From Armstrong to Yamashita: Mystery Previews, Feb. 2024, Pt. 1 | Prepub Alert

Mysteries worldwide.

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Armstrong, Kelley. The Boy Who Cried Bear: A Haven’s Rock Novel. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Haven’s Rock, Bk. 2). Feb. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9781250865441. $28. Downloadable. MYSTERY

The youngest resident of Haven’s Rock, an off-the grid Canadian town where Det. Casey Duncan presides, Max is certain that a bear is tracking a hiking party that’s entered the woods. As Casey and her sheriff husband know, the woods are dangerous for the uninitiated—no one is allowed to enter alone—and Max insists that this bear has human eyes. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Beaton, M.C., with R.W. Green. Death of a Spy. Grand Central. Feb. 2024. (Hamish Macbeth Mystery). 256p. ISBN 9781538743300. $28. lrg. prnt. Downloadable. MYSTERY

In the Scottish Highlands village of Lochdubh, Sgt. Hamish Macbeth has a new assistant officer: U.S. policeman James Bland. Ostensibly, he’s there to study Scottish policing methods, but actually he’s been tracking down the remaining members of a spy ring with links to Russia. Green has won praise for successfully taking over the late Beaton’s durable series; with a 60,000-copy first printing.

Dovalpage, Teresa. Last Seen in Havana. Soho Crime. (Havana Mystery, Bk. 4). Feb. 2024. 350p. ISBN 9781641295390. $27.95. MYSTERY

Newly widowed baker Mercedes Spivey returns to her native Cuba from Miami to care for an ailing grandparent with a second goal in mind: to discover what happened to her mother, who disappeared when Mercedes was a child. Paralleling Mercedes’s search is the story of her mother, a U.S. college student who fell in love with a Cuban soldier on a trip to the island and decided to stay. From the Herralde-winning Cuban American author.

Miller, C.L. The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Murder. Atria. Feb. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781668032008. $27.99. MYSTERY

Former antiques hunter Freya Lockwood is estranged from her mentor, dealer Arthur Crockleford, and hasn’t returned to her English hometown in 20 years. Now Arthur needs her help, but he suddenly dies under mysterious circumstances, and Frey joins forces with offbeat Aunt Carole to find out what’s afoot. To uncover clues, they attend an antiques enthusiasts’ weekend that seems decidedly sketchy. Debuter Miller started her publishing career as assistant to her mother, Judith Miller, on The Miller’s Antique Price Guide.

Spufford, Francis. Cahokia Jazz. Scribner. Feb. 2024. 464p. ISBN 9781668025451. $28. MYSTERY

In an alternate 1920s United States, a corpse is discovered on the roof of a skyscraper. Another straightforward hunt for a killer? Not when the setting is Cahokia, the ancient Indigenous city on the Mississippi that has somehow endured, now flourishing as a vast industrial metropolis vibrant with the sound of jazz and claiming people of every race and creed. The varied populace is reasonably harmonious, but this death could cause dissonance.

Stevenson, Benjamin. Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect. Mariner: HarperCollins. Jan. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9780063279070. $30. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY

Following the well-received Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone, Australian comedian Stevenson puts newbie mystery writer Ernest Cunningham aboard the Ghan, the train running the 1,846 miles between Darwin and Adelaide, for a crime-writing festival held by the Australian Mystery Writers’ Society. Then someone is murdered, and surely all those mystery authors, agents, editors, and fans have the chops to solve the case. But then they also know how to commit murder—and how to cover it up.

Yamashita, Iris. Village in the Dark. Berkley. Feb. 2024. 228p. ISBN 9780593336700. $28. Downloadable. MYSTERY

Over a year ago, the husband and son of Anchorage detective Cara Kennedy died while hiking, their bones eventually found and buried. Now, with evidence suggesting that they might have been victims of foul play, their remains are being unearthed. The case is connected to Mia Upash, who was raised in a remote village sheltering women and children from abusive men and has now entered the unsettling larger world carrying secrets of her own.

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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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