New mysteries in this month’s selection are once again located in many different places around the world, from Amsterdam to Australia, Scotland to Los Angeles, and Oslo to Cork, New Mexico to Belfast. Highly recommended are two debut mysteries, Holding by Graham Norton, and Goodwood by Holly Throsby, both writers are well known for their previous careers, one as a comedian and the other as a song writer/singer.
Deadly secrets / Britta Bolt.
“Pieter Posthumus wouldn’t live anywhere but Amsterdam even though the big Earth 2050 conference, with its crowds of delegates and protestors, has left him feeling somewhat under siege. At least his work at the Lonely Funerals team is quiet. Then one of the delegates is left for dead under a bypass. Ever curious, Posthumus agrees to look into the case, which sparks memories of his own time as a student radical. Amsterdam has always attracted people with fierce views, but is someone willing to kill for their principles? Or did the attack have a much more personal motive? Forced to contend with family secrets, political machinations and international conspiracies, Posthumus finds himself in ever deeper, darker waters as he tries to uncover what really happened, and why.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Cold earth / Ann Cleeves.
“In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main Lerwick-Sumburgh road and sweeps down to the sea. At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and peaty water smash through a croft house in its path. Everyone thinks the croft is uninhabited, but in the wreckage he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. In his mind, she shares his Mediterranean ancestry and soon he becomes obsessed with tracing her identity. Then it emerges that she was already dead before the landslide hit the house. Perez knows he must find out who she was, and how she died.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The wrong side of goodbye / Michael Connelly.
“Harry Bosch is still working, both as a volunteer at a suburban cop shop and as a PI, but he’s very picky about his cases, which is why when a billionaire of dubious reputation comes calling, Harry is weary. But the mogul, nearing death, has a compelling story to tell: a dalliance with a Latina student decades ago may have produced a child, who may or not still be alive but who may have produced a grandchild. Harry’s job is to determine if there is an heir and then to report only to the mogul, not to any of his greedy underlings. The first part goes relatively easily yes, there is an heir but the mogul is murdered before Harry has a chance to talk to him. Juggling his investigation with the responsibilities of his volunteer gig, Harry finds himself caught between the sometimes contradictory demands of finding bad guys and helping victims.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Soulmates : a novel / Jessica Grose.
“Attorney Dana Powell learns of her ex-husband’s death from the front page of the New York Post. Drawn by the photo of his familiar eyes, she’s stunned as she absorbs the news that Ethan and Amaya (the Other Woman) were found dead in a cave in New Mexico. Once she’s been contacted by local law enforcement with a tip about the pair’s last whereabouts as yoga instructors, a hint at foul play, and a nudge toward citizen investigation, Dana heads off to the Zuni Retreat in search of answers. If Ethan was to blame in a murder-suicide, she needs to know what went wrong. Disguised as a yoga student in search of grounding, she encounters the famed guru Lama Yon and sifts through Ethan’s past to come to terms with her own.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The missing hours / Emma Kavanagh.
“One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace. Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been. What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Chameleon people / Hans Olav Lahlum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.
“1972. On a cold March morning the weekend peace is broken when a frantic young cyclist rings on Inspector Kolbjorn ‘K2′ Kristiansen’s doorbell, desperate to speak to the detective. Compelled to help, K2 lets the boy inside, only to discover that he is being pursued by K2′s colleagues in the Oslo police. A bloody knife is quickly found in the young man’s pocket: a knife that matches the stab wounds of a politician murdered just a few streets away. The evidence seems clear-cut, and the arrest couldn’t be easier. But with the suspect’s identity unknown, and the boy refusing to speak, K2 finds himself far from closing the case. And then there is the question that K2 can’t get out of his head: why would a guilty man travel directly to a police detective from the scene of his own brutal crime?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The queen’s accomplice / Susan Elia MacNeal.
“In bombed and blacked-out 1942 London, a young woman’s horrifically butchered body is discovered in Regent’s Park near graffiti proclaiming that “Jack Is Back.” With the discovery of a second, similarly brutalized corpse, a pattern emerges: the murders explicitly mimic Jack the Ripper’s, and both women have been tapped for the Special Operations Executive, a top-secret unit that sends women spies behind enemy lines. American expat Maggie Hope, an experienced SOE operative, joins the investigation jointly conducted by Scotland Yard and MI5. The stakes rise when a young woman trained by Maggie disappears, possibly abducted by the killer that the press dubs the Blackout Beast.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
So say the fallen / Stuart Neville.
“Det. Chief Insp. Serena Flanagan of the Belfast police investigates the apparent suicide of Henry Garrick, who was bedridden while slowly and painfully recovering from a serious car accident. It seems that his wife, Roberta, and a family friend, Rev. Peter McKay, gave him his evening medication of a packet of morphine granules mixed into a tub of yogurt, but after they left, he added an additional 10 packets and died during the night. The case is officially closed, but Flanagan can’t help following the remaining loose ends until something approaching justice is done in this complex and compassionate study of the human condition.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Holding / Graham Norton.
“Duneen is a quiet place, far enough from the big towns to have kept its own rhythms. Its residents include cast down policeman PJ who lives a lonely, uneventful life punctuated only by the next meal, until now; the beautiful and mysterious family of three spinster sisters each with their own secrets and sorrows; and of course, the town’s gossip who think she knows the answers. When a grim discovery is made on a building site up by the old school, it becomes the catalyst for long buried secrets and rivalries to come to light and this silent, once innocent and repressed-seeming town is revealed to have a much darker, hungrier undertow.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Goodwood / Holly Throsby.
“Goodwood is a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone. It’s a place where it’s impossible to keep a secret. In 1992, when Jean Brown is seventeen, a terrible thing happens, two terrible things. Rosie White, the coolest girl in town, vanishes overnight. One week later, Goodwood’s most popular resident, Bart McDonald, sets off on a fishing trip and never comes home. People die in Goodwood, of course, but never like this. They don’t just disappear. As the intensity of speculation about the fates of Rosie and Bart heightens, Jean, who is keeping secrets of her own, and the rest of Goodwood are left reeling.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)