Category: Recent picks

New Mysteries for September

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.

Syndetics book coverMalice 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)

Syndetics book coverMurder 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)

Syndetics book coverX / 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)

Syndetics book coverVixen : 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)

Syndetics book coverIce 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverLast 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)

Syndetics book coverEmperors 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)

New Mysteries for August

This month’s selection of new mysteries from the new titles added to our collection includes the latest work from poplar authors Kjell Eriksson, Peter James, Tony Parsons, and Kathy Reichs. Highly recommended is the debut crime novel titled The Evidence Room by Cameron Harvey.

Syndetics book coverThe killing lessons / Saul Black.
“When the two strangers turn up at Rowena Cooper’s isolated Colorado farmhouse, she knows instantly that it’s the end of everything. For the two haunted and driven men, on the other hand, it’s just another stop on a long and bloody journey. And they still have many miles to go, and victims to sacrifice, before their work is done. For San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart, their trail of corpses, women abducted, tortured and left with a seemingly random series of objects inside them, has brought her from obsession to the edge of physical and psychological destruction. And she’s losing hope of making a breakthrough before that happens. But the slaughter at the Cooper farmhouse didn’t quite go according to plan. There was a survivor, Rowena’s ten-year-old daughter Nell, who now holds the key to the killings.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfter the storm / Linda Castillo.
“When a tornado tears through Painters Mill and unearths human remains, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder finds herself tasked with the responsibility of identifying the bones and notifying the family. Evidence quickly emerges that the death was no accident and Kate finds herself plunged into a thirty year old case that takes her deep into the Amish community to which she once belonged. As Kate digs deep into the case only to discover proof of an unimaginable atrocity, a plethora of family secrets and the lengths to which people will go to protect their own.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOpen grave : a mystery / Kjell Eriksson ; translated from the Swedish by Paul Norlen.
“Professor Bertram von Ohler has been awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine. This news causes problems in his otherwise quiet upper-class neighborhood. Not everybody is happy with the choice of winner. Mysterious incidents start to occur. Boyish pranks say the police, but what follows is certainly not innocent amusement. Police inspector Ann Lindell becomes involved in the case and immediately is transported back into her own past.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe evidence room / Cameron Harvey.
“Everyone in Cooper’s Bayou knows the story of Raylene Atchison, the local woman who was murdered on the banks of the bayou, and her daughter, Aurora, who was found on the steps of the mini-mart, alone. But when Aurora, who was raised far away from Cooper’s Bayou, returns to Florida to settle her grandfather’s estate, she learns that the suspect in her mother’s murder was wrongly accused. Aurora meets Josh Hudson, a cop who has been put on administrative leave at the Evidence Room, a warehouse of dusty and forgotten items that could hold the key for solving Raylene’s murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou are dead / Peter James.
“The last words Nick Walton hears from his fiancée, Logan Somerville, are in a terrified mobile phone call. She has just driven into the underground car park beneath the block of flats where they live in Brighton. Then she screams and the phone goes dead. The police are on the scene within minutes, but Logan has vanished, leaving behind her neatly parked car and mobile phone. That same afternoon, workmen digging up a park in another part of the city, unearth the remains of a woman in her early twenties, who has been dead for 30 years. At first, to Roy Grace and his team, these two events seem totally unconnected. But then another young woman in Brighton goes missing and yet another body from the past surfaces. Meanwhile, an eminent London psychiatrist meets with a man who claims to know information about Logan. And Roy Grace has the chilling realization that this information holds the key to both the past and present crimes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSleeping dogs / Thomas Mogford.
“An old friend persuades Gibraltarian lawyer Spike Sanguinetti to take a well-earned rest on Corfu’s beautiful north-east coast. But when the bloodied body of a young Albanian is found and a local man accused of his murder, Spike reluctantly agrees to take the case. Beneath the island’s veneer of wealth and privilege Spike uncovers truths so damaging that those involved will go to any lengths to protect them. And when a vulnerable young woman disappears, Spike knows that there are some sleeping dogs he cannot let lie.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fraud / Brad Parks.
“A rash of car-jackings terrorizing Newark become newsworthy when one such theft ends in the murder of a wealthy banking executive. The affable, wisecracking Ross is assigned the story, but he’s weary of only writing about victims of crime who happen to be rich and white. To balance his reporting, he finds a Nigerian immigrant of more modest means who was also killed during a recent carjacking. When it turns out the two victims knew each other, sharing an unexplained round of golf at a country club shortly before their deaths, Carter is plunged onto the trail of a deadly band of car thieves that includes a sociopathic ex-convict.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Slaughter Man / Tony Parsons
“On New Year’s Day, a wealthy family is found slaughtered inside their exclusive gated community in north London, their youngest child stolen away. The murder weapon, a gun for stunning cattle before they are butchered, leads Detective Max Wolfe to a dusty corner of Scotland Yard’s Black Museum devoted to a killer who thirty years ago was known as the Slaughter Man. But the Slaughter Man has done his time, and is now old and dying. Can he really be back in the game? And was the murder of a happy family a mindless killing spree, a grotesque homage by a copycat killer or a contract hit designed to frame a dying man?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpeaking in bones : a novel / Kathy Reichs.
“Temperance Brennan, the forensic anthropologist finds herself drawn into a world of dark secrets and dangerous beliefs, where good and evil blur. Professionally, she knows exactly what to do, test, analyze, identify. Hazel “Lucky” Strike, a strident amateur detective who mines the Internet for cold cases, comes to Brennan with a tape recording of an unknown girl being held prisoner and terrorized. Strike is convinced the voice is that of eighteen-year-old Cora Teague, who went missing more than three years earlier. Strike is also certain that the teenager’s remains are gathering dust in Temperance Brennan’s lab. Brennan has doubts about working with a self-styled websleuth. But when the evidence seems to add up, Brennan’s next stop is the treacherous backwoods where the chilling recordings (and maybe Cora Teague’s bones) were discovered. Her forensic field trip only turns up more disturbing questions, along with gruesome proof of more untimely deaths.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverThe dying season / Martin Walker.
“When Bruno chef de police is invited to the 90th birthday of a powerful local patriarch a war hero with high-level political connections in France, Russia and Israel, he encounters a family with more secrets than even he had imagined. When one of the other guests is found dead the next morning and the family tries to cover it up, Bruno knows it’s his duty to prevent the victim from becoming just another skeleton in their closet. Even if his digging reveals things Bruno himself would rather keep buried.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for July

There is a great array of characters filling the pages in this selection of the newly received mystery fiction. From serial killers, to vicars, painters to mathematicians, and of course the usual steadfast Private Investigators and Police Detectives. Highly recommended is Swedish writer David Lagercrantz’s mystery titled The Fall of Man in Wilmslow.

Syndetics book coverLives lost / Britta Bolt.
“Pieter Posthumus is enjoying a quiet drink in his favourite bar when the screaming starts. A minute later, the owner of the guesthouse next door rushes in: one of her tenants has been murdered. Marloes, the guesthouse owner, is an odd but kind soul. Posthumus cannot believe it when she is arrested, for both her tenant Zig’s murder and another death several years before. He knows there are questions unanswered: what is the link between the two cases? Why people are so keen to think Marloes is guilty? And why did Zig paint just one picture every year, a copy of a Dutch master, but with one peculiar twist?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe gentle art of murder / Jeanne M. Dams.
“Murder threatens to disturb the creativeness of Sherebury’s art college. One late-summer’s evening, before the beginning of the new term, Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, are guests at Sherebury University art department’s drinks party to introduce the new teaching assistant, sculptress Gillian Roberts However, tragedy strikes on a tour of the sculpture department, when the lift breaks down and a corpse is discovered at the bottom of the lift shaft. Dorothy and Alan become involved in the ensuing investigation, putting their local knowledge and sleuthing skills to good use once again. But when another member of the art faculty goes missing and someone receives threatening phone calls, it seems the killer still has something to hide and may very well strike again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe burning man / Christopher Fowler.
“London is under siege. A banking scandal has filled the city with violent protests, and as the anger in the streets detonates, a young homeless man burns to death after being caught in the crossfire between rioters and the police. But all is not as it seems; an opportunistic killer is using the chaos to exact revenge, but his intended victims are so mysteriously chosen that the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to find a way of stopping him. Using their network of eccentric contacts, elderly detectives Arthur Bryant and John May hunt down a murderer who adopts incendiary methods of execution. But they soon find their investigation taking an apocalyptic turn as the case comes to involve the history of mob rule, corruption, rebellion, punishment and the legend of Guy Fawkes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA good way to go / Peter Helton.
“On his first day back at work following his suspension, DI McLusky finds himself in the midst of a major murder enquiry when a body is discovered in the canal at Netham Lock. Chained, weighted down, tied to a buoy by the neck, it has all the hallmarks of a premeditated, ritualistic killing. As he questions those who knew the victim in an attempt to uncover the dead woman’s secrets, McLusky’s investigations are disrupted by the discovery of a second body. Bound and gagged like the first, but there are differences. If McLusky could only work out what connects the victims, he would be one step closer to catching the killer, and preventing more deaths.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe truth will out / Jane Isaac.
“Eva is horrified when she witnesses an attack on her best friend. She calls an ambulance and forces herself to flee Hampton, fearing for her own safety. DCI Helen Lavery leads the investigation into the murder. With no leads, no further witnesses and no sign of forced entry, the murder enquiry begins. Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. But as Helen inches towards solving the case, her past becomes caught up in her present. Someone is after them both. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want. And as the net starts to close around them, can Helen escape her own demons as well as helping Eva to escape hers?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Fall of Man in Wilmslow / David Lagercrantz ; translated from the Swedish by George Goulding.
“June 8, 1954. Alan Turing, the visionary mathematician, is found dead at his home in sleepy Wilmslow, dispatched by a poisoned apple. Taking the case, Detective Constable Leonard Corell quickly learns Turing is a convicted homosexual. Confident it’s a suicide, he is nonetheless confounded by official secrecy over Turing’s war record. What is more, Turing’s sexuality appears to be causing alarm among the intelligence services, could he have been blackmailed by Soviet spies? Stumbling across evidence of Turing’s genius, and sensing an escape from a narrow life, Corell soon becomes captivated by Turing’s brilliant and revolutionary work, and begins to dig deeper. But in the paranoid, febrile atmosphere of the Cold War, loose cannons cannot be tolerated. As his innocent curiosity fast takes him far out of his depth, Corell realises he has much to learn about the dangers of forbidden knowledge.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSignature kill / David Levien.
“A young woman’s body is found on a side street in Indianapolis, horrifyingly arranged. Meanwhile, Frank Behr, who is down on his luck and virtually broke, takes on a no-win case to locate a single mother’s wayward daughter who’s been missing for many months. Suddenly Behr feels the two cases may be connected, but he is years removed from his life as a legitimate police officer and has few friends left on the force. His relentless focus has always been his greatest strength and his deepest flaw. As the death toll rises, it becomes clear Indianapolis has a serial killer in its midst, an invisible average Joe who passes beneath the radar but commits unspeakable acts. Frank Behr’s pursuit will lead him to a dark place, and ultimately to a devastating decision from which he will not be able to turn back.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Demon summer / G. M. Malliet.
“Someone has been trying to poison the 15th Earl of Lislelivet. Since Lord Lislelivet has a gift for making enemies, no one, particularly his wife,finds this too surprising. What is surprising is that the poison was discovered in a fruitcake made and sold by the Handmaids of St. Lucy of Monkbury Abbey. The powerful Lord complains loudly to the local bishop, who asks Father Max Tudor, vicar of Nether Monkslip and former MI5 agent, to investigate. Just as Max comes to believe the poisoning was accidental, a body is discovered in the cloister well.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe killing of Bobbi Lomax / Cal Moriarty.
“Halloween 1983. Bobbi Lomax was the first to die; the bomb killed the prom queen on her own front lawn. Just moments later, one of the nails from the city’s second bomb forced its way into the brain of property investor Peter Gudsen, killing him almost instantly. The third bomb didn’t quite kill Clark Houseman. Hovering on the brink, the rare books dealer turns out to be Detectives Sinclair and Alvarez’s best hope of finding out what linked these unlikely victims, and who wanted them dead and why. But can they find the bomber before he kills again?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInto the night / Jake Woodhouse.
“A woman is pushed in front of a train by a man in police uniform. And a body is left on a rooftop, its hands scorched and head missing. Another day in Amsterdam: Western Europe’s murder capital. The killer announces to the world that this is merely the beginning. The man tasked with stopping the body count is Inspector Jaap Rykel. But as Jaap searches the beheaded body for clues as to its identity, what he finds makes his blood run cold. Why on earth are there pictures of himself and his home saved on the victim’s phone.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for June

As with all the monthly selections from the newly received mystery novels, there is always an exciting variation in plot, location, characters, and even centuries. All come highly recommended, so deciding on what to read first could be difficult. This month there are new mysteries from old favourites Lindsey Davis, Jeffrey Deaver, Quintin Jardine and Walter Mosley.

Syndetics book coverTime of death / Mark Billingham.
“Two schoolgirls are abducted in the small, dying Warwickshire town of Polesford, driving a knife into the heart of the community where police officer Helen Weeks grew up and from which she long ago escaped. But this is a place full of secrets, where dangerous truths lie buried. When it’s splashed all over the press that family man Stephen Bates has been arrested, Helen and her partner Tom Thorne head to the flooded town to support Bates’ wife, an old school friend of Helen’s who is living under siege with two teenage children and convinced of her husband’s innocence. As residents and media bay for Bates’ blood, a decomposing body is found. The police believe they have their murderer in custody, but one man believes otherwise. With a girl still missing, Thorne sets himself on a collision course with local police, townsfolk and a merciless killer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSix and a half deadly sins / Colin Cotterill.
“Laos, 1979: Dr. Siri Paiboun, the twice-retired ex-National Coroner of Laos, receives an unmarked package in the mail. Inside is a hand-woven pha sin, a colorful traditional skirt worn by women in certain northern Lao tribes. A lovely present, but who sent it to him, and why? And, more importantly, why is there a severed human finger stitched into the sin’s lining? Siri is convinced someone is trying to send him a message, and won’t let the matter rest. With his wife they travel to the north to the province where the sin was made, not realizing they are embarking on a deadly scavenger hunt.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeadly election / Lindsey Davis.
“Set in Ancient Rome. Albia is a remarkable woman in what is very much a man’s world: young, widowed and fiercely independent, she lives alone on the Aventine Hill in Rome and makes a good living as a hired investigator. An outsider in more ways than one, Albia has unique insight into life in ancient Rome, and she puts it to good use going places no man could go, and asking questions no man could ask. When a body is discovered inside a large chest that’s about to go under the hammer at the Falco family auction house, Albia throws herself into the investigation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSolitude Creek / Jeffery Deaver.
“As an investigator with the California Bureau of Investigation, Kathryn Dance is used to putting criminals behind bars. But when she’s suspended after a dangerous gang member she interviews, and deems innocent, is proven guilty and escapes in a violent shoot out, she begins to question her judgement. With her badge removed and forced to act as a consultant, Dance must turn her hand to another pressing case: a terrifying stampede of panicked music fans at a concert venue which left half a dozen people dead. Her investigations suggest that the stampede was deliberately instigated.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA killing moon / Steven Dunne.
“For the young woman kidnapped on her way home from the pub, the nightmare is about to begin. Weeks after Caitlin Kinnear goes missing, the police are unable to break her case. Worse they are not even certain harm has come to her. But determined to pursue all leads, DI Damen Brook and his team begin to trawl through the murky world of cheap migrant labour. Convinced that the answers lie hidden within its depths, Brook soon begins to realise Caitlin is in terrible danger. When the body of another young girl turns up it becomes clear that Caitlin’s abduction might not be an isolated incident and the race is on to save her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLast resort / Quintin Jardine.
“After thirty years of service, former Chief Constable Bob Skinner faces the possible end of his police career, at its pinnacle. A quiet trip to Catalunya to contemplate his future soon takes on a different flavour when Skinner is approached by an old friend, media owner Xavier Aislado, with an unusual request. One of his business’s brightest talents, Hector Sureda Roca, has vanished without a trace. Now it’s up to Skinner to track him down. But as he conducts his search it soon becomes clear that another manhunt is also in progress, and that he himself is the target.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDry bones / Craig Johnson.
“When Jen, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found surfaces in Sherriff Walt Longmire’s jurisdiction, it appears to be a windfall for the High Plains Dinosaur Museum, until Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains were discovered, turns up dead, floating face down in a turtle pond. With millions of dollars at stake, a number of groups step forward to claim her, including Danny’s family, the tribe, and the federal government. As Wyoming’s Acting Deputy Attorney and a cadre of FBI officers descend on the town, Walt is determined to find out who would benefit from Danny’s death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWater angels / Mons Kallentoft ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“A married couple is found dead in their jacuzzi. Their adopted five-year-old daughter has vanished. Inspector Malin Fors, the troubled but brilliant star of the Linkoping police force, is put in charge of the case. But this is a haunting mystery where the borders have been blurred: those between the living and the dead, between good and evil. Malin is only too aware of her own tendencies towards obsession and addiction. As the investigation takes a darker turn, forcing Malin to confront her own demons, will she hold out long enough to find the killer and the missing girl before it’s too late?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe dangerous game / Mari Jungstedt ; translated from the Swedish by Tiina Nunnally.
“When Jenny is spotted by a high-profile modelling agency, she goes from ordinary schoolgirl to celebrity overnight. Suddenly her life is a whirlwind of parties and glamour. Agnes used to be a model too, but now she lies in a hospital bed, slowly being destroyed by an eating disorder. Her father sits by her day after day, praying that his only remaining daughter survives. An attempted murder during a lavish photoshoot means that Jenny’s and Agnes’s lives will soon intersect in the most terrifying of ways, because someone is watching them, someone with a plan. Can Detective Anders Knutas work out who it is in time to stop a terrible justice being served?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnd sometimes I wonder about you / Walter Mosley.
“Investigating the murder of a client he initially refused to help, Leonid navigates difficult personal elements in his own life while uncovering dark secrets about the victim’s old-money family and its missing heiress.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for May

This selection from the latest additions to Wellington City Libraries Mystery collection sees the return of two popular detectives. Inspector Montalbano in Andrea Camilleri’s latest mystery titled Game of mirrors and Commissario Guido Brunetti, in Donna Leon’s most recent work, titled Falling in love.

Syndetics book coverCompulsion / Allison Brennan.
“Investigative reporter Maxine Revere has a theory: that the five New York City murders for which Adam Bachman is being tried are just part of his killing spree. In probing the disappearance of a retired couple who vanished the prior summer, Max uncovers striking similarities to Bachman’s MO and develops a theory that Bachman wasn’t working alone. Max wins a coveted pre-trial interview with the killer, whose disarming composure in the face of her questions is combined with uncomfortable knowledge of Max’s own past. She leaves the room convinced, but unable to prove, that Bachman knows exactly what happened to the missing couple.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGame of mirrors / Andrea Camilleri ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“Inspector Montalbano and his colleagues are stumped when two bombs explode outside empty warehouses, one of which is connected to a big-time drug dealer. Meanwhile, the alluring Liliana Lombardo is trying to seduce the Inspector over red wine and arancini. Between pesky reporters, amorous trysts, and cocaine kingpins, Montalbano feels as if he’s being manipulated on all fronts. That is, until the inspector himself becomes the prime suspect in an unspeakably brutal crime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKeep the midnight out / Alex Gray.
“When the body of a red-haired young man is washed up on the shore of the beautiful Isle of Mull, Detective Superintendent Lorimer’s tranquil holiday away from the gritty streets of Glasgow is rudely interrupted. The body has been bound with twine in a ghoulishly unnatural position and strongly reminds Lorimer of another murder: a twenty year old Glasgow case that he failed to solve as a newly fledged detective constable and which has haunted him ever since. As local cop DI Stevie Crozier takes charge of the island murder investigation, Lorimer tries to avoid stepping on her toes. But as the similarities between the young man’s death and his cold case grow more obvious, Lorimer realizes that there could be a serial killer on the loose after all these years.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBehind closed doors : a novel / Elizabeth Haynes.
“Ten years ago, fifteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished while on a family holiday in Greece. Was she abducted, or did she run away? Lou Smith worked the case as a police constable, and failing to find Scarlett has been one of the biggest regrets of her career. No one is more shocked than Lou to learn that Scarlett has unexpectedly been found during a Special Branch raid of a brothel in Briarstone. Lou and her Major Crimes team are already stretched working two troubling cases: nineteen-year-old Ian Palmer was found badly beaten; soon after, bar owner Carl McVey was found half-buried in the woods, his Rolex and money gone. While Lou tries to establish the links between the two cases, DS Sam Hollands works with Special Branch to question Scarlett. What happened to her? Where has she been until now? And why is her family, with the exception of her emotionally fragile younger sister, Juliette, less than enthusiastic about her return?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhat you left behind : a novel / Samantha Hayes.
” Two years after a terrifying spate of teenage suicides, the remote village of Radcote has just begun to heal. Then a young man is killed in a freak motorcycle accident and a suicide note is found among his belongings. When a second boy is found dead shortly thereafter, the nightmare of repeat suicides once again threatens the community. Desperate for a vacation, Detective Inspector Lorraine Fisher has just come to Radcote for a stay with her sister, Jo, but the atmosphere of the country house is unusually tense. Lorraine becomes determined to discover the truth behind these deaths. Are they suicides, or is there something more sinister at work?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFalling in love / Donna Leon.
“One of Italy’s finest living sopranos, Flavia Petrelli, once a suspect in the poisoning of a renowned German conductor. Years after Brunetti cleared her name, Flavia has returned to Venice and La Fenice to sing the lead in Tosca. Brunetti and his wife, Paola, attend an early performance, and Flavia receives a standing ovation. Back in her dressing room, she finds bouquets of yellow roses, too many roses. Every surface of the room is covered with them. An anonymous fan has been showering Flavia with these beautiful gifts in London, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, and now, Venice, but she no longer feels flattered. A few nights later, invited by Brunetti to dine at his in-laws; palazzo, Flavia confesses her alarm at these excessive displays of adoration. And when a talented young Venetian singer who has caught Flavia’s attention is savagely attacked, Brunetti begins to think that Flavia’s fears are justified in ways neither of them imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou can trust me / Sophie McKenzie.
” On a quiet, gray, Saturday morning, Livy arrives at her best friend Julia’s flat for a lunch date only to find her dead. Though all the evidence supports it, Livy cannot accept the official ruling of suicide; the Julia she remembers was loud, inappropriate, joyful, outrageous and loving, not depressed. The suspicious circumstances cause Livy to dig further, and she is suddenly forced to confront a horrifying possibility: that Julia was murdered, by the same man who killed Livy’s sister, Kara, eighteen years ago.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGone / Rebecca Muddiman.
“Eleven years ago, troubled teenager Emma Thorley went missing. The police assumed she was a runaway. But now a body has been found in woods near Blyth. DI Michael Gardner knows he didn’t take Emma’s disappearance seriously enough back then, and is determined to make up for it now. But when he and DS Nicola Freeman start to reinvestigate, they discover that nothing is as simple as it seems. As news of the discovery travels, the past will come back to haunt all those involved. Because there are consequences when good people do bad things, and some secrets cannot stay buried for ever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Insect FarmThe insect farm / Stuart Prebble.
“When twenty-year-old Jonathan Maguire wakes up in a pool of blood and with a dead body beside him, his shock and grief quickly turn to panic. Being arrested for murder will prevent him from fulfilling the promise he made to his parents, that after their death he would take care of Roger, his mentally handicapped older brother. Roger lives in a strange and complex world of his own creation, populated by millions of tiny insects, his insect farm. As the police move in, it emerges that Roger may know far more than he has revealed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGarden of lies / Amanda Quick.
“The Kern Secretarial Agency provides reliable professional services to its wealthy clientele, and Anne Clifton was one of the finest women in Ursula Kern’s employ. But Miss Clifton has met an untimely end and Ursula is convinced it was not due to natural causes. Archaeologist and adventurer Slater Roxton thinks Mrs. Kern is off her head to meddle in such dangerous business. Nevertheless, he seems sensible enough to Ursula, though she does find herself unnerved by his self-possession and unreadable green-gold. Slater intends to remain close by as they venture into the dark side of polite society. Together they must reveal the identity of a killer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for April 2015

Another truly global selection of new Mysteries for this month, apart from the usual British and American settings, there are mysteries set in France, Australia, Sweden, Scotland and Kyrgyzstan. Highly recommend is the debut mystery by Karim Miske, titled Arab jazz.

Syndetics book coverLies that bind / Maggie Barbieri.
“Maeve’s moving on with everyday life when the unthinkable happens: her father dies of a massive heart attack. Maeve’s mother died when Maeve was very young, and growing up, it was always just her and her father. But on the day of his funeral, Maeve learns a shocking secret: she might have a sister she’s never met. Maeve knows her father would never have kept something like that from her, unless he thought he had to.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA killing winter / Tom Callaghan.
“When Inspector Akyl Borubaev of Bishkek Murder Squad arrives at the brutal murder scene of a young woman, all evidence hints at a sadistic serial killer on the hunt for more prey.But when the young woman’s father turns out to be a leading government minister, the pressure is on Borubaev to solve the case not only quickly but also quietly, by any means possible. Until more bodies are found.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe invisible man from Salem / Christoffer Carlsson ; translated by Michael Gallagher.
“In the final days of summer, a young woman is shot dead in her apartment. Three floors above, the blue lights of the police cars awaken disgraced ex-officer Leo Junker. Though suspended from the force, he can’t stay away for long. Bluffing his way onto the crime scene, he examines the dead woman and sees that she is clasping a cheap necklace a necklace he instantly recognises. As Leo sets out on a rogue investigation to catch the killer, a series of frightening connections emerge, linking the murder to his own troubled youth in Salem a suburb of Stockholm where social and racial tensions run high and forcing him to confront a long ago incident that changed his life forever.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverThe Port Fairy murders / Robert Gott.
“It is 1943 and the newly formed homicide department of Victoria police is struggling to counter a fascist group called Australia First that has been festering in Australia since before the war, as well as investigating a double murder in the fishing village of Port fairy.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverDoctor Death : a Madeleine Karno mystery / Lene Kaaberbøl ; translated by Elisabeth Dyssegaard.
“It is 1894, and in the French provincial town of Varbourg, Madeleine and her father, Dr. Karno, use forensic science to help the city commissioner solve a particularly troubling murder, the death of 17-year-old Cecile Montaine. As the mystery unwinds, it becomes clear there are several other players involved in this crime, and that perhaps other deaths around the city can be tied to the same killer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSoil / Jamie Kornegay.
“When Jay Mize gave up the comforts of a respectable career and home to begin an experiment in soil-free farming, he expected to be on the cutting edge of an agricultural revolution. But a crippling flood washes out his efforts and places him on the road to bankruptcy, and his wife, Sandy, concerned about Jay’s mental health, leaves with their son. Soon after, Jay comes upon a corpse in the Tockawah River behind his house; convinced the body is part of a plot to destroy him, he sets about making it disappear. Meanwhile, a nosy deputy with a roving eye for the town’s single women is poking around the Mize farm (not to mention Sandy’s apartment) in search of a big bust to validate his wayward career. Add to that a revenge-seeking vagrant roaming the woods behind Jay’s property and perhaps his paranoia isn’t so misguided after all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCry uncle / Russel D. McLean.
“Scottish PI J. McNee, is working undercover for the Dundee constabulary by hiring on with grandfatherly crime boss David Burns. McNee’s handler, Sandy Griggs, is vengeance with a badge. He’s convinced that Burns murdered his sister and wants the man dead, not jailed. McNee must function as moral arbiter between these two while trying to stay alive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe chess men / Peter May.
“Fin Macleod, who has devolved from Edinburgh cop to security overseer for an estate owner on Lewis, and an old friend, Whistler Macaskill, are on the bogs when they come across a downed plane, one that had been buried under layers of peat and muck until a bog burst slid the layers off. Inside the plane is the body of one of Macleod’s and Macaskill’s best friends from their youth, Roddy Mackenzie, a Celtic rock star of the past, whose plane disappeared almost 20 years before but who apparently, died from foul play rather than the crash.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArab jazz / Karim Miské ; translated from the French by Sam Gordon.
“Kosher sushi, kebabs, a second hand bookshop and a bar: the 19th arrondissement in Paris is a cosmopolitan neighbourhood where multicultural citizens live, love and worship alongside one another. This peace is shattered when Ahmed Taroudant’s melancholy daydreams are interrupted by the blood dripping from his upstairs neighbour’s brutally mutilated corpse. The violent murder of Laura Vignole, and the pork joint placed next to her, set imaginations ablaze across the neighbourhood, and Ahmed finds himself the prime suspect. However detectives Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot are not short of leads. What is the connection between a disbanded hip-hop group and the fiery extremist preachers that jostle in the streets for attention? And what is the mysterious new pill that is taking the district by storm?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe widow’s confession / Sophia Tobin.
“Broadstairs, Kent, 1850. Delphine and her sister Julia have come to the seaside with a secret, one they have been running from for years. The clean air and quiet outlook of Broadstairs appeal to them and they think this is a place they can hide from the darkness for just a little longer. But this is a town with its own secrets, and a dark past. When the body of a young girl is found washed up on the beach, a mysterious message scrawled on the sand beneath her, the past returns to haunt the town, and they cannot escape what happened here years before.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mystery fiction for March

This selection of the best new Mysteries added to Wellington City Libraries collection this month, includes several translated novels, two from the Norwegian and one from the German languages. Set in Swedish Lapland in 1717, Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback is highly recommended also Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye, a debut novel based on true events set in Florida in 1935.

Syndetics book coverCity of stairs / by Robert Jackson Bennett.
“You’ve got to be careful when you’re chasing a murderer through Bulikov, for the world is not as it should be in that city. When the gods were destroyed and all worship of them banned by the Polis, reality folded; now stairs lead to nowhere, alleyways have become portals to the past, and criminals disappear into thin air. The murder of Dr Efrem Pangyui, the Polis diplomat researching the Continent’s past, has begun something and now whispers of an uprising flutter out from invisible corners. Only one woman may be willing to pursue the truth, but it is likely to cost her everything.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDreamless / Jørgen Brekke.
“A promising young singer is found dead in a clearing in a forest, gruesomely murdered, her larynx cut out, and an antique music box placed carefully atop her body, playing a mysterious lullaby that sounds familiar, but that no one can quite place. Chief Inspector Odd Singsaker, of the Trondheim Police Department, still recovering from brain surgery, is called in to investigate. Singsaker fears the worst when another young girl, also known for her melodic singing voice, suddenly goes missing while on a walk with her dog one night. As the Trondheim police follow the trail of this deadly killer, it becomes clear that both cases are somehow connected to a centuries-old ballad called “The Golden Peace,” written by a mysterious composer called Jon Blund, in the seventeenth century.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWolf winter : a novel / Cecilia Ekbäck.
“Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband Paavo and her daughters Frederika and Dorotea arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of their past and put down new roots in this harsh but beautiful land. While herding the family’s goats on the mountain, Frederika happens upon the mutilated body of one of their neighbors, Eriksson. The death is dismissed as a wolf attack, but Maija feels certain that the wounds could only have been inflicted by another man. Compelled to investigate despite her neighbors’ strange disinterest in the death and the fate of Eriksson’s widow, Maija is drawn into a dark history of tragedies and betrayals.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScarred / Thomas Enger ; translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund.
“An elderly woman is found dead in a nursing home. Bjarne Brogeland, who heads up the investigation, soon realizes that they are on the trail of a meticulous killer who has developed a keen taste for revenge, a killer who has only just begun.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMotive : an Alex Delaware novel / Jonathan Kellerman.
“Katherine Hennepin, a young woman strangled and stabbed in her home. A single suspect with a solid alibi leads to a dead end, one even Alex Delaware’s expert insight can’t explain. The only thing to do is move on to the next murder case, because there’s always a next one. This time the victim is Ursula Corey: a successful, attractive divorcée who’s been gunned down, not a robbery but an execution, a crime that smacks of simple, savage revenge. And along with that theoretical motive come two strong contenders for the role of perpetrator: the dead woman’s business partner/ex-husband and her divorce lawyer/secret lover. But just as Alex and Milo think they’re zeroing in on the most likely suspect, a bizarre new clue stirs up eerie echoes of the unsolved Hennepin murder. And the discovery of yet another crime scene bearing the same taunting signature raises the specter of a serial killer on a mission, whose twisted method is exceeded only by his manipulative and cunning madness.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe final minute / Simon Kernick.
“It’s night, and I’m in a strange house. The lights are on, and I’m standing outside a half-open door. Feeling a terrible sense of foreboding, I walk slowly inside. And then I see her. A woman lying sprawled across a huge double bed. She’s dead. There’s blood everywhere. And the most terrifying thing of all is that I think her killer might be me. For Matt Barron, a traumatic car-crash, a man with no memory and haunted by nightmares, he is forced to turn to the one person who can help, ex-Metropolitan cop, turned private detective, Tina Boyd. Soon they are both on the run” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSummertime / Vanessa Lafaye.
“Florida, 1935. In Heron Key the locals are preparing for the 4th of July barbecue, unaware that their world is about to change forever. Missy, the Kincaid family’s maid, feels that she has wasted her life pining for Henry, whom she hasn’t seen since before the war. Now he’s returned with a group of other destitute veterans, unsure of his future, ashamed of his past. When a white woman is found brutally beaten, suspicion falls on Henry. And as the tensions rise, the barometer starts to plummet. The residents think they’re ready, and so do the soldiers. They’re wrong. For far out over the Atlantic, the greatest storm ever to strike America is heading their way.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ice queen / Nele Neuhuas ; translated by Steven T. Murray.
“The body of 92-year-old Jossi Goldberg, Holocaust survivor and American citizen, is found shot to death execution style in his house near Frankfurt. A five-digit number is scrawled in blood at the murder scene. The autopsy reveals an old and unsuccessfully covered tattoo on the corpse’s arm, a blood type marker once used by Hitler’s SS. Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver Bodenstein are faced with a riddle. Was the old man not Jewish after all? Who was he, really? Two more, similar murders happen, one of a wheelchair-bound old lady in a nursing home, and one of a man with a cellar filled with Nazi paraphernalia, slowly the connections between the victims becomes evident.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA study in murder / Robert Ryan.
“The year is 1917 and Major John Watson is held in a notorious prisoner of war camp deep in Germany, there as Medical Officer for the British prisoners. With the Allied blockade of Germany, food is perilously short in the camp and when a new prisoner is murdered all assume the poor chap was killed for his Red Cross parcel. Watson, though, isn’t so sure. Something isn’t quite what it seems and a creeping feeling of unease tells Watson there is more to this than meets the eye. And when an escape plot is apparently uncovered in his hut and he is sent to solitary confinement, he knows he has touched a nerve. If Watson is to reveal the heinous crimes that have occurred at the camp, he must escape before he is silenced for good.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAunty Lee’s deadly specials / Ovidia Yu.
“Rosie “Aunty” Lee, the feisty widow and amateur sleuth and proprietor of Singapore’s best-loved home-cooking restaurant, few know more about what goes on in Singapore than Aunty Lee. When a scandal over illegal organ donation makes news, she already has a list of suspects. Aunty Lee’s Delights is catering a brunch for local socialites Henry and Mabel Sung. Rumor has it that the Sungs’ fortune is in trouble, and Aunty Lee wonders if the gossip is true. But soon after arriving at the Sungs’, her curiosity turns to suspicion. Why is the guesthouse in the garden locked up and what’s inside? Where is the missing guest of honor? Then Mabel Sung and her son, Leonard, are found dead. The authorities blame it on Aunty Lee’s special stewed chicken with buah keluak, a local black nut that can be poisonous if cooked improperly. She’s certain the deaths are murder and that they’re somehow linked to the organ donor scandal. To save her business and her reputation, she’s got to prove it and unmask a dangerous killer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for February

This month’s selection of the best new mysteries from our recently received new material includes the latest crime novels by popular authors Tess Gerritsen and Stuart MacBride.

Syndetics book coverClose to the bone / Lisa Black.
“Theresa MacLean arrives early one morning at Cleveland’s cash-strapped Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office, where she literally steps into a pool of blood seeping from the fatal wounds of deskman Darryl Johnson. More homicides rapidly follow elsewhere, and Theresa, an intrepid 12-year veteran of the Trace Evidence Department, connects the killings to the decade-old strangling of coworker Diane Allman.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath comes to the Ballets russes / David Dickinson.
“London, 1912, and the famed Ballet Russes have come to London to perform. Anticipation is high, for Diaghilev’s troupe is renowned throughout Europe. At the end of their famed performance of Thamar at the Royal Opera House, the Georgian queen stabs her prince to death and throws him into the river. But life mirrors art when the prince is found truly dead, stabbed through the heart in the orchestra pit below stage. But the corpse is not the dancer in the programme. It is his understudy. Powerscourt is summoned to investigate. But who was the intended victim, the understudy, or the star of the Ballets Russes?” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverThe death season / Kate Ellis.
“When DI Wesley Peterson is summoned to investigate a killing, he assumes that the case is a routine matter. But soon dark secrets and deadly deceptions start to emerge from the victim’s past, and Wesley begins to realize that a simple incident of cold-blooded murder is altogether more calculated and complicated that he could ever imagine. As more victims fall prey to a faceless killer, Wesley sees the investigation affecting him more personally than ever before. And when his precious family becomes a target, Wesley has no time to lose.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDie again : a novel / Tess Gerritsen.
“Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles are summoned to the home of Leon Gott, a well-known big-game hunter and taxidermist. He has been eviscerated, and his nude body hung upside down, his ankles bound with nylon cord. Despite the gruesome scene and the overpowering stench, the two women immediately begin processing the clues, and what they find leads them to the wilds of Botswana. It was there six years earlier that Gott’s son, Elliot, and other members of his tourist group were slaughtered while on safari. Then Rizzoli and Isles discover that Elliot’s former fiancée was murdered the same day as Gott.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Cheapside corpse / Susanna Gregory.
“London in the spring of 1665 is a city full of fear. There is plague in the streets of St. Giles, the Dutch fleet is preparing to invade, and a banking crisis threatens to leave Charles II’s government with no means of paying for the nation’s defense. Amid the tension, Thomas Chaloner is ordered to investigate the murder of Dick Wheler, one of the few goldsmith-bankers to have survived the losses that have driven others to bankruptcy-or worse.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKilling for keeps / Mari Hannah.
“Two brothers from the same criminal family die within hours of each other, five miles apart, one on the edge of a Newcastle industrial estate, the other in a busy A & E department of a local hospital, unseen by the triage team. Both victims have suffered horrific injuries. Who wanted them dead? Will they kill again? Investigating these brutal and bloody killings leads DCI Kate Daniels to break some rules, putting her career as well as her life on the line.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverThe missing and the dead / Stuart MacBride.
“One mistake can cost you everything. When you catch a twisted killer there should be a reward, right? What Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae gets instead is a ‘development opportunity’ out in the depths of rural Aberdeenshire. Welcome to divisional policing, catching drug dealers, shop lifters, vandals and the odd escaped farm animal. Then a little girl’s body washes up just outside the sleepy town of Banff, kicking off a massive manhunt.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTaken for dead / Graham Masterton.
“It is a sunny Saturday in county Cork, and an Irish wedding is in full swing. Drunk uncles are toasting the bride. The Ceilidh band has played for hours. But the cutting of the cake will bring the wedding to a horrifying end. For there, grinning gruesomely up from the bottom tier is the severed head of the local baker. Katie Maguire, of the Irish Garda, does not have any leads – until another local businessman goes missing in horrific circumstances. The murders appear to link to The Kings of Erin, a terrifying gang of torturers and extortionists. But these are dangerous men. And they will stop at nothing to throw Katie off the trail.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLand of the blind / Barbara Nadel.
“A body is found in the ruined Constantinople hippodrome: a woman, clutching a piece of red stone. She’s recently given birth, but there’s no sign of the baby. Inspector Cetin Ikmen discovers she was a Byzantine specialist on a crusade to protect the historic but now squalid areas of Istanbul that her enemy, property developer Ahmet Oden, seeks to destroy and rebuild. As Ikmen searches for the lost child and the truth behind her death, the people of Istanbul rise up in protest against their government in Gezi Park, and the city lurches into chaos and anger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack Valley / Charlotte Williams.
“Jessica Mayhew has a new client at her psychotherapy practice: artist Elinor Powell is in shock following the death of her mother, Ursula, who was murdered during the theft of a valuable painting at her studio. Elinor is a beautiful but vulnerable young woman who has grown up in the shadow of her famous Welsh ancestors and under the wing of her twin sister, Isobel. There is a suggestion that Isobel’s husband, art dealer Blake Thomas, might be responsible for Ursula’s murder. But when Blake also dies in mysterious circumstances, Jessica is drawn into a quest that not only leads her into mortal danger but also threatens to destroy her entire moral code as a therapist.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for January

The selection of new Mysteries this month feature mysteries set in Medieval Britain to modern day Norway, from Tibet to Detroit, with many different eras and locations in between. Something for all readers of mystery novels and perhaps new readers of this exciting genre will also become avid fans.

Syndetics book coverThe winter king / Alys Clare.
“On All Saints’ Eve, 1211, Lord Benedict de Vitre of Medley Hall, an obese nobleman suspected of lining his pockets with his sovereign’s money, dies suddenly in the midst of a gluttonous feast. Given his poor health and the absence of obvious signs of death, foul play isn’t suspected, despite the number of people wishing him ill, including his wife, Lady Richenza, who has employed healer Sabin de Gifford to thwart her husband’s desire for an heir. Sabin fears that the medications she secretly supplied to make procreation less likely may have contributed to de Vitre’s death. Evidence of murder soon emerges, and de Vitre isn’t the last to die, giving Sabin and her fellow healer, Meggie d’Acquin, several crimes to solve.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou know who killed me: an Amos Walker novel / Loren D. Estleman.
“The hard-bitten Detroit PI is in rehab, after overdosing on alcohol and Vicodin. The doctor treating Walker gives him a break by not reporting his possession of the pain medication without a prescription. Meanwhile, an old friend asks his help with a murder case in nearby Iroquois Heights: Donald Gates, who maintained the computer that operated the city’s traffic lights, was gunned down in his basement. Lt. Ray Henty, who’s in charge of the corrupt Iroquois Heights PD, has a tough job made harder by the placement of huge billboards featuring Gates’s photo and the legend, “You Know Who Killed Me.” The responses to the ads flood the sheriff’s department tip line with dozens of anonymous calls, which Walker is deputized to look into.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lion’s mouth / Anne Holt and Berit Reiss-Andersen ; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce.
“Less than six months after taking office, the Norwegian Prime Minister is found dead. She has been shot in the head. But was it a politically motivated assassination or personal revenge? The death shakes the country to its core. The hunt for her killer is complicated, intense and grueling. Hanne Wilhelmsen must contain the scandal before a private tragedy becomes a public outrage, in what will become the most sensitive case of her career.” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSins of the father / Graham Hurley.
“A rich old man, Rupert Moncrieff, is beaten to death in the silence of his West Country waterside mansion, his head hooded and his throat cut. His extended family is still living beneath his roof, each with their own room, their own story, their own ghosts, and their own motives for murder. And in this world of darkness and dysfunction are the artefacts and memories of colonial atrocities that are returning to haunt them all. At the heart of the murder investigation is DS Jimmy Suttle who, along with his estranged journalist wife Lizzie, is fighting his own demons after the abduction and death of their young daughter, Grace. But who killed Rupert Moncrieff? And what secrets is the house holding onto that could unravel this whole investigation?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCut out / Fergus McNeill.
“Nigel never meant for it to happen. At first, he just wanted to be Matt’s friend. But when he discovers he can hear what is going on in the flat below him, his fascination with his new neighbour drifts into obsession. Rearranging his furniture to recreate the layout of the rooms downstairs, buying the same clothes, going through his post, his things he starts becoming Matt without him ever knowing. And it would have been all right, if Matt hadn’t brought the girl home. When things spiral out of control, Detective Inspector Harland has to unravel the disturbing truth. But there’s far more to the case than meets the eye.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSoul of the fire / Eliot Pattison.
“Shan Tao Yun the former Beijing government investigator goes to Zhongje, a Tibetan community that the Chinese regard as a “showcase for the motherland.” To Shan’s astonishment, he’s been tapped to serve on the People’s International Commission for Peace and Order, “dedicated to eliminating the criminal acts of self-aggression that undermine harmonious coexistence in ethnic geographies.” Shan, who has served time in labor camps, is to fill the designated slot reserved for a reformed criminal, but on his first day on the commission, he witnesses a self-immolation. His police training causes him to doubt that the death was a suicide, and his refusal to ignore the facts puts him at odds with his superiors, who don’t want the truth derailing their political agenda.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlague land / S.D. Sykes.
” After ten years at the monastery 17-year-old Oswald de Lacy is back home and in no way prepared to be Lord of Somershill. The plague responsible for decimating the countryside has also killed Oswald’s father and two older brothers, leaving him with a neglected estate, an overbearing mother, an unmarried sister, and fearful peasants. Then further tragedy strikes in the form of the shocking death of Alison Starvecrow, which the village priest blames on a demonic dog-headed man. Oswald attempts to take charge and discover the truth behind Alison’s death, but all around him lie secrets. Then another body is found.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA fine summer’s day : an Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery / Charles Todd.
“It was a fine summer’s day in 1914 when life changed for so many people: Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge proposed to his longtime companion, Jean Gordon, Archduke Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, and the death of a mother sparked a trail of murders, leading Rutledge across the English countryside in search of the killer. As Rutledge closes in on the solution to the case, rumors of war become a reality, and the inspector must not only deal with the aftermath of his investigation but also face the increasing needs of his betrothed, family, Scotland Yard, and Britain itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMurder at the Brightwell / Ashley Weaver.
“Set in 1930s England, at a popular upper-crust seaside resort, the story’s heroine and reluctant sleuth, Amory Ames, is at best ambivalent about her marriage to flighty playboy Milo. That is part of the reason she agrees so readily to spend a week at the resort with her former fiance, Gil Trent. Gil’s reason for asking Amory is to enlist her help in untangling his sister from an unsuitable engagement, to Rupert, a man who appears to be very much like Amory’s wayward husband! To the surprise of both Amory and Gil, Milo decides to show up at the resort as well, adding to Amory’s problems for Rupert is dead, and Gil is the main suspect. A second murder adds to the mystery, and Amory finds herself battling for time to solve the murder and decide whether she wants to continue in her marriage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mystery novels for December

This selection of the best new recently received Mysteries range in settings from historical Cuba, England and Australia to modern day Japan, Norway and Berlin. There is something to satisfy every fan of this genre.

Syndetics book coverThe dead pass / Bateman. “Hired to find the missing son of retired political activist Moira Doherty, Dan Starkey knows his new case is going to be challenging. Billy ‘the Bear’ Doherty isn’t an easy man to find – a criminal with a nasty drug habit, his mum is convinced he’s been murdered. But when Moira herself is killed, her body found floating in the waters under Londonderry’s Peace Bridge, Dan finds himself in the middle of a deadly game of cat and mouse.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverHavana sleeping / Martin Davies.
“Havana in the 1850s is a city as dangerous as it is exotic. The murder of a humble night watchman at the British Consulate seems to worry neither the Consul nor the police. But one person cared for the old man. The enigmatic courtesan Leonarda will not rest until she understands the mystery of his death. In wintry England, George Backhouse is plucked from obscurity in the Foreign Office and given an unexpected promotion. His task: to travel to Cuba and take a stand against the illegal slave trade still flourishing there. As the great powers of the region conspire against each other with increasing ruthlessness for control of the island, Backhouse comes to see that the most innocent of actions could spark a devastating war. To protect their interests, the powers-that-be in Whitehall are prepared to turn a blind eye to many things. Leonarda will not but what of George Backhouse?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou / Zoran Drvenkar ; translated from the German by Shaun Whiteside.
“Ragnar Desche, is a ruthless career criminal, who is looking to recover drugs valued at about three million euros. He has already killed his brother, Oskar, who was holding the contraband for him in Berlin-his teenage niece, Taja, eventually implicated in the crime. With the help of her “blood sisters, Stink, Nessi, Schnappi, and Ruth, Taja tries to sell the drugs so she can find her mother in Norway. But what they find instead is Ragnar and his crew, on their tails in a violent and disturbing chase.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe murder of Harriet Krohn / Karin Fossum ; translated by James Anderson.The Murder of Harriet Krohn
“Charlo Torp doesn’t mean to kill anyone. A widower desperate to pay off gambling debts, he intends to enter Harriet Krohn’s house under the pretense of a flower delivery and steal the elderly woman’s valuables. But Harriet resists, Charlo panics, and she ends up bludgeoned to death in her kitchen. This novel focuses on the “why” of the crime, examining Charlo’s guilt and how he justifies his actions to himself, especially after the stolen money helps him repair his relationship with an estranged daughter. Still, he constantly looks over his shoulder, and with good reason-the policeman investigating Harriet’s death, Insp. Konrad Sejer, has never failed to solve a murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA murder unmentioned / Sulari Gentill.
“The black sheep of a wealthy 1930s grazier dynasty, gentleman artist Rowland Sinclair often takes matters into his own hands. When the matter is murder, there are consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMalice / Keigo Higashino ; translated by Alexander O. Smith with Elye Alexander.Malice
“Renowned novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found murdered in his locked study, in his locked home. He is discovered by his wife, Rie, and his closest friend, Osamu Nonoguchi. When Tokyo Police Detective Kyochiro Kaga begins to investigate, he is surprised to see Nonoguchi; they had once been colleagues on the faculty of a middle school. Evidence leads Kaga to charge Nonoguchi with murder, and Nonoguchi freely admits to it. But Kaga’s superiors won’t bring the case to trial without knowing why Nonoguchi murdered his friend, and the accused refuses to explain. Kaga must deduce the motive as well as the killer’s identity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSomeone else’s skin / Sarah Hilary.Someone Else’s Skin
“Det. Insp. Marnie Rome and her partner, Det. Sgt. Noah Jake, visit a rundown women’s shelter in North London, where they plan to get testimony from Ayana Mirza, a domestic abuse survivor. Instead, they stumble on another domestic abuse survivor, Hope Proctor, standing over her bleeding husband, Leo, bloody knife in hand. Rome is no stranger to violence, her foster brother murdered her parents, and the case seems an open and shut example of another possessive, violent husband finally pushing his wife too far. Nagging questions remain, such as how Leo got into what was supposed to be a secure facility, the safety of which is further cast into doubt when Hope vanishes and Ayana’s abuser kidnaps her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe soul of discretion : a Simon Serrailler case / Susan Hill.
“A ring of pedophiles who snatch, abuse, film, and even kill young children is operating out of the English town of Lafferton. But evidence has led to the conviction of only one man, the Honorable Will Fernley, son of a lord, who refuses to implicate others. So Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler goes undercover, acting as pedophile Johnno Miles, to befriend Fernley and ferret out information at the therapeutic community prison to which he’s been transferred. At least psychologically, it’s a dangerous mission, undertaken at a time when Serrailler’s relationship with live-in lover Rachel is in question, his sister Cat is short of funds and facing a career change, and his father makes a dreadful mistake that puts his marriage at risk.” (Adapted from Syndetis summary)

Syndetics book coverThe forgers / Bradford Morrow.The Forgers
“In this novel we are introduced to the “visual art form” of high-end literary forgery: skilled con men who adopt the handwriting and artistic styling’s of famous authors, penning letters and book inscriptions that they sell for handsome profits. The mysterious narrator is a semi-reformed forger himself, and his girlfriend’s brother, a rare book collector named Adam Diehl, has just been murdered in a gruesome manner. The reader enters the murky world of book sellers and buyers and into the mind of a forger for whom falsifying the perfect signature is a thrill and eventually discovers why and who killed Adam Diehl.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLamentation / C.J. Sansom.
“Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councilors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government of Henry’s successor, eight-year-old Prince Edward. As heretics are hunted across London, and the radical Protestant Anne Askew is burned at the stake, the Catholic party focuses their attack on Henry’s sixth wife, Matthew Shardlake’s old mentor, Queen Catherine Parr. Shardlake, still haunted by events aboard the warship Mary Rose the year before, is working on the Cotterstoke Will case, a savage dispute between rival siblings. Then, unexpectedly, he is summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen. For Catherine Parr has a secret. She has written a confessional book, Lamentation of a Sinner, so radically Protestant that if it came to the King’s attention it could bring both her and her sympathizers crashing down. But, although the book was kept secret and hidden inside a locked chest in the Queen’s private chamber, it has, inexplicably, vanished. Only one page has been found, clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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