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For Summer Sleuths: Best Mystery, Crime Novels

'The Way Home' primary

Starting when I was a kid of about 8 or 9, the greatest summer pleasure I could imagine was sitting in the afternoon shade on the stoop of my Queens, N.Y., apartment building, a Tupperware pitcher of Tang (the drink of astronauts!) by my side and a mystery novel in my hand.

Other kids were getting sweaty playing slap ball or tag in the alleyways between the apartment houses; I, meanwhile, was transported far away from the noise and grime of the city to an eternally leafy suburb known as River Heights. That's because, of course, the mystery novels I was reading back then were all Nancy Drews.

The years have gone by and summer is now as hectic as the rest of the year, but whenever I think back to the drowsy delights of summer vacations, a blue roadster and a certain titian-haired sleuth pop into my head. Maybe that's why I was so thrilled to discover, in advance of this summer reading season, five new books for grown-up mystery lovers.

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