The best mystery novels for mature Black women

Why am I passionate about this?

Like myself, each of these novels involved older professional Black women protagonists. Each of these authors presented multidimensional women experiencing circumstances that surpass culture and ethnicity. As women age, not only do we take on new roles, but we physically and emotionally change. I appreciate books with relatable characters coping with issues I experience—menopause, aging parents, an empty nest. Reading mysteries with fictional characters dealing with situations I experience makes me feel less isolated. 

I wrote...

Murder is Revealing

By Michelle Corbier,

Book cover of Murder is Revealing

What is my book about?

Aspiring author Dr. Myaisha Douglas joined the Greensboro Women of Color Writing Group hoping to publish her writing. When someone murders a friend and member of the group, Myaisha believes she can help the police solve the crime. An avid mystery fan, she relies on the skills she gained from those stories to catch the killer. 

Though determined to get justice for her friend, the amateur detective soon regrets her involvement when the deceased’s corruption and illegal dealings become public. The police warn Myaisha to stop investigating when their prime suspect is also murdered.  Drawn back into the case after the police charge another member of the group with murder, Myaisha uses her medical knowledge—and years as an armchair detective—to solve the homicide without becoming another victim.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Dark and Deadly Deception

Michelle Corbier Why did I love this book?

A heterogeneous blend of class and culture collide in Suburban Chicago as detectives Marti MacAlister and her partner Vik Jessenovik rely on experience and their connection with the neighborhood to solve a 60-year-old mystery. I was born outside of Chicago and have family that moved there during the great migration of Black Americans from the South. Both Marti and her partner juggle complex jobs while caring for loved ones—an issue relevant to my present circumstances.

By Eleanor Taylor Bland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Dark and Deadly Deception as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Chicago detective Marti MacAlister has her work cut out for her these days. First, during the filming of a big Hollywood movie on location in Lincoln Prairie, the body of one of the film's stars turns up dead, along the shores of the Des Plaines River. Then, the skeletal remains of another gunshot victim turn up in a hundred year old building that is being renovated. The closer Marti comes to piecing the clues of each case, the closer they come to understanding how the two cases are connected. But the longer it takes, the more dangerous the killer becomes.…

Book cover of The Inheritance

Michelle Corbier Why did I love this book?

Hudson and Lowell Legacy Consultants is a genealogy business formed by Johanna Hudson. The first line of the novel reads, “... clients don’t consider… that genealogy outcomes can be disappointingly unpredictable.” This statement is a prelude to the conflict weaving throughout the novel as the protagonist becomes embroiled in murder. Johanna makes a career move to pursue a new business opportunity. I left clinical medicine to have more time for writing. It was a difficult choice because I enjoyed taking care of people.

By R. Franklin James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Inheritance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A 30 year-old genealogist is forced to face the pain of her own past while discovering that her talents can be used to solve more than her clients' ancestor family lines -- including blackmail and murder.

Genealogist Johanna Hudson discovers that the intersection of unintended consequences and murder is unavoidable, and her determination to find an heir puts her in the path of a killer who is just as determined to stop her.

Book cover of In the Dog House

Michelle Corbier Why did I love this book?

After twenty-five years of marriage, Lilly’s husband, Albert, divorces her for a woman younger than their children. Following a contentious meeting with their lawyers, Lilly returns home contemplating a new life alone, until the police discover Albert murdered and determine Lilly makes a perfect suspect. Having ended a long-term relationship, I understood the conflict Lilly experienced. Lilly exhibits strength and resilience as she investigates her husband’s murder while planning her future. Those character traits helped me start over.

By V.M. Burns,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In the Dog House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Her new canine companion is a lot more loyal than her ex-husband—but that doesn’t mean she wanted him dead….
Lilly may be losing a husband but she's gaining a toy poodle. That could be seen as a win-win, since her new adopted pooch Aggie (named after Agatha Christie) is cute and adorable, and Lilly's dirty dog of a spouse is cheating on her with a blond bimbo—except for one problem: Albert Echosby’s just been murdered, and Lilly is the number-one suspect.
With the cops barking up the wrong tree, it's a good thing her best friend Scarlett "Dixie" Jefferson from…

Book cover of The Step Between

Michelle Corbier Why did I love this book?

Someone is trying to kill Carole Ann. As a Washington DC lawyer, Carole Ann embraces the challenge of working in DC’s competitive fast-paced environment, but that business has placed a bullseye on her back. She must figure out why while balancing work and her personal life. I appreciated how the author created a multidimensional woman that didn’t measure success by her romantic entanglements. 

By Penny Mickelbury,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Step Between as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No matter how hard she tries to live the quiet life, trouble has a way of grabbing Carole Ann Gibson by the throat -- and this time all her famous intuition and raw courage might not be enough to save her.

In the heartbreaking aftermath of her husband's death, Carole Ann, widely known as "the best damn trial lawyer in D.C.," left her criminal-law practice for what she hoped was a safer, saner life as a partner in her friend Jake's security firm. But when the richest man in Washington, D.C., hires her to find his daughter, she is caught…

Book cover of Bury Me When I'm Dead

Michelle Corbier Why did I love this book?

Detroit is where Charlene “Charlie” Mack runs a private detective business. Her life is as complex as the Motor City. Charlie struggles with her sexuality while caring for her ailing mother. A theft investigation leads Charlie and her team down to Birmingham, Alabama. Reading about Charlie’s exploits in Detroit rekindled memories of eating Ethiopian food in Detroit and taking the train from Michigan to Toronto, Canada. I lived in Montgomery, Alabama and remember visiting the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. 

By Cheryl A. Head,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bury Me When I'm Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finalist for the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Mystery.

Charlene "Charlie" Mack is a PI in Detroit. Born and raised in the city that America forgot, Charlie has built a highly respected private investigation firm through hard work, smart choices, and relentless ambition. Her team of investigators is highly skilled and trustworthy, but she secretly struggles with her sexual orientation and a mother with early-onset Alzheimer's. When Charlie and her crack team head to Birmingham, Alabama following the trail of a missing person, what should be a routine case turns into a complex chase for answers. Shady locals…

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Returning to Eden

By Rebecca Hartt,

Book cover of Returning to Eden

Rebecca Hartt Author Of Rising From Ashes

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Idealistic Storyteller Teacher Mother Seeker

Rebecca's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Looking for clean romantic suspense with spiritual undertones?

Look no further than the Acts of Valor series by Rebecca Hartt. With thousands of reviews and 4.7-5.0 stars per book, this 6-book series is a must-read for readers searching for memorable, well-told stories by an award-winning author.

A dead man stands on her doorstep.

When the Navy wrote off her MIA husband as dead, Eden came to terms with being a widow. But now, her Navy SEAL husband is staring her in the face. Eden knows she should be over-the-moon, but she isn’t.

Diagnosed with PTSD and amnesia, Navy SEAL Jonah Mills has no recollection of their fractured marriage, no memory of Eden nor her fourteen-year-old daughter. Still, he feels a connection to both.

Unfit for active duty and assigned to therapy, Jonah knows he has work to do and relies on God, who sustained him during captivity, to heal his mind, body, and hopefully his family.

But as the memories lurking in his wife's haunted eyes and behind his daughter's uncertain smile begin to return to him, Jonah makes another discovery. There is treachery in the highest ranks of his Team, treachery that not only threatens him but places his new-found family in its crosshairs.

Returning to Eden

By Rebecca Hartt,

What is this book about?

Presumed Dead, Navy SEAL Returns Without Memory of His Ordeal in the Christian Romantic Suspense, Returning to Eden, by Rebecca Hartt

-- Present Day, Virginia Beach, Virginia --

A dead man stands at Eden Mills' door.

Declared MIA a year prior, the Navy wrote him off as dead. Now, Eden's husband, Navy SEAL Jonah Mills has returned after three years to disrupt her tranquility. Diagnosed with PTSD and amnesia, he has no recollection of their marriage or their fourteen-year-old step-daughter. Still, Eden accepts her obligation to nurse Jonah back to health while secretly longing to regain her freedom, despite the…

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