With the start of the New Year, there’s a sense of getting to begin all over again. We have a chance to make our lives better, like making resolutions to get healthier or pick up a hobby you’ve always wanted to try. For some, it’s a chance to start fresh, maybe with a new job or a renewed mentality.
In honor of the new year, here’s a list of nine murder mysteries where people are trying to start again—whether it’s a new business, a new town, or more.
Arsenic and Adobo
When Lila Macapagal had set off from her home in Shady Pines to create her own life in Chicago, she never thought it’d end in a nasty breakup and she’d be back to her family’s Filipino restaurant, trying to figure out what to do next. But when her ex-boyfriend turned food critic ends up on his lunch plate at their restaurant, the cops suspect her and her family for his death. She thought she’d just have to figure out her life, but now she has to clear the family from this murder. The second book in the series in Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery, Homicide and Halo Halo is due out in February 2022. Murder & Mayhem had a chance to talk to Manansala back in May 2021 about the book.
On Skein of Death
Those who enjoy knitting: this one's for you. After a divorce, Libby Beckett decides to start a new life opening the yarn store of her dreams in Collinstown, Maryland. Her store, Y.A.R.N—which stands for You're Absolutely Ready Now—has its first big event, bringing in Norwegian knitting celebrity Perle Langager, who's known for her patterns and beautiful handmade knitting needles. But things are weird—Perle is acting odd and a strange man shows up that further unsettles her. When Perle is found stabbed with one of her own needles, Libby feels honor bound to find out why Perle was killed. It’s the first book in the A Riverbank Mystery series.
Mango, Mambo, and Murder
When her husband gets a lucrative job back in his hometown, Miriam Quinones-Smith has to figure out what’s next. But things are not so easy for Miriam. She has a domineering—and honestly, racist—mother-in-law, her husband seems to be having a mid-life crisis (and possibly an affair), and Miriam doesn't know what to do with herself—aside from caring for her toddler son. Thankfully, her new friend Alma gets her a job as a chef on a local Spanish language television network. However, things get even harder when a young woman dies during a local luncheon. While people write-off the death as that of a young addict overdosing on her resumed habit, Miriam feels that is too easy a story. She decides to investigate what happened to the young woman, diving into the new social circles in her new home. It’s the first in the A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series.
How to Book a Murder
The first in the new Starlit Bookshop mystery, Emma Starrs returns to the family bookshop after graduating with her Ph.D., because the family bookshop is in trouble. To help drum up business, Emma decides to get creative. In her first foray into bookshop events, she gets a big gig from former classmate (and bully) Tabitha Baxter to host a murder mystery party in Tabitha’s home. When Tabitha’s husband is found murdered during the party, Tabitha quickly points the finger at Emma and her aunt for the dastardly deed. Now Emma has to figure out how to save the bookstore—and her family—from both the police and public suspicion, all at the same time.
Cheddar Off Dead
After working in various cheese shops, Willa Bauer decides to open up her own cheese shop named Curds & Whey in Yarrow Glen in Sonoma Valley, California. But she’s not just starting a new business, she’s starting a new life after some heartbreak—romantic and otherwise. In the new town, she’s hoping to establish her business and make new friends. Everything gets a lot harder when the food critic turns up dead in his car just outside her store, with one of her custom knives as the murder weapon. Armed with her new friends, Willa does some sleuthing to try to figure out why the unpopular food critic was killed. Mark your calendars: this book is due out on March 29th, 2022.
The Postscript Murders
When 90-year-old Peggy Smith passes away, everyone—including her family—believes it's just a natural occurrence. But when her caretaker Natalka discovers some strange coincidences, she suspects that Peggy may not have died from old age after all. For instance, she finds a bookcase filled with crime novels thanking Peggy for her help with the murder. The threatening note is also a big hint. Natalka brings together a group of new friends—including an ex-monk Benedict, Detective Harbinder Kaur—and Peggy’s neighborhood to try to get to the bottom of Peggy’s death. This book is included because it features Benedict’s viewpoint as a former monk who left the sanctity of the monastery for the bigger, brighter world. Readers may be familiar with Elly Griffiths’ novel The Stranger Diaries.
Related: Read The Stranger Diaries Excerpt
Murder in G Major
The first in the Gethsemane Brown Mysteries, US-born renowned violinist Gethsemane has decided to take a chance by moving to the Irish town to teach orchestra at a boy’s school—and help them win a prestigious school music competition. She figures it's a good place to plan her next steps, in both life and career. But Gethsemane hadn’t planned for the fact that her cottage is haunted by the ghost of Eamon McCarthy—a composer once accused of killing his wife—who begs Gethsemane to help him clear his name. Armed with her new ghostly friend, Gethsemane digs into the past to find out who really killed his beloved wife.
True Crime Story
This book is a bit different from the others on this filled with mostly cozy murder mysteries. Blurring the line of fiction and nonfiction, Evelyn Mitchell, a writer, corresponds with character/author Joseph Knox about her non-fiction work on the disappearance of Zoe Nolan from her dorm at University of Manchester. Told through interviews with Zoe’s family—including her twin sister Kimberly—and friends as well, as emails between Knox and Evelyn, the true story of what happened to Zoe is revealed. But Evelyn’s story becomes intertwined with the one she’s writing. The book features so many new starts. Evelyn wants to publish her second book after a devastating bout with cancer. Twin sisters Kimberly and Zoe wanted to restart their own lives in college. For Zoe, that meant figuring out life after not getting into her music school of her dreams, while Kimberly did not want to be defined by her talented twin sister.
Related: Read True Crime Story Excerpt
Death by Dumpling
The last thing that Lana Lee wanted was to return to her family’s noodle shop. But she doesn’t have many options after breaking up with her boyfriend and quitting her job. She figures it's just a short term gig until she can get back on her feet. Things get heated when Mr. Feng, the property manager of the giant building that the Noodle Shop is based in, is found dead—just after the restaurant delivered him dumplings. The order, unfortunately, is filled with shrimp that Mr. Feng is allergic to, making Lee’s family public enemy number one. With some sleuthing with her roommate/best friend and her cute dog Kikkoman, Lana will get to the bottom of this crime. The eighth book in the A Noodle Shop Mystery series comes out on January 25th, 2022.