It’s that time of year…Halloween is just a few weeks away and it’s time to dig up some spooky reads for the occasion! For those dark, fall nights I’ve selected a few of my favorite mysteries that will keep you guessing until the end. Each of these books kick off their own series, which is great news for you, since you can just keep on going. So curl up by the fire, light a fall smelling candle, and settle in for these amazing books!
Theme: It’s a Mystery to Me
By: Maureen Johnson
Look! A riddle! Time for fun! Should we use a rope or gun? Knives are sharp and gleam so pretty. Poison’s slow, which is a pity. Fire is festive, drowning’s slow. Hanging’s a ropy way to go. A broken head, a nasty fall. A car colliding with a wall. Bombs make a very jolly noise. Such ways to punish naughty boys! What shall we use? We can’t decide. Just like you cannot run or hide. Ha ha.
Truly Devious follows Stevie Bell, a girl fascinated by crime. When she receives an exclusive invitation to Ellingham Academy, it’s a dream come true. Years before, Albert Ellingham, the founder of the school, lost his wife and daughter to a kidnapper, who ransomed them for money. But after receiving the money, the Ellingham women were never seen again. The only clue? A nefarious note received days earlier, signed by “Truly, Devious.” As Stevie digs into the case, the crime becomes all to real, especially when a fellow student is found murdered. Now Stevie must try to solve the cases, both past and present, before the culprit strikes again. If you love cold cases, forensic science, and books that give you a chill, this is the book for you!
Stalking Jack the Ripper
By: Kerri Maniscalco
Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.
Stalking Jack the Ripper comes from a unique scientific perspective with Audrey Rose (our heroine) studying forensic science, mentoring with her uncle at his lab. Her free time is spent studying anatomy and dissecting cadavers, an entirely unexpected role for a woman in late 1800’s London, especially for an aristocratic one. I have to admit that I struggled to read through scenes with bodies (and parts) being removed and dissected, not being one to enjoy a gory movie, but powering through those scenes was completely worth the extra effort. The unsolved case of Jack the Ripper is still one of the most horrific stories in history, haunting us all to this day with what-ifs. Stalking Jack the Ripper offers a unique perspective on this issue and a resolution, which I was completely willing to buy into. Unlike many other YA novels, the heroine is able to defeat the villain, not with her strength or political savvy, but with her intelligence. Between Audrey Rose’s growing confidence in her abilities and the developing romance between her and Thomas, I was entirely sucked into the story. If you are at all interested in unconventional heroines, criminal psychology, or the history of Jack the Ripper, this is the story for you.
A Curious Beginning
By: Deanna Raybourn
That is the hallmark of a good partnership, you know – when one partner sees the forest and the other studies the trees.
A Curious Beginning is the first book in the Veronica Speedwell series, following Veronica as she takes on various adventures. (Review to be posted). Veronica is highly unusual for the time period: single and happily so, a lepidopterist, and a world-traveler. Unlike her prudish counterparts, Veronica has various affairs and has no problem with it, very modern for a girl living in 1800’s London. After the death of her aunt, she’s free to travel and live her life the way she’s always wanted, but her plans are dashed when a mysterious Baron appears, swearing that Veronica is in mortal danger. The risk is heightened when that Baron then turns up dead. Left in the care of Reverstoke Templeton-Vane, “Stoker”, who suspects her for the murder, Veronica is left with little choice but to investigate and solve the crime. On the run, Stoker and Veronica hide in a traveling circus, posing as a married couple. As they get closer to the truth, they find that the mystery behind the Baron’s death and who is hunting Veronica may go farther than they ever realized. Maybe all the way to the royal family. If you love complicated plots, slow-building chemistry, and spunky heroines ahead of their time, this is the book for you!
Additional Spooky Reads: