Crime du jour: The latest mysteries at Wellington City Libraries

Into The Night book cover

“It’s in the best tradition of detective fiction, I understand,” said Allyen with a smile.”
― Ngaio Marsh, Death and the Dancing Footman

Our final 2018 intake of newly acquired Mystery titles is an absolute cracker with new works from Elly Griffiths, Håkan Nesser, Karin Fossum, Anthony Horowitz and Quintin Hardine to name but a few. So why not take the load off your feet sit back and enjoy a jolly good murder mystery this festive season.

Syndetics book coverDown to the woods / M. J. Arlidge.
“There is a sickness in the forest. First, it was the wild horses. Now it’s innocent men and women, hunted down and murdered by a faceless figure. Lost in the darkness, they try to flee, they try to hide. In desperation, they call out for help. But there is no-one to hear their cries here… The arrow-ridden victims hang from the New Forest’s ancient oaks, like pieces of strange fruit. Why are helpless holidaymakers being targeted in peak camping season? Is a psychopath stalking the forest? Could the murders even be an offering to the Forest itself?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInto the night / Sarah Bailey.
“The riveting follow-up to The Dark Lake , acclaimed debut novel and international bestseller. The murder of homeless Walter Miller has priority with Melbourne police until another case takes precedence. Actor Sterling Wade, known for his television work, is killed during the filming of a crowd scene while being mobbed by actors costumed as zombies in what was to be his breakthrough movie role. Detectives Gemma Woodstock and Nick Fleet, assigned to the Wade case, are soon frustrated by a wealth of information but no leads. Only when Woodstock notices that the stab wounds on Miller and Wade seem identical do the two cases take a different turn.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe whisperer / Karin Fossum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.
“Ragna Riegel works in a supermarket and still lives in her childhood home. Ragna lives her life within strict self-imposed limits: she sits in the same seat on the bus every day, on her way to her predictable job. On her way home she always visits the same local shop. She feels safe in her routine, until one day she receives a letter with a threatening message scrawled in capital letters. An unknown enemy has entered her world and she must use all her means to defend herself. When the worst happens, Inspector Konrad Sejer is called in to interrogate Ragna. Is this unassuming woman out of her depth, or is she hiding a dark secret?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe stranger diaries / Elly Griffiths.
“Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case. Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe root of evil / Håkan Nesser.
“July 2007. A letter arrives on Inspector Barbarotti’s doorstep detailing a murder that is about to take place in his own quiet Swedish town. By the time the police track down the subject of the letter, he is already dead. So when a second letter arrives, then a third, and a fourth, it’s a game of cat and mouse to stop the killer before he can make good on all of his promises. Meanwhile, an anonymous diary is unearthed depicting the incidents of a two week holiday in France five years earlier, and it doesn’t take Barbarotti long to realise the people populating the diary are the ones whose lives are now in the balance.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCold case / Quintin Jardine.
“Is a killer still on the loose? The story of the Body in the Quarry was well-known around Edinburgh all those years ago: a popular priest found dead in a frozen quarry; a suspect with a clear motive charged; a guilty verdict. But with a journalist uncovering new evidence, the cold case has come back to haunt Skinner’s old mentor Jimmy Proud – and only one man can help him.
Skinner is long out of the police force, but he can’t say no. With the clock ticking, and his friend’s reputation at stake, he must uncover the truth to find out if an innocent man was convicted for murder. And if a killer is still on the loose.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiss Blaine’s prefect and the golden samovar / Olga Wojtas.
“Never underestimate a librarian. Comfortably padded and in her middle years, Shona McMonagle may look bookish and harmless, but her education at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls has left her with a deadly expertise in everything from martial arts to quantum physics. It has also left her with a bone-deep loathing for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, that scurrilous novel that spread scandalous untruths about the finest educational institution in Edinburgh. Her skills, her deceptively mild appearance, and her passionate loyalty make Shona the perfect recruit for a new and interesting project: Time-travel to Tzarist Russia, prevent a gross miscarriage of romance, and to see to it that only the right people get murdered. It’s a big job, but no task is too daunting for a Head Girl from Miss Blaine’s.” (Syndetics summary)

Wintery crime: Nordic Noir

The Man Who Died book cover

Exposing the shadowy side of Scandinavian life, these dark tales are gritty and unpredictable. This selection of recent titles from Scandinavia has authors from: Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.  Some are translated from the original, a couple feature writing partnerships that have created award winning television series, authors who have inspired movies and adaptations of classics in a modern setting.


The scarred woman / Jussi Adler-Olsen (from Denmark)
“The body of an elderly woman is found in a Copenhagen park, and since this book features Detective Carl Morck of Department Q, Copenhagen’s cold cases division, you can bet the case bears resemblance to an unsolved murder dating back a decade. The race is on, and if Morck doesn’t win this one, Department Q will be closed.” (Catalogue)

The silent girl : a Sebastian Bergman thriller /Michael Hjorth (from Sweden)
“An idyllic white, two-storey, beautiful house in Sweden. Inside, a family has been brutally murdered – mother, father and two young children all shot in broad daylight. And the killer has got away. Sebastian Bergman is at a dead end until he discovers a young girl saw it all happen has disappeared.  Bergman has to track the young girl down before it’s too late. But the killer is chasing her too – and he is determined to finish what he started.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The reckoning / Yrsa Sigurdardottir (from Iceland)
“In 2016 the following people are going to die: K, S, BT, JJ, OV and I. Nobody will miss them. Least of all me. I can’t wait. This is the chilling message found in a school’s time capsule, ten years after it was buried. But surely, if a thirteen-year-old wrote it, it can’t be a real threat… Huldar suspects he’s been given the investigation simply to keep him busy and away from real police work. He turns to Freyja to help with the psychology of the child who hid the note. Soon, however, they find themselves at the heart of another shocking case.” (Catalogue)

Three minutes / Anders Roslund  (from Sweden)
Roslund & Hellstrom are a writing team consisting of Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom. Follow the link to discover Roslund’s links to Aotearoa/ New Zealand.
“One-time Swedish government agent Piet Hoffmann is on the run: both from the life prison sentence, and from the Polish mafia. In order to survive, he ends up as bodyguard and hit man for the Colombian mafia, and is approached by the US DEA to infiltrate the same cartel.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The man who died / Antti Tuomainen  (Finland)
“A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, markinng a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Macbeth / Nesbø, Jo (from Norway)
Adapted from the classic as part of the Hogarth Press Shakespeare series.  This grim retelling uses place as well as character to evoke the struggle of flawed individuals under the influence of the headiest of drugs, power. Macbeth is cast as an inspector unexpectedly finding himself in a place foretold by potion brewing sisters. ‘The Lady’ has her own designs on power both have laid out a path of disastrous consequences.

The girl in the woods / Camilla Läckberg  (from Sweden)
Popular author Camilla Lackberg has a series of books based in Fjllbacka as one of her creative pursuits.
“When a four-year-old girl disappears in the woods just outside Fjllbacka, the community is horror-struck. Thirty years ago, a young girl went missing from the exact same spot, and was later discovered, murdered. Detective Patrik Hedstrm starts investigating, with his wife, bestselling crime writer Erica Falck, by his side.” (Catalogue)

The ice swimmer / Kjell Ola Dahl  (from Norway)
“When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated.  Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir.” (Catalogue)

The shadow district / Arnaldur Indriðason (from Iceland)
“A 90-year-old man is found dead in his bed, smothered with his own pillow. On his desk the police find newspaper cuttings about a murder case dating from the Second World War, when a young woman was found strangled behind Reykjavik’s National Theatre. Konrad, a former detective, is bored with retirement, he grew up in “the shadow district” and remembers the crime. Why would someone be interested in that crime now? He starts his own unofficial enquiry.” (Catalogue)