The Ides of March—the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated—seems particularly relevant to this month’s best fiction. With two historical novels set in Italy, the first depicting the scandal-ridden Borgias and the second revealing an unexpectedly softer side to Emporer Nero, murderous dynasties are brought to life in vivid detail. Rounding out the rest of our list are modern-day coming of age tales, two kidnappings, a twisted twin sister who fakes her own death, and a humorous take (really!) on infidelity.
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Dead Letters, by Caite Dolan-Leach
“Death by fire was the right death for visionaries and madwomen, and Zelda was both. My dark double.” When Ava’s careless, troubled twin sister Zelda apparently perishes in a fire, Ava discovers the dramatic exit is a ruse—a puzzle, a game—and that Ava has been cast as lead detective. Ava recently escaped from her dysfunctional family (alcoholics every one, with her pill-popping, dementia-ridden mother being the worse of the bunch), but now she’s forced to return to their upstate New York vineyard to uncover the truth about Zelda’s disappearance. A witty mystery with darker than dark humor.