Tag Archives: mystery

Shades of Black edited by Eleanor Taylor Bland


Can a 1940s train porter solve a mystery before an innocent man is killed? Can a federal agent unravel a five year old cold case? African-American law enforcement personnel, PIs, and ordinary people solve mysteries in Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors.

The stories are gritty and offer plenty of food for thought. Themes include family, poverty, racism’s affect on justice, and tragedies that encourage crime. The stories take place in the unglamorous parts of cities. Shades of Black offers an anthology of African-American writers and an anthology of mystery/crime fiction.

Want more books like Shades of Black?

Check out another mystery and crime anthology by African-American Writers by reading Black Noir: Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Fiction by African-American Writers edited by Otto Penzler.

 Check out other mystery anthologies such as The Ethnic Detectives: Masterpieces of Mystery Fiction edited by Bill Pronzini. 

Check out other anthologies written by African-American authors such as Best African American Fiction: 2009 edited by Gerald Early. (If you have access to Novelist you can find authors from a particular culture by clicking “advanced search” and then choosing one or multiple categories from the “cultural identity” drop down menu.)


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A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders

Editor Sam St. Clair isn’t prepared when a hot manuscript brings odd business to her doorstep. Nevertheless, she will turn detective to regain as much order as any editor can have. Will she save the day or make a muddle of it all?

Sam dryly points out oddities in everything including herself, publishing, and amateur detection. Her relationships with people are interesting, amusing, and/or endearing. She handles detection with bluffing, a handy set of contacts, and intelligence. A varied set of suspects with different motives keeps the solution from being obvious. A Murder of Magpies offers a fun British amateur detective, a cozy mystery, and an interesting setting.

Want more books like A Murder of Magpies?

A spinster uses her wit and stubbornness to help a young woman beset by threatening events in Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. (Click here to read my blog entry on Crocodile on the Sandbank.)

A London antique show host is pulled into a mystery in Murder at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison.

Publisher Alex Plumtree’s life becomes a mystery when threatening events are tied to a missing manuscript in Unsolicited by Julie Kaewert.



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Tailing a Tabby by Laurie Cass

Librarian Minnie and her cat Eddie’s bookmobile routine is disrupted when a friend is accused of murder. Calling upon her research skills, and assisted by Eddie, Minnie is determined to find the real killer. Can find she find the truth before the killer strikes again?

Minnie’s compassion, stubbornness, and resourcefulness make her likeable. Eddie is an endearing cat: cute, intelligent, and feline stubborn. Minnie’s intersting librarian job and her beautiful Michigan small town provide a cozy setting. The quirky characters, including her friend whose innocence is doubted, provide a fun mystery. Tailing a Tabby offers a cozy setting, a librarian sleuth, an adorable cat, and a fun mystery.

Want more books like Tailing a Tabby?

A librarian finds new feline friends and mystery in Curiosity Thrilled The Cat by Sofie Kelly.

A librarian and his Maine Coon seek to find the truth behind an old classmate’s murder in Murder Past Due by Miranda James.

When a library reception ends in murder a newly hired librarian is determined to find whodunnit and why in By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates.

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The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

In a remote Quebec monastery fame has caused dissent and murder. Chief Inspector Gamache and Inspector Beauvoir must shift through darkness and light to find the murderer. Will they be successful?

The monastery is a captivating mix of beautiful and unsettling. Its inhabitants, Gamache, and Beauvoir struggle with the darker side of human nature. The inspectors provide a look at how to cause witnesses/suspects to speak honestly. The mystery is complex due to multiple suspects and an object protected by the victim. The Beautiful Mystery offers a unique setting, interesting characters, and a cozish police procedural.

Want other books like The Beautiful Mystery?

A French police chief finds a veteran’s murder is tied to hidden secrets from WWII in Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker.

A Venice Vice Commissario must uncover the truth of a world famous conductor’s murder in Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon.

A Scotland Yard detective’s vacation is interrupted by murder in A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie.

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Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith

Big Red Amlingmeyer’s older brother is determined to be the West’s Sherlock Holmes. When murder strikes at a ranch Old Red has the chance. Can a rough cowboy successfully think like Holmes?

Old Red is a loner and deductive like Holmes, but his vastly different experiences make him his own man. Big Red shows Watson level loyalty, but also thinks about whether he wishes to be a detective’s ally. Together, the two are an effective team. Cowboy customs and ranch life give the mystery a Western feel. There are plenty of clues but they don’t make the solution obvious. Holmes on the Range offers a twist on Holmes and a Western mystery.

Want more books like Holmes on the Range?

Two San Francisco PIs find their investigations helped and complicated by a man claiming to be Holmes in The Bughouse Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini. (Click here to read my blog entry on The Bughouse Affair.)

A federal investigator must recover a powerful weapon apparently stolen by his estranged brother in The Killing Machine by Ed Gorman.

Sherlock Holmes comes to America to thwart a railroad arsonist in Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon by Larry Millett.

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Red Means Run by Brad Smith

Farmer Virgil Cain regrets hotheaded words when a lawyer he hates is murdered. Virgil escapes custody to prove his innocence, but his chances are slim. Can he evade the cops and find the killer?

Virgil and his reluctant ally, Detective Claire Marchand, both calmly confront gritty life with dry humor. The characters fit mystery character molds but also have striking twists. Events confuse whodunnit to make an interesting read. The worlds of horse farming, police work, and a sleezy music producer create a unique atmosphere.  Red Means Run offers dry humor and an interesting mystery.

Want more books like Red Means Run?

A wife is determined to prove her PI husband didn’t commit suicide in Beach Strip by John Lawrence Reynolds.

Cliff Janeway finds bookselling may be a deadly occupation in Booked to Die by John Dunning. (Click here to read my blog entry on this book.)

Ex-policeman Jack Taylor is stuck mourning his past until an intriguing woman brings him a case in The Guards by Ken Bruen.

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Eleven Little Piggies by Jake Hines

Chief of Detectives Jake Hines goes hunting for geese but finds murder. With a lucrative land deal being offered the motive points to family, but more murders add confusion. Can Jake and his overworked team discover the truth?

Jake shines for being a human policeman. He is levelheaded but not always politically correct and balances being overworked with his family life. The members of his team also have traits which make them seem human as well as workers for justice. Handling interrogations, getting information together, and other aspects of police work are shown vividly. The Minnesota small town changing due to increased diversity, expansion, and various money seeking ventures is also shown. The story is engaging and shows police life in a way between dark and cozy. Eleven Little Piggies offers a police procedural mystery with engagingly human characters.

Want more books like Eleven Little Piggies?

Detective Sigrid Harold investigates a New York socialite’s murder and finds blackmail, theft, and danger in Death of a Butterfly by Margaret Maron.

When a car crash is more than it seems an undersheriff and his team struggle to uncover the truth in Heartshot by Steven F. Havill.

A Scotland Yard Superintendent’s incognito vacation is disrupted by murder in A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie.

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