Louise Penny's books are my favorite mystery series.
In this newest book, Chief Gamache has come out of retirement, and is still fighting his enemies in the Surete du Quebec. He is taking an unusual approach to the drug cartels, raising ethical and moral issues, A strange, hooded and silent character appears in the Village of Three Pines, someone is murdered and there are secrets from the past, which will be uncovered in the course of the investigation. The residents of the Village are their usual eccentric selves, Gamache may be putting them and his family in danger.
It is shortly after the Civil War, and Captain Jefferson Kidd roams the west doing performances of newspaper readings to a population that has little access to news in their own state, much less news from other parts of the country or world. By happenstance, he is given the task of returning a girl from the Indian tribe in Kansas which had kidnapped her, to her relatives in Texas. The child has no memory of her family and has no desire to be rescued. She is also a target for outlaws who have other purposes for her. The relationship building in this book is wonderful.
In Louise Penny's latest Chief Inspector Gamache has been pulled out of retirement to run the Surete Police Academy, which had been rife with corruption. Meanwhile, his friends in Three Pines find an old, mysterious map, which Gamache uses as part of a training exercise for some of the cadets. When a despised professor is found murdered while in possession of the map, and Gamache finds himself at odds with the official investigation. It's a great, well written story.
Colson Whitehead's Underground Railroad is realistic, imaginative historical fiction. He creates a Nineteenth Century America where the Underground Railroad is an actual railroad running underground, much like a subway, with stations and stationmasters. Cora, a runaway slave, travels north on the railroad, stopping in each state, experiencing a different aspect of racism in each one.
This is a story of love in a time of war, of friendship, family and duty. Taking place in England and Malta during WWII, it has characters whose strong senses of humor are tested by tragedy, and whose moral senses are tested by the expectations of society. Very funny, but then you'll cry.
In this latest Maisie Dobbs, it is 1938, things are getting scarier in Europe, and Maisie, having just returned to England, is asked to leave again. The British Secret service asked her to impersonate the daughter of an important Englishman being held in Dachau who the Nazis will only release to a relative. At the same time she is asked to bring back form Germany the daughter of another important Englishman who has run away to Munich to party and socialize.
This book is both strong historical fiction and an intriguing mystery. The story is based on actual events involving, Katherine Parr, the sixth (and last) wife of Henry VIII, during the period when Henry VIII was dying (but it was treason to acknowledge it). Unease in the court was heightened by the King vacillating between two religious doctrines, and any courtier could be in favor one day and accused of heresy the next
A little boy with a big imagination reports seeing something big and scary in the woods. He is, of course, not believed, except by the one person who knows that he is telling the truth. When the little boy is murdered, the search for his killer reveals the scary thing in the woods and with it secrets long hidden. Like the villagers in the story, I found the premise to be somewhat unbelievable, but according to the author's note at the end, it is a historical fact. One of Louise Penny's best (and they are all good.)
A Lot of what you thought you knew about the sinking of the Lusitania was wrong.