Hi mystery fans! This week I have two very different books for you, but both, in a way, feel like o...
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May 26, 2021

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Hi mystery fans! This week I have two very different books for you, but both, in a way, feel like odes: one to Agatha Christie, the other Michelle McNamara.

The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji, Ho-Ling Wong (Translator)

Everything about this book is an ode to Agatha Christie and classic detective novels, and it’s an excellent read for fans of remote mysteries.

Seven university mystery club members, where all the members have taken on names of famous authors, have decided to travel and stay on an island where a bunch of murders still remain unsolved. To add to the setup, they are staying in a literal decagon-shaped house where the room layout adds to the fun of who is staying in what room when the murders begin.

But first, we watch as they discover plates that have “victim” written on five, “murderer” on one, and “detective” on one of them. Surely, this must be a joke? But by which of them, and why is no one confessing?

As we watch the mystery club try to figure out what is happening, and start dying on the island, we also get to watch as, on the mainland, one former and one current mystery club member investigate the previous year’s murders, and why, suddenly, mysterious letters saying, “My daughter Chiori was murdered by all of you,” are being sent out. Oh, and you get some chapters from the killer that give you no clues as to who they are. So, who will figure it out first: the mystery members on the island, the two on the mainland, or will no one be left at the end…?

This was entertaining in that it follows the genre tropes while also having the extra fun element of mystery fans as characters using their genre knowledge to try and figure out the mystery they are suddenly in. If you’re a fan of remote mysteries, don’t miss this one.

(TW murder suicide story recounted)

Girl, 11 by Amy Suiter Clarke

I feel like people who liked and were fans of Michelle McNamara’s work will especially like this fictional serial killer novel that focuses on a true crime podcast. Elle Castillo is now a popular true crime podcast host–like full production podcast–after years of having been a social worker. For her new season, she decides to go for the case that has always haunted her: a serial killer whose victims had a numerical pattern in age, starting at 21 and getting younger. She receives a tip from a listener, but finds him dead when she arrives and thus begins the intense story of a woman obsessed with identifying a killer of children, who will stop at nothing.

This is an excellent read for fans of true crime podcasts (you watch behind the scenes of Castillo working on it and “listen” to transcripts), fictional serial killers that are dragged into the light to give the power to the victims, and cat-and-mouse thrillers. I especially liked that Castillo had a solid marriage no matter how far off the deep end she went.

(TW infertility briefly recounted/ child murders/ child abuse/ sex offender investigated, crime not on page/ panic attacks/ past murder faked as suicide recounted, detail)

From the Book Riot Crime Vault

14 Romantic Suspense Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own, you can sign up here.

Murder Is A Walk In The Park

Tune in as Katie and Nusrah talk about reads set in the wilderness, particularly national parks. ...

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