Bingo Lingo: Our newly acquired crime and mystery titles.

Vintage bingo cards and markers

One of this month’s recently acquired crime and mystery titles is The Bingo Hall Detectives by Jonathan Whitelaw, which features the members of the Penrith Bingo Club as sleuths, and the book got us thinking about the origins of Bingo.

Bingo, or as it is sometimes called Housey Housey, has its roots in Italy in the sixteenth century where it originated from the Italian lottery, Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia. It spread quickly and became a firm favourite of the French aristocracy. It is thought to have made it to Britain and other parts of Europe in the 18th century, the original version was even used as an educational tool in Germany.

The modern game resplendent with  rhyming ‘bingo lingo’ phases, like legs eleven or the current Rishi’s den for number ten, came into popularity in the 1920’s in carnivals and fairs in Britain.

After the British Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 allowed cash prizes into the game, it became a major entertainment in Britain, with Bingo Halls attracting huge audiences springing up all over the country. These days it is still popular, albeit on much a smaller scale, in situations such as community social groups and of course globally as an online betting phenomenon.

Our selections also see two intriguing reissues one from science fiction maestro Robert Silverberg, turning his hand to crime writing, and a crime novel published by the British Library called These names make clues by E.C.R. Lorac, which dates originally from 1938.

The icing on the cake is Blood Matters by Renée, who recently launched her novel with fellow crime writers Jennifer Lane and Anne Harré in conversation with Louise Dowdell at our Newtown Branch (you can watch a recording of that event below).

 

The bingo hall detectives / Whitelaw, Jonathan
“….There’s a killer on the loose in the Lake District, and the members of the Penrith Bingo Club have decided they’re the ones to catch the culprit… Jason Brazel is an out of work journalist who lives in Penrith with his family and mother-in-law, Amita. She knows everyone and everything that’s going on in this corner of the Lakes. So when it’s discovered that Madeline Forbisher, one of Amita’s fellow regulars at the bingo club has died, found by the postman outside her crumbling country home close to Ullswater Lake, she senses immediately this is no accident. The trouble is, no one else seems to take her suspicions seriously. .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Open season / Jardine, Quintin
“Amidst a family celebration, a cataclysmic storm uncovers long-buried horrors – and a team of detectives struggle to solve a thirty-year-old double murder. The police are also searching two countries for traces of a mysterious crime novelist who appears to have vanished. Has the faking of his own death been his masterpiece? Alongside each inquiry as it evolves is former Chief Constable Sir Robert Skinner, relishing his new role as a media magnate, but drawn into reluctant action and towards a chilling discovery of his own. With evil on one hand and intrigue on the other, will Skinner escape with either his integrity or career intact . . . or is it open season on him?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The other side of night : a novel / Hamdy, Adam
“The Other Side of Night begins with a man named David Asha writing about his biggest regret: his sudden separation from his son, Elliot. In his grief, David tells a story. Next, we step into the life of Harriet Kealty, a police officer trying to clear her name after a lapse of judgment. She discovers a curious inscription in a secondhand book–a plea: Help me, he’s trying to kill me. Who wrote this note? Who is “he”? This note leads Harri to David Asha, who was last seen stepping off a cliff. Police suspect he couldn’t cope after his wife’s sudden death. Still, why would this man jump and leave behind his young son? Quickly, Harri’s attention zeroes in on a person she knows all too well. Ben Elmys: once the love of her life. A surrogate father to Elliot Asha and trusted friend to the Ashas. Ben may also be a murderer.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

This wild, wild country / Vesper, Inga
“1933. Cornelia Stover stumbles upon a secret hidden out in the hills… 1970. Decades later, Joanna Riley, a former cop, drives west, fleeing a life she can no longer bear. Eventually she finds herself in Boldville, a sleepy desert town in the foothills of the Gila mountains. But something is off about this place. In a commune on the outskirts of town, a young man has been found dead and Joanna knows a cover up when she sees it. Soon, she and Glitter, a young, disaffected hippie, find themselves caught up in a dark mystery that leads all the way back to the unexplained disappearance of Glitter’s grandmother, Cornelia, forty years before…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The midnight killing / Dempsey, Sharon
“She’d cycled this way hundreds of times before, every twist and turn familiar. She didn’t know this would be the last. When the body of local architect James McCallum is found hanging in the grounds of his former school one cold, dark night, DI Danny Stowe and forensic psychologist Rose Lainey suspect foul play behind his apparent suicide. To their astonishment, the trail leads to a 20-year-old cold case of a missing girl, and a teenage party. But what was James’ fascination with the case and how is it linked to his death? Secrets don’t stay buried forever – but the real killer will stop at nothing to hide theirs… ” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The hot beat / Silverberg, Robert
“A disgraced LA music star faces execution for a crime he didn’t commit in the long-lost crime novel of Robert Silverberg, SFF Writers of America Grand Master, available for the first time in over 60 years. Featuring a new introduction by the author and three bonus stories from Guilty and Trapped.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

These names make clues / Lorac, E. C. R.
“Amidst the confusion of too many fake names, clues, ciphers, and convoluted alibis, Chief Inspector Macdonald and his allies in the CID must unravel a truly tangled case in this metafictional masterpiece, which returns to print for the first time since its publication in 1937. This edition includes an introduction by CWA Diamond Dagger Award-winning author Martin Edwards. “Should detectives go to parties? Was it consistent with the dignity of the Yard? The inspector tossed for it-and went.” Chief Inspector Macdonald has been invited to a treasure hunt party at the house of Graham Coombe, the celebrated publisher of Murder by Mesmerism. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood matters / Renée
“Puti Derrell likes running at midnight. During lockdown it was safe but now lockdown is over and Porohiwi doesn’t feel safe anymore – especially when she discovers her estranged grandfather has been murdered and left with a Judas mask on his face. Puti’s already got a lot on her plate. She’s the new guardian of ten-year-old Bella Rose, who wants to be a private investigator when she grows up, and the new owner of a bookshop called Mainly Crime. But when there’s a murder closer to home and another of the grandfather’s masks seems to be at the centre of it, Puti and Bella Rose are drawn into the investigation despite themselves. They discover that in matters of blood you often don’t get a choice.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Nefarious Novels at Newtown: Now available on YouTube

Recently at our Newtown Library we had the  rare opportunity to hear three of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most outstanding  crime writers: Renée, Jennifer Lane, and Anne Harré in conversation with Louise Dowdell.

This fabulous event included the  launch of two new books Renée’s new book Blood Matters and Jennifer Lane’s second novel Miracle and, to round off the trio in style, we had Anne Harré’s highly acclaimed The Leaning man.

It was a fabulous night: this very special event has now passed into the annals of the past but with the authors and publishers’ permission we were able to film the proceedings.

The very special guest panel featured:

Renée

Iconic New Zealand author Renée was born in 1929 in Napier and has so far written over twenty highly acclaimed plays — many of them works that humanise and centre working-class people and feature women in leading roles. She has also published (so far) ten fiction works including The Wild Card, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards. Her latest work  is Blood Matters.

Jennifer Lane

Jennifer Lane’s debut novel, All Our Secrets, established her as an author to keep a close eye on; quickly gaining rave reviews, the book went on to win the much-coveted Best First Novel Award at the Ngaio Marsh Awards in 2018. Her second novel Miracle has just been released.

Anne Harré

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a gripping, suspenseful page-turning thrill ride of a book (you are very likely to stay up very late to see what happens next). It is set in our very own windy Wellington and in some respects is a love letter to the city with its perfectly visualised, vivid, and evocative descriptions of the capital. And to top it all, one of the locations in the book is our very own Te Awe Library, with accompanying fictional librarian. The book gathered glowing reviews from the likes of  The Listener and The Dominion Post, as well as RNZ.

Renée, Jennifer Lane, and Anne Harré were interviewed by Wellington City Libraries’ very own Louise Dowdell.

We wish to extend our most heartfelt thanks to authors Renée, Jennifer Lane, Anne Harré, Mary McCallum  and The Cuba Press for making this very special and totally unmissable event happen .

You can now view the video below, or visit our You Tube channel.

Blood Matters / Renée
“Puti loves to run, but she  doesn’t feel safe anymore – especially when she discovers her grandfather has been murdered with a Judas mask on his face  and another mask has gone missing. She’s also  the guardian of ten-year-old Bella Rose, who wants to be a private investigator when she grows up.  Puti and Bella Rose try to solve the murders and who took the mask.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Miracle / Lane, Jennifer
“Born in the middle of Australia’s biggest-ever earthquake, Miracle is fourteen when her world crumbles. Thanks to her dad’s new job at Compassionate Cremations — which falls under suspicion for Boorunga’s spate of sudden deaths — the entire town turns against their family. She fears for her agoraphobic mother, and for her angelic, quake-damaged brother, Julian. When Oli plays a cruel trick on Miracle, he sets off a chain of devastating events. Then her dad is arrested for a brutal attack. How can she convince the town of her dad’s innocence?” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“Wellington. The land dips and rolls, the wind has a life of its own. It’s Saturday night down on the wharf. Celebrations are in full swing for the Westons’ fortieth wedding anniversary. Their daughter Stella has returned from London to attend. She’s now a private investigator in London, reduced to filming errant husbands for court cases. She doesn’t want to be home. Later that night her best friend Teri is found dead in a lane in the central city. Her phone is missing. It looks like suicide, but Stella won’t believe it. The race is on between those who want the phone, the homeless man who’s pocketed it, and Stella.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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 – her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols on playing cards to tell a story she can’t understand, but there are other clues too. 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.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All our secrets / Lane, Jennifer
“A girl called Gracie. A small town called Coongahoola with the dark Bagooli River running through it. The River Children – born in the aftermath of the infamous River Picnic. They begin to go missing, one after another. Gracie Barrett is the naively savvy spokesperson for her chaotic family, for the kids who are taken, for the lurking fear that locks down the town and puts everyone under suspicion. Coongahoola is where hope and fear collide, where tender adolescence is confronted by death, where kindness is a glimmer of light  in the dark.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

These two hands / Renée
“Renee Paule lives in Otaki and teaches her Your Life, Your Story and her Poem a Week workshops there. This is just one version of her life, her story, told in patches, like a quilt.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

 

 

Wednesday to come : trilogy / Renée
“‘Wednesday to come’ (a play for 6 women and 2 men) shows the effect of the Great Depression on four generations of women from the same family. In ‘Pass it on’ (a play for 3 women and 3 men) the teenager Jeannie from ‘Wednesday to come’ is now a young woman in her 30s dealing with the 1951 Waterfront Lockout. The final play in the trilogy goes back in time to life in Victorian Dunedin: ‘Jeannie once’ (a play for 6 women and 3 men) looks at this world through the eyes of Jeannie’s great-grandmother, Granna in ‘Wednesday to come’.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

“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)