2014 is nearly here. That means 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 2013.
10. Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs — It’s time for a wedding in this 14th installment in the popular Tea Shop Mysteries. Delaine Dish has asked Theodosia Browning to be one of her bridesmaids, but amateur sleuth Theo will end up needing to solve who killed the groom.
9. Bear is Broken by Lachlan Smith — After their father was jailed for their mother’s murder, Teddy Maxwell raised his baby brother, Leo. Years later, both brothers—now lawyers—are at lunch when Teddy is shot. Leo knew his brother had enemies and delves into the search for his brother’s shooter and the reasons why. The truth may raise questions about the murder that took away the boys’ parents.
8. Hit Me by Lawrence Block — Nicholas Edwards used to kill people for a living. Though he left that life behind, one phone call will draw him back to his former life as the hit man known as Keller.
7. Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland by Ace Atkins — “Spencer and his apprentice, Zebulon Sixkill, are on the trail of a mysterious woman, a megalomaniacal Las Vegas kingpin, and a shady plan to turn a chunk of land north of Boston into a sprawling casino” in this second book by estate-authorized author Atkins.
6. Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson — Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks’ latest investigation requires the utmost discretion. A decorated detective has been murdered at a treatment centre and compromising photographs have turned up. The case suggests police corruption and appears to be connected to an unsolved missing persons case that made national headlines six years prior.
5. Widow’s Tears by Susan Wittig Albert — In her 21st mystery, China Bayles gets a lesson in history. The impact of the Galveston hurricane of 1900 on Rachel Blackwood and her family may have direct ties to the present-day haunting at a nascent bed and breakfast.
4. Deadly Virtues by Jo Bannister — In this standalone mystery, a mental patient may hold the sole key to a murder. Jerome Cardy knows he will be murdered and cryptically tells Gabriel Ash about a dog named Othello. Will anyone believe Gabriel’s account of Cardy’s death?
3. The Heist by Janet Evanovich — In this madcap caper, FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare reluctantly agrees to work with con man Nicohlas Fox to locate a corrupt investment banker hiding in Indonesia.
2. Midnight at Marble Arch by Anne Perry — Charlotte and Thomas Pitt are back in their 28th mystery, which peels back the layers of Victorian society. The rape and apparent suicide of Catherine Quixwood, a wealthy banker’s wife, has tongues wagging in London. The Pitts are faced with numerous questions about Catherine’s behavior the night she died. What ugly secret is the polite society of London’s grand houses hiding?
And the Number One Mystery of the Year is …
1. Kinsey and Me by Sue Grafton — Private Investigator Kinsey Millhone burst onto the scene in 1982, and has become one of mystery’s longest running and beloved sleuths. This collection of tales is like a behind-the-scenes look at author Grafton and her creation, Kinsey.
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 2013?
Interestingly, the 11th most checked out book was Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin about—naturally—a librarian who embarks on a dream trip of London to take a murderous literary tour.