The lake is where you want to be on a beautiful August day, unless you’re a character in a mystery novel. I’m here to tell you that, in my experience as an avid mystery reader, an idyllic remote lake can often double as the scene of a crime. Which is why these mysteries are wonderful choices for atmospheric lakeside (or backyard or park) reads.
Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman: Baltimore in the 1960s is the setting for this noir-inspired stand-alone novel from Lippman. Maddie Schwartz leaves her husband and son and pursues her dream of being a journalist. She’s obsessed with two murders and her involvement by happenstance in the first one helps her land a job at a reporter. The second murder is the LADY IN THE LAKE, a tale that has all sorts of urban lore around the case. Lippman, in my opinion, is one of the finest crime fiction writers today and I eagerly anticipate each new book from her, and this one delivered. Booklist said in a review: “This is a superb character study, a terrific newspaper novel, and a fascinating look at urban life and racial discrimination in the ’60s.” This is a Peak Pick, too! Take it to the lake, but don’t stay in the water too long …
Crimson Lake by Candice Fox: Turns out that lakes in Australia aren’t that safe when you’re in a mystery, either. When a Cairns, Queensland cop has murder charges against him dismissed, he hopes to go off the grid so he moves to a remote area near the crocodile-infested (!!!) Crimson Lake. He meets up with a private detective who was once convicted of murder. Together, they take on a case to find a missing bestselling author. Says Library Journal, “Those who enjoy a gritty, graphic mystery will most enjoy this offering by a Ned Kelly Award-winning author.” You saw that the lake in the title is a crocodile-infested one, right?
Lost Lake by Emily Littlejohn: Every state has at least one Lost Lake, right? And even if a writer hasn’t been to their local lake, the name itself is irresistible for no good. So if someone is going to go missing on a camping trip in Colorado, the chances are even higher if that outdoor adventure is at “Lost Lake.” Sari Chesney, a museum curator, disappears in this third book in Littlejohn’s series starring Detective Gemma James. Library Journal called this police procedural “intricately plotted.” You can start with this one without reading the first two, or if you insist on reading a series in order, begin with the first in the Gemma Jones series, Inherit the Bones.
~ posted by Linda J.