In Reading Color

Recent BIPOC Mystery Books to Read This Summer

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Erica Ezeifedi

Associate Editor

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack. Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

Any genre of books reads well in the summer, but I am partial to reading what’s widely regarded as “beach reads” in the summer. What counts as beach-friendly reading can vary by person, of course, but many beach and summer reading lists have some variety of romances and mystery/thrillers. I decided to focus on the mystery/thriller aspect of beach reading with today’s BIPOC roundup, which includes books that will take you from 1970s Pennsylvania to prestigious boarding schools in the UK.

cover of The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

This came out last year, but it’s still going strong on all the lists.

In it, it’s 1972 in Chicken Hill, a Black and Jewish working-class neighborhood in Pennsylvania, when a skeleton is found at the bottom of a well. This unearths a past that goes all the way back to 1925 when Moshe and Chona Ludlow owned the Heaven & Earth Grocery store that welcomed Jewish and Black people alike. When a Black employee of the store and friend to the Ludlows asks for help in keeping his disabled nephew from becoming a ward of the state, a community comes together to defend its most vulnerable from racist “Christians.”

where sleeping girls lie book cover

Where Sleeping Girls Lie by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

After the hit that was Ace of Spades, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is back with more UK-based dark academia. This time, following Sade Hussein, who is starting her third year of high school at a prestigious boarding school. But then her roommate Elizabeth disappears — and people suspect Sade had something to do with it. Then another student is found dead. As she tries to clear her name, she finds out that there’s something really funky going on at Alfred Nobel Academy.

cover of Hunted by Abir Mukherjee

Hunted by Abir Mukherjee

In London, a man is brought in by the police for questioning. Then, in Florida, a mother fears that her son has been radicalized. The two parents are connected through their missing children and an organization in Oregon that has diabolical plans for the U.S. Both parents are thrown together, on the run, and in a race against time to save the country and their children.

cover of The Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean

The Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean

Twenty years ago, Detective Chelsey Clahoun’s sister disappeared. Her sister was never seen again, so Chelsey dedicated her life to finding other missing girls, which is a pretty depressing vocation, not going to lie. Turns out people are awful, and Chelsey’s cases rarely end nicely, but then a teenager who’d been missing for two years — Ellie Black — turns up alive in the woods. The happy turn of events turns sour, though, when Chelsey realizes that Ellie is not trying to spill on what happened, who took her, or where she’s been all this time, and Chelsey will need to know all those things if she’s to stop another girl from being taken.

5 of the Best BIPOC Books Out This Week

Today’s best new BIPOC books out have romance among heartthrobs, Southern family drama, a queer, women-led Japanese action thriller, and more.

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