One of the great pleasures of reading mysteries is following series: the fun of watching characters grow and develop from book to book, the delight of growing familiarity with a place, a world, the kinds of cases and problems solved by your favorite characters. In the next couple of weeks, the Field Library will be getting new volumes in several ongoing, much-loved series.
The latest in Rhys Bowen’s lighthearted Royal Spyness series comes out on August 4. In Malice at the Palace, our heroine, Georgie (35th in line to the British throne) finds herself in the supposedly haunted Kensington Palace, accompanying Princess Marina of Greece, who is to marry George, prince of England. This seems like a simple enough task for the irrepressible Georgie, until the body of one of Prince George’s former flames is discovered in the palace, and scandal threatens to prevent the marriage altogether. This will never do, so it’s up to Georgie to find out who killed the woman and why.
Long Upon the Land, by Margaret Maron, is the latest in her series featuring Judge Deborah Knotts, dealing with crime and family secrets in rural North Carolina. In this novel, Deborah’s father, Kezzie, discovers the body of a man bludgeoned to death. The corpse is found on his land, and it turns out the dead man was a long-time rival of Kezzie’s. When Deborah starts asking her brothers questions about the rivalry, they turn strangely reluctant to talk. Naturally she wants to clear her family from any suspicion of murder, but things are more complicated than she expected, and she finds herself digging deeper and deeper into her own family history, even though the answers might not be ones she wants to hear.
Linda Fairstein’s Alexandra Cooper series, set in New York City, takes a surprising and intense turn in her latest, Devil’s Bridge. Alexandra has disappeared, and it’s up to her close friend, Detective Mike Chapman, to try to find out what happened to her. Given her past decade as a prosecutor who made many enemies among the people she sent to jail, a recent security breach that could be more dangerous than anyone suspected, and the increasing intimacy of Alexandra’s relationship with Mike before her disappearance, this case is unusually complicated. Fairstein is especially skilled at evoking a sense of place, and the more familiar you are with Manhattan and environs, the more you’ll enjoy the way the settings for the investigations come alive and become almost another character in her mysteries.
If you’re already a fan of these series, you need no further introduction. If you haven’t met these characters yet, give them a try!