Spring Mix Staff Picks

Takoma Park Library

Spring Mix Staff Picks

Amateur detectives return for new adventures and mysteries to solve and women rule in these novels and non-fiction books. Below are a few I've read and enjoyed. Copies can be checked out and downloaded from the library system.

Jane and the Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron
May 1816. Jane Austen is enjoying the success of Emma, her newly published novel. However her health has been poor and nothing is helping. The weather has been unusual in England for some months because of a volcano in the South Pacific. A local apothecary recommends the Cheltenham Spa in Gloucestershire. Using her book sale earnings, Jane and her older sister Cassandra travel to the spa. During their stay at the local guest house, the Austen sisters begin to see some unsettling incidents, starting with dead rats. Everyone is shocked when a terrible crime happens. Jane's dear friend Raphael West helps her with solving the mystery, the clues lead to a few of the guests. The author also includes events involving Jane's brothers and historical people.This novel is the latest and fourteenth installment in the "Jane Austen Mystery" series.

The Tsarina's Daughter by Ellen Alpsten
Russia 1723. Elizabeth Romanova, daughter of Peter the Great and Catherine I of Russia, enjoys a privileged life as a princess. There are plans for her to marry Louis XV of France, their marriage would further increase Russia's status. On a walk into the woods with her sister Anna, Elizabeth is told her future. Events quickly happen: her father dies, her mother becomes the new ruler of Russia in her own right, Anna marries and leaves Russia, and Elizabeth faces numerous enemies at court. At times she's ignored and left on her own. At a critical time, Elizabeth makes her move for the throne, showing she's Peter the Great's daughter. A fascinating read about Russia during the 18th century. I also recommend the author's previous novel Tsarina about Elizabeth's mother.

Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments by T.L. (Tendai) Huchu
Ropa Moyo is back!  The teen ghostalker (who talks to ghosts and delivers messages for a fee) is eager to put her new magic skills to use but is forced to take an unpaid internship at a magical society in Edinburgh. Not great since she needs the money to feed her family. Ropa's friend Priya offers her a side job at Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments where she works as a healer. A teen patient, Max Wu, is in a coma. He and his friends were using magic in a dangerous way. Ropa's investigation takes her throughout post apocalyptic Edinburgh searching for lost fortune, a secret from Scotland's history, and a dangerous spirit. A thrilling, action packed read! A short guide to the main places, people, and magic in the U.K. is included. This novel is the new and second installment in the Edinburgh Nights series.

A Perilous Perspective by Anna Lee Huber
Argyll, Scotland, July 1832. Kiera and Sebastian Gage are guests at an upcoming family wedding at Barbreck Manor in the Highlands. Their three month old daughter Emma and her nurse is with the couple. Their host, the Marquess of Barbreck, boasts of his priceless art collection at his estate. Kiera is eager to see these paintings but discovers there's a forgery among them. The marquess is furious when Kiera tells him about it. A maid from the neighboring Campbell estate is found dead from poison in the gallery at Barbreck Manor. As the Gages discover, someone is using past events to cause danger in the present to everyone at the manor house. Also Kiera learns something about her late mother that she never knew. This is the new and tenth installment in the Lady Darby Mystery series.

After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport
Before the fall of the Romanov dynasty in 1917, Paris was a popular destination for Russian royals, aristocrats, writers, artists, and others to live and work. These same Russians would flee to the French capitol in the wake of the Russian revolution. Many struggled to adjust to their new lives, finding work wherever possible. Some of the exiles achieved success and became famous for their work. There were attempts to overthrow the new government by some of the Russian exiles but those efforts failed. Archival photos and a guide to the Russian expat community are included. A fascinating read!

Queens of Jerusalem by Katherine Pangonis
Between the 11th and 12th centuries, queens and other royal ladies held power and influence in Jerusalem and the surrounding environs known as the Outremer. In this fascinating book, read how these royal women made diplomatic negotiations, military decisions, alliances, and commissioned architectural projects. Their stories were forgotten over the centuries until now. The author spent time in the region to research the book. Archival images, timeline, maps, and genealogy are included.
~Elisa Babel, Adult Librarian