The Best New Mysteries of October 2017

Fall has officially begun, and if there’s a better time of year to kick back with an absorbing whodunit, we’d like to hear about it…right after we finish this chapter. Mystery lovers of all stripes will find something to keep them up late at night in the following collection of brand-new must-reads, which features everything from potboilers to cozy mysteries, and both modern and classic authors. Dig in, gumshoes!


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Pulse, by Felix Francis
Dr. Christine Rankin, the complex and troubled narrator of Francis’ newest thriller, is pushed over the edge when a well-dressed man who was found unconscious at the local racetrack dies while under her care. No one can account for the man, and the mystery of his identity sends her into an obsessive spiral into discovering his identity—a secret that someone very dangerous is eager to protect. A fascinating story by an author at the top of his game.

The Dark Lake, by Sarah Bailey
Rosalind Ryan’s transcendent beauty made her a legend in her small rural town, but many years later, it also made her a target. As an adult Rosalind returned to Smithson High School to teach drama, and when she turns up in a local lake, dead of strangulation, it falls to lead homicide investigator Gemma Woodstock to solve the mystery of her murder. Except Gemma is a former classmate of Rosalind’s, and unraveling the puzzle of Rosalind’s strange and lonely existence stirs up Gemma’s own murky, questionable past.

Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women, by Emily Brightwell
Christopher Gilhaney seems to have made enemies at a recent Guy Fawkes Night dinner party—judging by the fact that he was shot dead later that night. Granted, he did spend the evening insulting every guest in attendance, to the mortification of hostess Abigail Chase. The mystery of Christopher’s murder, which is suspected to be related to a botched robbery, remains unsolved six weeks later, and Inspector Witherspoon’s expertise is called upon. But the holidays are approaching, and Witherspoon and his household at large are concerned that their holiday plans are at risk of being interrupted. Can they put this one to bed, or will the truth forever elude them?

The Best American Mystery Stories, by John Sandford
This riveting, carefully-curated short story collection is perfect for readers looking for high-octane, bite-sized tales that pack a serious punch. Fans of well-known authors of longer works, from C.J. Box to Joyce Carol Oates, will be delighted to discover that their talents are no less impressive in shorter formats. If you’ve got a busy month ahead of you, this best-of collection is the perfect go-to for short bursts of well-written and deliciously enigmatic stories.

Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
A famous train is immobilized in a snowdrift, and in the morning one of the passengers, millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett, is found stabbed to death in his compartment (which was locked from the inside). Fortunately another of the passengers is incomparable detective Hercule Poirot, whose “little grey cells” are on the case as the clock ticks down to the next murder. One of the most famous, beloved, and widely-read mystery novels by a master of the genre, if you haven’t yet read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, now is the perfect time to experience it—just in time for Kenneth Branagh’s film adaptation, which hits theaters November 20.

The Witches’ Tree: An Agatha Raisin Mystery, by M. C. Beaton
Driving home from a dinner party in the village of Sumpton Harcourt, the new vicar and his wife come upon a body hanging from a tree. It belongs to an elderly spinster named Margaret Darby, and the general suspicion in the village is that the cause of death was murder, and not suicide. Agatha Raisin is happy to be on assignment (welcoming the distraction from her woeful personal life), but when two more victims turn up, the case grows more urgent—and more dangerous. And it certainly doesn’t help that Sumpton Harcourt’s residents are tightlipped when it comes to prying investigations…and it’s also home to a coven of witches.

The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers, by Peter Lovesy
What do you get for the crime reader who has everything? How do you get your favorite armchair gumshoe into the holiday spirit? And where can you find 18 hilarious, chilling, and bizarre stories centering around suspicious mall Santas, mysterious dinner parties, and stolen diamonds? The answer to all of these questions (and so many more) is The Usual Santas, A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers, an anthology featuring stories by some of your favorite Soho Press authors and their most unexpectedly twisted Christmas-themed tales.

Parting Shot, by Linwood Barclay
A young man swears he has no memory of stealing a Porsche and murdering a girl while inebriated—an act which devastated the small community of Promise Falls and unleashed a barrage of threats against his family. Against his better judgment, Cal Weaver reluctantly agrees to investigate the threats, but before long he finds himself sucked into a brutal quest for revenge.

The Secret, Book & Scone Society, by Ellery Adams
The first book in a new series that combines a few of everyone’s favorite things—books, baked goods, and deep, dark secrets. Nora Pennington resides in beautiful Miracle Springs, North Carolina, a place renowned for the healing properties of its hot springs. Nora owns Miracle books, and she has a talent for drawing out people’s stories about their lives—in exchange for her uncannily perfect book recommendations. When a businessman is found dead before he can keep his appointment with Nora, she forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, which gives members a place to turn for support and a feeling of camaraderie—as long as they first reveal their darkest secrets first. As the members of Nora’s club begin to investigate the businessman’s mysterious death, they discover a sense of community—along with some hidden dangers.

What mysteries are keeping you up at night this fall?

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