This month’s featured mysteries include a couple of gripping Scandinavian noir tales, Donna Leon’s twenty-seventh Commissario Guido Brunetti Venetian whodunit plus Anne Perry, Quintin Jardine, Alanna Knight, Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, Mario Giordano and Peter James’ latest work. In short, if you like mystery novels it’s been a bumper month and there’s something new to suit every taste!
The darkness / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
“After being unceremoniously forced into early retirement at the age of 64, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsd ttir of the Reykjavik Police is refusing to go quietly. Hulda is told to pick a cold case to investigate for two more weeks and she knows just the one. A young woman found dead on the seaweed-covered rocks of the Vatnsleysustrond. A woman who had come to Iceland in search of refuge and found only a watery grave. Her death was ruled a suicide after a slapdash investigation. But when Hulda starts to ask questions she soon realises that there was something far darker to this case. That this was not the only young woman to disappear from the hostel where the asylum seekers waited for their judgement and that no one is telling the whole story. And that if she uncovers something she shouldn’t her own life might be in danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The temptation of forgiveness / Donna Leon.
“In the twenty-seventh novel in Donna Leon’s bestselling mystery series, a suspicious accident leads Commissario Guido Brunetti to uncover a longstanding scam with disturbing unintended consequences. Surprised, if not dismayed, to discover from his superior, Vice-Questore Patta, that leaks are emanating from the Questura, Commissario Guido Brunetti is surprised more consequentially by the appearance of a friend of his wife’s, fearful that her son is using drugs and hopeful Brunetti can somehow intervene. When Tullio Gasparini, the woman’s husband, is found unconscious and with a serious brain injury at the foot of a bridge in Venice after midnight, Brunetti is drawn to pursue a possible connection to the boy’s behavior.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The devil’s dice / Roz Watkins.
“A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face ribboned with scratches. A sinister message amidst rumours of a local curse, DI Meg Dalton is convinced this is cold-blooded murder. There’s just one catch – chiselled into the cave wall above the body is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century. A deadly game as Meg battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, it’s clear someone knows her secrets. The murderer is playing games with Meg – and the dice are loaded…A white-knuckle crime debut introducing DI Meg Dalton, perfect for fans of Broadchurch and Happy Valley.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The Staveley suspect / Rebecca Tope.
“Simmy Brown has a lot on her mind. Not just keeping her florist business afloat, her father’s failing health, the challenge of developing a long-term relationship with Christopher, but also the approach of Mother’s Day, a busy and painful day for her. But in taking an order for a retirement party in Staveley, she is pulled into her most challenging investigation. When a daughter starts accusing her own mother of murder, Simmy, Ben and Bonnie find themselves taking different sides of the investigation. With her relationships under strain, Simmy is tried on all fronts. However, she has to learn to leave her own concerns behind to discover just who the killer is.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Dark tide rising / Anne Perry.
“Dark Tide Rising is the 24th compelling mystery in the William Monk series, from the master of Victorian crime Anne Perry. When Kate Exeter is kidnapped on the shore of the Thames, Commander William Monk is enlisted by her desperate husband to save her. Kate’s captors are demanding a ransom for her safe return and Monk and his most trusted men must arrange a secret handover in the dark slums of Jacob’s Island. But on the night someone betrays them and a brutal skirmish breaks out, leaving death and destruction in its wake… Monk senses tensions mount and no one knows who to trust. Then a whistle blower claims that the ransom money was embezzled funds that incriminate Kate’s husband, and the case takes on a whole new meaning.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
A Brush with death / Quintin Jardine.
“When millionaire Leo Speight is found poisoned at his Ayrshire mansion, Police Scotland has a tough case on its hands. Speight was a champion boxer with national hero status, and a long list of lovers and friends stand to benefit from his estate. Did one of them decide to speed things up? Or was jealousy or rivalry the motive? The Security Service wants to stay close to the investigation and they have just the man to send in: ex-Chief Constable Bob Skinner. Skinner might have retired from the police, but solving crimes is in his blood. Combining forces with DI Lottie Mann and DS Dan Provan of Serious Crimes, he’s determined to see Speight’s murderer put away for a long time. But there’s a twist even Bob Skinner couldn’t see coming…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The 17th suspect / James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.
“A series of shootings exposes San Francisco to a methodical yet unpredictable killer, and a reluctant woman decides to put her trust in Sergeant Lindsay Boxer. The confidential informant’s tip leads Lindsay to disturbing conclusions, including that something has gone horribly wrong inside the police department itself. With lives at stake, the detective can’t help but follow the case into ever more terrifying terrain. A decorated officer, loving wife, devoted mother, and loyal friend, Lindsay’s unwavering integrity has never failed her. But now she is confronting a killer who is determined to undermine it all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Murder lies waiting : a Rose McQuinn mystery / Alanna Knight.
“For Rose McQuinn the invitation to holiday at a luxury hotel on the isle of Bute is an unexpected delight until she discovers the real reason is to investigate a twenty year old non-proven murder case. With close links to a strange local family of ancient origin whose modern castle holds many dark secrets, Rose’s involvement in this challenge unleashes a web of intrigue and sinister happenings as she realizes too late when a drowned man is a murder victim and someone decides she is close enough to the truth not to leave the island alive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The reckoning / Yrsa Sigurdardóttir ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
“In 2016 the following people are going to die: K, S, BT, JJ, OV and I. Nobody will miss them. Least of all me. I can’t wait. This is the chilling message found in a school’s time capsule, ten years after it was buried. But surely, if a thirteen-year-old wrote it, it can’t be a real threat… Huldar suspects he’s been given the investigation simply to keep him busy and away from real police work. He turns to Freyja to help with the psychology of the child who hid the note. Soon, however, they find themselves at the heart of another shocking case… For the discovery of the letter coincides with a string of macabre events: body parts found in a garden, followed by the murder of the man who owned the house. His initials are BT… and now time is running out to identify the writer, the victims and the killer, before further deaths come.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Dead if you don’t / Peter James.
“Shortly after Kipp Brown and his teenage son, Mungo, arrive at the stadium for their team’s biggest-ever football game, Mungo disappears. A short while later Kipp receives a text with a ransom demand and a warning not to go to the police if he and his wife want to see their son alive again. But as a massive, covert manhunt for the boy and his kidnappers begins, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace starts to realize that not all is what it seems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord (Auntie Poldi, 2) [paperback]
“A Man Called Ove meets Inspector Montalbano , Auntie Poldi leaves no stone unturned in her quest for answers. Wine and murder – nothing is more likely to rouse Auntie Poldi’s love of the chase. Still relishing the notoriety from her spectacular resolution of the Candela case, Poldi is alive to the faintest whiff of criminality. What to others might seem a series of misfortunes – the water supply cut off, a poisoned dog – is clearly, to Poldi, an escalation: the Mafia have had her in their sights ever since she solved Valentino’s murder. Poldi has tasted blood. No one is above suspicion. And trouble will surely follow…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)