I'm actually happy that there aren't a large number of December book releases for my Treasures in My Closet post. I have to admit reading usually falls off some during the holidays. But there are some interesting books in this pile.
The Winemaker Detective is an omnibus by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen. The three books in the collection introduce two amateur sleuths who solve crimes in French wine country. Money, deceit, jealousy, inheritance and greed are all the ingredients needed for crime. These mysteries are homages to wine and winemakers. (Release date is Dec. 5.)
Ellie Alexander welcomes readers to Torte, a small-town family bakeshop, in the mystery On Thin Icing. The dead of winter in sleepy Ashland means no tourists. But, Jules Capshaw's bakery is saved when she's asked to cater a retreat for the directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Business might be heating up, but not enough for the body Jules finds in the freezer. (Release date is Dec. 29.)
Licensed private investigator turned novelist, Grant Bywaters is the author of The Red Storm. The book is the winner of the Minotaur Books/Private Eye Writers of American Best First Private Eye Novel competition. It introduces William Fletcher, a black ex-boxer P.I. working in 1930s New Orleans. But, he's barely working. Shady connections, along with his past as a former heavyweight contender, plus the color of his skin, leads to few clients. So, he accepts a case from an old criminal acquaintance, Storm. He only has to find Storm's daughter. But, we all know how those cases go for private eyes. Dead clients, problems with the police. It is a private eye novel set in the 1930s after all. (Release date is Dec. 1.)
Here's one I'm eager to read, Ann Cleeves' Harbour Street. Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope returns in a mystery set during the Christmas season. Detective Joe Ashworth is on the Metro when the train is stopped due to bad weather. But, Joe notices one woman didn't leave the train, a woman who is dead. Vera is relieved to have a murder to investigate so she can avoid the holiday festivities. But, when a second woman is murdered, the clues lead to the past of Harbour Street. (Release date is Dec. 1.)
Isn't that an adorable cover for Lia Farrell's latest Mae December mystery, Four Dog's Sake? Dr. Lucy Ingram pushes for a second autopsy when she isn't convinced a young man committed suicide. Once, she finds the results, it's up to the sheriff's department to find the answers. But, Sheriff Ben Bradley and his girlfriend, Mae December, are also caught up in wedding preparations, and the new puppy that becomes the fourth dog in Mae's house. (Release date is Dec. 1.)
Lord Byron is the amateur sleuth in Daniel Friedman's Riot Most Uncouth. In 1807, Byron is enjoying the high life as a student at Trinity College in Cambridge. But, when a young woman is found murdered in a local boarding house, Byron can't resist the chance to investigate and prove his genius by solving the case. (Release date is Dec. 1.)
Katherine Howell's Web of Deceit was shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award when it came out in Australia. Now, the mystery featuring police detective Ella Marconi is released here. When paramedics encounter a man refusing to get out of his crashed car, it looks like a cry for help, but he insists someone is out to get him. When he's found dead under a train that same day, Ella Marconi shares the paramedics' doubts that it's suicide. (Release date is Dec. 15.)
Ashley Bell is Dean Koontz' new novel of psychological suspense. Bibi Blair was told she had one year to live, but her sudden recovery astonishes medical science. Then, a woman convinces Bibi she survived in order to save someone else, someone named Ashley Bell. Bibi's obsession with finding the unknown Ashley sends her on the run from threats both mystical and worldly. (Release date is Dec. 8.)
I love debut crime novels, so I'm excited about Margaret Mizushima's Killing Trail. When a young girl is found dead in the mountains outside timber Creek, Colorado, resident Officer Mattie Cobb and her partner, Robo, a K-9 police dog, catch the case. Thanks to the local veterinarian, Cole Walker, they might be able to track down the truth. But, Mattie finds there are secrets in her quiet hometown, and Cole's daughter knows more than she's saying. (Release date is Dec. 15.)
Robin Wells brings us The Wedding Tree, a novel that stretches from modern-day Louisiana to World War II-era New Orleans. Hope Stevens moves home to Wedding Tree, Louisiana to help her grandmother sort through her things while she sorts through her own life. But, while doing that, her grandmother reveals stories about a wartime romance, and a secret that has haunted her since. (Release date is Dec. 1.)
There may be fewer books this month, but it seems as if the enticing stories are still there. Which ones are you anticipating?