Fatal Flaws and Wild Cards: New Mystery Fiction!

Ready for some New Year mysteries? Look no further than our first booklist for 2020! Top of the pile is The Wild Card by Renée (Ngāti Kahungungu). As Ataria Sharman explains in The Pantograph Punch,  protagonist Ruby Palmer “is no damsel-in-distress. She’s a theatre-stealing, boss ass wahine toa determined to solve the mystery of her friend’s death, even at risk to her own life.”

Also in this month is the fourth book in the Wyndham and Banerjee historical crime series by Abir Mukherjee as well as the second novel by German writer Simone Buchholz to be translated in to English. Enjoy!

The wild card / Renée
“Ruby Palmer has been dealt a rough hand. She was left in a kete at the back door of the Porohiwi Home for Children when she was a baby, and then at seven she discovered that Betty who stopped the bad stuff happening to Ruby at the Home has drowned. Now in her thirties, Ruby suspects her friend was murdered–her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols on playing cards to tell a story she can’t understand. To discover the truth, Ruby needs to find the wild card, and fast.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The ashes of London / Taylor, Andrew
“London, 1666. As the Great Fire consumes everything in its path, the body of a man is found in the ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral. The son of a traitor, James Marwood is forced to hunt the killer through the city’s devastated streets. There he encounters a determined young woman who will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. When a second murder victim is discovered in the Fleet Ditch, Marwood is drawn into the political and religious intrigue of Westminster – and across the path of a killer with nothing to lose…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Death in the East / Mukherjee, Abir
“1922, India. Leaving Calcutta, Captain Sam Wyndham heads for the hills of Assam, to the ashram of a sainted monk where he hopes to conquer his opium addiction. But when he arrives, he sees a ghost from his life in London – a man thought to be long dead, a man Wyndham hoped he would never see again. Wyndham knows he must call his friend and colleague Sergeant Banerjee for help. He is certain this figure from his past isn’t here by coincidence. He is here for revenge . . .” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Beton Rouge / Buchholz, Simone
On a warm September morning, an unconscious man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of Germany’s biggest magazines. He’s soon identified as a manager of the company, and he’s been tortured. Three days later, another manager appears in a similar way. Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks, an investigation that goes far beyond the revenge they first suspect . . . to the dubious past shared by both victims.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

One fatal flaw / Perry, Anne
“It is 1910 and a fire has left one criminal dead and another charged with murder. Convinced of his innocence, Jessie Beale begs barrister Daniel Pitt to defend him. It’s a hopeless case–unless Daniel can find a witness whose testimony on fire damage is so convincing that any jury would believe him. Daniel’s friend Miriam Croft was taught by forensic scientist Sir Barnabas Saltram, who has built his reputation on giving evidence of this kind. But when Saltram agrees to testify, Daniel starts a chain of devastating events.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Murder fest / Wassmer, Julie
“A local Arts Festival is being held to honour a cultural exchange visit from representatives of Borken – Whitstable’s Twin Town in Germany. Yet very soon, personality clashes surface among the participants; local politicians try to use the festival for their own ends while others jostle for improved billing on the festival programme. Tempers flare, old feuds re-surface and on the eve of the first event, a cryptic message – Murder Fest – is received by the local police.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Fiction New (and Like New!)


The first new books for the year are in! Included in this month’s selection is Becky Manawatu’s debut novel Auē. Auē has been called a “contemporary story of loss, grief and domestic violence – but also of hope” and has been getting some great feedback. Check out RNZ’s interview with Manawatu here, and a preview of the first chapter via The Spinoff here.

Also in: re-releases, including the combined works of Giorgio Bassani with The Novel of Ferrara and the first English language edition of Irina Odoyevtseva’s Isolde. And of course there’s also a great range of page-turning summer reads, including Danielle Steel’s Spy: a Novel and Westwind by Ian Rankin. Enjoy!

Auē / Manawatu, Becky
“Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s. It spills out of the gang violence and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to another violent home. But Arama is braver than he looks, and he has a friend and his friend has a dog, and the three of them together might just be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The novel of Ferrara / Bassani, Giorgio
“Set in the Italian town of Ferrara, these six interlocking stories present a world of unforgettable characters: the doctor whose homosexuality is tolerated until he is humiliatingly exposed by a scandal; a survivor of the Nazi death camps whose neighbors’ celebration of his return gradually turns to ostracism; a man who has never recovered from the wounds inflicted in youth. Above all, the city itself assumes a character and a voice, deeply inflected by the Jewish community to which the narrator belongs.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

I am God / Sartori, Giacomo
I am God. Have been forever, will be forever. Forever, mind you, with the razor-sharp glint of a diamond, and without any counterpart in the languages of men. So begins God’s diary of the existential crisis that ensues when, inexplicably, he falls in love with a human. And not just any human, but a geneticist and fanatical atheist who’s certain she can improve upon the magnificent creation she doesn’t even give him the credit for. It’s frustrating, for a god…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Westwind / Rankin, Ian
“After his friend suspects something strange going on at the launch facility where they both work–and then goes missing–Martin Hepton doesn’t believe the official line of “long-term sick leave”. He leaves his old life behind, aware that someone is shadowing his every move. The only hope he has is his ex-girlfriend Jill Watson–the only journalist who will believe his story. But neither of them can believe the puzzle they’re piecing together–or just how shocking the secret is that everybody wants to stay hidden…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Hunter’s moon : a novel in stories / Caputo, Philip
Hunter’s Moon is set in Michigan’s wild, starkly beautiful Upper Peninsula, where a cast of recurring characters move into and out of each other’s lives, building friendships, facing loss, confronting violence, trying to bury the past or seeking to unearth it. Once-a-year lovers, old high-school buddies on a hunting trip, a college professor and his wayward son, a middle-aged man and his grief-stricken father, come together, break apart, and, if they’re fortunate, find a way forward.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

This is yesterday / Ruane, Rose
“Alone and adrift in London, Peach is heading into her mid-forties with nothing to show for her youthful promise but a stalled art career and the stopgap job in a Mayfair gallery that she’s somehow been doing for a decade. She is too young to feel this tired, and far too old to feel this lost. When Peach is woken one night with news that her father, who has Alzheimer’s disease, is in intensive care, she can no longer outrun the summer of secrets and sexual awakenings that augured twenty-five years of estrangement from her family.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

In love with George Eliot : a novel / O’Shaughnessy, Kathy
“Marian Evans is a scandalous figure, living in sin with a married man, George Henry Lewes. She has shocked polite society, and women rarely deign to visit her. In secret, though, she has begun writing fiction under the pseudonym George Eliot. As Adam Bede‘s fame grows, curiosity rises as to the identity of its mysterious writer. Gradually it becomes apparent that the moral genius Eliot is none other than the disgraced woman living with Lewes…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

On swift horses / Pufahl, Shannon
“Muriel is newly married and restless, transplanted from her rural Kansas hometown to life in a dusty bungalow in San Diego. She misses her freethinking mother and her sly, itinerant brother-in-law, Julius, who made the world feel bigger than she had imagined. And so she begins slipping off to the Del Mar racetrack to bet and eavesdrop, learning the language of horses and risk. Meanwhile, Julius is testing his fate in Las Vegas, working at a local casino where tourists watch atomic tests from the roof.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Spy : a novel / Steel, Danielle
“At eighteen, Alexandra Wickham is presented to King George V and Queen Mary in an exquisite white lace and satin dress her mother has ordered from Paris. But fate, a world war, and her own quietly rebellious personality lead her down a different path. By 1939, England is at war. Alex makes her way to London as a volunteer in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. But she has skills that draw the attention of another branch of the service. Fluent in French and German, she would make the perfect secret agent…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Isolde / Odoevt︠s︡eva, Irina
“Left to her own devices, fourteen-year-old Russian Liza meets an English boy, Cromwell, on a beach. He thinks he has found a romantic beauty; she is taken with his Buick. Restless, Liza, her brother Nikolai and her boyfriend enjoy Cromwell’s company–until his mother stops giving him money. First published in 1929, Isolde is a startlingly fresh, disturbing portrait of a lost generation of Russian exiles.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Sci-Fi Lord of the Flies: New Science Fiction

Salvation Lost / Peter E. Hamilton

Supernova Era, by Cixin Liu

Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy was one of the most expansive science fiction series in recent years, and this month Liu returns with a brand new epic: The Supernova Era. Liu began writing Supernova Era soon after the political uprising in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 (the book was published in China in 2004 and for the first time in English this year), and perhaps not coincidentally (social upheaval, disillusionment) it tells the story of an Earth that has been stripped of its adult population, leaving only children to try and navigate the future.

This month also sees some great Australian sci-fi, including The Old Lie by Claire G. Coleman and the finale of Jay Kristoff ‘s Nevernight Chronicles. For more on Coleman’s work, check out this recent interview. Enjoy!

Supernova era / Liu, Cixin
“Eight years ago, a star died. Tonight, a supernova tsunami of high energy will finally reach Earth. Dark skies will shine bright and within a year everyone over the age of thirteen will be dead. And so the countdown begins. Parents apprentice their children and try to pass on the knowledge they’ll need to keep the world running. But the last generation may not want to carry the legacy of their parents’ world. And though they imagine a better future, they may not be able to escape humanity’s dark instincts.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Salvation lost / Hamilton, Peter F
“The comparative utopia of twenty-third century Earth is about to go dreadfully awry when a seemingly benign alien race is abruptly revealed to be one of the worst threats humanity has ever faced. Driven by an intense religious extremism, the Olyix are determined to bring everyone to their version of god as they see it. But they may have met their match in humanity, who are not about to go gently into that good night or spend the rest of their days cowering in hiding.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Darkdawn / Kristoff, Jay
“The greatest games in Godsgrave’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic. Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

A second chance / Taylor, Jodi
“Behind the facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”–these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics; a more accurate description might be unintentional disaster-magnets. The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the adventures of Madeleine Maxwell and her compatriots as they travel through time, saving St. Mary’s and thwarting time-travelling terrorists.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The old lie / Coleman, Claire G
“Shane Daniels and Romany Zetz have been drawn into a war that is not their own. Lives will be destroyed, families will be torn apart. Trust will be broken. When the war is over, some will return to a changed world. Will they discover that glory is a lie?” (Catalogue)

Ten Thousand Doors: New General Fiction

As I continue to write in French, and my books often speak about Madagascar, it has become natural for me to translate. That’s why I consider myself as a bridge between Madagascar and elsewhere — Johary Ravaloson

Madagascar has a long literary history, but until the release of Beyond the Rice Fields in 2017, not a single novel from Madagascar had been translated into English. But things are slowly starting to change, with the recent translation and publication of Johary Ravaloson’s Return to the Enchanted Island, a retelling of the myths the author heard as a child–especially the story of the first man, Ietsy. (For more on Johary Ravaloson, check out this interview.)

Also recently released: Agent Running in the Field by the masterful John Le Carré, The Boyfriend from Wellington’s very own Laura Southgate and The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow–described as “a journey through books within books, worlds within worlds, mysteries within mysteries”. Enjoy!

Inland / Obreht, Téa
“Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life – her husband who has gone in search of water and her elder sons who have vanished after an argument. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home, and her husband’s seventeen-year-old cousin, who communes with spirits. Inland showcases Tea Obreht’s talents as a writer as she re-imagines the myths of the American West.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Agent running in the field / Le Carré, John
“Nat, a 47 year-old veteran of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him. Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a rag-tag band of spies. The only bright light on the team is young Florence, who has her eye on Russia Department and a Ukrainian oligarch with a finger in the Russia pie.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The boyfriend / Southgate, Laura
“Erica is 17 and in her last year of high school. Donny is 42 and everywhere – in her yoga class, at German Club, in her parents’ spare room . . . The story of a young woman who finds herself subject to the gravitational field of a charismatic man, The Boyfriend is a cautionary tale about blindly accepting traditional ‘love’ narratives. This clear-eyed, dismaying and often hilarious examination of sexual desire, trauma and growth is a remarkable debut and a perfect novel for our time.” (Catalogue)

Return to the enchanted island / Ravaloson, Johary
“Named after the first man at the creation of the world in Malagasy mythology, Ietsy Razak was raised to perpetuate the glory of his namesake and expected to be as illuminated as his Great Ancestor. But in the chaos of modernity, his young life is marked only by restlessness. When an unexpected tragedy ships him off to a boarding school in France, his trip to the big city is no hero’s journey. Only a return to the “Enchanted Island,” as Madagascar is lovingly known, helps Ietsy stumble toward his destiny.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Find me / Aciman, André
“In Find Me, Aciman shows us Elio’s father, Samuel, on a trip from Florence to Rome to visit Elio, who has become a gifted classical pianist. A chance encounter on the train with a beautiful young woman upends Sami’s plans and changes his life forever. Elio soon moves to Paris, where he, too, has a consequential affair, while Oliver, now a New England college professor with a family, suddenly finds himself contemplating a return trip across the Atlantic.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Irish princess / Chadwick, Elizabeth
“Ireland, 1152. The King of Lenister, awaiting news of his newborn child, is disappointed to hear he has a daughter. Diarmait MacMurchada wanted another strapping son to shoulder a spear, wield a sword, and protect his kingdom. But the moment Diarmait holds tiny Aoife in his arms, he realised she would be his most precious treasure. Forced into exile, Aoife and her family find themselves at the mercy of Henry II. Aoife – aware of her beauty but not its power – intrigues and beguiles Henry in equal measure…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The butterfly girl / Denfeld, Rene
“Naomi Cottle is an investigator who finds missing children. But the one child she has never been able to find is her sister. Now, twenty years later, there is at long last a clue that her sister might still be alive. Celia is a street child. Her life is tough and she has seen more things that any child should. Street children have been going missing and the town has been turning a blind eye. It is only when Naomi turns up that they find someone who will listen to them. And someone who might give them hope.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A modern family / Flatland, Helga
“When Liv, Ellen, and H kon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce. Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Albert Einstein speaking / Gadney, Reg
“From a wrong number to a friendship that would impact both their lives, this begins with two unlikely friends – the world’s most respected scientist and a schoolgirl from New Jersey. From their first conversation Mimi Beaufort had a profound effect on Einstein and brought him, in his final years, back to life. In turn he let her into his world. This riotous, charming and moving novel spans almost a century of European history and shines a light on the real man behind the myth.” (Catalogue)

The ten thousand doors of January / Harrow, Alix E
“In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Science fiction and fantasy: Epic conclusions and curious creations

New tales in science fiction and fantasy and delving into the vaults.  Wheel of time fans have a pre Wheel of time Robert Jordan, a.k.a. James Oliver Rigney, Jr. title to revel in. Becky Chamber’s new novella explores the potential for space exploration, boundaries expand as humans are adapted to their new environments before they arrive, but what is the fate of the homeworld they leave behind?

The confines of linear time and lifespan are challenged in Joe Abercrombie’s A little hatred and Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the ninth. The Lightbringer series concludes with Brent Weeks’ The burning white. Nine years from start to finish this epic saga of magic, lies and betrayals has seen it’s characters transform as the world they know evolves around them. So who is the Lightbringer?

To be taught if fortunate / Chambers, Becky
“In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the galaxy transform themselves.  Ariadne and her fellow crewmates sleep while in transit, and wake each time with different features. But as they shift through both form and time, life back on Earth has also changed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the wonders and dangers of her journey, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Warrior of the Altaii / Jordan, Robert (print), (eBook)
“Draw near and listen, or else time is at an end. The watering holes of the Plain are drying up, the fearsome fanghorn grow more numerous, and bad omens abound. Wulfgar, a leader of the Altaii people, must contend with twin queens, warlords, prophets, and magic in hopes of protecting his people and securing their future. This is Robert Jordan’s never-before-published first novel, which he wrote before his well-known Wheel of Time series.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A little hatred / Abercrombie, Joe
“The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the Long Eye glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another. Old scores run deep as ever. On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield. Savine dan Glokta plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary and the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Gideon the ninth / Muir, Tamsyn (print), (eBook)
“Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse.  But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House, has been summoned into action. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. Of course, some things are better left dead.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The burning white / Weeks, Brent
“In the stunning conclusion to the epic, Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, kingdoms clash as Kip must finally escape his family’s shadow in order to protect the land and people he loves. As the White King springs his great trap, and the Chromeria itself is threatened by treason and siege, Kip Guile and his companions will scramble to return for one impossible final stand. In the darkest hour, will the Lightbringer come? (Adapted from catalogue)

The cruel stars / Birmingham, John
“Centuries after their defeat, the Sturm have returned with an overwhelming attack on the fringes of human space.  Everybody thought the Sturm were dead, engulfed by the Dark. They were wrong. On the brink of annihilation, humankind’s only hope is a few brave souls who survived the initial onslaught. Five flawed, reluctant heroes must band together to prevail against a relentless enemy and near-impossible odds. For if they fail, the future itself is doomed.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Season of storms / Sapkowski, Andrzej
Translated from original Polish by David French
“Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, one of the few capable of hunting the monsters that prey on humanity. A mutant who is tasked with killing unnatural beings. He uses magical signs, potions, and the pride of every Witcher – two swords, steel and silver. But a contract has gone wrong, and Geralt finds himself without his signature weapons. Now he needs them back, because sorcerers are scheming, and across the world the  season of storms is coming…” (Adapted from catalogue)

Knight / Zahn, Timothy (print, (eBook)
“Nicole Hammond was just trying to survive on the streets of Philidelphia, then she and her partner Bungie were abducted by a race of mysterious moth-like aliens and taken to a strange ship. Now she is a Sibyl, a special human that has the ability to communicate with the aliens and their ship. Competing factions control different parts of the ship with the humans and other sentient aliens caught in the middle. But Nicole has a plan to take control of the ship. She just has to outsmart war profiteers and slavers to do it.” (Adapted from catalogue)

New general fiction: forging fanciful new trails

Our selection this month includes the thirteenth novel by celebrated New Zealand Aotearoa author Elizabeth Knox. The absolute book is described by the author as an ‘arcane thriller’, a quest and a personal journey about revenge. This far ranging creation is rich in detail, born from the author’s knowledge of myth and folklore, the intricacies of the tale balancing between two worlds is a pleasure to be immersed in.

In The giver of stars, Jojo Moyes looks at the life of rural horseback librarians in Kentucky in the Depression era. A crew of five women from very different backgrounds will find their lives changed and influenced by choice and chance as they deliver books to people who had never had any, expanding horizons and arming them with facts that will change their lives. Gun island weaves together a contemporary and traditional tale as characters roam, migrating like seasonal animals whose patterns no longer conform to previous paths.

Other titles range from gripping thrillers to historical tales, reprising favourite love stories and gritty gangster tales. A great variety from talented writers, something for all readers to enjoy.

The absolute book / Knox, Elizabeth
“Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-conceived revenge. A book about beautiful societies founded on theft and treachery, and one in which dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, set in London, Norfolk, and the Wye Valley; in Auckland, New Zealand; in the Island of Apples and Summer Road of the Sidhe; at Hell’s Gate; in the Tacit with its tombs; and in the hospitals and train stations of Purgatory.” (Catalogue)

The Dutch house / Patchett, Ann (print), (eBook)
“Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish mansion. Though his father is distant and his mother is absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve: Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her wit, her brilliance. Life is coherent, played out under the watchful eyes of the house’s former owners in the frames of their oil paintings. Then one day their father brings Andrea home. Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve’s lives. The siblings are drawn back time and again to the place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own exile is that of their mother’s: an absence more powerful than any presence they have known. ” (Catalogue)

Postscript / Ahern, Cecelia (print), (eBook)
“‘We desperately need your help Holly. We’re running out of ideas and…’ She takes a breath in as if summoning the energy, ‘all of us are running out of time.’ When Holly Kennedy is approached by a group calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, her safe existence is turned on its head. Inspired by her late husband Gerry’s letters, the club wants Holly to help them with their own parting messages for their loved ones to discover after they’re gone. Holly is sure of one thing – no way is she being dragged back to the grief she has left behind. It’s taken seven years to reinvent herself, and she’s ready to move on with her life. But Holly comes to realize that when you love someone, there’s always one more thing to say…” (Catalogue)

Tin badges : a novel / Carcaterra, Lorenzo (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“As one of the NYPD’s most trusted “tin badges”–retired detectives brought in to solve cases that are beyond the reach of the everyday force–Tank Rizzo has faced off against some of the city’s toughest criminals without breaking a sweat. To tackle a case involving a dangerous kingpin known as Gonzo, Tank turns to his best friend and ex-partner, Pearl; a former mobster living out a seemingly quiet retirement as the owner of Tank’s favorite Italian restaurant; and a team of expert misfits he would trust with his life. But Gonzo will stop at nothing to defend the empire he’s built, and won’t hesitate to make it personal.” (Catalogue)

The giver of stars / Moyes, Jojo
“When a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Mrs. Roosevelt’s new traveling WPA library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. The leader, Margery, the smart-talking, self-sufficient daughter of a notorious local criminal, a woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. Alice finds Margery as bracing and courageous as anyone she’s ever met–and comes to rely on her, especially as her marriage starts to fail. They will be joined by three other women–two white, one black–and become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. Funny, heartbreaking, and rewarding, it is a rich novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.” (Catalogue)

Gun island : a novel / Ghosh, Amitav
“Bundook. Gun. A common word, but one which turns Deen Datta’s world upside down. A dealer of rare books, Deen is used to a quiet life spent indoors, but as his once-solid beliefs begin to shift, he is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey; one that takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way. Gun Island is a beautifully realised novel which effortlessly spans space and time. It is the story of a world on the brink, of increasing displacement and unstoppable transition. But it is also a story of hope, of a man whose faith in the world and the future is restored by two remarkable women.” (Catalogue)

Pursuit : a novel of suspense / Oates, Joyce Carol
“As a child, Abby had the same recurring nightmare night after night. Now an adult, Abby thinks she’s outgrown her demons, until, the evening before her wedding, the terrible dream returns and forces her to confront the dark secrets from her past she has kept from her new husband, Willem. The following day Abby steps out into traffic. As his wife lies in her hospital bed, sleeping in fits and starts, Willem tries to determine whether this was an absentminded accident or a premeditated plunge. Slowly, Abby begins to open up to her husband, revealing to him what she has never shared with anyone before, the story of a terrified mother; a jealous, drug addled father; and a daughter’s terrifying captivity.” (Catalogue)

Bloody genius / Sandford, John
“At the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of PC culture. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right? Then someone winds up dead, and Virgil Flowers is brought in to investigate . . . and he soon comes to realize he’s dealing with people who, on this one particular issue, are functionally crazy. Among this group of wildly impassioned, diametrically opposed zealots lurks a killer, and it will be up to Virgil to sort the murderer from the mere maniacs.” (Catalogue)

A thousand ships / Haynes, Natalie (print), (eBook)
“In the early hours of the morning, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and Troy has fallen. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash…The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretch from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across the oceans and sky in between. Arising from this are the individual tales of the women embroiled in the lead-up to and the aftermath of that legendary war, as well as the feud and the fatal decisions that started it all…Powerfully told from an all-female perspective, A Thousand Ships gives voices to the women, girls, and goddesses who, for so long, were kept silent.” (Catalogue)

New Mysteries: Danse macabre

This month the holiday titles are already rolling in, so if you want to start on your holiday reading list we have some great new crime titles for you. James Patterson’s The Women’s Murder club’s 19th edition is focused on the Christmas holidays where a lull in crime is a misleading start to season, a roller coaster ride is about to begin as a formidable criminal sets a plan into action that will culminate on Christmas day! David Rosenfelt brings levity to the season with a fun cozy mystery where canine companions are the way into solving human problems. Daschshund through the snow brings out the skills of Andy and Laurie as the reticent and enthusiastic try to bring hope and resolution to those around them despite the odds.

Susanna Gregory and Paul Doherty conjour up the social and political realities British history for the medieval and Stuart eras where church and royalty governed the pattern of people’s lives. Gregory writes as the aftermath of the plague has hollowed out 1666 London and Thomas Chalinor feels the city is in a precarious situation. Facing social unrest and political intrigue he attempts to unravel three seemingly unrelated crimes. Paul Doherty has richly illustrated the medieval era in this novel of dark suspense. The tensions in the Welsh Holyrood Abbey run high where Edward I’s body guards are conducting themselves as monks. Murderous events begin to play out and Sir Hugh Corbett, Keeper of the Secret Seal is detailed to seek out answers.

Other crime titles lead readers through unlawful acts as personal tensions and past grievances are played out in the countryside and inside city limits.  From scrapbook murder sleuths to experienced police investigators this selection of crime novels has something for all readers to enjoy.

The 19th Christmas / Patterson, James
“As the holidays approach, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends in the Women’s Murder Club have much to celebrate. Even the courts are showing some Christmas spirit. Then a fearsome criminal known only as “Loman” seizes control of the headlines. He is planning a deadly surprise for Christmas morning. Solving crimes never happens on schedule, but as this criminal mastermind unleashes credible threats by the hour, the month of December is upended for the Women’s Murder Club. Avoiding tragedy is the only holiday miracle they seek.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Intrigue in Covent Garden / Gregory, Susanna
“By January 1666, the plague has almost disappeared from London, leaving its surviving population diminished and in poverty. Thomas Chalinor is investigating several unrelated crimes at he behest of his employer. Common threads in all the cases, which seem linked to those planning to set a match to the powder keg of rebellion in the city. Chalinor is in a race against time to prevent the weakened city from utter destruction.”  (Adapted from catalogue)

Dachshund through the snow / Rosenfelt, David (print), (eAudiobook)
“Lawyer Andy Carpenter and his wife, Laurie, generously give back year-round, but they always try to do a little something extra around the holidays. Andy’s local pet store has a Christmas tree, where instead of ornaments there are wishes from those in need. This leads Andy to six-year-old Adam, whose selfless plea strikes a chord with Andy and Laurie. With his trademark humor and larger-than-life characters, Rosenfelt never fails to deliver as Andy and his eccentric crew dash to reunite a family in time for Christmas.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Syndetics book coverMumbo gumbo murder / Laura Childs, with Terrie Farley Moran.
“It’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and giant puppets are parading through the French Quarter. As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling’s antiques shop. After the police examine Devon’s body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but how long do they have before they find themselves on the killer’s list?” (Adapted from catalogue)

Death’s dark valley / Doherty, P. C
“At Holyrood Abbey, the old king’s former bodyguards watch over a mysterious prisoner who is kept in the abbey’s dungeon. But their peaceful existence is shattered when Abbot Henry is poisoned. Summoned to Holyrood, Sir Hugh Corbett finds the fortress in chaos. As more mysterious deaths occur, and a violent snow storm sweeps through the valley, Corbett must act quickly to identify the malevolent demon who has risen from hell to turn the abbey into a house of murder.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A bitter feast : a novel / Crombie, Deborah
“Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James and their children are guests at the country estate belonging to the family of Melody Talbot. A centerpiece of this getaway is a charity luncheon catered by up-and-coming chef Viv Holland. But a tragic car accident followed by a series of mysterious deaths could ruin her ascent. Each piece of information that surfaces makes it clear that the killer had a connection with Viv’s pub, and perhaps with Beck House itself.  With so much at stake both personally and professionally, especially for Melody Talbot, finding the killer becomes one of the team’s most crucial cases.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Murder in the corn maze / McKevett, G. A
“After joining the other townspeople for trick-or-treating and the annual parade, Granny Reid and the kids head to Judge Patterson’s mansion, where a corn maze awaits. Most of the youngsters are too terrified to make it all the way to the middle. When Savannah and Granny get there, it proves to be even scarier than they expected–half buried in the mud at the center of the maze lies a human skull. It’ll be up to Granny to dig into this Southern town’s history and a mess of old family secrets.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Stone cold heart : a novel / Frear, Caz (print), (eBook)
“A young Australian woman turns up dead after a party thrown by her new boss. The initial investigation points to Joseph Madden, the owner of a coffee shop around the corner from police headquarters. Madden insists he’s innocent, that he was home with his wife Rachel at the time of the murder. But Rachel contradicts his alibi, swearing that she was home alone. As she tries to balance the demands of the investigation with a budding romance and unresolved family drama, Cat has to decide how far she’ll go to keep her own past mistakes buried.” (Adapted from catalogue)

New Translated Fiction: a Way with Words

This latest selection of works translated into English features French writers exploring the joys and depths of fiction, from comedic farce to the thought-provoking. Danish writer Ane Riel spins a dark, suspenseful tale of family possession and obsession centered around Liv, the young daughter of a reclusive household. Recently adapted into film by Daniel Borgman, Resin premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Another young girl is the pivot for a European boundary-straddling novel, The Soul of the Border. The Soul of the Border is the first in Matteo Righetto’s Mountain Trilogy featuring the area between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian empire in the late 19th century. Rodrigo Rey Rosa negotiates a catalogue of Guatemalan crime as his protagonist searches through the arrest records of the police archive. This work appears to flicker between the real and the embellished as details of Guatemala’s political history and current instability permeate the novel.

The girl who lived twice / Lagercrantz, David
“Lisbeth Salander has disappeared… And no one is aware that at long last she’s got her prime enemy, her twin sister, Camilla, squarely in her sights. Mikael Blomkvist is trying to reach Lisbeth. He needs her help unraveling the identity of a man who lived and died on the streets of Stockholm. He does not exist in any official records and whose garbled last words hinted at possible damaging knowledge of people in the highest echelons of government and industry.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The book of dreams : a novel / George, Nina
“When Henri ends up in a coma after rescuing a young girl from the Thames, his ex-girlfriend, Eddie, discovers that she is listed as Henri’s next-of-kin in his living will. Sam, Henri’s teenage son, has never seen his father alive, other than the video of him heroically saving a girl from drowning. Sam and Eddie, each previously unaware of the other, slowly begin to carve out an unexpected and powerful friendship. Full of rich, captivating characters, and in placing the serious questions of life and death alongside a wonderful and engrossing story, The Book of Dreams asks with grace and gravitas what we will truly find meaningful in our lives after we are gone.” (Catalogue)

Serotonin / Houellebecq, Michel
“Dissatisfied and discontent, Florent-Claude Labrouste decides to abandon his life in Paris and return to the Normandy countryside of his youth. There he contemplates lost loves and past happiness as he struggles to embed himself in a world that no longer holds any joy for him. His only relief, Captorix, which works by altering the brain’s release of serotonin. With social unrest intensifying around him, and his own depression deepening, Florent-Claude turns to this new medication in the hope that he will find something to live for. Serotonin is at once a devastating story of solitude, longing and individual suffering, and a powerful criticism of modern life.” (Catalogue)

Human matter : a fiction / Rey Rosa, Rodrigo
“Human Matter is both a tour de force of fiction and a sobering meditation on the realities of collective memory, raising timely questions about how our history is recorded and retold. The Archive Recovery Project inspired Rey Rosa to craft a meta-novel that weaves the language of arrest records and surveillance reports with the contemporary journal entries of a novelist (named Rodrigo) who is attempting to synthesize the stories of political activists, indigenous people, and other women and men who became ensnared in a deadly web of state-sponsored terrorism.” (Catalogue)

Soul of the border : a novel / Righetto, Matteo
“In this exhilarating coming-of-age tale, a daring young woman braves the wilds of the Austrian-Italian border. Jole de Boer is just fifteen years old the first time she accompanies her father–a tobacco grower named Augusto–as he smuggles his product across the Italian border into Austria.  But when Augusto mysteriously disappears during one of his trips, Jole must retrace the route he took to both find a buyer for her family’s tobacco–and the truth behind her father’s disappearance. An epic tale of revenge, corruption, and salvation, The Soul of the Border is an unforgettable journey into the wild.” (Catalogue)

Vintage 1954 / Laurain, Antoine
“When Hubert Larnaudie invites some fellow residents of his Parisian apartment building to drink an exceptional bottle of 1954 Beaujolais, he has no idea of its special properties. The following morning, Hubert finds himself waking up in 1950s Paris, as do antique restorer Magalie, mixologist Julien, and Airbnb tenant Bob from Milwaukee, who’s on his first trip to Europe. After their initial shock, the city of Edith Piaf and An American in Paris begins to work its charm on them. The four delight in getting to know the French capital during this iconic period, whilst also playing with the possibilities that time travel allows.” (Catalogue)

Resin / Riel, Ane (print), (eBook)
“Suspenseful and heart-breaking, Resin is the story of what can happen when you love someone too much. Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think. Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing. But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents. This way, Liv would be safe.” (Catalogue)

The truth behind the lie / Lövestam, Sara
“Need help, but can’t contact the police?” That’s the ad placed by low-flying private eye Kouplan, an undocumented refugee in Stockholm forced to flee Iran owing to his work on a radical newspaper. Here he’s helping a client find her missing daughter, but something about her story is amiss. Pernilla’s daughter has vanished without a trace, and Kouplan is an expert at living and working off the grid. He’s the perfect PI to help… but something in Pernilla’s story doesn’t add up. She might need help that he can’t offer… and a little girl’s life hangs in the balance.” (Catalogue)

 

Unravel this… new mysteries October 2019

This month features a range of Mysteries for all types of readers.  From the wisecracking Terns of endearment by Donna Andrews, to the slick writing of Simone Buchholz in Beton Rouge, this German noir translated by Rachel Ward has dry humour and razor sharp lyrical prose. There’s a  new detective series launched by Ann Cleeves, set in the south of Britain where she fearlessly examines small communities and individuals affected by crime.  

Colin Cotterill forages through the past of the former national coroner of Laos. Dr. Siri is looking for the source of the threat to himself and his loved ones in The second biggest nothing. Elizabethan times are put on show in The Angel’s mark.  First time author S.W. Perry, who’s previous careers in broadcasting and aviation have been transmuted into historical fiction, delves into Elizabethan medicine in this richly detailed mystery set in Tudor London.

Beton Rouge / Buchholz, Simone, translated by Rachel Ward (print), (eBook)
On a warm September morning, an unconscious, tortured man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of Germany’s biggest magazines. Three days later, another appears. Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks. A smart, dark, probing thriller, full of all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the very best noir, Beton Rouge is both a classic whodunit and a scintillating expose of society, by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.” (Adapted from catalogue)

How the dead speak / McDermid, Val
“After an explosive case that forced Tony Hill and Carol Jordan to reassess everything they thought they knew about right and wrong, both are dealing with the fallout in their own separate ways. While Tony must pay the price for his actions, Carol is conducting investigations into suspected miscarriages of justice. But when a shocking discovery is made on a construction site, and skeletal remains are found to belong to a killer who is supposedly alive and in prison, suddenly, Tony and Carol are brought into each other’s orbit once again.” (Catalogue)

Terns of endearment / Andrews, Donna (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
Meg’s grandfather has been booked to give lectures on a cruise as part of the education/entertainment itinerary, and he’s arranged for a passel of family members to join him. The passengers’ vacation quickly becomes a nightmare when they wake up to find themselves broken down and in need of repairs. Things get even worse when a crew member announces to all that a woman has jumped overboard, leaving behind her shoes, shawl, and a note.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The long call / Cleeves, Ann (print), (eBook)
North Devon – where the rivers Taw and Torridge run to the sea – is an idyllic holiday spot for so many. Ice-cream, sun, surf, it’s all there for the taking. But when the holiday makers leave, what is left? One man knows all of its secrets. He grew up there, a member of the Devon Brethren until he was cast out by his family for something he could, and never would, change; the right to love who he chose. Now he has a husband and a life he loves. Together they live on the water towards Lundy Island and he is a detective, with a team and a mission to keep Devon safe. Meet Matthew Venn.” (Catalogue)

The second biggest nothing / Cotterill, Colin (print), (eBook)
“Vientiane, 1980: For a man of his age and in his corner of the world, Dr. Siri, the 76-year-old former national coroner of Laos, is doing remarkably well–especially considering the fact that he is possessed by a thousand-year-old Hmong shaman. That is, until he finds a mysterious note tied to his dog, Ugly’s, tail. The death threat is not just aimed at him, but at everyone he holds dear. The note claims the job will be executed in two weeks. Thus, at the urging of his wife and his motley crew of faithful friends, Dr. Siri must figure out who wants him dead.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The chosen : a novel / Ohlsson, Kristina (print), (eBook)
On a cold winter’s day, a pre-school teacher is shot to death in front of parents and children at the Jewish Congregation in Stockholm. Just a few hours later, two Jewish boys go missing on their way to tennis practice, and an unexpected blizzard destroys any trace of the perpetrator. Investigative analyst Fredrika Bergman and police superintendent Alex Recht face their toughest challenge ever on the hunt for a killer as merciless as he is effective. It is up to Fredrika to track down the elusive murderer before he claims his next victim.delivers a tense, atmospheric mystery featuring an enigmatic killer rooted in folklore. ” (Catalogue)

The angel’s mark / Perry, S. W (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
LONDON, 1590. Amidst a tumultuous backdrop of Spanish plotters, Catholic heretics and foreign wars, Queen Elizabeth I’s control over her kingdom is wavering. And a killer is at work, preying on the weak and destitute of London… Idealistic physician Nicholas Shelby becomes determined to end these terrible murders. Joined in his investigations by Bianca, a beautiful but mysterious tavern keeper, the pair find themselves caught in the middle of a sinister plot. With the killer still at large, Bianca finds herself in terrible danger. Nicholas’s choice seems impossible – to save Bianca, or save himself.” (Catalogue)

Finales and first issues – new comics

After 25 years of Hellboy, The B.P.R.D. finale has arrived. Mike Mignola crafts an image rich apocalypse, a pivotal point in the mythos of this world this issue reveals massive twists in what we have come to understand as B.P.R.D. lore. Recently reprised in the Hellboy movie, with Stranger things’ David Harbour this issue, Ragna rok, is definitely worth catching.

George Takei teams up with Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for his graphic memoir, They called us enemy. Forced from their home into an uncertain future, Takei and his entire family were incarcerated in American concentration camps. The futuristic designs of Eileen Gray are detailed in a graphic novel bearing her name, a statement in it’s self coming from an era where the work of women architects was often eclipsed by their male counterparts. And a new series, Prodigy, from the creator of the Walking Dead has polymath Edison Crane fixing global problems.

Eclectic styles and commentaries on the fantastic to the historic and how they impact our lives today these comics are bursting with tales to tell. Enjoy!

They called us enemy / Takei, George
“In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to “relocation centers”. A stunning graphic memoir, They called us enemy, is George Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future. What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do?” (Adapted from catalogue)

B.P.R.D. : the devil you know [3] : Ragna rok / Mignola, Michael (print ), (eBook)
“The finale to B.P.R.D., Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and the rest of the bureau face off against one of their oldest enemies in the last battle to save the world. One enemy leads to another as the B.P.R.D. finds themselves up against something–and someone–even more sinister than they believed, and Christopher Mitten draws the origin story of one of the B.P.R.D.’s most mysterious foes.
Collects B.P.R.D.- The Devil You Know #11-15.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Eileen Gray : a house under the sun / Malterre-Barthes, Charlotte
“Meet Eileen Gray, the queer, Irish architect behind the world-renowned E-1027 house and a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture. In 1924. Nearly a century later, this structure is a design milestone. Dzierżawska’s exquisite visuals illuminate the previously overlooked struggles and triumphs of a young queer Irish designer whose work and life came to bloom during the ‘Ann es Folles’ of early 20th century Paris.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Prodigy : the evil earth / Millar, Mark
“Edison Crane’s not content being the world’s smartest man and most successful businessman — his brilliant mind needs constantly challenged. He’s a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, genius composer, Olympic athlete and an expert in the occult, and now international governments are calling on him to fix problems they just can’t handle. Collects Prodigy 1-6.” (Adapted from catalogue)

House of whispers. Volume one, The power divided / Gaiman, Neil
“One of four books expanding Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed Sandman Universe. Welcome to the House of Dahomey, the houseboat of Erzulie Fréda, where the souls of Voodoo followers go when they sleep but even the fearsome Erzulie is powerless when her dream river turns sour, tossing her house from one realm and into another.. the Dreaming! Collects House of Whispers #1-6 and Sandman Universe Special #1″ (Adapted from catalogue)

Stay / Trondheim, Lewis
A moving and mesmerizing look at life, death, written by celebrated author Lewis Trondheim and illustrated by Hubert Chevillard. Roland has the perfect vacation planned for Fabienne, with the entire itinerary recorded in a notebook. But, Roland is decapitated in a freak accident. And Fabienne, stunned and alone, has no idea how to process it. Ghost-like, she wanders the tourist-filled streets, a passive spectator. Along the way she meets Paco a local vendor with some eccentric views on life and death...” (Catalogue)

Die!Die!Die! [1] / Kirkman, Robert
“We don’t like to admit it, but this is an evil world where evil people do evil stuff all the time. Thankfully, there is a secret cabal with the United States government that works outside our normal system to influence world matters through targeted assassination. The world around us is manipulated right under our noses. So if you’re hurting people, somehow making the world worse than it already is,  someone could right now be giving the order for you to… DIE DIE DIE. Collects DIE DIE DIE #1-8.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Woman world / Dhaliwal, Aminder
“When a birth defect wipes out the planet’s entire population of men, Woman World rises out of society’s ashes. Dhaliwal’s infectiously funny instagram comic follows the rebuilding process, tracking a group of women who have rallied together under the flag of “Beyonce’s Thighs.” Only Grandma remembers the distant past, a civilization of segway-riding mall cops and “That’s What She Said” jokes. For the most part, Woman World‘s residents are focused on their struggles with unrequited love and anxiety, not to mention that whole “survival of humanity” thing.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Death to the tsar / Nury, Fabien
“Moscow. September 17th. 1904. In front of the palace of the Governor General of Moscow, the assembled masses protest against widespread poverty. Governor Sergei Alexandrovich is stood on the balcony when he drops his hankerchief – inadvertently giving the signal for the soldiers to open fire… The repercussions of his deadly mistake resound throughout the whole of Russia… and the assassins close in. Told in two parts, this is the true story of the assassination of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and a nation on the brink of revolution.” (Adapted from catalogue)