Library Column: New Adult Fiction: Mysteries

Published 4:00 am Sunday, September 5, 2021

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week’s column features mysteries in the New Adult Fiction section.

Camilla Trichieri continues her Tuscan Mystery series with “A Bitter Taste of Murder.” Former NYPD detective Nico Doyle has been recruited by the Italian authorities to investigate the murder of a prominent wine critic. Nico has settled into life in his late wife’s Tuscan hometown of Gravigna and helps his in-laws by serving and testing recipes in their restaurant. Wine critic Michele Mantelli arrives in his flashy Jaguar and sets the town on edge by holding his influential culinary magazine and blog over the heads of Gravigna’s vintners and restauranteurs. Some of the residents are impressed by Mantelli’s reputation, but others are angry — especially Nico’s landlord who seems to be a target of Mantelli’s vitriol. When the larger-than-life critic is found poisoned, there is a long list for the local marshal, Perillo, to check out — so naturally, he asks Nico for a little help.

Louise Penny’s latest Chief Inspector Gamache title is “The Madness of Crowds.” Armand Gamache hears the same thing every time the New Year approaches — “You’re a coward.” The residents of Three Pines are taking advantage of some deep snow, enjoying the skiing and tobogganing, drinking hot chocolate in the bistro and sharing meals with family and friends. Gamache finds his holiday interrupted by a simple request to provide security for a visiting professor of statistics invited to lecture at the nearby university. When he begins looking into Professor Abigail Robinson, Gamache discovers an agenda he finds so repugnant that he begs the university to cancel the lecture. They refuse, citing academic freedom, and accuse Gamache of censorship and intellectual cowardice. As Robinson’s views begin seeping into conversations and spread throughout the community, truth and fact and reality and delusion become muddled together. Simple discussions become debates, debates become arguments and arguments turn into fights. On top of all this, Gamache and his team are beset with a new murder investigation. Ah, the madness of crowds.

Beloved author Caroline B. Cooney brings us a new murder mystery with “The Grandmother Plot.” While death isn’t unexpected in a nursing home, murder is. Freddy lives his life with little responsibility. His mother is dead and his sisters are scattered across the globe. He also can’t quite work up the courage to find a girlfriend. As his grandmother’s dementia gets worse, Freddy is forced to put her in a nursing home, but he visits her often. He both cherishes and hates their time together because he remembers how she used to be. Now she is a shell of her former self. A fragile resident in the nursing home turns up murdered, and Freddy panics. He has limited resources and he needs to keep his grandmother safe and the police out of his life. 

“Damsel in a Dress” is the latest from Kirsten Weiss. Maddie Kosloski has quite a bit on her plate at the moment. In addition to managing her paranormal museum, she is helping her best friend Adele with wedding plans and trying to prove that the vintage wedding dress she chose is absolutely not haunted. When a bridesmaid turns up murdered, Maddie has a crime to solve in order to save her friend wedding. The suspect pool keeps growing and it seems that all the alibi’s have an air of truth to them, so Maddie wonders if this wedding will go off without a hitch.

“Bullet Train,” by Kotaro Isaka is already a bestseller in Japan. Nanao, AKA Lady Bird, boards a bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka with a singular task: grab a suitcase and get off at the next stop. The self-proclaimed “unluckiest assassin in the world” doesn’t know, however, that the deadly duo of Tangerine and Lemon are on the train after the very same suitcase. They are not the only dangerous passengers on board. Satoshi, “the Prince,” a vicious and cunning psychopath is somewhere aboard and being pursued by yet another assassin determined to mete justice on him for pushing a young boy off a roof and leaving him comatose. When the five assassins realize they are all on the same train, they suspect their mission is not unrelated nor is everything as it seems. Who will make it off the train alive — and what awaits them at the last stop?

Dianne Freeman’s latest is called “A Fiancé’s Guide to First Wives and Murder.” Frances Wynn, the widow of the late Earl of Harleigh has just sent her mother and daughter off on a Paris shopping trip and she and her fiancé, George Hazelton, are socializing with visiting members of the Russian royal family. Amid this whirlwind, Inspector Delaney turns up at Frances’ house with a young French woman who claims to be Mrs. George Hazelton—aka Irena. She also claims that she is the illegitimate daughter of Russian royalty, that she has been abducted and held for ransom many times, and that someone is sending her threatening letters. Frances assumes that the woman is either lying or she is insane. When George arrives, he insists that he is certainly not married to Irena, though, he can confirm her royal parentage. Irena turns up murdered in Frances’ garden and she and George will have to sus out the killer to clear their names. In order to do that, they will have to investigate which of her claims were true and who stood to benefit from her death.