“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”
This month’s selection of new mystery novels features several detectives with very different investigating techniques — from a septuagenarian version of classic hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe (from author Lawrence Osborne), to a another remote Shetland investigation for Ann Cleeve’s much loved detective DI Jimmy Perez. Also included is the internationally critically acclaimed novel Stick together — by Sophie Hénaff — about corruption at the very highest levels of the Parisian police force and the oddball team of misfits that set out to clean this mess up. All this makes for what we feel is a very satisfying alternative to the more usual police procedural mystery! Enjoy.
Only to sleep : a Philip Marlowe novel / Lawrence Osborne.
“The year is 1988. The place, Baja California. And Philip Marlowe – now in his seventy-second year – is living out his retirement in the terrace bar of the La Fonda hotel. Sipping margaritas, playing cards, his silver-tipped cane at the ready. When in saunter two men dressed like undertakers, with a case that has his name written all over it. For Marlowe, this is his last roll of the dice, his swan song. His mission is to investigate the death of Donald Zinn – supposedly drowned off his yacht, and leaving behind a much younger and now very rich wife. But is Zinn actually alive? Are the pair living off the spoils?” (Adapted from Syndetics)
Wild fire / Ann Cleeves.
“Welcoming. Wild. Remote. Drawn in by the reputation of the islands, an English family move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life. But when a young nanny’s body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire. With suspicion raining down on the family, DI Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate, knowing that it will mean the return to the islands of his on-off lover and boss Willow Reeves, who will run the case. Perez is facing the most disturbing investigation of his career. Is he ready for what is to come?” (Adapted from Syndetics)
Stick together / Sophie Hénaff ; translated from the French by Sam Gordon.
“After their successful solving of three cold cases and exposing corruption at the very highest level of the Paris police force, Anne Capestan’s squad of misfits and no-hopers should be in a celebratory mood. However, now despised by their colleagues at 36 quai des Orfèvres and worried for their future, morale has never been lower among the members of the Awkward Squad. Capestan does her best to motivate her troops, but even she cannot maintain a cheerful façade when she has to investigate the murder of Commissaire Serge Rufus, the father of her ex-husband. Worse, it soon appears that his murder is linked to two other victims, both of whom were warned by the killer before they struck…” (Adapted from Syndetics)
Betty Church and the Suffolk vampire / M.R.C. Kasasian.
“Inspector Betty Church — one of the few female officers on the force — has arrived from London to fill a vacancy at Sackwater police station. But Betty isn’t new here — this is the place she grew up. Time ticks slowly in Sackwater, and crime is of a decidedly lighter shade. Having solved the case of the missing buttons, Betty is called to the train station to investigate a missing bench. But though there’s no bench, there is a body. A smartly dressed man, murdered in broad daylight, with two distinctive puncture wounds in his throat…” (Adapted from Syndetics)
Toucan keep a secret / Donna Andrews.
“Meg Langslow is at Trinity Episcopal locking up after an event and checking on the toucan Meg’s friend Reverend Robyn Smith is fostering in her office. After hearing a hammering in the columbarium, Meg finds an elderly parishioner lying dead on the floor of the crypt. Several niches have been chiseled open; several urns knocked out; and amid the spilled ashes is a gold ring with a huge red stone. Toucan Keep a Secret is the latest book in author Donna Andrews’ hilarious Mag Langslow mystery series.” (Adapted from Syndetics)
Aunt Dimity and the King’s Ransom / Nancy Atherton.Aunt Dimity and the King’s Ransom
“On a dull and dreary October day, Lori Shepherd and her husband Bill set off for the historic town of Rye, on the southeast coast of England, for a quiet weekend together without the kids. Bill must first pay a visit to a reclusive client–but after Lori drops him off, a powerful storm drives her off course and leaves her stranded in an ancient, rambling inn called The King’s Ransom. When Lori is spooked by ghostly noises in the night, Aunt Dimity reminds her rather tartly that not all ghosts intend to harm the living.” (Adapted from Syndetics)
An unfinished murder / Ann Granger.
“As young children, Josh Browning and his sister, Dilys, stumbled across a dead body while playing on the outskirts of their Cotswold village. Terrified by what they’d seen, neither of them told a soul. Now, twenty years later, Josh finds the dead woman’s charm bracelet among his sister’s possessions. Who better to tell than his trusted friend, the man he gardens for, retired Superintendent Alan Markby? As Markby listens to Josh’s confession, alarm bells start to ring. The dates and details tie in with a missing person case that was never solved.” (Adapted from Syndetics)
A measure of darkness : a novel / Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman.
“Former star basketball player Clay Edison is busy. He’s solved a decades-old crime and redeemed an innocent man, earning himself a suspension in the process. Things are getting serious with his girlfriend. Plus his brother’s fresh out of prison, bringing with him a whole new set of complications. Then the phone rings in the dead of night. A wild party in a gentrifying East Bay neighborhood. A heated argument that spills into the street. Gunshots. Chaos. For Clay and his fellow coroners, it’s the start of a long night and the first of many to come. The victims keep piling up. What begins as a community tragedy soon becomes lurid fodder for social media.” (Adapted from Syndetics)
Strange magic / Syd Moore.
“Rosie Strange doesn’t believe in ghosts or witches or magic. No, not at all. It’s no surprise therefore that when she inherits the ramshackle Essex Witch Museum, her first thought is to take the money and run. Still, the museum exerts a curious pull over Rosie. There’s the eccentric academic who bustles in to demand she help in a hunt for old bones, those of the notorious Ursula Cadence, a witch long since put to death. And there’s curator Sam Stone, a man about whom Rosie can’t decide if he’s tiresomely annoying or extremely captivating. It all adds up to looking like her plans to sell the museum might need to be delayed, just for a while.” (Adapted from Syndetics)
Sins as scarlet / Nicolás Obregón.
“Former homicide detective Kosuke Iwata is on the run from his past…
Five years ago, he lost his family. Now he may have found his redemption.
Living in LA and working as a private detective, he spends his days spying on unfaithful spouses and his nights with an unavailable woman. Still, he cannot forget the family he lost in Tokyo. Throwing himself back in to the dangerous existence he only just escaped, Iwata discovers a seedy world of corruption, exploitation and murder – and a river of sin flowing through LA’s underbelly, Mexico’s dusty borderlands and deep within his own past.” (Adapted from Syndetics)
The fire court / Andrew Taylor.
“The Great Fire has ravaged London, wreaking destruction and devastation wherever its flames spread. Now, guided by the incorruptible Fire Court, the city is slowly rebuilding, but times are volatile and danger is only ever a heartbeat away.
James Marwood, son of a traitor, is thrust into this treacherous environment when his ailing father claims to have stumbled upon a murdered woman in the very place where the Fire Court sits. Then his father is run down and killed. Accident? Or another murder…?” (Adapted from Syndetics)