Where Auburn Comes Together!
The next installment of the wildly popular Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny arrives in August. For fans of this atmospheric, complex, character driven mystery series based in and around Montreal, the wait between books is agonizing! To help you bide the time, here are some read-a-likes to tryout:
P. D. James – P. D. James is best known for her Adam Dalgliesh mysteries, and appeals to readers who enjoy classic British mysteries but want a more realistic, contemporary story. She deftly explores modern-day murders prompted by old-fashioned motives. James delves into the psychological nuances of her characters and unflinchingly includes social issues and the effects of modern-day violence. Skillfully constructed plots, intricately detailed settings, and elegant prose typify her briskly paced reads. Start with: Cover Her Face.
Ann Cleeves‘s police procedural novels are set in remote parts of the British Isles, and draw on the contrast between natural beauty and human nature’s darkness. Lucid writing highlights acute portraits of both places and people, particularly her police officer protagonists, as they untangle puzzling crimes. Start with: The Long Call.
Irish mystery writer Tana French garnered uncommonly good reviews and widespread critical praise with her debut, and has continued to impress critics and popular readers with each new book about the fictitious Dublin Murder Squad. In her finely plotted police procedurals, grim realities of social class, police politics, and human violence give the stories a dark tone, while the vividly drawn character portraits of the protagonists add emotional depth. Start with: In the Woods.
Jacqueline Winspear and her enchanting protagonist, Maisie Dobbs, rise to the top among historical British mysteries. Maisie is a plucky and intelligent young woman who began as a servant and now runs her own private investigation firm. While these are technically cozy mysteries with their well-drawn characters and setting, the plots are complex and well-crafted, and the series has a darker tone due to Maisie’s experiences as a nurse during World War I, described through flashbacks. These are well plotted and compelling mysteries that also highlight the human costs of war. Start with: Maisie Dobbs.
Readers return to Ian Rankin‘s Inspector John Rebus not only for his detection skills, but for a disturbing look into the inner workings of a good man struggling with a rising tide of evil. Rebus is a dedicated cop who puts too much of himself into each case, which leads to disastrous relationships both professionally and personally. Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, Rankin‘s intimate knowledge of the city goes beyond the street map to the relationships between the wealthy and the poor. Start with: Standing in Another Man’s Grave.
Ruth Rendell is known for her Inspector Wexford mysteries and for psychological suspense novels. Elegant, complex prose distinguishes her character-driven fiction in both genres, which are populated with socially alienated, inarticulate misfits. The Wexford mysteries follow the traditions of police procedurals, but Wexford operates by intuition as much as by procedure. The non-series novels are perhaps darker, since secondary characters do not provide a shift of focus to more normal lives, and their obsessed, dysfunctional protagonists have disastrous ends. Rendell, who also wrote under the name Barbara Vine, died in 2015. Start with: Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter [on order].
Anthony Award winner WilliamKent Krueger is a self-described “regional author” — his loving descriptions of rural Minnesota are there to ground the action of his stories, which are shaped by those beautiful and dangerous surroundings. Krueger has written both mysteries and political thrillers, and is best known for his long-running Cork O’Connor mysteries. Krueger’s stripped-down prose belies the richness of his character-driven stories, which ground his protagonists’ lives in their relationships with others and in their work, and mix social examination with regional history, particularly that of local Native American tribes. Start with: Iron Lake [on order].
Book descriptions from Novelist Plus.