The investigator Kosuke Kindaichi mysteries

“Why is it that all men like to lie?”

― Seishi Yokomizo, The Village of Eight Graves

It is widely said in the book world that one of the genres of translated fiction that gains a wide and popular readership worldwide is that of crime and mystery detective novels. It seems that crime novels have a universal appeal.

And in this month’s newly acquired crime and mystery novels we have an excellent example of this, in the form of the The Village of Eight Graves by Seishi Yokomizo. The Village of Eight Graves is the first English translation of the third instalment of the most popular murder mystery series ever in Japan. Originally published in 1949, the investigator Kosuke Kindaichi books were a Japanese smash hit phenomenon and eventually ran to seventy-six titles, spawned numerous television, film and theatre adaptations and sold five million copies of the series in Japan alone. Indeed, many people regard the first book in the series, The Honjin Murders, as the finest Japanese detective novel ever written and now, thanks to its much-delayed translated release, we can find out for ourselves what the excitement was all about. We’ve also included a few other recently acquired crime and mystery novels that caught our attention; for more details read on below.

The village of eight graves / Yokomizo, Seishi
“Nestled deep in the mist-shrouded mountains, The Village of Eight Graves takes its name from a bloody legend: in the Sixteenth Century eight samurais, who had taken refuge there along with a secret treasure, were murdered by the inhabitants, bringing a terrible curse down upon their village. Centuries later a mysterious young man named Tatsuya arrives in town, bringing a spate of deadly poisonings in his wake. The inimitably scruffy and brilliant Kosuke Kindaichi investigates.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder most fancy / McCourt, Kellie
“Home for just 48 hours, billion-heiress Indigo-Daisy-Violet-Amber Hasluck-Royce-Jones-Bombberg has already committed two  felonies, reignited a childhood feud, been (possibly) humiliated (again) by her first love, and fallen over a nameless homeless dead man.  Grandmother’s kindly neighbour, Dame Elizabeth Holly, wants to spring the anonymous corpse from the coroner’s freezer. She’s convinced Indigo and her parolee personal assistant Esmerelda can unearth the man’s identity, thus allowing his burial. Meanwhile Grandmother wants the unlikely duo to locate Dame Holly’s possibly missing gentleman friend… ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Disappearance of a scribe / Stabenow, Dana
“After two Alexandrian fishermen discover a skeleton anchored by a cement weight, Queen Cleopatra charges Tetisheri, her new Eye of Isis, to uncover the identities of the victim and the killers.47 B.C. Two Alexandrian fishermen come across the body of a skeleton floating upright at the bottom of the sea, anchored in place by a cement weight around his feet. In Alexandria’s rough-and-tumble construction trade they call that ‘being fitted with a pair of Rhakotis sandals’ and what’s worse, he is the second such victim in two years. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Darkness falls : a Kate Marshall thriller / Bryndza, Robert
“Kate Marshall’s investigation into a journalist’s disappearance sends her down an unexpectedly twisted path in a riveting thriller by the author of Shadow Sands. Kate Marshall’s fledgling PI agency takes off when she and her partner, Tristan Harper, are hired for their first big case. It’s a cold one. Twelve years before, journalist Joanna Duncan disappeared after exposing a political scandal. Most people have moved on. Joanna’s mother refuses to let go. When Kate and Tristan gain access to the original case files, they revisit the same suspects and follow the same leads–but not to the same dead ends. Among Joanna’s personal effects, Kate discovers the names of two young men who also vanished without a trace.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s lost letters / Cleland, Jane K
“Antiques appraiser Josie Prescott is in the midst of filming a segment for her new television show. Josie’s Antiques, when the assistant director interrupts to let her know she has a visitor. Veronica Sutton introduces herself as an old friend of Josie’s father, who had died twenty years earlier. Veronica hands Josie a brown paper-wrapped package. Mystified, Josie opens the package, and gasps when she sees what’s inside: a notecard bearing her name–in her father’s handwriting–and a green leather box. Inside the box are two letters in transparent plastic sleeves. The first bears the salutation, “My dear Cassandra,” the latter, “Dearest Fanny.” Both are signed “Jane Austen.”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Silent parade / Higashino, Keigo
“A popular young girl disappears without a trace, her skeletal remains discovered three years later in the ashes of a burnt-out house. And this isn’t the first time he’s been suspected of the murder of a young girl: nearly twenty years ago he was tried and released due to lack of evidence. Chief Inspector Kusanagi of the Homicide Division of the Tokyo Police worked both cases.  Chief Inspector Kusanagi turns once again to his college friend, Physics professor and occasional police consultant Manabu Yukawa, known as Detective Galileo, to help solve the string of seemingly impossible murders.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Family business / Rozan, S. J
“The death of Chinatown’s most powerful mogul, a powerful Chinatown crime boss, thrusts private eye Lydia Chin and her partner Bill Smith into a world of double-dealing, murder, and real estate scandal . Choi has left the Tong headquarters building to his niece, who hires Lydia and her partner, Bill Smith, to accompany her to inspect it. The building is at the center of a tug-of-war between Chinatown preservation interests–including Lydia’s brother Tim–and a real estate developer who’s desperate to get his hands on it. Entering Choi’s private living quarters they find the murdered body of Choi’s chief lieutenant.  Can Lydia and Bill escape being caught in the crossfire?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Easter bonnet murder / Meier, Leslie
“Known for its cheerful staff and elaborate annual Easter Bonnet Contest, the Heritage House senior center regularly attracts new residents and positive press. But once the town’s retired librarian, Miss Julia Tilley, checks in to recover from an illness, Lucy sees a side of the facility that isn’t quite so perfect and pristine. And the place may soon be making headlines for different reasons following an unexplained disappearance . Gathering clues as flimsy as a half-eaten milk chocolate bunny, Lucy must discover what happened to Agnes–before her own story becomes another springtime tragedy left unsolved .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Still and untroubled: New crime and mystery titles

A selection of book covers from our recent booklist

A selection from our new mystery picks

I am, as it is bliss to be, Still and untroubled.

― Charlotte Brontë,


There’s a whole sub-genre of crime and detective fiction which stars real life historical characters as the investigating detectives. Just a few of these historical characters, turned fictional detectives, include Oscar Wilde, Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, and Agatha Christie.  There’s even a Barrack Obama and Joe Biden mystery series, where the current and former American presidents form the sleuthing duo. One particularly unlikely, fictionalised team that I particularly like is the Raymond Chandler and Boris Karloff team up, found in Kim Newman’s Something More than Night. In this month’s newly acquired crime and mystery titles, we can add The Bronte sisters to these illustrious ranks.

In The Red Monarch, literature’s most famous siblings are also amateur detectives. The tale is set around the time of their self-published collection Poems of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, where the sisters adopted male names as they thought it would help sales and avoid gender prejudice. The collection was published at their own expense, and sadly sold exactly two copies. In The Red Monarch, the sisters are also battling against a slum dwelling criminal gang.

Other highlights from the below list include a tale that takes us on the Trans-Siberian Express, a police transcriber and a mystery set on a cocoa plantation in Ecuador.

The red monarch / Ellis, Bella
“The Bronte sisters’ first poetry collection has just been published, potentially marking an end to their careers as amateur detectors, when Anne receives a letter from her friend Lydia Robinson. Lydia has eloped with a young actor, Harry Roxby. Harry has become embroiled with a criminal gang and is in terrible danger after allegedly losing something very valuable that he was meant to deliver to their leader. . She knows there are few people who she can turn to in this time of need, but the sisters agree to help Lydia, beginning a race against time to save Harry’s life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Death on the Trans-Siberian Express / Farrington, C. J.
“Olga Pushkin, Railway Engineer (Third Class) and would-be bestselling author, spends her days in a little rail-side hut with only Dmitri the hedgehog for company.  And one day Olga arrives at her hut only to be knocked unconscious by a man falling from the Trans-Siberian, an American tourist with his throat cut from ear to ear and his mouth stuffed with 10-ruble coins. Another death soon follows. But with no leads to follow and time running out, has Olga bitten off more than she can chew?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bryant & May : London Bridge is falling down / Fowler, Christopher
“When 91-year-old Amelia Hoffman died in her top-floor flat on a busy London road, : she slipped through the cracks in a failing system. But detectives Arthur Bryant and John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit have their doubts. Bryant is convinced that other forgotten women with hidden talents are also in danger. And, curiously, they all own models of London Bridge. With the help of some of their more certifiable informants, the detectives follow the strangest of clues in an investigation that will lead them through forgotten alleyways to the city’s oldest bridge in search of a desperate killer.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A question of guilt / Horst, Jørn Lier
“In 1999, seventeen-year-old Tone Vaterland was killed on her way home from work. Desperate for a conviction the police deemed the investigation an open-and-shut case and sent her spurned boyfriend, Danny Momrak, down for murder. But twenty years later William Wisting receives a puzzling letter. It suggests the wrong man was convicted for Tone’s death and the real murderer is still out there. Wisting is quickly thrown into a terrifying race against time where he must find the sender, decipher this mysterious letter and catch the real killer before they strike again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Spanish daughter / Hughes, Lorena
“Inheriting a cocoa plantation in Vinces, Ecuador, that someone will kill for, Puri, after her husband is murdered, assumes his identity to search for the truth of her father’s legacy and learn the identity of the enemy who stands in her way of claiming her birthright.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Mrs. Rochester’s ghost : a thriller / Marcott, Lindsay
“Jane has lost everything: job, mother, relationships, even her home. A friend calls to offer an unusual deal–a cottage above the crashing surf of Big Sur on the estate of his employer, Evan Rochester. In return, Jane will tutor his teenage daughter. She accepts. But nothing is quite as it seems at the Rochester estate. Though he’s been accused of murdering his glamorous and troubled wife, Evan Rochester insists she drowned herself. Jane is skeptical, but she still finds herself falling for the brilliant and secretive entrepreneur and growing close to his daughter…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The shadows of men : a novel / Mukherjee, Abir
“Calcutta, 1923. When a Hindu theologian is found murdered in his home, the city is on the brink of all-out religious war. Can the officers of the Imperial Police Force–Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant “Surrender-Not” Banerjee–track down those responsible in time to stop a bloodbath? Set at a time of heightened political tension, beginning in atmospheric Calcutta and taking the detectives all the way to bustling Bombay, the latest instalment in this remarkable series presents Wyndham and Banerjee with an unprecedented challenge. Will this be the case that finally drives them apart?” (Catalogue)

Hello, transcriber / Morrissey, Hannah
“Every night, while the street lamps shed the only light on Wisconsin’s most crime-ridden city, police transcriber Hazel Greenlee listens as detectives divulge Black Harbor’s gruesome secrets. As an aspiring writer, Hazel believes that writing a novel could be her only ticket out of this frozen hellscape. And then her neighbor confesses to hiding the body of an overdose victim in a dumpster. The suspicious death is linked to Candy Man, a notorious drug dealer. Now Hazel has a first row seat to the investigation and becomes captivated by the lead detective…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Interview with Portico Prize winning author Sally J Morgan

Sally J Morgan - Toto

Debut novel Toto Among the Murderers by Sally J Morgan, is a dark, compelling, and immersive work that recently won the Portico Prize for Literature — a British prize given to a work that evokes the “spirit of the North of England”. The book was also longlisted for the 2021 Acorn Prize for Fiction.

We were thrilled when Sally agreed to talk to us about ‘Toto Among the Murderers’ and what it feels like to win one of the big fiction prizes! She even gave us an exclusive sneak peek into her thoughts about her new book, still at the writing stage. Have a listen and read more about Sally below…

Please note: this interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, an arts and entertainment review show on RadioActive FM. The interview was conducted by Caffeine and Aspirin host, Tanya Ashcroft.

Sally J Morgan was born in the Welsh mining town of Abertyleri and describes her childhood as nomadic — following her father’s career in the motor trade across Britain. Sally graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and eventually moved to New Zealand where she is now a professor at Massey University in Wellington.

As a young woman she was once offered a lift by the serial killers Fred and Rose West. Sally declined, but that experience planted the seeds for Toto Among the Murderers.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Sally for both the interview and for her kind permission to reproduce the photographs in this blog — all © Sally J Morgan. (Photographer: Jessica Chubb)

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, drinks too much and gets stoned too often. Never happy to stay in one place for very long, her restlessness takes her on hitchhiking jaunts up and down the country. Her best friend, 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: there is Janice across the road who lives in fear of being beaten up again by her pimp and Nel, whose perfect life is coming undone at her boyfriend’s hands. At the same time infamous murderers, Fred and Rosemary West, are stalking the country, on the lookout for girls like Jude.” (Catalogue)

“I am sometimes bored by people, but never by life”: Our new crime & mystery titles for January

“I am sometimes bored by people, but never by life.”
— Nancy Mitford

Welcome to our first newly acquired Crime and Mystery titles roundup of 2022.
One of the titles we have selected for inclusion in this month’s list is The Mitford Vanishing, the fifth instalment of Jessica Fellowes’ Mitford Murders Mystery series, which skilfully and compellingly weaves fact and fiction into mystery stories revolving round the glamorous and eventful world of the Mitford sisters.

The Mitford family were amongst the most colourful and talked about aristocratic families in Britain of the 20th century; especially their six daughters, due in part to their controversial, stylish and privileged younger days, which were often lived out in the public eye. Times journalist Ben Macintyre once succinctly summarised the sisters up in this way “Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover; Nancy the Novelist; Deborah the Duchess and Pamela the unobtrusive poultry connoisseur.”

Three of the sisters became acclaimed writers. Perhaps the best known and most famous of which was Nancy, whose novels include The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate,. Her novels are still regarded as sharply observed and wittily written stories about upper class lives in England and Europe at that point in time, though Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death is also regarded as a classic of its type.

The Mitford Vanishing revolves around the disappearance of the communist Mitford sister Jessica in Spain during the Spanish civil war. Other titles that caught our attention were the Neo Noir Shoot the Moonlight Out by William Boyle and not one but two new crime outings set in the world of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes & the three winter terrors by James Lovegrove and Miss Moriarty, I presume? by Sherry Thomas.

The Mitford vanishing / Fellowes, Jessica
“War with Germany is looming, and a civil war already raging in Spain. Split across political lines, the six Mitford sisters are more divided than ever. Meanwhile their former maid Louisa Cannon is now a private detective, working with her ex-policeman husband Guy Sullivan. Louisa and Guy are surprised when a call comes in from novelist Nancy Mitford requesting that they look into the disappearance of her Communist sister Jessica, nicknamed Decca. It quickly becomes clear that Decca may have made for the war in Spain – and not alone…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bloodless boy / Lloyd, Robert J
“The City of London, New Year’s Day, 1678. Eleven years have passed since the Great Fire ripped through the City. Twenty since the death of Cromwell and the restoration of a king. London is gripped by hysteria, where rumours of Catholic plots and sinister foreign assassins abound. When the body of a young boy drained of his blood is discovered on the snowy bank of the Fleet River, Robert Hooke, the Curator of Experiments of the Royal Society for the Improving of Natural Knowledge, and his assistant Harry Hunt, are called in to explain such a ghastly finding — and whether it’s part of a plot against the king. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Shoot the moonlight out / Boyle, William
“Southern Brooklyn, July 1996. Punk kids have to make their own fun. Bobby Santovasco and his pal Zeke like to throw rocks at cars getting off the Belt Parkway.  Fast forward five years: June 2001. Charlie French is a low-level gangster-wannabe trying to make a name for himself. When he stumbles onto a bowling alley locker stuffed with a bag full of cash, he brings it to his only pal, Max Berry, for safekeeping while he cleans up the mess surrounding it…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Double take : a Madison Kelly mystery / Breck, Elizabeth
” San Diego journalist Barrett Brown has been missing for a week, and her boyfriend hires private investigator Madison Kelly to find her. Barrett reminds Madison of a younger version of herself: smart, ambitious, and a loner. As she investigates, Madison realizes that Barrett’s disappearance is connected to a big story she was chasing. She sets out to walk in Barrett’s footsteps– and as the trail grows colder, things begin to heat up between Madison and Barrett’s boyfriend. But he doesn’t seem to be telling everything he knows.. What dirty secrets lie at the heart of Barrett’s big lead? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lemon / Kwŏn, Yŏ-sŏn
“In the summer of 2002, when Korea is abuzz over hosting the FIFA World Cup, nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on is killed in what becomes known as the High School Beauty Murder. Two suspects quickly emerge: rich kid Shin Jeongjun, whose car Hae-on was last seen in, and delivery boy Han Manu, who witnesses Hae-on in the passenger seat of Jeongjun’s car just a few hours before her death. But when Jeongjun’s alibi turns out to be solid, and no evidence can be pinned on Manu, the case goes cold. Seventeen years pass without any resolution Unable to move on with her life, Da-on sets out to find the truth of what happened. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Under color of law / Clark, Aaron Philip
“Black rookie cop Trevor “Finn” Finnegan aspires to become a top-ranking officer in the Los Angeles Police Department and fix a broken department. A fast-track promotion to detective in the coveted Robbery-Homicide Division puts him closer to achieving his goal. Four years later, calls for police accountability rule the headlines. The city is teeming with protests for racial justice. When the body of a murdered Black academy recruit is found in the Angeles National Forest, Finn is tasked to investigate. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The savage kind / Copenhaver, John
“Philippa Watson, a good-natured yet troubled seventeen-year-old, has just moved to Washington, DC. She’s lonely until she meets Judy Peabody. The girls become unlikely friends and fashion themselves as intellectuals, drawing the notice of Christine Martins, their dazzling English teacher. When Philippa returns a novel Miss Martins has lent her, she interrupts a man grappling with her in the shadows of the school. Days later, her teacher returns to school altered: a dark shell of herself. And a classmate is found dead in the Anacostia River–murdered…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dolphin Junction / Herron, Mick
“When a man’s wife leaves him under suspicious circumstances, he sets off in search for her, unprepared for the guilty secrets he’s about to drag back into the light. A man is tempted by a luxury apartment with a top-of-the-range kitchen. But there is a heavy price to pay for this glamorous new life. And a couple with their marriage on the rocks go on a hike through the Derbyshire countryside as another way to avoid their real problems. Mick Herron’s skill for tension, humour, and memorable twists are captured in his short stories, collected here for the first time.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sherlock Holmes & the three winter terrors / Lovegrove, James
“1889. The First Terror. At a boys? prep school in the Kent marshes, a pupil is found drowned in a pond. Could this be the fulfilment of a witch’s curse from over two hundred years earlier? 1890. The Second Terror. A wealthy man dies of a heart attack at his London townhouse. Was he really frightened to death by ghosts? 1894. The Third Terror. A body is discovered in the dark woods near a Surrey country manor, hideously ravaged. Is the culprit a cannibal, as the evidence suggests? These three chilling and strangely linked crimes test Sherlock Holmes?s deductive powers, and his scepticism about the supernatural, to the limit.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Miss Moriarty, I presume? / Thomas, Sherry
“Charlotte Holmes comes face-to-face with her enemy when Moriarty turns to her in his hour of need in the USA Today bestselling series set in Victorian England. A most unexpected client shows up at Charlotte Holmes’s doorstep: Moriarty himself. Moriarty fears that tragedy has befallen his daughter and wants Charlotte to find out the truth. Charlotte and Mrs. Watson travel to a remote community of occult practitioners where Moriarty’s daughter was last seen, a place full of lies and liars. Is it merely to test Charlotte’s skills as an investigator, or has the man of shadows trapped her in a nest of vipers?”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Our Latest Crime & Mystery Titles

“In fine, the truffle is the very diamond of gastronomy.”

— Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

In this month’s selection of new crime and mystery titles we have a hunt for the legendary Boscuri White truffle in the hills around Bologna. So, what better reason do we need to investigate just a little of the history of the mighty truffle.

Truffles are the fruiting body of a subterranean ascomycete fungus, and one of the most prized gastronomic ingredients in France, Italy and beyond. Described as the “Diamond of the kitchen” their use in cooking can be traced way back to the neo-Sumerians in 22nd to 21st century BC. The ancient Romans used them too, but they appeared to have fallen out of favour in the medieval period though there are one or two references from that time. Pigs and dogs are traditionally used to find wild truffles and fortunes can be paid for a good truffle dog.

It is from Renaissance period up to modern times that the truffle has really found its place. Hugely popular in Parisian markets of the 1700’s, they were often so expensive that they only appeared at the dining tables of nobles. It’s also used in a wide range of dishes; one traditional favourite is with turkey and, even more recently, truffle vodka. Up until recently, if you wanted to experience the flavour sensation of the truffle here in New Zealand then you would have had to import them; the first ever Southern Hemisphere harvested truffles were from Gisborne in 1993!!!

We have a wide range of other recently acquired crime and mystery titles too, for a small selection peruse below.

The hunting season / Benjamin, Thomas
“It’s truffle season and in the hills around Bologna the hunt is on for the legendary Boscuri White, the golden nugget of Italian gastronomy. But when an American truffle ‘supertaster’ goes missing, English detective Daniel Leicester discovers not all truffles are created equal. Did the missing supertaster bite off more than he could chew? As he goes on the hunt for Ryan Lee, Daniel discovers the secrets behind ‘Food City’, but the deeper he goes into the disappearance of the supertaster the darker things become. Murder is once again on the menu…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Riccardino / Camilleri, Andrea
“When Inspector Montalbano receives an early-morning phone call it proves to be the start of a very trying day. For the caller expects Montalbano to arrive imminently at a rendezvous with some friends. But before he can remonstrate, the caller announces himself ass someone called Riccardino and peremptorily issues his instructions.  Later that day news comes in of a brutal slaying in broad daylight by an unknown assassin who makes his getaway on a motorbike. And when the Inspector learns of the victim’s identity – a man called Riccardino – his troubles are only just beginning…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The midnight hour / Griffiths, Elly
“Once-famous theatrical impresario Bert Billingham is found dead, no one suspects foul play. But when the post mortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife. Frustrated by the police response to Bert’s death and determined to prove her innocence. Verity calls in private detective duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins.  She and Sam are convinced the answer lies in Bert’s dark past and in the glamorous, occasionally deadly, days of Music Hall. But the closer they get to the truth, the more danger they find themselves in.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Harlem shuffle / Whitehead, Colson
“”Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked…” To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably-priced furniture, making a life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver’s Row don’t approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it’s still home. Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger and bigger all the time…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The man who died twice / Osman, Richard
“It’s the following Thursday. Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster and a very real threat to his life. As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus? But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?”(Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

The assistant / Dahl, Kjell Ola
“Oslo, 1938. War is in the air and Europe is in turmoil. Hitler’s Germany has occupied Austria and is threatening Czechoslovakia; there’s a civil war in Spain and Mussolini reigns in Italy. When a woman turns up at the office of police-turned-private investigator Ludvig Paaske, he and his assistant – his one-time nemesis and former drug-smuggler Jack Rivers – begin a seemingly straightforward investigation into marital infidelity. But all is not what it seems, and when Jack is accused of murder, the trail leads back to the 1920s, to prohibition-era Norway, to the smugglers, sex workers and hoodlums of his criminal past … and an extraordinary secret.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A change of circumstance / Hill, Susan
“DCS Simon Serrailler has long regarded drugs ops in Lafferton as a waste of time. Small-time dealers are picked up outside the local secondary school, they don’t have any information about those higher up the chain, they’re given a fine or a suspended and away they go. And rinse and repeat. But when the body of a 22-year-old drug addict is found in neighbouring Starley, the case pulls Simon into a whole new way of running drugs.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

The sleeping nymph / Tuti, Ilaria
“A decades-old murder investigation has landed on Superintendent Teresa Battaglia’s desk. DNA analysis has revealed that a painting from the final days of World War II contains matter from a human heart. Teresa is able to trace the evidence to Val Resia, one of Italy’s most isolated, untouched regions. When Teresa’s investigation hits too close to the truth, a second human heart is hung at the valley’s entrance, a warning not to cross its threshold. Meanwhile, Teresa must not only deal with rapidly progressing physical and cognitive ailments, but also someone she hoped never to see again-a man who is now her supervisor”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The Ngaio Marsh Award winners 2021 revealed

Congratulations to the recently announced winners of the 2021 Ngaio Marsh Awards!

The fabulous Wellington-based Brannavan Gnanalingam picked up the Best Novel accolade, with his novel Sprigs described by Radio NZ’s Kim Hill as a “scarily contemporary and realistic story… an extraordinary piece of writing.”

The non-fiction award was won by Martin Van Beynen and his startling Black Hands: inside the Bain family murders.

The Best First Novel went to Chris Stuart’s For Reasons of Their Own, and the inaugural Best kids/YA novel went to Blitzkrieg by Brian Falkner.

The Ngaio Marsh Awards originated in 2010 for excellence in New Zealand crime, mystery and thriller writing. In 2016 the award for Best First Novel was added and in 2017 another category was also added for the Best Non-Fiction. And this year saw the introduction of a new kids / young adult category. Our heartfelt congratulations to all the Ngaio Marsh winners and nominees.

To accompany the awards, we recently had the great pleasure of seeing Brannavan Gnanalingam in full flow leading in an evening panel of criminally good conversation at our event A Capital Crimespree: Newtown Mystery in the Library, along with fellow crime luminaries Dame Fiona Kidman, Sally J Morgan and husband-and-wife writing duo Dr Judy Melinek and TJ Mitchell, a recording of which you can watch below. Please note “Mature/ adult issues of a challenging nature” were covered.

 

 

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.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Black hands : inside the Bain family murders / Van Beynen, Martin
“Journalist Martin van Beynen has covered the Bain story closely for decades … Now, his book brings the story completely up to date: exploring the case from start to finish, picking through evidence old and new, plumbing the mysteries and motives, interviewing never-before-spoken-to witnesses and guiding readers through the complex police investigation and court cases, seeking to finally answer the question: Who was the killer?”(Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

For reasons of their own / Stuart, Chris
“Robbie Gray, a talented but troubled Detective Inspector stationed in Melbourne, who has fallen foul of police bureaucracy, is called to a investigate a dead body found in a rural wetland swamp. Under-resourced, with a corpse that cannot be identified and no apparent motive for the murder, she fails to make headway. The Federal Police take over the investigation and ASIO becomes involved, focusing on a terrorism angle. Convinced they are misinterpreting the evidence, or worse, DI Gray begins her own investigation assisted by a young Aboriginal policeman.What DI Gray and her team uncover, challenges their understanding of power and powerlessness and questions their interpretation of whether murder, under certain circumstances, may be justified.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blitzkrieg / Falkner, Brian
“Joseph St. George is a young New Zealander, the son of diplomats in 1930s Berlin. But the Nazis are on the rise and the world is on a spinning path to destruction. Joe’s world is about to change, violently. After a narrow escape from Germany with his mother, Joe is recruited by MI5 and given a mission to infiltrate the Hitler Youth movement. From vital convoys across the frozen North Atlantic, to the terror of the London Blitz, to the shadowy world of the French Resistance, this is Joe’s world. Inspired by true events, Katipo Joe is a story of incredible heroism, unlikely friendships and unbearable tragedy, set against the backdrop of World War Two”(Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

A new book from the father of Tartan Noir and other Scottish crime treats

“Writing is a way of sharing our humanity.”
― William McIlvanney (1936 –2015)

The much-vaulted sub-genre of Tartan Noir (which is now occasionally humorously and affectionately maligned) has some very strong entries in this month’s recently acquired crime, mystery and thriller selection, including books from several luminaries such as the Modern Queen of Crime Val McDermid. There’s also a new book from Ian Rankin that takes up the reins from the father of “Tartan Noir”, William McIlvanney. In The Dark Remains Ian completes an unfinished manuscript from William McIlvanney’s archives. The resulting novel brings evocatively to life William McIlvanney’s unique writing style and richly evokes the grimy world of Scotland in the 1970’s as, incidentally, does Val McDermid’s superb 1979.

In many ways William McIlvanney was the pioneering author who trailblazed the path for many modern Scottish crime writers to follow. There’s also a new work from the fabulous  Alex Grey called Before the Storm, a truly gripping read that has plot elements that move between both Zimbabwe and Glasgow.

Other title highlights include a wonderful new (already widely acclaimed)  New Zealand  crime voice  Anne Harré and her debut novel The Leaning Man, set in Wellington with  vivid descriptions of the city itself and  includes scenes in our very own Te Awe Library; it is a compulsive and page-turning read. Keep a close eye out for our upcoming exclusive interview with Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman!

You can also watch  Professor Val McDermid talk exclusively to us in the interview at the end of this blog, which includes a section on some of her creative thoughts behind 1979.

The dark remains / McIlvanney, William
“Lawyer Bobby Carter did a lot of work for the wrong type of people. Now he’s dead and it was no accident. Besides a distraught family and a heap of powerful friends, Carter’s left behind his share of enemies. So, who dealt the fatal blow? DC Jack Laidlaw’s reputation precedes him. He’s not a team player, but he’s got a sixth sense for what’s happening on the streets. His boss chalks the violence up to the usual rivalries, but is it that simple? As two Glasgow gangs go to war, Laidlaw needs to find out who got Carter before the whole city explodes. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

1979 / McDermid, Val
“1979. It is the winter of discontent, and reporter Allie Burns is chasing her first big scoop. There are few women in the newsroom and she needs something explosive for the boys’ club to take her seriously. Soon Allie and fellow journalist Danny Sullivan are exposing the criminal underbelly of respectable Scotland. They risk making powerful enemies – and Allie won’t stop there. When she discovers a home-grown terrorist threat, Allie comes up with a plan to infiltrate the group and make her name. But she’s a woman in a man’s world… and putting a foot wrong could be fatal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Before the storm / Gray, Alex
“Inspector Daniel Kohi of the Zimbabwean police force returns home one night to find his worst nightmare has been realised. His family dead, his house destroyed, and in fear for his life, he is forced to flee the country he loves. Far away in Glasgow, DSI William Lorimer has his hands full. Christmas is approaching, the city is bustling, and whilst the homicide rate has been relatively low, something much darker is brewing. Counter-Terrorism have got wind of a plot, here in Lorimer’s native city, to carry out an unspeakable atrocity on Christmas Eve. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)
 

The Moorland murderers / Jecks, Michael
“July, 1556. En route to France and escape from Queen Mary’s men, Jack Blackjack decides to spend the night at a Devon tavern, agrees to a game of dice – and ends up accused of murder. To make matters worse, the dead man turns out to have been the leader of the all-powerful miners who rule the surrounding moors – and they have no intention of waiting for the official court verdict to determine Jack’s guilt. But who would frame Jack for murder . . . and why?  As Jack’s attempts to find answers stirs up a hornet’s nest of warring factions within the town, events soon start to spiral out of control . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 
The distant dead / Thomson, Lesley
“London, 1940. Several neighbours heard the scream of the woman in the bombed-out house. One told the detective she thought the lady had seen a mouse. Another said it wasn’t his business what went on behind closed doors. None of them imagined that a trusting young woman was being strangled by her lover… Tewkesbury, 2020. Beneath the vast stone arches of Tewkesbury Abbey, a man lies bleeding, close to death. He is the creator of a true-crime podcast which now will never air. He was investigating the murder of a 1940s police pathologist – had he come closer to the truth than he realised? (Adapted from Catalogue)

The royal secret / Taylor, Andrew
“Two young girls plot a murder by witchcraft. Soon afterwards a government clerk dies painfully in mysterious circumstances. His colleague James Marwood is asked to investigate – but the task brings unexpected dangers. Meanwhile, architect Cat Hakesby is working for a merchant who lives on Slaughter Street, where the air smells of blood and a captive Barbary lion prowls the stables. Then a prestigious new commission arrives. Cat must design a Poultry House for the woman that the King loves most in all the world. Unbeknownst to all, at the heart of this lies a royal secret so explosive that it could not only rip apart England but change the entire face of Europe…”- (Adapted from Catalogue)

 
In the crypt with a candlestick / Waugh, Daisy
“Sir Ecgbert Tode of Tode Hall has survived to a grand old age – much to the despair of his younger wife, Emma. But at ninety-three he has, at last, shuffled off the mortal coil. Emma, Lady Tode, thoroughly fed up with being a dutiful Lady of the Manor, wants to leave the country to spend her remaining years in Capri. Unfortunately her three tiresome children are either unwilling or unable (too mad, too lefty or too happy in Australia) to take on management of their large and important home, so the mantle passes to a distant relative and his glamorous wife. Not long after the new owners take over, Lady Tode is found dead in the mausoleum. Accident? Or is there more going on behind the scenes of Tode Hall…?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“Wellington. The land dips and rolls, the wind has a life of its own. Dig a little deeper and the city is unforgiving and unrepentant. Forget the politicians, they’re poor amateurs in deception and crime. 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. Once shoulder-tapped as detective material, a few bad decisions and a questionable ethical dilemma saw her leave the force under a cloud. 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. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Now available to watch: Wellington writer Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman

For your delight, edification, and enjoyment our very special interview with debut crime novelist and author of The Leaning Man Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman.

Filmed at her publisher’s office by Wellington City Library staff. This wide-ranging interview with Anne covers The Leaning Man’s origins and creation, her love of Wellington and how Anne approaches her writing, not to mention how it feels to release your first novel.

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a newly-released, 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 has already gained glowing reviews in The Listener, The Dominion Post as well as RNZ.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Anne Harré, Dame Fiona Kidman and Mary McCallum for making this interview happen. This interview was done in conjunction with The Cuba Press and Creative New Zealand.

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“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. Once shoulder-tapped as detective material, a few bad decisions and a questionable ethical dilemma saw her leave the force under a cloud. 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.” (Catalogue)

This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders.” (Catalogue)

Facebook Premiere: Wellington writer Anne Harré in conversation with Dame Fiona Kidman

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a newly released, 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 both its light and darker sides.

The main protagonist in the novel is Stella; a complex, engaging, and damaged individual on a mission to get to the bottom of her friends’ mysterious death.

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 has already gained glowing reviews in The Listener, The Dominion Post as well as RNZ. So, when the opportunity arose for us to interview Anne about The Leaning Man’s origins and creation and  how Anne approaches her writing, not to mention how it feels to release your first novel, we jumped at it.

And when it was confirmed that one of the most respected and acclaimed of all our authors, Dame Fiona Kidman was to conduct the interview we were over the moon.

This exclusive interview will be premiered on our Facebook page

Sunday 17th October at 8.30

It will be available on our library social media platforms soon after. We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Anne Harré, Dame Fiona Kidman and Mary McCallum for making this interview happen. This interview was done in conjunction with The Cuba Press and Creative New Zealand.

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“Wellington. The land dips and rolls, the wind has a life of its own. Dig a little deeper and the city is unforgiving and unrepentant. Forget the politicians, they’re poor amateurs in deception and crime. 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. Once shoulder-tapped as detective material, a few bad decisions and a questionable ethical dilemma saw her leave the force under a cloud. 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. Stella Weston is relentless, foul-mouthed and tenacious. She’s not above taking big risks to find the truth about her friend and the shady world she appears to have been dragged into. The race is on between those who want the phone, the homeless man who’s pocketed it, and Stella.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Enduring Popularity, and Many Faces and Films, of Agatha Christie

“Everything must be taken into account. If the fact will not fit the theory—let the theory go.”
― Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles

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Agatha Christie’s books have for a long time been amongst the most popular books borrowed in libraries throughout the world and continue to be so even to this day, with book sales to match. She is the best-selling novelist of all time, selling a staggering 300 million books during her lifetime and a mind boggling estimated two billion to date. With such huge popularity it is no surprise that film makers rushed to her door looking for novels to adapt into scripts, though Agatha Christie herself famously said “My chief dislikes are crowds, loud noises, gramophones and cinemas.”

She grew up in an upper middle-class family in Torquay, a quiet, self-contained but happy child. Her first attempts at getting published were initially unsuccessful, however her luck changed in 1920 with the publication of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first book to feature one of her most successful detective creations Hercule Poirot. And from that point on her books just grew and grew in popularity.

The first film adaptation of her work was The Passing of Mr. Quinn in 1928 and many film adaptations throughout the years followed, with a new version of Death on the Nile scheduled to be released in 2022.

Most of the films feature one or other of Christie’s two big name detectives, Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple who have both been played by a wide variety of actors and actresses who have of course all brought their own style and approach to the characters. And it goes almost without saying that these films and television programmes have all reflected the times they were made (even if they had a historical backdrop).  From the cosy black and white, very British comic Miss Marple films of the 1960’s, starring Dame Margaret Rutherford, to the star-studded mega block buster Peter Ustinov films of the late 70’s and early 80’s. And then there is the highly unlikely (you have to see it to believe it) Arnold Schwarzenegger action thriller Sabotage, based on her And Then There Were None novel.  Not to mention the recent slickly-produced modern movies by Kenneth Branagh and the often more nuanced and measured television adaptations, such as the superb Joan Bogle Hickson BBC series.

Below is just a small selection of the Agatha Christie books, films and television series we have on offer.

Death on the Nile / Christie, Agatha
” The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalls an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: ‘I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.’ Yet in this exotic setting’ nothing is ever quite what it seems…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Click  here for the 1978 star studded  Peter Ustinov film.

Murder on the Orient Express / Christie, Agatha
” Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Click here for the 1976 version starring Albert Finney and here for the 2017 Kenneth Branagh version.

And then there were none / Christie, Agatha
” Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide. The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…” (Adapted from Catalogue). Click here for the availability of Sabotage, the Arnold Schwarzenegger action thriller based on And Then There Were None.

Evil under the sun / Christie, Agatha
” It was not unusual to find the beautiful bronzed body of the sun-loving Arlena Stuart stretched out on a beach, face down. Only, on this occasion, there was no sun… she had been strangled. Ever since Arlena’s arrival at the resort, Hercule Poirot had detected sexual tension in the seaside air. But could this apparent ‘crime of passion’ have been something more evil and premeditated altogether?” (Adapted from Catalogue). Click here forthe film starring Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, Jane Birkin, James Mason and Diana Rigg amongst others.

Why didn’t they ask Evans? / Christie, Agatha
“During a round of golf on a cliff-top course in Wales, Bobby Jones discovers a man lying gravely injured on the rocks below. His last words, “Why didn’t they ask Evans?,” two adventurous friends decide to find his killer…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Click here for the availability of the 1980 film which coincidently has Joan Hickson as  Mrs. Rivington before her time playing Miss Marple.

 

The body in the library / Christie, Agatha
“When the Bantrys wake to find the body of a beautiful young stranger in their library, Dolly Bantry knows there’s only one person to call: her old friend Miss Marple.” (Catalogue) Click here for the first series of Miss Marple Starring Joan Hickson, here for the second, here for the third  and here for the fourth.

 

The adventure of the Christmas pudding : and a selection of entrees / Christie, Agatha
“First came a sinister warning to Poirot not to eat any plum pudding … then the discovery of a corpse in a chest … next, an overheard quarrel that led to murder … the strange case of the dead man who altered his eating habits … and the puzzle of the victim who dreamt his own suicide. What links these five baffling cases? The little grey cells of Monsieur Hercule Poirot!” (Adapted from Catalogue) Click here for the availability of  first series of Hercule Poirot starring David Suchet, here for the second, here for the third and here for all our other numerous David Suchet,  Hercule Poirot items.

An autobiography / Christie, Agatha
“Agatha Christie’s ‘most absorbing mystery’ – her own autobiography, with new exclusive CD containing newly discovered priceless recordings of Agatha dictating excerpts from more than 40 years ago.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Click here for the availability of Agatha Christie’s garden : murder & mystery in Devon. A fascinating documentary about Agatha Christie’s personal Devon retreat Greenway which she described as   “the loveliest place in the world”

“Demon dog of American crime fiction”: New Crime and Mystery

 

 

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In this month’s recently acquired crime, mystery, and detective novels we have a new work from James Ellroy, nicknamed the “Demon dog of American crime fiction.”

James Ellroy is one of the most accomplished, celebrated, and acclaimed modern crime writers around, known for his moral but often relentlessly pessimistic and complex style, which recently has incorporated his own tele grammatic prose, where he often omits connecting words leaving only short, staccato sentences, incorporating in the process his own version of drug vernacular, profanity, cop talk and jazz slang.

His own dark and very troubled past has definitely had a huge influence on Ellroy himself, both as an individual and his writing. His mother was brutally murdered when he was only ten and Ellroy struggled to come to terms with this immense tragedy (which he would eventually write about in his memoir My Dark Places). Dropping out of school, he abused both alcohol and drugs and suffered from intense clinical depression. Often homeless, he turned to petty crime, including shoplifting and housebreaking, eventually spending time in prison. After suffering from pneumonia which caused an abscess on his lung, he quit drinking. He then took up golf caddying which allowed him the time to pursue writing. His first detective book Brown’s Requiem is based partially around his caddying experiences. He quickly became a cult favourite and later with L.A. Quartet series of books both critical and commercial success would follow.  Widespread Panic is his most recent work. You can read further details of Widespread Panic along with our other selected Crime and Mystery titles below:

Widespread panic : a novel / Ellroy, James
“Freddy Otash is the man in the know and the man to know in Tinseltown. He operates with two simple rules–he’ll do anything but murder, and he’ll never work with commies. Freddy is a corrupt L.A. cop on the skids. He executed a cop killer named Horvath and it gores him. So Captain “Whiskey” Bill Parker cans him. Now, Freddy dons an array of new hats–sleazoid private eye, shakedown artist, matchmaker for Rock Hudson, pimp for President John F. Kennedy–and, most notably–the lead tipster and head strongarm goon for Confidential magazine.  In Widespread Panic we traverse the depths of ’50s L.A. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The second woman / Philby, Charlotte
“Artemis leaves the remote Greek island she grew up on to start a shiny new life in 1990s London with her British husband, a successful entrepreneur. Finally, she has escaped the ghosts of her past. Until she is found hanging from the stairs of her beautiful family home. Two decades later, the apparent suicide of an heiress uncannily mirrors Artemis’ mysterious death. And when the ensuing investigation uncovers links to a criminal cartel, National Crime Agency officer Madeleine Farrow begins to pull apart the web of deceit surrounding the two women.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The doll / Yrsa Sigurdardottir
“It was meant to be a quiet family fishing trip, a chance for mother and daughter to talk. But it changes the course of their lives forever. They catch nothing except a broken doll that gets tangled in the net. After years in the ocean, the doll is a terrifying sight and the mother’s first instinct is to throw it back, but she relents when her daughter pleads to keep it. This simple act of kindness proves fatal. That evening, the mother posts a picture of the doll on social media. By the morning, she is dead and the doll has disappeared….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Farewell my herring / Tyler, L. C
“Ethelred Tressider and his agent Elsie Thirkettle have been invited to lecture on a creative writing course at Fell Hall, a remote location in the heart of ragged countryside that even sheep are keen to shun. While Ethelred’s success as a writer is distinctly average, Elsie sees this as an opportunity to scout for new, hopefully more lucrative, talent. But heavy snow falls overnight, trapping those early arrivals inside, and tensions are quick to emerge between the assembled group. When one of their number goes missing, Ethelred leads a search party and makes a gruesome discovery. With no phone signal and no hope of summoning the police, can Ethelred and Elsie identify the killer among them before one of them is next?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The truth-seeker’s wife / Granger, Ann
“It is spring 1871 when Lizzie Ross accompanies her formidable Aunt Parry on a restorative trip to the south coast. Lizzie’s husband, Ben, is kept busy at Scotland Yard and urges his wife to stay out of harm’s way. But when Lizzie and her aunt are invited to dine with other guests at the home of wealthy landowner Sir Henry Meager, and he is found shot dead in his bed the next morning, no one feels safe. On Lizzie’s last visit to the New Forest, another gruesome murder took place, and the superstitious locals now see her as a bad omen. And once Ben arrives to help with the investigation, he and Lizzie must work together to expose  dark secrets and a ruthless killer intent on revenge.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sleepless / Hausmann, Romy
“It’s been years since Nadja Kulka was convicted of a cruel crime. After being released from prison, she’s wanted nothing more than to live a normal life: nice flat, steady job, even a few friends. But when one of those friends, Laura von Hoven–free-spirited beauty and wife of Nadja’s boss–kills her lover and begs Nadja for her help, Nadja can’t seem to refuse. The two women make for a remote house in the woods, the perfect place to bury a body. But their plan quickly falls apart and Nadja finds herself outplayed, a pawn in a bizarre game in which she is both the perfect victim and the perfect murderer..”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Shadow over Edmund Street / Frankham, Suzanne
“Raised in a poverty-scarred part of Auckland, Edwina is a battler. Life revolves around the church and her mundane job unpacking vegetables. Meanwhile, a new generation has gentrified her suburb. After winning a gym membership, she loses weight, gets a new hairstyle, clothes, job – and makes a new friend, Rose. Edwina’s life is brutally taken, a swift and silent killer leaving no clues. Her murder seems unsolvable until a casual comment sends Inspector Alex Cameron and his seasoned team trawling through Edwina’s childhood. Can they uncover the link in time to save the next victim? Alex Cameron must unravel the shadow hanging over Edmund Street. Everyone and no one is a suspect, until…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The dying day / Khan, Vaseem
“For over a century, one of the world’s great treasures, a six-hundred-year-old copy of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, has been safely housed at Bombay’s Asiatic Society. But when it vanishes, together with the man charged with its care, British scholar and war hero, John Healy, the case lands on Inspector Persis Wadia’s desk. Uncovering a series of complex riddles written in verse, Persis – together with English forensic scientist Archie Blackfinch – is soon on the trail. But then they discover the first body. As the death toll mounts it becomes evident that someone else is also pursuing this priceless artefact and will stop at nothing to possess it…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Under a Dark Angel’s Eye and other selections from our recently acquired crime, mystery and thriller titles

“His stories were good because he imagined them intensely, so intensely that he came to believe them.”
― Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley

via GIPHY Alain Delon in Plein Soleil (Purple Noon, 1960) 

Among this month’s recently acquired crime and mystery fiction we have a newly released collection of stories from one of the most accomplished thriller and suspense novelists ever – Patricia Highsmith. Some of the stories included in this collection have never been published and others only in very small numbers, including her first ever published short story released when she was only 15.

She was an infamously complex, troubled, and often difficult individual, with a reputation for causing self-inflicted havoc and chaos at dinner parties and social occasions. Her brilliant stories and novels often reflect her character; she once wrote about how she had fantasised about murdering someone, and these inner demons make you feel that her often troubled central characters came from within rather than being literary constructs.

Highsmith often said she preferred animals to people, loved cats, and she bred about three hundred snails in her garden at home in Suffolk. She famously attended a cocktail party with a “gigantic handbag” that “contained a head of lettuce and a hundred snails” which she told her fellow guests were her “companions for the evening.” She also loved woodworking tools and made several pieces of furniture.

During her life Highsmith wrote 22 novels and numerous short stories and was a dedicated lifelong diary keeper, leaving over eight thousand pages of diary entries at her death. Below is a link to this title and some of our other recently acquired picks.

Under a dark angel’s eye : the selected stories of Patricia Highsmith / Highsmith, Patricia
“Patricia Highsmith was one of the great twentieth-century fiction writers, celebrated for classics The Talented Mr Ripley, Carol and Strangers on a Train, but she was also a masterful and prolific short-story writer. This definitive new collection, featuring two stories that have never been published before, reveals Highsmith as a genius of the genre. Peerlessly disturbing, exhilarating and savagely funny, Highsmith’s stories still have the power to startle.” (Adapted from Catalogue) We also have the acclaimed French movie adaptation of the The Talented Mr Ripley click here for details.

The lost gallows : a London mystery / Carr, John Dickson
“In this follow up to It Walks by Night, Inspector Bencolin attempts to piece together a puzzle involving a disappearing street and a set of gallows that mysteriously appears through the thick London fog. And a mythical spirit, Jack Ketch, may be afoot and in the business of wanton execution, leaving Londoners on edge and in fear of the bogeyman. The Lost Gallows is an early gem from one of the great writers of the genre. This edition also includes the rare Bencolin short story “The Ends of Justice.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Before you knew my name / Bublitz, Jacqueline
“Dead girls don’t usually get to tell their story, but Alice Lee has always been a different type of girl. When she arrives in New York on her eighteenth birthday, carrying nothing but $600 cash and a stolen Leica in her bag, Alice is a plucky teenager looking to start a new life away from her dark past. Now she’s ‘Jane Doe’, ‘Riverside Jane’, an unidentified body on a slab at City Morgue. Newspaper headlines briefly report that ‘the body was discovered by a jogger’. Alice, seemingly stuck between life and death, narrates Ruby’s story From this first, devastating encounter, an enduring connection between the two women is formed. One that will eventually lead to the man who murdered Alice…” (Catalogue) Also available as an Ebook.

The creak on the stairs / Eva Björg Ægisdóttir
“When a body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area. Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her colleagues Saevar and Hoerdur, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day … But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Ebook.

Triflers need not apply / Bruce, Camilla
“Early in life Bella Sorensen discovers the world is made only for men. They own everything: jobs, property, wives. But Bella understands what few others do: where women are concerned, men are weak. A woman unhampered by scruples can take from them what she wants. And so Bella sets out to prove to the world that a woman can be just as ruthless, black-hearted and single-minded as any man. Starting with her long suffering husband Mads, Bella embarks on a killing spree the like of which has never been seen before nor since. And through it all her kind, older sister Nellie can only watch in horror as Bella’s schemes to enrich herself and cut down the male population come to a glorious, dreadful fruition.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

The coral bride / Bouchard, Roxanne
“Sequel to We Were the Salt of the Sea. Detective Moralès finds that a seemingly straightforward search for a missing fisherwoman is anything but…” (Catalogue)

 

 

 

Midnight at Malabar House / Khan, Vaseem
“Bombay, New Year’s Eve, 1949. As India celebrates the arrival of a momentous new decade, Inspector Persis Wadia stands vigil in the basement of Malabar House, home to the city’s most unwanted unit of police officers. Six months after joining the force she remains India’s first female police detective, mistrusted, sidelined and now consigned to the midnight shift. And so, when the phone rings to report the murder of prominent English diplomat Sir James Herriot, the country’s most sensational case falls into her lap. In the crucible of male hostility that surrounds her, she must find a way to solve the murder – whatever the cost.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Valentino will die / Casey, Donis
“Who is trying to kill the world’s greatest lover? Though Bianca LaBelle, star of the wildly popular silent movie serial ‘The Adventures of Bianca Dangereuse,’ and Rudolph Valentino, the greatest screen idol of all time, have been friends for years, in the summer of 1926 they are making their first picture together, a steamy romance called ‘Grand Obsession.’ One evening after dinner at Bianca’s fabulous Beverly Hills estate, a troubled Rudy confesses that he has received anonymous death threats. In a matter of days, filming comes to an abrupt halt when Rudy falls deathly ill. Could it be poison? As Rudy lies dying, Bianca promises him that she will find out who is responsible. ”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

The many faces of Sherlock Holmes

Ravin' Maven Classic Movies — The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) Basil ...

“Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons, with the greatest for the last.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, His Last Bow

Ever since his creation and first appearance in 1887 the character of Sherlock Holmes has been a firm favourite with the public, enjoying widespread popularity.

And one of the most remarkable characteristics about the Sherlock Holmes character has been its capacity to be adapted and altered in just about every possible way imaginable for theatre, radio, television, and cinema. Indeed, the character Sherlock Holmes holds the Guinness World record for the most portrayed literary human character in film and television history with over 25,000 adaptations.

For example, there are acclaimed television adaptations of Sherlock Holmes to be found in Japan, Poland, Russia and Canada to name just a few. Indeed, a case could be made that several other iconic characters such as Spock in Star Trek or Tom Baker era Doctor Who are thinly veiled versions of the Sherlock Holmes character.

Below are just a few Sherlock Holmes variations we have in our collections. So, go watch as Sherlock would say himself  “It’s elementary.”

 

Sherlock Holmes : the complete collection.
“Basil Rathbone portrays the deductive genius, Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce his mystified colleague, Dr. Watson in these fourteen classic films. Regarded by many as the definitive cinematic version of the characters. The films range from classic reworkings of some of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories to transplanting Holmes to contemporary times  ( i.e. the 1940’s)  where he puts numerous fiendish Nazi plots to rest .    ” (Catalogue)

 

Elementary. The first season
“A contemporary take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. Sherlock Holmes investigates crimes in modern-day New York City as a consultant to the NYPD and is assisted by Dr. Joan Watson, a former surgeon, who is hired by Holmes’ wealthy father to help keep the eccentric detective sober.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We also have seasons two, Three, Four, Five, Six and the Seventh and final season.

 

Star Trek, the next generation. Season 2
“A new Captain, a new Enterprise, but still the same mission. To go where no man has gone before, seek out new life and discover new frontiers. This season includes  Elementary, Dear Data the episode where Data and Geordi take  time out to play Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson on the Holodeck. The story arc for this episode was continued in the season six episode ” Ship in a Bottle  ” (Adapted from Catalogue) We also have all the other Next Generation Series including Season Six.

 

Sherlock Holmes. Volume one
“One of the most acclaimed Television versions of the Sherlock Holmes stories  was the 1980s Granada TV version where Holmes was played by  Jeremy Brett.  Like Rathbone before him Brett was regarded as the actor who created the generation defining version of the role . This season includes the following episodes . A scandal in Bohemia , The dancing man, The hound of the Baskervilles,  The naval treaty and the The solitary cyclist. ” (Catalogue)
We also have seasons two, three and the final fourth season.

 

Mr. Holmes
“In 1947, an aging Sherlock Holmes returns from a journey to Japan, where, in search of a rare plant with powerful restorative qualities, he has witnessed the devastation of nuclear warfare. Now, in his remote seaside farmhouse, Holmes faces the end of his days, with only the company of his housekeeper and her young son, Roger. Grappling with the diminishing powers of his mind, Holmes comes to rely upon the boy as he revisits the circumstances of the unsolved case that forced him into retirement.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The hound of the Baskervilles
“Sherlock Holmes comes to the aid of his friend Henry Baskerville, who is under a family curse and menaced by a demonic dog that prowls the bogs near his estate and murders people. In this lush Gothic Horror tinged version of the most famous Holmes story of them all. Peter Cushing  and Sir Christopher Lee  star as Sherlock Holmes and  Sir Henry Baskerville in this  Hammer Film Production from 1959.  ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Murder rooms : the dark beginnings of Sherlock Holmes. The complete television series
“The story of the relationship between the young Arthur Conan Doyle and his real-life mentor and noted forensic scientist, Dr. Joseph Bell, as they unite to solve the most baffling murder cases in Victorian Scotland. This unusual take on the Holmes myth takes the real life relationship between Arthur Conan Doyle and  mentor the  noted forensic scientist, Dr. Joseph Bell ( the inspiration for Holmes ) as the starting inspiration for these fictional tales filmed on location in Edinburgh  ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Murder by decree
“Christopher Plummer and James Mason take on the roles of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in this gritty, dark  murder mystery thriller about Jack The Ripper’s series of  murders in the 1880’s. The style and tone of the film is more of a  homage to the horror films of  the Hammer film Studio. The pairing of Plummer and Mason as Holmes and Watson is inspired and the idea of Holmes being in conflict with British Government black-ops is fascinating. It would have been interesting to see Plummer and Mason in other Holmes stories, but sadly this was their only outing. ” (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)

“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)

Three times listed for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Brannavan Gnanalingam coming to Newtown Library

Three times listed for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, Brannavan Gnanalingam will be one of the authors coming to Newtown Library as part of our

Capital Crimespree: Newtown Mystery in the Library event in conjunction with Ngaio Marsh Awards. 

When: 6pm, Friday 30 April 2021

Where: Newtown Library, 13 Constable Street, Wellington 6021

This is a free event.

Our stellar line up also includes Dame Fiona Kidman one of the most highly acclaimed and celebrated authors in New Zealand,  Sally J Morgan longlisted for the 2021 Acorn Prize for Fiction  and Dr Judy Melinek and TJ Mitchell the husband-and-wife writing duo behind the Jessie Teska forensic mysteries. Dr Judy Melinek was part of the forensic team that investigated the 9/11 World Trade Centre site.

We’re so excited to be hosting all these crime-writing luminaries, that we are doing short profiles on all the authors involved.   Our next profile is Brannavan Gnanalingam.

Brannavan Gnanalingam is a Wellington lawyer and writer of fiction and non-fiction. His past three novels have all been listed for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards; Sodden Downstream was shortlisted in 2018. His latest novel Sprigs is on the shortlist for this year’s Fiction award at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and is tipped to feature in the 2021 Ngaio Marsh awards.

If you are interested in crime fiction in any way this event promises to be unmissable and will undoubtedly reveal and  shed light on how these gifted authors craft characters, create exciting storylines and how they address real-life issues through their fiction.

Below is a selection of Brannavan Gnanalingam’s work we have available to borrow.

Click here for the Facebook event.

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

Getting under sail / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Brannavan Gnanalingam’s ‘Getting Under Sail’ tells the story of three New Zealanders on an ad hoc road-trip through West Africa. Starting in Morocco, the three aim to reach Ghana via Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

 

You should have come here when you were not here / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“The intriguing title of this novel by Wellington writer Brannavan Gnanalingam derives from a statement made by Parisians to their Nazi occupiers in World War II when the Germans expressed being underwhelmed by the attractions of the French capital. This postmodern travelogue tells the lonely tale of Veronica, a thirty-something asexual female journalist from New Zealand who travels to Paris late as a freelance journalist only to find the city indifferent to and from her.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

/ Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“‘Credit in the straight world’ charts the fortunes of Frank Tolland as he casts off an ignoble birth to become the singular leader of business and community in small-town New Zealand. Told through the eyes of his mute brother, George, this novel is a sharp and satirical account of a small-town finance company, and sweeps through the dramatic economic changes of the 20th and the 21st centuries”–Publisher’s information.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

A briefcase, two pies and a penthouse : a novel / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse looks at modern day spies in New Zealand. Instead of ‘Reds Under the Bed’, the new existential threat is Islamic terrorism – and the novel looks at a very New Zealand response to a global issue. Rachel McManus has just started at the New Zealand Alarm and Response Ministry. One of the few females working there, she is forced to traverse the peculiarities of Wellington bureaucracy, lascivious colleagues, and decades of sedimented hierarchy. She has the chance to prove herself by investigating a suspected terrorist, who they fear is radicalising impressionable youth and may carry out an attack himself on the nation’s capital.” (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.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Meet our Capital Crimespree panel for this Friday – Sally J Morgan

Do you enjoy delving into some darkness in your reading? The Ngaio Marsh Awards, in association with Wellington City Libraries, invites booklovers to a fun evening of criminally good conversation featuring five outstanding crime writers. This is a free event.

The exciting panel line-up includes Brannavan Gnanalingam, Dame Fiona Kidman, and Sally J Morgan, as well as forensic pathologist and author Judy Melinek together with her co-author and husband TJ Mitchell (authors of New York Times bestseller Working Stiff, and the Dr. Jessie Teska forensic mystery books).

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! To celebrate, we’re running a series of features on each of the writers involved. Next up is Sally J Morgan.

Acorn Prize longlisted author Sally J Morgan was born in the Welsh mining town of Abertyleri and describes her childhood as nomadic — following her father’s career in the motor trade across Britain. Sally graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and eventually moved to New Zealand where she is now a professor at Massey University in Wellington.

As a young woman she was once offered a lift by the serial killers Fred and Rose West. Sally declined, but that experience planted the seeds for her debut novel Toto Among the Murderers, which is longlisted for the 2021 Acorn Prize for Fiction:

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, drinks too much and gets stoned too often. Never happy to stay in one place for very long, her restlessness takes her on hitchhiking jaunts up and down the country. Her best friend, 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: there is Janice across the road who lives in fear of being beaten up again by her pimp and Nel, whose perfect life is coming undone at her boyfriend’s hands. At the same time infamous murderers, Fred and Rosemary West, are stalking the country, on the lookout for girls like Jude.” (Catalogue)

More Event Author Profiles

“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.

 

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)

Ask the queen of crime fiction, Val McDermid, a question

Browse Val McDermid's books on our catalogue

We’re excited to announce that bestselling queen of crime fiction Val McDermid has kindly agreed to answer questions from her Wellington readers in a Q&A to be recorded on video this month.

Send us your questions for Val by Wednesday 10 February and we’ll do our best to get them answered. A big thank you to Val McDermid for agreeing to do this Q & A session!

Email a question — enquiries@wcl.govt.nz

About Val McDermid

Val McDermid is one of the biggest names in contemporary crime fiction and ‘Tartan Noir’ — her novels have sold more than 16 million copies and have been translated into 40 languages worldwide. Her novels currently fall into four main series, featuring a host of memorable characters:

The  Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series has also been adapted into a TV series — the critically acclaimed Wire in the blood.

Val McDermid has also won crime writing’s most prestigious award, the much-coveted Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year, for her novel The Mermaids Singing. Along with her plethora of awards, she also holds an Honorary Fellowship from St Hilda’s College in Oxford — where she was the first student from a state school in Scotland ever to attend.

So, send us your questions for Val! You can use the email link above, or contact us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram on or before Wednesday 10 February, and we’ll do our best to put your questions to Val in our interview.

You can also read more about Val at her website below:

Visit valmcdermid.com

Have a browse of Val’s work below, and keep an eye out here and on social media for our Val McDermid interview coming soon!


Still life / McDermid, Val
“On a freezing winter morning, fishermen pull a body from the sea. It is quickly discovered that the dead man was the prime suspect in a decade-old investigation, when a prominent civil servant disappeared without trace. DCI Karen Pirie was the last detective to review the file and is drawn into a sinister world of betrayal and dark secrets. But Karen is already grappling with another case, one with even more questions and fewer answers. A skeleton has been discovered in an abandoned campervan and all clues point to a killer who never faced justice – a killer who is still out there. In her search for the truth, Karen uncovers a network of lies that has gone unchallenged for years. But lies and secrets can turn deadly when someone is determined to keep them hidden for good…”( Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

A place of execution / McDermid, Val
“On a freezing day in December 1963, Alison Carter vanishes from her rural village, an insular community that distrusts the outside world. For the young George Bennett, a newly promoted inspector, it is the beginning of his most difficult and harrowing case – a suspected murder with no body, an investigation with more dead ends and closed faces than he’d have found in the anonymity of the inner city, and an outcome that reverberates through the years.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The mermaids singing / McDermid, Val
“Another body has been found. The fourth. Now even the most reluctant members of the Bradfield police department have to admit they have a serial killer on their hands. A sicko.” “All the victims have been young men, their naked bodies broken and battered. All have been tortured.” “Detective Inspector Carol Jordan has been working around the clock, teamed with criminologist Dr. Tony Hill. While Jordan is hunting for clues, Hill is composing a psychological profile of the murderer.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The wire in the blood / McDermid, Val
” Young girls are disappearing around the country, and there is nothing to connect them to one another, let alone the killer whose charming manner hides a warped and sick mind. Dr Tony Hill, head of the new National Profiling Task Force, sets his team an exercise: they are given the details of missing teenagers and asked to discover any possible links between the cases. For Tony Hill, the murder becomes a matter for personal revenge and, joined by colleague Carol Jordan, he embarks on a campaign of psychological terrorism – a game where hunter and hunted can all too easily be reversed.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Booked for murder : the fifth Lindsay Gordon mystery / McDermid, Val
“Why would anyone want to kill bestselling author Penny Varnavides? Her demise can’t be the freak accident it first appeared to be: it is an exact replica of the unique murder method employed in her forthcoming novel. Only three people seemed to know the details of this unpublished book – her literary agent, her editor, and her ex-girlfriend, Meredith. Who stood to gain the most from Penny’s death? Did anyone else know about this unusual plot device?” “In an effort to clear her friend Meredith’s name, Lindsay Gordon delves beneath the glittering facade of the high-powered, seemingly glamorous world of London publishing in search of a murderer.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Northanger Abbey / McDermid, Val
“A modern re-imagining of the Gothic Classic Northanger Abbey by the bestselling crime author Val McDermid. The second book in The Austen Project. Cartier Diamond Dagger winner McDermid puts her gifts to good use in this update of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, which features sheltered young Cat Morland, who’s charmed by Henry Tilney when she visits Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. Jane Austen in the hands of queen of crime, Val McDermid. Get ready for a very different Northanger Abbey.” (Catalogue)

Forensics : what bugs, burns, prints, DNA, and more tell us about crime / McDermid, Val
Val McDermid is one of the finest crime writers we have, whose novels have captivated millions of readers worldwide with their riveting narratives of characters who solve complex crimes and confront unimaginable evil. In the course of researching her bestselling novels McDermid has become familiar with every branch of forensics, and now she uncovers the history of this science, real-world murders and the people who must solve them. It’s a journey that will take McDermid to war zones, fire scenes, and autopsy suites, and bring her into contact with both extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.” (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)

“Live forever” Our highlighted Crime and mystery titles

Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited, the adrenaline gets going and the next thing I know I’m borrowing energy from the ideas themselves.”
— Ray Bradbury.

OR

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
— Joseph Brodsky

Killer, come back to me is one of this month’s newly acquired titles. It is a compendium of crime and mystery stories by one of America’s greatest storywriters of the 20th and early 21st century Ray Bradbury. Bradbury is perhaps best known for his science fiction works such as Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Martian Chronicles. However, as this collection amply shows he was adept at working in any fiction genre he choose. Many of his works have been adapted for television and film. He attributed becoming a writer to being touched on the nose at age 12 by a carnival entertainer with an electrified sword called Mr. Electrico who commanded him to “live forever”.


Killer, come back to me / Bradbury, Ray
“Celebrating Ray Bradbury’s centennial, a deluxe illustrated commemorative collection of his finest crime stories  Is it murder to destroy a robot if it looks and speaks and thinks and feels like a human being? Can a ventriloquist be incriminated by the testimony of his own dummy? Can a time traveler prevent his younger self from killing the woman they both loved? And can the survivor of a pair of Siamese twins investigate his own brother’s murder?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The roots of evil / Jardine, Quintin
When struggling ex-copper Terry Coats was discovered in bed with an air hostess, his excuse that he was ‘going undercover’ cut no ice with the force – or his wife. But now he is brutally killed on Hogmanay night, it seems there may have been more to his plea. Dragged from the new year celebrations, Special Constable Sir Bob Skinner is shocked to find coats’ body alongside that of Griff Montell: his erstwhile protege, and former lover of Skinner’s own daughter, Alex. Could there be some dark truth under Coats’ cock -and -bull story, after all? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder in old Bombay / March, Nev
“In 1892, Bombay is the center of British India. Nearby, Captain Jim Agnihotri lies in Poona military hospital recovering , with little to do but re-read the tales of his idol, Sherlock Holmes. The case that catches Captain Jim’s attention is being called the crime of the century: Two women fell from the busy university’s clock tower in broad daylight. Moved by Adi, the widower of one of the victims — his certainty that his wife and sister did not commit suicide — Captain Jim approaches the Parsee family and is hired to investigate what happened that terrible afternoon. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Murder by milk bottle / Truss, Lynne
“In the wake of two extremely high-profile murder cases, and with the summer of 1957 finally winding down, Constable Twitten is eagerly anticipating a quiet spell at work. But his hoped-for rest is interrupted when he and his colleagues find a trio of bodies, all murdered with the same unusual weapon: a milk bottle. The three victims are seemingly unconnected-a hardworking patrolman, a would-be beauty queen, and a catty BBC radio personality-so Constable Twitten, Sergeant Brunswick, and Inspector Steine are baffled. ” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Angels weep / Falconer, Colin
“Three can keep a secret. If two of you are dead… Two women are snatched off the streets of London in one weekend. DI Charlie George and his team get to work. The lives of these young women – one of them a mother – are on the line, and the clock is ticking. When they catch a lucky break from a CCTV camera, Charlie is sure they have their man. And that’s when he gets his first surprise. Because nothing about this case is simple and not everyone is quite what they seem. Charlie’s job is to find the missing women and get to the truth. But some people would rather the truth stays hidden – even when the bodies start to pile up…”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Once you go this far : a Roxane Weary mystery / Lepionka, Kristen
 Junior-high school nurse Rebecca Newsome was an experienced hiker–until she plummeted to her death at the bottom of a ravine in a Columbus metro park. Her daughter, Maggie, doesn’t believe it was an accident, and Rebecca’s ex-husband is her prime suspect. But he’s a well-connected ex-cop and Maggie is certain that’s the reason no one will listen to her. PI Roxane Weary quickly uncovers that the dead woman’s ex is definitely a jerk, but is he a murderer? As she pieces together the days before Rebecca died, what Roxane finds doesn’t quite add up.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook .

Fortune favors the dead : a novel / Spotswood, Stephen
“It’s 1942 and Willowjean “Will” Parker is a scrappy circus runaway whose knife-throwing skills have just saved the life of New York’s best, and most unorthodox, private investigator, Lillian Pentecost. When the dapper detective summons Will a few days later, she doesn’t expect to be offered a life-changing proposition: …
Three years later, Will and Lillian are on the Collins case: Abigail Collins was found bludgeoned to death with a crystal ball following a big, boozy Halloween party at her home–her body slumped in the same chair where her steel magnate husband shot himself the year before. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder in the band room / Snelling, Patricia
“After retiring as a Detective Inspector, Ann Grieves enjoys her cottage by the sea in the Auckland Region. When she isn’t sleuthing unfaithful spouses and small-time crooks, she enjoys a laid-back life walking the promenade with Scout, her ex-police Beagle dog or making preserves for the oldies in her street. Until a body turns up in her friend’s band room.”–Publisher.” (Catalogue)

Ngaio Marsh Award 2020 longlist announced

You must be able to write. You must have a sense of form, of pattern, of design. You must have a respect for and a mastery over words.

— Ngaio Marsh

Christchurch-born Ngaio Marsh — along with Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, and Margery Allingham — is regarded as one of the “Queens of Crime”. She wrote 32 detective novels between 1934 and 1982, and the early part of her career fell in what is regarded as the ‘golden age of detective fiction’. All of her books feature gentleman detective DCI Roderick Alleyn and often revolve around what were her two other passions — art and theatre. The modern award  bearing her name aims to “recognise excellence in New Zealand crime, mystery and thriller writing”.

This year’s longlist includes some of New Zealand’s best known writers — such as Paul Cleave and Renée — as well as a number of rising stars. The range of styles, approaches and subjects is broad in the extreme, but what unites all of the books chosen is the quality and sheer scope of the writing. Have a browse of the longlist and enjoy!

The longlisted titles are:


Whatever It Takes / Cleave, Paul
“When seven-year-old Alyssa is kidnapped, Deputy Noah Harper decides he will do what it takes to find her — but that means crossing lines he can never come back from. Finding the girl safe isn’t enough to stop Noah from losing his job, his wife, and from being kicked out of Acacia Pines. He’s told if he ever returns, he’ll be put in jail and left there to rot. Now, 12 years later, comes a phone call. Alyssa is missing again and her father wants him to honor the promise he made to her all those years earlier — that he would never let anything bad happen to her again. To find her, Noah is going to have to head back to the pines, and come face to face with the past.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Auē / Manawatu, Becky
“Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s. It spills out of the gang violence that killed his father and sent his mother into hiding, and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to another violent home. But Arama is braver than he looks, and he has a friend and his friend has a dog, and the three of them together might just be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow. As long as there’s aroha to give and stories to tell and a good supply of plasters.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Nancys / McDonald, R. W. R.
“Tippy is in love with her uncle’s old Nancy Drew books, especially the early ones where Nancy was sixteen and did whatever she wanted. She wants to be Nancy and is desperate to solve a real mystery. When her teacher’s body is found beside Riverstone’s only traffic light, Tippy’s moment has arrived. She and her minders form The Nancys, a secret amateur detective club. But what starts as a bonding and sightseeing adventure quickly morphs into something far more dangerous.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook

In the clearing / Pomare, J. P.
“Amy has only ever known what life is like in the Clearing. . That is, until a new young girl joins the group. She isn’t fitting in; she doesn’t want to stay. What happens next will turn life as Amy knows it on its head. Freya has gone to great lengths to feel like a ‘normal person’. In fact, if you saw her go about her day with her young son, you’d think she was an everyday mum. That is, until a young girl goes missing and someone from her past, someone she hasn’t seen for a very long time, arrives in town. As Amy and Freya’s story intertwines the secrets of the past bubble up to the surface. ” (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: the man in the balaclava who attacks her when she starts to investigate, and break-ins at the local theatre where Ruby is playing Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A madness of sunshine / Singh, Nalini
“Golden Cove is a peaceful town. That is until one fateful summer, when tragedy shatters 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 they 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.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Other longlisted titles are Shadow of Doubt by S. L. Beaumont, Trust me; I’m Dead by Sherryl Clark, One Single Thing by Tina Clough, Girl from the Tree House by Gudrun Frerichs, Hide by S. J. Morgan and The Great Divide by L. J. M. Owen.

The shortlist will be announced later this year.

Unravel this… new mysteries October 2019

This month features a range of Mysteries for all types of readers.  From the wisecracking Terns of endearment by Donna Andrews, to the slick writing of Simone Buchholz in Beton Rouge, this German noir translated by Rachel Ward has dry humour and razor sharp lyrical prose. There’s a  new detective series launched by Ann Cleeves, set in the south of Britain where she fearlessly examines small communities and individuals affected by crime.  

Colin Cotterill forages through the past of the former national coroner of Laos. Dr. Siri is looking for the source of the threat to himself and his loved ones in The second biggest nothing. Elizabethan times are put on show in The Angel’s mark.  First time author S.W. Perry, who’s previous careers in broadcasting and aviation have been transmuted into historical fiction, delves into Elizabethan medicine in this richly detailed mystery set in Tudor London.

Beton Rouge / Buchholz, Simone, translated by Rachel Ward (print), (eBook)
On a warm September morning, an unconscious, tortured man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of Germany’s biggest magazines. Three days later, another appears. Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks. A smart, dark, probing thriller, full of all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the very best noir, Beton Rouge is both a classic whodunit and a scintillating expose of society, by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.” (Adapted from catalogue)

How the dead speak / McDermid, Val
“After an explosive case that forced Tony Hill and Carol Jordan to reassess everything they thought they knew about right and wrong, both are dealing with the fallout in their own separate ways. While Tony must pay the price for his actions, Carol is conducting investigations into suspected miscarriages of justice. But when a shocking discovery is made on a construction site, and skeletal remains are found to belong to a killer who is supposedly alive and in prison, suddenly, Tony and Carol are brought into each other’s orbit once again.” (Catalogue)

Terns of endearment / Andrews, Donna (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
Meg’s grandfather has been booked to give lectures on a cruise as part of the education/entertainment itinerary, and he’s arranged for a passel of family members to join him. The passengers’ vacation quickly becomes a nightmare when they wake up to find themselves broken down and in need of repairs. Things get even worse when a crew member announces to all that a woman has jumped overboard, leaving behind her shoes, shawl, and a note.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The long call / Cleeves, Ann (print), (eBook)
North Devon – where the rivers Taw and Torridge run to the sea – is an idyllic holiday spot for so many. Ice-cream, sun, surf, it’s all there for the taking. But when the holiday makers leave, what is left? One man knows all of its secrets. He grew up there, a member of the Devon Brethren until he was cast out by his family for something he could, and never would, change; the right to love who he chose. Now he has a husband and a life he loves. Together they live on the water towards Lundy Island and he is a detective, with a team and a mission to keep Devon safe. Meet Matthew Venn.” (Catalogue)

The second biggest nothing / Cotterill, Colin (print), (eBook)
“Vientiane, 1980: For a man of his age and in his corner of the world, Dr. Siri, the 76-year-old former national coroner of Laos, is doing remarkably well–especially considering the fact that he is possessed by a thousand-year-old Hmong shaman. That is, until he finds a mysterious note tied to his dog, Ugly’s, tail. The death threat is not just aimed at him, but at everyone he holds dear. The note claims the job will be executed in two weeks. Thus, at the urging of his wife and his motley crew of faithful friends, Dr. Siri must figure out who wants him dead.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The chosen : a novel / Ohlsson, Kristina (print), (eBook)
On a cold winter’s day, a pre-school teacher is shot to death in front of parents and children at the Jewish Congregation in Stockholm. Just a few hours later, two Jewish boys go missing on their way to tennis practice, and an unexpected blizzard destroys any trace of the perpetrator. Investigative analyst Fredrika Bergman and police superintendent Alex Recht face their toughest challenge ever on the hunt for a killer as merciless as he is effective. It is up to Fredrika to track down the elusive murderer before he claims his next victim.delivers a tense, atmospheric mystery featuring an enigmatic killer rooted in folklore. ” (Catalogue)

The angel’s mark / Perry, S. W (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
LONDON, 1590. Amidst a tumultuous backdrop of Spanish plotters, Catholic heretics and foreign wars, Queen Elizabeth I’s control over her kingdom is wavering. And a killer is at work, preying on the weak and destitute of London… Idealistic physician Nicholas Shelby becomes determined to end these terrible murders. Joined in his investigations by Bianca, a beautiful but mysterious tavern keeper, the pair find themselves caught in the middle of a sinister plot. With the killer still at large, Bianca finds herself in terrible danger. Nicholas’s choice seems impossible – to save Bianca, or save himself.” (Catalogue)

Place and time are no strangers to crime

The most recent mystery releases delve into the secretive worlds of family and friends, those we think we know best, to strangers under investigation.  From the Shetland Islands to Alaska these new mystery titles will keep you guessing until the very end. Follow along with professional trackers and amateur sleuths as the trail of clues can lead you to the most surprising people and places.

Power brokering is the pivot for historical writers Peter Beresford Ellis, writing as Peter Tremayne and Jacqueline Winspear as their respective female investigators put personal safety on the line to uncover the truth. But the times dictate the ways and means these investigators can use their knowledge and talents.

Something for all to enjoy from the court rooms of Manhattan to the secretive rain forests near Cairns.

Syndetics book coverBlood oath / Linda Fairstein.
“With more women feeling empowered to name their abusers, Alex is eager to return to the courtroom to do what she does best. But even she can’t anticipate the complexity of her first case when she meets Lucy, a young woman who testified years earlier at a landmark federal trial and now reveals that she was sexually assaulted by a prominent official during that time. As the seemingly disparate cases of her client, adversary, and friend start to intertwine, Alex, finds herself in uncharted territory within Manhattan’s Rockefeller University. ” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe good detective / John McMahon.
“Detective P.T. Marsh was a rising star on the police force until his wife and young son were killed in an accident. Since then he’s lost the ability to see the line between smart moves and disastrous decisions. Such as when he decides to ‘help out’ an exotic dancer by confronting her abusive boyfriend. When the next morning he gets called to the scene of his newest murder case, he is stunned to arrive at the house of a dead man, the very man he beat up the night before. He could swear the guy was alive when he left, but can he be sure? ” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOpen carry / Marc Cameron.(print) (eBook)
U.S. Marshal Arliss Cutter is a born tracker. Raised in the swamplands of Florida, he honed his skills in the military, fought in the Middle East, and worked three field positions for Marshal Services. When it comes to tracking someone down, or taking someone out, Cutter’s the best. But his newest assignment is taking him out of his comfort zone to southeast Alaska. Cold, dark, uninhabited forests that are often shrouded in fog. And it’s the kind of case that makes his blood run cold, the shocking murder of a Tlingit Indian girl. Three people have disappeared on Prince of Wales Island. Two are crew members of the reality TV show, Fishwives. Cutter’s job is to find the bodies, examine the crew’s footage for clues, and track down the men who killed them. Easier said than done. Especially when the whole town is hiding secrets, every trail is a dead end-and the hunter becomes the hunted. (Overdrive description)

Syndetics book coverIn strangers’ houses / Elizabeth Mundy.
“Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, knows all too well about cleaning up other people’s messes. When her friend Timea disappears, she suspects one of her clients is to blame. However, the police don’t share her suspicions and it is left to Lena to turn sleuth and find her friend. Searching through their houses as she scrubs their floors, Lena desperately tries to find out what has happened. But Lena soon discovers it’s not just her clients who have secrets. And as she begins to unravel Timea’s past she starts to wonder if she really knew her friend at all.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHandful of Ash (The Shetland Sailing Mysteries)
“Liveaboard skipper and amateur sleuth Cass Lynch is busy at marine college in Scalloway, until one night she finds an acquaintance dead in a doorway with her hand smeared with peat ash. Rumours spread of a strange ritual linked to the witches once burned in Shetland’s ancient capital, and of a horned figure abroad in the night. At first Cass believes these to be mere superstition, until there’s a second murder, and she begins to wonder if the devil really does walk in Scalloway …” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBloodmoon / Peter Tremayne.
“Ireland. AD 671. Sister Fidelma has a mission, and she is sworn by oath to reveal her purpose to no other. The secret investigation leads Fidelma and her companions to the abbey of Finnbarr to question the abbot. But before they have a chance to speak to him, the abbot is found murdered – and the young girl suspected of the crime has fled the scene. Unable to tell the truth of her quest to anyone, including her husband Eadulf, Fidelma’s time is running out – and now she has no choice but to face the challenge, and her enemies, alone.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMissing pieces / Caroline de Costa.
“In 1992, toddler Yasmin Munoz went missing. No trace of her has ever been found. Yet in 2012 Andrew Todd, a wealthy businessman and former mayor of Cairns, dies, and leaves in his will directions for a search for the missing child, who if she is still alive must now be a young woman. Cairns detective Cass Diamond is soon asked to help… She discovers that in 1990, popular university student Chloe Campion had also gone missing, from a party in Brisbane celebrating her engagement to the son of Andrew Todd. Police inquiries at the time of the child’s disappearance found no link with the Campion case. But Cass is curious… On her own, Cass delves deeper, and is led to a farm on the Atherton Tableland outside Cairns, where her curiosity gets her kidnapped with two other women, and into a hostage drama with an unpredictable assailant…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe American agent : a Maisie Dobbs novel / Jacqueline Winspear.(print) (eBook)
“When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by British authorities. Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help. He is accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice–Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie escape Hitler’s Munich in 1938. MacFarlane asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon’s death.” (Syndetics summary)