With 2013 just around the corner, it’s time to reflect on the year that’s been. What books did you read this year? Were they the most popular? Based on circulation figures at the library where I work, these were the most checked out mysteries in 2012.
10. Robert B. Parker’s Killing the Blues by Michael Brandman — Author Parker may have passed away, but police chief Jesse Stone lives on in this latest installment. It’s the tourist season in Paradise, Mass., and a string of car thefts leads to murder. The pressure is on Jesse to solve this crime wave. If only he wasn’t distracted by a personal relationship and the memories of his days as a cop in L.A.
9. Gun Games by Faye Kellerman — Decker and Lazarus are troubled by a suicide. A second teen suicide at the same prep school draws Decker into a case involving violent high schoolers with a penchant for guns. The case might be a little closer to home this time around since Decker and Lazarus are now responsible for fifteen year-old Gabe Whitman, the son of a killer.
8. Dorchester Terrace by Anne Perry — Thomas Pitt, now the head of Britain’s Special Branch, hears rumors of a plot to blow up the Dover-London rail line just as an Austrian Duke travels to visit English kin. Together with his wife, Charlotte, Pitt will discover a coonnection between two woman—one a former Italian spy, the other a young Croatian wife of a British power broker—and a sinister plot likely originating on the Continent.
7. Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George — Inspector Lynley is sent undercover to investigate the death of Ian Cresswell. The death was ruled an accidental drowning, but Ian’s influential uncle, Bernard Fairclough, believes otherwise. Other members of the Fairclough family, however, have secrets that they would rather keep.
6. Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich — Stephanie Plum was suposed to enjoy a vacation in Hawaii. Instead, she may be the only witness to the murder of her seatmate and the person who killed him.
5. Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby by Ace Atkins — Spencer, too, lives on beyond his creator in this volume. Fourteen year-old Mattie Sullivan asks Spencer to investigate her mother’s murder. A man was convicted of the crime, but Mattie believes the police botched their investigation. Unfortunately, neither the police nor neighborhood thugs want Spencer dredging up the past.
4. V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton — P.I. Kinsey Millhone stops a shoplifting spree. Later, the shoplifter appears to have committed suicide. Her fiancé asks Kinsey to investigate the death as a murder, one that’s connected to highly organized retail theft.
3. Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich — Though released in November of last year, this title’s still smokin’. Stephanie Plum will need to find out who’s been stashing bodies in shallow graves on an empty construction lot owned by Vincent Plum. She better hurry though, she’s on the killer’s list.
2. Breakdown by Sara Paretsky — Chicago tweens stumble across the corpse of a murder victim. V. I. Warshawski is called to the scene and takes on the task of protecting the girls, daughters of some of Chicago’s most powerful families. The victim was killed in a vampire style-slaying. Is his death related to one of the girls’ families or to the latest tween vampire craze?
And the Number One Mystery of the Year is …
1. Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell — Kay Scarpetta is determined to solve why her former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, was murdered. To that end, she’ll meet with a convicted sex offender and the mother of diabolical killer. Then a string of inexplicable deaths, past and present, will draw Scarpetta into a web of terror with horrific implications.
There you have it. The most popular reads of the year by some of the most popular names in the mystery genre. Delighted or disappointed? How many have you read? And which books would make your list of the top ten mysteries of 2012?