2015 has certainly arrived, along with the cold. But I still find myself reflecting on the year that was. What were the most popular mysteries of 2014? Based on circulation figures at the library where I work, these were the most checked out mysteries in 2014.
10. Dust by Patricia Cornwell — Kay Scarpetta looks into the death of a computer engineering grad student, murdered “mere weeks before the trial in her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial advisor.” The case leads medical examiner Scarpetta down a dangerous path involving designer drugs, drone technology and organized crime.
9. Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming — A Clare Fergusson and Russ van Alstyne are on their honeymoon in this 8th installment in this bestselling series. Professional and personal complications impede more than just Clare and Russ’ investigations. “Officers Hadley Knox and Kevin Flynn, awkward after an ill-advised fling, are forced to struggle together against terrified witnesses and blizzard conditions to reveal the kidnapping’s connection to a local methamphetamine kingpin.”
8. W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton — Last year’s #1 author maintains a presence on the top 10 list. What connection do a shady PI and a homeless man have to each other and to Kinsey Millhone? Kinsey delves into the wasted lives of two men to uncover the truth behind one’s fortune and disinherited heirs and why they were murdered.
7. Close-up on Murder by Donald Bain — Murder, She Wrote is alive and well in print. Jessica Fletcher is still sleuthing in her beloved Cabot Cove. Hollywood has descended on the Maine town to shoot a movie about a murder that shocked residents years earlier. A body on the set involves Jessica in the hunt for clues to the killer.
6. Murder as A Second Language by Joan Hess — Recently married Claire Malloy offers to help tutor English-as-a-second-language students and ends up on the board of the Farberville Literacy Council and involved in a student’s murder at the council’s office.
5. Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin — Inspector Rebus has been demoted, but is back on the beat. Further trouble arrives when a 30-year-old murder investigation is re-opened and internal affairs start asking questions. Might Rebus himself have something to hide? And what is the mysterious Shadow Bible? #19 in the Inspector Rebus and #4 in the Malcolm Fox set Scottish series.
4. By Its Cover by Donna Leon — Commissario Guido Brunetti’s 23rd case involves “the theft and mutilation of rare books from a private research library” and one of the library’s regular patrons. A must read for fans of libraries, especially grand and stately ones.
3. Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins —Spencer is hired on as a bodyguard for Kinjo Heywood, a linebacker with a “penchant for off-the-field violence”. When the linebacker’s 10-year-old son is kidnapped, Spencer’s job becomes finding out who wants revenge against Kinjo for his presumed involvement in a shooting death at a New York club years before. The third outing for Atkins as the late Parker’s successor.
2. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich — A New Jersey car dealer, selling more than just used jalopies, is out on bail and MIA. Enter Stephanie Plum on the hunt and having to protect a potential witness all the while dealing with would-be assassins and highly-trained ones.
And the Number One Mystery of the Year is …
1. Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich — Everyone’s favorite New Jersey bounty hunter was the top mystery pick of 2014 (at least in Syracuse). This entry saw Stephanie Plum tangling with a powerful mob boss who also happens to be godfather to cop–and love interest–Joe Morelli.
And voila! The most popular reads of 2014 by some of the most popular names in the mystery genre. Some, like Atkins, Evanovich, and Grafton, were on the 2013 list while others, like Donna Leon, Ian Rankin, and Julia Spencer-Fleming, were new. Delighted or disappointed? How many have you read? And which books would make your list of the top ten mysteries of 2014?
What are your 2015 mystery reading resolutions?