There’s bound to be a great pleasure in playing catch-up with the recommended “best books” of the previous year. That’s even more true when a handful of those books are mysteries. The trade magazine, Library Journal, recently named its 2018 favorites in the December issue, and we’ve compiled three of our favorites here. Happy reading!
Big City Private Investigator: Broken Places introduces Cass Raines, an African-American Chicago police officer turned private detective. She launches an investigation into the death of a local priest, who served as her surrogate father, when she finds him dead in his church next to the body of a young gang member. Earlier, the priest had asked Raines to investigate vandalism at his church. Now, she suspects the worse. What follows is a lively, realistic story with a relentless detective following the trail wherever it takes her. This book is written by Tracy P. Clark, and the next book in the series is scheduled for a May 2019 release.
Amateur Sleuth in Early Twentieth Century: A Death of No Importance features maid Jane Prescott intruding into the murder investigation of a high-society playboy. Set in 1910 Manhattan, Prescott joins the Benchley family to work as its new maid. The playboy, Norrie Newsome, is dating the family’s youngest daughter, Charlotte. That is, before Prescott finds him dead in the family’s library. The crime is big news for the New York City press. With the murder at a Christmas Eve ball, and multiple murder suspects revealed, the crime offers the opportunity for a long series of news stories. However, Prescott tries to solve the case before her employer continues to sink amid the scandal and gets help from one resourceful reporter. This is the first adult fiction novel by Mariah Fredericks, who had previously written young adult novels. The next book in the series is scheduled for an April 2019 release.
Depression-Era Mystery: Death of a Rainmaker takes place in Vermillion, Okla., during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, when much of the Plains suffered from an extreme, prolonged dry spell. No rain has fallen in Jackson County for 240 days. Though, luck may come with a stranger visiting town with the promise to make the skies rain…for a price. His attempts are fruitless, of course, and after a tremendous dust storm, the man is found in dead in an alley. The town’s sheriff, Temple Jennings, investigates with his deputy and they arrest a suspect who winds up with an unusual champion for his innocence -- Jennings' wife, Etha. This book is written by Laurie Loewenstein, who’s writing the novel's sequel set four months later with a new murder occurring days after a train wreck in the Oklahoma town.
You’ll have to wait until 2020 for this sequel, though.