Two years after finding and marrying his soul mate, Rafael Zhettah loses her to murder in Confessions of an Innocent Man by David Dow. Bewildered, he soon finds himself on death row for the crime, struggling to keep his sanity while lawyers battle to save him from execution. Dow brings unusual authenticity to this novel. Hes a death penalty lawyer himself and founder of the Texas Innocence Project.
Three women caught up in the Russian Revolution and its aftermath are the main characters in Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly. They are Eliza, an upper-class American; her Russian friend Sofya, the czars cousin; and Varinka, a Russian peasant. The book is a prequel to Lilac Girls, and Eliza is based on the mother of the real-life character Caroline Ferriday in that novel. Lilac Girls was well-read locally, and those readers will be particularly interested in this book, but it stands on its own.
You can read it for the mystery or for the ambience of life in Provence, but Death in Provence is a promising start to a new series. Penelope Kite buys a house in Provence as an escape, but the dead man in her swimming pool upends her tranquility. The French police pay little attention to the British middle-aged Penelope, but she was an assistant to a forensic pathologist, and she knows how to evaluate a corpse and weapons.