The Ink Black Heart

Edie Ledwell, co-creator of popular YouTube cartoon The Ink Black Heart, approaches the agency hoping to discover the identity of her online persecutor, Anomie, but is turned away because of an already heavy workload. Shortly afterwards, Edie is found murdered in Highgate Cemetery in north London, with her collaborator and former boyfriend lying seriously wounded nearby. He is unable to name the assailant, but Anomie, who has invented a game based on the cartoon, claims to be responsible. Strike and Ellacott attempt to unmask Anomie, entering the game and interacting with The Ink Black Heart’s obsessive fans.

The Skeleton Key

A different type of fandom is examined in Erin Kelly’s latest: armchair treasure hunters, such as those obsessed over Kit Williams’s 1979 puzzle story book Masquerade. Here, the inspiration is the similarly successful The Golden Bones, created by artist Frank Churcher: the tale of murdered Elinore, whose bones, made from gold and precious stones, are buried in sites across England. Now only one remains undiscovered. With rich characterisation and intricate yet propulsive plotting, Kelly is at her considerable best as she mercilessly fillets monstrous egos and toxic relationships while ramping up the tension.

The Bullet That Missed

The third book in the bestselling Thursday Murder Club series sees the denizens of the upmarket Kentish retirement village embark on another investigation. This time, former spy Elizabeth, retired nurse Joyce, psychiatrist Ibrahim and former trade unionist Ron are looking into the disappearance of Bethany Waites, 10 years earlier. Waites, a journalist who had been investigating a massive VAT fraud, was presumed to have died when her car plunged off a cliff at Dover. The body was never found but the circumstances were suspicious, and as the pensioners begin to investigate the cold case becomes red hot.