Tantalizing tales of mistresses or murder. Take your pick with these five page-turners.

The book cover for White Houses, which features a photo of two woman wearing bonnets sitting on a porch.

American presidents are no strangers to mistresses, from John F. Kennedy’s dalliances with Marilyn Monroe to Bill Clinton’s intern indiscretion. It’s far rarer, though, for a First Lady to keep a mistress, which makes the mysterious relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Associated Press reporter Lorena Hickok even more intriguing. Historians can’t agree if the “First Friend” was a close pal or a secret lover, but award-winning author Amy Bloom explores the relationship in the novel White Houses.

Books: Immortalists and The Mitford Murders

Chloe Benjamin garnered advance book buzz for The Immortalists, a tale of aging, longevity and family centred on four siblings who learn the date of their deaths, while Jessica Fellowes – niece of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and author of multiple series companion books – tackles a real-life unsolved homicide in the 1920s English countryside in The Mitford Murders, centred around Nancy Mitford of the notorious and aristocratic Mitford

Book covers: Deep River Night and The Rule Of Stephens

And two former Canuck Giller Prize nominees hit bookshelves this month – Red Dog, Red Dog author Patrick Lane returns with a story of troubled pasts and a violent present in a B.C. sawmill town in Deep River Night, as Stanley Park scribe Timothy Taylor’s latest, The Rule of Stephens, is an eerie tale about a woman who inexplicably survives a plane crash only to find her life unravel in inexplicable ways.

A version of this article appeared in the March 2018 issue with the headline, “Of Mistresses and Murder,” p. 17.