Enjoy the latest mysteries that have landed on our shelves this month:
The blind goddess / Anne Holt ; translated [from the Norwegian] by Tom Geddes.“A small-time drug dealer is found battered to death on the outskirts of the Norwegian capital, Oslo. A young Dutchman, walking aimlessly in central Oslo covered in blood, is taken into custody but refuses to talk. When he is informed that the woman who discovered the body, Karen Borg, is a lawyer, he demands her as his defender, although her specialty is civil, not criminal, law. A couple of days later, Hansa Larsen, a lawyer of the shadiest kind, is found shot to death. Soon police officers Håkon Sand and Hanne Wilhelmsen establish a link between the two killings… Their maverick colleague in the drugs squad, Billy T., reports that a recent rumor in the drug underworld involves drug-dealing lawyers. Now the reason why the young Dutchman insisted on having Karen Borg as a defender slowly dawns on them: since she was the one to find and report the body, she is the only Oslo lawyer that cannot be implicated in the crime. As the officers investigate, they uncover a massive network of corruption leading to the highest levels of government…” (Description from Amazon.com)
Black skies / Arnaldur Indriadason ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
“A man is making a crude leather mask with slits for eyes and mouth, and an iron spike fixed in the middle of the forehead. It is a ‘death mask’, once used by Icelandic farmers to slaughter calves. He has revenge in mind. Meanwhile, with Detective Erlendur absent, his colleague Sigurdur Oli is in the spotlight. A school reunion has left Sigurdur Oli dissatisfied with life in the police force. Iceland is enjoying an economic boom and young tycoons are busy partying with the international jet set. In contrast, Sigurdur Oli’s relationship is on the rocks and soon even his position in the CID is compromised: when he agrees to visit a couple of blackmailers as a favour to a friend he walks in just as a woman is beaten unconscious. When she dies, Sigurdur Oli has a murder investigation on his hands. The evidence leads to debt collectors, extortionists, wild parties. But when a chance link connects these enquiries to the activities of a group of young bankers, Sigurdur Oli finds himself investigating the very elite he had envied…(From Syndetics Summary)
Bones are forever / by Kathy Reichs.
“In Reichs’ latest Temperance Brennan novel, the forensic anthropologist discovers the bodies of several babies in a seedy Montreal apartment. The babies appear to have been born to the same woman, an Edmonton prostitute who’s on an RCMP list of missing women (a list compiled as part of an investigation into a man who killed prostitutes). Brennan and Quebec cop Andrew Ryan fly out to Edmonton to try to track down the mother, and Brennan reunites with a local cop with whom she had a previous personal relationship. Although the writing equals Reichs’ customary quality, the novel’s pace is unusually slow; Brennan is normally juggling a couple of primary cases, with others intruding on her time, but here she’s mostly focused on a single investigation, and the story tends to drag on, rather than zipping from scene to scene. It’s not a bad book by any means and definitely should be recommended to fans of the series…(Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Hour of the wolf : an Inspector Van Veeteren mystery / Håkan Nesser ; translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson.“‘Hakan Nesser, the godfather of Swedish crime … His Van Veeteren novels have a puckishness and sprightliness that too often elude his younger, gloomier pretenders … Nesser has thus far only been a minor player in the British Nordic crime scene: Hour of the Wolf should be the book to change that’ Metro. ‘The Swedish novelist Hakan Nesser is in another league, exhibiting a skill and consistency rare in crime ¬fiction. Hour of the Wolf, translated by Laurie Thompson is one of his finest novels, starting with a road accident and unravelling its terrible consequences. The victim is a 16-year-old boy, struck by a car while walking home late at night, and the accident sets in motion a series of murders. One of the victims is related to Nesser’s detective, Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, who has retired to become an antiquarian bookseller. The ex-policeman’s old team rallies to obtain justice for their much-loved former boss in a novel that combines a clever plot with authentic emotion’ Sunday Times…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
Watching the dark / Peter Robinson.
“When Detective Inspector Bill Reid is found murdered in the tranquil grounds of the St Peter’s Police Treatment Centre, and compromising photographs are discovered in his room, DCI Banks is called in to investigate. Because of the possibility of police corruption, he is assigned an officer from Professional Standards, Inspector Joanna Passero, to work closely with him, and he soon finds himself and his methods under scrutiny. It emerges that Reid’s murder may be linked to the disappearance of an English girl called Rachel Hewitt, in Tallinn, Estonia, six years earlier. The deeper Banks looks into the old case, the more he begins to feel that he has to solve the mystery of Rachel’s disappearance before he can solve Reid’s murder, though Inspector Passero has a different agenda…Meanwhile, DI Annie Cabbot, just back at work after a serious injury, is following up leads in Eastvale. Her investigations take her to the heart of a migrant labor scam involving a corrupt staffing agency and a loan shark who preys on the poorest members of society. As the action shifts back and forth between Tallinn and Eastvale, it soon becomes clear that crimes are linked in more ways than Banks imagined, and that solving them may put even more lives in jeopardy…” (From Syndetics sumamry)
The beautiful mystery / Louise Penny.
“*Starred Review* An entire mystery novel centering on Gregorian chants (whose curiously hypnotic allure is called the beautiful mystery )? Yes, indeed, and in the hands of the masterful Penny, the topic proves every bit as able to transfix readers as the chants do their listeners. It begins when the choir director of a monastery in a remote corner of Quebec is murdered, his skull bashed in with a rock. Outsiders are not allowed inside the monastery’s walls, where 24 cloistered monks pray, make chocolate, and sing though a few years earlier, a homemade recording of their chants was released and created a sensation, helped along by the inaccessibility of the artists. Now, with the murder, the doors of the monastery are opened to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, charged with finding a killer among a group of largely silent monks, who, it quickly becomes apparent, are engaged in a civil war over their music, The deepest passions could appear dispassionate, the face a smooth plain while something mammoth roiled away underneath…there is always something mammoth roiling away beneath the surface of Penny’s novels but this time the roiling is set against the serenity of the chanting, producing a melody of uncommon complexity and beauty…’ (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Hot blooded / Lisa Jackson.
“New Orleans is beginning to be afraid . . . A prostitute lies strangled in a seedy French Quarter hotel room. Miles away, in a rambling plantation house on the sultry shores of Lake Ponchartrain, popular late-night radio host Dr. Samantha Leeds receives a threatening phone call. All in a day’s work for a celebrity. Who would think to link the two? A second hooker’s corpse turns up. Samantha’s ominous caller persists, along with a mysterious female claiming to be a woman from her past – a woman who’s been dead for years. With Detective Rick Bentz convinced that the serial killer prowling the shadowy streets of New Orleans is somebody close to Samantha, she doesn’t dare trust anyone. Especially not Ty Wheeler, her seductive new neighbour who seems to know more about her than a stranger should. Somebody has discovered Samantha’s darkest secret. Somebody is convinced that lives must be sacrificed to pay for her sins. So far, the victims have been strangers. But as a cunning, cold-blooded killer grows bolder, Samantha wonders in dread if she will be the next to die . . .” (Description from Amazon.com)
The Abbey / Chris Culver.
“Ash Rashid is a former homicide detective who can’t stand the thought of handling another death investigation. In a year’s time, he’ll be out of the department completely. That’s the plan, at least, until his niece’s body is found in the property of one of the city’s wealthiest citizens. The coroner calls it an overdose, but the case doesn’t add up. Against orders, Ash launches an investigation to find his niece’s murder. But the longer he searches, the darker the case gets – and if he doesn’t solve it fast, his niece won’t be the only family member he has to bury…” (Syndetics summary)
First Frost : a DS Jack Frost investigation / James Henry.
“Denton, 1981. Britain is in recession, the IRA is becoming increasingly active and the country’s on alert for an outbreak of rabies. Detective Sergeant Jack Frost is working under his mentor and inspiration DI Bert Williams, and coping badly with his increasingly strained marriage. Probably not helped by the fact that he never goes home…” (Syndetics summary)