This month’s selections include a 1930s German mystery based on true events, a Hong Kong police inspector dealing with international politics, and a sinister secret from the 1950s comes back to haunt later generations.
Malice at the palace / Rhys Bowen.
“Lady Georgiana Rannoch won’t deny that being thirty-fifth in line for the British throne has its advantages. Unfortunately, money isn’t one of them. And sometimes making ends meet requires her to investigate a little royal wrongdoing. Nothing spoils a royal wedding more than murder, and the Queen wants the whole matter hushed. But as the investigation unfolds–and Georgiana’s beau Darcy, as always, turns up in the most unlikely of places–the investigation brings them precariously close to the prince himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Murder in the paperback parlor / Ellery Adams.
“With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Jane Steward is organizing a week of activities for fans of love stories at her book-themed resort. But her Regency readers barely have time to brush up on their Jane Austen before tragedy strikes Storyton Hall. Rosamund York, one of the most celebrated authors in attendance, is killed. Rosamund had as many enemies as she did admirers, including envious fellow novelists, a jealous former lover, and dozens of angry fans. It’s up to Jane, with the help of her book club, the Cover Girls, to catalogue the list of suspects and find a heartless killer quickly–before the murderer writes someone else off…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
X / Sue Grafton
“X: The number ten. An unknown quantity. A mistake. A cross. A kiss. X: The shortest entry in Webster’s Unabridged. Derived from Greek and Latin and commonly found in science, medicine, and religion. X: The twenty-fourth letter in the English alphabet. Sue Grafton’s X : Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, it features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Vixen : a Nameless Detective novel / Bill Pronzini.
“When Nameless is hired by Cory Beckett, a beautiful young woman who claims to be a model, to find her missing brother, Kenneth, it seems to be a routine matter. When agency operative Jake Runyon locates and questions the frightened young man, Cory Beckett’s motives come into question and the case takes on darkly sinister complexities. A series of twists and turns drive the story to a truly shocking climax. For not until then do the detectives realize how devilish Cory Beckett really is, a femme fatale who has brought something new to the species–new, and terrible.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Ice cold / Andrea Maria Schenkel ; translated from the German by Anthea Bell.
“Set in 1930s Munich, this is another chilling novel from the author of ‘The Murder Farm‘. A rapist and murderer is at large in the city. Kathie has come to Munich looking for work, but is drawn into a world of casual sex and prostitution. As she tries to make her way in the world, it becomes clear that she is in grave danger.” (Syndetics summary)
The night sister : a novel / Jennifer McMahon.
Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper’s sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel’s past. Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Amy stands accused of a horrific crime. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds revealing the story of two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Last words / Michael Koryta.
“Markus Novak just wants to come home, he’s been all but banished, sent to Garrison, Indiana to assess a cold case that he’s certain his boss has no intention of taking. But it’s not often that the man who many believe got away with murder is the one calling for the case to be reopened. The answers lie in the fiendish brain of a dangerous man, the real identity of a mysterious woman, and deep beneath them all, in the network of ancient, stony passages that hold secrets deadlier than he can imagine. Soon Novak is made painfully aware that if he has any chance of returning to the life and career he left behind in Florida, he’ll need to find the truth in Garrison first.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Emperors once more / Duncan Jepson.
“Senior Inspector Alex Soong of the Hong Kong police is a contradictory character: a student of traditional martial arts and Chinese history, he drives an imported Mustang and loves American jazz. With Hong Kong about to host an economic summit between the Chinese and the faltering G8 powers who are massively in debt to them, the stage is set for an explosive rewriting of history. When Alex will not join with shadowy conspirators seeking to manipulate public opinion against the West he is forced to run a desperate race against time that will lead him into the pitiless heart of the ancient conspiracy, and pit him against the final ruthless stage of its campaign to alter the balance of power between East and West forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)