat spoiled when a limbless body is discovered in the cellar.

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Enter a Murderer, Ngaio Marsh 18 August 2016 - 3 comments

1935 classic English detective fiction; second of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. When Arthur Surbonadier is fatally shot on stage during the last act of The Rat and the Beaver, there's no question about who pulled the trigger: the shooting was part of the play. But there wasn't supposed to be live ammunition in the gun.

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Death on the Downs, Simon Brett 16 August 2016

2001 mystery; second in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). While out exploring the South Downs, Carole stumbles on a human skeleton. Jude thinks she knows who it might have been.

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The Body on the Beach, Simon Brett 12 August 2016

2000 mystery; first in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Carole Seddon, conventional, divorced, and retired from the Home Office, moves to the small seaside town of Fethering (inspired by the real Tarring in West Sussex). But her neighbour Jude turns out to be distressingly bohemian, and she finds a dead body while walking her dog on the beach… but by the time the police turn up, it's gone.

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Another Man's Poison, Ann Cleeves 06 August 2016

1993 detective fiction; fifth of Cleeves's novels of amateur private detectives George and Molly Palmer-Jones. Elderly Ursula Ottway lives in a cottage on an estate in the Cumbrian fell country; when she finds her cats dead from eating poisoned bait, she threatens to expose her landlord, rising politician Marcus Grenville, since he's obviously been illegally poisoning raptors to improve the grouse shooting. The next day she's dead. But she was Molly's aunt, and George and Molly were on their way to visit.

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Brotherhood in Death, J. D. Robb 02 August 2016

2016 SF/mystery; fifty-third (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. Dennis Mira went to confront his cousin Edward over plans to sell the family house, but found him tied up in a chair; then someone knocked Dennis on the head. Now Edward's missing. Fortunately Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, police profiler and friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

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Deep South, Nevada Barr 31 July 2016

2000 mystery, eighth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. Newly promoted to District Ranger on the Natchez Trace Parkway, Anna finds herself the object of resentment by her time-serving underlings, then discovers the body of a young woman (who "had accrued a surprising number of reasons to be done to death for a girl of her tender years").

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Liberty Falling, Nevada Barr 27 July 2016

1999 mystery, seventh in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. With her sister hospitalised in New York, Anna stays on Liberty Island (where the statue is) and explores Ellis Island outside hospital visiting hours. Then a young girl falls to her death from the statue.

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Death of a Ghost, Margery Allingham 25 July 2016

1934 classic English detective fiction; sixth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. The great artist John Lafcadio left twelve final paintings, to be shown one per year after his death. At the unveiling of the eighth, a young artist is fatally stabbed with a pair of decorative scissors.

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Blind Descent, Nevada Barr 23 July 2016

1998 mystery, sixth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. Lechugilla Cavern is a huge and largely unexplored cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park; whena friend and fellow ranger is injured there, Anna swallows her claustrophobia and goes in to help with the evacuation.

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Endangered Species, Nevada Barr 19 July 2016

1997 mystery, fifth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. After the events of the previous book, Anna's sent to Cumberland Island Park for "pre-suppression" fire duty, and a bit of a lighter posting. But she and another ranger spot a plume of smoke, which turns out to be the fresh wreckage of the island's drug-interdiction plane.

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Sweet Danger, Margery Allingham 17 July 2016 - 3 comments

1933 classic English detective fiction; fifth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. The Fitton family operate a run-down watermill in Suffolk, but may be the forgotten heirs of Averna, a tiny European principality that may suddenly be terribly important. US vtt Kingdom of Earth and The Fear Sign.

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Firestorm, Nevada Barr 15 July 2016

1996 mystery, fourth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. Anna's called in to help fight a wildfire in Lassen Volcanic National Park, but the wind shifts and a firestorm overtakes the team. When they come out of their protective tents, one of them's been stabbed in the back.

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Ill Wind, Nevada Barr 11 July 2016

1995 mystery, third in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. Visitors to Mesa Verde Park and the Anasazi cliff dwellings have been coming away with a strange and deadly illness.

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Police at the Funeral, Margery Allingham 09 July 2016

1931 classic English detective fiction; fourth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. The very elderly Caroline Faraday has a house in Cambridge run on strict Victorian lines; her ageing son, daughters and nephew put up with the lack of freedom for the free bed and board, having variously failed at their own lives. But everyone's fairly horrible, and it seems that one of them is also a murderer.

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Green for Danger, Christianna Brand 07 July 2016 - 19 comments

1944 detective fiction; second of Brand's novels of Inspector Cockrill. At a military hospital during the Blitz, a patient dies under anæsthetic. Later, someone who'd claimed to know who was responsible is stabbed to death. Six suspects are left, and there's not a visible motive among them.

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A Superior Death, Nevada Barr 02 July 2016

1994 mystery, second in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. In the Isle Royale park off the Michigan coast, one of the dive operators turns up dead in a long-sunken shipwreck.

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Track of the Cat, Nevada Barr 27 June 2016

1993 mystery, first in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. After the death of her husband, Anna fled from her life in New York to find solitude as a ranger in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, home to a few mountain lions among other species. But when a colleague is found dead, the paw prints round the body and claw marks on the throat seem to point a little too perfectly to a killer animal.

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Look to the Lady, Margery Allingham 25 June 2016

1931 classic English detective fiction; third of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. The Gyrth Chalice is unique and unsaleable… but it seems that someone is setting up to steal it anyway, for a private collection. US vt The Gyrth Chalice Mystery.

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Mystery Mile, Margery Allingham 18 June 2016

1930 classic English detective fiction; second of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. Multiple attempts have been made to murder an American judge; Campion does his best to keep him safe.

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Wave and Die, Stella Whitelaw 14 June 2016

2001 mystery, second in Whitelaw's Jordan Lacey series (private investigation in a small seaside town). Jordan investigates stolen water-lilies, vandalism, theft of a wedding cake, arson, and an errant husband. Oh, and a Second World War aircraft wreck.

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The Crime at Black Dudley, Margery Allingham 12 June 2016

1929 classic English detective fiction; first of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. George Abbershaw, expert pathologist who unexpectedly finds himself in love, goes down for the weekend to the remote country house called "Black Dudley"; but the gathering is afflicted with murder… and then taken over by gangsters. US vt The Black Dudley Murder.

[more]
How I enjoy mystery stories 11 June 2016

The mystery story when done well is an extreme form of the story problem, which one can enjoy both on the level of normal fiction with characters and plot and setting and so on and on the level of working out whodunnit before the author reveals the solution.

[more]
The Floating Admiral, The Detection Club 09 June 2016

1931 English detective fiction, in fourteen chapters by fourteen authors. The body of retired Admiral Penistone is found in a small boat on the river, stabbed through the heart. Everyone has a story, and everyone has something to hide.

[more]
Wonderment in Death, J. D. Robb 07 June 2016

2015 SF/mystery novella; fifty-second (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series, published as part of Down the Rabbit Hole, a multi-author anthology of stories loosely inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Apparently Darlene Fitzwilliams fatally stabbed her brother, then jumped off his fifty-second floor balcony. But there's no sign that she was the sort of person who'd do that.

[more]
A Man Lay Dead, Ngaio Marsh 03 June 2016

1934 classic English detective fiction; first of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. At Sir Hubert Handesley's country house weekend, five guests play a game of "Murder". But when the lights come up…

[more]
The Bilbao Looking Glass, Charlotte MacLeod 29 May 2016

1983, cozy American detective fiction; fourth of MacLeod's novels of Boston Brahmin Sarah Kelling and art investigator Max Bittersohn. Sarah and Max, teetering on the brink of getting engaged, visit Sarah's summer home on Cape Cod. But someone has covertly added a valuable antique mirror to the furnishings; and a nasty old gossip turns up with an axe in her chest.

[more]
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru 28 May 2016

2015 mystery novel adaptation, 12 episodes: AniDB, vt "Beautiful Bones: Sakurako`s Investigation" or "A Corpse is Buried Under Sakurako's Feet". Kujou Sakurako, osteologist and amateur forensic anthropologist, investigates the remarkable number of human bones to be found locally.

[more]
The Strangling on the Stage, Simon Brett 25 May 2016

2014; fifteenth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing in small-town Sussex). After a rehearsal for a village-hall production of The Devil's Disciple, the lead is found strangled on the "absolutely safe" gallows.

[more]
There's Nothing To Be Afraid Of, Marcia Muller 18 May 2016

1985 mystery; seventh in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco. Someone's causing minor troubles for the inhabitants of a hotel in the Tenderloin, most of them recent Vietnamese immigrants; Sharon's employed by the Refugee Assistance Committee to look into it. Then things turn deadly.

[more]
Irene's Last Waltz, Carole Nelson Douglas 09 May 2016

1994 mystery, fourth of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler; here she returns to Prague, to solve a problem for the Queen. Espionage, the Golem, femmes fatales, and really nice dresses ensue. (Retitled as Another Scandal in Bohemia in recent reissue.)

[more]
Devoted in Death, J. D. Robb 29 April 2016

2015 SF/mystery; fifty-first (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. Two serial killers have crossed the USA and landed in New York; Lieutenant Eve Dallas tracks them down.

[more]
Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch 27 April 2016

Contemporary fantasy, fourth in the series. Peter Grant, Metropolitan Police constable and magician, looks into a number of cases that seem to be tying back to a Brutalist tower block in Southwark.

[more]
More Deaths Than One, Jean Rowden 25 April 2016

2009 mystery, third in the series. Constable "Thorny" Deepbriar goes to the local seaside town while his broken leg finishes healing, but he can't leave detection alone. Not only is someone stealing garden gnomes, but a body found on the beach is someone Deepbriar thought had died when he was a very green copper sixteen years ago during the war.

[more]
The Damage Done, James Oswald 17 April 2016

2016 supernatural mustery, sixth in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. A police raid following a tip-off about a brothel goes wrong: there's sex being had, but it all seems to have been consenting swingers, except for one registered sex offender. Then people start dying.

[more]
Murder in Montparnasse, Kerry Greenwood 10 April 2016

2002 historical detection, twelfth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne looks into trouble at a French restaurant, the disappearance of a young woman, and the murder of old soldiers.

[more]
The Sorceress of the Strand, L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace 25 March 2016

Collection of six short mystery stories from 1902-1903. Madame Sara, the best "beautifier" in London, is also a master criminal – one might even say a veritable Napoleon of crime.

[more]
Hard Truth, Nevada Barr 16 March 2016 - 4 comments

2005 mystery, thirteenth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. In Rocky Mountain, three young girls went missing a few months back, and were never found. But now two of them have walked out of the woods…

[more]
Irene at Large, Carole Nelson Douglas 12 March 2016

1992 mystery, third of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler. In Paris in 1888, a stranger in Oriental garb falls poisoned at the feet of Irene's narrator, Nell Huxleigh. But why does he claim to know her? (Retitled A Soul of Steel in recent reissue.)

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Murder in the Museum of Man, Alfred Alcorn 06 March 2016

1997 humorous detective fiction; first of Alcorn's novels of Norman de Ratour, Recording Secretary at the Museum of Man, an anthropological museum somewhere in New England. Dean Fessing goes missing, and most of him turns up expertly cooked. That inevitably starts rumours of cannibalism, but there may be fire to go with this smoke…

[more]
Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles, Kim Newman 24 February 2016 - 2 comments

2011 detective fiction parody, collection of seven short stories. Colonel Sebastian Moran, a cad and a bounder, works for Professor Moriarty the consulting criminal.

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Sea Fever, Ann Cleeves 15 February 2016

1993 detective fiction; sixth of Cleeves's novels of amateur private detectives George and Molly Palmer-Jones. On a bird-watching boat trip, the sighting of a rare petrel is much more interesting than a birdwatcher who isn't where he should be. But then he turns out to have been murdered...

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The Affair of the Blood-stained Egg Cosy, James Anderson 03 February 2016

1975 cosy detective fiction; first of Anderson's novels of the Earl of Burford and Inspector Wilkins. Some time in the 1930s, there's a house party at Alderley, including the Earl's political brother and the foreign dignitaries he's negotiating with, an American millionaire called Hiram, and various others. Nobody is quite what they seem, and that's even before jewels start going missing and guests start turning up dead.

[more]
The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco 22 January 2016 - 2 comments

1980 historical mystery. In 1327, Friar William of Baskerville and his novice Adso of Melk try to solve a series of murders at a monastery in northern Italy.

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Skeleton Hill, Peter Lovesey 20 January 2016

2009 mystery, the tenth book in Lovesey's Peter Diamond series. After a Civil War battle re-enactment on Lansdown Hill near Bath, one of the soldiers disappears. Later the police find a headless skeleton in the same area. Later still, a homeless man is found dead with a major head wound. Are the cases connected? DI Peter Diamond is determined that they are.

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Farthing, Jo Walton 14 January 2016

2006 alternate-history mystery, first in the "Small Change" trilogy. In 1949, Britain is at peace with the Reich, which is still fighting in Russia. At Farthing, a country house in Hampshire, one of the architects of that peace is murdered. Jews and Bolshevists are immediately blamed, but Inspector Carmichael thinks it's more complicated than that.

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Good Morning Irene, Carole Nelson Douglas 10 January 2016

1991 mystery, second of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler. Bored in Paris, Irene takes on the mystery of a series of tattooed suicides. (Retitled The Adventuress in recent reissue.)

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Wrack and Rune, Charlotte MacLeod 27 December 2015

1982 cosy American detective fiction; third of MacLeod's novels of Professor Peter Shandy, set at an agricultural college in Massachussetts. Hilda Horsefall is 105 years old and still keeping the family farm going, until her farmhand is horribly murdered. But is it just part of a land-grab, and if so who's trying to do it? And how is the Viking runestone on her land connected to everything?

[more]
The Corpse on the Court, Simon Brett 22 December 2015

2011; fourteenth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Jude's new lover Piers is a tennis fanatic – real tennis – but when she turns up for a lesson one of the other club members is found dead. Heart attack, clearly, but why is everyone acting so cagey? Meanwhile Jude's friend Carole conducts a separate investigation.

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High Country, Nevada Barr 16 December 2015

2004 mystery, twelfth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. After four seasonal park employees disappear on the same day in Yosemite, Anna Pigeon goes undercover to try to find out what happened.

[more]
Prayer for the Dead, James Oswald 14 December 2015

2015 supernatural mystery, fifth in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. In a network of man-made caves under Edinburgh, a journalist turns up with his throat cut. Why there, why then, and why him?

[more]
The Palace Guard, Charlotte MacLeod 08 December 2015

1982, cozy American detective fiction; third of MacLeod's novels of Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn. At a private art museum, a guard falls to his death, having been complaining that his favourite Rubens is different these days.

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Double, Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini 25 November 2015

1984 mystery; sixth in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco, and at the same time fourteenth in Pronzini's "Nameless Detective" private eye series. Both detectives are at a convention of private eyes in San Diego, McCone also visiting her family and an old friend who's now head of hotel security. But then the dying starts.

[more]
Deadlier than the Sword, Jean Rowden 19 November 2015

2008 mystery, second of the "Thorny" Deepbriar series. In rural Yorkshire in 1957, Thorny the village bobby is still trying to get into the CID. But his superiors want him walking the beat where he is. He'll need to pull off an impressive feat of detection, but how can he do that in a village where nothing much happens?

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Festive in Death, J. D. Robb 13 November 2015

2014 SF/mystery; forty-ninth (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. Just before Christmas, a personal trainer is found in his home, with a nasty head wound and a knife in his chest. He seems to have been a thoroughly nasty person, but for Eve Dallas the homicide cop's job is still the job.

[more]
Away with the Fairies, Kerry Greenwood 30 October 2015

2001 historical detection, eleventh in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Miss Lavender, an author and illustrator of overly-twee fairy stories, has died after receiving threatening letters. Phryne is called in by the police as someone who might be able to spot something amiss in the sea of cuteness that is Miss Lavender's home, and finds rather more motives than anyone could reasonably have expected.

[more]
The Withdrawing Room, Charlotte MacLeod 22 October 2015

1981, cozy American detective fiction; second of MacLeod's novels of Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn. While the family affairs get straightened out, the recently-widowed Sarah needs an income; she remodels her house to take in boarders. But one of them falls under a subway train, or maybe he was pushed…

[more]
Pray and Die, Stella Whitelaw 16 October 2015

2000 mystery, first in Whitelaw's Jordan Lacey series. Asthmatic ex-policewoman Jordan Lacey starts a private investigation business in the seaside town of Latching, West Sussex. Will there be enough work to pay the bills? Surprisingly, yes.

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Good Night Mr. Holmes, Carole Nelson Douglas 14 October 2015

1990, first of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler, opera singer, adventuress, and foil to Sherlock Holmes.

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Flashback, Nevada Barr 08 October 2015

2003 mystery, eleventh in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. At Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, seventy miles off the end of Florida, Anna replaces a chief ranger who went mad. A boat explosion and anonymous body parts are troubling enough; but then Anna starts to see ghosts…

[more]
The Headhunters, Peter Lovesey 04 October 2015

2008 mystery. A woman is found on the beach at Selsey, drowned – forcibly. But she isn't going to be the only victim.

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The Luck Runs Out, Charlotte MacLeod 26 September 2015

1981, cosy American detective fiction; second of MacLeod's novels of Professor Peter Shandy, set at an agricultural college in Massachussetts. A few days before the Annual Competition of the Balaclava County Draft Horse Association, the college's farrier has been murdered. And the prize pig has gone missing. Is it a school prank gone horribly wrong, or something more sinister?

[more]
Dead Men's Bones, James Oswald 18 September 2015

2014 supernatural mystery, fourth in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. A body is found in the North Esk, dead of a fall, and tattooed all over. A prominent politician shoots his wife and children, then himself. Tony McLean is more interested in the former, but gets the latter on his plate as well.

[more]
The Secret Hangman, Peter Lovesey 13 September 2015

2007 mystery, the ninth book in Lovesey's Peter Diamond series. A woman is found hanged in a park in Bath; a few days later her partner turns up in the same state. A suicide pact?

[more]
The Grub-and-Stakers Move a Mountain, Charlotte MacLeod 11 September 2015

1981, cosy American detective fiction; first of MacLeod's novels (as "Alisa Craig") of Dittany Henbit and the Lobelia Falls Grub-and-Stakers Gardening & Roving Club. In a small town in Ontario, the local villain has a plan to build houses on a wilderness area. But one of his patsies ends up shot.

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Murder Goes Mumming, Charlotte MacLeod 31 August 2015 - 1 comment

1981, cosy American detective fiction; second of MacLeod's novels (as "Alisa Craig") of Madoc and Janet Rhys. In a remote country house in Canada, old Granny Condrycke has died peacefully in her sleep. With the house cut off, the family decides to go ahead with Christmas festivities. But Madoc Rhys, a Mountie who's there accidentally undercover with his fiancée Janet, reckons there was more to it.

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A Place of Confinement, Anna Dean 15 August 2015

2012 historical detection, fourth in Dean's Dido Kent series. Dido is forced to act as companion to her elderly and wealthy aunt, but the house they visit has its own problems: a young lady has disappeared, perhaps to Gretna Green, but her guardian is curiously unconcerned about her.

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The Blue Place, Nicola Griffith 13 August 2015

1998 lesbian noir mystery/romance; first in Griffith's series about Aud Torvingen, bodyguard and borderline psychopath in Atlanta. An art historian's house is burned to the ground, with him in it; six kilos of cocaine are found in the garage. A drug-related execution, or something odder?

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Leave a Message for Willie, Marcia Muller 11 August 2015

1984 mystery; fifth in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco. A major player in the flea-markets wants help dealing with a stalker, but his business is not as honest as it could be, and soon people start turning up dead.

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Garment of Shadows, Laurie R. King 27 July 2015 - 2 comments

2012 mystery, twelfth in King's series about Mary Russell, wife of Sherlock Holmes. In Morocco in 1924, rebellion is in the air, and fell plots with international ramifications are being prepared.

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The Hangman's Song, James Oswald 23 July 2015

2014 mystery, third in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. Bodies are found hanging in their homes in Edinburgh, apparently suicides. But how did they all come to do it in just the same way at the same time?

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A Woman of Consequence, Anna Dean 17 July 2015

2010 historical detection, third in Dean's Dido Kent series. On a visit to a supposedly-haunted ruined abbey, a young lady slips and falls, saying in her delirium only "I saw her – it was her". Was it the Grey Nun of legend?

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Death Before Wicket, Kerry Greenwood 11 July 2015 - 2 comments

1999 historical detection. Tenth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne is in Sydney, nominally to watch a cricket match, at the request of two university students, whose friend has been accused of stealing exam-papers: an obvious setup. But it seems that there's more to it than that.

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A Night Too Dark, Dana Stabenow 07 July 2015

2010 mystery, seventeenth in the series about Kate Shugak, part-time private investigator in a national park in Alaska. The gold mine has come to the Park, and that's changing everything; but murder is still murder.

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Guns in the Gallery, Simon Brett 28 June 2015

2011; thirteenth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Jude and Carole go to a private viewing by a consciously controversial artist at a local gallery, but the evening ends in violent death. The police reckon it's suicide, but…

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Speaking from Among the Bones, Alan Bradley 10 June 2015

2013 cosy mystery, fifth in Bradley's series set in the early 1950s about child detective Flavia de Luce. The corpse of the angelic-looking young organist has been hidden in a saint's tomb that hasn't been opened for years. But how and why did he die?

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The Severed Streets, Paul Cornell 06 June 2015 - 2 comments

2014 urban fantasy, sequel to London Falling. As protests brew into riots during a hot summer, important people are being murdered in a bizarre and impossible way. Fortunately, the Met has four officers who specialise in the impossible.

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A Gentleman of Fortune, Anna Dean 26 May 2015

2009 historical detection, second in Dean's Dido Kent series. Rich invalid Mrs Lansdale has died, of an overdose of laudanum. Her nephew stands to inherit. But did he do it?

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Natural Causes, James Oswald 20 May 2015

2012 mystery, first in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. A prominent city elder in Edinburgh is killed, but less than a day later his killer commits a public and messy suicide. Case closed, and the police are happy. But McLean won't let it lie, especially when the same thing happens again.

[more]
The Family Vault, Charlotte MacLeod 16 May 2015

1980, cosy American detective fiction; first of MacLeod's novels of Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn. In Boston, an old family vault is opened for the first time in thirty years… to reveal the corpse of a well-known burlesque dancer.

[more]
Bury in Haste, Jean Rowden 06 May 2015

2007 mystery. In rural Yorkshire in 1956, Constable "Thorny" Deepbriar is a village bobby who's always longed to try his hand at detection. Now he's going to get his chance.

[more]
The Circle, Peter Lovesey 25 April 2015

2005 mystery. A publisher's house is burned down, with him in it. What's the connection with the local circle of unpublished writers?

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A Moment of Silence, Anna Dean 21 April 2015 - 4 comments

2008 historical detection, first in Dean's Dido Kent series. In 1805 at Richard Montague's engagement party, he suddenly puts off his fiancée Catherine and leaves for parts unknown. And a woman's body is found in the shrubbery. Catherine's spinster aunt Dido tries to clear up the mystery. US vt Bellfield Hall.

[more]
Wolf in Shadow, John Lambshead 13 April 2015 - 2 comments

2013 urban fantasy. Rhian, a young woman from the valleys with some unusual talents, finds herself in east London, where ancient magics are mixing with modern in a distinctly unpleasant way.

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Raisins and Almonds, Kerry Greenwood 09 April 2015

1997 historical detection. Ninth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). A man drops dead of strychnine poisoning in a bookshop; the owner's the obvious suspect. But Phryne is unconvinced.

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The Book of Souls, James Oswald 28 March 2015

2012 mystery, second in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. Twelve years ago Tony McLean caught the Christmas Killer, whose last victim was McLean's fiancée. Now that man's been killed in prison, but another young woman's corpse has just turned up, killed in the same way. A copycat? Or did McLean get the wrong man?

[more]
Obsession in Death, J. D. Robb 26 March 2015

2015 SF/mystery; fiftieth (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. At the end of 2060, Homicide Lieutenant Eve Dallas comes up against a new threat: a murderer who's such a fan that he's killing people who've offended Dallas. And there are a lot of them.

[more]
The House Sitter, Peter Lovesey 23 March 2015 - 2 comments

2003 mystery, the eighth book in Lovesey's Peter Diamond series. Is a killing on a beach connected with the murder of a celebrity film director?

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London Falling, Paul Cornell 18 March 2015 - 3 comments

2012 urban fantasy. The big crime boss is finally arrested, curiously easily, but explodes in a shower of blood while he's being interviewed. In trying to work out what happened, four coppers accidentally step into a much larger world.

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A Pint of Murder, Charlotte MacLeod 14 March 2015

1980, cosy American detective fiction; first of MacLeod's novels (as "Alisa Craig") of Madoc and Janet Rhys. In a small Canadian town, the local old biddy has died of eating her own contaminated preserves. But was she really that careless?

[more]
The Ninth Daughter, Barbara Hamilton 24 February 2015

2009 historical mystery. In Boston in 1773, Abigail Adams (wife of lawyer and future president John Quincy Adams) tries to solve the murder of one woman and the disappearance of another.

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The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins 22 February 2015

1868 mystery; often considered the first detective novel in English. The huge diamond, looted from India, goes missing after a birthday party. Who took it? And how was the trick managed?

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Bones under the Beach Hut, Simon Brett 09 February 2015

2011; twelfth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Carole Seddon takes over the rental of a beach hut along the shore from Fethering, only for human remains to turn up underneath it.

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Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey 03 February 2015

1949 mystery. Simon Ashby is about to come of age and inherit the family estate Latchetts (sadly fallen, but still worth a bit). Eight years ago, after the sudden death of their parents, his older twin Patrick committed suicide, or so everyone thought; but now someone claiming to be Patrick has turned up to take over again.

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Rest You Merry, Charlotte MacLeod 18 January 2015

1979, cosy American detective fiction; first of MacLeod's novels of Professor Peter Shandy. In a New England agricultural college, the local busybody has had an accident, or been murdered. But was it really over the question of Christmas decorations?

[more]
Whispers Under Ground, Ben Aaronovitch 10 January 2015 - 1 comment

Contemporary fantasy. Peter Grant, Metropolitan Police constable and magician, investigates the death of a man found stabbed on Baker Street station.

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Delete All Suspects, Donna Andrews 22 December 2014 - 2 comments

2005 SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant software, looks into the affairs of a techie who's been hit by a car and is now in intensive care. Was it an accident?

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Revenge of the Cootie Girls, Sparkle Hayter 16 December 2014

1997; third of Hayter's mysteries about TV journalist Robin Hudson. Robin's just trying to find her intern and other co-workers for a girls' night out, but somehow it doesn't seem to come together.

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Access Denied, Donna Andrews 14 December 2014

2004 SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant software, follows up on a lead to an old enemy.

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Games to Keep the Dark Away, Marcia Muller 12 December 2014

1984; fourth in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco. McCone investigates the disappearance of a famous photographer's roommate, which leads to secret goings-on in a decaying coastal town.

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Click Here for Murder, Donna Andrews 08 December 2014

2003 SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant software, has just lost a friend and employee: he's been murdered. The police reckon it was random drug-related violence; she tries to find out more.

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Three Men and a Maid, Robert Fraser 04 December 2014

1907; romantic melodrama-cum-mystery story. Who killed Robert Courthope? Why did Philip Warren flee from the scene?

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Owls Well That Ends Well, Donna Andrews 10 November 2014

Sixth mystery starring Meg Lanslow, contemporary blacksmith. Meg and her boyfriend have bought a huge old house very cheaply, on condition that they clear out and sell the accumulated junk left by the previous owner. But during the sale, a dubious dealer in antiquities turns up dead…

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Hunting Season, Nevada Barr 08 November 2014

Tenth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. Back on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi, a body's been found in an old plantation house, left in a manner suggestive of sexual homicide.

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Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch 21 October 2014

Contemporary fantasy. Peter Grant, Metropolitan Police constable and magician, investigates the sudden deaths of jazz musicians.

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Pirate King, Laurie R. King 19 October 2014

Eleventh in King's series about Mary Russell, who… well, this is basically Sherlock Holmes fanfiction, but against all the odds it manages to work. Strange things have been happening around a film crew; Russell joins it to work out what's going on.

[more]
The Cheshire Cat's Eye, Marcia Muller 17 October 2014

Third in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco. McCone investigates the murder of a painter and decorator in a rough area that's being gentrified.

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Nice Girls Finish Last, Sparkle Hayter 09 October 2014

Second of Hayter's mysteries about TV journalist Robin Hudson. This time her new gynæcologist has been found, handcuffed and then shot in the head, and there's no shortage of people who might have wished him ill.

[more]
Whisper to the Blood, Dana Stabenow 25 September 2014

Sixteenth mystery in the series about Kate Shugak, part-time private investigator in a national park in Alaska. Gold's been found on park lands, and that means mining, and that means objections from the locals. The mining company's hired a minor celebrity to be their spokeswoman. But that doesn't solve everything.

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The Girl in the Green Raincoat, Laura Lippman 23 September 2014

Novella; eleventh in Lippman's contemporary mystery series about Tess Monaghan, private investigator in Baltimore. Restricted to bed thanks to difficulties with her pregnancy, Tess passes the time watching people in the park outside, particularly a young woman in a green coat (with a greyhound in a matching one). One day, the greyhound passes by on its own…

[more]
Silent Mercy, Linda Fairstein 16 September 2014

Thirteenth in Fairstein's contemporary mystery series about Alexandra Cooper, sex crimes prosecutor in Manhattan. When a burned, decapitated body is found on the steps of a church that used to be a synagogue, there could be any number of reasons. When a second body is found at another church, things start to come together.

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Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch 14 September 2014 - 2 comments

Contemporary fantasy ("urban fantasy" gives the wrong idea now, even if it's much more appropriate to this book than to many published under that banner). New constable Peter Grant is about to be sent off to the paperwork unit, but while he's standing guard over a murder scene in the small hours a ghost starts to talk to him. Then things get stranger.

[more]
You've Got Murder, Donna Andrews 10 September 2014

SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant software, is worried about her programmer: he seems to have vanished, and the records she can find aren't helping. So she turns for help to the two humans who are aware of her nature.

[more]
What's A Girl Gotta Do, Sparkle Hayter 08 September 2014 - 2 comments

Robin Hudson had a promising career as a TV journalist, but blew it with some public embarrassment. Now her ex-husband has a younger and prettier fiancée, her job for not-CNN involves investigating a sperm bank, and she's about to be blackmailed. Then the blackmailer turns up dead…

[more]
The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza, Lawrence Block 04 September 2014 - 1 comment

Fourth mystery book about Bernard Rhodenbarr, professional burglar in 1970s New York.

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To Love and Be Wise, Josephine Tey 30 August 2014

Classic detective fiction; fourth, roughly, of Tey's novels of Inspector Alan Grant. An unreasonably beautiful young man visiting from America goes to the country to stay with casual acquaintances in a village that's been Discovered by writers and artists, causes social ructions, then disappears. What happened, and was it murder?

[more]
The Shooting in the Shop, Simon Brett 26 August 2014

Eleventh in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). A local bric-a-brac shop is burned down, but the body found inside it was shot first. Carole Seddon and Jude investigate again.

[more]
The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, Lawrence Block 09 August 2014

Bernard Rhodenbarr, the closest New York in the 1970s can get to a gentleman burglar, is back for his third mystery book appearance. This is the one where the formula changes a bit.

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Urn Burial, Kerry Greenwood 12 July 2014

Eighth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia); a homage to the novels of Agatha Christie.

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The Burglar in the Closet, Lawrence Block 10 July 2014

Bernard Rhodenbarr, the closest New York in the 1970s can get to a gentleman burglar, is back for his second book appearance, and the formula sets in: while our hero the burglar is hiding from his victim who's come home unexpectedly, she gets murdered.

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Burglars Can't Be Choosers, Lawrence Block 03 July 2014

First in Block's slightly less-well-known series. Bernard Rhodenbarr is a burglar, and a good one. It's bad enough when the cops walk into the apartment where he's doing his latest job. But then one of them discovers a recently-dead body nearby.

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Blood Lure, Nevada Barr 29 June 2014

Ninth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series. In Glacier National Park, a trip to move sampling traps for bear DNA is disrupted by an odd bear attack, and the next morning a woman is found dead and mutilated… by human tools.

[more]
When the Devil Drives, Chris Brookmyre 19 June 2014

Second in Brookmyre's new literary direction, moving from the tartan insanity of his earlier books to strictly conventional crime writing.

[more]
Diamond Dust, Peter Lovesey 22 May 2014

Diamond Dust is the seventh book in Lovesey's Peter Diamond series, and one that makes for a very substantial change in tone.

[more]
The Poisoning in the Pub, Simon Brett 11 April 2014

Tenth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series. Several pubgoers go down with food poisoning, and other events start to make it look like a concerted campaign against the pub. But who's doing it? And why?

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Concealed in Death, J. D. Robb 08 April 2014 - 2 comments

Concealed in Death is the forty-eighth story of J. D. Robb's In Death series, and a huge improvement on its immediate predecessor Thankless in Death. It drops many of the science-fictional trappings of the setting to deliver a powerful and well-told story.

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Ruddy Gore, Kerry Greenwood 09 March 2014

Seventh in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series.

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A Choice of Evils, Elizabeth Ferrars 05 February 2014

Eighth and final book in Ferrars' Andrew Basnett series.

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Mirror Mirror, J. D. Robb and others 02 February 2014

I picked up this collection of novellas for the Robb story, as I was clearly intended to. All the stories here are loosely based on, or more properly inspired by, fairy stories (something of a coincidence given the Elemental Masters series I've also been reading).

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A Sea of Troubles, Donna Leon 28 January 2014 - 1 comment

The tenth book in Leon's Commissario Brunetti series, as with other series entries I've been reading lately, offers more of the same: descriptions of the seamy underside of Venice interspersed with lightweight police work.

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The Vault, Peter Lovesey 21 January 2014

The Vault is the sixth book in Lovesey's Peter Diamond series. I'm definitely liking Lovesey: like any good author of detective fiction, he plays fair with the reader, giving all the necessary clues while hiding them under a chaff-screen of red herrings and misdirection.

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Thankless in Death, J. D. Robb 17 January 2014 - 2 comments

Thankless in Death is the forty-sixth of J. D. Robb's In Death series. It's also, for me, the first disappointment.

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Notorious Nineteen, Janet Evanovich 14 January 2014

As one can see from the title, this is the nineteenth full novel in Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. And, well, it feels like a nineteenth novel: it's tired.

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