By Rennie Airth (Penguin, 358 pages, $27)

The latest mystery featuring retired Scotland Yard detective John Madden is a taut thriller that begins in London in 1947 with the execution-style killing of a retired bank manager. The investigation takes an unusual turn when it becomes clear that another similar killing, in Scotland, must be linked to the London murder.

One of the investigators on the case brings in Madden to help, and he soon takes a central role in trying to solve the crimes. Author Rennie Airth's "The Reckoning" is yet another strong suspense novel, evoking postwar Great Britain. This is the fourth book in the Madden series, but it stands on its own and should appeal to mystery readers even if they haven't read the earlier ones.



Jennifer, Gwyneth and Me

By Rachel Bertsche (Ballantine Books, 256 pages, $15)

"MWF Seeking BFF" author Rachel Bertsche was feeling blue after a layoff. She was pursuing a long-desired freelance career but had gained weight and lost her mojo. She longed to achieve "celeb levels of perfection" and decided to glean lessons from stars she admired: Jennifer Aniston (body), Gwyneth Paltrow (kitchen), Jennifer Garner (marriage), etc. Could she emulate their lifestyle on a regular person's budget?

After embarking on an ambitious self-improvement program, celeb by celeb, Bertsche found ways to improve her life, outlook and marriage. In her new book, "Jennifer, Gwyneth and Me," she includes helpful tips and research on celebrity culture and shares her struggle to have a baby. You may even feel inspired to follow her charming guide to practical perfection in health and fitness, the kitchen, fashion, career, marriage, serenity and pregnancy.

Marci Schmitt,

multiplatform editor