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Friday, May 9, 2014

Investigate a new mystery


by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Mysteries are everlastingly popular at the library.  These days a mystery novel can be many different things:  paranormal, Western, crime, Nordic (or imported from other parts of the world), historical, or cozy.  Some novels are almost impossible to classify, as publishers come out with more that cross genres.  Is Gone Girl a mystery?  It is, but not in the usual sense.  Our library has a wide range of mysteries/thrillers/crime novels to please a range of readers.  Following are some of the newest.

Bad Wolf is a dark police procedural originally written in German.  Author Nele Neuhaus has incorporated the Red Riding Hood fairy tale into this sequel to Snow White Must Die.  One odd thing about this series is that Bad Wolf is actually the sixth book in the Bodenstein and Kirchhoff series, while Snow White was the fourth.  They are simply the only Neuhaus novels so far published in English.

Joanne Fluke’s latest Hannah Swensen mystery is Blackberry Pie Murder.  This seventeenth series entry finds the Lake Eden, Minnesota, resident planning her mother’s wedding and getting arrested for murder.  This is a culinary cozy mystery, and some reviewers have complained that the book contains more recipes than story.

By Its Cover is the 23rd Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery by Donna Leon.  Leon is known for incorporating politics, morality, Italian culture, and a strong sense of place into these procedurals.  In this novel, someone has stolen pages from rare books in a Venetian library and a visiting American professor is suspected.  Leon is an American expatriate living in Venice.

Joyce Carol Oates’ novel Carthage is a serious literary mystery.  The story concerns the disappearance of a misfit sister and the suspicion surrounding her future brother-in-law, an upstanding young man who has returned from Iraq deeply wounded physically and mentally.  The novel has gotten marvelous reviews, being described as unsettling, intense, and brilliant.

Casebook is a coming-of-age novel by Mona Simpson that could be described as a mystery.  The nine-year-old protagonist sees himself as a detective, in any case, spying with his best friend on their parents.  The boys find much more than they expect or want to know.  Reviewers have praised this one, as well, saying that it’s witty and full of heart.

City of Darkness and Light is the latest in the Molly Murphy series.  Author Rhys Bowen sends Molly fleeing to Paris, where her art-student friends have vanished.  It’s 1905, and Impressionism is giving way to Fauvism and Cubism in this historical mystery set in the French art world.

If these don’t sound like your cup of tea, try the new Charlaine Harris paranormal Midnight Crossroad, watch for the upcoming Longmire Western Any Other Name by Craig Johnson, or pick up a cat mystery by Rita Mae Brown.  A mystery can be many things.  Try a few to see what appeals to you.