‘What Rose Forgot’

In Nevada Barr’s new standalone mystery, “What Rose Forgot,” Rose has forgotten quite a lot. She scarcely knows who she is when she awakens in the Alzheimer’s unit of a nursing home she can’t remember entering, and things get even scarier when she hears an attendant say she is unlikely to live out the week.

She fakes taking her pills and becomes clear-minded enough to escape from the care facility and hide out at home. The police come looking for her, but so does someone else, who knows something Rose can’t remember, but which could get her killed.

With the help of her granddaughter Mel, Mel’s friend Royal, Rose’s hermit sister Marion, and a “reformed” hit man, Rose must race to figure out who wants to kill her and why.

Rose is a delightful character, as are all the good guys in this sparkling old-lady caper that while straining credulity, also delights. A perfect end of the fall read.

‘The Bone Houses’

The dead rise again in Emily Lloyd-Jones’ “The Bone Houses,” but not in a happy, life-eternal sort of way.

Ryn, whose father has disappeared into the forest the villagers are generally afraid to enter, supports her family by digging graves. But business has fallen off a lot since “bone houses,” i.e., animated corpses, have started coming out of the forest and attacking the townsfolk. The dead are being burned now to prevent their rising again and Ryn and her family are about to lose their home to a jerk of a loan shark.

Enter Ellis, a cartographer and foster son to the prince of the realm. He wants to map the forest and the defunct mine which the villagers view as the source of all their troubles, and Ryn wants to stop the bone houses from terrorizing the countryside, so the two go into the forest to find a grand mix of terrifying and heartening adventures.

Ryn and Ellis are delightful protagonists — courageous and kind, respectively. As they draw closer to the mine, the terrors increase, but so does their attraction to one another. Utterly surprising events give them a chance to save their land and their loved ones.

“The Bone Houses” is a fine, suspenseful story for stout-hearted tweens, teens, and grownups.