Falsely Accused

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Discover a new mystery to unravel by checking out one of these whodunits with main characters who are falsely accused of murder. If they didn’t do it, who did?

Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little – After being released from prison on a technicality, Janie Jenkins tracks down the one lead she has on her mother’s real killer and is startled by what she uncovers about her mother’s past in a small South Dakota town.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult – Unable to express himself socially but possessing a savant-like knack for investigating crimes, a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome is wrongly accused of killing his tutor when the police mistake his tics for guilty behavior.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus – When one of five students in detention is found dead, his high-profile classmates—including a brainy intellectual, a popular beauty, a drug dealer on probation and an all-star athlete—are investigated and revealed to be the subjects of the victim’s latest gossip postings.

The Black Book by James Patterson & David Ellis – A devoted Chicago cop from a family of career detectives miraculously survives an attack that kills his partner but that he cannot remember, an event that causes him to be charged with double murder. Continue reading

Time for Christmas!


November has come and gone, the leftovers are finished, and decorating has begun – it must be December!   Many of us are starting to think of Christmas and luckily there are plenty of books to get us in the mood.  There are any number of authors who faithfully write a small (and most of them seem to be small) Christmas story each year.  Mary Higgins Clark with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark and Anne Perry can be counted on for Christmas mysteries that do not necessarily feature their regular protagonists.  If you’re in the mood for a western holiday romance, both Janet Dailey and Linda Lael Miller have several.  Debbie Macomber has a series of Christmas books featuring the angels Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy and Thomas Kinkade has a number of nice holiday tales that take place in the fictional town of Cape Light.  Richard Paul Evans rose to fame with The Christmas Box and has since continued his Christmas chronicles.

Many of our favorite authors have Christmas stories that are part of their regular series – Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs, Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott,  and Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen, to name a few.   Jan Karon’s Mitford series includes Shepherds Abiding – be sure to check the acknowledgement to local artist Stefanie Newman, who restored the actual Nativity figures for the story.

Garrison Keillor’s A Christmas Blizzard, John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas, and David Baldacci’s The Christmas Train, all from excellent storytellers, add humor, mystery or adventure to the mix.  Bailey White, of NPR fame, offers a lovely collection of stories in Nothing With Strings.

Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop, edited by Otto Penzler, is unusual.  Mr. Penzler is the founder and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, described by Wikipedia as “one of the oldest and largest mystery specialist bookstores in the world.”  Each year, Mr. Penzler would commission a Christmas story, set in the bookstore, from a leading mystery writer.  These stories were printed as pamphlets and given to his regular customers.  In 2010, he collected 17 of them and published them in book format.  The authors include Lawrence Block, S.J. Rozan, Anne Perry, Mary Higgins Clark, Ed McBain, and others!

For the whole family, read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, a true classic that reminds us of the real spirit of the holiday.  It’s usually performed as a play by one of the local theater groups or schools around this time of year.  The Nativity, with words from the King James Bible and beautiful illustrations by Julie Vivas, brings the age-old tale to human proportions.


So whether you re-read your old favorites or try something new, I wish you all a joyful, peace-filled holiday season!

JMRL Summer Challenge – Read a Mystery

RAFridays Teen Mysteries

Have you taken the JMRL Summer Challenge yet? One of the June Challenges is “Read a Mystery.” As you decide what to read this weekend, here are some suggestions of books you could use to fill that challenge.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Cassie has a knack for reading people. It makes her a natural at profiling. When she is recruited by the FBI, she finds herself part of a group of teens with unusual gifts similar to hers, investigating old, unsolved murders. Soon it becomes clear that there is a new killer on the loose and the danger is much closer than Cassie ever imagined. The descriptions of the murders from inside the killer’s head are not for the faint of heart.

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason
Sherlock Holmes’ niece and Bram Stoker’s sister team up in an effort to solve the mysterious disappearances of some of English society’s most prominent young women. Can they save the missing girls before they become victims themselves? This book is a mystery set in Victorian England with some supernatural elements.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Tandy Angel was the last person to see her parents alive. The police have no suspects in their murder except Tandy and her three siblings. All of the children bear scars from being raised in a pressure cooker by parents who demanded absolute perfection. Who knows what they are capable of. Tandy only knows that she doesn’t trust anyone – maybe not even herself.

Jackaby by William Ritter
Jackaby is a sleuth whose skills rival Sherlock Holmes’, but with the added ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail Rook is Watson to Jackaby’s Holmes as they race to solve a series of murders that Jackaby believes were committed by a nonhuman creature. This is another great book if you like a little of the supernatural mixed with your mystery.

Visit the JMRL Reads wiki for more suggestions: Mystery Booklists

Learn more about the JMRL Summer Challenge at Read For the Win. You can pick up your June Challenge sheet at any JMRL location or download and print it yourself: English |  Spanish