Lori Rater-Day, Under A Dark Sky
If you like your mysteries with a lot of backstory, an anxious protagonist, and a complex plot, this could be the novel for you. Eden Wallace’s life has been one of anguish and sorrow since the death of her husband in an automobile accident. So when she finds that her husband has reserved a week at a dark sky park, where you go to observe the stars, she decides to go.
There she is forced to share her cottage with a group of folks in their late twenties, all fixated on their college friendships of years before. When one of the friends is murdered, everyone becomes a suspect, including Eden. As the story unfolds we find that nothing is as it appears to be with the friends, with Eden, or with the deceased husband.
Those who like rather literary mysteries with lots of angst will find this enjoyable.
Writing historical fiction is always a challenge. The author does extensive research but has to be careful not to let the details she has lovingly gathered become so numerous as to slow down the pace of the book. Rhys Bowen is one who has been very successful in this mystery genre. Aside from stand alone works of historical fiction, she also is currently maintaining two historical mystery series: the Royal Spyness Series about a minor Royal in 1930’s Britain, and the Molly Murphy series about an Irish immigrant in early 1900’s New York City. This novel is in that series. Molly works as a private detective while trying to find a suitable man to marry, which is difficult given her high standards. This book is well-plotted, and, while the historical detail seems authentic, it is never intrusive. We learn only what we need to know. If you like historical mysteries, give Bowen a try.
Peter Granger, LANE: A Case for Willows and Lane
Willows is middle-aged, widowed, wealthy and bored. Lane is a former Detective Inspector invalided out of the police after an explosive career of both brilliance and violence. When Lane moves next door to Willows and gets involved in saving her from some bad guys, they form an unlikely partnership. Both of the books in this series are more thriller than police procedural, but they are extremely well-written as is everything that Granger produces. Lane is a character you won’t quickly forget, and I hope there will be many more in this series.