“There’s only one Maltese Falcon” – our most recent selection of newly acquired crime and mystery novels

“If you lose a son, it’s possible to get another. There’s only one Maltese Falcon.” –Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman from the  1941 film The Maltese Falcon.

There's only one Maltese Falcon." -Kasper Gutman #SydneyGreenstreet #TheMalteseFalcon | Dark city, Giphy, Green street

The Alfred Hitchcock plot device known as the McGuffin is strongly in evidence in our recently acquired crime novel Blotto, Twinks and the Maharajah’s Jewel by Simon Brett. In the case of this book the McGuffin in question is a huge diamond, but what actually is a McGuffin?

Well, Hitchcock described it in this way: “The McGuffin is the thing that the spies are after, but the audience don’t care.” It is an event, object, or device, necessary to the motivation of the characters and the story, though largely irrelevant in itself.

Two very famous examples of McGuffins are the Maltese Falcon in the book by Dashiell Hammett and as described by George Lucas himself (perhaps controversially)  R2D2 in Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV) the first 1977 Star Wars film .  Of course, novels employ many other plot drivers and in many of this month’s selection of recently acquired crime novels the main plot driver is the old classic, the burning desire to solve a ghastly crime. Below is a selection of our newly acquired crime novels.

Blotto, Twinks and the Maharajah’s jewel / Brett, Simon
“An idle conversation on the merits of the glorious game with an old Etonian chum is just the excuse Blotto needs to put himself forward for a cricket tour to foreign climes… and so begins the next adventure for our intrepid duo, So Twinks joins Blotto on a steamer bound for India, one that is full of young woman desperate to marry well there — only once having encountered the dashing Blotto, a lot of them fancy the idea of getting married before they reach their destination. And, unbeknownst to the siblings, also on the ship is the international jewel thief M. le Vicomte Xavier Douce, passing himself off as one of Blotto’s cricketing entourage.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A man named Doll / Ames, Jonathan
“Happy Doll is a charming, if occasionally inexpert, private detective living just one sheer cliff drop beneath the Hollywood sign with his beloved half-Chihuahua half-Terrier, George. A veteran of both the Navy and LAPD, Doll supplements his meager income as a P.I. by working through the night at a local Thai spa that offers its clients a number of special services. Armed with his sixteen-inch steel telescopic baton, biting dry humor, and just a bit of a hero complex, the ex-cop sets out to protect the women who work there from clients who have trouble understanding the word “no.”  (Catalogue)

House with no doors / Noon, Jeff
“At first glance, Leonard Graves’ death was unremarkable. Sleeping pills, a bottle of vodka, a note saying goodbye. But when Detective Henry Hobbes discovers a grave in the basement, he realizes there is something far more sinister at work. Further investigation unearths more disturbing evidence. Scattered around the old house are women’s dresses. All made of the same material. All made in the same colours. And all featuring a rip across the stomach, smeared in blood. As the investigation continues and the body count rises, Hobbes must also deal with the disappearance of his son–” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Figure in the photograph / Sullivan, Kevin
“1898. Juan Cameron’s father is killed while working as a photographer amidst the chaos of war in Cuba, but his last pictures reveal a sinister truth to his final moments. Juan travels to Scotland to grieve with family and immerses himself in the study of photography. When he invents a device that inadvertently solves a crime, local law enforcement recruit him to help stop a brutal serial killer plaguing the streets of Glasgow.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

The Oxford Brotherhood / Martínez, Guillermo
“Mathematics student G is trying to resurrect his studies, which is proving difficult as he finds himself — and not for the first time — drawn into investigating a series of mysterious crimes. After meeting with a member of the Lewis Carroll Brotherhood, a startling new discovery by Carroll’s great niece rocks Oxford, leading to deadly plots, salacious pictures and murder. G must stretch his mathematical mind to its limits to solve the mystery and understand the cryptic workings of the Brotherhood. Until then, nobody, not even G, is safe.”–Publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

City of vengeance / Bishop, D. V.
“Florence. Winter, 1536. A prominent Jewish moneylender is murdered in his home, a death with wide implications in a city powered by immense wealth. Cesare Aldo, a former soldier and now an officer of the Renaissance city’s most feared criminal court, is given four days to solve the murder: catch the killer before the feast of Epiphany, or suffer the consequences. During his investigations Aldo uncovers a plot to overthrow the volatile ruler of Florence, Alessandro de’ Medici. If the Duke falls, it will endanger the whole city. ….” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

The Marlow Murder Club / Thorogood, Robert
“Judith is 77 years old and blissfully happy. She lives on her own in a faded mansion just outside Marlow, there’s no man in her life to tell her what to do or how much whisky to drink. One evening, while out swimming in the Thames, Judith witnesses a brutal murder. The local police don’t believe her story, so she decides to investigate for herself.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

 

Before you knew my name / Bublitz, Jacqueline
“Ruby Jones is a lonely Australian woman trying to put distance between herself and a destructive relationship back home, and is struggling in the aftermath of being the person to find Alice’s body. When she encounters Death Club, a small group of misfits who meet at bars around the city to discuss death and dying, she finds a safe space to explore her increasing obsession with the girl and her unidentified killer. Alice, seemingly stuck between life and death, narrates Ruby’s story, hoping that this woman will help her come to terms with what happened and help identify her body. ” (Catalogue)

See H. G. Parry and celebrate the launch of ‘A Radical Act of Free Magic’, 22nd July

Catalogue link: Hannah Parry's A Radical Act of Free Magic

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we will be hosting an event with Hannah Parry, in conversation with Casey Lucas-Quaid, to celebrate the launch of her latest novel A Radical Act of Free Magic.

Facebook event for Hannah Parry, in conversation with Casey Lucas-Quaid

Where? Te Awe Library, 29 Brandon Street

When? Thursday 22nd July at 6pm

Event on Facebook

Hannah's website
Hannah Parry

The internationally acclaimed and hugely popular H. G. Parry is truly a star of the New Zealand speculative fiction scene. Her first novel, The unlikely escape of Uriah Heep, quickly gained her a devoted fan base with its Wellington setting and magical host of characters. She has since followed up with A declaration of the rights of magicians, and we’re looking forward to the forthcoming A radical act of free magic — which advanced reviews have already described as “absolutely superb”.

Hannah holds a PhD in English Literature from Victoria University and currently lives in a book-infested flat on the Kapiti Coast, which she shares with her sister and an increasing menagerie of small animals. She lists her hobbies as: books, travelling, history, rabbits, tea, windy days, and Oxford commas (hooray!).

Casey Lucas-Quaid
Casey Lucas-Quaid

H.G. Parry will be in conversation with fellow science fiction and fantasy author, Casey Lucas-Quaid, winner of the 2020 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Short Story (as well as ice hockey reporter, games writer and NaNoWriMo devotee).

It promises to be an entertaining, enlightening, enthralling, and unmissable event, so put it in your calendar and come along!

Browse Hannah’s books:

The unlikely escape of Uriah Heep / Parry, H. G.
“For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob – a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life – hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing. There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A declaration of the rights of magicians / Parry, H. G.
“A sweeping tale of revolution and wonder in a world not quite like our own. It is the Age of Enlightenment — of new and magical political movements, from the necromancer Robespierre calling for revolution in France to the weather mage Toussaint L’Ouverture leading the slaves of Haiti in their fight for freedom, to the bold new Prime Minister William Pitt weighing the legalization of magic amongst commoners in Britain and abolition throughout its colonies overseas. But amidst all of the upheaval of the early modern world, there is an unknown force inciting all of human civilization into violent conflict. And it will require the combined efforts of revolutionaries, magicians, and abolitionists to unmask this hidden enemy before the whole world falls to darkness and chaos.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A radical act of free magic : a novel / Parry, H. G.
“The Concord has been broken, and a war of magic engulfs the world. In France, the brilliant young battle-mage Napoleon Bonaparte has summoned a kraken from the depths, and under his command, the Army of the Dead have all but conquered Europe.  In Saint Domingue, Fina watches as Toussaint Louverture navigates these opposing forces to liberate the country.But there is another, even darker war being fought beneath the surface: the first vampire war in hundreds of years. The enemy blood magician who orchestrated Robespierre’s downfall  to bring about a return to dark magic to claim all of Europe. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Find Casey’s work in…

Year’s best Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction & fantasy. V2
“Ancient myths go high-tech a decade after the New New Zealand Wars. Safe homes and harbours turn to strangeness within and without.Splintered selves come together again – or not. Twelve authors. Thirteen stories. The best short science fiction and fantasy from Aotearoa New Zealand in 2019. With works by: Juliet Marillier, Nic Low, Rem Wigmore, Andi C Buchanan, Octavia Cade, A.J. Fitzwater, Nicole Tan, Melanie Harding-Shaw, Alisha Tyson, James Rowland, Zoë Meager, and Casey Lucas.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

NZ author Lee Murray picks up two Bram Stoker Awards®

A huge congratulations to the fabulous Lee Murray for her double win at the recent Bram Stoker Awards®  — the Oscars for dark writing and the world’s premier literary horror awards!

Catalogue link for Black CranesLee won in the category Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection for Grotesque: Monster Stories (link goes to Lee’s website, look for our copy on the catalogue soon); and for Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (reserve your copy now) in the category of Superior Achievement in an Anthology.

Lee’s works and exploits in speculative fiction in New Zealand are numerous and wide-ranging. She has previously received the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel (Into the sounds) as well as Best Collected Work as one of three editors on Te Korero Ahi Kā collection, but Murray’s work isn’t just limited to the page. She has also helped establish key writing communities in New Zealand and been involved with events such as GeyserCon. In 2020, she was made an Honorary Literary Fellow in the New Zealand Society of Authors’ annual Waitangi Day Honours. Her other works include the Taine McKenna military thrillers, and supernatural crime-noir series The Path of Ra, co-written with Dan Rabarts, as well as several books for children.

Find out more about Murray’s work on her website:

Visit Lee Murray’s website

Below we’ve included our exclusive video featuring Lee Murray and her The Path of Ra co author Dan Rabarts reading their work in our Home With Ghosts series.

Browse Lee’s work:

Black cranes : Tales of unquiet women.
“Almond-eyed celestial, the filial daughter, the perfect wife. Quiet, submissive, demure. In Black Cranes, Southeast Asian writers of horror both embrace and reject these traditional roles in a unique collection of stories which dissect their experiences of ‘otherness’, be it in the colour of their skin, the angle of their cheekbones, the things they dare to write, or the places they have made for themselves in the world.Black Cranes is a dark and intimate exploration of what it is to be a perpetual outsider.” (Catalogue)


Into the ashes / Murray, Lee
” The nation’s leaders scoff at the danger. That is; until the ground opens and all hell breaks loose. The armed forces are hastily deployed; NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his section tasked with evacuating civilians and tourists from Tongariro National Park. It is too little, too late. With earthquakes coming thick and fast and the mountains spewing rock and ash, McKenna and his men are cut off. Their only hope of rescuing the stranded civilians is to find another route out, but a busload of prison evacuees has other ideas. And, deep beneath the earth’s crust, other forces are stirring, ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Into the sounds / Murray, Lee
“On leave, and out of his head with boredom, NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna joins biologist Jules Asher on a Conservation Department deer culling expedition to New Zealand’s southernmost national park. Despite covering an area the size of the Serengeti, only eighteen people live in the isolated region, so it’s a surprise when the hunters stumble on the nation’s Tūrehu tribe, becoming some of only a handful to ever encounter the elusive ghost people. Besides, there is something else lurking in the sounds, and it has its own agenda. When the waters clear, will anyone be allowed to leave?​”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Into the mist / Murray, Lee
“When New Zealand Defense Force Sergeant Taine McKenna and his squad are tasked with escorting a bunch of civilian contractors into Te Urewera National Park, it seems a strange job for the army. Taine draws on ancient tribal wisdom as he becomes desperate to bring his charges out alive. Will it be enough to stop the nightmare? And when the mist clears, will anyone be left?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Te korero ahi kā : To speak of the home fires burning
“Here, between the realms of the Sky Father and Earth Mother, hellhounds race, ghosts drift and the taniwha stalks. Home fires drive them back, sparking stories and poems that traverse seconds, eons, and parsecs. Tales of gatekeepers, cloak wearers, and secrets. Of pigs with AK-47s or ruby-hued eyes, of love-struck moa, and unruly reflections. Stark truths and beautiful possibilities. Te Korero Ahi Kā-to speak of the home fires burning-is an anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, showcasing work from award-winning and emerging members of SpecFicNZ (New Zealand authors, poets, artists of speculative fiction. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

At the edge
“Step up, as close as you dare… …to a place at the edge of sanity, where cicadas scritch across balmy summer nights, at the edge of town, where the cellphone coverage is decidedly dodgy, at the edge of space, where a Mimbinus argut bounds among snowy rocks, at the edge of the page, where demon princes prance in the shadows, at the edge of despair, where 10 darushas will get you a vodka lime and a ring side seat, at the edge of the universe, where time stops but space goes on… From the brink of civilisation, the fringe of reason, and the border of reality, come 23 stories infused with the bloody-minded spirit of the Antipodes. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood of the sun / Rabarts, Dan
“There’s been a gang massacre on Auckland’s Freyberg Wharf. Body parts everywhere. And with the police’s go-to laboratory out of action, it’s up to scientific consult Pandora (Penny) Yee to sort through the mess. It’s a hellish task, made worse by the earthquake swarms, the insufferable heat, and Cerberus’ infernal barking. And what’s got into her brother Matiu? Does it have something to do with the ship’s consignment? Or is Matiu running with the gangs again? Join Penny and Matiu Yee for the family reunion to end all family reunions, as the struggle between light and dark erupts across Auckland’s volcanic skyline.”–Publisher description.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Teeth of the wolf / Rabarts, Dan
“Scientific consultant Penny Yee has barely drawn breath before Detective Inspector Tanner assigns her another suspicious death, with Matiu tagging along for the ride. That’s fine as long as he stays outside the crime scene tape, but when one of Matiu’s former cronies turns up dead, Penny wonders if her brother might be more than just an innocent bystander. While she’s figuring that out, the entire universe conspires against her, with a cadaver going AWOL, her DNA sequencer spitting the dummy, and the rent due any day.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hounds of the underworld / Rabarts, Dan
“On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving.  Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.” (Catalogue)

A foreign country : New Zealand speculative fiction
“Strange creatures are loose in Miramar, desperate survivors cling to the remains of a submerged country, humanity’s descendants seek to regain what they’ve lost, and the residents of Gisborne reluctantly serve alien masters. The visions of New Zealand – and beyond – painted in this collection of short stories are both instantly recognisable, and nothing like the place we know. A FOREIGN COUNTRY brings together the work of established authors and fresh voices to showcase the range of stories produced by New Zealand’s growing community of speculative fiction writers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Regeneration : New Zealand speculative fiction II
“Some things are gone forever; but that is not the end. There are new lives to be lived, new discoveries to be made, changes to be fought for, enjoyed, or feared. Experience worlds where existence continues beyond death and much-wanted babies become something else entirely. Where humanity endures in hostile environments, societies adapt to new challenges and inventions, and strange creatures live secretly among us. Travel from a curiously altered Second World War to other universes at the end of time, taking in diverse visions of New Zealand and worlds beyond along the way. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

John Steinbeck’s lost Werewolf novel discovered!

“Even a man who is pure in heart,
And says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms,
And the moon is full and bright.”
― Curt Siodmak

The discovery of a complete John Steinbeck novel would always be big news, but the fact that it is a werewolf novel from the time before he was famous makes it a ‘Wow’ find. Called Murder at Full Moon, despite the author’s best efforts, it failed to find a publisher when he wrote the book back in 1930.

The story is a pulp detective work set in a Californian coastal town beset by a series of gruesome murders. And is very different in style, tone and content from the works that would eventually win the Nobel prize for Steinbeck. Sadly, as yet, there is no planned publication date for the work.

Werewolves as a concept were widespread in European folklore from medieval times onwards, indeed at the same time as the notorious witch trials there were werewolf hunts. Indeed werewolves as supernatural creatures date from much earlier times and feature in many world cultures; there are a few references to men changing into wolves in ancient Greek literature. There is even reference to a potential lover jilted because she had turned her previous mate into a wolf in The Epic of Gilgamesh (the oldest known work of Western prose circa  2100 BC). They feature in several gothic horror works from the 19th century and, of course, werewolves have taken on a romantic mantle in many recent novels, inspired in part by Stephenie Meyer’s  hugely popular Twilight series of books and films.

Just remember, as they say in the fabulous What We Do in the Shadows, they are “werewolves, not swearwolves.” Below are just a few werewolf related picks from our collections.

The buried book : the loss and rediscovery of the great Epic of Gilgamesh / Damrosch, David
“Composed in Babylonia more than three thousand years ago, The Epic of Gilgamesh is the story of one hero’s travels in search of immortality, of a vengeful goddess, a cunning serpent, and a devastating flood. It was the world’s first great epic, which would later be echoed in The Odyssey, the Bible, and The Thousand and One Nights. But in 612 B.C., the clay tablets that bore the story were lost – buried in the burning ruins of the palace of Ashurbanipal, the last great king of Assyria, as his enemies laid his kingdom to waste.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

What we do in the shadows
“A comedy Horror Mocumentary by Taika Waititi set in Wellington and revolving round a group of flat sharing vampires and their adventures with amongst others Wellington based Werewolves. The film boasts great well timed humour throughout, and went on to spawn not one but two,  television series:-   one a reimaging of the movie itself the other the  Wonderful Wellington Paranormal. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Mongrels / Jones, Stephen Graham
“Set in the deep South, Mongrels is a deeply moving, sometimes grisly, and surprisingly funny novel that follows an unnamed narrator as he comes of age under the care of his aunt and uncle — who are werewolves.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Weird women : classic supernatural fiction by groundbreaking female writers: 1852-1923
“As railroads, industry, cities, and technology flourished in the mid-nineteenth century, so did stories exploring the horrors they unleashed. This anthology includes ghost stories and tales of haunted houses, as well as mad scientists, werewolves, ancient curses, mummies, psychological terrors, demonic dimensions, and even weird westerns. Two acclaimed experts in the genre  Lisa Morton and Leslie S Klinger  compile this  brand-new volume of supernatural stories showcasing  female horror writers from 1852-1923.”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood bound / Briggs, Patricia
“Jalopy mechanic and were-creature Mercedes Thompson can change into a coyote whenever she wants to. As a favor, she agrees to back up vampire friend Stefan when he confronts another of his kind. But, being demon-possessed, that vampire proves deadlier than most and before she can do anything to help, Mercedes is in the middle of a war with vampires and werewolves.” (Catalogue)

 

The bloody chamber and other stories / Carter, Angela
“The bloody chamber — The courtship of Mr. Lyon — The tiger’s bride — Puss-in-Boots — The Erl-King — The snow child — The lady of the house of love — The worewolf — The company of wolves — Wolf-Alice.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Shiver / Stiefvater, Maggie
“In all the years she has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house, Grace has been particularly drawn to an unusual yellow-eyed wolf who, in his turn, has been watching her with increasing intensity.” (Catalogue)

 

 

The last werewolf / Duncan, Glen
“Jake Marlowe has been alive too long. For two hundred years he has roamed the world, enslaved by his lunatic appetites, tormented by his first and most monstrous crime. But as Jake counts down to suicide, a violent murder and an extraordinary meeting plunge him back into the desperate pursuit of life, and the dangerous possibility of love.” (Catalogue)

 

Wolf rain / Singh, Nalini
“Kidnapped as a young girl, her psychic powers harnessed by a madman, Memory lives a caged and isolated existence . . . until she comes face-to-face with a wolf. Labelled an empath by her bad-tempered rescuer, Memory knows that her ‘gift’ is nothing so bright. It is a terrible darkness that means she will always be hunted. But Memory is free now and she intends to live. A certain growly wolf can just deal with it. Alexei prefers to keep his packmates at bay, the bleak history of his family a constant reminder that mating, love, hope is not for him, but soon, he must make a choice: risk everything or lose Memory to a murderous darkness that wants to annihilate her from existence .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Twilight / Meyer, Stephenie
“In spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town. But not, it seems, the Cullen family. These five adopted brothers and sisters obviously prefer their own company and will make no exception for Bella. Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her, but she feels a strange attraction to him, although his hostility makes her feel almost physically ill. He seems determined to push her away – until, that is, he saves her life from an out of control car. Bella will soon discover that there is a very good reason for Edward’s coldness. He, and his family, are vampires – and he knows how dangerous it is for others to get too close.” (Catalogue)
Click here for the availability of the film on DVD.

“Mine is a gruesome job, but for a scientist with a love for the mechanics of the human body, a great one.” – Judy Melinek

“Mine is a gruesome job, but for a scientist with a love for the mechanics of the human body, a great one.”

― Judy Melinek, Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

Recently we had the great pleasure of hosting a crime writers’ panel event at our Newtown branch (if you missed it, have no fear – you can watch it below). Amongst our fabulous panel we had husband and wife crime-writing duo T. J. Mitchell and Judy Melinek. So it is fabulous to see in this month’s selection of newly-acquired crime fiction Aftershock, the latest book from the couple which features their forensic sleuth Dr. Jessie Teska.

We have a whole selection of other detective and mystery novels, including the wonderful Paul Cleave, Anna Bailey (a chilling new voice who is gathering rave reviews and definitely an author to check out), and Jane Adam’s historical whodunnit Old Sins, set in the 1920’s and featuring Scotland Yard’s Chief Inspector Henry Johnstone (if you are a fan of the golden age of crime writers this will definitely be of interest).

Below are these and a few other picks from our recently acquired titles.

Aftershock / Melinek, Judy
“There’s a body crushed under a load of pipes on a San Francisco construction site, and medical examiner Dr. Jessie Teska is on call. Her autopsy reveals that the death is a homicide staged as an accident. When an earthquake sends the city reeling, her case falls apart and an innocent man is being framed. Jessie is the only one who can prove it– if she can piece together the truth before it gets buried in the rubble.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The quiet people / Cleave, Paul
“Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful crime-writers. They have been on the promotional circuit, joking that no-one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living. So when their 7 year old son Zach goes missing, naturally the police and the public wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time – are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

Old sins / Adams, Jane
“1929. The discovery of the bodies of two retired policemen, Walter Cole and Hayden Paul, sounds warning bells to DCI Henry Johnstone. Both men were experiencing financial difficulties, and their deaths were staged to look like suicides. Hayden left a note containing two words: old sins. And when Henry attends his sister’s Halloween party, he is approached by a flamenco dancer who leaves a note with the name of another man. Could this be a grim warning?Henry is forced on a painful journey back to an old case he worked on with Cole and Paul.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Tall bones / Bailey, Anna
“When seventeen-year-old Emma leaves her best friend Abi at a party in the woods, she believes, that their lives are just beginning. Many things will happen that night, but Emma will never see her friend again. Abi’s disappearance cracks open the facade of the small town of Whistling Ridge. Even within Abi’s family, there are questions to be asked.  Anything could happen in Whistling Ridge, this tinder box of small-town rage, and all it will take is just one spark – the truth of what really happened that night out at the Tall Bones….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder ink / Hechtman, Betty
“Veronica Blackstone is a writer for hire. Be it love letters, biographies, resumes or wedding vows, Veronica has you covered. Her latest assignment is writing a celebration of life book for the funeral of one-time client Rachel Ross who tragically died one year after her wedding. While researching Rachel’s life, Veronica finds the information surrounding the circumstances of her death to be shrouded in mystery. No one quite knows what happened and her prominent family are more concerned with their image than the truth. Was her fall an accident, deliberate or something else? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Becoming Inspector Chen / Qiu, Xiaolong
“After a number of grueling cases Chief Inspector Chen is facing mounting pressure from his superiors, many of whom are concerned with where his loyalties lie. What’s more, he is excluded from an investigation into an incendiary poem posted on an online forum. Wracked with self-doubt and facing an anxious wait to discover the fate of his career, Chen is left to reflect on the events that have led to where he is now – from his amateur investigations as a child during the Cultural Revolution, to his very first case on the Shanghai Police Force. Has fighting for the Chinese people and the morals he believes in put him in conflict with the Party? Why is he being kept away from the new case? As well as his career, is his life now also at risk?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

On an outgoing tide / Ramsay, Caro
“The body is found in the early hours of the morning, drifting lifelessly on the outgoing tide. Twenty-three-year-old medical student Aasha Ariti had been enjoying a night out to celebrate the end of lockdown. Anthony Poole, the last person to have seen her alive, is the prime suspect. Before detectives Anderson and Costello can make further headway, they are pulled off the case to investigate the murder of a pensioner in his own home. As they dig deeper however, the two detectives uncover a number of secrets in the dead man’s past. Secrets that link to another murder more than forty years before. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood grove / Mosley, Walter
“After being approached by a shell-shocked Vietnam War veteran who claims to have gotten into a fight protecting a white woman from a black man, Easy embarks on an investigation that takes him from mountaintops to the desert, through South Central and into sex clubs and the homes of the fabulously wealthy, facing hippies, the mob, and old friends perhaps more dangerous than anyone else.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Please, sir, I want some more? New fiction additions in May

Please, sir, I want some more

Charles Dickens from Oliver Twist

Below you’ll find some of our picks of the newly added fiction titles, including a timely modern-day reimagining by Keisha Bush of Charles Dickens’ Oliver TwistNo heaven for Good Boys, set in Senegal. Drawn from real life events, the novel, like its inspiration, explores the links between extreme poverty, cruelty and exploitation and the power of small, tender acts of kindness. It’s all very unsurprisingly Dickensian and sadly shows that whilst time moves on, in many ways human cruelty will always be there — a poignant and moving work.

Other highlights this month include The Great British Bake Off’s Mel Giedroyc‘s debut novel — The best things — about a family who lose everything financially only in turn to find themselves. The book is  loosely based on Mel’s own personal experiences. Also this month on our list is bestselling author Mike Gayle’s latest outing — All the lonely people — which looks set to be another very popular book from  the author of Turning forty.

Brother sister mother explorer : a novel / Figueroa, Jamie
“In the tourist town of Ciudad de Tres Hermanas, in the aftermath of their mother’s passing, two siblings spend a final weekend together in their childhood home. Seeing her brother, Rafa, careening toward a place of no return, Rufina devises a bet: if they can make enough money performing for privileged tourists in the plaza over the course of the weekend to afford a plane ticket out, Rafa must commit to living. If not, Rufina will make her peace with Rafa’s own plan for the future, however terrifying it may be. As the siblings reckon with generational and ancestral trauma, set against the indignities of present-day prejudice, other strange hauntings begin to stalk these pages: their mother’s ghost kicks her heels against the walls; Rufina’s vanished child creeps into her arms at night; and above all this, watching over the siblings, a genderless, flea-bitten angel remains hell-bent on saving what can be saved.” (Catalogue)

The best things / Giedroyc, Mel
“Sally Parker is struggling to find the hero inside herself. All she wants to do is lie down. Her husband Frank has lost his business, their home and their savings, in one fell swoop. Their bank cards are being declined. The children have gone feral. And now the bailiffs are at the door. What does an ordinary woman do when the bottom falls out? Sally Parker is about to surprise everybody, most of all herself.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

All the lonely people / Gayle, Mike
“In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment. But Hubert Bird is lying. The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul. Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on. Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The vanishing half / Bennett, Brit
“The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

No heaven for good boys : a novel / Bush, Keisha
“Six-year-old Ibrahimah loves snatching pastries from his mother’s kitchen, harvesting string beans with his father, and searching for sea glass with his sisters. But when he is approached in his rural village one day by Marabout Ahmed, a seemingly kind stranger and highly regarded teacher, the tides of his life turn forever. Ibrahimah is sent to the capital city of Dakar to join his cousin Tienne in studying the Koran under Marabout Ahmed for a year, but instead of the days of learning that Ibrahimah’s parents imagine, the young boys, called Talib, are forced to beg in the streets in order to line their teacher’s pockets. To make it back home, Tienne and Ibrahimah must help each other survive both the dangers posed by their Marabout, and the darker sides of Dakar: threats of black-market organ traders, rival packs of Talib, and mounting student protest on the streets. Drawn from real incidents and transporting readers between rural and urban Senegal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Continue reading “Please, sir, I want some more? New fiction additions in May”

New science fiction and fantasy titles

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson

This month’s science fiction and fantasy showcase features five-time Nebula award-winner Greg Bear‘s latest epic historical fantasy novel, The unfinished land, which evokes the seafaring spirit of Robert Louis Stevenson’s work. Also included this month is The burning god — the fantastic finale to R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed Poppy war trilogy, partly inspired by 20th century Chinese history. On a much stranger and weirder note, Nino Cipri’s Finna sees carnivorous furniture running amok and elderly customers slipping through portals in a box furniture store to find themselves ending up in other dimensions. And if Finna is your cup of tea, you should also try Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör. Have a browse of these and other exciting new titles below!

The unfinished land / Bear, Greg
“Reynard, a young apprentice, seeks release from drudgery in the English village of Southwold. His rare days off lead him to strange encounters — not just with press gangs hoping to fill English ships to fight the coming Spanish Armada, but strangers who seem to know him — one of whom casts a white shadow. And after a fierce battle at sea, Reynard finds himself the sole survivor. For days he drifts, until he is rescued by a galleon, also lost– both are propelled by a strange current to the unknown northern island of Thule. Here Reynard must meet his destiny in a violent clash between humans and gods.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The burning god / Kuang, R. F.
“After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead. Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much – the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges – and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Finna / Cipri, Nino
“When an elderly customer at a Swedish big box furniture store — but not that one — slips through a portal to another dimension, it’s up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company’s bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but those two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago. To find the missing granny, Ava and Jules will brave carnivorous furniture, swarms of identical furniture spokespeople, and the deep resentment simmering between them. Can friendship blossom from the ashes of their relationship? In infinite dimensions, all things are possible.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Horrorstor, Grady Hendrix (ebook)
Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.
To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The mask of mirrors / Carrick, M. A.
“Renata Virdaux is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadezra — the city of dreams — with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune and her sister’s future.But as she’s drawn into the aristocratic world of House Traementis, she realises her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as corrupted magic begins to weave its way through Nadezra, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled — with Ren at their heart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bone maker : a novel / Durst, Sarah Beth
“Twenty-five years ago, five heroes risked their lives to defeat the bone maker Eklor — a corrupt magician who created an inhuman army using animal bones. But victory came at a tragic price. Only four of the heroes survived. Since then, Kreya, the group’s leader, has exiled herself to a remote tower and devoted herself to one purpose: resurrecting her dead husband.  Maybe the dead don’t rest in peace after all. Five warriors — one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesn’t stop just because someone once said, “the end.”” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Remote control / Okorafor, Nnedi
“The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa—-a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks–alone, except for her fox companion–searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion? ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The swimmers / Womack, Marian
“After the ravages of the Green Winter, Earth is a place of deep jungles and monstrous animals. The last of the human race is divided into surface dwellers and the people who live in the Upper Settlement, a ring perched at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. Bearing witness to this divided planet is Pearl, a young techie with a thread of shuvani blood, who lives in the isolated forests of Gobari, navigating her mad mother and the strange blue light in the sky. But Pearl’s stepfather promises her to a starborn called Arlo, and the world Pearl thought she knew will never be the same again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Upright women wanted / Gailey, Sarah
“Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her — a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing. A good old-fashioned horse opera for the 22nd century. Gunslinger librarians of the apocalypse are on a mission to spread public health, decency, and the revolution” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Gothic Revival: our selection of modern gothic novels

“Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things. Listen to them — children of the night. What music they make”
– Dracula referring to the howling of the wolves to Jonathan Harker.

The 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole is commonly regarded as the first ever Gothic novel and since then the genre, defined by heightened emotional states, pleasurable terror, elements of romanticism and often containing one or several of the following elements: churchyards, coffins, graveyards, skeletons or ghosts, has had enduring popularity. Some of the most iconic, popular, and influential books of all time are encompassed in its arms such as Dracula, Northanger Abbey, Rebecca Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to name but a few. This popularity has endured and below is our very small collection of modern gothic novels for your delight, edification and to chill your blood and freeze your soul.

Beloved / Morrison, Toni
“Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Meanwhile Sethe’s house has long been troubled by the angry, destructive ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Sethe works at beating back the past, but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly in her memory and in the lives of those around her.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Fledgling : a novel / Butler, Octavia E
“An apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly un-human needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: she is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire.  Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted–and still wants–to destroy her and those she cares for, and how she can save herself. Fledgling is a captivating novel that tests the limits of otherness and questions what it means to be truly human.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

Mexican gothic / Moreno-Garcia, Silvia
“Lovecraft meets the Bronte’s in Latin America.” After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noem Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. There are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noem digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noem , mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The night circus : a novel / Morgenstern, Erin
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. And it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway–a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The shadow of the wind / Ruiz Zafón, Carlos
Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the ‘Cemetery of Lost Books’, a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Julian Carax. But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from the book, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax’s work in order to burn them.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell / Clarke, Susanna
The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains- the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician- the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of leaves / Danielewski, Mark Z
“A blind old man, a young apprentice working in a tattoo shop, and a mad woman haunting an Ohio institute narrate this story of a family that encounters an endlessly shifting series of hallways in their new home, eventually coming face to face with the awful darkness lying at its heart. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.” (Catalogue)

The secret history / Tartt, Donna
“Donna Tartt’s The Secret History is the original American campus novel. When Richard Papen joins an elite group of clever misfits at his New England college, it seems he can finally become the person he wants to be. But the moral boundaries he will cross with his new friends – and the deaths they are responsible for – will change all of their lives forever. The Secret History recounts the terrible price we pay for mistakes made on the dark journey to adulthood.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Our selection of newly acquired Science Fiction and fantasy books for March

“Sourdough is basically an edible Tamagotchi.”
– Meik Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well
(Click here for availability of title).

Over the course of lockdown many of us discovered the magical powers of baking, but what if your baking was actually magical and you could make gingerbread people dance? Well, this is the fun and quirky premise of A wizard’s guide to defensive baking by T Kingfisher, a fantasy novel where Mona, the book’s protagonist, has to defend her embattled city using her unique magical powers. Other recently acquired titles include Samantha Shannon’s The Mask Falling, the very welcome release of Octavia E Butler’s Clay’s Ark,  the much-anticipated latest work from Lovecraft Country author Matt Ruff 88 names and Dealbreaker by L.X. Beckett, which should appeal to fans of Star Trek and Neuromancer.

A wizard’s guide to defensive baking / Kingfisher, T
“Fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt’s bakery making gingerbread men dance. But Mona’s life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body on the bakery floor. An assassin is stalking the streets of Mona’s city, preying on magic folk, and it appears that Mona is his next target. And in an embattled city suddenly bereft of wizards, the assassin may be the least of Mona’s worries…” (Catalogue)

Fireheart tiger / Bodard, Aliette de
“Thanh is royalty in a beleaguered nation of scattered provinces pressured on all sides. The daughter of ancestors armed with swords and courage, she was fostered in a foreign capital to seal an alliance, and returned–to her powerful mother’s disappointment–quiet and thoughtful instead of brash and confident. Propped up by the guns and silver of Ephteria, a far more powerful empire, her country is losing the game of power. In Eldris, an Ephterian princess, Thanh finds both romance and intoxicating risk. Eldris may desire her, but she doesn’t respect what Thanh holds dear.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The mask falling / Shannon, Samantha
“Dreamwalker Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire. The mysterious Domino Program has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim-her former enemy-at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. ” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Dealbreaker / Beckett, L. X
“Rubi Whiting has done the impossible. She has proved that humanity deserves a seat at the galactic table. Well, at least a shot at a seat. Having convinced the galactic governing body that mankind deserves a chance at fixing their own problems, Rubi has done her part to launch the planet into a new golden age of scientific discovery and technological revolution. However, there are still those in the galactic community that think that humanity is too poisonous, too greedy, to be allowed in, and they will stop at nothing to sabotage a species determined to pull itself up.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Clay’s ark / Butler, Octavia E
“In an alternate America marked by volatile class warfare, Blake Maslin is traveling with his teenage twin daughters when their car is ambushed. Their attackers appear sickly yet possess inhuman strength, and they transport Blake’s family to an isolated compound. There, the three captives discover that the compound’s residents have a highly contagious alien disease that has mutated their DNA to make them powerful, dangerous, and compelled to infect others. If Blake and his daughters do not escape, they will be infected with a virus that will either kill them outright or transform them into outcasts whose very existence is a threat to the world around them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We could be heroes / Chen, Mike
Jamie woke up in an empty apartment with no memory and only a few clues to his identity, but with the ability to read and erase other people’s memories–a power he uses to hold up banks to buy coffee, cat food and books. Zoe is also searching for her past, and using her abilities of speed and strength. When the archrivals meet in a memory-loss support group, they realize the only way to reveal their hidden pasts might be through each other. As they uncover an ongoing threat, suddenly much more is at stake than their fragile friendship.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Beyond Kuiper : the galactic star alliance. Part one Volume one. / Medney, Matthew
“If our galaxy is so full of sentient life, why has no one said hello? We thought of a simple, logical reason: no one wants to. We possess extremely short memories and long grudges, and the likelihood of receiving alien tools to hasten our expansion seems downright foolhardy. The Galactic Star Alliance has been alive and well for millions of earth years. Hundreds of thousands of sentient worlds and trillions of beings walk, run, and crawl across the many home worlds of the Alliance. This revelation led to many questions. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A history of what comes next / Neuvel, Sylvain
Always run, never fight. Preserve the knowledge. Survive at all costs.
Take them to the stars. Over 99 identical generations, Mia’s family has shaped human history to push them to the stars, making brutal, wrenching choices and sacrificing countless lives. Her turn comes at the dawn of the age of rocketry. Her mission: to lure Wernher Von Braun away from the Nazi party and into the American rocket program, and secure the future of the space race. But Mia’s family is not the only group pushing the levers of history: an even more ruthless enemy lurks behind the scenes. ” (Catalogue)

88 names : a novel / Ruff, Matt
“John Chu is a “sherpa”–a paid guide to online role-playing games like the popular Call to Wizardry. For a fee, he and his crew will provide you with a top-flight character. Chu’s new client, the pseudonymous Mr. Jones, claims to be a “wealthy, famous person” with powerful enemies, and he’s offering a ridiculous amount of money for a comprehensive tour of the world of virtual-reality gaming.  What begins as a whirlwind online adventure soon spills over into the real world. Chu must use every trick and resource at his disposal to stay one step ahead–because in real life, there is no reset button.” (Catalogue)

Crime-writing duo Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell coming to Newtown Library

You may have heard American forensic pathologist and crime writer Judy Melinek and her husband and co-author TJ Mitchell interviewed by Kim Hill on Radio New Zealand at the end of March. They’re the writing sensations behind the Jessie Teska forensic mystery books — and they’re coming to Newtown Library!

The couple will part of a panel discussion in an exciting line-up that includes three-time Ockhams New Zealand Book Awards listee Brannavan Gnanalingam, 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award and Ockhams winner Dame Fiona Kidman, and 2021 Ockhams long listee Sally J Morgan.

What? A Capital Crimespree – Newtown Mystery in the Library Panel Discussion, an event in association with the Ngaio Marsh Awards.

When? 6pm, Friday 30 April

Where? Newtown Library, 13 Constable Street, Newtown

Facebook Event Link

We’re so excited to host all these crime-writing luminaries, and in subsequent posts we’ll be profiling them all, but because they were recently interviewed on Radio New Zealand, we thought we’d kick off our panellist profiles with Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell — two authors with storied pasts who relocated to Wellington from America in July 2020.

Judy Melinek is a doctor and forensic pathologist who trained in forensics at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner. Her working life is the subject of the memoir Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner, co-authored with her husband, writer T.J. Mitchell, and the two also collaborate on their series of novels featuring medical examiner Jessie Teska. Today Dr. Melinek performs autopsies as a forensic pathologist in Wellington, New Zealand.

T.J. Mitchell, as well as being a bestselling author, also has a past as a scriptwriter for Hollywood. To hear more about their remarkable lives and times and how actual forensic practice informs their fictional works, pop along to our Newtown Mystery in the Library event!

Listen to Kim Hill’s interview with this intriguing pair of authors (18 min.)

Please note “Mature/ adult issues of a challenging nature” may be discussed.

Browse their work below:

Working stiff : two years, 262 bodies, and the making of a medical examiner / Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell
“Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. While her husband and their toddler held down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation–performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, including a firsthand account of the events of September 11, the subsequent anthrax bio-terrorism attack, and the disastrous crash of American Airlines Flight 587. An unvarnished portrait of the daily life of medical examiners–complete with grisly anecdotes and chilling crime scenes” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.First cut : a novel / Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell
“For San Francisco’s newest medical examiner, Dr Jessie Teska, it was supposed to be a fresh start. A new job in a new city. A way to escape her own dark past. Instead she faces a chilling discovery when a suspected overdose case contains hints of something more sinister. Jessie’s superiors urge her to close the case, but as more bodies land on her autopsy table, she uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate plot involving nefarious opioid traffickers and flashy tech titans who got rich off Bitcoin. Autopsy means ‘see for yourself,’ and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she has seen it all – even if it means the next corpse on the table could be her own.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.Aftershock / Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell
“At first glance, the death appears to be an accident. The body, located on a construction site, rests under a collapsed beam. But when Dr Jessie Teska arrives on the scene, she notices the telltale signs of a staged death. The victim has been murdered. A rising star in the San Francisco forensics world, Jessie is ready to unravel the case, help bring the murderer to justice and prevent them from potentially striking again. But when a major earthquake hits San Francisco right before Halloween, Jessie and the rest of the city are left reeling. And even if she emerges from the rubble, there’s no guaranteeing she’ll make it out alive. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

What if? A selection of alternative history books

It is like the point where the rainbow touches the forest. We think that we can see it—but if we go to look for it, it isn’t there.”
― Carlo Rovelli, The Order of Time

What if the Nazis had won World War Two, or what if you could travel back in time to save J F Kennedy from assassination? Alternative history novels offer authors the unique opportunity to do just that, take real life events and characters and then explore what would have happened if history had taken a different route. Many great writers have delved into the field such as Philip K Dick, Stephen King and Susanna Clarke to name but a few. Below is a very small selection of novels which depict a different reality from the one we exist in.

The man in the high castle / Dick, Philip K
“It is 1962 and the Second World War has been over for seventeen years: people have now had a chance to adjust to the new order. But it’s not been easy. The Mediterranean has been drained to make farmland, the population of Africa has virtually been wiped out and America has been divided between the Nazis and the Japanese. In the neutral buffer zone that divides the two superpowers lives the man in the high castle, the author of an underground bestseller, a work of fiction that offers an alternative theory of world history in which the Axis powers didn’t win the war.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The plot against America / Roth, Philip
“Philip Roth imagines an alternate history where Franklin D. Roosevelt loses the 1940 presidential election to heroic aviator and rabid isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh. Shortly thereafter, Lindbergh negotiates a cordial “understanding” with Adolf Hitler, while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism. For one boy growing up in Newark, Lindbergh’s election is the first in a series of ruptures that threaten to destroy his small, safe corner of America-and with it, his mother, his father, and his older brother.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Rodham : a novel / Sittenfeld, Curtis
“In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Life magazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she’s attending Yale Law School, and she’s on the forefront of student activism and the women’s rights movement. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage to Bill Clinton, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail–one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life. ” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Fatherland / Harris, Robert
“Berlin, 1964. The Greater German Reich stretches from the Rhine to the Urals, and keeps an uneasy peace with its nuclear rival, the United States. As the Fatherland prepares for a grand celebration honoring Adolf Hitler’s seventy-fifth birthday and anticipates a conciliatory visit from U.S. president Joseph Kennedy and ambassador Charles Lindbergh, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin’s most prestigious suburb.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union / Chabon, Michael
“For sixty years, Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal Distric of Sitka, a “temporary” safe haven created in the wake of revelations of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. Proud, grateful, and longing to be American, the Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant, gritty, soulful, and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, an homage to 1940s noir, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

11/22/63 / King, Stephen
“On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? It begins with Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession–to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The difference engine / Gibson, William
“1855: The Industrial Revolution is in full swing, powered by steam-driven cybernetic Engines. Charles Babbage perfects his Analytical Engine, and the computer age arrives a century ahead of its time. Three extraordinary characters race toward a rendezvous with the future: Sybil Gerard—fallen woman, politician’s tart, daughter of a Luddite agitator Edward “Leviathan” Mallory—explorer and palaeontologist; Laurence Oliphant—diplomat, mystic, and spy. Their adventure begins with the discovery of a box of punched Engine cards of unknown origin and purpose. Cards someone wants badly enough to kill for.”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell / Clarke, Susanna
The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains- the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician- the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The Eyre affair / Fforde, Jasper
“Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. There are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades,  steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! his next target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it’s not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte’s novel. Enter Thursday Next. She’s the Special Operative’s renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche.” (Catalogue)

“All things are transient here below and frail” – Our latest crime fiction showcase

“All things are transient here below and frail. Death only standeth fast for evermore”
Lorenzo de’ Medici  1449-1492,

One of the wonderful things about the genre of crime fiction is that it knows no geographical borders,  a wellwritten crime book from any part of the globe will stand a good chance of being quickly translated and released into a worldwide market. There is a huge global readership for good crime novels.  And the truly international nature and appeal of a good crime novel is amply demonstrated in this month’s crime fiction showcase; in this month’s selection we have novels from eight different countries. Ranging from Sweden and Germany to Scotland and Renaissance era Italy we even have a crime novel set in England where HRH Queen Elizabeth is the sleuth.

The family business / Allen, Hania
“In the north of Dundee, DI Dania Gorska is leading the search for a missing boy,  combing the dramatic landscape in hope of finding the child. What they discover in a derelict hut in the hills isn’t the boy, but is the remains of a body, chained to a wall. This body isn’t the missing child but is identified as another young boy. Dania begins to unearth the old case, determined to discover Cameron’s killer and looking for possible connections to the present-day missing child. But as she digs into the past, she realises that the Affleck family are hiding more than they let on and that there are some dark secrets that everyone wants to stay buried.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For the dead / Bengtsdotter, Lina
“Thirty years ago, teenager Paul Bergman was found drowned in Gullspang’s lake, and his best friend Francesca vanished from her home. Paul’s death was ruled a suicide, and Francesca was never found. DI Charlie Lager is still haunted by childhood memories of a strange house and the missing girl who once lived there.
Convinced that the original investigation was flawed, Charlie is determined to uncover what really happened all those decades ago. But someone out there is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the truth from coming out.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Windsor knot / Bennett, S. J.
“The morning after a dinner party at Windsor Castle, eighty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found murdered in his room, with a rope around his neck. When the police begin to suspect her loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they are looking in the wrong place. For the queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her teenage years. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes. With her household’s happiness on the line, her secret must not get out. Can the queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer, without getting caught themselves?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

City of vengeance / Bishop, D. V.
“Florence. Winter, 1536. A prominent Jewish moneylender is murdered in his home, a death with wide implications in a city powered by immense wealth. Cesare Aldo, a former soldier and now an officer of the Renaissance city’s most feared criminal court, is given four days to solve the murder: catch the killer before the feast of Epiphany – or suffer the consequences. During his investigations Aldo uncovers a plot to overthrow the volatile ruler of Florence, Alessandro de’ Medici. Can Aldo stop the conspiracy before anyone else dies, or will his own secrets destroy him first?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook .

The dance of the serpents / De Muriel, Oscar
“December, 1889. There have been many bad days in Edinburgh police’s secret subdivision ‘The Commission for the Elucidation of Unsolved Cases Presumably Related to the Odd and Ghostly’. But today is surely the worst. Because the exiled English Inspector Ian Frey, and his Scottish boss ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray are summoned to a meeting in the middle of the night with the Prime Minister himself. And he tells them that Queen Victoria  wants them both dead. To be pardoned they must embark on a mission so dangerous that they might be saving Her Majesty the job of executing them. A conspiracy within the highest office in the land.” (Catalogue)

Jeremiah’s bell : a D.C.I. Daley thriller / Meyrick, Denzil
“When rich American hotelier Alice Wenger arrives in Kinloch, some eyebrows are raised and memories are rekindled. Meanwhile, the secretive Doig family live a solitary existence on a remote part of the Kintyre peninsula, without even the basic amenities of modern life. After the family’s patriarch plummets to his death, secrets of stolen gold, whisky smuggling, shipwrecks and brutal events going back decades begin to emerge. With emotions running high in Kinloch Police Office, the team must put aside their own problems and get to the bottom of a sickening crime. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Stasi winter / Young, David
“In 1978 East Germany, nothing is as it seems. The state’s power is absolute, history is re-written, and the “truth” is whatever the Stasi say it is. So when the murder of a woman is officially labeled an “accidental death,” Major Karin Muller of the People’s Police is faced with a dilemma. To solve the crime, she must defy the official version of events. But defying the Stasi means putting her own life–and the lives of her young family–in danger. As the worst winter in history holds Germany in its freeze, Muller must untangle a web of state secrets and make a choice: between the truth and a lie, justice and injustice, and, ultimately, life and death.” (Catalogue)

These women / Pochoda, Ivy
“There’s Dorian, still adrift after her daughter’s murder remains unsolved; Julianna, a young dancer nicknamed Jujubee, who lives hard and fast, resisting anyone trying to slow her down; Essie, a brilliant vice cop who sees a crime pattern emerging where no one else does; Marella, a daring performance artist whose work has long pushed boundaries but now puts her in peril; and Anneke, a quiet woman who has turned a wilfully blind eye to those around her for far too long. The careful existence they have built for themselves starts to crumble when two murders rock their neighborhood.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

 

“Let us not take ourselves too seriously.” Our latest fiction showcase acquisitions

Let us not take ourselves too seriously. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom.” ― Queen Elizabeth II Christmas Broadcast 1991

The Crown television series and a certain Oprah interview has proven, if there was any doubt, that there is still a huge public appetite for all things Royal. And this month’s selection of newly acquired fiction contains not one but two novels with The Royals involved in their plots. Wendy Holden’s The Governess provides an intimate fictionalised peek behind the scenes of the real-life Royal Governess Marion ‘Crawfie’ Crawford into the imagined domestic lives of the future Queen and Princess Margaret. Whilst The Royal Correspondent By Alexandra Joel is about a young Sydney journalist covering the upcoming marriage of Princess Margaret to photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones. However, her wider investigations start to uncover the Profumo spy scandal. There are also some fabulous non-Royal books in our latest selections too.

Rainbow milk / Mendez, Paul
” In the Black Country in the 1950s, ex-boxer Norman Alonso is a determined and humble Jamaican who has moved to Britain with his wife to secure a brighter future for themselves and their children. Blighted with unexpected illness and racism, Norman and his family are resilient in the face of such hostilities, but are all too aware that they will need more than just hope to survive. At the turn of the millennium, Jesse seeks a fresh start in London – escaping from a broken immediate family, a repressive religious community and the desolate, disempowered Black Country – but finds himself at a loss for a new centre of gravity, and turns to sex work to create new notions of love, fatherhood and spirituality. ” (Catalogue)

The governess / Holden, Wendy
“The fictionalised story of Marion ‘Crawfie’ Crawford, the progressive young working-class woman who, as royal governess for seventeen years, lived on the most intimate terms with Princess Margaret and the future Queen Elizabeth II. As the royal governess, Marion Crawford played a major role in shaping the childhood and subsequent world-view of Queen Elizabeth II, but her story is largely unknown and has never been explored in much depth. The Governess brings ‘Crawfie’ to life.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Lullaby beach / Duffy, Stella
 When Lucy discovers the body of her great aunt Kitty, with a puzzling note and empty pill bottles by her bed, she can’t believe that the formidable woman who held her family together is gone – or understand why she has taken her own life. Lucy is determined to decipher Kitty’s final message. What she finds will overturn everything she thought she knew about her family. Lullaby Beach takes the reader on a journey through three generations of a complicated, close-knit family whose joys and misfortunes track many of the most pressing conflicts and concerns of post-war Britain, from the promise and hypocrisies of 1950s London to the political divides and risky freedoms of the present day.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The city of tears / Mosse, Kate
“June 1572: for ten violent years the Wars of Religion have raged across France.  But now a precarious peace is in the balance: a royal wedding has been negotiated by Catherine de’ Medici and Jeanne d’Albret, an alliance between the Catholic Crown and Henri, the Huguenot king of Navarre. It is a marriage that could see France reunited at last. Meanwhile in Puivert, an invitation has arrived for Minou Joubert and her family to attend this historic wedding in Paris in August. But what Minou does not know is that the Joubert family’s oldest enemy, Vidal, will also be there. Nor that, within days of the marriage, on the eve of the Feast Day of St Bartholomew’s, Minou’s family will be scattered to the four winds and one of her beloved children will have disappeared without trace . ” (Catalogue)

Undercover bromance / Adams, Lyssa Kay
“Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.  He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club. Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Meet me in Bombay : a novel / Ashcroft, Jenny
“It’s New Year’s Eve in Bombay, 1913, and Madeline Bright, new to the sweltering heat of colonial India, is yearning for all she has left behind in England. Then, at the stroke of midnight, Maddy meets Luke Devereaux, and as the year changes so do both their lives. Bold and charismatic, Luke opens her eyes to the wonders of Bombay, while Maddy’s beauty and vivacity captures his heart. Only her mother disapproves, preferring the devoted Guy Bowen as a match for her daughter. But while Maddy and Luke are falling in love, the world is falling apart. World War I is on the horizon, and Luke will be given no choice but to fight. They will be continents apart, separated by danger and devastating loss, but bound by Luke’s promise that they will meet again in Bombay.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

I’m just a teenage punchbag / Clune, Jackie
I’m Just A Teenage Punchbag is a laugh-out-loud, sob-on-the bus journey through the so-called life of a middle-aged woman. Ciara is mother to three ungrateful, entitled teenagers, is married to steady Martin, a man with hairy udders, and is grieving for her mum who now lives in the wardrobe in a cardboard box from the crematorium. She finds solace in her anonymous blog, and in the daily chats she has with her mum’s ashes (often the best conversations she has all day.)  She embarks on a mission to fulfil her mum’s dying wishes to have her remains sprinkled from the top of the Empire State Building, finding company, distraction and – ultimately – herself in the process.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The royal correspondent / Joel, Alexandra
“When Blaise Hill, a feisty young journalist from one of Sydney’s toughest neighbourhoods, is dispatched to London at the dawn of the swinging sixties to report on Princess Margaret’s controversial marriage to an unconventional photographer, she is drawn into an elite realm of glamour and intrigue. As the nation faces an explosive upheaval, Blaise must grapple with a series of shocking scandals at the pinnacle of British society. Yet, haunted by a threat from her past and torn between two very different men, who can she trust in a world of hidden motives and shifting alliances? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

“Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon”. Our latest fiction acquisitions.

Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, my hometown, out on the edge of the prairie.”  ― Garrison Keillor.

Lake Wobegon first appeared in print in 1985 the fictitious town was the setting for the semi-autobiographical novel Lake Wobegon Days. The recorded version of which subsequently went on to win a Grammy.

The much-loved town actually started its existence earlier on radio in Garrison’s A Prairie Home Companion show, known for its relaxed humour, folk music, fake nostalgic adverts and of course the news from Lake Wobegon inserts created by Garrison. When questioned about the town’s name Keillor explained that he got the name for the town from an old Native American word meaning “the place where we waited all day in the rain [for you].”

The Lake Wobegon virus is the twelfth book in the Lake Wobegon series. It sees the author returning to America’s most beloved mythic town to look at some very contemporary issues, intolerance and pandemics. When a virus passed on through cheese causes the town’s usually demure citizens to loss their inhibitions, Garrison Keillor uses his trademark gentle wit and humour to take its readers through their adventures and misadventures.

There are lots of other fabulous new fiction acquisitions in our selection that feature a diverse range of tones, voices, and styles.

The Lake Wobegon virus : a novel / Keillor, Garrison
“A mysterious virus has infiltrated the good people of Lake Wobegon, transmitted via unpasteurised cheese made by a Norwegian bachelor farmer, the effect of which is episodic loss of social inhibition. Mayor Alice, Father Wilmer, Pastor Liz, the Bunsens and Krebsbachs, formerly taciturn elders, burst into political rants, inappropriate confessions, and rhapsodic proclamations, while their teenagers watch in amazement. Meanwhile, a wealthy outsider is buying up farmland for a Keep America Truckin’ motorway and amusement park, estimated to draw 2.2 million visitors a year.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The butchers’ blessing / Gilligan, Ruth
“Every year, Úna prepares for her father to leave her. He will wave goodbye early one morning, then disappear with seven other men to traverse the Irish countryside. Together, these men form the Butchers, a group that roams from farm to farm, enacting ancient methods of cattle slaughter. The Butchers’ Blessing moves between the events of 1996 and the present, offering a simmering glimpse into the modern tensions that surround these eight fabled men. For Úna, being a Butcher’s daughter means a life of tangled ambition and incredible loneliness. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The sunken land begins to rise again / Harrison, M. John
“Shaw had a breakdown, but he’s getting himself back together. He has a single room, a job on a decaying London barge, and an on-off affair with a doctor’s daughter called Victoria, who claims to have seen her first corpse at age fourteen. It’s not ideal, but it’s a life. Or it would be if Shaw hadn’t got himself involved in a conspiracy theory that, on dark nights by the river, seems less and less theoretical… Why has the local waitress disappeared into a shallow pool in a field behind the house? And why is the town so obsessed with that old Victorian morality tale, The Water Babies? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Paris never leaves you / Feldman, Ellen
“Living through World War II working in a Paris bookstore with her young daughter, Vivi, and fighting for her life, Charlotte is no victim, she is a survivor. But can she survive the next chapter of her life? Alternating between wartime Paris and 1950s New York publishing, Ellen Feldman’s Paris Never Leaves You is an extraordinary story of resilience, love, and impossible choices, exploring how survival never comes without a cost. The war is over, but the past is never past.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Contacts / Watson, Mark
‘Richard Curtis James Chiltern boards the 23:50 sleeper train from London to Edinburgh with two pork pies, six beers and a packet of chocolate digestives. At 23:55 he sends a message to all 158 people in his contacts, telling them that he plans to end his life in the morning. He then switches his phone to flight mode. He’s said goodbye. To him, it’s the end of his story – and time to crack open the biscuits. But across the world, 158 phones are lighting up with a notification. Phones belonging to his mum. His sister. His ex-best friend. The woman who broke his heart. People he’s lost touch with. Contacts is about the weight of loneliness, the importance of kindness – and how it’s never too late to reach out.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

The liar’s dictionary : a novel / Williams, Eley
Winceworth, Victorian lexicographer, is toiling away at the letter S for Swansby’s multivolume Encyclopaedic Dictionary. His disaffection compels him to insert unauthorized fictitious entries into the dictionary in an attempt to assert some sense of individual purpose and artistic freedom. In the present day, Mallory, a young intern employed by the publisher, is tasked with uncovering these mountweazels before the work is digitized. She also has to contend with threatening phone calls from an anonymous caller. Is the change in the definition of marriage really that upsetting? And does the caller really intend for the Swansby’s staff to ‘burn in hell’?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

His only wife : a novel / Medie, Peace A.
” Afi Tekple is a young seamstress in Ghana. She is smart; she is pretty; and she has been convinced by her mother to marry a man she does not know. Afi knows who he is, of course–Elikem is a wealthy businessman whose mother has chosen Afi in the hopes that she will distract him from his relationship with a woman his family claims is inappropriate. But Afi is not prepared for the shift her life takes when she is moved from her small hometown of Ho to live in Accra, Ghana’s gleaming capital, a place of wealth and sophistication where she has days of nothing to do but cook meals for a man who may or may not show up to eat them.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Boyfriend material / Hall, Alexis J.
“When tangentially — and reluctantly — famous Luc O’Donnell is forced back into the spotlight in the worst possible way, he has to think fast if he wants to save his floundering reputation. Enter Oliver Blackwood. Stunningly handsome and effortlessly put together, Oliver is successful, an ethical vegetarian, and has never appeared in a scandal mag even once. In other words, he’s perfect boyfriend material and exactly what Luc needs to appear respectable again. But when their fake relationship starts to feel like real romance, Luc and Oliver might have to consider whether they’re willing to fight for the truth of their new relationship…scandal, and consequences, be damned. (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Fragile monsters / Menon, Catherine
“On a visit to her childhood home in rural Malaysia, Durga faces a reckoning. Stuck with her sharp-tongued grandmother in the rising heat, both women must untangle the truth from the myth of their family’s past. What happened to Durga’s mother after she gave birth? Why did so many of their family members disappear during the war? And who is to blame for the childhood tragedy that haunts Durga?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Science fiction and Fantasy

She just wanted – had always wanted – a good book to read. Being chased by hellhounds and blowing things up were comparatively unimportant parts of the job. Getting the books – now, that was what really mattered to her.” ― Genevieve Cogman, The Invisible Library

For some mysterious reason we love to see novels that feature libraries or librarians crossing our paths. So we were particularly excited when Genevieve Cogman’s latest instalment of her Invisible Library series of novels recently arrived. The Dark Archive is the seventh title in the series that revolves around a multidimensional library which gathers fiction from various different realities and the exploits of the librarians as they travel multiple universes to acquire titles for their library, that exists outside the boundaries of normal space and time. Genevieve Cogman has also written role-playing game scenarios and works as a clinical classification’s specialist for the NHS. Other new Science Fiction and Fantasy acquisitions include The down days by Hugo Ilze, Earthlings by Sayaka Murata and Gods of jade and shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

The down days : a novel / Hugo, Ilze
“In the aftermath of a deadly outbreak–reminiscent of the 1962 event of mass hysteria that was the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic–a city at the tip of Africa is losing its mind, with residents experiencing hallucinations and paranoia. In a quarantined city in which the inexplicable has already occurred, rumors, superstitions, and conspiracy theories abound. Over the course of a single week, the paths of Faith, Sans, and a cast of other hustlers–including a data dealer, a drug addict, a sin eater, and a hyena man–will cross and intertwine as they move about the city, looking for lost souls, uncertain absolution, and answers that may not exist.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Earthlings : a novel / Murata, Sayaka
” As a child, Natsuki doesn’t fit in with her family. Her parents favour her sister, and her best friend is a plush toy hedgehog named Piyyut, who talks to her. He tells her that he has come from the planet Popinpobopia on a special quest to help her save the Earth.  Later, as a grown woman, living a quiet life with her asexual husband, Natsuki is still pursued by dark shadows from her childhood, and decides to flee the “baby factory” of society for good, searching for answers about the vast and frightening mysteries of the universe. Dreamlike, sometimes shocking, and always strange and wonderful.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

To sleep in a sea of stars / Paolini, Christopher
 Kira Nav rez dreamed of life on new worlds. Now she’s awakened a nightmare. During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move. As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human. While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

Gods of jade and shadow / Moreno-Garcia, Silvia
“The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.  Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it–and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, success could make her dreams come true. And take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City–and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The dark archive / Cogman, Genevieve
“A professional spy for a mysterious multidimensional library  which harvests fiction from different realities, Irene faces a series of assassination attempts that threaten to destroy her and everything she has worked for. Irene is teaching her new assistant the fundamentals of a Librarian’s job, and finding that training a young Fae is more difficult than she expected. But when they both narrowly avoid getting killed in an assassination attempt, she decides that learning by doing is the only option they have left – especially when the assassins keep coming for them, and for Irene’s other friends as well… ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Soot : a novel / Vyleta, Dan
” The year is 1909. It has been ten years since Thomas Argyle, Charlie Cooper and Livia Naylor set off a revolution by releasing Smoke upon the world. They were raised to think Smoke was a sign of sin manifested, but learned its suppression was really a means of controlling society. Smoke allowed people to mingle their emotions, to truly connect, and the trio thought that freeing the Smoke would bring down the oppressive power structure and create a fair and open society. But the consequences were far greater than they had imagined, and the world has fractured.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Black sun / Roanhorse, Rebecca
” In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world. Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Stars beyond / Dunstall, S. K.
” An engineer with a fondness for weapons. A captain with no memory. An obsessive genemodder who loves to tinker. Meet the crew of Another Road. Josune, Roystan, and Nika have escaped the company thugs trying to kill them. They’ve gotten a new spaceship to replace The Road (after it was blown up underneath them).  All that’s left to do before they head out to find the legendary lode of transurides is to restore Roystan’s memory. To do that, they need to collect the genemod machine Nika has ordered. But first, they have to shake off the Justice Department agent and the Companies tracking them. It should be easy. They’ve done it before. What could possibly go wrong?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Crime and Mystery titles

I don’t think it’s healthy for a man to be always brooding over crime and detective stories, reading up all sorts of cases. It puts ideas into his head.” ― Agatha Christie, Death in the Clouds

One of this month’s Newly acquired crime novels revolves around one of the perennial true-life mysteries surrounding the Golden age of crime the disappearance of Agatha Christie.

On Friday 3 December 1926, Agatha Christie, already a crime writing sensation, went missing for 11 days, sparking a huge manhunt, one of the biggest ever mounted in the UK. Even fellow crime writers Arthur Conan Doyle, and Dorothy L. Sayers were called in to help. With Arthur Conan Doyle trying paranormal techniques to solve the mystery, Agatha was subsequently found 11 days later in a hotel under the assumed name of Theresa Neele (her husband’s mistresses name). And to this day no one really knows what happened to Agatha Christie over these days. Agatha herself always claiming to have no memory of what happened. Marie Benedict postulates a very possible and believable solution to the mystery.

There are lots of other fabulous new offerings including the latest novel from the Ngaio Marsh Shortlisted author Christina O’Reilly Retribution.

The mystery of Mrs. Christie : a novel / Benedict, Marie
“In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car–strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away. The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The coffinmaker’s garden / MacBride, Stuart
“As a massive storm batters the Scottish coast, Gordon Smith’s home is falling into the North Sea. But the crumbling headland has revealed what he’s got buried in his garden: human remains. A house full of secrets… With the storm still raging, it’s too dangerous to retrieve the bodies and waves are devouring the evidence. Which means no one knows how many people Smith’s already killed and how many more he’ll kill if he can’t be found and stopped. The media are baying for blood, the top brass are after a scapegoat, and ex-Detective Inspector Ash Henderson is done playing nice. He’s got a killer to catch, and God help anyone who gets in his way. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook

The hollow ones / Toro, Guillermo del
“Odessa Hardwicke’s life is derailed when she’s forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly, inexplicably violent while apprehending a rampaging murderer. The shooting, justified by self-defense, shakes the young FBI agent to her core. Devastated, Odessa is placed on desk leave pending a full investigation. But what most troubles Odessa isn’t the tragedy itself — it’s the shadowy presence she thought she saw fleeing the deceased agent’s body after his death.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The Thursday murder club / Osman, Richard
” In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Retribution / O’Reilly, Christina
“A young woman has been murdered on Ripton Beach. DSS ‘Archie’ Baldrick and DC Ben Travers eventually identify the body as that of Lucy Martin, who has been renting a bach in the area. Her husband, Oliver, seems to know very little about his wife or her background. What was Lucy hiding? Why has she no family or friends? As the number of suspects mounts up, Archie begins to conclude that the real answer lies in Lucy’s dark and mysterious past, and that the murderer may be just a little too close for comfort …” (Adapted from Catalogue)
No room at the morgue / Manchette, Jean-Patrick
“Eugene Tarpon, private eye, a sometime cop who has set up shop after being kicked off the force for accidentally killing a political demonstrator. Months have passed, and Tarpon desultorily tries to keep in shape while drinking all the time. No one has shown up at the door of his office in the midst of the market district of Les Halles. Then the bell rings and a beautiful woman bursts in, her hands dripping blood. It’s Memphis Charles, her roommate’s throat has been cut, and Memphis can’t go to the police because they’ll only suspect her. Can Tarpon help? Well, somehow he can’t help trying. Soon bodies mount, and the craziness only grows.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The night of the fire : a mystery / Eriksson, Kjell
“Police inspector Ann Lindell has left the Uppsala police and is living a quiet life, producing local cheese in a small town in Uppland. But life in the country is not as idyllic as it seems. On New Year’s Eve someone sets fire to the former village school which is now a home for asylum seekers, and three people are killed. Ann Lindell’s investigative instincts come back to life and soon she takes on the case. She is contacted by a person who has been involved in a previous investigation and who wants to warn her. His message is short and clear: Many will die. A few weeks later a bomb explodes in a suburb of Stockholm.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

A catered book club murder / Crawford, Isis
” If anything can be said about the endearingly predictable Margo Hemsley, it’s that she always serves elaborate desserts at her mystery book club meetings. That’s why everyone fears the worst after she doesn’t pick up her order from Bernie and Libby and skips out on the monthly gathering. . When the search ends with the discovery of a dead body, Bernie and Libby agree to help the nine remaining book club members prove their friend was murdered. As the sleuthing sisters unearth scandalous secrets about the book club members, they’ll have to determine who was connected to Margo’s shady dealings–and who sent her to an early grave…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Monique Roffey wins the Costa book of the year with The Mermaid of Black Conch

I knew I was missing out, missing this: the thrum of population, out here, in the street. I sailed by, a white ghost in their midst.” ― Monique Roffey, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle

The Costa book of the year award has just been announced and the winner was Monique Roffey with her novel The Mermaid of Black Conch.

Written in Creole English it is the story of a young fisherman rescuing a mermaid off the coast of a small Caribbean island and features a series of layered love affairs and poisonous hatred descended from colonisation. The novel is written using a patchwork of styles and unashamedly embraces magical realism turned up to level eleven. Monique Roffey found it really difficult to find a publisher for the work with most publishers considering the magical realist style and content to be too uncommercial. Monique even crowdfunded her own publicist for the book to avoid it being lost in the ocean of other releases. On receiving the news of the win, she expressed surprise that such a daring work should win the Costa book of the year award. The book has already been hailed “as a modern classic in the making”. Enjoy!


Overdrive cover The Mermaid of Black Conch, Monique Roffey (Audiobook)
“Winner of the 2020 Costa Novel Award. Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2020 Features original music created for the audiobook. March 1976: St Constance, a tiny Caribbean village on the island of Black Conch, at the start of the rainy season. A fisherman sings to himself in his pirogue, waiting for a catch but attracts a sea-dweller he doesn’t expect. Aycayia, a beautiful young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid, has been swimming the Caribbean Sea for centuries. And she is entranced by this man David and his song. “(Overdrive description)

The white woman on the green bicycle / Roffey, Monique
“An unforgettable love story brimming with politics and passion, hope and despair, set over fifty years in Trinidad This novel tells how when George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England George instantly takes to their new life but Sabine feels isolated, heat-fatigued, and ill at ease with the racial segregation and the imminent dawning of a new era. George eventually finds out that Sabine has been keeping secrets from him.” (Catalogue)

House of Ashes / Roffey, Monique
“The corrupt government has been ruling over the people too long and the city is becoming restless. Then one hot evening The Leader, a head of a group of rebels, gathers his followers and tells them: ‘Today, we will be making history. For ourselves, and our fellow countrymen of Sans Amen.’ And so a ragtag collection of men and boys take up arms and storm two of the most important buildings in the city: the house of power and the television studios. Together they will take back what is rightfully theirs. Caught up in the madness is Ashes. ” (Catalogue)

With the kisses of his mouth : a memoir / Roffey, Monique
“A passionate, provocative and pioneering memoir from an Orange Prize shortlisted author Monique Roffey had found her soulmate. But then the love affair she had always longed for came to a sudden and heartbreaking end. Devastated, Monique felt that she could never love again. But as time went on, she began to ask questions. Does ruling out love have to mean ruling out sex? And, can you have great sex without love?” (Catalogue)

Renée in conversation with Rachel McAlpine, Friday 5 March

Update:

Because of the move to COVID Alert Level 2 as of 28 February in Wellington, this event is no longer going ahead this week. We’re hoping to hold this later in the year. Stay safe Wellington!

We are delighted to announce that on Friday 5 March at 6pm we will be hosting a very special event at Newtown Library with a rangatira of Aotearoa literature and theatre — Renée. Renée will be interviewed by fellow multi-award winning poet, novelist and playwright, Rachel McAlpine.

This event is in association with Wellington publisher Mākaro Press.

Link to Read NZ's profile of writer Renée
Photo copyright Doug Lilly.

About Renée

Born in 1929 in Napier, Renée is of Ngati Kahungunu and Irish-English-Scots ancestry. She left school and started work at the age of 12; has worked in woollen mills, a printing factory, a grocery-dairy, and as a feature writer and reviewer; and completed a BA at the University of Auckland in 1979.

She has described herself as a ‘lesbian feminist with socialist working-class ideas’ and most of her writing is a direct expression of that conviction. Her plays, short stories and novels are characterized by their direct approach to women’s experience, whether lesbian, feminist, historical, or rooted in memoir.

Catalogue link: These Two Hands, by RenéeRachel McAlpine's website

Renée has so far written over twenty highly acclaimed plays — many of them works that humanise and center working-class people and feature women in leading roles. As well, she has published (so far) nine fiction works, including  most recently The Wild Card, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards.

Her amazing life is documented in detail in her recently updated autobiography These Two Hands — which we highly recommend.

This is a rare opportunity to hear an iconic author talk about her remarkable life and times and is not to be missed by anyone interested in New Zealand literature, theatre or the history of our cultural scene! Renée will be interviewed by fellow multi award-winning poet, novelist and playwright Rachel McAlpine.

We wish to extend our most heartfelt thanks to Renée and Rachel — we’re so looking forward to your conversation!

The wild card / Renée
“Ruby Palmer has been dealt a rough hand. She was left in a kete at the back door of the Porohiwi Home for Children when she was a baby, and then at seven she discovered that Betty who stopped the bad stuff happening to Ruby at the Home has drowned. Now in her thirties, Ruby suspects her friend was murdered and her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols on playing cards to tell a story she can’t understand. As Ruby goes deeper into the mystery of Betty’s death, she starts to find answers to questions about herself that she hadn’t dared ask before.”

Browse more by Renée

How to be old : poems / McAlpine, Rachel
“Wellington writer Rachel McAlpine blogs and podcasts about living and ageing and is celebrating her 80th birthday with a book of poems. How to Be Old is an explosion of humanity on the page with some practical tips from the author and sage advice from Elsie aged five.” (Catalogue)

Browse more by Rachel

Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2021 Longlist

The longlist for the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards has just been announced — and what a strong, vibrant and impressive line-up it is! The list is full of diverse and varied novels and voices, and we think it’s noteworthy that half the fiction nominees this year are debut authors — evidence if any was needed that Aotearoa’s thriving literary scene goes from strength to strength.

We wish to extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the nominated authors — and we really don’t envy the judges’ job of distilling this list down to a shortlist and then again down to the overall winners. The shortlist will be announced on March 3 and the winners will be announced in May at the 2021 Auckland Writers Festival.

Below is our video of longlisted author Rachel Kerr talking about her debut novel Victory Park at our recent Four writers writing about Newtown event:

Longlist:

Nothing to see / Adam, Pip
“It’s 1994. Peggy and Greta are learning how to live sober. They volunteer at the Salvation Army shop, and sometimes they sleep with men for money. They live with Heidi and Dell, who are also like them. It’s 2006. Peggy and Greta have two jobs: a job at a call centre, and a job as a moderator for a website. They’re teaching themselves how to code. One day, Peggy and Greta turn around and there’s only one of them. It’s 2018. Margaret lives next door to Heidi and her family. She has a job writing code Then, one day, there are two of them again, both trying to figure out where they have come from. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bug week & other stories / Beautrais, Airini
“A science educator in domestic chaos fetishises Scandinavian furniture and champagne flutes. A group of white-collar deadbeats attend a swinger’s party in the era of drunk Muldoon. A pervasive smell seeps through the walls of a German housing block. A seabird performs at an open-mic night. Bug Week is a scalpel-clean examination of male entitlement, a dissection of death, an agar plate of mundanity. From 1960s Wellington to post-Communist Germany, Bug Week traverses the weird, the wry and the grotesque in a story collection of human taxonomy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Remote sympathy / Chidgey, Catherine
“Moving away from their lovely apartment in Munich isn’t nearly as wrenching an experience for Frau Greta Hahn as she had feared.  Frau Hahn and the other officers’ wives living in this small community can order anything they desire, whether new curtains made from the finest French fabrics, or furniture designed to the most exacting specifications. Life here in Buchenwald would appear to be idyllic. When Frau Hahn is forced into an unlikely and poignant alliance with one of Buchenwald’s prisoners, Dr Lenard Weber, her naive ignorance about what is going on so nearby is challenged. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sprigs / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“It is Saturday afternoon and two boys’ schools are locked in battle for college rugby supremacy. Priya – a fifteen year old who barely belongs – watches from the sidelines. Then it is Saturday night and the team is partying. Priya’s friends have evaporated and she isn’t sure what to do. In the weeks after ‘the incident’ life seems to go on. But when whispers turn to confrontation, the institutions of wealth and privilege circle the wagons.”–cover.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Victory Park / Kerr, Rachel
“Kara lives in Victory Park council flats with her young son, just making a living by minding other people’s kids – her nightly smoke on the fire escape the only time she can drop her guard and imagine something better. But the truth is life is threadbare and unpromising until the mysterious Bridget moves in to the flats. The wife of a disgraced Ponzi schemer she brings with her glamour and wild dreams and an unexpected friendship. Drawn in, Kara forgets for a moment who she’s there to protect.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The swimmers / Lane, Chloe
“Erin’s mother has motor neurone disease and has decided to take her fate into her own hands. As Erin looks back at her twenty-six-year-old self, she can finally tell the story of the unimaginable task she faced one winter”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Fake baby / McDaid, Amy
Stephen’s dead father is threatening to destroy the world. If Stephen commits the ultimate sacrifice and throws himself into the harbour, he will save humanity. The last thing he needs is a Jehovah’s Witness masquerading as a schoolboy and an admission to a mental health facility. Jaanvi steals a life-like doll called James and cares for him as if he were her dead baby. Her husband demands she return him. But she and James have already bonded, and it’s nobody’s business how she decides to grieve. Lucas, pharmacist and all-round nice guy, is having one of the worst weeks of his life. His employees forgot his birthday, his mother’s gone manic, and now his favourite customer is in hospital because of a medication error he made. Can he make things right? Or is life all downhill after forty?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

2000ft above worry level / Marra, Eamonn
“Everything is sad and funny and nothing is anything else 2000ft Above Worry Level begins on the sad part of the internet and ends at the top of a cliff face. This episodic novel is piloted by a young, anhedonic, gentle, slightly disassociated man. He has no money. He has a supportive but disintegrating family. He is trying hard to be better. He is painting a never-ending fence. Eamonn Marra’s debut novel occupies the precarious spaces in which many twenty-somethings find themselves, forced as they are to live in the present moment as late capitalism presses in from all sides. Mortifying subjects – loserdom, depression, unemployment, cam sex – are surveyed with dignity and stoicism. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sorrow and bliss / Mason, Meg
” This novel is about a woman called Martha. She knows there is something wrong with her but she doesn’t know what it is. Her husband Patrick thinks she is fine. He says everyone has something, the thing is just to keep going. Martha told Patrick before they got married that she didn’t want to have children. He said he didn’t mind either way because he has loved her since he was fourteen and making her happy is all that matters, although he does not seem able to do it. By the time Martha finds out what is wrong, it doesn’t really matter anymore. It is too late to get the only thing she has ever wanted. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Toto among the murderers / Morgan, Sally J
“‘It is 1973 and Jude – known to her friends as Toto – has just graduated from art school and moves into a house in a run-down part of Leeds. Jude is a chaotic wild child who flirts with the wrong kind of people. Nel, is the only steady influence Jude has but Nel’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems. Reports of attacks on women punctuate the news and Jude takes off again, suffocated by an affair she has been having with a married woman. But what she doesn’t realise is that the violence is moving ever closer to home. At the same time infamous murderers, Fred and Rosemary West, are stalking the country, on the lookout for girls like Jude.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

“Show Holmes a drop of water and he would deduce the existence of the Atlantic”. New Crime and Mystery titles

Show Holmes a drop of water and he would deduce the existence of the Atlantic. Show it to me and I would look for a tap. That was the difference between us.” ― Anthony Horowitz, The House of Silk

This year’s newly acquired Crime and Mystery titles kick off with an incredibly varied selection of globetrotting novels. Featuring crimes set in such exotic locations as the Milanese underworld, Marlborough Sounds, San Diego and the grimy rain-washed streets of Glasgow. However, the most unusual location for a murder in our new titles is a Human Preserve in Ariel S Winter’s genre jumping The Preserve reminiscent of futuristic works such as Blade Runner and Westworld. All in all, a whole new world of crime awaits your reading delectation. Enjoy!

The second life of Inspector Canessa / Perrone, Roberto
“Annibale Canessa didn’t want to go back to his old life. When everything went wrong in 1984, he traded his brutal, exciting career in the Carabinieri for paradise in San Fruttuoso. He started swimming in the bay at dawn and helping his elderly aunt run a small restaurant. His life was calm. But some shattering news pulls him back in – his estranged brother has been found dead; lying beside him, the body of an ex-terrorist, a man Canessa himself caught. Back in Milan, Canessa must pursue old connections and unsolved crimes, which draw him ever deeper into the underworld he thought he’d left behind.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Moonflower murders : a novel / Horowitz, Anthony
“Susan Ryeland is living the good life. She is running a small hotel on a Greek island. It should be everything she’s always wanted. But is it? Truth be told she’s beginning to miss London. And then the Trehearnes come to stay. The strange and mysterious story they tell, about an unfortunate murder that took place on the same day and in the same hotel in which their daughter was married–a picturesque inn on the Suffolk coast named Farlingaye Hall–fascinates Susan and piques her editor’s instincts. When the Trehearnes reveal that Cecily is now missing, Susan knows that she must return to England and find out what really happened. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Doom Creek / Carter, Alan
“Sergeant Nick Chester has dodged the Geordie gangsters he once feared. He’s out of hiding and looking forward to the quiet life. But gold fever is creating ill-feeling between prospectors, and a new threat lurks in the form of trigger-happy Americans preparing for Doomsday by building a bolthole in the Wakamarina valley. As tensions simmer in the Marlborough Sounds, Chester finds himself working on a bizarre cold-case murder and investigating a scandal-plagued religious sect. When local and international events reach fever pitch, Chester comes face to face with an evil that knows no borders.”–Publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The lost and the damned / Norek, Olivier
“A corpse that wakes up on the mortuary slab, A case of spontaneous human combustion. There is little by the way of violent crime and petty theft that Capitaine Victor Coste has not encountered in his fifteen years on the St Denis patch – but nothing like this. Something unusual is afoot, and Coste is about to be dragged out of his comfort zone. Stranger still, anonymous letters addressed to him personally have begun to arrive, highlighting the fates of two women, invisible victims whose deaths were never explained. Just two more blurred faces among the ranks of the lost and the damned.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A madness of sunshine / Singh, Nalini
Golden Cove was a peaceful town. Then one fateful summer a tragedy shattered the trust holding the community together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships and a silent agreement to never look back. But you can’t run from the past forever. Eight years later, a young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape. The town’s dark past and haunted present are about to collide . . . in a murder mystery that’s been years in the making, ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Anonymous / Breck, Elizabeth
“Madison Kelly, a San Diego private investigator, arrives home to a note stabbed to her front door: Stop investigating me, or I will hunt you down and kill you. The only problem? Madison hasn’t been investigating anyone–she’s been taking time off to figure out what to do with her life. But how does she prove a negative? The only way to remove the threat is to do exactly what “Anonymous”, the note writer, is telling her not to do: investigate to see who left it. Could this have something to do with the true crime podcast she’s been tweeting about, and the missing girls? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

When shadows fall / Gray, Alex
When his old friend and former colleague is shot dead at his home, Detective Superintendent William Lorimer is devastated. And his problems are only just beginning. It’s not long before two further deaths are reported: both victims ex-policemen. It’s clear this is a targeted campaign against their own, yet with no other link between the victims to identify the killer, Lorimer’s police team are starting to panic. Who will be next? Lorimer knows he must keep his cool if he is to solve the case. But with time running out before the next attack, he’s struggling to ignore the sickening question at the back of his mind: will he get to the killer, before the killer gets to him” (Catalogue)

The innocent dead : … are always the first victims / Anderson, Lin
” The present day discovery of a child’s remains in a peat bog south of Glasgow looks to finally solve the decades old mystery of ten year old Mary McInally’s disappearance. Karen Marshall had been devastated by her best pal’s abduction on the day of her confirmation. Questioned by the police but traumatised by the loss of her friend, nothing Karen remembered back then had helped. Now decades later, the news of the possible discovery of Mary’s body brings the nightmares back, but added to that are returning memories long buried by Karen.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

The preserve : a novel / Winter, Ariel S
” Decimated by plague, the human population is now a minority. Robots–complex AIs almost indistinguishable from humans–are the ruling majority. Nine months ago, in a controversial move, the robot government opened a series of preserves, designated areas where humans can choose to live without robot interference. Now the preserves face their first challenge: someone has been murdered. Chief of Police Jesse Laughton on the SoCar Preserve is assigned to the case. He fears the factions that were opposed to the preserves will use the crime as evidence that the new system does not work. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)