There are great mysteries released all year (we celebrate a ton of them during Private Eye July), but for some reason, autumn feels like the most appropriate time to crack open a tale of murder and crime. Here are the 10 books to place on hold now, so you can curl up and read them under a blanket later.
A Better Man by Louise Penny
Minotaur | August 27
Armand Gamache returns—but he’s in disgrace and demoted—in Penny’s 15th Quebec-set mystery. And this time the case is personal, as Gamache searches for a missing woman and forms a bond with her distraught father.
To the Lions by Holly Watt
Dutton | September 3
I was dubious about this premise—how many more takes on “The Most Dangerous Game” do we really need? Watt’s blistering writing silenced those fears almost immediately. Plus, the union of the age-old “rich people are terrible” theme with a fascinating look at high-stakes investigative journalism makes it feel urgently contemporary.
The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis
Berkley | September 10
It’s the Brontë sisters . . . solving mysteries? It shouldn’t work, but my goodness, it really does. Ellis captures the personality and voice of each sister, as well as the gloomy beauty of their Yorkshire home, while also infusing her tale with the proto-feminist concerns of the sisters. This mystery is a joy for classic literature geeks.
What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr
Minotaur | September 17
My initial notes on this book were simply: “Well this is completely terrifying.” And lo, it really is. Barr’s thriller follows Rose Dennis, a grandmother who’s been admitted to a nursing home against her will. She doesn’t know why, but she’s pretty sure she’s being drugged in order to make it appear as if she has severe Alzheimer’s.
Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
Mulholland | September 17
Locke’s follow-up to the acclaimed Bluebird, Bluebird digs right back into the complicated life and career of Texas Ranger Darren Matthews. A boy has gone missing, and his white supremacist family is undoubtedly the actual target. Meanwhile, Darren is trying to rebuild his marriage and outfox his manipulative mother, who has the potential to irrevocably ruin his reputation.
The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld
Harper | October 1
The sequel to the acclaimed, haunting The Child Finder finds investigator Naomi Cottle on the hunt for her missing younger sister in Portland, Oregon. But she is unable to resist helping an abused 12-year-old girl named Celia, who may be connected to the disappearances of other young girls.
Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha
Ecco | October 15
Both family saga and gripping suspense novel, Your House Will Pay follows two families—one African American, one Korean American—who are linked by the events of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
A Cruel Deception by Charles Todd
William Morrow | October 22
The 11th Bess Crawford mystery finds the intrepid nurse in Paris, as the Allies prepare to sign the peace treaty that will end World War I. Lieutenant Milton, the man Bess is in Paris to aid, is haunted by something terrible. As Bess attempts to uncover truth, she begins to suspect that someone is trying to destroy Milton before the secret gets out.
The Old Success by Martha Grimes
Atlantic Monthly | November 5
Three very different killings in three different locations may all be connected in Inspector Richard Jury’s latest mystery. To solve the crime, he’ll have to team up with a legendary former detective, who is (of course) haunted by a case he couldn’t solve.
How the Dead Speak by Val McDermid
Atlantic Monthly | December 3
How’s this for a creepy premise? Dozens of decades-old skeletons are found buried on the grounds of an orphanage. Not complicated enough? A separate set of younger bodies are discovered, this time all young men. Raise the stakes one more time, you say? One of those younger bodies is that of a serial killer, a man who was believed to be alive and safely in jail.