LJ Best Books 2016

A jury of our peers discussed, debated, disagreed, and finally declared LJ’s annual Top Ten Best Books of the year, selected by our editors, as well as Top Five lists for genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, and SELF-e titles. VISIT THE WEBSITE

It’s the Police! British Style: 13 Police Procedurals, Sept.-Dec. 2012

In Keith McCarthy’s The Taste of Wormwood (Severn House. Oct. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727881908. $27.95), Chief Inspector Beverley Wharton investigates the mysterious death of an Asian couple without the help of her favorite pathologist, who’s got his own mysterious death to handle: that of Arthur Meadows, who had just returned from southern Europe with some evidently tricky merchandise. In Priscilla Masters’s Smoke Alarm (Severn House. Nov. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727881991. $28.95), Detective Inspector Alex Randall asks coroner Martha Gunn for help after a series of suspicious fires. Fourth in a series.

In Sally Spencer’s Lambs to the Slaughter (Severn House. Oct. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727881922. $28.95), the latest Detective Inspector Monika Paniatowski mystery, strikes and then murder upend the mining village of Bellingsworth. Pauline Rowson’s Death Lies Beneath (Severn House. Nov. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727882028. $28.95) is set on Britain’s south coast, as Detective Inspector Andy Horton confronts first the murder of an ex-con found in the marshes and then another dead body lodged in a sodden boat being salvaged in Portsmouth Harbour.

In Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’s next Bill Slider mystery, Blood Never Dies (Severn House. Dec. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9780727882110. $28.95), our detective inspector deals with a handsome young man found dead in a bath (is he a suicide?) without a scrap of identification. Detective Constable Iona Khan of Manchester’s Counter Terrorism Unit learns that the city is slated for attack in Chris Simms’s Scratch Deeper (Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Oct. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9781780290355. $27.97). First in a new series.

Detective Inspector Fellowes and Detective Superintendent Bright hunt a knife wielder who threatened veterinarian Jane Highsmith in her Scottish surgery. The poor guy got microchipped for his troubles by the fast-thinking vet (Gerald Hammond’s The Unkindest Cut. Severn House. Oct. 2012. 192p. ISBN 9780727881779. $27.95).

Superintendent John Lambert and Sergeant Bert Hook encounter trouble in the idyllic Westbourne Gardens in J.M. Gregson’s More Than Meets the Eye (Severn House. Nov. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727881984. $27.95). Nick Oldham’s Fighting for the Dead (Severn House. Dec. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9780727882134 . $28.95) stars Detective Superintendent Henry Christie, who’s waylaid by a masked man with a gun when he starts investigating the drowning death of a local businessman’s wife.

Detective Constable Sukey Reynolds investigates the knifing death of a woman found in a skip in Betty Rowlands’s Unnatural Wastage (Severn House. Dec. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727882141. $28.95), while Detective Constable Gary Goodhew tries to ferret out how a nasty parking-lot murder, an old’s woman’s final illness, and several suicides in Cambridge are linked (Alison Bruce’s The Silence. Soho Constable. Oct. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9781616951658. $25).

T. Frank Muir’s Hand for a Hand (Soho Crime. Nov. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9781616951818. $25) opens a new series set in chilly, hilly Scotland, as Detective Inspector Andie Gilchrist wrestles with crises both domestic and professional while realizing that he is being targeted by a killer. (The dismembered hand clutching a note starts things off nicely.) In Elizabeth Darrell’s Spanish Inquisition (Severn House. Oct. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727881861. $28.95), Max Rydal is back, struggling to clear Sergeant Phil Piercey’s name after a woman tells the Royal Military Police that he has assaulted her.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.


  1. Stan Ulrich says:

    “T. Frank Muir’s Hand for a Hand (Soho Crime. Nov. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9781616951818. $25) … opens a new series set in chilly, hilly Scotland”

    — No, it is the second in a series, and first appeared in 2008