5 Murder Mystery Books By Women To Bring A Chill To Your New Year

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So January's within arm's reach, the holiday season is almost over, and frankly no one could blame you for being a little bit tired of non-stop festivity and merriment. What better antidote is there to all that tinsel and cheer than a chilling mystery novel? Whether your New Year's resolution is to reinvigorate the bookworm within you, or you just need something thrilling to read while sheltering from the January cold, you'll be more than satisfied with one of these five murder mystery books by women. The time for mistletoe and (quite a lot of) wine has passed, friends; instead, the season is ripe for tension and terror.

The novels in this list vary in location and era, from Victorian England to the remote Australian outback to 21st century South Korea. Ausma Zehanat Khan's A Dangerous Crossing examines a double murder committed at a Syrian refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece; Laura Purcell's The Corset follows a Victorian seamstress with purported magical abilities who's facing the gallows for murder; Attica Locke's Bluebird, Bluebird, sees a Texas Ranger investigating two bodies that wash up in a small Texas town, bringing the area's deep-rooted racism to the fore. The thread that unites each novel, however? The fervour with which you'll consume them.

‘The Lost Man’ by Jane Harper

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Jane Harper's first two novels, The Dry and Force of Nature, were commercial and critical smashes, so much so that the former was snapped up for the big screen by the production company behind Gone Girl. Her latest, The Lost Man, centres on two brothers, the Brights, who live on a remote cattle station. The third Bright brother, Cameron, died in what the police suggest was a brutal suicide — but his siblings suspect otherwise.

Buy The Lost Man from Waterstones.

‘A Dangerous Crossing’ by Ausma Zehanat Khan

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A Dangerous Crossing is the fifth of Ausma Zehanat Khan's crime series led by Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty. This time, the pair are tasked with solving a double murder at a Syrian refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos. A male refugee and an Interpol agent are found dead in a tent at the camp; the murder weapon belongs to case worker Audrey Clare, now disappeared. The horrors facing Syrian refugees never fade out of focus as the novel's central mystery unspools.

Buy A Dangerous Crossing from Amazon.

‘Bluebird, Bluebird’ by Attica Locke

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Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, is profoundly conflicted about his home state and the racism it fosters; as a result, he left Texas as soon as he was able. But he returns to the state to solve two murders in the small town of Lark: one, a black lawyer from Chicago, and the other, a white woman from Lark. Racism and a deeply unequal sense of justice prevail in the town — and this case brings both to boiling point.

Buy Bluebird, Bluebird from Waterstones.

‘The Corset’ by Laura Purcell

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From the author of the unsettling Victorian gothic The Silent Companions, The Corset unravels the story of teenage seamstress Ruth Butterham, soon to stand trial for the murder of her vicious and abusive mistress. She's visited in prison by the wealthy Dorothea Truelove, who learns of Ruth's belief that her sewing affords her supernatural powers. Did Ruth really kill her mistress? And is hers the inevitable fate of women who violate societal norms?

Buy The Corset from Amazon.

‘The Good Son’ by You-jeong Jeong

Amazon

You-jeong Jeong's novels have sold over a million copies, and won her comparisons to crime giants Stephen King and Raymond Chandler. The Good Son sees Yu-jin awake to a gory horror: his mother lies in the kitchen, her throat slit and no killer in sight. Yu-jin's memory is almost impenetrably foggy — he's been skipping his anti-seizure medication — but he resolves to solve his mother's murder. What he begins to discover, however, is the disturbing truth about himself.

Buy The Good Son from Amazon.