Last fall I loved binge-watching Only Murders in the Building, and I’m incredibly excited that the next season is back so soon, premiering on June 28. It’s the perfect lighthearted show for summer, and I just know after I watch the new season, I’ll be hankering for a book just like it so I can take some mysteries and laughs with me to the beach. If you feel the same way, make space in your beloved canvas tote for these zany summer reads! From chick-lit to contemporary cozies to quirky mysteries, this line-up will help you bring on summer in style—along with Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, and the gang!
10 Witty Mysteries to Investigate This Summer
Psychic travel agent Leda Foley and police detective Grady Merritt join forces to catch an evasive killer in Cherie Priest’s quirky mystery, GRAVE RESERVATIONS. When Leda impulsively pulls Grady from a doomed flight, she saves him from certain death. Intrigued by her budding talents, Grady insists that she channel them into helping with one of his cold cases. Still struggling with the lack of answers surrounding her husband’s untimely death, Leda eagerly accepts. What ensues is a romp of a mystery complete with a rag-tag team of boozy, amateur crime-solvers; nights filled with supernatural karaoke; and tons of unexpected twists.
A psychic travel agent and a Seattle PD detective solve a murder in this quirky mystery in the vein of Lisa Lutz’s The Spellman Files and Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden series.
Meet Leda Foley: devoted friend, struggling travel agent, and inconsistent psychic. When Leda, sole proprietor of Foley's Flights of Fancy, impulsively re-books Seattle PD detective Grady Merritt’s flight, her life changes in ways she couldn’t have predicted.
After watching his original plane blow up from the safety of the airport, Grady realizes that Leda’s special abilities could help him with a cold case he just can’t crack.
Despite her scattershot premonitions, she agrees for a secret reason: her fiancé’s murder remains unsolved. Leda’s psychic abilities couldn’t help the case several years before, but she’s been honing her skills and drawing a crowd at her favorite bar’s open-mic nights, where she performs Klairvoyant Karaoke—singing whatever song comes to mind when she holds people’s personal effects. Now joined by a rag-tag group of bar patrons and pals alike, Leda and Grady set out to catch a killer—and learn how the two cases that haunt them have more in common than they ever suspected.
FINLAY DONOVAN KNOCKS ’EM DEAD is the latest installment in the off-beat, heart-pounding, and razor-sharp Finlay Donovan mystery series by Elle Cosimano. Fresh from the fiasco of being mistaken as a hitwoman while describing the plot of her upcoming book aloud in a Panera Bread, Finlay Donovan discovers that trouble isn’t so easy to shake and someone is out to kill her cheating ex-husband. And while the thought of freeing herself from his heinous presence isn’t all bad, she cannot justify leaving her children without a living father. Soon, Finlay and her nanny-turned-partner-in-crime, Vero, are back in the throes of another mystery with all the exhilarating fixings of last time and then some.
A must-read for Victorian buffs, EUROPEAN TRAVEL FOR THE MONSTROUS GENTLEWOMAN is the second installment in Theodora Gross’s Athena Club mysteries, wherein the daughters of literature’s most villainous men band together to protect themselves—and others—from the mad scientists of the world. This time, they embark on a journey across Europe to rescue Lucinda Van Helsing from her father. Because a great series can only be made better with the addition of vampires!
Television reporter Riley Spartz knows a good story when she sees it: When news breaks about a boy falling into a sinkhole in a rural Amish community, she is all over it. Soon enough, she finds herself amidst a convoluted murder investigation, complete with everything from fraud and deception to sex and money. Kramer’s SHUNNING SARAH is an enthralling, winding thriller that grapples with both familiar and unprecedented themes in Amish culture and sticks in your mind long after.
In this thrilling entry in the nationally bestselling Riley Spartz series, an insular Amish town is rocked by a shocking murder and a secret that won’t stay buried. “A captivating heroine you’ll root for and a shocking ending you won’t see coming, Shunning Sarah delivers with a satisfying punch” (Alex Kava, New York Times bestselling author).
When investigative reporter Riley Spartz hears that a young boy is trapped in a sinkhole located in a peaceful Amish farm community outside Minneapolis, her reporter’s nose catches the sweet scent of a thrilling news story. But she has no idea just how big this story truly is…because the boy is not alone.
There’s also a corpse in the sinkhole—and it didn’t die of natural causes. While an area peopled by the upright Amish doesn’t seem a likely location for a brutal murder, Riley uncovers a dark web of fraud and deception driven by motives as old as the Bible: sex and money. Determined to bring the killer to justice, Riley embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse but can she stop the murderer before anyone else—including herself—becomes the next victim?
With “the perfect mix of suspense, excitement, romance, and surprises to keep the discriminating crime fiction reader captivated” (Library Journal, starred review), Shunning Sarah is a nail-biting thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The first in a flavorful series of cozy mysteries, A DEADLY INSIDE SCOOP follows Bronwyn Crewse’s latest business venture: the renovation of Crewse Creamery, her family’s ice cream shop in Ohio. Delayed by untimely construction, the shop reopens to very few customers on a very snowy day, all of which culminates in a terrifying discovery—a dead body, hidden by snowfall, whose identity directly implicates Bronwyn’s father in the murder. Determined to rid him of any blame and to keep the business afloat, Bronwyn sets out on some much-needed amateur sleuthing. This is a breezy, feel-good read perfect for summertime, with enough nuance to keep you guessing the whole way through.
Gabriela Rose’s home and livelihood are on the line in Janet Evanovich’s newest thrilling adventure, THE RECOVERY AGENT. Well-accustomed to navigating the insurance fraud and treasure-related needs of greedy companies and swindled billionaires, Gabriela is stunned to find that her next job is to help her own family’s town after a devastating hurricane. Her mission: to find the fabled Seal of Solomon and the lost treasure of Cortez in the jungles of Peru and use the spoils to help rehabilitate the town—easy enough, you might think, until you find that your ex-husband holds the treasure map. This is a lighthearted, colorful read fit for fans of Stephanie Plum.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich returns with the launch of a blockbuster new series that blends wild adventure, hugely appealing characters, and pitch-perfect humor, proving once again why she’s “the most popular mystery writer alive” (The New York Times).
Lost something? Gabriela Rose knows how to get it back. As a recovery agent, she’s hired by individuals and companies seeking lost treasures, stolen heirlooms, or missing assets of any kind. She’s reliable, cool under pressure, and well trained in weapons of all types. But Gabriela’s latest job isn’t for some bamboozled billionaire, it’s for her own family, whose home is going to be wiped off the map if they can’t come up with a lot of money fast.
Inspired by an old family legend, Gabriela sets off for the jungles of Peru in pursuit of the Ring of Solomon and the lost treasure of Lima. But this particular job comes with a huge problem attached to it—Gabriela’s ex-husband, Rafer. It’s Rafer who has the map that possibly points the way to the treasure, and he’s not about to let Gabriela find it without him.
Rafer is as relaxed as Gabriela is driven, and he has a lifetime’s experience getting under his ex-wife’s skin. But when they aren’t bickering about old times the two make a formidable team, and it’s going to take a team to defeat the vicious drug lord who has also been searching for the fabled ring. A drug lord who doesn’t mind leaving a large body count behind him to get it.
The Recovery Agent marks the start of an irresistible new series that will have you clamoring for more and cheering for the unstoppable Gabriela Rose on every page.
A compelling mix of fact and fiction, Andrew Wilson’s DEATH IN A DESERT LAND is the third installment in a series that places real-life author Agatha Christie at the helm of her own mysteries. This time, Agatha travels to far-off Persia in pursuit of answers about the death of a prominent archaeologist whose family assets have met with foul play. With excellent world-building, an appealing and familiar lead, and all the makings of any great mystery—Wilson’s take on a widely beloved icon is as accessible to seasoned fans as it is to newcomers.
“Fizzy with charm yet edged with menace, Andrew Wilson’s Christie novels do Dame Agatha proud. Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Jacqueline Winspear.” —A.J. Finn, internationally bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
Queen of Crime Agatha Christie returns to star in another stylish mystery, as she travels to the excavation of the ancient city of Ur where she must solve a crime with motives that may be as old as civilization itself.
Fresh from solving the gruesome murder of a British agent in the Canary Islands, mystery writer Agatha Christie receives a letter from a family who believe their late daughter met with foul play. Before Gertrude Bell overdosed on sleeping medication, she was a prominent archaeologist, recovering ancient treasures in the Middle East. Found near her body was a letter claiming that Bell was being followed and to complicate things further, Bell was competing with another archeologist, Mrs. Woolley, for the rights to artifacts of immense value.
Christie travels to far-off Persia, where she meets the enigmatic Mrs. Woolley as she is working on a big and potentially valuable discovery. Temperamental but brilliant, Mrs. Woolley quickly charms Christie but when she does not hide her disdain for the recently deceased Miss Bell, Christie doesn’t know whether to trust her—or if Bell’s killer is just clever enough to hide in plain sight.
With Wilson’s signature “strong characters, shrewd plotting and a skillful blending of fact and fiction” (Shelf Awareness, starred review on A Talent for Murder), this is a thrilling adventure set amidst the cursed ruins of an ancient land.
Set in the Wisconsin backwoods, Victoria Houston’s DEAD FIREFLY is an atmospheric whodunit that follows Doc Osborne and Police Chief Lew Ferris as they navigate an array of twisty mysteries including the murder of Doc’s best friend and the theft of hundreds of thousands of precious birch trees from public and private properties in their area. Full of heart, wit, and the deeply satisfying conclusions we’ve come to expect from Houston’s Loon Lake mysteries, this is not one to miss.
Murder She Wrote meets Fargo in the eighteenth installment of Victoria Houston’s “engaging” (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine) and critically acclaimed mystery series set in the northwoods of Wisconsin.
"My wife and Gordon Maxwell tried to kill me this morning."
Doc Osborne is startled by the unexpected words tumbling out of the mouth of his friend and fellow AA member Chuck Pelletier, the recently remarried lead accountant for a planned luxury fly-fishing lodge preserve under construction in the area.
Alarmed, Doc tries to alert Police Chief Lew Ferris, but she is tied up with law enforcement teams across the state. They’re searching for thieves who have been cutting down and stealing hundreds of thousands of precious birch trees from public and private property across northern Wisconsin.
But it’s too late. Pelletier is found dead not two hours later. Doc is shocked, saddened, and determined to get to the bottom of the murder.
With one man dead, evidence of lakeshore properties being stolen from elderly owners, and an attempted sexual assault, short-handed Chief Ferris deputizes Doc and his skilled tracker neighbor to help with the investigation. Then, just as they seem to be getting somewhere, things grow even more complicated.
Just another summer in Loon Lake.
As outrageous as it is entertaining, THE SPELLMAN FILES by Lisa Lutz follows the story of a nutty family of private investigators entirely unfamiliar with the concept of privacy and a middle child—Izzy—who happens to be totally sick of it. After Rae, the youngest Spellman, is caught surveilling Izzy in hopes of getting dirt on her love life, Izzy decides she is through with the family business, once and for all. When Rae suddenly goes missing, though, Izzy has no choice but to put her family-given talents to use one last time before her permanent departure. In doing so, she stumbles onto a wild mix of lies, mistrust, and outlandish roadblocks that tests the strength of the Spellmans’ loyalties to one another.
“There’s something delightfully endearing about Lisa Lutz’s kinetic and quirky THE SPELLMAN FILES. It reads like a well-scripted television sitcom/family drama and, considering Lutz’s screenwriting background, that vibe makes perfect sense. As soon as I’d finished reading this offbeat novel, I wanted to binge-read the rest of the books in the series.”
Tensions boil over in Bad Axe County when Sheriff Heidi Kick’s recurring nightmare materializes into a string of inexplicable, gruesome murders in the middle of her tumultuous reelection campaign. As the scorching Wisconsin heat bears down on the town, the death toll increases, and Sheriff Kick’s home life is thrust into the public eye, putting both her investigation and her campaign at risk—not to mention her life. Third in the Bad Axe County series, John Galligan’s BAD MOON RISING is as fresh and page-turning as ever.
“As unique a place in the mystery universe as you will ever find...smooth, unexpected, and memorable. This book is a diamond in the rough.” —Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author
A record heat wave suffocates remote rural Wisconsin as the local sheriff tracks down a killer hidden in the depths of the community in this atmospheric, race-to-the-finish mystery by the acclaimed author of the Bad Axe County series.
Sheriff Heidi Kick has a dead body on her hands, a homeless young man last seen alive miles from the Bad Axe. Chillingly, the medical examiner confirms what Sheriff Kick has been experiencing in her own reoccurring nightmares of late: the victim was buried alive. As the relentless summer heat bears down and more bodies are discovered, Sheriff Kick also finds herself embroiled in a nasty reelection campaign. These days her detractors call her “Sheriff Mommy”—KICK HER OUT holler the opposition’s campaign signs—and as her family troubles become public, vicious rumors threaten to sway the electorate and derail her investigation.
Enter Vietnam veteran Leroy Fanta, editor-in-chief of the local paper who believes Heidi’s strange case might be tied to a reclusive man writing deranged letters to the opinions section for years. With his heart and liver on their last legs, Fanta drums up his old journalistic instincts in one last effort to help Heidi find a lead in her case, or at least a good story...
With simmering tension that sweats off the page, Bad Moon Rising infuses newsworthy relevance with a page-turning story of crime in America’s heartland, capturing global issues with startling immediacy while entertaining from start to finish.
Photo credit: iStock / Premyuda Yospim