From Anne Perry and Rhys Bowen to Philip Margolin and Mike Lupica Channeling Robert B. Parker: Mystery Previews, Nov. 2023, Pt. 1 | Prepub Alert

Mystery, often with history, leading up to the holidays.

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Bowen, Rhys. The Proof of the Pudding. Berkley. (Royal Spyness Mystery, Bk. 17). Nov. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9780593437889. $28. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

Connally, Celeste. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Nov. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781250867551. $27. Downloadable. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

Coyle, Cleo. Bulletproof Barista. Berkley. Nov. 2023. (Coffeehouse Mystery, Bk. 20). 304p. ISBN 9780593197592. $28. MYSTERY/COZY

Flower, Amanda. I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died. Berkley. Nov. 2023. (Emily Dickinson Mystery, Bk. 2). 352p. ISBN 9780593336960. pap. $17. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

Kayode, Femi. Gaslight. Mulholland: Little, Brown. (Philip Taiwo Mystery). Nov. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9780316536646. $29. MYSTERY

Khan, Ausma Zehanat. Blood Betrayal. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Blackwater Falls, Bk. 2). Nov. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781250822406. $28. MYSTERY/POLICE PROCEDURAL

Lupica, Mike. Robert B. Parker’s Broken Trust. Putnam. (Spenser, Bk. 51). Nov. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780593540244. $29. MYSTERY

McCall Smith, Alexander. From a Far and Lovely Country. Pantheon. (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Bk. 24). Oct. 2023. 240p. ISBN 9780593316993. $28. MYSTERY

Margolin, Philip. Betrayal. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Robin Lockwood Novel, Bk. 7). Nov. 2023 336p. ISBN 9781250885791. $29. MYSTERY

Perry, Anne. A Christmas Vanishing. Ballantine. Nov. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780593359181. $22. MYSTERY/HOLIDAY

Swinson, David. Sweet Thing. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Nov 2023. 336p. ISBN 9780316528610. $29. MYSTERY/POLICE PROCEDURAL

It’s hardly The Proof of the Pudding when Bowen's popular Lady Georgiana Rannoch graciously lends her new chef to a neighbor who’s just purchased a nearby manor with a famed poison garden; one of the guests at the neighbor’s banquet winds up dead—perhaps done in by berries from the garden. In Agatha finalist Connally’s latest, Lady Petra Forsyth, determined never to marry after the death of her fiancé, must Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord when she uses her new-found independence to investigate a friend’s death while in the care of a shady physician (50,000-copy first printing). Coyle’s ever-active Clare Cosi should have had a Bulletproof Barista around when she allowed her century-old coffeehouse, Village Blend, to be used as a set for the hot new streaming show Only Murders in Gotham; there’s been an actual shooting. In Flower’s I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died, Emily Dickinson joins her housemaid Willa to investigate after the death of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s secretary, Luther, who seemed to have harbored a questionable interest in the Dickenson sisters. In Gaslight, Kayode’s follow-up to the CWA Gold Dagger long-listed Lightseekers, Bishop Dawodu of the megachurch in Ogun State, Nigeria, is accused of murdering his vanished wife, and Det. Philip Taiwo begins digging up secrets that will undermine the church (15,000-copy first printing). In Khan’s Blood Betrayal, even as Det. Inaya Rahman investigates the police killing of a young Black man in Blackwater falls, a drug raid in neighboring Denver ends with the killing of teenager Mateo Ruiz by a police officer whose father begs Inaya to prove his innocence—never mind that he himself was one of her major opponents when she was on the Denver police force (60,000-copy first printing). In Robert B. Parker’s Broken Trust, Lupica’s first outing with the iconic Spenser, the detective digs deep into a billionaire’s background to discover that he might have acted badly on the way to the top—and that the reasons are more morally complex than they first appear. McCall Smith’s From a Far and Lovely Country again finds Mma Ramotswe and her colleagues at the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency gently untangling personal disputes. In Margolin’s Betrayal, fading MMA fighter Mandy Kerrigan is accused of killing the entire Finch family and turns for help to attorney Robin Lockwood, a rising MMA fighter herself—until she was beaten by Mandy (75,000-copy first printing). In the late Perry’s A Christmas Vanishing, Charlotte Pitt’s grandmother, Mariah Ellison, arrives in the charming village of Barton to spend Christmas with friend Winnie and learns from Winnie’s suddenly dismissive husband that Winnie has disappeared and begins investigating. In “Frank Marr” author Swinson’s 1999 Washington, DC–set Sweet Things, a murder investigation turns up a link to Det. Alex Blum’s long-missing informant Arthur, whose gorgeous girlfriend Celeste Alex had tried to save from a life of crime—perhaps not successfully (25,000-copy first printing.)

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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