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)