Books I am Looking Forward to Reading in 2023

As the year comes to a close I thought it would be interesting to look ahead to the crime fiction delights (hopefully) awaiting us in 2023. The list that follows is not intended as a top 15 and it goes without saying that it is not in any way remotely exhaustive. This selection are just titles or authors which I am most keen to try, usually because I enjoyed other books by them previously. Moreover, I am hoping that readers will flood the comments section with books they are looking forward to which I have not come across. I am sure this will do no good for our TBR piles, but I think we can live with that!

So without further ado here are the titles I am most looking forward to reading in 2023…

Book No. 1: The Alarm of the Black Cat (1942) by Dolores Hitchens

American Mystery Classic edition of Dolores Hitchens' The Alarm of the Black Cat. Blue cover, with a black cat standing near to a pair of trousered legs which are on the floor.

Publisher: American Mystery Classics

Release Date: 4th April 2023 [These dates are for the UK, so dates may be different elsewhere in the world. They are also based from info on Amazon, so please let me know if they are incorrect!)

Blurb:

‘A strange encounter with a little girl named Claudia and a dead toad sparks elderly detective fiction fan Rachel Murdock’s obsessive curiosity, and she winds up renting the house next door just to see how things play out. But soon after she and her cat Samantha move in, Rachel realizes they’ve landed right in the middle of a deadly love triangle that’s created animosity among the three families who now surround her.

When Rachel finds Claudia’s great-grandmother dead in her basement, she reaches out to a friend in the LAPD to solve the crime. They soon learn the three households have been torn apart by one husband’s infidelity and a complicated will that could lead to a fortune. In a house plagued by forbidden love, regret, and greed, Rachel will have to trust her intuition, as well as Samantha’s instincts, to survive–and keep Claudia out of the hands of a killer whose work has just begun….’

I am so pleased Hitchens is getting another reprint this year, as I loved The Cat Saw Murder (1939).

Book No. 2:The Birthday Murder (1945) by Lange Lewis

American Mystery Classic cover for Lange Lewis' The Birthday Murder. It has a purple background with a piece of cake on a plate with a candle in it. There is an open red box with a poison symbol on it next to the plate.

Publisher: American Mystery Classics

Release Date: 1st August 2023

Blurb:

‘A successful writer and a B-movie director seem like the perfect match in the Hollywood hills, and with him working to produce her novel for an upcoming film, the pair’s recent marriage isn’t the only way that they’re connected. But when the husband is found murdered on the wife’s birthday, using a method of poisoning that was described in one of her books, Victoria suddenly becomes the main suspect as her new happy life comes crashing down around her.

The case appears straightforward from the outside, but the LAPD investigator on the scene finds the truth to be anything but. Though all the signs point to Victoria, there’s no motive to be found. Now, to solve the mystery of whodunnit, he’ll have to dig beneath the veneer of the household and reveal its inner workings, and to understand the deadly drama that unfolded just beneath the surface.’

I luckily received an older edition as a secret Santa present so I won’t have to wait until August to read this one, but if it is as good as I have been told it is, then I am excited that it will be more widely available.

Book No. 3: Blind Man’s Bluff (1943) by Baynard Kendrick

American Mystery Classic cover for Baynard Kendrick's Blind Man's Bluff/ It is an orange/red cover with a blind man being assisted by two German shepherds.

Publisher: American Mystery Classics

Release Date: 6th June 2023

Blurb:

‘Following the loss of his sight in World War I, ex-intelligence officer Duncan Maclain honed his other senses and, with the help of his two German Shepherds, became one of the most successful and well-known private investigators in New York City, picking up on the unseen clues that often slip beneath the visual surface.’Following the loss of his sight in World War I, ex-intelligence officer Duncan Maclain honed his other senses and, with the help of his two German Shepherds, became one of the most successful and well-known private investigators in New York City, picking up on the unseen clues that often slip beneath the visual surface.

The Miners Title and Trust is typically dead quiet, having gone bankrupt. Then, late one evening, the bank’s blind president, Blake Hadfield, plummets eight stories to his death in the building’s lobby. The only witnesses are the security guard and Blake’s estranged wife, who were both on the first floor. Blake’s son, Seth, is found drunk and dazed on the eighth floor, making him the prime suspect in what the police believe to be murder.

That’s when Harold Lawson and Sybella Ford call upon Captain Maclain for help. Maclain doesn’t think the banker’s death was a suicide or an accident. He believes someone else was in the building — and when more murders follow, he suspects the villain is still at large. Now, Maclain will push his powers of deduction to their limits to solve one of the strangest cases of his career…’

I was pleased this was being reprinted as Odor of Violets (1941) was my favourite book group read last year.

Book No. 4: Death of Mr Dodsley (1937) by John Ferguson

British Library Crime Classic cover for John Ferguson's Death of Mr Dodsley. It is a night time scene of London, near the Thames.

Publisher: British Library Crime Classics

Release Date: 10th February 2023

Blurb:

‘”A bookshop is a first-rate place for unobtrusive observation,’ he continued. ‘One can remain in it an indefinite time, dipping into one book after another, all over the place.”

Mr Richard Dodsley, owner of a fine second-hand bookshop on Charing Cross Road, has been found murdered in the cold hours of the morning. Shot in his own office, few clues remain besides three cigarette ends, two spent matches and a few books on the shelves which have been rearranged.

In an investigation spanning the second-hand bookshops of London and the Houses of Parliament (since an MP’s new crime novel Death at the Desk appears to have some bearing on the case), Ferguson’s series sleuth MacNab is at hand to assist Scotland Yard in an atmospheric and ingenious fair-play bibliomystery.’

I know next to nothing about this author, except I think Dorothy L. Sayers reviewed at least one of his books. This is a bit of an unknown quantity but the bookshop element did appeal to me.

Book No. 5: Subject: Murder (1945) by Clifford Witting

Galileo publishing cover for Clifford Witting's Subject - Murder. It has a black background and a military insignia in the foreground.

Publisher: Galileo Publishing

Release Date: 6th April 2023

Blurb:

‘Subject-Murder (1945) is a detective novel by Clifford Witting based on his personal experience as a bombardier in an anti-aircraft detachment. Peter Bradfield, the detective constable colleague of series character Inspector Charlton, is the narrator. We follow him from basic training in Wales to his various transfers to other posts eventually landing him in an anti-aircraft detachment between the villages of Etchworth and Sheep, and coincidentally just outside of Lulverton where he and Charlton are based as policemen. The arch villain of the story, Battery Sgt. Major Yule – ‘Cruel Yule’ to the bombardiers he oversees – is sadistic, manipulative and narcissistic. Throughout the novel he proves to be one of the most odious villains in the entire genre. When we first meet him through the eyes of Johnny Fieldhouse, Yule is seated at a desk in his office taunting a mouse he has trapped under a drinking glass. This brief encounter will put Fieldhouse on Yule’s list of marked men for the remainder of the book, and a gruesome murder follows before long. Clues and red herrings are abundant as in any of the best examples of the fair play detective novel. Charlton is allowed to team up with his old colleague Bradfield and together they uncover such intriguing evidence as unusual knots in the rope and dog leash used to tie up the murder victim, a book on torture practices of the Spanish inquisition that has certain passages bracketed, and the double life of a mysterious soldier named Alexander Templeton.’

The war time focus of this story appealed to me and hoping it will be a successful Witting read for me.

Book No. 6: Let X be the Murderer (1947) by Clifford Witting

Publisher: Galileo Publishing

Release Date: 6th April 2023

Blurb:

‘It is a bleak November morning when Sergeant Martin, Inspector Charlton s stalwart sidekick, receives an agitated phone call from Sir Victor Wallingham claiming that a ghost attempted to strangle him in the night. When Inspector Charlton follows this up, he is blocked at every turn, but even so, when the following night does actually end with the discovery of a body, he is not expecting it.’

The blurb to this Witting title sounded very intriguing and hopefully also comical.

Book No. 7: Everyone on this Train is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Release Date: This is a bit confusing as the Google search page says it is available on 24th October 2023, whilst Amazon says it will be available 28th March 2024. The two dates might pertain to different geographical areas, so if anyone has further info then let me know. Hoping the earlier date is the right one!

Blurb:

‘A train journey . . . A dead body . . . And suspects who share one thing in common – how to get away with murder.’

Not much in the way of blurb for this one, but I really enjoyed the author’s debut novel, Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone (2022), so hoping this next one will be equally good.

Book No. 8: Death of an Author (1935) by E. C. R. Lorac

British Library Crime Classic cover for E. C. R. Lorac's Death of an Author. It depicts a rural countryside scene with large trees in the foreground and a lake.

Publisher: British Library Crime Classics

Release Date: 10th January 2023

Blurb:

‘”I hate murders and I hate murderers, but I must admit that the discovery of a bearded corpse would give a fillip to my jaded mind.”

Vivian Lestrange – celebrated author of the popular mystery novel The Charterhouse Case and total recluse – has apparently dropped off the face of the Earth. Reported missing by his secretary Eleanor, whom Inspector Bond suspects to be the author herself, it appears that crime and murder is afoot when Lestrange’s housekeeper is also found to have disappeared.

Bond and Warner of Scotland Yard set to work to investigate a murder with no body and a potentially fictional victim, as E C R Lorac spins a twisting tale full of wry humour and red herrings, poking some fun at her contemporary reviewers who long suspected the Lorac pseudonym to belong to a man (since a woman could apparently not have written mysteries the way that she did).’

Book No. 9: Sepulchre Street (2023) by Martin Edwards

Cover for Martin Edwards' Sepulchre Street. Black and red design. Shows a red country house in the background, framed with a church like window shape.

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Release Date: 11th May 2023

Blurb:

‘How can you solve a murder before it’s happened?

‘This is my challenge for you,’ the woman in white said. ‘I want you to solve my murder.’

London, 1930s: Rachel Savernake has been invited to a private view of an art exhibition at a fashionable gallery. The artist, Damaris Gethin, known as ‘the Queen of Surrealism’, is debuting a show featuring live models pretending to be waxworks of famous killers. Before her welcoming speech, Damaris asks a haunting favour of the amateur sleuth: she wants Rachel to solve her murder. As Damaris takes to a stage set with a guillotine, the lights go out. There is a cry and the blade falls. Damaris has executed herself.

While Rachel questions why Damaris would take her own life – and just what she meant by ‘solve my murder’ – fellow party guest Jacob Flint is chasing a lead on a glamorous socialite with a sordid background. As their paths merge, this case of false identities, blackmail, and fedora-adorned doppelgängers, will descend upon a grand home on Sepulchre Street, where nothing – and no one – is quite what it seems.’

I have the previous book in the Rachel Saversnake series to read, Blackstone Fell (2022), at the top of my TBR pile, so I am glad I don’t have long to wait until the next one is published.

Book No. 10: Unnatural Ends (2023) by Christopher Huang

Book cover for Christopher Huang's Unnatural Ends. Country house scene but it is cut up like jigsaw pieces and mixed around.

Publisher: Inkshares

Release Date: 23rd May 2023

Blurb:

‘Sir Lawrence Linwood is dead. More accurately, he was murdered–savagely beaten to death in his own study with a medieval mace. The murder calls home his three adopted children: Alan, an archeologist; Roger, an engineer; and Caroline, a journalist. But his heirs soon find that his last testament contains a strange proviso–that his estate shall go to the heir who solves his murder.

To secure their future, each Linwood heir must now dig into the past. As their suspicion mounts–of each other and of peculiar strangers in the churchless town of Linwood Hollow–they come to suspect that the perpetrator lurks in the mysterious origins of their own birth.’


I really enjoyed this author’s first novel, A Gentleman’s Murder (2018), so I was pleased to see he had another one coming out.

Book No. 11: ‘We Know You’re Busy Writing…’: The Collected Short Stories of Edmund Crispin (2023)

Publisher: Collins Crime Club

Release Date: 28th September 2023

I have read some of Crispin’s short stories in earlier collections but I am intrigued to see if this collection has some I have not read.

Book No. 12: Bodies from the library 6 (2023) ed. by Tony Medawar

Publisher: Collins Crime Club

Release Date: 14th September 2023

I am not which authors are included in this anthology but if the previous books in the series are anything to judge by then I am sure it is going to be full of interesting and unusual stories.

Book No. 13: A Hobby of Murder (1994) by Elizabeth Ferrars

Felony & Mayhem cover for Elizabeth Ferrars' A Hobby of Murder. Shows assorted guests around a dinner table.

Publisher: Felony & Mayhem

Release Date: 23rd May 2023

Blurb:

‘The irresistible Andrew Basnett series may have been written in the 1980s and ’90s, but its soul lies with the classic crime fiction of the 1930s.

Here, for example, is A Hobby of Murder, with its setting at–wait for it–a classic country-house party, that staple of the Golden Age. Rounding out the guest list are, among others, a mystery writer, a lawyer with a reason to dislike him, a doctor, a retired teacher with a passion for photography, and the lord of the local manor, keen amateur chef Sam Waldron–so keen that he has recreated an 18th-century dinner. His skills may not match his ambition, but he didn’t mean to poison the coffee. Oh no? The local police inspector isn’t so sure, but in the finest Golden Age tradition he’s rather an idiot. When the bodies start piling up, it’s a good thing that Basnett is on hand to sort things out!’

Despite being published late into Ferrars’ career I have enjoyed the Basnett books on the whole, so it is great to see more of them being released this coming year. A Choice of Evils (1995) is also being reprinted in 2023 too from the same series.

Book No. 14: Welsh Mysteries: Stories of Cambrian Crime (2023) ed. by Martin Edwards

British Library Crime Classic cover for their anthologies on welsh mysteries. It depicts a rural scene with water in the foreground a big mountain in the background.

Publisher: British Library Crime Classics

Release Date: 10th May 2023

Blurb:

‘Sharp left by the school and down the lane to the gas works. The gasworks? I, a dentist, heading for the gasworks in a small Welsh market town? It was the furnace I wanted…

From the dramatic scenery of Snowdonia and the Gower to the stunning coastlines and hushed valleys, the landscapes of Wales have inspired many writers of Golden Age mystery stories – from within and without its borders.

Centred around a lost novella by Cledwyn Hughes, this new collection features the best stories from celebrated Welsh authors such as Mary Fitt and Ethel Lina White, as well as short mysteries inspired by or set in the cities and wilds of the country by both beloved Golden Age writers and authors from the 1960s and 70s who continued to push the boundaries of the genre.’

I am a big fan of Ethel Lina White’s work so I was drawn to this anthology when I saw she was mentioned as being included.

Book No. 15 – Well this is a bit of a cheeky but I have two suggestions for this place in the list. They are both wild cards from my point of view – authors I have never tried and there is the risk that their quirky plots might not be pulled off successfully. So if any one has any thoughts on them do share!

Possibility No. 1: Murder your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide (2023)

Cover for Rupert Holmes' Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide. Red and Black colour scheme, made to look like a vintage manual.

Publisher: Headline

Release Date: 21st February 2023

Blurb:

‘Welcome to The McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts – a luxurious, clandestine college dedicated to the fine art of murder where earnest students study how best to “delete” their most deserving victim.

Who hasn’t wondered for a split second what the world would be like the object of your affliction ceased to exist? But then you’ve probably never heard of The McMasters Conservatory, dedicated to the consummate execution of the homicidal arts. To gain admission, a student must have an ethical reason for erasing someone who deeply deserves a fate no worse (nor better) than death.

The campus of this “Poison Ivy League” college-its location unknown to even those who study there-is where you might find yourself the practice target of a classmate…and where one’s mandatory graduation thesis is getting away with the perfect murder of someone whose death will make the world a much better place to live.

Prepare for an education you’ll never forget. A delightful mix of witty wordplay, breathtaking twists and genuine intrigue, Murder Your Employer will gain you admission into a wholly original world, cocooned within the most entertaining book about well-intentioned would-be murderers you’ll ever read.’

Possibility No. 2: The Launch Party (2023) by Lauren Forry

Cover for Lauren Forry's The Launch Party. Has a red background. It has a hotel door sign with the title and author name's on. Inside the curve of the door sign is the moon.

Publisher: Zaffre

Release Date: 22nd June 2023

Blurb:

‘THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME. YOU’D DIE TO BE THERE.

Ten lucky people have won a place at the most exclusive launch event of the century: the grand opening of the Hotel Artemis, the first hotel on the moon. It’s an invitation to die for. As their transport departs for its return to Earth and the doors seal shut behind them, the guests take the next leap for mankind.

However, they soon discover that all is not as it seems. The champagne may be flowing, but there is no one to pour it. Room service is available, but there is no one to deliver it. Besides the ten of them, they are completely alone.

When one of the guests is found murdered, fear spreads through the group. But that death is only the beginning. Being three days’ journey from home and with no way to contact the outside, can any of the guests survive their stay?’

So which crime fiction novels from 2023 are you eagerly awaiting to be published?

17 comments

  1. Since you ask, I am looking forward to reading The Lady from Burma by Allison Montclair, which is the fifth of the Sparks and Bainbridge historicals set in post-war London. I have an advance copy of my Kindle which I will tackle soon. I am also looking forward to Skelton’s Guide to Blazing Corpses by David Stafford, which is the third book about 1920s barrister Arthur Skelton. Both series are excellent and I recommend them highly. I also want to read Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson, which I wanted to read so badly that I ordered two copies by accident and have managed to read neither so far.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I hope you’ll enjoy Kendrick’s Blind Man’s Bluff as it’s almost as good as The Whistling Hangman, which also needs to be reprinted. If Clifford Witting’s Subject: Murder is as good as some reviews suggests, it could be a serious contender for next year’s ROY award.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy new year to you, Kate! Lots of exciting titles (with some delicious reprints from mystery fiction’s Golden Age) to look forward to here. Thanks for providing this great checklist for 2023 publications!

    Liked by 1 person

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