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Okay, okay…I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. This is pretty basic stuff. But, you have to admit that these books sound awesome–just based on the title alone! So, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (or title), but all the same, you should give these five books a read!

Castle Skull….doesn’t that have a delightfully spooky feel to it? This mystery is actually Book 2 in the Henri Bencolin series by John Dickson Carr. In it, magician Maleger purchases the mysterious Castle Skull and decks it out with all kinds of Gothic additions (to add a layer of mystery to his stage persona). But, when a man is seen running across the roof, engulfed in flames, Castle Skull begins to take on a sinister reputation. And when Maleger himself is found drowned in the river, Inspector Bencolin knows this wasn’t an accident, and must discover how and why the magician was killed.

Plucky eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce is an aspiring detective with a mind for the macbre. So, when a dead bird shows up on her doorstep with a rare postage stamp pinned to its beak, Flavia is naturally curious. And hours later, when a man is found gasping out his last breaths in the family’s cucumber patch, Flavia knows that she has to set her skills to solving the case. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.” The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first in a truly excellent series.

The Case of the Missing Servant introduces Vish Puri, India’s most accomplished detective. Normally, this portly investigator spends his time screening prospective marriage partners. But, when a public litigator is accused of murdering his maid, Puri’s investigative skills are put to the test. How can he trace the fate of a single girl in a population of more than one billion people, especially when all he has to go off is her first name? And who is taking potshots at him and his prize chili plants? And why is his widowed “Mummy-ji” attempting to play sleuth when every knows mummies are not detectives? From Puri’s familiar clubs to the Indian slums, this investigation will reveal the depth and complexity of India–but will this determined detective be able to track down the girl?

A young woman lands herself in some very hot water when she attempts to investigate a mystery that had been forgotten for twenty-three years. When she was just a baby, Amanda Garth had two fathers–for just a few hours. One was John Garth, the man who would raise her. The other was Tobias Garrison, the famous artist who, following a mix-up at the hospital, briefly thought that Amanda was his. Years later, Amanda decides to investigate the circumstances of that day, approaching the Garrisons to get some answers to her questions. But, this could prove to be a deadly mistake as someone in the family is plotting a murder, and Amanda has become one more potential heir who must be eliminated.

Wondering what The Chocolate Cobweb title is in reference to? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

In The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope, young lawyer Gil Henry is short, chubby, and awkward–not what you’d expect from a hard-boiled detective. So, when a young woman comes to the office and asks for him to investigate the value of a stock she inherited from her father, he thinks nothing of it…until someone tries to kill him. Soon, he finds himself plunged into a murder case. He’s attacked from all sides, as colleagues and enemies try to dissuade him from handling the case. Gil is beaten, shot, and stabbed, but all the while, he’s determined to discover the truth, teaming up with his client, Ruth, and her brother in order to get the answers everyone is trying so desperately to prevent him from finding.


I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.