A good mystery is even better with an historical setting. Slip into the past with a pair of detectives.
Veronica and Stoker:
Deanna Raybourne's newest book has fantastic main characters. Veronica Speedwell is very progressive and scientifically minded. She kind of reminds me of Temperance Brennan in Bones in that she is extremely logical to the point that it becomes humorous. Stoker is a taxidermist, an explorer, and a knife-thrower with lots of secrets. The chemistry between the two characters is great. Unfortunately, I feel that the pacing of this book is a little off. The detective work begins almost halfway through the book after a long stint with the circus (really). Still, I think Veronica Speedwell has a very promising future as a series. A Curious Beginning was out September 1st, 2015. Review copy from Edelweiss.
Authors Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer created the Sorcery & Cecelia series together. They did so by writing letters to one another, just as the characters in the books do. I'm fascinated by coauthorships. Wrede and Stevermer never discussed the plot; it just came as they wrote! The series takes place in England just after the French Revolution in an alternate world with magic. Cecelia and Kate are cousins with a penchant for detective work. I love this series. The alternate world is cleverly constructed. Kate and Cecelia are witty and intelligent. The epistolary format is fun and different. The mysteries concern magical objects. I love a good genre-bender, and this series fits the bill.
Jackaby and Abigail:
Ever since I finished William Ritter's fantastic debut, Jackaby, I've been eagerly awaiting the sequel. In Beastly Bones Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer travel to Gad's Valley to investigate a mysterious death that occurred at the site of a dinosaur unearthing. This sequel is even better than its predecessor. Abigail and Jackaby's professional relationship is quite endearing, and there's plenty of delightful weirdness in this novel. But beyond that, I absolutely love that Ritter set the book in the midst of the Bone Wars, a period in American history where rival paleontologists rushed to find and name dinosaurs. Sign me up for more! Beastly Bones was out September 22nd, 2015. Review copy from NetGalley.
Thornhollow and Grace:
It's the late 1800s, and Grace Mae is trapped in a Boston asylum. She escapes with help from a brilliant doctor who is studying the newly emerging theories of criminal psychology. Grace will become his assistant. Mindy McGinnis's new book did not meet my expectations. First off, I was expecting something with a subtle paranormal bent based on the opening scenes. Also, having all these heavy topics in one book--murder, clearly, but also incest, miscarriage, suicide, and prostitution--was a little much. The book is murder mystery but also a court house drama, and, thus, it felt a little disjointed. Finally, I'm really not sure how I feel about Grace. Some of her actions are rather disturbing. A Madness so Discreet is out October 6th, 2015. Review copy from Edelweiss.
Truthful and Harnett:
Lady Truthful Newington will one day inherit the Newington Emerald, but first she'll have to find it. The emerald was stolen on her birthday. With the help of a disguise, her great-aunt, and Major Harnett--who is more than he seems--Truthful sets out on a search through London. Newt's Emerald is an alternate history set in Regency England. Magic and London's Season always make a great combination. There are some wonderful characters in Newt's Emerald, my favorite being Great-aunt Ermintrude. Garth Nix's story is pure fun with intrigue, sorcery, and a determined heroine. Newt's Emerald is out October 13th, 2015. Review copy from Edelweiss.
A Curious Beginning, Beastly Bones, and A Madness so Discreet reviewed by JoLee.
Sorcery & Cecelia and Newt's Emerald reviewed by Paige.