Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

FINE WINE FRIDAY: 7 Books to Curl Up With If You Love Whodunits


“Alright. Who let the viking in?”

You’re kidding, right? I say this to Mom a lot. Especially when she gets The Look. You know. That Look. It usually precedes a mile-long description of her new favorite book. Of course I listen. Because, ya know. That’s my job. Well, that and being beautiful and brilliant. (It’s a tough job. But I’m up for it!)

So when Mom came up with yet another harebrained idea the other day – where do these things come from? – I just smiled and listened.

Mom’s latest brainstorm? A list of really cool murder mysteries/whodunits.

Being the brains in this dynamic duo, I tried to remind Mom that she doesn’t typically gravitate toward either genre. But you know Mom!

It’s been like FOREVER since our last Fine Wine Friday. One of us has been falling down on the job (Hi, Mom). So let’s go!

So here, in no particular order, are Mom’s recently-ish read murder mysteries/whodunits. All get at least a four on the Official Mom and the Kimster rating-o-meter:

1. A Reasonable Doubt

By Phillip Margolin

Robin Lockwood isn’t just a crackerjack criminal defense attorney recently promoted to top banana after her boss, Regina Barrister, is forced into early retirement due to dementia. Lockwood is also a former MMA fighter. That comes in handy in this high octane legal thriller.

When a high stakes poker player, magician and all around schmuck, Robert Chesterfield, winds up dead while showcasing his latest and greatest illusion, the Chamber of Death (oops), Lockwood and her firm’s in house investigator, Jeff Hodges, can’t help shake a feeling of déjà vu. Putting pieces of a complicated puzzle together, they realize that a stone cold killer is methodically targeting everyone responsible for getting Chesterfield off on a double murder rap that’s decades old.

It’s a high stakes battle of wits wedged into a desperate race against time. Can Lockwood find the perp before the killer pulls off the greatest illusion of all?

2. The Bitterroots

By C.J. Box.

Montana private investigator Cassie Dewell must unravel a treacherous web of lies and deceit in order to discover the truth about a man framed for a terrible crime – while someone’s trying to murder her. The title has a double meaning. (Read my full review here.)

3. The Summons

By John Grisham

Ray Atlee is a newly divorced professor of law at the University of Virginia when he receives a “summons” from his ailing father. A retired judge, Dad Atlee summons his two sons, Ray and Forrest, to return home to Clanton, Virginia to discuss the details of his estate. The summons is typed by the Judge Atlee himself, on his own stationary.

Ray reluctantly heads to his hometown. The meeting never takes place. The Judge dies too soon, leaving a shocking secret known only to Ray. And perhaps someone else.

4. Where The Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens

A murder mystery. A coming-of-age narrative. A celebration of nature. Owens surveys the desolate marshlands of the North Carolina coast through the eyes of an abandoned child, Kya, aka: the Marsh Girl. What she finds – and how – may surprise you. (Read my full review here.)

5. The Last Juror

By John Grisham

William “Willie” Traynor isn’t just a cub reporter for an ancient weekly newspaper in the Deep South. The newly-minted Syracuse U. graduate is also the editor/publisher. He bought the struggling newspaper for a song. Subscriptions went through the roof after coverage of a vicious rape-murder. The suspect is the son of a notorious crime family. The story will either make Willie’s career as journalist. Or it could get him killed.

The Last Juror is vintage Grisham. Set in Ford County, Mississippi during the turbulent 1960s and 70s, this finely crafted legal thriller will keep you guessing until the last page. It’s also about more than a courtroom drama, a newspaper, or the judicial system. Much more.

6. True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (YA)

By Avi.

In 1832 England, thirteen year old Charlotte boards a ship to return home to Rhode Island. What begins as an exciting voyage turns into a harrowing journey, and Charlotte winds up on trial for murder.

7. Finding Katarina M.

By Elizabeth Elo

Natalie March is a successful surgeon in Washington DC. Her deepest relationship is with her mother, Vera March, a Russian immigrant and MS patient confined to a rehab. Vera is haunted by the fact that her Ukrainian parents were sent to one of Stalin’s gulags when she was just a baby. Vera thought they perished there along with millions of other Russian citizens. Natalie would do anything to heal her mother’s psychic pain.

Then a young Russian dancer claiming to be Natalie’s cousin approaches her with details about her grandmother that no stranger could know. Turns out Natalie’s grandmother, Katarina Melnikova, is still alive. Trying to locate her grandmother, Natalie soon finds herself caught in a web of family secrets that will pit her against both the Russian FSB and people within her own government.

This is a prodigious blend of history, travelogue, family ties, and whodunit murder mystery. Skillfully knit into its 322 pages are courage, resilience, and exquisite descriptions of Siberia’s feral wilderness. In the end, Natalie discovers far more than she ever thought she’d find. Check out our full review here.


Check out past Fine Wine Friday selections here.

Do you have a nomination for Fine Wine Fridays?

Holler in the comments for consideration.

2 thoughts on “FINE WINE FRIDAY: 7 Books to Curl Up With If You Love Whodunits

  1. I don’t think of Where the Crawdads Sing as a murder mystery, but you’re right! It really is one

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