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the best of 2012

The author Ian RankinSean Bell for The Globe and Mail

GONE GIRL, by Gillian Flynn One of the best mystery plots I've ever read. Unexpected, unguessable, altogether great.

DEFENDING JACOB, by William Landay Brilliantly plotted, with great characters and an unforgettable ending.

THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, by Louise Penny Murder in a monastery. The book mixes music and history, and is Penny's best to date.

CREOLE BELLE, by James Lee Burke A master class for all aspiring crime writers, as Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcel fight personal demons and unravel a murder.

STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN'S GRAVE, by Ian Rankin John Rebus returns to duty to solve a very cold case.

MISSION TO PARIS, by Alan Furst It's Paris in 1938, and a Hollywood star is spying on Hitler's Germany. The best espionage novel of the year.

UNTIL THE NIGHT, by Giles Blunt John Cardinal returns in another Algonquin Bay mystery, and Blunt remains one of Canada's best crime authors.

THE IMPEACHMENT OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, by Stephen L. Carter One of the best alternative history novels ever, period.

THE VANISHING POINT, by Val McDermid Riveting tale with a complex plot and unforgettable characters.

BEASTLY THINGS, by Donna Leon One of the best of the Guido Brunetti books. Leon never disappoints, but this one is special.