International Mystery Book Group

Interested in joining? Contact Katharyn Jones by email or call (269) 585-8711

The International Mystery Book Group is a drop-in book discussion group that enjoys traveling the world vicariously through mystery novels. Our informal discussions last one hour and we always have tasty snacks.

We meet at the library at 7 PM on the second Thursday of every month September through May. See below for current season titles, and check out our events calendar for upcoming reads! The selected read will be available each month at the Adult Information Desk.

2019-2020

September 12th

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Set in 1920’s India 

Bombay, 1921: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women’s rights.
Mistry Law is handling the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen goes through the papers, she notices something strange: all three have signed over their inheritance to a charity. What will they live on if they forfeit what their husband left them? Perveen is suspicious.
The Farid widows live in purdah: strict seclusion, never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate and realizes her instincts about the will were correct when tensions escalate to murder. It’s her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that nobody is in further danger.

October 10th

Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave

Set in New Zealand

A chilling case of unsolved murders and mistaken identities unravels when a lake in a Christchurch cemetery releases its grip on the murky past in this exciting crime thriller from the internationally bestselling author of The Laughterhouse.
Cemetery Lake begins in a cold and rainy graveyard, where Private Detective Theodore Tate is overseeing an exhumation—a routine job for the weathered former cop. But when doubts are raised about the identity of the body found in the coffin, the case takes a sinister turn. Tate knows he should walk away and let his former colleagues on the police force deal with it, but his strong sense of justice intervenes.
Complicating matters are a few loose ends from Tate’s past. Even good guys have secrets, and Tate thought his were dead and buried for good. With time running out and a violent killer lurking, will he manage to stay one step ahead of the police, or will his truth be unearthed?

November 14th

The Awkward Squad by Sophie Hénaff

Set in Paris, France

Suspended from her job as a promising police officer for firing “one bullet too many”, Anne Capestan is expecting the worst when she is summoned to H.Q. to learn her fate. Instead, she is surprised to be told that she is to head up a new police squad, working on solving old cold cases.
Though relieved to still have a job, Capestan is not overjoyed by the prospect of her new role. Even less so when she meets her new team: a crowd of misfits, troublemakers and problem cases, none of whom are fit for purpose and yet none of whom can be fired.
But from this inauspicious start, investigating the cold cases throws up a number of strange mysteries for Capestan and her team: was the old lady murdered seven years ago really just the victim of a botched robbery? Who was behind the dead sailor discovered in the Seine with three gunshot wounds? And why does there seem to be a curious link with a ferry that was shipwrecked off the Florida coast many years previously?

December 12th

The International Mystery Book Discussion is pleased to host a mystery book exchange and movie showing to get you in the holiday spirit. Everyone is welcome! Popcorn will be provided.

January 9th

Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart

Set in 18th Century Tibet and China


On the mountainous border of China and Tibet in 1708, a detective must learn what a killer already knows: that empires rise and fall on the strength of the stories they tell.
Li Du was an imperial Chinese librarian. Now he is an exile. In 1780, three years of wandering have brought him to Dayan, the last Chinese town before the Tibetan border. He expects a quiet outpost barely conscious of its place within the empire, but Dayan is teeming with travelers, soldiers, and merchants. The crowds have been drawn by the promise of an unmatched spectacle; an eclipse of the sun, commanded by the Emperor himself.
Amid the frenzy, Li Du befriends an elderly Jesuit astronomer. Hours later, the man is murdered in the home of the local magistrate, and Li Du suspects it was no random killing. Everyone has secrets: the ambitious magistrate, the powerful consort, the bitter servant, the irreproachable secretary, the East India Company merchant, the nervous missionary, and the traveling storyteller who can’t keep his own story straight.
Beyond the sloping roofs and festival banners, Li Du can see the pass over Jade Dragon Mountain that will take him out of China forever. But he cannot ignore the murder that the town is all too eager to forget. As Li Du investigates, he begins to suspect that the murderer intends to kill again. The eclipse is coming. Li Du must solve the murder before the sun disappears. If he does not, then someone, perhaps Li Du himself, will never again see its light.

February 13th

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Set in Nigeria

My Sister, the Serial Killer is a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker – and more difficult to get out of the carpet – than water…
When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defense and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

March 12th

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Set in England

The Rules of Blackheath:
Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let’s begin…
Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others…

April 9th

Finding Nouf by Zoë Ferraris

Set in Saudi Arabia

A novel of taut psychological suspense, offering an unprecedented window into Saudi Arabia and the lives of the men and women who live there.
Zoë Ferraris’s electrifying debut of taut psychological suspense offers an unprecedented window into Saudi Arabia and the lives of men and women there.
When sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing, along with a truck and her favorite camel, her prominent family calls on Nayir al-Sharqi, a desert guide, to lead a search party. Ten days later, just as Nayir is about to give up in frustration, her body is discovered by anonymous desert travelers. But when the coroner’s office determines that Nouf died not of dehydration but from drowning, and her family seems suspiciously uninterested in getting at the truth, Nayir takes it upon himself to find out what really happened to her.
This mission will push gentle, hulking, pious Nayir, a Palestinian orphan raised by his bachelor uncle, to delve into the secret life of a rich, protected teenage girl — in one of the most rigidly gender-segregated of Middle Eastern societies. Initially horrified at the idea of a woman bold enough to bare her face and to work in public, Nayir soon realizes that if he wants to gain access to the hidden world of women, he will have to join forces with Katya Hijazi, a lab worker at the coroner’s office. Their partnership challenges Nayir, bringing him face to face with his desire for female companionship and the limitations imposed by his beliefs. It also ultimately leads them both to surprising revelations.
Fast-paced and utterly transporting, Finding Nouf offers an intimate glimpse inside a closed society and a riveting literary mystery.

May 14th

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

Set in Morocco

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.
Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book—a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless.

2018-2019

September 13th

My Lady Judge by Cora Harrison,

Set in Medieval Ireland 

On the first eve of May, 1509, hundreds of people from the Burren climbed the gouged-out limestone terraces of Mullaghmore Mountain to celebrate the great May Day festival. But one man did not come back down the steeply spiraling path. His body lay exposed to the ravens and wolves on the bare, lonely mountain for two nights… and no one spoke of him, or told what they had seen. And when Mara, a woman appointed by King Turlough Don O’Brien to be judge and lawgiver to the stony kingdom, comes to investigate, she is met with a wall of silence.

October 11th

The Shape of the Water by Andrea Camilleri

Set in Sicily, Italy


The goats of Vigŕta once grazed on the trash-strewn site still known as the Pasture. Now local enterprise of a different sort flourishes: drug dealers and prostitutes of every flavor. But their discreet trade is upset when two employees of the Splendour Refuse Collection Company discover the body of engineer Silvio Luparello, one of the local movers and shakers, apparently deceased in flagrante at the Pasture. The coroner’s verdict is death from natural causes – refreshingly unusual for Sicily. But Inspector Salvo Montalbano, as honest as he is streetwise and as scathing to fools and villains as he is compassionate to their victims, is not ready to close the case – even though he’s being pressured by Vigŕta’s police chief, judge, and bishop.


November 8th

The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martínez

Set in Oxford, England

The Oxford Murders has been hailed as “a remarkable feat” (Time Out London) and its author as “one of Argentina’s most distinctive voices” (The Times Literary Supplement). It begins on a summer day in Oxford, when a young Argentine graduate student finds his landlady-an elderly woman who helped crack the Enigma Code during World War II -murdered in cold blood. Meanwhile, a renowned Oxford logician receives an anonymous note bearing a circle and the words “the first of a series.” As the murders begin to pile up and more symbols are revealed, it is up to this unlikely pair to decipher the pattern before the killer strikes again.

December 13th

To celebrate the holiday season, Portage District Library’s sleuths will be shelving our magnifying glasses and enjoying an International Mystery Movie! Everyone is welcome to join us for fun, film, and food. 

Optional: Bring a caper you already have memorized if you would like to participate in the Annual Book Exchange. If you wish to show off your baking, feel free to bring some of those extra cookies you have around the house!

January 10th

In Cold Pursuit by Sarah Andrews

Set in Antarctica 

Valena Walker is a dedicated master’s student in geology headed to Antarctica to study glaciology with the venerable Dr. Emmett Vanderzee. When an unexpected death interrupts the doctor’s research, Valena quickly realizes that in order to avoid being shipped north immediately and having her grant canceled, she must embrace the role of detective and work to clear his name—-and save herself in the process.

February 7th

The Dry by Jane Harper

Set in Australia


After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. 

March 14th

Buried in a Bog by Sheila Connolly

Set in Modern Ireland

Honoring the wish of her late grandmother, Maura Donovan visits the small Irish village where her Gran was born—though she never expected to get bogged down in a murder mystery. Nor had she planned to take a job in one of the local pubs, but she finds herself excited to get to know the people who knew her Gran. In the pub, she’s swamped with drink orders as everyone in town gathers to talk about the recent discovery of a nearly one-hundred-year-old body in a nearby bog. When Maura realizes she may know something about the dead man—and that the body’s connected to another, more recent, death—she fears she’s about to become mired in a homicide investigation. After she discovers the death is connected to another from almost a century earlier, Maura has a sinking feeling she may really be getting in over her head… 

April 11th

The Thieves of Heaven by Richard Doetsch


In a small, heavily fortified room just north of the Sistine Chapel, a master thief is about to strike. All he needs is an instant–to steal the most important treasure in the Vatican museum: two antique keys–one gold, one silver–that protect the secret of salvation….
But a surprise awaits Michael St. Pierre deep inside the Vatican, an ancient secret so explosive, it sends him running for his life—from the streets of Rome to a small stone church in Israel—with two stolen keys and a terrible realization: the consequences of his desperate, brazen act are far greater than he could ever have imagined. 



May 9th

For month of May we will celebrate surviving another Michigan winter with Readers’ Choice Night! It could be a Solve the Puzzle, Solve the Mystery Party. It could be an extra-special mystery read. It could be a movie viewing. Most importantly, you—the reader—gets to decide! 

Readers’ Choice Night will be selected at our March 2019 discussion. Final plans will be announced at our April 2019 discussion. Everyone is welcome!

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