The season's best crime fiction

Kick off your summer with these great reads from our mystery panel.
The Next Chapter's mystery panel recommends some thrilling summer reading.
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There's nothing like a dark, creepy book on a beautiful summer day. If you're looking for some spine-tingling titles for the cottage, the patio or the public pool, The Next Chapter's mystery panel has an embarrassment of riches for you. Scroll down to get the full list, including some bonus picks that weren't mentioned on the show!

The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor
Margaret Cannon picks: The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor

​​This is a historical book with the kind of classic plot that really only a few writers can do well, and he does. It's 1666, and the great fire of London is on. As London burns, a young apprentice printer is part of an investigation into a murder. Taylor takes us right down into the centre of London and there's more than one body dropping in the first hundred pages! This has everything you want for a beautiful summer day by the pool.

Margaret Cannon is the Globe and Mail's mystery books columnist.

Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham
J.D. Singh picks: Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham

He's written 11 thrillers, of which seven or eight have featured this clinical psychologist by the name of Joe O'Loughlin. His job is to examine the same evidence the police have, but from a slightly different angle, and to draw the kind of conclusions that he can to catch the perpetrator. In this one, a mother and her daughter have been killed in Clevedon, which is near Bristol, and there are six suspects who are fairly readily identified, and the question now is to go through them one after the other until you come to the right conclusion. The writing is very smooth, and the story just flows beautifully. It's just the perfect book for sitting around with a drink in one hand — you're half done with it before you even know it.

J.D. Singh is the co-owner of the Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore in Toronto.

Maestra by L.S. Hilton
P.K. Rangachari picks: Maestra by L.S. Hilton

This is Hilton's first book, and it deals with a woman named Judith Rashleigh who leads a double life. Her day job is being an assistant at a London auction house. Her night job is a bit livelier — she flaunts sex at a dubious bar. Unfortunately, she uncovers a fraud at the auction house and she's promptly let go. This sets in motion a whole series of events that leads Judith into taking some rather dubious actions. She uses sex to parlay her way into the super rich, which allows her to exact revenge on those who precipitated her exit.

P.K. Rangachari is a mystery novel enthusiast and professor in the faculty of medicine at McMaster University.

The panellists' comments have been edited and condensed.

14 mysteries that make perfect summer reads