Random (but not really)

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Books of 2021: Mystery Covers

Apparently most of the new books I read this year were mysteries. Plus, I discovered some new-to-me mystery series that I devoured.


A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder (2019), A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder (2020), A Fiancée’s Guide to First Wives and Murder (2021) Dianne Freeman (Countess of Harleigh)

A Ladys Guide to Gossip and MurderA Ladys Guide to Mischief and MurderA Fiancees Guide to First Wives and Murder

Published by Kensington Books. Cover artist Sarah Gibb

Historical, Cozy Mystery

I love the covers of these books, from the quirky cartoon-like characters to the title font.

Yeah, I know the title font is all curly and hard to read, but I love it anyway.

Fortune Favors the DeadFortune Favors the Dead (2020) Stephen Spotswood (Pentecost and Parker)

Published by Vintage Crime. Cover illustration by Rui Ricardo / Folio Art, Cover design by Michael J. Windsor

Historical Mystery, LGBT

This cover really evokes the feel of the book, from the WWII look to the strong noir atmosphere with the woman in heels and a red dress.

An Unexpected PerilAn Unexpected Peril (2021) Deanna Raybourn (Veronica Speedwell)

Published by Berkley. Cover art and design by Leo Nickolls

Historical Mystery

All of the covers in this series are gorgeous, and I really love the silhouettes as well as the mountains in the background that reflect part of the mystery.

Death at the Crystal PalaceDeath at the Crystal Palace (2021) Jennifer Ashley (Below Stairs)

Published by Berkley.  Cover art Ernesto Rogata and NorthScape

Historical Mystery

Although this is a lovely cover, I actually prefer the look of the earlier books, which had a woman on the stairs, a hand on the railing as she goes.

This cover has the stairs, but there was something about the view being mostly of a hand and arm that I particularly liked.

Still, this is a perfectly fine cover.

A Wicked ConceitA Wicked Conceit (2021) Anna Lee Huber (Lady Darby)

Published by Berkley. Cover art by Larry Rostant. Cover design by Emily Osborne

Historical Mystery

These covers are always gorgeous–the woman moving away from you in a gorgeous gown into an almost monochrome setting.

Murder Most FairMurder Most Fair (2021) Anna Lee Huber (Verity Kent)

Published by Kensington Books.

Historical Mystery

The feel of these covers is quite different from the Berkley covers for Lady Darby.

These covers show how things have changed in the years between 1830 and 1920. In both, the women’s clothes help set the time period, but also how much things had changed in the intervening years.

Dead Dead GirlsDead Dead Girls (2021) Nekesa Afia

Published by Berkley. Cover art by Emma Leonard. Cover design by Emily Osborne

Historical Mystery, LGBT

Another cover that evokes the time in which it is set–in this case the roaring twenties.

This book is set less than a decade after the Verity Kent books, but it’s clear just how much times have changed, in both women’s dress and how she is clearly relaxed and comfortable in a speakeasy. Yes, there were class differences, but many things shifted amazingly rapidly after the Great War.

Interlude Snow & Winter Collection Volume OneInterlude: Snow & Winter Collection Volume One (2021) (Snow & Winter)

Published by Emporium Press. Cover Art by Reese Dante

Contemporary Mystery, LGBT

This is an entry into her Snow & Winter series (a collection of outtakes and short stories) and it perfectly matches the look and feel of the other books in the series, the monochrome washed-out view of how Sebastian most likely sees the world.

Madison Square MurdersMadison Square Murders (2021) C.S. Poe (Memento Mori)

Published by Emporium Press. Cover Art by Reese Dante

Contemporary Mystery, LGBT

This is a new series set in the same world as the Snow & Winter series. Unlike the Sebastian books, we get color, however, I love how things are fractal and fractured, which gives me a feel for how the main characters brain processes and remembers things.

The Whispered Word (2018), The Book of Candlelight (2000), Ink and Shadows (2021) Ellery Adams (Secret, Book, & Scone Society)

Whispered Word   The Book of Candlelight   ink and shadows

Published by Kensington.

Contemporary, Cozy

These are a little busier than I tend to prefer but the more limited color palette helps, and the title formatting makes it clear these are part of a series.

Arsenic and AdoboArsenic and Adobo (2021) Mia P. Manansala (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen)

Published by  Berkley. Cover art and design by Vi-An Nguyen

Contemporary Mystery

I know lots of people hate the cartoon / line block drawing type covers, but I really like them.

This cover has lovely bold primary colors, I like the action of her cooking (even if I don’t understand where her other arm is, or how her dachshund got up on her shoulder).

Poisoned Primrose (2020), Pierced Peony (2021), Pickled Petunia (2021) Dahlia Donovan (Motts Cold Case Mystery)

Poisoned Primrose   Pierced Peony   Pickled Petunia

Tangled Tree Publishing. Cover Designer: BookSmith Design

Contemporary, Cozy, LGBT

Another series with a consistent design across the series and bold colors.

Plus the cat.

An Elderly Lady Is Up to No GoodAn Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good (2018) Helene Tursten translated by Marlaine Delargy

Published by Soho Crime.

Contemporary Mystery

I love everything about this cover.

It’s perfect.

Murder Most Actual
Murder Most Actual (2021) Alexis Hall

Published by Rakuten Kobo Inc. Original illustration & cover design by Monika Roe.

Contemporary, Cozy, LGBT

This is fun and queer and aside from her not wearing enough clothes in the cold and snow, pretty great.

I love the background bits of the guy falling down and the women in the window. They give you a hint as to how perfectly over-the-top this is going to be.

As in previous years, Berkley has the most great covers over-all, but Kensington was far closer than expected.

Berkley – 7
Kensington – 5
Tangled Tree Publishing – 3
Emporium Press – 2
Vintage Crime – 1
Soho Crime-1
Rakuten Kobo – 1

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