Auntie M had a ball over the holidays reading on her Kindle between wrapping gifts, having family over and celebrating with friends and family. Here’s four for readers to check out, all set in the UK~

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Blood Axe is Leigh Russell’s newest DI Ian Peterson mystery. As the young detective struggles to adjust to his posting in York, and to the issues in his marriage, he’s confronted with a grisly murder scene.

A Viking axe goes missing after a festival and becomes the tool the murderer uses to carry out what soon becomes a series of murders. Peterson and his team, still adjusting to each other, must go full out to find who could possibly be the perpetrator. This is a canny killer, and it isn’t an easy task.

York springs to life, with plot points carefully worked out, and the gritty tasks, long hours and often frustrating work detectives face nicely illustrated. Russell’s police procedural’s hum with realism and this one is a fine addition to the series.

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Rebecca Tope brings back florist Simmy Brown in The Troutbeck Testimony, the young woman’s fourth outing. This time Simmy is walking with her father when an overheard conversation leads to a mix-up that ties in with a local murder. It doesn’t help that they find a dead dog.

Simmy is a most reluctant sleuth. She becomes embroiled in cases, to the delight of her young assistants. There will be changes in those closest to Simmy, too, and a surprise twist that has some of her preconceived notions shaken to her core. There are plenty of red herrings and mixed messages to keep readers on their toes.

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The writing duo known as DE Ireland return with Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins, and the whole cast of My Fair Lady in Get Me to the Grave on Time.

It’s wedding season, which Higgins abhors, yet when the groom dies at the first one they attend, Eliza and Higgins find themselves sleuthing again. There are plenty of suspects as the plot thickens, and more deaths to come. Several in their close circle will be hurt as things start to get out of control.

The period details, especially the mores and customs, plus the emphasis that was placed on clothing, are detailed and specific, lending an air of plunging the reader back into Edwardian times. A looted Indian temple becomes the basis for the investigation and raises the question of British supremacy and the taking of antiquities for British museums. There are more layers here than first meet the eye.

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Caroline Mitchell debuts a new series with a most interesting protagonist in the first DS Ruby Preston, Love You to Death.

Ruby’s unlike most other police detectives. She’s pulled herself up to rise in the police after being raised in a neighborhood known more for its criminals. Her ties to her old life can’t seem to be cut, with good reason. She finds herself involved in complicated relationships at every turn, unable to lose the baggage of her past.

It makes for a very interesting and different approach, as Ruby must decide where her allegiance lies: to her old neighborhood and those she’s loved for years; or to the letter of the law she’s sworn to uphold.

A serial murderer is abducting and killing women after gaining entrance to their homes. It’s soon apparent that the thread connecting them is that each woman gave up a child for adoption.

The killer is looking for the mother who gave her up, and for a fairytale ending to their relationship. A wonderful twist occurs when Ruby receives emails allegedly from the daughter she gave up at birth as a teenager, implying that she is the killer. The child’s father is Nathan, a gangster who is not a part of Ruby’s life any longer–or is he?

An very different kind of character to lead a new series. It will be interesting to see where Mitchell takes Ruby next.

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