Best Books 2011: Mystery

ljx111201webBBmys2 Best Books 2011: Mystery

Bolton, S.J. Now You See Me. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. ISBN 9780312600525. $25.99.
A Jack the Ripper copycat murderer terrorizes London, taunting police officer Lacey Flint in particular. With its haunting elements and graphic historical details, Bolton’s twisty contemporary gothic is not to be missed. (LJ 5/1/11)

Cotterill, Colin. Killed at the Whim of a Hat. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. ISBN 9780312564537. $24.99.
Young journalist Jimm Juree manages to unearth two murder cases in backwater Thailand. Meanwhile, she juggles her myriad family responsibilities with comical effect. An outstanding ensemble mystery with layers of subtle humor and astute observation. (LJ 5/1/11)

Gran, Sara. Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead. Houghton Harcourt. ISBN 9780547428499. $24.
Post-Katrina New Orleans holds so many secrets, and brash and confident PI Claire DeWitt is just the investigator to find a missing person. With gritty and dreamy elements, this fantastically framed noir piece might be the year’s most original mystery. (LJ 5/1/11; see also Robin Nesbitt’s guest post.)

Griffiths, Elly. The Janus Stone: A Ruth Galloway Mystery. Houghton Harcourt. ISBN 9780547237442. $26.
Forensic anthropologist Ruth Galloway helps investigate when a child’s partial skeleton is unearthed beneath an old mansion. Mixing gothic elements with a pulse-pounding British procedural, the case captivates. (LJ 11/1/10)

Johnson, Craig. Hell Is Empty: A Walt Longmire Mystery. Viking. ISBN 9780670022779. $25.95.
Sheriff Longmire tackles both nature and human evil as he pursues an escaped killer in an exhausting manhunt up a mountain. Fierce weather conditions conspire against him, but the poet Dante and Native American spiritual wisdom propel him forward in his terrifying climb. (LJ 4/1/11)

Leon, Donna. Drawing Conclusions: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery. Atlantic Monthly. ISBN 9780802119797. $24.
An old woman died of a heart attack‚ or maybe something literally scared her to death. Brunetti quietly chips away at seemingly insignificant details until a torrent of confessions and unexpected revelations springs forth. Literary crime fiction at its best. (LJ 2/15/11)

Malliet, G.M. Wicked Autumn: A Max Tudor Novel. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. ISBN 9780312646974. $23.99.
Take a classic English village cozy and mix in an ex-MI5 agent‚ turned‚ vicar, and you have a delightful new take on the closed-room murder mystery. Classic Christie fare with Malliet’s razor-sharp eye for both personal foibles and human decency. (LJ 8/11)

Morton, Carson. Stealing Mona Lisa. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. ISBN 9780312621711. $25.99.
Head for 1911 Paris and enjoy an intricately plotted art heist that goes awry. With period details and scads of cast members, the caper unfolds at a dizzying pace. This debut’s sparkling dialog and excellent sense of place make it a genuine standout with tremendous crossover appeal. (LJ 7/11)

Nickson, Chris. Cold Cruel Winter: A Richard Nottingham Mystery. Crème de la Crime: Severn House. ISBN 9781780290058. $28.95.
A serial killer has returned to 1732 Leeds seeking revenge against all those who ruined his life. Constable Nottingham’s ragtag police force meets him head-on in this bloody and horror-laden tale. The second in a promising new series. (LJ 11/1/11)

Stanley, Michael. Death of the Mantis: A Detective Kubu Mystery. Harper: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062000378. pap. $14.99.
The Botswana desert holds treasures of different sorts. The First Peoples’ desire to protect their natural heritage doesn’t mix well with greedy miners, and Detective Kubu’s loyalties are tested in this superb character-driven police investigation. (LJ 8/11)

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