As part of a challenge for 4 Mystery Addicts, my online book discussion group, I concentrated this month on books that had "die, dead(ly) or death" in the title. What I found were some gems, including:
Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie. Scotland Yard Supt. Duncan Kincaid and Sgt. Gemma James are called to investigate the death of Alastair Gilbert, a top-ranking police official who was widely disliked, both within the force and in his village. This, of course, makes for lots of suspects. Much of this series, so far, revolves around the growing relationship between Kincaid and James. Generally, I would recommend reading a series on its own, but this book could be read as a standalone. It's the fourth in the series, and much stronger than the three that came before.
Death of a Perfect Mother by Robert Barnard. Two sons are planning their mother's murder -- but she's killed the day before they
can put their plan into place. Again, we have a victim who is highly reviled in the village, so anyone could have done it. I expected this one to be light, knowing Barnard's touch with humor. However, the humor here is very dark. A good book, but not one I would recommend to those who haven't read Barnard before.
Dead as a Dodo by Jane Langton. After Barnard's dark, dark humor, I needed this. I had never heard of Langton; I had gotten her book for free and it might have stayed in storage if not for the October challenge. Now I must look for the rest in this series. Visiting Harvard Professor Homer Kelly and his wife are in Oxford, where they start to sleuth after a murder at a college museum of science. The plot involves some specimens of Darwin and the book throws in a dash of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (much of that book is said to be influenced by the author's days in Oxford). The book is full of whimsy, as well as serious scientific and theological debate. Somehow, Langton pulls it all together.
Dead Run by P.J. Tracy. Somehow the women of Monkeewrench and Wisconsin deputy Sharon Mueller end up in the ghost town of Four Corners, Wisconsin, where the entire town has been killed by nerve gas, set off by homegrown militiamen. More of a thriller, which I'm not usually into, but this book had me hooked.
Death Will Help You Leave Him by Elizabeth Zelvin (see review and interview below).