On the Radar: Murder she solved

Sometimes writing the headline for this piece is easy. Sometimes, not so much. The one thing we’ve spotted with this week’s varied collection of crime novels is that the sleuthing in every single one of them is done by a woman – in some cases more than one. So let’s start our journey in Nigeria, head to New Zealand, and then see where the breadcrumbs take us…

The Lagos Wife by Vanessa Walters

The Lagos Wife is Vanessa Walters’ first foray into the world of crime and has already made our Most Wanted Books of 2024 list. You’ll not be surprised to learn that it’s the story of Nicole Oruwari, who has moved to Lagos from London with her husband. They’re living a life that appears outwardly perfect – then Nicole vanishes without a trace after a boat trip and the facade begins to crumble. The investigation into her disappearance hits the rocks, until Nicole’s aunt Claudine flies to Nigeria to take over the reins. What Aunt Claudine uncovers shows her niece in a new light but also threatens to reveal some things about Claudine that she would rather remained hidden. Get the whole story on 29 February.
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Paper Cage by Tom Baragwanath

Paper Cate by Tom Baragwanath front cover

Masterton, New Zealand is the setting for Paper Cage by debut author Tom Baragwanath, out on 15 February. It’s a small town with some big problems, not least the simmering tensions of race and culture that divide the Maori and white inhabitants. Everything comes to a head when local children begin to go missing and tempers flare. Coming to the rescue is an unlikely heroine in the shape of police records office clerk Lorraine Henry, whose skill at making connections and prodigious memory will certainly come in handy when her great-nephew is the next child to disappear. Can she put the pieces together before time runs out?
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Hear Her Scream by Dylan H Jones

Hear Her Scream by Dylan H Jones front cover

Welsh-born author Dylan H Jones has garnered a following with his series set on the island of Anglesey and featuring Detective Tudor Manx. Now he lives in California, and that’s the setting for the dark and gritty thriller Hear Her Scream, out on 22 February. Would-be true crime podcaster Valencia Basco needs to find a big story to give her career a leg up – and she picks a seven-year-old murder case that is personal to her, that of her best friend. But Valencia hasn’t bargained on the machinations of a local sheriff who seems determined to interfere with her investigation, and soon her personal connection to the case threatens to put her in mortal danger.
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A Man Downstairs by Nicole Lundrigan

A Man Downstairs by Nicole Lundrigan front cover

Ah, childhood! A time of play, treats, happiness – and a mysterious man downstairs, if Molly Wynters is to be believed. When she was a young girl, Molly witnessed her mother’s murder and her testimony sent a teenager to jail. Now Molly is grown and works as a therapist. The threats begin when she has to return to her old home town to look after her father who has suffered a stroke. Suddenly Molly is forced to remember what exactly happened all those years ago – and as details begin to resurface, she begins to doubt what she said on the witness stand back then. A Man Downstairs by Nicole Lundrigan is out on 5 March.
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Tile M for Murder by Felicia Carparelli

Tile M for Murder by Felicia Camparelli front cover

The cover gives a clue about Tile M for Murder by Chicago author Felicia Carparelli. At its heart is a game of Scrabble that spelled D-E-A-T-H for one unwitting player. But who was the killer? Newly retired English teacher Jayne Marple and golf pro Arnolda ‘Arnie’ Palmer met playing the word game and it was love at first tile – now their friend has been murdered, and the co-owners of the Elsinore Detective Agency are determined to find out whodunit. Will they succeed? Find out in the first in the cosy Marple-Palmer series when it arrives on 20 February.
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