Random (but not really)

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Books of 2019: Mysterious Covers

In some ways, mysteries have an easier time of it: all the characters are human and they’re rarely in a state of undress. They can at times be boring, but they almost never bring full-on hate the way some fantasy and romance covers do.



An Artless Demise (2019) Anna Lee Huber (Lady Darby)


Historical Mystery, British, 1831

All the covers in this series are beautiful. You never fully see the woman’s face, which I believe I prefer, and there is usually a sense of movement, either her walking or the windows blowing.


Who Slays the Wicked (2019) C.S. Harris (Sebastian St Cyr)


Historical Mystery, British, 1814

Although I love these books, there were several covers that I didn’t much care for. This cover and the previous, however, I do very much like. The man is in silhouette, so we don’t see any features. (The covers I didn’t like showed the man’s features, and that man did not look at all like Sebastian, so it was problematic.)

I also love the starkness of the color palate. It emphasizes the mystery and unknown. I am so very glad they switched up the covers, especially since these have a feel closer to the first, original, cover, which remains my favorite.


A Dangerous Collaboration (2019) Deanna Raybourn (Victoria Speedwell)


Historical Mystery, British, 1888

This is another cover series I absolutely adore. You know at a glance this is a Victoria Speedwell mystery. All the covers have a woman with a butterfly net, and that woman is strong and independent–there is no man in sight.

These is a fabulous set of covers.


Penny for Your SecretsPenny for Your Secrets (2019) Anna Lee Huber (Verity Kent)

Kensington Books

Historical Mystery, British, 1919

A very different sent of covers for this Anna Lee Huber series, which makes sense, since it’s a very different time period. But there are still similarities, in that you never see the woman’s features, and the three books in the series are all clearly tied together.

I don’t love these covers the way I do the Lady Darby covers–they’re not beautiful, but they do give you a sense of time, and again the woman is on the cover by herself, and again there is a sense of moving through space.

I don’t love this cover the way I do the Lady Darby series, but it is still a good cover, and very effective in making it clear this book is tied to the previous three.


A Murdered Peace (2018) Candace Robb (Kate Clifford)

Pegasus Books

Historical Mystery, British, 1400

This cover has elements in common with the previous book, but is better (IMO) in that she is far more active. Here is has not just her dogs, but her bow and arrow (which are accurate to the story).

I also prefer the woman facing away from the viewer, since it leaves all of her features up to our imagination.


The Mystery of the Moving Image (2018)
The Mystery of the Bones (2019) C.S. Poe (Winter and Snow)

DSP Publications *

Mystery, LGBT

What I really love about these covers is just how much they evoke the main character.

Sebastian has a severe form of color blindness that also affects his vision, making him legally blind. These monochromatic covers that are slightly hazy and washed out give you a strong sense of how the world might look to the him.

And the background elements give you a glimpse of what is happening in the story.


Skin and Bone (2019) TA Moore (Digging Up Bones)

Dreamspinner Press *

Mystery, Police, LGBT

Although I prefer the cover of the book before this one, it’s still gorgeous. I love the watercolor feel, the man matches the description of one of the main characters, and most importantly, we get the dog, who is, in fact, a main character. But since she’s belongs to the other character, it’s right that she’s in the background.


A Geek Girls Guide to ArsenicA Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder (2015)
A Geek Girl’s Guide to Arsenic (2016)
A Geek Girl’s Guide to Justice (2016) Julie Anne Lindsey (Geek Girl)

Carina Press


All of these books are older than my normal cut-off of this year and the previous year, but since I hadn’t heard much about them, and since I think they are so well done, I wanted to mention them.

All three covers are obviously related, but they also give a very strong sense of the main character. If the words “Geek Girl” didn’t give it away, the glasses tell you this is someone who isn’t afraid to wave her geek flag proudly.

The design elements are repeated either exactly, but closely, but colors make it quite clear which book is which, since all three are quite distinct.

a-geek-girl-s-guide-to-justice-1I think these are wonderful, distinctive covers, and I love them.


Murder Takes the High Road Murder Takes the High Road (2018) Josh Lanyon

Carina Press

Mystery, LGBT

This is a stand alone, and caught my attention enough to give an unknown-to-me author a try.

No regrets here since I then binged on all the books I could find.

Honestly, it’s almost a generic cover that doesn’t give you a ton of hints as to the contents, but it’s very atmospheric, and its a well-done simplicity.

Carina Press: 4
Berkley: 3

Much to my surprise, Carina Press won this round, with is impressive since Berkley almost swept the mystery category last year.

The Books of 2019

* Dreamspinner Press is currently listed by Writer Beware as a publisher of concern, as many authors have not been paid in a timely manner. Several authors have requested their rights back and moved to either self-publishing or a different publisher.

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