This month’s selection of new mystery novels includes several translated works, many well-known crime writers and several new writers. Hotel du Barry, a debut novel by Australian writer Lesley Truffle is highly recommended.
The killing forest / Sara Blaedel ; translated by Mark Kline.
“Following an extended leave, Louise Rick returns to work at the Special Search Agency, an elite unit of the National Police Department. She’s assigned a case involving a fifteen-year-old who vanished a week earlier. When Louise realizes that the missing teenager is the son of a butcher from Hvalsoe, she seizes the opportunity to combine the search for the teen with her personal investigation of her boyfriend’s long-ago death. Louise’s investigation takes her on a journey back through time. As she moves through the small town’s cramped network of deadly connections, Louise unearths toxic truths left unspoken and dangerous secrets.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Ascension / Gregory Dowling.
“This novel is set in Venice in the mid eighteenth century, when the city had lost its political and financial primacy but had become Europe’s pleasure capital, famous for its gambling dens, its courtesans, its hectic carnival, its music, art and theatre and the most highly organised secret service in Europe. The hero-narrator is Alvise Marangon, a Venetian in his early twenties who is unwillingly recruited into the Secret Service and becomes embroiled in a conspiracy to murder the city’s leader.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Bryant & May and the bleeding heart/ Christopher Fowler.
“A teenager sees a dead man rise from his grave and moments later is killed in a sudden hit-and-run accident. Seven ravens housed in the impenetrable fortress that is the Tower of London vanish without a trace and legend has it that when the ravens leave, the city will fall. Bryant and May must figure out how these two inexplicable, seemingly unrelated mysteries fit together as they begin an investigation that finds them confronting a group of latter-day body snatchers and exploring the corridors of an eerie funeral parlour, all to unearth the truth behind the gruesome legend of Bleeding Heart Yard.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Death under a Tuscan sun / Michele Giuttari ; translated by Isabelle Kaufeler.
“In his dark and fetid prison cell, serial killer Daniele de Robertis plans his retribution. The betrayals he has suffered haunt his dreams until, one night, he escapes. In a small, beautiful village in the Tuscan countryside a prominent lawyer and his wife are murdered. As the police inspect the scene they find nine terrifying photographs: nine women, slaughtered. It is Florentine Police Chief Michele Ferrara’s worst nightmare: a case involving the untouchable men and women at the top of Italian society, a dark and powerful cult which knows no bounds, and mounting victims. Amongst a web of obsession, manipulation and violence, Ferrara must face his demons.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Blood sisters / Graham Masterton.
“In Cork, Ireland, Det. Supt. Katie Maguire must investigate when Sister Bridget Healy, an elderly nun in a nursing home, is found slain in her bed. Another two nuns go missing. The authorities discover that Sister Bridget and the other nuns all served at Bon Sauveur Convent, formerly a home for unmarried women and their babies. Secrets and the lengths people will go to protect them are abundant, and even Katie has a secret of her own.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
I am your judge / Nele Neuhaus ; translated from the German by Steven T. Murray.
“Police Detective Pia Kirchhoff is about to leave on her long-delayed honeymoon when she receives a phone call. An elderly woman has been shot and killed while walking her dog. When a short while later another murder is committed and the modus operandi is eerily similar. Two more murders follow in short order. None of the victims had enemies and no one knows why they were singled out. As fear of the Taunus Sniper grows among the local residents, the pressure rises on Detective Kirchhoff. She and her partner, Oliver von Bodenstein, search for a suspect who appears to murder at will, but as the investigation progresses, the police officers uncover a human tragedy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Sidney Chambers and the forgiveness of sins / James Runcie.
“Forgiveness of betrayal, deceit, abuse, vengeance, neglect is at the heart of this fourth Grantchester mystery, featuring full-time Anglican priest and part-time detective Sidney Chambers. Starting with a distraught man who seeks sanctuary, believing he’s murdered his wife, and ending with an art theft after the disastrous Florence flood of 1966, Chambers is continually called on to solve crimes, in concert with his good friend Inspector Geordie Keating. These include a man killed when a piano falls on his head; threats to Sydney’s best friend, Amanda Kendall, as she prepares for her wedding; and the explosion in the science building of a boys’ school.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
No shred of evidence / Charles Todd.
“It’s 1920, and Insp. Ian Rutledge has been sent to the Cornish countryside to investigate a case of attempted murder. Four gently bred young women insist they were trying to save Harry Saunders from drowning, not kill him. However, Harry’s in no condition to tell what really happened, and the one witness says otherwise. Cornwall is definitely not Rutledge’s favorite place, and he is painfully reminded of his past here. Nevertheless, he is determined to do his duty, especially since he has a personal connection to one of the accused women.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
In vino veritas / Peter Turnbull.
“Andrew “Big Andy” Cragg, a minor gang member, really a gofer or errand boy, drops into a London pub. Over a pint, Cragg drunkenly confides to a stranger that he once helped dispose of a murder victim in a neighborhood south of the Thames. The stranger turns out to be an undercover Scotland Yard detective, who seizes Cragg’s beer glass as evidence as soon as he walks out of the pub. A young woman’s body is indeed found in the spot Cragg designated, sending Det. Chief Insp. Harry Vicary and his team to their missing person files. One thing slowly leads to another, and eventually the squad painstakingly analyzes 10-year-old clues.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Hotel du Barry / Lesley Truffle.
“When a laughing baby is found amongst the Hotel du Barry’s billowing sheets, tucked up in an expensive pair of ladies’ bloomers and neatly pegged to the laundry line, the hotel staff resolve to keep the child. The hotel’s owner, Daniel du Barry, still mourning the loss of his lover in an automobile accident, adopts the little girl, names her after his favorite champagne and seeks consolation in fatherhood. Cat du Barry grows up beloved by both hotel staff and guests, equally at home in the ninth floor premium suite as she is in the labyrinth below stairs. Years later Daniel du Barry dies in sinister circumstances and Cat determines to solve the mystery with the assistance of her extended hotel family.” (Adapted from Book cover)