“Okay Marlowe,” I said to myself, ‘You’re a tough guy.” – Our choice of December’s mystery showcase books.

“Okay Marlowe,” I said to myself, ‘You’re a tough guy. You’ve been sapped twice, choked, beaten silly with a gun, shot in the arm until you’re crazy as a couple of waltzing mice. Now let’s see you do something really tough—like putting your pants on.” Philip Marlowe in Murder My Sweet (1944).

Whether your taste in mystery novels is for the grimy rain-washed streets of downtown American cities or the more genteel settings of rose-covered cottages in the idyllic British countryside, there’s murder afoot in this month’s mysteries showcase. There’s a new book by Janet Evanovich called Look Alive Twenty-Five as well as other gems including the latest V.I. Warshawski novel from Sara Paretsky called Shell Game. So why not settle into a comfortable Chesterfield chair (or its equivalent) and indulge yourself in a fine mystery read!

Syndetics book coverAgatha Raisin and the dead ringer / M. C. Beaton.
The team of bells at St. Ethelred church is the pride and glory of the idyllic Cotswolds village of Thirk Magna, together with the most dedicated bell ringers in the whole of England: the twins Mavis and Millicent Dupin. As the village gets ready for the Bishop’s visit, the twins get overly-excited at the prospect of ringing the special peal of bells created for the occasion and start bullying the other bell ringers, forcing them to rehearse and rehearse . When the twins’ home is broken into one night and Millicent is found dead, struck from a hammer blow, suspicion falls onto the lawyer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Snapshot of Murder (Kate Shackleton Mysterie) [paperback]
“Yorkshire, 1928. Indomitable sleuth Kate Shackleton is taking a well-deserved break from her detective work and indulging in her other passion: photography. When her local Photographic Society proposes an outing, Kate jumps at the chance to visit Haworth and Stanbury, in the heart of Brontë country, the setting for Wuthering Heights. But when an obnoxious member of their party is murdered, the group is thrown into disarray. Is the murderer amongst them, or did the loud-mouthed Tobias have more enemies than they might have imagined?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark sacred night / Michael Connelly.
“Detective Renée Ballard is working the night beat and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard can’t let him go through department records, but when he leaves, she looks into the case herself and feels a deep tug of empathy and anger. She has never been the kind of cop who leaves the job behind at the end of her shift — and she wants in. The murder, unsolved, was of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally killed, her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy, and to finally bring her killer to justice. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLook alive twenty-five / Janet Evanovich.
“There’s nothing like a good deli, and the Red River Deli in Trenton is one of the best. World-famous for its pastrami, cole slaw, and for its disappearing managers. Over the last month, three have vanished from the face of the earth, and the only clue in each case is one shoe that’s been left behind. The police are baffled. Lula is convinced that it’s a case of alien abduction. Whatever it is, they’d better figure out what’s going on before they lose their new manager, Ms. Stephanie Plum.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sentence is death / Anthony Horowitz.
“‘You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…’ These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer Richard Pryce , found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite, to be precise. Odd, considering he didn’t drink. And why those words? And, most importantly, which of the mans many, many enemies did the deed? Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Katharina code / Jørn Lier Horst ; translated by Anne Bruce.
“Twenty-four years ago Katharina Haugen went missing. All she left behind was her husband Martin and a mysterious string of numbers scribbled on a piece of paper. Every year on October 9th Chief Inspector William Wisting takes out the files to the case he was never able to solve. But now Martin Haugen is missing too. As Wisting prepares to investigate another missing persons case he’s visited by a detective from Oslo. Adrian Stiller is convinced Martin’s involved in another disappearance of a young woman and asks Wisting to close the net around Martin. But is Wisting playing cat and mouse with a dangerous killer or a grief-stricken husband who cannot lay the past to rest?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA missed murder / Michael Jecks.
“London, 1555. Queen Mary is newly married to Philip II of Spain – and not everyone is happy about the alliance. The kingdom is divided between those loyal to Catholic Mary and those who support her half-sister, Lady Elizabeth. Former cutpurse turned paid assassin Jack Blackjack has more immediate matters to worry about. Having been ordered to kill a man, he determines to save him instead. But Jack defies his spymaster at his peril.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShell game : a V.I. Warshawski novel / Sara Paretsky.
When V. I Warshawski gets word that her closest friend and mentor Lotty Herschel’s nephew has become a suspect in a murder, the legendary detective will do everything she can to save him. The cops found Felix Herschel’s name and phone number on the unknown victim’s remains, but Felix insists he doesn’t know why. As Vic digs deeper, she discovers that the dead man was obsessed with Middle Eastern archeology. The first clue in a bewildering case that leads to a stolen artifact and a shadowy network of international criminals.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Christmas revelation : a novel / Anne Perry.
Christmas is coming and the streets of London are full of festive cheer. As young Worm returns to his home at the Portpool Lane clinic, he encounters the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and, spellbound, he follows her until she is dragged away by two evil-looking men. Convinced that she is in grave danger, Worm begs Squeaky Robinson to help him track her down. But Elouise is embroiled with dangerous criminals who want information that only she can tell. They will stop at nothing to get what they want and, with Christmas day fast approaching, Worm and Squeaky must conjure up a daring plan to help Elouise before it is too late.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaigret and the Saturday caller / Georges Simenon ; translated by Siân Reynolds.
“When Maigret returns home at the end of a long day, he is surprised to find a tense man named Léonard Planchon waiting on his doorstep with an unusual problem. Planchon wants to kill his wife, or perhaps his wife and her lover, who for two years have been making him sleep on a cot in the dining room. He has even worked out a plan to hide their bodies in concrete. Uneasy and hoping to stop the man before he goes too far, Maigret must investigate a murder that has not yet been committed and uncover the truth behind this peculiar ménage à trois.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A measure of darkness – new Mysteries

“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.

Syndetics book coverOnly 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)

Syndetics book coverWild 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)

Syndetics book coverStick 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)

Syndetics book coverBetty 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)

Syndetics book coverToucan 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)

Syndetics book coverAunt 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)

Syndetics book coverAn 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)

Syndetics book coverA 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)

Continue reading “A measure of darkness – new Mysteries”

Recent Mystery picks

American By Day book cover

The sleuthing world of fiction is well represented this month with a superb crime “line up” of books. The golden age of British crime is wonderfully evoked In Andrew Wilsons A Different Kind Of Evil which has crime writer Agatha Christie herself as the detective in this fourth wall breaking tome. Whilst on a different crime track, the wonderful Rita Mae Brown and her cat Sneaky Pie Brown solve another fur lined mystery in Probable Claws. So put on your deerstalker, unravel a yarn and settle into a great mystery read.

Syndetics book coverProbable claws / Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown ; illustrated by Michael Gellatly.
“With the New Year just around the corner, winter has transformed the cozy Blue Ridge Mountain community of Crozet, Virginia, into a living snow globe. It’s the perfect setting for Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen to build a new work shed designed by her dear friend, local architect Gary Gardner. But the natural serenity is shattered when out of the blue, right in front of Harry and Deputy Cynthia Cooper, and in broad daylight, Gary is shot to death by a masked motorcyclist. Outraged by the brazen murder, Harry begins to burrow into her friend’s past–and unearths a pattern of destructive greed reaching far back into Virginia’s post-Revolutionary history. When Harry finds incriminating evidence, the killer strikes again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMurder at the Grand Raj Palace / Vaseem Khan.
“For a century the iconic Grand Raj Palace Hotel has welcomed the world’s elite. From film stars to foreign dignitaries, anyone who is anyone stays at the Grand Raj. The last thing the venerable old hotel needs is a murder… When American billionaire Hollis Burbank is found dead – the day after buying India’s most expensive painting – the authorities are keen to label it a suicide. But the man in charge of the investigation is not so sure. Inspector Chopra is called in – and discovers a hotel full of people with a reason to want Burbank dead.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAmerican by day / Derek B. Miller.
“She knew it was a weird place. She’d heard the stories, seen the movies, read the books. But now police Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård has to leave her native Norway and actually go there; to that land across the Atlantic where her missing brother is implicated in the mysterious death of a prominent African-American academic. Sigrid is plunged into a United States where race and identity, politics and promise, reverberate in every aspect of daily life. Working with–or, if necessary, against–the police, she must negotiate the local political minefields and navigate the backwoods of the Adirondacks to uncover the truth before events escalate further.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRage / Zygmunt Miłoszewski ; translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
“All eyes are on famous prosecutor Teodor Szacki when he investigates a skeleton discovered at a construction site in the idyllic Polish city of Olsztyn. Old bones come as no shock to anyone in this part of Poland, but it turns out these remains are fresh, the flesh chemically removed. Szacki questions the dead man’s wife, only to be left with a suspicion she’s hiding something. Then another victim surfaces–a violent husband, alive but maimed–giving rise to a theory: someone’s targeting domestic abusers. And as new clues bring the murderer closer to those Szacki holds dear, he begins to understand the terrible rage that drives people to murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIncorruptible / Barbara Nadel.
“In the backstreets of Istanbul, a young woman’s body is found. Dumped in a dustbin and covered in cut flowers, she is the victim of a frenzied and vicious stabbing. Inspector Ikmen discovers that the woman was well known in Istanbul. Newspapers had been calling her the blessed woman; cured of cancer in a Christian miracle and a proclaimed messenger of the Virgin Mary. These controversial claims had made her fierce enemies in the predominantly Islamic community and she had unwittingly stirred up divisions amongst the Christians of the city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrisis in the Cotswolds / Rebecca Tope.
“Thea and Drew have been married for a year and are settled in the village of Broad Campden, but Thea is chafing at the domestic routines she is expected to devote herself to, missing the novelty and adventure that house-sitting used to bring. When a routine burial exposes the secrets of the deceased, Drew finds himself caught in the middle of a family feud, in which he feels he is on the wrong side, and Thea’s inquisitiveness and penchant for solving crimes draws her in too. With another crisis at Drew’s other business leaving him with a profound dilemma and Thea struggling against the charismatic charms of a new man, can their marriage survive this latest Cotswold drama?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGhosts of the past / Marco Vichi ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli and Oonagh Stransky.
“Florence, 1967. It is winter, and one year has passed since the historic and devastating flood of the Arno, though the memories of that day still linger with the stains on the city walls. The anniversary of the flood brings with it a new case for Inspector Bordelli. A local wealthy industrialist – fiercely loved and respected by everyone he knew – has been found murdered in his grand villa in the Fiesole hills, and the killer has left no trace. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A different kind of evil / Wilson, Andrew
In January 1927 – and still recovering from the harrowing circumstances surrounding her disappearance a month earlier – Agatha Christie sets sail on an ocean liner bound for the Canary Islands. She has been sent there by the British Secret Intelligence Service to investigate the death of one of its agents, whose partly mummified body has been found in a cave. Early one morning, on the passage to Tenerife, Agatha witnesses a woman throw herself from the ship into the sea. At first, nobody connects the murder of the young man on Tenerife with the suicide of a mentally unstable heiress. Yet, soon after she checks into the glamorous Taoro Hotel situated in the lush Orotava Valley, Agatha uncovers a series of dark secrets. The famous writer has to use her novelist’s talent for plotting to outwit an enemy who possesses a very different kind of evil.” (Catalogue)

Twisty-turny new Mystery novels

Wolf on a String book cover

The new additions to the mysteries collection offers readers a chance to explore the convoluted tales that authors have woven to intrigue their audience. Author Alexander McCall Smith continues investigating in Edinburgh with Isabel Delhousie. Northern and Southern European detectives, professional and otherwise feature in translated works from Norway and Sicily. Historical settings as historical links weave their way through some of these mysteries. With plenty to enjoy from the new mystery additions, just a few of them are highlighted below.

Auntie Poldi and the fruits of the Lord / Giordano, Mario
“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…” (Catalogue)

The ice swimmer / Dahl, Kjell Ola
“When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated… With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side… Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir.” (Catalogue)

The quiet side of passion / McCall Smith, Alexander
“It is summer in Edinburgh and Isabel Dalhousie is once again caught between ‘gossip’ and significant rumour. It is none of her business that Patricia, the mother of her son Charlie’s little friend Basil, is estranged from Basil’s father, or that the woman has a somewhat brazen attitude to childcare. And yet, it is curious. Isabel, however, has much else on her mind as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics… What’s more, her instinct to help others may have put her in real danger. In her desire to run both a smooth household and working life, has she simply created more chaos? Perhaps the quiet side of passion is, after all, the best side on which to be?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wolf on a string : a novel / Black, Benjamin
“As Benjamin Black, John Banville… writes impeccable crime novels starring Dublin-based pathologist Quirke. Here he assumes his Black persona but travels back to 1599 Prague. Young Christian Stern, who arrives there with the winter snows to seek his fortune, finds a well-born woman with her throat cut in Golden Lane, next to the castle of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II. Soon, at the behest of Rudolf himself, our stalwart hero is investigating the murder, which leads him to intrigue surrounding the throne.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Queen’s progress : a Kit Marlowe mystery / Trow, M. J
“1591. The Queen is embarking on a Royal Progress, visiting some of the grandest homes in England, and Kit Marlowe has been sent on ahead to ensure all goes smoothly. When his reconnaissance mission is derailed by a series of alarming and tragic incidents, Marlowe suspects there’s a conspiracy to sabotage the Progress. Who is pulling the strings – and why?” (Catalogue)

Dead if you don’t / James, Peter
“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.” (Catalogue)

Evelyn Crowley / Reid, Gordon
“After being compromised by involvement in a web of police corruption, Harry Becker is discharged from the New South Wales police force. Weighed down by regret, he commits to doing things right. Taking on what seems to be a simple investigative job, he discovers his client, Evelyn Crowley, has links to the underworld. The escalating drama develops into a dangerous love story that tests his character and new resolve… Is it possible for Harry to act honourably and survive the menace of the Mafia?” (Catalogue)

The deepest grave / Bingham, Harry
“DS Fiona Griffiths is bored. It’s been months since she had a good corpse. Then she gets news; not just of a murder, but of a decapitation, and one committed with an antique sword no less. All that, and, a murder scene laid out like a gruesome crossword clue… As Fiona starts to investigate, she finds evidence of a crime that seems to have its origins in King Arthur’s greatest battle.” (Catalogue)

The killing habit / Billingham, Mark
We all know the signs. Cruelty, lack of empathy, the killing of animals. Now, pets on suburban London streets are being stalked by a shadow, and it could just be the start. DI Tom Thorne knows the psychological profile of such offenders all too well, so when he is tasked with catching a notorious killer of domestic cats, he sees the chance to stop a series of homicides before they happen.” (Catalogue)

Death around the bend / Kinsey, T. E.
“September 1909, and Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, have been invited to Lord Riddlethorpe’s country estate for a week of motor racing and parties. They both agree that it sounds like a perfectly charming holiday. But when one of the drivers dies in a crash during the very first race, they discover that what seemed like an uncharacteristic error in judgement may have a more sinister explanation.” (Catalogue)

Short stories at Central are on the move

Bibliomysteries book cover

Short stories at Wellington Central Library are being integrated into the general fiction collection. Authors’ short stories collections have always been a part of the browsing experience amidst the author’s other books on the fiction shelves; the anthologies and compilations are found by their title.

Here are some interesting fiction short story compilations, new and not so new, spanning a variety of subjects, themes, collections, countries and continents.  Closer to home, this year’s Matariki theme Te Ahi Ka – The Home Fires, relates to the title of our first anthology Te Korero Ahi Kā: To speak of the home fires burning. Great for the long winter evenings, these compilations will give readers something new to explore.


Te korero ahi kā : To speak of the home fires burning
Te Korero Ahi Kā: To speak of the home fires burning is an anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, showcasing work from award-winning and emerging members Aotearoa/New Zealand authors, poets, artists of speculative fiction. Here, between the realms of the Sky Father and Earth Mother, hellhounds race, ghosts drift and the taniwha stalks. Home fires drive them back, sparking stories and poems that traverse seconds, eons, and parsecs.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bloody Scotland
“A collection of crime stories set in iconic Scottish structures.” (Catalogue)
Bloody Scotland is Scotland’s international crime writing festival. This year New Zealand writers Fiona Sussman and Paul Cleave distinguished in the Ngaio Marsh awards are taking part.

Cli-fi : Canadian tales of climate change
“With the world facing the greatest global crisis of all time – climate change – personal and political indifference has wrought a series of unfolding complications that are altering our planet, and threatening our very existence. These stories of Climate Fiction (Cli-fi) feature perspectives by culturally diverse Canadian writers of short fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and futurist works, and transcend traditional doomsday stories by inspiring us to overcome the bleak forecasted results of our current indifference.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Best British short stories
Best British Short Stories invites you to judge a book by its cover – or more accurately, by its title. This new series aims to reprint the best short stories published in the previous calendar year by British writers, whether based in the UK or elsewhere.” (Catalogue)

Australian short stories. No 66.
“After 65 issues of Australian Short Stories from 1982-2000 we are back with a sparkling new collection of stories. In this collection we feature Gillian Mears’ last story. We published Gillian’s first story when she was 23 and followed up with examples of her work for 16 years. There are also new stories by old favourites, Kim Scott, Carmel Bird and Barry Dickins plus a series of stories from writers in the early stages of their careers. Open at the first page and savour Australia.” (Catalogue)

Robots vs fairies
“It’s the ultimate death match between the mechanical and the magical! When the lasers cease firing and the fairy dust settles, who will triumph in these epic battles between the artificial and the supernatural? Choose a side…” (Catalogue)

Bibliomysteries : crime in the world of books and bookstores
“An anthology of specially commissioned stories set in literary venues includes contributions by such writers as Loren D. Estleman, Anne Perry, and Laura Lippman.” (Catalogue)

PEN America best debut short stories. 2017
Poets, Essayists and Novelists America promote literature and freedom of expression.  This collection features twelve authors from publications around the Unites States of America.  An interesting mix, with selection discussed by the editors behind their handpicked choices.


New mysteries for the month

Pandora's Boy

This month we have included in our selection the latest mystery novels from many very popular much acclaimed writers. These include Jo Nesbo, Donna Leon and Arnaldur Indriðason. There are also debut authors, who show much promise for continuing their main characters’ development in future mysteries.

Syndetics book coverMacbeth / Jo Nesbo ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
“He’s the best cop they’ve got. When a drug bust turns into a bloodbath it’s up to Inspector Macbeth and his team to clean up the mess. He’s also an ex-drug addict with a troubled past. He’s rewarded for his success. Power. Money. Respect. They’re all within reach. But a man like him won’t get to the top. Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, Macbeth starts to unravel. He’s convinced he won’t get what is rightfully his. Unless he kills for it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverQueen Anne’s lace / Susan Wittig Albert.
“While helping Ruby Wilcox clean up the loft above their shops, China comes upon a box of antique handcrafted lace and old photographs. Soon, strange happenings start to occur in Thyme and Seasons: misplaced items, a ringing bell, and the appearance of lavender sprigs in odd places. China must finally admit what Ruby has always known: their building is haunted. But by whom? As China investigates, the tragic story of a woman in one of the old photographs unfolds. China delves into Annie’s century-old mystery and realises that solving it could have unimaginable repercussions in the here and now.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe 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 The memorable characters and Venetian drama that have long captivated Donna Leon’s many readers are on full display in The Temptation of Forgiveness. As the twenty-seventh novel unfolds in Donna Leon’s exquisite chronicle of Venetian life in all its blissful and sordid aspects, Brunetti pursues several false and contradictory leads while growing ever more impressed by the intuition of his fellow Commissario, Claudia Griffoni, and by the endless resourcefulness and craftiness of Signorina Elettra, Patta’s secretary and gate-keeper.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe shadow killer / Arnaldur Indriðason ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
“Reykjavík, August 1941. When a travelling sales rep is found murdered in a Reykjavík flat, killed by a bullet from a Colt 45, the police initially suspect a member of the Allied occupation force. Flóvent, Reykjavík’s sole detective, is joined by the young military policeman Thorson. Flóvent and Thorson race to solve the case before US Counterintelligence can take it out of their hands, amid rumours of a pending visit by Churchill. But the plot thickens as evidence emerges of dubious experiments carried out on Icelandic schoolboys in the 1930s, while Thorson becomes increasingly suspicious of the role played by the murdered man’s former girlfriend, Vera, and her British soldier lover.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe killing site : a Liberty Lane mystery / Caro Peacock.
“July, 1847. Now a happily married mother-of-two, Liberty Lane is undertaking very few private investigative assignments. But when she is kidnapped from outside a smart London townhouse, where she had been attending a dinner party with her husband Robert, she must call on all her old investigative skills to discover who has taken her, and why. As Libby tries to formulate a plan of escape, her old friends, former street urchin Tabby and groom Amos Legge, desperately search for her. Tabby keeps watch on the house – and makes a truly shocking discovery.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFakes and lies : a Naomi Blake novel / Jane A. Adams.
“When artist and sometime forger Freddie Jones is found dead of an apparent heart attack, no one is surprised. Freddie drank heavily and was a lifelong smoker. The only dissenting voice comes from Freddie’s daughter, Bee. Before he died, her father confided that he was afraid of something – and she is convinced he was murdered. Unable to interest the police, Bee takes her suspicions to her father’s old friend, Bob Taylor, who in turn seeks the advice of ex-police officer Naomi Blake. When a prominent gallery owner is murdered and a portfolio of Freddie’s drawings is stolen, it would appear to confirm Bee’s suspicions. What dangerous games had Freddie Jones been playing? And is Bee herself in danger?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPandora’s boy / Lindsey Davis.
“On the Quirinal Hill, a young girl named Clodia has died, apparently poisoned with a love potion. Only one person could have supplied such a thing: a local witch who goes by the name of Pandora, whose trade in herbal beauty products is hiding something far more sinister. The supposedly sweet air of the Quirinal is masking the stench of loose morality, casual betrayal and even gangland conflict and, when a friend of her own is murdered, Albia determines to expose as much of this local sickness as she can – beginning with the truth about Clodia’s death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe smiling man / Joseph Knox.
“Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift. Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to The Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city. There they find the body of a man. He is dead. And he is smiling. The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life… But even as Waits puts together the pieces of this stranger’s life, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move. And to discover the smiling man’s identity, he must finally confront his own.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhiteout / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated by Quentin Bates.
“Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kalfshamarvik. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thor Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA dangerous crossing / Ausma Zehanat Khan.
“For Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty, the Syrian refugee crisis is about to become personal. Esa’s childhood friend, Nathan Clare, calls him in distress: his sister, Audrey, has vanished from a Greek island where the siblings run an NGO. Audrey had been working to fast-track refugees to Canada, but now, she is implicated in the double-murder of a French Interpol agent and a young man who had fled the devastation in Syria. Had Audrey been on the edge of a dangerous discovery, hidden at the heart of this darkest of crises–one which ultimately put a target on her own back?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New March Mysteries

Image from Syndetics

New mysteries from several popular crime writers are included in this month’s selection of new mystery novels. These include Andrea Camilleri, with Pyramids of Mud, Camilla Lackberg, with The Girl in the Woods, and Stuart MacBride with Now we are dead.

Syndetics book coverThe pyramid of Mud / Andrea Camilleri ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“It’s been raining for days in Vigta, and the persistent downpours have led to violent floods overtaking the Inspector Montalbano’s beloved hometown, sweeping across the land and leaving only a sea of mud behind. It is on one of these endless grey days that a man, a Mr Giugl Nicotra, is found dead. His body discovered in a large sewage tunnel, half naked and with a bullet in his back. The investigation is slow and slippery to start with, but when Montalbano realizes that every clue he uncovers and every person he interviews is leading to the same place: the world of public spending and with it, the Mafia, the case begins to pick up pace.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark pines / Will Dean.
“An isolated Swedish town. A deaf reporter terrified of nature, a dense spruce forest overdue for harvest. A pair of eyeless hunters found murdered in the woods. It’s week one of the Swedish elk hunt and the sound of gunfire is everywhere. When Tuva Moodyson investigates the story that could make her career she stumbles on a web of secrets that knit Gavrik town together. Are the latest murders connected to the Medusa killings twenty years ago? Is someone following her? Why take the eyes? Tuva must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the killer and write the story.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverX marks the Scot / Kaitlyn Dunnett.
“After she hires an archivist to help her research a treasure map that she found at the Chadwick estate in Moosetookalook, Maine, Scottish Emporium owner Lisa MacCrimmon is horrified when the archivist is murdered, and takes it upon herself to find the killer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLook for me : a novel / Lisa Gardner.
“The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, and one, a sixteen-year-old girl is missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, Look for me.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlock 46 / Johana Gustawsson ; translated by Maxim Jakubowski.
“Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewelry designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944 and in the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEarth storm / Mons Kellentoft ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“In the early hours of the morning, the naked body of a young man is discovered in a ditch next to Gota Kanal. The cause of death is mysterious; the body bears no visible traces of violence.The man is soon identified as Peder Akerlund, a former Swedish politician, excluded from his party for racism but since reformed. Then sixteen-year-old Nadja Lundin is reported missing, possibly abducted, the same evening, and there are signs that suggest the two cases might be connected, but what do the victims have in common? And why were they chosen? Gradually, Malin Fors realises that they are dealing with someone who is playing a game with them, who speaks through murders and who will not be silenced. What is he or she trying to say? Desperate to fine Nadja alive, the team race against the clock to find an answer before it’s too late.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Girl in the Woods / Camilla Läckberg ; translated from Swedish by Tiina Nunnally.
“When a four-year-old girl disappears in the woods just outside Fjillbacka, the community is horror-struck. Thirty years ago, a young girl went missing from the exact same spot, and was later discovered, murdered. Ttwo teenage girls were found guilty of the killing. Could it really be a coincidence that one of the girls, now a world-famous actress, has just returned to Fjillbacka? Detective Patrik Hedstrm starts investigating, with his wife, bestselling crime writer Erica Falck, by his side.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe shout / Stephen Leather.
“Vicky Lewis is a force to be reckoned with: not yet thirty and already crew manager in the London Fire Brigade, she’s destined for great things. But when she enters a burning building to save a man’s life and leaves it with catastrophic injuries, all that changes. She’s shunted over to the Fire Investigation Unit, where she’s forced to team up with cantankerous veteran Des Farmer, aka the Grouch. When Vicky stumbles across the Grouch’s off-the-books investigation into the fiery deaths of a series of young, blonde women, she decides to join him in his search for the truth. The answer is close perhaps too close. Vicky’s already been burnt once, and now she’s playing with fire” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNow we are dead / Stuart MacBride.
“Detective Chief Inspector Roberta Steel got caught fitting up Jack Wallace, that’s why they demoted her and quashed his sentence. Now he’s back on the streets and women are being attacked again. Wallace has to be responsible, but if Detective Sergeant Steel goes anywhere near him, his lawyers will get her thrown off the force for good. The Powers That Be won’t listen to her, not after what happened last time. According to them, she’s got more than enough ongoing cases to keep her busy. Perhaps she could try solving a few instead of harassing an innocent man? Steel knows Wallace is guilty. And the longer he gets away with it, the more women will suffer. The question is: how much is she willing to sacrifice to stop him?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe seven deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle / Stuart Turton.
“It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden, one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party,can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Be transported by these new mystery novels!

Mystery novel fans will again be transported to far parts of the world with his month’s selection of new mysteries. From Thailand to Norway, India to Ireland, Norway to Germany, all will provide hours of gripping reading.

Syndetics book coverThe emerald lie / Ken Bruen.
“Jack Taylor, an ex-cop who is as addicted to trouble as he is to Jameson, pills, and pop culture. Jack is approached by a grieving father with a pocketful of cash on offer if Jack will help exact revenge on those responsible for his daughter’s brutal rape and murder. Though hesitant to get involved, Jack agrees to get a read on the likely perpetrators. But Jack is soon derailed by the reappearance of Emily (previous alias: Emerald), the chameleon-like young woman who joined forces with Jack to take down her pedophile father in Green Hell and who remains passionate, clever, and utterly homicidal. She will use any sort of coercion to get Jack to conspire with her against the serial killer the Garda have nicknamed “the Grammarian,” but her most destructive obsession just might be Jack himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe missing guests of the Magic Grove hotel : an Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency novel / David Casarett.
“As a nurse ethicist, Ladarat Patalung works to save the lives of her patients, and to make sure the ones she can’t save have at least the dignity of a “good death’. Detective Wiriya Mookjai fears that a killer is at large when wealthy foreign travelers start to go missing all across Thailand, and turns to Ladarat for help. The travelers have nothing in common, except for brief stays at a mysterious resort, known as the Magic Grove Hotel.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHead Count / Judith Cutler.
“A head teacher’s work is never done, especially if, like Jane Cowan, you’re a victim of your own success. Having done well with Wrayford Primary, she’s now expected to bring other neighbouring schools up to scratch as well. And all these responsibilities are compounded by an influx of children, most of whom do not speak English, following their families supplying cheap labour to surrounding farms. Jane can’t turn a blind eye to the conditions in which many of these families are living, even more so when some children simply disappear. When everything points to the shadowy dealings of people smugglers in the area, she has her work cut out for her seeing justice done and that’s before a threat far closer to home rears his head.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFaithless / Kjell Ola Dahl ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
“When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frolich is shocked to discover that he knows her and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he begins to look deeper into the tragic events surrounding her death, Frolich’s colleague Gunnarstranda finds another body, and things take a more sinister turn. With a cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway casting a shadow, and an unsettling number of coincidences clouding the plot, Frolich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers and the killer, before he strikes again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn English murder / Cyril Hare.
“The snow is thick, the phone line is down, and no one is getting in or out of Warbeck Hall. With friends and family gathered round the fire, all should be set for a perfect Christmas, but as the bells chime midnight, a mysterious murder takes place. Who can be responsible, the scorned young lover, or the lord’s passed-over cousin, the social climbing politician’s wife, or the Czech history professor, maybe the obsequious butler? But perhaps the real question is: can any of them survive long enough to tell the tale?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn dust and ashes / Anne Holt ; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce.
“In 2001, three year old Dina is killed in a tragic car accident. Not long thereafter Dina’s mother dies under mysterious circumstances, and Dina’s father Jonas is convicted of her murder. In 2016, the cold case ends up on the desk of Detective Henrik Holme, who tries to convince his mentor Hanne Wilhelmsen that the father might have been wrongly convicted. Holme and Wilhelmsen discover that the case could be connected to the suicide of an eccentric blogger as well as the kidnapping of the grandson of a Euro-Jackpot millionaire.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnder attack / Edward Marston.
“June, 1917. While another daylight air raid batters London, the body of respected businessman and devoted family man Gilbert Donohoe is fished from the Thames, the victim of strangulation. Inspector Marmion struggles with the case alongside his anxieties for his now-missing son, Paul, but the pressure increases when the Metropolitan Police are the target of a series of vicious press attacks. As Marmion is pilloried in the press, he uncovers a seedy path through London which will lead him towards the killer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBabylon Berlin / Volker Kutscher ; translated by Niall Sellar.
“Berlin, 1929. Detective Inspector Rath, was a successful career officer in the Cologne Homicide Division before a shooting incident in which he inadvertently killed a man. He has been transferred to the Vice Squad in Berlin, a job he detests, even though he finds a new friend in his boss, Chief Inspector Wolter. There is seething unrest in the city and the Commissioner of Police has ordered the Vice Squad to ruthlessly enforce the ban on May Day demonstrations. The result is catastrophic with many dead and injured, and a state of emergency is declared in the Communist strongholds of the city. When a car is hauled out of Berlin’s Landwehr Canal with a mutilated corpse inside the Commissioner decides to use this mystery to divert the attention of press and public from the casualties of the demonstrations. The biggest problem is that the corpse cannot be identified.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe widows of Malabar Hill / Sujata Massey.
“1920s India: Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s first female lawyer, with a legal education from Oxford, has a tragic personal history that makes women’s legal rights especially important to her. She has just joined her father’s law firm, which has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? The Farid widows live in full purdah, in strict seclusion, never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking to any men. Perveen tries to investigate, and realizes her instincts were correct when tensions escalate to murder. Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDry bones / Sally Spencer.
“When human bones are discovered in the cellars beneath St Luke’s College, two bodies, buried thirty years apart, the bursar, Charlie Swift, hires Jennie Redhead to investigate. As she uncovers a series of scandals stretching back sixty years, Jennie wonders how well she really knows her old friend Charlie and whether she can trust him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Mysterious new mystery novels

We’ve got another thrilling selection of new mystery novels with several translated from French, Norwegian and Swedish. As always they are set in different parts of the world, from Inverness to South Africa, Amsterdam to Melbourne. All promise gripping reading late into the night.

Syndetics book coverThe Roma plot / Mario Bolduc ; translated by Jacob Homel.t
“Max O’Brien is in a race against time and someone else’s past is catching up with him. Max O’Brien may be a professional con man, but that doesn’t mean you can’t count on him in a bind. So when he hears that his old friend Kevin Dandurand is a wanted man over a seemingly racially motivated killing spree, he heads to Bucharest to try to make sense of what looks like an impossible situation. The buried truths he uncovers reach back to the Second World War, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, and an entanglement between a Roma man and a German woman whose echoes pursue O’Brien and Dandurand into the present day. But if they can’t escape the long shadows of the past, the two will find their present cut all too short.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe accident on the A35 / Raymond Brunet ; translated and introduced by Graeme Macrae Burnet.
“The methodical but troubled Chief Inspector Georges Gorski visits the wife of a lawyer killed in a road accident, the accident on the A35. The case is unremarkable, the visit routine. Mme Barthelme, alluring and apparently unmoved by the news has a single question, where was her husband on the night of the accident? The answer might change nothing, but it could change everything. And Gorski sets a course for what can only be a painful truth. But the dead man’s reticent son is also looking for answers. And his search will have far more devastating consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnder the cold bright lights / Garry Disher.
“The young detectives call Alan Auhl a retread, but that doesn’t faze him. He does things his own way and gets results. He still lives with his ex-wife, off and on, in a big house full of random boarders and hard-luck stories. And he’s still a cop, even though he retired from Homicide some years ago. He works cold cases now. Like the death of John Elphick, his daughters still convinced he was murdered, the coroner not so sure, or the skeleton that’s just been found under a concrete slab. There is also the doctor who killed two wives and a girlfriend, and left no evidence at all. Auhl will stick with these cases until justice is done, one way or another.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe vanishing box / Elly Griffiths.
“Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ investigation into the death of a quiet flower seller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life and death is all too easily blurred.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath on the canal / Anja de Jager.
“Drinking outside a canal side bar on a perfect summer’s evening, Lotte is witness to the fatal stabbing of Piotr Mazur, a Polish security guard working in one of the city’s department stores. And as Lotte starts to investigate Mazur’s death she keeps finding facts that potentially link him to the case of the dead tourists but soon realises that the head of the team investigating their murders is trying to bury the information just as quickly as she unearths it. Lotte saw the victim in the bar moments before he was killed, and he was with a woman who passed him a photo of a child. She is now convinced that his death wasn’t a revenge-killing over drugs after all but she has to think carefully about what to do for the best, especially as key evidence in Mazur’s murder comes from someone she knows she cannot trust.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hanged man / Simon Kernick.
“A house deep in the countryside where the remains of seven unidentified women have just been discovered. With a cop ready to risk everything in the hunt for their killers and a man who has seen the murders and is now on the run in fear of his life. So begins the race to track down this witness before the killers do. For Ray Mason and PI Tina Boyd, the road ahead is a dangerous one, with bodies and betrayal at every turn.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShadow man / Margaret Kirk.
“Just before her wedding day, Morven Murray, queen of daytime TV, is found murdered. All eyes are on her sister Anna, who was heard arguing with her hours before she was killed. On the other side of Inverness, police informant Kevin Ramsay is killed in a gangland-style execution. But what exactly did he know? As ex-Met Detective Inspector Lukas Mahler digs deeper into both cases, he discovers that Morven’s life was closer to the Inverness underworld than anyone imagined. Caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, is Lukas hunting one killer, or two?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverApostle Lodge / Paul Mendelson.
“Apostle Lodge looks out over the ocean, an award-winning mansion built by a renowned architect. Stark and minimal, its black opaque windows hide a terrible secret. As Colonel Vaughn De Vries investigates the depraved crime committed within its walls, he believes there may be more than one killer on the loose, all with connections to a charismatic man who as a child, drowned his sister and shattered his family. And his work is not over yet.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe darkest day / Håkan Nesser ; translated from the Swedish by Sarah Death.
“It’s December in the quiet Swedish town of Kymlinge, and the Hermansson family are gathering to celebrate father Karl-Erik and eldest daughter Ebba’s joint landmark birthdays. But beneath the guise of happy festivities, tensions are running high, and it’s not long before the night takes a dark and unexpected turn. Before the weekend is over, two members of the Hermansson family are missing, and it’s up to Inspector Barbarotti, a detective who spends as much of his time debating the existence of God as he does solving cases, to determine exactly what has happened. He soon discovers he’ll have to unravel a whole tangle of sinister family secrets in the process.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWolves in the dark / Gunnar Staalesen ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
“Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts. When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a paedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material and who is seeking the ultimate revenge. When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest and most personal, case yet. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New mystery novels from around the world

Mystery readers will once again enjoy the prospect of much arm-chair travel in this month’s selection of new mysteries recently added to Wellington City Libraries fiction collection. There are mysteries set in Australia, Botswana, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Siberia, and in America: Los Angeles and New Mexico. All of course, involve murder, and will keep the reader in spine tingling suspense until the very last pages.

Syndetics book coverThe trust / Ronald H. Balson.
“When his uncle dies, Private Investigator Liam Taggart reluctantly returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for the funeral, a home he left years ago after a bitter confrontation with his family, never to look back. But when he arrives, Liam learns that not only was his uncle shot to death, but that he’d anticipated his own murder: In an astonishing last will and testament, Uncle Fergus has left his entire estate to a secret trust, directing that no distributions be made to any person until the killer is found. Did Fergus know, but refuse to name, his killer? Was this a crime of revenge, a vendetta leftover from Northern Ireland’s bloody sectarian war? Or is it possible that the killer is a family member seeking Fergus’s estate? As his investigation draws Liam farther and farther into the past he has abandoned, he realizes he is forced to reopen doors long ago shut and locked. Now, accepting the appointment as sole trustee of the Fergus Taggart Trust, Liam realizes he has stepped into the center of a firestorm.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe girl in the fog / Donato Carrisi ; translated by Howard Curtis.
“A man is arrested in the small town of Avechot. His shirt is covered in blood. Could this have anything to do with a missing girl called Anna Lou? What really happened to the girl? Detective Vogel will do anything to solve the mystery surrounding Anna Lou’s disappearance. When a media storm hits the quiet town, Vogel is sure that the suspect will be flushed out. Yet the clues are confusing, perhaps false, and following them may be a far cry from discovering the truth at the heart of a dark town.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMadness treads lightly / Polina Dashkova ; translated by Marian Schwartz.
“As a working mother, Lena Polyanskaya has her hands full. She’s busy caring for her two-year-old daughter, editing a successful magazine, and supporting her husband, a high-ranking colonel in counterintelligence. She doesn’t have time to play amateur detective. But when a close friend’s suspicious death is labeled a suicide, she’s determined to prove he wouldn’t have taken his own life. As Lena digs in to her investigation, all clues point to murder and its connection to a string of grisly cold-case homicides that stretches back to the Soviet era. When another person in her circle becomes a victim, Lena fears she and her family may be next. She’s determined to do whatever it takes to protect them. But will learning the truth unmask a killer or put her and her family in even more danger?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTwo kinds of truth / Michael Connelly.
“Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town’s 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of pill mills and prescription drug abuse. Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him, and seems to have new evidence to prove it. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison. The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe angel / Katerina Diamond.
“When a burned body is found in a disused signal box, suspicion falls on lonely teenager Gabriel Webb. There’s no doubt he was at the scene of the crime, but does he really deserve what awaits him in prison? DS Imogen Grey is certain there’s more to the case than meets the eye. But while she struggles to convince those around her of the truth, her partner DS Adrian Miles is distracted by his own demons. When a brutal double murder is reported, their investigation is stopped in its tracks. Is the body in the box even who they thought it was? The duo realise Gabriel might have been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But with enemies watching Gabriel’s every move, they may be too late.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDown for the count / Martin Holmén ; translated by Henning Koch.
“Harry Kvist walks out of the gates of Langholmen jail into the biting Stockholm winter of 1935. He has nothing to his name but a fiercely burning hope: that he can leave behind his old existence. But the city has other ideas. Nazis are spreading their poison on the freezing streets, and one of Kvist’s oldest friends has been murdered. Before he can leave Stockholm’s underworld for good, he must track down the killer. As Kvist uncovers a trail of blood leading to the highest echelons of Swedish society, the former boxer finds himself in a fight to the death with his most dangerous opponent yet.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKilling season : a thriller / Faye Kellerman.
” Four years ago, fifteen-year-old Ellen Vicksburg went missing in the quiet town of River Remez, New Mexico. Ellen was kind, studious, and universally liked. Her younger brother, Ben, could imagine nothing worse than never knowing what happened to her until, on the first anniversary of her death; he found her body in a shallow grave by the river s edge. Now he is committed to finding her murderer police believe she was the victim of a psychopath known as the Demon. In the police files, Ben’s analytical mind sees patterns that don t fit, tiny threads that he adds to the clues from other similar unsolved murders. As the body count rises, a picture emerges of an adversary who is as cunning and methodical as he is twisted.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Anthill murders / Hans Olav Lahlum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.
“1972. Across Oslo, a serial killer is hunting down young women. Each body found strangled and with a peculiar calling-card placed upon her body: a cut-out picture of an ant. The first victim is a timid theology student, the next a jazz singer, followed by the heir to one of the largest fortunes in Oslo. But despite Inspector K2’s best efforts to find a link, the only thing connecting them seems to be their murder. With assistant Patricia’s intellect put to the test and increasing pressure from his boss as the clock ticks down to the next possible killing, K2 is in danger of losing his position as Oslo’s leading homicide detective.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDying to live : a Detective Kubu mystery / Michael Stanley.
“A Bushman is discovered dead near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Africa. Although the man looks old enough to have died of natural causes, the police suspect foul play, and the body is sent to Gaborone for an autopsy. Pathologist Ian MacGregor confirms the cause of death as a broken neck, but is greatly puzzled by the man’s physiology. Although he’s obviously very old, his internal organs look remarkably young. He calls in Assistant Superintendent David “Kubu” Bengu. When the Bushman’s corpse is stolen from the morgue, suddenly the case takes on a new dimension.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnd fire came down / Emma Viskic.
“Deaf since early childhood, Caleb Zelic is used to meeting life head-on. Now, he is struggling just to get through the day. His best mate is dead, his ex-wife, Kat, is avoiding him, and nightmares haunt his waking hours. But when a young woman is killed, after pleading for his help in sign language, Caleb is determined to find out who she was. The trail leads Caleb back to his hometown, Resurrection Bay. The town is on bushfire alert, and simmering with racial tensions. As Caleb delves deeper, he uncovers secrets that could ruin any chance of reuniting with Kat, and even threaten his life. Driven by his own demons, he pushes on. But who is he willing to sacrifice along the way?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)