Escape from mud season with a handful of mysteries


By John HooverGood Reads1 copy

Whether the body is in the drawing room of an English country house or in an alley in some gritty urban area; whether the main character is a police officer, a private detective or an English spinster, the mystery novel, after almost two-thirds of a century of reading, remains among my favorite escapist literature – and there are few books better at helping us escape from the reality of another mud season than a good mystery.

Brotherhood of FearLynne says, “I loved former Misty Valley Books’ New Voice Paul Grossman’s third thriller, Brotherhood of Fear ($25.99). It was every bit as riveting as his first two, Sleepwalkers and Children of Wrath. Willi Kraus, the last Jewish detective in pre-war Germany, has finally fled to Paris where his in-laws and children are in exile. Ever the inspektor, he gets enmeshed in an investigation that reaches the highest levels of the French government. I was unable to put it down — except to sleep!”

Bill’s recommendation for our mystery/thriller column is Girl with a Clock for a Heart ($25.99), The Girl with a Clock for a Heartby 2014 New Voice Peter Swanson. “The best thriller I’ve read recently, kept me guessing what might happen next.  It’s an atmospheric tale of romantic noir, with shades of Hitchcock, about a man who is swept into a vortex of irresistible passion and murder when an old love mysteriously reappears.”

The Keeper of Lost CausesAmanda has gone to Scandinavia for her recommendation. “There’s no mystery involved in my recommendation for April’s Good Read column.  The Keeper of Lost Causes ($16), Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen’s first installment in his Department Q series, is excellent.  Everything about this thriller is original, from the characters to the plot to the setting.  The interaction between Superintendent Carl Morck and his assistant Assad is priceless.  The suspense is intense and you’ll keep guessing ‘who done it’ until the end.  I’m halfway through the next book in the series (The Absent One) and am enjoying it immensely.  With several others in the series already published, fans of Adler-Olsen have a good ride ahead.”

For our young adult readers Jory says, “Verity Boone doesn’t expect to return home engaged The Caged Gravesto be married, and her mother’s grave locked under a cage. It’s 1867 in Pennsylvania, and Verity has a lot to unravel. The Caged Graves ($16.99), by Dianne Salerni, is a page-turning mystery that is rooted in history. (Apparently, there are a few caged graves still to be found.)”

Blind DescentKim recommends the Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr. “The series is written by a former National Park Service ranger, about an NPS ranger, and each novel is set in different parks throughout the U.S. My favorite was called Blind Descent ($7.99), and takes place in the bowels of the earth, within the caverns at Carlsbad in New Mexico. Not only is Anna solving a mystery and tracking a killer, but doing it in the dark, inside the earth, entirely on her own. Creeped me out (but in a good way!) on so many levels.”

The best mystery series I’ve read recently is the Rev. Clare Ferguson/Russ Van Alstyne novels In the Bleak Midwinterby Julia Spencer-Fleming. Written in 2002 In the Bleak Mid-Winter ($7.99), the first of  eight books in the series, introduces us to the Rev. Ferguson, the new rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church (all the titles in the series come from hymns in the Episcopal Hymnal) in Miller’s Kill, New York, a small town in the Adirondacks. Ferguson, an ex-Army helicopter pilot, and Chief of Police Van Alstyne team up to solve a series of crimes that lift the lid off small town life. Best to start this series with book 1.

Next month’s Good Reads column will be a wild card, where we won’t have a theme but we’ll recommend some of the best books we’ve read.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeGood Reads

About the Author: After a 35-year career as a high school social studies teacher, John Hoover and his wife, Sally, retired to Vermont. He lives in Windham where he serves as a Justice of the Peace and Library Trustee. He works part time as a book-seller at Misty Valley Books, is active at St. Luke's Episcopal Church and sings in several choral groups.

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