The Murder She Read: Top 10 Of Murder Mysteries For This Fall
Autumn is a perfect time to dedicate your spare time to gripping crime fiction. There's no better murder mystery atmosphere than a semi-lit room with a cozy fireplace and bare tree branches creepily scratching your window.
Recently we have profoundly emerged into reading crime novels and came up with the following Top 10 suitable for your mysterious autumnal weekend retreats:
10. MARPLE: TWELVE NEW MYSTERIES by Naomi Alderman and others
The experiment to revive the famous Miss Marple without Agatha Christie writing a single line is a rather half-baked project. Despite the bestselling female crime writers, such as Lucy Foley, Kate Mosse, Dreda Say Mitchell and others, the stories lack that magic touch only Christie had had. Looking down at Miss Marple from the modern perspective is rather disadvantageous, and the twisted plot appears to be not so twisted in the end. In a nutshell, no offence, ladies, but this selection of short crime stories reminds of a fake Louis Vuitton.
The world encounters yet another female detective on her first case. Only Saffron Everleigh is far from police empowerment because, firstly, it’s 1923 in the city and, secondly, she is just a research assistant to a botany professor. The latter is accused of poisoning his fellow professor’s wife, and Saffron is determined to clear his good name. Her investigation is spiced up by the introduction of a very handsome researcher Alexander Ashton who helps Saffron in a number of awkward situations. The only thing this murder mystery misses is a choice of suspects and originality of the crime itself.
8. LOCAL GONE MISSING by Fiona Barton
The Widow six years ago made the name for this now bestselling author. Her new crime novel not only untangles a murder but also discusses the topic of how we might be deceived by people’s appearances. Charlie, a local senior, loved by everybody in Ebbing, goes missing. DI Elise King is trying to get a grip on her life after a crushing break-up with her long-life partner at work and at home as well as a tiring breast cancer treatment she’s just recovering from when she is directly involved in the case. Dee is a cleaner at many houses in Ebbing who stays invisible to everyone but doesn’t miss any detail herself. The back stories of those three are more important than they seem and will lead to the revelation of the crime.
7. THE PARIS APARTMENT by Lucy Foley
Lucy Foley is much better when she writes in her own style. Her The Guest List was really gripping, and The Paris Apartment is a good entertainment, too. Foley maintains her feature of a multifaceted story told in turn by each key character, however just throwing the hints and suppressing the whole truth till the very end.
Jess is escaping her miserable life in the UK and trying to find a refuge in her brother Ben’s apartment in Paris. But when she arrives there, Ben is nowhere to be found, and the neighbours pretend to know nothing. As Ben is still missing, Jess sets on the quest to find him, only to reveal a big secret surrounding the house and its inhabitants. An easy pager-turner for a night, isn't it?
THE BULLET THAT MISSED by Richard Osman
At the moment there are probably no more amusing series of the murder mysteries than the ones investigated by the Thursday Murder Club. Richard Osman is a master of witty suspense and thriller with huge respect to the elderly. If you have read the first novel in the series, these other two won’t disappoint you either.
Four residents of the British retirement home form a club to investigate unsolved murders, despite their respectful age. Meticulous Ibrahim, good-hearted Joyce, handsome Roy and cunning ex-spy Elizabeth (can’t help imagining Helen Mirren playing the latter) crack the cases like naughty squirrels, even turning their foes into friends.
P.S. And, yes, Stephen Spielberg’s production company has already acquired film rights, and Spielberg is thinking of Helen Mirren, too!
4-5. FATAL WITNESS
DARKNESS FALLS by Robert Bryndza
Robert Bryndza has given the world two verisimilar female detectives. It’s already the seventh Erika Foster’s case (actually, long awaited), which starts just in the neighbourhood of her new home. Another serial killer linked to well-hidden past sexual assaults in the student dormitory who will become a lethal threat to Erika herself.
Meanwhile the third crime investigated by Kate Marshall in Darkness Falls is her first big case at her PI agency, and it’s a cold one from twelve years ago. A mother of a young missing journalist Joanna Duncan asks Kate and her agency partner Tristan to find her daughter. And Kate is too tough to leave the case unsolved.
A tip to an interested reader - don’t jump over, begin with the number ones in each series because even the detectives have their engaging private lives that really matter in the broader context!
3. THE MIRROR MAN by Lars Kepler
Dark Scandinavian murder mysteries always make to the tops. The eighth novel in the Joona Linna series is complicated and cruel like the other seven. A passer-by finds a girl hanging in the playground. She is identified as Jenny who went missing many years ago. The CCTV camera catches the man who must have certainly seen the killer but Martin has just been released from a psychiatric hospital and his brain refuses to remember what he has seen. Joona Linna understands that this is not the first and only victim of a psychopath but how to make Martin remember?
The novel is dark, merciless and twisted, making the reader doubt everyone and everything. Aren’t these the compulsory ingredients of a perfect crime fiction?
2. TRAPPED by Camilla Läckberg and Henrik Fexeus
It was a big wait till this bestselling novel was finally translated into English. This Swedish Agatha Christie always produces something very sinister and very engaging (except her two previous girlpower novels The Golden Cage and Silver Tears). Läckberg’s Fjällbacka murder mysteries featuring Erica Falk are probably the best manifestation of the contemporary crime genre (together with Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series). But the writer is keen to introduce a new pair of investigators: a germaphobe introverted detective Mina Dabiri and a famous mentalist Vincent Walder who keeps hidden his childhood trauma.
A young woman is found trapped in a magician’s box pierced with swords. It looks like a magic trick went wrong but soon another three murders occur also staged as magic tricks. And everything somehow is linked to Vincent. Is he a victim or a murderer? You won’t be able to stop turning pages.
1. THE INK BLACK HEART by Robert Galbraith
When the book leaves that haunting feeling that you should continue reading, although a volume of more than 1000 pages has been completed days ago, it must sound not only creepy but compelling as well. J. K. Rowling a.k.a. Robert Galbraith has transferred her storytelling skills to another level with the sixth novel in the Cormoran Strike series. As we’re living in the age of IT, this, in a way classic, murder mystery is full of reproduced tweets and messages, with two or more conversations conducted at once. Even the whole plot represents the threat produced by offensive social media, as a creator of an online game is found dead right after she tries to ask Robin for help at her and Cormoran’s PI agency. Cormoran and Robin will have to move their surveillance from the real to the virtual world where the dangers appear to be more than real and even lethal.
And here we go with that controversial sensation of speeding up to finally get to who did it and, simultaneously, wishing to never get to the end too soon.
The opinion expressed in this publication is only this of the reviewer. It does not purport to reflect the opinions and views of the other readers of the same books. So take it or leave it!