The next best thing to traveling to Europe is reading books that are set in Europe. True, you might not be able to taste the champagne of France or the scones of England through the pages of a novel, but you do get to partake in mysteries and crime-solving in a way that only books will allow. Follow me across the pond, everywhere from Glasgow to the Czech Republic to the Crimean Peninsula, to solve six fascinating mysteries…
Anna McDonald is enjoying her peaceful alone time, before her husband and daughters wake up, when the crime podcast she’s listening to drops the names of two people that she recognizes. One of their fates she already knows: he and his family drowned during the sinking of a cursed yacht. But as more drama unfolds, Anna undertakes a crime-solving chase that takes her all across the United Kingdom. This novel is the first of a two-part series, so when you finish the Conviction, be sure to grab Confidence to keep the adventure going.
We don’t know exactly where Martin Sivok is when we find him tied to a chair in a deserted warehouse. We only know that he’s been on the lam, and he’s got to stay conscious to figure out both how he got into this situation and how he’ll get himself out of it. To keep from passing out, Martin recalls his flight from the Czech Republic to Glasgow, where he entered a mysterious crime organization on the very bottom rung of the ladder.
It’s winter in Paris when a naked woman is pulled out of the Seine River. She has no memory, and the only identifying marks on her are two weird tattoos. Just a few hours after being found, though, the woman disappears from the Paris police headquarters’ infirmary. A DNA test reveals her to be not only a famous pianist, but one who died in a plane crash more than a year earlier. The woman’s dead fiancé—with help from a resilient policewoman—are determined to uncover the woman’s real identity and the truth about what happened to her.
Let’s not only travel over distance, let’s travel through time! Back in Victorian England, someone is stalking Florence Nightingale and her nurses. Really, they’re doing much worse. In the military hospital in Turkey, where she works during the Crimean War, someone is not only murdering her nurses, but they’re sewing their mouths shut with embroidered roses. That’s when Inspector Charles Field (the inspiration for Dickens’ Inspector Bucket) is summoned to solve the case. And the solution is not as simple as it seems at first blush.
This book is less of a mystery, but crime still abounds! Set during the Nazi occupation of France, Clementine, a queer American ex-pat and notorious (if reformed) con artist puts her thieving skills to work again, this time to steal the perfume recipe book of a famous Parisian perfumer. Full of history and espionage, this whimsical, gritty novel is sure to captivate you.
Anna and Giles are academics whose work is pressing, so they make a little retreat to the Hebrides for themselves, their 7-year-old Raph in tow. Raph is a precocious child who apparently needs no sleep but all of their attention. As Anna fights to split her time between mothering her son and doing her studies, she researches the history of the island itself. There’s no one else on the island, not now. Until she finds a baby’s skeleton in their garden. And then she finds the letters of a midwife who came to the island in 1878. Both hilarious and dreadful, this book is my kind of literary gothic novel, and I can’t wait to travel with them—metaphorically, of course. Your girl does not go off the grid.
Nestled in an overlooked part of the Mediterranean, Dog Island is home to a quiet and untouched community that has long lived off its fishing, its vines, and its olive trees, far away from the turmoil its neighbors. But when the bodies of three unidentified men wash up on the beach, the witnesses are faced with an impossible decision: report the discovery and open up the island to grisly inquiries, or conceal the terrible truth?
Resolving to preserve their way of life, the mayor and a small group of conspirators resolve on a cover-up. But after they dispose of the evidence, their act of deception continues to haunt them, bringing waves of suspicion and misfortune to the island. A detective arrives from the mainland, making their secret even harder to keep and threatening to destroy the very community they tried so hard to protect.
Two young women are missing, their only connection a party they both attended, hosted by a notorious real-estate magnate. When one of the women is found murdered, the police discover an unusual signature left by the killer, giving them reason to suspect he will strike again.
And exposing him calls for a detective like no other. But the legendary Harry Hole is gone–fired from the force, drinking himself to oblivion in Los Angeles. It seems that nothing can entice him back to Oslo. Until the woman who saved Harry’s life is put in grave danger, and he has no choice but to return to the city that haunts him and track down the murderer.
He’ll need to bring together a misfit team of former operatives to accomplish what he can’t do alone: stop an unstoppable killer. But as the evidence mounts, it becomes clear that there is more to this case than meets the eye…