International settings unite these three superlative cozy mysteries.
★ The Body in the Garden
Lily Adler is a widow in mourning. Fortunately, dipping a toe back into the social whirl at Lady Walter’s ball should be a doddle; they are old friends, after all. But Lily overhears an argument and then a gunshot, which all leads just where you might expect considering the title: The Body in the Garden. First-time author Katharine Schellman tosses Lily into a moral conundrum, as after the body is found, Lily sees Lord Walter paying someone off to drop the investigation. Finding the truth is the right thing to do, but it might compromise her friends. Sensitive handling of class and race issues common to London in the early 1800s give the story depth, and there are some truly nail-biting moments as Lily finds her way as a sleuth. Readers will love her and be eager for more after finishing this smashing debut.
Murder in an Irish Cottage
Carlene O’Connor’s Irish Village series tangles with ancient superstitions in its fifth installment, Murder in an Irish Cottage. Garda Siobhán O’Sullivan fears that her fiancé, Detective Sergeant Macdara Flannery, may be too close to the crime to check his emotions, as the murder victim in question is his Aunt Ellen. Ellen’s daughter, Jane, appears to know more than she lets on, and their wee village doesn’t disguise its collective relief at being able to knock down the small home Jane shared with Ellen, which they believe to be cursed due to its location on a fairy path. A good old-fashioned finale in which the killer is exposed at a gathering of all the suspects closes this eerie tale with a bang.
Mrs. Mohr Goes Missing
In 1893 Krakow, Poland, class is everything, appearances must be kept up, and women should know their place. Zofia Turbotýnska does her best, volunteering for a charity auction while her professor husband rustles behind the daily papers. When one of the auction’s donors dies mysteriously, Zofia feels called to learn the truth. Mrs. Mohr Goes Missing is an unexpectedly hilarious whodunit from Maryla Szymiczkowa, a pseudonym for authors Jacek Dehnel and Piotr Tarczýnski. Szymiczkowa shows us Zofia’s world through her eyes. She isn’t afraid to critique a funeral for lacking in pomp, and she outdoes the police thanks to long hours in the library with Edgar Allan Poe and a desire to do more with her life than simply micromanage her household. Let’s hope this adventure is the first of many.