The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead (Anchor Books)

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead (Anchor Books, 2000) has been around for a few years, but this debut novel by Mr. Whitehead should not be ignored by those who have missed its delights. In an urban alternative universe, we have a mystery revolving around an elevator accident pitching the Department of Elevator Inspectors into a turmoil of debate as its Empiricists face off against its Intuitionists. This debate is the base for a slyly humorous meditation on race, politics, morality, and careerism. The hero of the tale, Lila Mae Watson, is the unnamed city’s first Black elevator inspector. Her stellar accuracy rate has been besmirched, and she must go underground to investigate. Read and enjoy!

- M.W.

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner

An addictive, page-turning suspenseful mystery about a couple trying to escape their haunted past when a mysterious woman suddenly befriends them.  Set in London, see if you can figure out who the true villain, or villains, are!

- L.Q.

Last Seen Wearing (Library of Congress Crime Classic

The Library of Congress Crime Classics is an ongoing series of reprints of critically hailed American crime writing from the 1860s to the 1960s. A true gem in this series is Last Seen Wearing by Hillary Waugh. The tale concerns the disappearance of a college student who walks out of her dormitory unseen and unheard and the efforts of the local police department to find out what happened. Led by a sharp and energetic veteran chief, the local police take up the twisting case. The reader experiences a fast-paced police procedural (supposedly one of the first) loaded with gown vs town, character, and the local color of an early postwar America middle-class community, with its social concerns but no diversity.

- M.W.

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music - Dave Grohl

In conversational prose, Dave Grohl of Scream, Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame, shares his clear -eyed perspective on fame with the reader; from playing at the Academy awards, drumming for Tom Petty to bedtime stories with Joan Jett and accompanying the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, this Grammy award-winning musician recounts these stories in a similar manner to the way he writes his songs – from his soul.

Detective Mole - Camilla Pintonato

Presents a charming tale of a bumbling, want-to-be woodland detective searching for a missing squirrel neighbor; the humor is provided by paint and collage illustrations.  The reader will most likely solve the case before Oscar, the mole, who misses many of the clues strewn throughout the book.  The fun is in figuring it out!

Windswept: Walking the Paths of Trailblazing Women - Annabel Abbs

A blend of memoir, travelogue and long-forgotten history, the book reflects on the most fundamental way of connecting with the outdoors: the simple act of walking.  Share the nature experiences of Nan Shepherd in the mountains of Scotland, Georgia O’Keefe in New Mexico, Daphne du Maurier along the River Rhone and Simone de Beauvoir in the hills and mountains of France.  Named a Smithsonian Top Ten Best Book about Travel for 2021.

Lessons in Chemistry - Bonnie Garmus (Doubleday)

Here comes another strong protagonist who challenges the status quo! Filled with humor and quirky characters, this title is easily comparable in tone to Where’d You Go Bernadette or Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.

In the early ‘60’s, Elizabeth Zott is a scientist with a mind of her own. She takes a new job as the host of a local daytime cooking TV show when she is fired from her research position for being both pregnant and unwed. As cooking is chemistry and chemistry is change, she brings revolutionary ideas to American housewives via her cooking show.

She is a one-of-a-kind heroine with a great canine companion both of which you will wish you could get to know in real life!

The Paris Dressmaker - Kristy Cambron (Thomas Nelson)

Perfect for historical fiction devotees, this novel is based on true events, and real lives lived during World War II Paris.  The story focuses on two memorable, courageous women who resist Nazi occupation and the darkness of those war years in Paris.  One is a dress designer, and another is an art cataloguer, both of which narrowly survive Nazi entrapment.  While maintaining their faith that “lighter” times will prevail, both protagonists are Resistance supporters who champion France, Paris, and the French way of life.  A great combination of romance, intrigue, and history!

– L.Q.

Perfect Timing - Owen Nicholls

This is not the fun and whimsical tale of love you’re expecting. There is a likely possibility that the reader will not like these characters at all times, but they are the embodiment of the idea that everybody deserves love and to be loved for they really are.

– C.B.

The Vanished Bride - Bella Ellis (Berkeley 2019)

The Vanished Bride is a very enjoyable historical mystery set in Yorkshire and features the Bronte family; yes, the whole clan is involved in one way or another with a strange disappearance. Ms. Ellis’ knowledge of the famous family shines through as the sisters and brother figure out how to be “detectors” in a place and era when everyone was effectively isolated. Combine this tension with the stress of novice authors, hostility to women, overfondness for drink, and a semi-benign intruding father, all in a well-researched and written narrative, and you will be reading a fine debut novel.

– M.W.