A Christmas Grace by Anne Perry. Also picked up for the reading challenge. With Christmas just around the corner, Thomas Pitt's (one of Perry's celebrated detectives) sister-in-law, Emily Radley, is suddenly called from London to be with her dying aunt. She soon liearns that a tragic legacy haunts the once close knit community where her aunt lives. There are painful memories of an unsolved murder and fears that the killer may still live in the area. Determined to lighten her aunt's heart and help the troubled community, Emily sets out to unmask the culprit.
A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock. A more recent installment to this series was sitting on the "New Arrivals" shelf. I hate to jump into a series in the middle, so I went and grabbed Peacock's debut (both for her & the series). The year is 1837. Queen Victoria, barely 18, has just ascended to the throne of England, and a young woman named Liberty Lane has just had her first taste of sorrow. Refusing to accept that her gentle, peace-loving father has been killed fighting a duel, she vows to see justice done....
Behold, a Mystery! by Joan Smith. This one has been on the TBR list for a long time. Set in Regency England at Christmas time (might work this one into the challenge as well), it features Jessica Greenwood, a well-born, yet poorly funded young lady who is serving as a companion to her Great-Aunt Hettie. The older woman is murdered and suspicion falls upon her four visiting nephews who are presumed to be the heirs. When the will is read, however, they discover that the fortune has been left to Jessica--provided she marries one of her four cousins. Otherwise, the money will be left to Aunt Hettie's dog, Duke. Jessica's dilemma isn't just which one of her less than perfect cousins to choose...she also must avoid choosing a murderer.
Death in Hellfire by Deryn Lake. This one finds John Rawlings in disguise and infiltrating the infamous Hellfire Club. Debauchery seems to be a strong motivation for the club's meetings, but is there a more sinister element to these weekly weekends? Evil lurks in hidden corners and it seems the nobility have more than the usual share of skeletons to hide.
Dead Man's Chest by Kerry Greenwood. The most recent Phryne Fisher mystery. I've been waiting (impatiently) for this to be available from the library. This time Phryne has promised everyone in her household a nice holiday by the sea with absolutely no murders, but when they reach their rented accomodations that doesn't seem likely at all. An empty house, a gang of teenage louts, a fisherboy saved, and the mysery of a missing butler and his wife seem to lead inexorably toward a hunt for buried treasure. Phryne knows to what depths people will sink for greed, but with a glass of champagne in one hand and her pearl-handled Beretta in the other, no one is getting past her.
And--if that wasn't enough--I stopped by the library's used/discarded book store and brought these home with me as well:
The Suspect by L. R. Wright. At 80, George Wilcox hardly expected to crown his life by committing murder. It had happened so quickly, so easily, so unexpectedly...a near-perfect crime that wraps Wilcox in a web of guilt, honor, and secrets from the past. An unprovoked act that soon binds him to warmhearted town librarian, Cassandra Mitchell, and her new romantic interest, zealous Staff Sergeant Alberg. Together, they find themselves caught up in a crime whose solution transcends the logic of pure justice.
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. Atwood takes us back in time and into the life of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the 19th C. Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper/mistress. Grace claims no memory of the murders. Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the field of mental illness, is engaged by a group who seek a pardon for Grace. What will he find when he unlocks her memories?
Detective Stories chosen by Philip Pullman. A collection of unexplained deaths, mysterious dissappearances and daring thefts...includes stories by Isaac Asimov, Italo Calvino, Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Dorothy L Sayers, and E. C. Bentley.
The Ghost Writer by John Harwood. (description by Ruth Rendell) It begins. as good ghost stories should, not in a haunted house, but in a stuffy and silent room scented with perfume and mothballs...This is a Victorain novel as well as what Henry James called a 'finished fantasy.' Portraits, photographs, lonely decaying houses, gorgeous scenery, pavilions, jewels, flowers and books abound. Strange parallels reveal themselves, but few coincidences. This is not melodrama and it is not horror. It is too well written and subtly constructed for that.