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Unusual Suspects

Mysteries Rooted In Place

Hi mystery fans! I have two mysteries rooted in settings that vividly come alive, and both start with missing person cases. So get toosh comfy to armchair travel to New Zealand and Tasmania for some serious page turning.

Quiet In Her Bones by Nalini Singh

This is the perfect beach read to escape your winter situation. Aarav Rai is a 26-year-old bestselling crime author whose mother disappeared–with a quarter of a million of his father’s money–when he was a teenager. Was she a missing person who should be presumed dead or a woman in an abusive relationship who took money and ran?

Those have been the questions left behind in an Auckland, New Zealand, cul-de-sac. Except now Nina Rai’s car has been found with her body inside at Waitākere Ranges Regional Park adding new questions: did she die in a car accident; was she murdered? Aarav has plenty of theories from his crime writing brain, but he was recently in an accident and is having memory issues–including around what he remembers from the night of his mother’s disappearance. But he does remember her screaming.

And so we’re taken not only into Aarav’s thoughts and memories of his childhood but also into the cul-de-sac of wealthy neighbors as he tries to unravel everyone’s secrets and dirty deeds…

I love small communities and watching all the secrets being exposed, so this was already my catnip, and then it had the added bonus of a great location we rarely get to armchair travel to. Aarav is an interesting, layered, on-and-off unlikeable character forced to face his complicated feelings and memories of his childhood and parents.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Raj Varma, which is always my go-to format for settings I am unfamiliar with in hopes to hear proper pronunciations. I really liked Varma’s voice, accent, and that he did not do high pitched women’s voices.

(TW alcoholism/ domestic abuse/ statutory (19/16)/ dog death questioned as poisoning, no graphic details/ past suicide, detail/ past eating disorder, detail)

The Survivors by Jane Harper

I love that I can count on Harper to deliver an immersive, page-turning, atmospheric mystery every single time.

I’m not going to give a lot of plot away on this one because a lot is revealed in fragments and I loved collecting the pieces as I was getting to know the characters. Kieran Elliott has returned home to a small south coast town in Tasmania. His father has dementia, being looked after by his mother, and he’s come home with his girlfriend Mia and new baby daughter to help pack up the home.

He’s not only dealing with the current situation and emotional toll of an ill parent but it’s also forcing him and the community to face a past many would rather bury. There was an accident. There may still be a missing person. There have only ever been questions and accusations. And now there is a murdered woman. Kieran is about to learn that you can’t run away from an unresolved past…

I loved watching Kieran and Mia reconnect with people they hadn’t seen in a long time and all the complexities involved, the tension of a place trying so hard to forget the past, the family dynamics, the complicated nature of grief, all playing out along the ocean coast, which can quickly turn from tranquil to violent.

(TW parent with dementia/ drowning/ suicide on page)

From The Book Riot Crime Vault

Women Have Always Loved Reading Thrillers—Just Ask the Victorians


Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own, you can sign up here.

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Unusual Suspects

3 of the Best New Hard-Hitting YA Thrillers

Hi mystery fans! I have some news and links, giveaways, a bananapants Netflix adaptation, my recent reading, and a bunch of great Kindle deals.

From Book Riot And Around The Internet

Katie and Nusrah talk about reads that feature true crime and social justice honoring Black History Month.

3 of the Best New Hard-Hitting YA Thrillers for Your TBR

The Casual Classism of Agatha Christie

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Adds Lily Gladstone to Cast

HBO Max has put in development The Players Table, a TV series based on Jessica Goodman’s bestselling debut novel They Wish They Were Us

Deanna Raybourne is one of my favorite authors and this Twitter thread is a delight: “There are eleventy thousand projects about Agatha Christie’s missing days so now can I get a film about how at 40 she took up with a 26-year-old archaeologist, swam with him in her pink undies, and married him?

‘The Echo Wife’ Layers Sci-Fi And Murder Mystery For A Twisty Treat

Tim Burton is bringing Wednesday Addams to Netflix in a live-action coming-of-age series!

Comedian Sums Up How Every Film Noir Movie Ends

Peacock Orders John Wayne Gacy True Crime Docuseries

Win a Mystery Audiobook Prize Pack!

Win a Year of e-Reading!

Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway: February 2021

Enter to Win a $100 Indigo Gift Card – February 2021

Watch Now

Netflix: Sarah Pinborough’s bonkers (!) Behind Her Eyes published in 2017 and it is now a limited series on Netflix. The book for me had a similar opening to Grey’s Anatomy where I was HOOKED–imagine having a bar hookup then not only finding out he’s your new boss but also that his wife has just befriended you. Awkward. Anyways, I am honestly all-in for this series because I want to see if they kept the bananapants element from the book and if so HOW they are pulling it off? If you’ve read it you’re probably nodding your head. Here’s the trailer!

Bit Of My Week In Reading

The Turnout By Megan Abbott

Did I drop everything to read Megan Abbott’s upcoming suspense novel? Yes, of course! The thing I love–there are many but here’s one–about Abbott’s books is that she envelopes readers in feelings. While many mysteries start with a crime, Abbott just starts by plunging you into the lives of characters and slowly this feeling of dread sets in because you don’t know what but you know something is certainly coming, and it’s never good.

It’s always fascinating to watch. There’s also usually an “extreme” element as the backdrop–this time dance. A ballet studio, to be exact, left to two sisters when their parents died in a car accident. They teach and live together with one of their husbands. Until one sister moves out of the house and into the dance studio. There’s a fire. A contractor. And suddenly things are unraveling… If I close my eyes and tell you the feelings: breathless, chaotic, loneliness, restless, reckless, pressure cooker, intensity, desire, regret, passion, obsession, visceral, longing… Abbott manages to make her characters’ lives so vivid and real I can smell and taste their world, all while making me uncomfortable and unable to stop turning the page. It’s a train wreck I always know is coming and can never look away from (don’t want to!) that always ends up living with me afterwards as she explores how we get to these wrecks and how we can continue after. She has an extensive backlist and here is me raving about them all. (TW disordered eating and eating disorders/ past alcoholism/ sexual abuse of teen/ suicide scene, detail/ past domestic abuse)

Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. Manansala

I got my hands on an early copy of this upcoming cozy mystery and it’s my weekend read. Look at that cover! I am already salivating, so must prepare proper snacks for reading.

And my current audiobooks which I’m really enjoying! Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen, which is all about when you’ve had the same limited social group of friends and find yourself branching out. And Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong, which is one of my favorite thriller series with an interesting setting: in a remote place where victims and predators have all been given a new chance in this community. If you need thrills, it’s an awesome series.

Kindle Deals

The Other Americans cover image

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

This is a character driven crime novel that follows the fallout from a hit-and-run as the family grieves and an investigator looks into the crime. It’s fantastic and $1.99! (Review)

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite cover image

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This is a great breaks-the-mold thriller that is smart and deliciously wicked about a woman who is tired of cleaning up her sister’s messes (literally) and may get pushed too far when her sister sets eyes on her crush. It’s $1.99! (TW child and domestic abuse/ rape–I want to say past briefly recounted)

A Death of No Importance cover image

A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks

A great read for historical fiction fans with a murder mystery that unravels amongst the upper class while the city deals with anarchists and terrible working conditions for the lower class. It’s $2.99! (Review)

Two Girls Down cover image

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

If you’re looking to start a new PI series, here’s one of my recent favorite pairings (a bounty hunter and PI) which is $4.99! (Review)


Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own, you can sign up here.

Categories
Unusual Suspects

Historical Mystery For Sherlock Fans

Hello mystery fans! This week I have two opposite ends of the crime genre reads for you: a historical mystery set in India for Sherlock fans and a fictional serial killer with young adults tapped by the FBI to help catch a serial killer.

Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March

Here’s a great mystery for fans of historical mysteries, Sherlock, and Acorn TV mystery shows. Captain Jim Agnihotri, born to an Indian mother and British father, is recovering in a military hospital in 1892, Bombay. After reading Sherlock Holmes as well as a case about two young women who fell from a university’s clock tower, he ends up on the case, hired by the women’s widow and brother (one woman was his wife, the other his sister, in case you thought something gross).

For Sherlock fans: you get walked through the investigation step by step as he asks questions and digs into the story, including him wearing disguises. For history fans: you get little known history (this is based on real events you can fall down a rabbit hole looking into) and submerged into India under British rule and the Parsee community. There’s also a nice romance subplot as Captain Jim falls in love but is warned by the woman’s family that he isn’t allowed to be with her because of their culture. For Acorn TV fans: this does deal with real life history and cruelties but does not go into graphic detail beyond what you’d see in historical mystery shows.

(TW case believed suicide at first/ mentions domestic abuse, no detail/ child marriages, slavery/ child death)

None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney

This book has the comps for “The Silence of the Lambs meets Sadie” and I never say this: I can totally see it. For Silence of the Lambs you have the young woman sent in to interview the captured serial killer, and for Sadie you have a great voice of a young woman trying to survive her past, and the writing also takes care to not be graphic for the sake of it or be problematic.

This did a great job of balancing the things I like from fictional serial killer stories without being dark and graphic for the sake of it, and being catnipy like a network show without being too networky (I swear that makes sense in my head). Oh, and bonus points for being set in the ’80s! Although sadly no one gets assaulted by an Aqua Net spray can.

It starts with Emma Lewis and Travis Bell, two young adults, being recruited by the FBI to interview teen serial killers in the hopes of gaining more knowledge about them. Lewis is a serial killer survivor and Bell is a US Marshal candidate whose father died in the line of duty at the hands of a serial killer. Yes, they are being used. And they quickly realize it and go rogue every opportunity they can because there is an active serial killer and they want to help catch him.

This has all the elements of great backstory to the characters that fits perfectly with where they currently find themselves, the young “recruits” clashing with the bureaucracy, the tension of a serial killer, “you in danger!” scenes, and a great partnership unfolding between Lewis and Bell. This is definitely one of 2020’s best thrillers. And if you see the YA tag and are skipping it because you don’t read YA, I’d give this one a try, it reads adult for me, or at the very least the line between the two genres and does not have the elements I hear non-YA readers complain about.

I really enjoyed the audiobook which is narrated by Christine Lakin (you’ll know if you watched Step by Step!), Maxwell Hamilton, and Zach Villa (American Horror Story: 1984) so you get the multi voice narration, including for the serial killer’s chats with Lewis. It’s really well narrated and produced and totally worth my libro.fm credit!

(TW mentions past child abuse/ talks about serial killer cases/ briefly mentions past suicide, no details/ mentions past animal cruelty)

From The Book Riot Crime Vault

Why is This Ted Bundy Book So Hard to Find?

Read or Dead podcast ep 85: Rincey and Katie talk about mysteries featuring technology and social media, along with some mixed feelings about adaptation news recently announced.


Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own, you can sign up here.

Categories
Unusual Suspects

The Obamas Are Adapting A Mystery!

Hello mystery fans! I’ve got plenty to click and read, including exciting book news, so many Kindle deals, and a spy film to watch–or rewatch.

From Book Riot And Around The Internet

Community Focused Mysteries

Katie and Nusrah talk about books that make use of unique formats to tell their story.

I am SO excited about this! One of my favorite reads of 2021 is being adapted by Michelle Obama and Barack Obama: Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley! You can check out the other works coming from their Higher Ground Productions here.

Two historical mystery novels plunge readers into the past while keeping them guessing

This Jessica Biel Crime Drama Is the #2 Show on Netflix—and It Is Dark

‘Clarice’: Grisly ‘Lambs’ spinoff series comes in like a lion

11 YA Mysteries and Thrillers You Need to Read If You Loved We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Watch out, Jack Ryan! Michael B. Jordan’s Tom Clancy thriller is coming soon to Amazon

Jane Harper talks about her new book (so good!) The Survivors.

Flight Attendant’s First Thriller at Center of Bidding War

The cover for Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s upcoming novel, Velvet Was the Night, is amazing! *all the gimme gimme hands

Looking forward to both!: ‘Red Widow’ CIA Drama Based On Book In Works At Fox With Sarah Condon Producing

Reese Witherspoon’s wildly popular book club is now an app

The Lincoln Lawyer: Neve Campbell joins Netflix series adaptation

Win a Year of e-Reading!

Win a Bundle of YA Titles plus $250 to Spend on Books!

Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway: February 2021

Enter to Win a $100 Indigo Gift Card – February 2021

Watch Now

HBO Max: In the mood for a Cold War spy novel based on one of the best spy thriller writer’s work? HBO Max has Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy based on John le Carré’s same titled novel, the 5th in the George Smiley series. The film has a hell of a cast including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and Benedict Cumberbatch. And the screenplay was written by Bridget O’Connor. Here’s the trailer.

Kindle Deals

Let Me Hear a Rhyme cover image

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

A coming of age, a love letter to Brooklyn, and a murder mystery by one of the best YA crime writers is $2.99! So obviously run to this. (Review)

Newcomer cover image

Newcomer by Keigo Higashino, Giles Murray (Translation)

A Japanese murder mystery, sectioned into parts following different residents living and/or working in a business district as Detective Kyoichiro Kaga tries to unravel who is a murderer and why. If you’re looking for more mystery and translated work I read everything translated to English that Higashino has written. And here’s one for $2.99! (Review)

The Birdwatcher novel cover railed dock on ocean view

The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

This is one of my recent favorite series, which is just those mysteries that you pick up and are fully absorbed from beginning to end as it hits all the procedural notes you look for. And it’s $2.99! (Review)

The Dinosaur Artist by Paige Williams cover image

The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth’s Ultimate Trophy by Paige Williams

Nonviolent true crime + bananapants is a thing I am ALWAYS here for. Who owns dinosaur bones and can you just dig them up and sell them for ridiculous sums of money? Find out for $2.99. Also, Leonardo DiCaprio seems to make appearances in the nonviolent true crime I read, including this one. (Review)

All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth cover

All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth

Prep school setting, secret society, drama, secrets, and past mystery for the winning price of $1.99! (Review)


Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own, you can sign up here.

Categories
Unusual Suspects

Real Unsolved Mysteries In True Crime & Fictionalized

Hi mystery fans! I have two real life unsolved mysteries, one in a true crime book and one in a novel that imagines what may have happened during a famous author’s disappearance.

The Golden Thread: The Cold War and the Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjöld by Ravi Somaiya

This has it all: spies, history, governments planning assassinations, the founding of the United Nations, unsolved mystery, conspiracy theories, and a reminder that history continues repeating itself if we don’t learn from it–“Nobody could call them off-only wind them up, set them off, and semi-legitimately deny any involvement in the destruction that followed.”

Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish economist and the second Secretary-General of the United Nations whose death, along with the deaths of everyone on board, in a plane crash on Sept. 17, 1961 has remained unsolved. The fact that a prominent political figure, with many enemies, died in a plane crash that went unchecked until the next day; that there were over 10 known spies from various countries in the area; that the investigation deemed a dozen witnesses who all saw the same thing (another plane in the sky) as not reliable; and more, fed the flames of conspiracy theories for years. And it wasn’t until 2014 that the U.N finally appointed someone to reexamine this case.

Here, Somaiya–who narrates the audiobook–which I highly recommend!–unravels the man, Hammarskjöld; the politics, including the history of the Congo, the creation of the U.N., and the hatred towards it; and looks at all the theories that have been presented over the years. “Never believe anything until it is officially denied.”

I liked that I didn’t need to pause to go look up footnotes etc for more information, but, rather, Somaiya makes clear in the narrative whether it is one person’s uncorroborated or corroborated account, and the source material, or when it’s unknown, without this ever feeling like a textbook. There is a lot of interesting information in here, especially if you don’t know much about the Congo or the U.N. Spoiler: colonizers ruin everything. While the book does not end with a pretty bow and a “solved” stamp, it does make clear from all the gathered evidence and information the most likely theory, including explaining the points that work and don’t, and why, for each of the main theories over the years, including mercenary planes, hijackers, and government assassination plots.

(TW attempted suicide recounted, detail/ mentions group rape not detailed or graphic)

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

Did you know that the queen of crime Agatha Christie has a very real mystery from her life that has remained unsolved? She disappeared for 11 days in 1926 and claimed memory loss of that time when she was found. I mean if anything is prime for conspiracy theories, a mystery author disappearing and almost 100 years later it still being unsolved should do it.

Here, Benedict has imagined a why/how for the part we don’t know by writing a novel that alternates between Agatha Christie and her husband Archibald Christie. We start with Agatha Christie loosely engaged to a man when she meets Archie. We watch their courtship, her home life with her mother, her relationship with her sister, and how she started writing. Archie’s chapters alternate starting with his learning of his wife’s disappearance, the case that ensues, the media focus, and him becoming a suspect.

For a book that is based on a mystery I already know, and had assumptions about what it was going to do before reading, I still found myself very much turning the pages late into the night fascinated by Christie and enraged by the “life lessons” she was taught about marriage. While I generally very much move away from things that impose themselves on very real people without their consent, something about the hundred year time span let me pick this one up. Watching Christie’s life unfold as she became a mystery writer and became a mystery herself was clever and I think has a broad reader appeal. I will note that if you’ve still never read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd it will be spoiled for you (if it hasn’t already), and also you may be left with a very strong desire to (re)read all of Christie’s work.

(TW brief lore summarized vaguely alludes to assault and suicide/ a discussion about suicide not being a possibility)

From The Book Riot Crime Vault

(now available!) Y’all, I’m Getting Pretty Excited About Agora’s Diverse Crime Fiction

If Crime Novels Were Food


Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own, you can sign up here.

Categories
Unusual Suspects

There Are So Many New Books About Cults

Hello mystery fans! I found a bunch of podcasts, roundups, news, giveaways, and Kindle deals.

From Book Riot And Around The Internet

Katie and Nusrah talk about books that make use of unique formats to tell their story in the latest Read or Dead!

Liberty and Danika talk new releases on the latest All The Books! including Two Truths and a Lie: A Murder, a Private Investigator, and Her Search for Justice by Ellen McGarrahan; The Project by Courtney Summers; Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan.

15 Of The Best YA Thriller Books

15 of the Best Feminist Mystery Novels

Mystery Writers Who Write Other Genres

How the Energetic Cover of Colson Whitehead’s Upcoming Novel Harlem Shuffle Hints at the Heist Within

Mysteries by Black Women to Add to Your Reading List

Tom Swift’: Tian Richards Lands Lead Role In ‘Nancy Drew’ Spinoff On Black Gay Billionaire At The CW

Angie Kim (Miracle Creek) announced her next book!

Jay Coles (Tyler Johnson Was Here) is writing a YA murder mystery!

There Are So Many New Books About Cults Out This Week

What’s in a Page: Kate Elizabeth Russell looks back on her novel My Dark Vanessa

12 Thriller and Mystery Reads Sure to Keep You Inside This February

The Ninja Daughter cover image

The Crime Writers of Color podcast continues having great authors as guests: Tori EldridgeThe Ninja Daughter and The Ninja’s Blade; David Heska Wanbli WeidenWinter Counts; They’re Gone with E. A. Aymar (E. A. Barres).

Ronan Farrow (Catch And Kill) talks about Me Too, and other things, on Radical Musings with Rosanna Arquette.

Win a Year of e-Reading!

Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway: February 2021

Win $100 to the Bookstore of Your Choice – February 2021

Enter to Win a $100 Indigo Gift Card – February 2021

Win a Bundle of YA Titles plus $250 to Spend on Books!

Kindle Deals

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths cover image

The Stranger Diaries (Harbinder Kaur #1) by Elly Griffiths

If you’re looking for a modern mystery with nods to gothic stories and love a book inside of a book, here’s a great start to a recent series for $2.99! (Review)

21 Immortals (Inspector Mislan Latif #1) by Rozlan Mohd Noor

If you’re looking for an international police procedural, here’s one set in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia written by a former Investigation Officer in the Malaysian police force. And it’s $1.99!

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough cover image

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

If you want a character-driven suspense novel with multiple points of view, here’s one for $2.99! (Review)

The Night In Question by Nic Joseph cover image

The Night in Question by Nic Joseph

If you’re looking for a murder mystery that questions where exactly the line of good vs bad is, here’s one, by an author I really like, for $2.99! (Review)

Midwinter Murder: Fireside Tales from the Queen of Mystery by Agatha Christie

If you’re looking to read short stories, here’s a collection by the queen of mystery herself for $2.99!

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The Art of Theft (The Lady Sherlock Series Book 4) by Sherry Thomas

The 4th book in one of my all time favorite historical mystery series–and my favorite Sherlock– is only $1.99! (Review)


Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own, you can sign up here.

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Unusual Suspects

Locked Room & Remote Mysteries

Hi mystery fans! I am a sucker for mysteries that are locked room and/or remote mysteries. This is certainly tied somehow to being a fan of Agatha Christie as a child, and the movie and VHS game Clue. It’s also a favorite of mine because you know that the person(s) responsible are right in front of you, you just have to figure out who based on the why. And my first and foremost love of the mystery genre is based on my love of puzzles. My two selections are both influenced by Agatha Christie (and Sherlock Holmes for the first) but contemporary and set in different places in the world while also making the setting an important element. Put on your sleuthing hats and good luck guessing!

Murder in the Crooked House cover image

Murder in the Crooked House by Sōji Shimada, Louise Heal Kawai (Translation)

This is both a locked room mystery and a remote mystery, so basically two of my favorite things for the price of one! Wealthy Kozaburo Hamamoto has built a literally crooked house (sloping floors and the building is leaning–yes, think of Italy) in the remote northern tip of Japan, Hokkaido island. And, in 1984, Kozaburo and his daughter Eiko invite guest to stay over for Christmas in the house.

It starts with you meeting everyone as they arrive, Kozaburo setting up puzzle challenges for some guests, and telling his daughter if she wants to marry between two of the guests he could challenge them and see who solved his puzzles. But the festivities put the red in Christmas, no matter how much white snow is falling, when the murders start. In locked rooms! Clearly it has to be one of them, and the local detectives are staying over to figure out who. But they’ll be competing with Kiyoshi Mitarai, a famous detective who can obviously figure this out over the local detectives–you get Agatha Christie inspiration and Sherlock Holmes, more two for the price of one.

This was fun and balanced how much you care about people when you know people are gonna be dying, and it was interesting to see how much early British mysteries have influenced Japanese mysteries. I always figure these out, but this has an added element I don’t think anyone will solve 100% of, which I appreciated.

(TW attempted suicide, brief detail mentioned/fatphobia)

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

First a note: if you read Foley’s previous book and were bothered by the use of mental illness as the boogieman, I felt this one didn’t do that.

This is not a locked room mystery but a remote setting mystery that was one of the big books of last year. A clever thing I enjoyed about it is that you don’t actually know who is dead at the start so the mystery is both who did it, but also to whom? It’s a wedding and so everyone should be celebrating but L O L this is a murder mystery so it’s just gonna be drama and secrets and at least one dead body. The bride and groom are wealthy, influential, and one is a mild celebrity with a survival type reality TV show, and they’ve invited family and friends to an island off Ireland’s west coast.

We start with the scream, something awful has certainly happened and then we go back briefly in time to meet those arriving along with the bride and groom and the wedding planner who lives on the ten bedroom property the guests are staying at. Everyone has secrets and drama (family, romantic, friendship) and life problems as we rotate between the wedding planner, bridal party, bride, groom, and the bride’s best friend’s wife. The bride has issues with her mom stemming from her childhood, the bride’s sister is going through a breakup, the bride’s best-friend and his wife are trying to finally take a proper holiday from their kids, and the groom and his best mates are caught up in reverting back to adolescent behavior. It’s fun when it feels like many people have many reasons to want to kill a few people–it’s fiction, don’t judge me.

I went with the audiobook because it’s multi-voiced and that always makes me feel like the characters are easily separated and more defined. So if you audio, I recommend that format.

(TW self harm on page/ disordered eating talk/ fatphobia/ Non-consensual distribution of sexual images or video/ suicide, detail)

From Book Riot’s Crime Vault

12 Recent Locked Room Mysteries For Fans Of Escape Rooms


Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own, you can sign up here.

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Today In Books

Netflix To Adapt THE WITCH BOY Into Animated Musical: Today In Books

Netflix To Adapt The Witch Boy Into Animated Musical

Molly Knox Ostertag’s queer-friendly graphic novel The Witch Boy will be adapted into an animated musical for Netflix. Oscar nominee Minkyu Lee will direct, Maria Melnik will adapt it to screen, and the original music will be by Haim. And there is an official concept art piece already shared.

Romance Writers Advice Podcast

Romance fans and/or advice podcast fans have a new podcast to look forward to: Dear Romance Writer, starting February 11th. Romance authors Xio Axelrod, Avery Flynn, and Roan Parrish don’t claim to be personally successful in love or formally trained, BUT they’ll answer your lovelorn questions anyways. Having written 50+ romance novels has to make them at least partially qualified and fully entertaining.

Talia Hibbert’s Austen Inspired Rom-Com Series Forthcoming

And even more HEA! If more novels by romance author Talia Hibbert was on your I-want list, your wish has been granted: In a three book deal, Avon will publish a rom-com series inspired by Jane Austen. “Book 1: Mont is kind of Elizabeth Bennet? Only taller”.

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Today In Books

Amanda Gorman Will Perform At Super Bowl: Today In Books

Amanda Gorman Will Perform At The Super Bowl

Amanda Gorman is on fire. After her incredible performance as Joe Biden’s inaugural poet, the presales for her two upcoming books (The Hill We Climb; Change Sings) have been skyrocketing. Now it’s been announced that she’ll recite a poem at the Super Bowl–making her the first poet to do so.

Netflix’s Sandman Cast Revealed

Netflix is adapting Neil Gaiman’s popular DC Comic Sandman series. And the cast has been revealed! The dark fantasy drama will see Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer with Tom Sturridge as Dream.

Enola Holmes Is Back!

Fans of the Enola Holmes book series, which Netflix adapted into a film starring Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill (Superman trying to fit his muscles into period clothing), have an upcoming new novel to look forward to: Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche. Seventeen has the info along with the cover reveal.

10 Tidbits About Libraries for Visually Impaired and Print Disabled People

Get to know the work and services of libraries for the visually impaired and print disabled people around the world.

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Unusual Suspects

America’s Greatest Female Spy

Hello mystery fans! Gliding into this weekend, I have a good amount of round-ups, articles, and news for you. Plus, three ebook deals if you’re still undecided on your weekend read.

From Book Riot And Around The Internet

Five Historical Spy Thrillers Based (In Part) On Real Events

15 of the Best Feminist Mystery Novels

10 Female Assassin Books About Death, Justice, and Survival

The Best Detective Books to Keep You Up Late at Night

Liberty and Patricia discuss new releases including The Girls I’ve Been (loved!) on the recent All The Books!

Under-the-Radar 2020 Mystery/Thrillers Not To Miss

Richard Himmel’s pulp noir books are back in print — hardboiled words from a famous Chicago interior designer

Girl A: Abigail Dean on her shocking debut novel that’s taking the book world by storm

‘If I Disappear’ Is a New Thriller for True Crime Fanatics

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line cover image

MWA Announces 2021 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominations – this is a good list of nominees with some of my favorite reads and authors.

The best recent thrillers – review roundup

If You Loved Netflix’s Lupin, Crack Open One of the Books That Inspired the Series

America’s Greatest Female Spy

This is a brutal and fantastic memoir/true crime: HBO Developing Adaptation Of Alex Marzano-Lesnevich’s Memoir ‘The Fact Of A Body’ With Jeremiah Zagar & Melissa Bernstein

If you’re looking for a romantic suspense read, here’s one Netflix is adapting: Nora Roberts defends Alyssa Milano’s casting in adaptation of Brazen Virtue

Win a Kindle Paperwhite!

Win a 1-Year Subscription to Kindle Unlimited!

Kindle Deals

The Lady Killer cover image

The Lady Killer by Masako Togawa, Simon Grove

If you’re looking to read more translated work here’s a slow-burn Japanese crime novel for $1.99! (Review)

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena cover image

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Snowed in strangers at an inn and someone dies; who amongst them did it? For $1.99! (Review)

Chase Darkness cover image

Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders by Billy Jensen

For true crime readers, here’s one by a journalist who was friends with Michelle McNamara that you can read for $2.99!


Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

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