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The Babes in the Wood
The Babes in the Wood by Ruth Rendell (Mystery/Suspense)
This book is #19 of the 24 in Rendell's series featuring Chief Inspector Wexford. The series takes place mostly in a small town in England. This mystery begins with the disappearance of 2 teenaged children and their "baby-sitter" from their home one weekend when their parents are away on a short vacation. The atmosphere is threatening--through most of the book, torrential rains are causing floods all over England which complicates the search for the missing children, along with cold autumn and winter conditions. The plot melds in the complexities of unhappy families and fundamentalist religions. Very well-written and another satisfying read from Ruth Rendell. Sadly, her death in May, 2015 means the end of this series. -- Added by ElizabethR on 02/10/2016

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The Lady from Zagreb
The Lady from Zagreb by Philip Kerr (Mystery/Suspense)
#10 in the Bernie Gunther series, the action in this book takes place in the Germany & Switzerland of 1942. Packed with details about the social & political climate of those times, Bernie has to find ways to survive in Nazi Germany working for Joseph Goebbels while making no secret of the fact that he is not a Nazi himself. How he carries out his orders and yet does not turn into a war criminal himself makes for a fascinating story. The author used real people and real events to frame the Bernie's fictional actions. An absorbing read. -- Added by ElizabethR on 02/06/2016

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How the Light Gets In
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Mystery/Suspense)
A fantastic addition to the Chief Inspector Gamache series! I could hardly put it down. Gamache has seen his department nearly obliterated by his evil superior, but it appears that something far worse is brewing that might have a far wider-reaching impact. The story takes place in both Montreal and Three Pines, the small town in the woods of Quebec where the series had its start. The big mystery is shadowed by a smaller mystery too. One of the villagers of Three Pines, Gamache's good friend Myrna, reports the disappearance of a woman who was supposed to come visit for Christmas. Louise Penny ratchets up the suspense through the book till the stories come to a crescendo at the very end. It can't get much better than this. -- Added by ElizabethR on 02/02/2016

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The Beautiful Mystery
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny (Mystery/Suspense)
Another beautifully crafted novel by Louise Penny. In this outing, Chief Inspector Gamache and his trusted second in command Jean-Guy Beauvoir are called in to investigate the murder of a monk at a monastery. The monastery is hidden in the far northern reaches of Quebec, where the Gilbertine order has resided almost completely cut off from the outside world for hundreds of years. Gamache & Beauvoir not only have to contend with the vow of silence the monks observe, but also threats from other unexpected quarters. It helps to have read the earlier books in the series to know the history of these police officers, but Penny gives enough detail that most readers will understand the backstory. Must read the next one to see where the thread takes us next! -- Added by ElizabethR on 01/30/2016

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The Damage Done
The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson (Mystery/Suspense)
An American travel writer living in Spain is called back to New York by the news that her drug-addicted younger sister has been found dead, an apparent suicide. When Lily goes to the morgue to identify the body, she discovers it is NOT her sister. What ensues is a complicated story of lies, impersonations, deceptions and cover-ups. There are some intriguing characters all woven together, and the reader will be just as baffled as Lily as she slowly discovers the facts. This is an extraordinary first novel by an author who herself is a travel journalist. It was a compelling read, and an Anthony award winner for the best first novel of 2011--deserving of a much higher rating on Goodreads than what it got. -- Added by ElizabethR on 01/26/2016

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Faces of the Gone
Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks (Mystery/Suspense)
Carter Ross is an investigative reporter for the Newark (NJ) Eagle-Examiner who decides to investigate the gruesome, execution-style murders of 4 unrelated people dumped in a vacant lot. Not satisfied with the explanation the police supply, he teams up with his colleagues on the newspaper to dig out the truth. What he finds out lands him in a load of trouble, but luckily he survives to tell more stories in subsequent books in the series (this is the 1st). Parks is a former reporter himself and does a very good job with this story--well-written, a little humor, just enough suspense, and characters we come to care about. I would like to read the next adventures of Carter Ross. (P.S.: Saw Brad Parks on a panel at Bouchercon 2015 and he is a VERY funny guy!) -- Added by ElizabethR on 01/23/2016

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In the Bleak Midwinter
In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Mystery/Suspense)
The new priest at the St. Alban's Episcopal Church in New York, Clare Fergusson, finds a newborn baby left at the church's back door in the cold night air of December. The story that unfolds explores who the baby and its parents are, and the explanation for 2 murders that happen soon after the baby is found. Interesting insights into small-town relationships. A bit of incipient romance between the priest and the police chief is included, which is taken further in subsequent books in this series. A few somewhat unrealistic scenes with the priest taking unnecessary and foolhardy risks, but overall a good read, set in the cold Adirondacks. -- Added by ElizabethR on 01/21/2016

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Hammett Unwritten
Hammett Unwritten by Owen Fitzstephen (Mystery/Suspense)
This is a fascinating book, written in Dashiell Hammett's style, which purports to be the story of what happened to Hammett after his publication of The Maltese Falcon. The story tells in small pieces events in Hammett's life, from San Francisco in the 1930's to New York in 1959 with many stops in between. The mystery involves the mysterious statuette from Hammett's novel, whether the events described in this book truly happened, and whether the author, "Owen Fitzstephen" is real. A must read for anyone who loves The Maltese Falcon. A working knowledge of all Hammett's works will clarify many of the references and conversations in this book. Interesting noir style. -- Added by ElizabethR on 01/17/2016

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Flowering Judas
Flowering Judas by Jane Haddam (Mystery/Suspense)
This book is #26 in the author's series which features Armenian-American detective Gregor Demarkian. He is a former cop and FBI agent who now works as a consultant to law enforcement departments who need expert assistance in solving murders. He lives in an Armenian section of Philadelphia but travels as needed to provide his expertise. This story unfolds in upstate New York, the scene of a supposed disappearance of a young man 12 years earlier. His mother has never accepted that he might be dead and constantly advertises by flyer and billboard for information on his whereabouts. As the novel opens, the body of the missing man is found hanging from one of the billboards with his photo and name on it, near a community college where students and staff are arriving and departing all day. Surprisingly, it takes hours for someone to notice the body. There are several subplots cleverly woven into the main story, and lots of interesting and whacky characters to muddy the waters. It is also a commentary on a small town which is no longer small but whose inhabitants keep trying to pretend things are the same as they were 30 years before. Gregor's friends and family back in Philadelphia are not so prominent in this book, but do round out the picture. A wild and wooly ride, but a satisfying one. -- Added by ElizabethR on 01/14/2016

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Murder Inside the Beltway
Murder Inside the Beltway by Margaret Truman (Mystery/Suspense)
Another of Truman's Capitol Murder series, this may have been the last she wrote before her death in 2008. Several plots, the murder of a high-class prostitute, the kidnapping of a political advisor's 7-year-old child, and the travails of a possibly "dirty" cop all mesh together nicely in this one. You get a great picture of politics and policing in Washington, D.C., with a little bit of romance between two young detectives thrown in for good measure. All her books are well-written and researched. -- Added by ElizabethR on 01/11/2016

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