New Mysteries & Thrillers

Free Metz France photo and pictureImage via Pixabay

“The theatre has never been any good since the actors became gentlemen.” – W.H. Auden

Welcome to this month’s selection of newly acquired crime and thriller titles. As always, we have a host of likely looking suspects in this month’s particular book line-up.

One particular title that caught our eye was  The Innocents by Bridget Walsh; a novel in which a series  of grisly murders occur in a down-at-heel music hall in London. During the Victorian era, music halls were the pre-eminent form of  mass entertainment and very big business. Every city and town had one or more of these fine establishments. Their heyday predated both cinema and recording technology and they were the place people went to see both the superstars and novelty acts of the day. The bill usually featured a variety of turns to ensure every taste was catered for, ranging from magic acts, singers and dancers to trick cyclists and comedians.  Once cinema technology evolved and took hold, many of the theatres embraced and converted to the new medium, and whilst music halls hung on for a while, its days as the major popular entertainment form were numbered.

To see our full list of selected titles and borrow any that interest you, just browse below.

The innocents / Walsh, Bridget
“The Variety Palace Music Hall is in trouble, due in no small part to a gruesome spate of murders that unfolded around it a few months previously. Between writing, managing the music hall and trying to dissuade her boss from installing a water tank in the building, Minnie Ward has her hands full. Her complicated relationship with detective Albert Easterbrook doesn’t even bear thinking about. But when a new string of murders tears through London, Minnie and Albert are thrown together once more. Strangely, the crimes seem to link back to a tragedy that took place fourteen years ago, leaving 183 children dead. And given that the incident touched so many people’s lives, everyone is a suspect .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A better class of criminal / Kelly, Cristian
“A seemingly foolproof plan to make some quick money turns into a race for their lives… It’s the mid-nineties and methamphetamine casts its shadow over the Californian city of Santa Lucía. Nathan, happy running a small marijuana grow operation with his two best friends, takes advantage of meth’s rise in popularity and makes a lucrative one-time deal. Betrayed, beaten, and desperate… But a devastating betrayal leaves him entangled with the city’s merciless crime boss. Risking everything, Nathan and his friends embark on a wild plan to steal millions of dollars’ worth of diamonds to settle the debt. Caught in the crosshairs of corrupt cops, a relentless Russian henchman and his temptress partner, they face setbacks at every turn as they pursue the diamonds across the city. As the death toll rises, can Nathan save them all before the real bad guys find them?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sibanda and the night adder / Elliott, C. M.
“Two murders occur in Gubu village, hours apart, embroiling Detective Inspector Sibanda, Sergeant Ncube and Miss Daisy in the murky world of blood diamonds. Before long, Sibanda is on the run, accused of the murders. He escapes to the wilderness. Pursued by the armed and threatening CIO and an assortment of government agents, he is forced to survive in the dangerous environment of wild animals and wilder weather. Sibanda heads north to Victoria Falls. His many murder suspects are gathered there. He must use all his cunning and legendary detection skills to find the real killer and clear his name. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dagger of death at Honeychurch Hall / Dennison, Hannah
“Is it a question of turn the other cheek– or an eye for an eye? At last St Mary’s church is going to have its own vicar! Not only that, the gorgeous Reverend Pritchard is sixty, single and in need of a wife. But when he spearheads a campaign to restore a derelict chapel — rumoured to be haunted by a German Luftwaffe pilot — in a far-flung corner of the Honeychurch estate, the Dowager Countess puts her foot down. But nobody quite understands why. Meanwhile, a fierce bidding war at an auction of military memorabilia ends in Kat’s female adversary being murdered and Kat being held as the prime suspect. And then it turns out that several of the auctioned items are connected to Operation Tiger, a doomed rehearsal for the D-Day landings that took place in nearby Slapton Sands all those years ago. And Kat begins to realise that the vicar, the Luftwaffe ghost and all the World War II weaponry may all somehow be related.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The clock struck murder / Webb, Betty
“Expat Zoe Barlow has settled well into her artist’s life among the Lost Generation in 1920s Paris. When a too-tipsy guest at her weekly poker game breaks Zoe’s favorite clock, she’s off to a Montparnasse flea market to bargain with the vendor Laurette for a replacement. What Zoe didn’t bargain for was the lost Chagall painting that’s been used like a rag to wrap her purchases! Eager to learn whether Laurette has more Chagalls lying about like trash, Zoe sets off to track her down at her storage shed. With no Laurette in sight, Zoe snoops around and indeed finds several additional Chagalls–and then she finds Laurette herself, dead beneath a scrap heap, her beautiful face bashed in…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

White as snow / Lilja Sigurðardóttir
“On a snowy winter morning, an abandoned shipping container is discovered near Reykjavík. Inside are the bodies of five young women – one of them barely alive. As Icelandic Police detective Daníel struggles to investigate the most brutal crime of his career, Áróra looks into the background of a suspicious man, who turns out to be engaged to Daníel’s former wife, and the connections don’t stop there… As the temperature drops and the 24-hour darkness and freezing snow hamper their efforts, their investigations become increasingly dangerous… for everyone.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder at Bletchley Park / Koning, Christina
“Spring, 1941. The Second World War has entered a dangerous phase, with British ships being torpedoed in the Atlantic and nightly bombing raids on major ports. At Bletchley Park, top secret home of the nation’s code-breakers, the race is on to crack the German Enigma code and thus prevent further naval and military losses. This endeavour is suddenly very close to home for Frederick Rowlands, blind veteran of the Great War, when his daughter, Margaret, who works at ‘the Park’ as a cryptographer, is arrested on suspicion of betraying secrets to the enemy. Then a young woman is found murdered, and Rowlands is drawn into a deadly battle of wits where he must decode a series of clues that will lead him to the killer and enable him to discover the real traitor at Bletchley Park.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Close to death / Horowitz, Anthony
“Richmond, London. Six attractive houses are tucked away in an exclusive and very upmarket gated community: Riverview Close. Surrounded by flowers and shrubbery, they’re sealed off from the busy main road and the realities of urban life. At weekends, with the gate locked, the residents enjoy the sound of birdsong, the whirr of mowers, the occasional snatch of opera through an open window. Everyone knows each other. Everyone gets on. That is, until the Kenworthys arrive. With their four gas-guzzling cars, their noisy children and their plans to build a swimming pool in their garden, they quickly offend every one of their neighbours. When Giles Kenworthy is found dead in his hallway, the bolt of a crossbow through his throat, Daniel Hawthorne is called in. But how do you solve a murder when everyone has the same motive?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eAudiobook.

International Astronomy Day

May 18 is International Astronomy Day and to celebrate, we’ve selected a few books on the world’s largest telescopes. Have you wondered why the Extremely Large Telescope has to be as big as a basketball court? Did you know that a giant infrared telescope can capture the light of the first formed stars in the universe a million years ago? How do astronomers track and stay focused on a planet or star? And can telescopes find possible life forms on other planets? Find out more with these books.

Mt John, the first 50 years : a celebration of half a century of optmical astronomy at the University of Canterbury / Hearnshaw, J. B.
“Mt John University Observatory on Lake Tekapo is New Zealand’s only professional research observatory for optical astronomy, now one of the most beautiful astronomical observatories in the world. It’s McLellan telescope was developed by Norman Rumsey.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

When galaxies were born : the quest for cosmic dawn / Ellis, Richard S.
“Approximately 300,000 years after the Big Bang, all matter consisted of hydrogen, helium, and a bit of lithium. Observational research into the largely uncharted cosmological era of “cosmic dawn” is notoriously difficult and involves observatories as ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimetre Array in Chile, and the Hubble Space Telescope, the Extremely Large Telescope and Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile, and the NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope”. (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Atlas of the southern night sky / Massey, Steve
“It is the book you ever needed to help you explore the wonderful night skies from down under, be it Australia, South America, South Africa or New Zealand. With hundreds of full colour star charts and maps of the Moon and planets of our Solar System, this book will ensure you seeing more from small telescope or binoculars. Updated images include several new images by southern amateur astronomers, updated star charts, updated planetary information, and extended equipment.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Continue reading “International Astronomy Day”

“No, emptiness is not nothingness”: New Sci Fi & Fantasy

Free planet nature moon illustrationImage via pixabay

“No, emptiness is not nothingness. Emptiness is a type of existence. You must use this existential emptiness to fill yourself.” ― Liu Cixin, The Three-Body Problem

Welcome to our latest selection of recently acquired science fiction and fantasy titles. As always, we have a cosmos of choice awaiting our readers.

This month’s selection includes three titles from our own fair shores, the first of which is the eagerly anticipated new book by H. G Parry called Heartless. Regular readers will know that H. G. Parry is one of our personal favourites and we were thrilled to see a new title from this wonderful author on the shelves. Another treat from Aotearoa  comes in the form of  best-selling, award-winning  author David Hair’s latest release that’s called The Burning Land, and the third member of our local trio of talent is local author Helen Vivienne Fletcher, who releases a collection of stories called Beside the River Styx. It’s fabulous to see so much exceptional home-grown talent out there. The other title that caught our eye was A View from the Stars by Liu Cixin, author of the exceptional modern classic The Three-Body Problem, currently one of the most popular television adaptations around. If you’ve not read any Liu Cixin before and enjoy deep, thought-provoking cutting-edge science fiction we thoroughly recommend his work.

To see our full list of selected titles and borrow any that interest you, just browse below.

Heartless / Parry, H. G.
“At the age of seven, in a London workhouse, newly-orphaned James meets ten-year-old Peter. Mysterious, mercurial, thoughtless to the point of cruelty, Peter nonetheless takes a liking to James. The two forge a strange friendship, bound together by their shared love of stories…But one fateful night, Peter vanishes from his bed, and in the morning James is found lying alone and broken in the courtyard outside…Over twenty years later, on the deck of a whaling ship in the frozen wastes of the Arctic…James’s obsession with finding his childhood friend will lead him to mutiny and murder, beyond the edges of the world, and finally to an island that shouldn’t exist.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Continue reading ““No, emptiness is not nothingness”: New Sci Fi & Fantasy”

NZ Poems: Books from Te Pātaka

New Zealand poems bring local literature flavours through countryside wisdoms, mountain wonders or day-dreaming fantasies. This blog features poems by Vincent O’Sullivan, Owen Marshall, Kevin Ireland, Jenner Lynn, Steve Braunias, and many famous poets. Have a read!

Dreamy days & nothing done / Ireland, Kevin
“A moment of perfection. The poem that grabs you is the one that quivers on a tightrope. It is so poised, so near to faultless that you almost miss the shake in its shadow like a held breath: the word not written, the shape of letters suggested by the ring of radiance that snaps over it like a sea anemone: an implication, and a juddering silence left gasping.” (Catalogue)


Us, then / O’Sullivan, Vincent
“VINCENT O’SULLIVAN is one of New Zealand’s leading writers, author of the biography of John Mulgan, Long Journey to the Border, the novels Let the River Stand and Believers to the Bright Coast, and many plays and collections of short stories and poems. He is joint editor of the five-volume Letters of Katherine Mansfield, and has edited a number of major anthologies.” (Catalogue)


Sleepwalking in Antarctica : and other poems / Marshall, Owen
“Rich in the themes and preoccupations that have made this author’s novels so admired, this fine collection of poetry provides wise, elegiac poems on love and loss, affectionate poems about the New Zealand countryside, and witty poems about human frailty.” (Catalogue)


Continue reading “NZ Poems: Books from Te Pātaka”

Anything Can Happen – New Biographies and Memoirs in the Collection

The nights are getting shorter and colder, it’s time to curl up with a good book and a warm beverage of choice.  Biographies and memoirs are always good to curl up with on a winter evening, and we’ve got some fabulous new ones in the collection.  Take a look at these we’ve selected from this month’s new stock.

Anything can happen / Hampton, Susan
“Funny, heartbreaking, it has exactly the arc of a good story, with a theme about storytelling and lies and how truth and memory are complex. It keeps in play so many things: irony and spirituality, a slice of social history of Sydney’s inner west, a farm in Victoria, a lesbian subculture, Mardi Gras, the literary pleasures of teaching writing. With the eye of a poet, and the dry drollery of someone who has experienced it all, straight and married, gay and married, mother, friend, lover, writer, this is a raw and powerful account of a life lived fully.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

No son of mine : a memoir / Corcoran, Jonathan
“Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Jonathan Corcoran was the youngest and only son of three siblings in a family balanced on the precipice of poverty. His mother, a traditional, evangelical, and insular woman who had survived abuse and abandonment, was often his only ally. In No Son of Mine, Corcoran traces his messy estrangement from his mother through lost geographies: the trees, mountains, and streams that were once his birthright, as well as the lost relationships with friends and family and the sense of home that were stripped away when she said he was no longer her son.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Missing persons : or, My grandmother’s secrets / Wills, Clair
“When Clair Wills was in her twenties, she discovered she had a cousin she had never met. Born in a mother-and-baby home in 1950s Ireland, Mary grew up in an institution not far from the farm where Clair spent happy childhood summers. Yet Clair was never told of Mary’s existence. How could a whole family–a whole country–abandon unmarried mothers and their children, erasing them from history? To discover the missing pieces of her family’s story, Clair searched across archives and nations, in a journey that would take her from the 1890s to the 1980s, from West Cork to rural Suffolk and Massachusetts, from absent fathers to the grief of a lost child.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Continue reading “Anything Can Happen – New Biographies and Memoirs in the Collection”

Watch: Katūīvei Pasifika Poetry Launch

Te Puna Waiora Newtown Library recently had the honour of hosting an incredible evening of Pasifika poetry readings to celebrate the launch of Katūīvei: Contemporary Pasifika Poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand. Hosted by editors David Eggleton, Mere Taito, Vaughan Rapatahana and publisher Nicola Legat of Massey University Press, the library was filled with the heartfelt words of established and emerging Pasifika poets. Watch poets Karlo Mila, Maringikura Mary Campbell, Rob Hack, Losalini Tuwere, Rhegan Tu’akoiGem Wilder, Josua TuwereKristoffer Lavasi’i, Mereana Latimer and Ruana Taito read from this exciting and significant new anthology.

We’d like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the poets for contributing to this outstanding evening at the library. Thanks also to Massey University Press, Schrodinger’s Books, and everyone who joined us on the night! You can reserve a copy of Katūīvei on the library catalogue.


Katūīvei: Contemporary Pasifika Poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand
“To write poetry in New Zealand as a Pacific migrant is an act of wayfinding, a creative process of discovery and negotiation between cultural spaces. This collection of 137 poems by 89 Aotearoa-based Pacific poets explores that navigation. This significant collection ranges from long-established voices such as Albert Wendt, Selina Tusitala Marsh and David Eggleton and the powerful newer voices of poets such as Tusiata Avia, Courtney Sina Meredith, Karlo Mila and Grace Iwashita-Taylor to new and emerging voices. Deep and rich, like Moana Oceania itself, it shows Pasifika poetry to be in a constant state of ‘old and new’, of haharagi and lelea’ mafua, a lively and evolving continuum.” (Catalogue)