Must Read Summer Mysteries!

By Dianne Freeman

Some books are made for Summer. Whether you read them on a beach, on a plane, or between rounds of gardening, here are the mysteries I recommend for the perfect Summer read!

Every Time I go on Vacation, Someone Dies by Catherine Mack

I just finished this book, so it may be just a bit early for a summer mystery, but it takes place in Summer and has that summer vibe, so I’m sticking with it. Bestselling author, Eleanor Dash is on book tour in Italy, with bus full of fans, her manager sister, a few other authors, and the man who inspired her series, Connor Smith. She’s had all she can take of real-life Connor, but her plan to kill off his character takes a back seat when it turns out someone is trying to kill the real Connor. Fun and humorous with some hilarious footnotes.

Murder at Vinland by Alyssa Maxwell

Late Summer always means there’s a new Gilded Newport mystery from Alyssa Maxwell to read. Each book presents a new Newport mansion to visit back in the day when they were the “cottages” of the upper 400. This time newspaper reporter, Emma Cross Andrews attends a meeting of the new Audubon Society at Vinland, but it might be its members who need protecting. Someone is targeting these society ladies by sending them various forms of poison and Emma is determined to find out who. This series provides full historical immersion along with a cagey mystery.

The Comfort of Ghosts by Jacqueline Winspear

This book brings the Maisie Dobbs series to an end. I always find the stories somehow melancholy but uplifting. Jacqueline Winspear’s writing makes them impossible to put down. As WWII ends, Maisie Dobbs, the psychologist/investigator checks on the state of a home in Belgravia and finds squatters—four teenage orphans and a demobilized soldier. In her attempts to help them, she faces the mystery of her first husband’s death. Melancholy and uplifting and I’m going to miss this series.

A Daughter of Fair Verona by Christina Dodd

As told by the eldest of Romeo and Juliet’s seven children. What—you thought they’d died as teenagers? Not in this version. They not only lived, they thrived. Now if they could only marry off their first born, Rosie. Unfortunately, while she’s forced into a betrothal with one man, she falls for another. Worse, her intended is murdered at their betrothal celebration and she’s looking guilty. As she tries to uncover the true villain, more people die, and more fingers point to Rosie. A witty, romantic mystery.

The Last Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal

The Last Hope brings another of my favorite mystery series to an end. From Maggie’s start as Mr. Churchill’s secretary, she’s taken on some dangerous assignments. Now, she’s tasked with a high-stakes mission to assassinate the physicist behind Germany’s fission bomb program. The assignment goes against her principles and comes at a time when Maggie is planning a future together with the love of her life. It’s also complicated by the addition of the famous Coco Channel, a spy with divided loyalties. This series has been a compelling thrill ride and I’m looking forward to this final chapter.

Filled with Victorian-era intrigue for readers of Rhys Bowen, Deanna Raybourn, Tasha Alexander, and Julia Seales, Dianne Freeman’s Agatha Award-winning series takes a delightful jaunt to the City of Light as Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, encounters a murder scene at the Paris Exposition.

Frances and her husband, George, have two points of interest in Paris. One is an impromptu holiday to visit the Paris Exposition. The other is personal. George’s Aunt Julia has requested her nephew’s help in looking into the suspicious death of renowned artist Paul Ducasse. Though Julia is not entirely forthcoming about her reasons, she is clearly a woman mourning a lost love.

At the exposition, swarming with tourists, tragedy casts a pall on the festivities. A footbridge collapses. Julia is among the casualties. However, she was not just another fateful victim. Julia was stabbed to death amid the chaos. With an official investigation at a standstill, George and Frances realize that to solve the case they must dig into Julia’s life—as well as Paul’s—and question everything and everyone in Julia’s coterie of artists and secrets.

They have no shortage of suspects. There is Paul’s inscrutable widow, Gabrielle. Paul’s art dealer and manager, Lucien. Julia’s friend Martine, a sculptress with a jealous streak. And art jurist, Monsieur Beaufoy. The investigation takes a turn when it’s revealed that George has inherited control of Julia’s estate—and another of her secrets. While George investigates, Frances safeguards their new legacy, and is drawn further into danger by a killer determined to keep the past buried.