Resolve to Read 2018: A Mystery By a Person of Color or LGBTQ+ Author

As we mentioned here previously, we here at the Library are Resolving to Read (more…different….) in 2018, and tackling both Book Riot’s and Scholastic’s 2018 Reading Challenges.  In the hopes of encouraging you to broader your literary horizons along with us, here are some suggestions for books that fall within the categories of the various challenges.

Today’s Challenge: Book Riot 2018 Read Harder Challenge
Category: A Mystery By a Person of Color of LGBTQ+ Author 

This is one of those great aspects of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge that actually makes you think…we all love and respect the #WeNeedDiverseBooks, which helps us recognize and celebrate diversity in children’s literature–but how diverse are the grown-up books I am reading?  Whose books are getting promoted in ads and book displays?  What can I do to change that?

You can start here, by trying out some of the sensational mysteries in this category of the Book Riot challenge.

The neat thing about these mysteries is the way they challenge their genres, by rethinking commonly-held assumptions, perceiving of characters and their relationships in new ways, and presenting a different view on the world than you might otherwise find in books that are more “mainstream” (“mainstream” in this case meaning “books that are readily advertised and often indistinguishable from their fellows based on premise and cover design alone).  So this is one of those challenges that helps you expand your literary and personal horizons by doing that which we all know you already love to do–read!  Here are just a few titles to get you started on your quest, but we’re always here to help you find more!

Wife of the Gods by Kwei J. Quartey:Detective Inspector Darko Dawson is a dedicated family man, a rebel in the office and an ace in the field.  When we first meet Dawson, he’s been ordered by his cantankerous boss to leave behind his loving wife and young son in Ghana’s capital city to lead a murder investigation: In a shady grove outside the small town of Ketanu, a young woman—a promising medical student—has been found dead under suspicious circumstances. Dawson is fluent in Ketanu’s indigenous language, so he’s the right man for the job, but the local police are less than thrilled with an outsider’s interference.  But Dawson’s past is also waiting for him in Ketanu in the form of the family he left behind twenty-five years earlier after his mother’s mysterious disappearance.  And in Delving deeper into the student’s haunting death, Dawson will uncover long-buried secrets that, to his surprise, hit much too close to home.  Quartey’s books are funny, insightful, and expertly-crafted, and offer the chance for armchair travelers everywhere to visit places in Africa that are not featured on any prime time specials.  Readers who enjoy this book will be delighted to hear that there is a whole series feature D.I. Dawson for you to enjoy!

Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon: With few other options, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown accepts a less-than-ideal position turning a group of rowdy schoolboys into an award-winning orchestra. Stranded without luggage or money in the Irish countryside, she figures any job is better than none. The perk? Housesitting a lovely cliffside cottage. The catch? The ghost of the cottage’s murdered owner haunts the place. Falsely accused of killing his wife (and himself), he begs Gethsemane to clear his name so he can rest in peace. Gethsemane’s reluctant investigation provokes a dormant killer and she soon finds herself in grave danger. As Gethsemane races to prevent a deadly encore, will she uncover the truth or star in her own farewell performance?   This is a terrific book about fishes-out-of-water, cultural clashes, music, and ghosts that, thankfully, is also the beginning of a winning series that continues Gethsemane’s adventures (misadventures?) in Ireland.

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan: This is a book that delves deeply into real-world atrocities, even as it spins a moving tale about trust, belonging, and truth-telling that makes for a hard-to-forget read.  Despite their many differences, Detective Rachel Getty trusts her boss, Esa Khattak, implicitly. But she’s still uneasy at Khattak’s tight-lipped secrecy when he asks her to look into Christopher Drayton’s death. Drayton’s apparently accidental fall from a cliff doesn’t seem to warrant a police investigation, particularly not from Rachel and Khattak’s team, which handles minority-sensitive cases. But when she learns that Drayton may have been living under an assumed name, Rachel begins to understand why Khattak is tip-toeing around this case. It soon comes to light that Drayton may have been a war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.  Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law, and uses actual eyewitness testimony to the massacre at Srebrenica  throughout the book, making for difficult, but vitally necessary reading.  This is also the first book in a series, so readers who find this hybrid kind of mystery will have plenty of fodder for further reading.

The Arnifour Affair by Gregory Harris: Those of you looking for a historical mystery, have no fear–Colin Pendragon’s adventures are sure to keep you enthralled.  When a carriage bearing the Arnifour family crest–a vulture devouring a slaughtered lamb–arrives at the Kensington home of Colin Pendragon, it is an ominous beginning to a perplexing new case. Lady Arnifour’s husband has been beaten to death and her niece, Elsbeth, left in a coma. Is the motive passion, revenge, or something even more sinister? Police suspicions have fallen on the groundskeeper and his son, yet the Earl’s widow is convinced of their innocence. Even as Colin and his partner Ethan Pruitt delve into the muddy history of the Arnifour family, a young street urchin begs their help in finding his missing sister. Ethan, regrettably familiar with London’s underbelly, urges caution, yet Colin’s interest is piqued.  The links between the two cases seems extraordinary, and yet, as Colin and Ethan journey across Regency London, from the slums to the highest echelons of society, they begin to unravel a secret larger and more complex than they ever imagined.  There is an air of Sherlock Holmes to these mysteries, but Harris revels in the complexities of his characters and their relationships far more than Doyle ever did, making this book (also, no surprise, the beginning of a series) a layered, complex, and wholly engaging one.

Until next time, dear readers, keep on keeping on, and enjoy your Resolution to Read!

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