Photo by Paul Schafer on Unsplash

(That I haven’t already talked about. Or maybe I did… I don’t remember.)

The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose

Our favorite maid, Molly, is back. After being accused of murder in The Maid, Molly and the Regency Grand Hotel are getting back on track. On the grand opening of their new tea room, the hotel is hosting the famous mystery author J.D. Grimthorpe. When Grimthorpe drops dead in front of a room full of fans, the hotel staff finds itself under investigation yet again. With a connection to Grimthorpe from her youth, will Molly become suspect number one, again? After all, it’s always the maid who did it, right? 

American Whitelash by Wesley Lowery

It was thought by many, at the time, that the election of Barack Obama would be a turning point signaling the end of racism in America. Instead, Obama’s election inflamed white supremacy and led to the later election of Donald Trump. 

Wesley Lowery is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who weaves historical analysis with first-hand accounts of violence to display the vicious cycle of racism that continues to this day.

Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

An adjunct professor doesn’t make much money, even if their specialty is theoretical physics, so Elsie Hannaway supplements her meager salary by offering her services as a fake girlfriend. Her skills as a people pleaser make this a pretty sweet gig, until she is introduced to Jack Smith, the brother of one of her clients. Jack is an experimental physicist who destroyed her mentor’s reputation and undermined theorists everywhere, and now sits on the hiring committee at MIT where Elsie is applying to her dream job. 

Ali Hazelwood writes smart romance with fun characters. As a professor of neuroscience, Hazelwood has a unique perspective on the world of women in STEM that comes through in her stories. 

The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry

Hazel and her young sister Flora were sent to the countryside from London in 1939 to escape the ravages of war. Being much older, Hazel felt responsible for her sister and spent much of her time making up stories for Flora to keep her entertained. When Flora disappeared while playing on the banks of the river, Hazel was shattered and felt responsible for her sister’s disappearance. Fast forward twenty years, and Hazel is working in a rare bookstore when a book titled Whisperwood and the River of Stars appears. This was the imaginary world that Hazel had made up just for Flora. Is it possible that Flora did not die in the river as thought, but is alive somewhere with memories of the stories Hazel once told her? Hazel must dig into the past and uncover secrets if she is to find out if her sister is still alive. 

The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman

Once upon a time, I wrote a review of The Thursday Murder Club as a series, and here we have book four. While one expects death to touch the lives of those living in a retirement home, these pensioners have an uncanny ability to get involved with murders. In The Last Devil to Die, a friend of Stephen’s who owns an antique store is found murdered. When it’s discovered that a dangerous package he was holding is missing, the team must confront art forgers, drug dealers, and online fraudsters. Will they all be able to survive this latest case? 

If you have not read the previous books in this series, I highly recommend starting at the beginning.  

Some other books I really enjoyed this year but ran out of room to include: 

None of this is True by Lisa Jewell

The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston

The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley by Courtney Walsh

Sarah Johnson is a collection librarian at Mid-Columbia Libraries. She reads more than 120 books a year. In her free time, she teaches fitness classes, gardens, and brews kombucha.