The old rogue of Limehouse: New detective and mystery titles

Is it the heart of the empire, or the heart of darkness?

Peter Ackroyd, quote about London.

One of the books that caught our particular eye in this month’s selection of newly acquired detective and mystery titles was The old rogue of Limehouse by Ann Granger, an atmospheric historical crime novel set in Victorian London in the summer of 1871. One of the many great ingredients that make this book such a compelling read is its location, Limehouse.

Limehouse is an ancient district in London. The name is derived from the local lime kilns that used to be there, with the earliest known reference to the area dating back to 1356. However, it is the Limehouse’s connection with British maritime history that the area is perhaps best known for. One of London’s key ports from hundreds of years, sadly the Limehouse Basin docks closed in the late 1960s. Whilst being a vibrant and diverse community, Limehouse was also known historically for its poverty, deprivation and notorious 19th Century era opium dens. This rich, varied and interesting history of the area has proved a big lure to several writers.

Authors and novels that have taken advantage of the Limehouse area of the London, and the districts close by, to set their works in include:Alan Moore with his The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel series,  Kate Summerscale with her award winning factual book The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer,  Peter Ackroyd and his excellent  Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem , The Last Sherlock Holmes Story by Michael Dibdin, the now highly problematic Fu Manchu stories by Sax Rohmer and now Ann Granger’s latest book joins this select group of writers.

The old rogue of Limehouse / Granger, Ann
“It is the summer of 1871 when Scotland Yard’s Inspector Ben Ross pays a visit to Jacob Jacobus, the old rogue of Limehouse: infamous antiquarian, friend to villains and informer to the police. Ben hopes to glean information about any burglaries that might take place now that the wealthiest echelons of society are back in London for the Season. Little does he realise that an audacious theft has already occurred – a priceless family heirloom, the Roxby emerald necklace, has been stolen from a dressing table in the Roxby residence, and the widowed Mrs Roxby is demanding its immediate return…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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“Every woman should have a blowtorch”: New crime and mystery titles


Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.

Julia Child

One of this month’s recently acquired crime and mystery titles is Mastering the art of French murder by Colleen Cambridge in which our intrepid sleuth is the fictional best friend of the true life T.V. chef , author, and all-round early television celebrity Julia Child.

Julia Child was a larger-than-life person who brought the intricacies of French cooking to a mainstream American audience through her T.V show which was a very early version of the cookery programme  hosted by a celebrity chef format.

Whilst living with her husband Paul in France she fully discovered her love of French cuisine — she reportedly considered her first meal at the legendary French restaurant La Couronne in Rouen a life-changing revelation, “an opening up of the soul and spirit”. She went on to study French cookery at the World-famous Cordon Bleu cookery school in Paris, and along with French chefs Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, she co-wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 1, in  1961 which became a publishing sensation in America and lead to a craze for French cooking in that country.

The success of the book lead to Julia being invited to host one of the first ever TV cookery programmes. The French Chef debuted in 1962, turned her into a huge star and went on to run nationally for ten years. It was a ground-breaking show in many ways including being the first ever TV programme to be captioned for the deaf. It was Julia’s infectious enthusiasm, endearing personality and unaffected manner that made her and the show such a success. The show won both Emmy and Peabody awards and led to Julia being awarded the French Legion of Honour “the highest French honour” in 2000. Julia Child passed away aged 91 in 2004, and her kitchen is now on display at the Smithsonian‘s National Museum of American History.

We have several items in the catalogue that relate to Julia Child, including Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes one and two and the excellent biopic film Julie & Julia.

Catalogue search – Julia Child

Have a browse of the new mysteries this month below:

Mastering the art of French murder / Cambridge, Colleen
“As Paris rediscovers its joie de vivre, Tabitha Knight, recently arrived from Detroit for an extended stay with her French grandfather, is on her own journey of discovery. Paris isn’t just the City of Light; it’s the city of history, romance, stunning architecture… and food. Thanks to her neighbour and friend Julia Child, another ex-pat who’s fallen head over heels for Paris, Tabitha is learning how to cook for her Grandpère and Oncle Rafe.  That is, until the cold December day they return to Julia’s building and learn that a body has been found in the cellar….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Ukulele of Death: New crime and thriller titles


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I grew up in a musical family; the majority of my growing up was done in Hawaii. It’s what we do. You sing, you dance, you play ukulele – Dwayne ( The Rock) Johnson

Welcome to another monthly round-up of newly acquired crime thriller titles. As always, we have a very varied and diverse mixture of titles, subjects, sleuths and locations. One of the more unusual plot devices we came across this month was an investigation to locate a missing ukulele, to be found in the Ukulele of Death by E. J. Copperman.

These days ukuleles are very popular indeed, but they have gone in and out of fashion. They are a relatively modern instrument, musically speaking. They originated in Portugal in the 1880s, and it was soon after in Hawaii that they first found widespread popularity. This was helped in part by the ukulele’s royal support of King Kalākaua (the last king of Hawaii whose nickname was The Merrie Monarch), who played the instrument himself and insisted it was played at royal gatherings. The name ukulele comes from Hawaiian and roughly translates as jumping flea. In the 1920’s, the instrument became an icon of the jazz age. It then slipped in and out of favour until the 1990’s, when it experienced a big renaissance that continues to this very day. For those interested, we have a wide range of books on how to play the ukulele in our catalogue.

Other titles that caught our attention were a new book by J. P. Pomare called Home Before Night, a novel set in Haiti called Sweet Undoings by Yanick Lahens and a multi award winning Swedish Crime novel by Åsa Larsson called Sins of Our Fathers.

Ukulele of death / Copperman, E. J.
“After losing their parents when they were just babies, private investigators Fran and Ken Stein now specialize in helping adoptees find their birth parents. So when a client asks them for help finding her father, with her only clue a rare ukulele, the case is a little weird, sure, but it’s nothing they can’t handle. But soon Fran and her brother are plunged into a world where nothing makes sense – and not just the fact that a very short (but very cute) NYPD detective keeps trying to take eternal singleton Fran out on dates. All Fran wants to do is find the ukulele and collect their fee, but it’s hard to keep your focus when you’re stumbling over corpses and receiving messages that suggest your (dead) parents are very much alive. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Home before night / Pomare, J. P.
“As the third wave of the virus hits, all inhabitants of Melbourne are given until 8 pm to get to their homes. Wherever they are when the curfew begins, they must live for four weeks and stay within five kilometres of. When Lou’s son, Samuel, doesn’t arrive home by nightfall, she begins to panic. He doesn’t answer his phone. He doesn’t message. His social media channels are inactive. Lou is out of her mind with worry, but she can’t go to the police, because she has secrets of her own. Secrets that Samuel just can’t find out about. Lou must find her son herself and bring him home.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sweet undoings / Lahens, Yanick
“Yanick Lahens leads us into a breathless intrigue with her newest portrait of Haiti, Sweet Undoings. In Port-au-Prince, violence never consumes. It finds its counterpart in a “high-pitched sweetness,” a sweetness that overwhelms Francis, a French journalist, one evening at the Korosol Resto-Bar, when the broken and deep voice of lounge singer Brune rises from the microphone. Brune’s father, Judge Berthier, was assassinated, guilty of maintaining integrity in a city where everything is bought. Six months after this disappearance, Brune wholly refuses to come to terms with what has happened. Her uncle Pierre, a gay man who spent his youth abroad to avoid persecution, refuses to give up on solving this still-unpunished crime as well. Nourishing its power from the bowels of the city, Sweet Undoings moves with a rapid, electric syncopation, gradually and tenderly revealing the intimacy of the lives within.” (Adapted from  Catalogue)

The sins of our fathers / Larsson, Åsa
“Forensic pathologist Lars Pohjanen has only a few weeks to live when he asks Rebecka Martinsson to investigate a murder that has long since passed the statute of limitations. A body found in a freezer at the home of the deceased alcoholic, Henry Pekkari, has been identified as a man who disappeared without a trace in 1962: the father of Swedish Olympic boxing champion Börje Ström. Rebecka wants nothing to do with a fifty-year-old case – she has enough to worry about. But how can she ignore a dying man’s wish? When the post-mortem confirms that Pekkari, too, was murdered, Rebecka has a red-hot investigation on her hands. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Fancies / Lock, Kim
“Port Kingerton: the insular cray-fishing town at the butt-end of South Australia, where everyone knows everyone. And everyone knows too that when Abigail Fancy left town at seventeen, she hung out the window of her boyfriend’s Corolla, middle fingers held high, swearing she’d never come back. And she hasn’t, until now. At her parents’ house Abigail finds a party (read town meeting) in full swing over something iffy found on the beach – a thighbone. And although iffy things aren’t uncommon in Port Kingerton, Abigail’s surprise arrival forces a family – and an entire town – to unpack a twenty-four-year-old secret that rocked this tiny place to its core: .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the weird sisters / Wojtas, Olga
“Shona McMonagle is your ordinary, garden-variety librarian: comfortably padded, in her middle years, expert in various arcane martial arts. She also has an impressive knack for time travel (“impressive” may be overstating things: her first two forays—revolutionary Russia, 19th-century France—went less than smoothly). Her latest mission? Head to 11th-century Scotland, cozy up to Macbeth and Lady M, prevent them from murdering Duncan. In the ordinary course of things, this would be a doddle. But then there are the witches, who prove remarkably quick to take offense. And the business of being turned into a mouse. And the fact that the mission is in truth threefold. One, keep Duncan alive and kicking; two, correct the historical record and lay bare the ludicrous lies introduced by that silly Shakespeare play; and three, burnish the honor of the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, the finest institution of pedagogy in the greater Edinburgh area. Can she do it?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The tea ladies / Hampson, Amanda
“Sydney, 1965: After a chance encounter with a stranger, tea ladies Hazel, Betty and Irene become accidental sleuths, stumbling into a world of ruthless crooks and racketeers in search of a young woman believed to be in danger. In the meantime, Hazel’s job at Empire Fashionwear is in jeopardy. The firm has turned out the same frocks and blouses for the past twenty years and when the mini-skirt bursts onto the scene, it rocks the rag trade to its foundations. War breaks out between departments and it falls to Hazel, the quiet diplomat, to broker peace and save the firm. When there is a murder in the building, the tea ladies draw on their wider network and put themselves in danger as they piece together clues that connect the murder to a nearby arson and a kidnapping. But if there’s one thing tea ladies can handle, it’s hot water.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The sign of the devil / De Muriel, Oscar
“An ill-fated grave-robbery unearths a corpse with a most disturbing symbol on it. The very same sign is daubed in blood on the walls of Edinburgh’s lunatic asylum, on the night that one of the patients is murdered. The mark in question? The mark of the devil. The prime suspect: Amy McGray, the asylum’s most infamous inmate, a young woman who has grown up behind bars after she killed her parents many years ago. Her brother, Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray, knows the evidence is stacked against her. To prove her innocence, he needs the help of an old friend… Inspector Ian Frey insists he is retired. But when called upon, he reluctantly agrees to their final case. Because this is the case in which all will be revealed – as twists follow bombshells on the way to the secrets that have been waiting in the shadows.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

“Dead men are heavier than broken hearts”: new crime & thriller titles

Humphrey Bogart Book GIF by Warner Archive

“Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.”

Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

Philip Marlowe is one of the most iconic characters of the hard-boiled fiction genre, created by crime writing maestro Raymond Chandler. In this month’s selection of recently acquired crime and thriller titles, Philip Marlowe makes a return thanks to the ever versatile and fabulously gifted writer John Banville.

Philip Marlowe first hit print in 1939 in The Big Sleep. The eponymous detective came to encapsulate all of the hard-boiled crime genres major tropes. A hard-drinking, wise-cracking private eye who frequently drank unfiltered coffee and, in his quieter moments, enjoyed poetry and chess. There have been numerous film adaptations featuring the Philip Marlowe character, including the 1946 film noir classic The Big Sleep by Howard Hawks, in which Humphrey DeForest Bogart plays Marlowe; a film that is now regarded as one of the Golden Age’s film noir classics (click here to borrow that film). Raymond Chandler said his creation was born from the crime pulp  magazines he so often featured in.

Marlowe : a novel / Banville, John
“‘It was one of those Tuesday afternoons in summer when you wonder if the earth has stopped revolving.’ So begins a new novel featuring Philip Marlowe–yes, that Philip Marlowe. Channeling Raymond Chandler, John Banville has brought Marlowe back to life for a new adventure on the mean streets of Bay City, California. It is the early 1950s, Marlowe is as restless and lonely as ever, and business is a little slow. Then a new client is shown in: blond, beautiful, and expensively dressed, she wants Marlowe to find her former lover. Almost immediately, Marlowe discovers that the man’s disappearance is merely the first in a series of bewildering events, and soon he is tangling with one of Bay City’s richest–and most ruthless–families.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The motion picture teller / Cotterill, Colin
“Thailand, 1996: Supot, a postman with the Royal Thai Postal Service, hates his job. The only bright light in his life is watching classic movies with his best friend, Ali, the owner of a video store. These cinephiles adore the charisma of the old Western stars, particularly the actresses, and bemoan the state of modern Thai cinema-until a mysterious cassette, entitled Bangkok 2010, arrives at Ali’s store. Bangkok 2010 is a dystopian film set in a Thailand run by chauvinistic Security Council officers-and Supot and Ali, immediately obsessed, agree it’s the most brilliant Thai movie they’ve ever seen… ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The burning pages : a Scottish bookshop mystery / Shelton, Paige
“One winter’s night, bookseller Delaney Nichols and her coworker Hamlet are invited to a Burns Night dinner. She’s perplexed by the invitation, but intrigued. The dinner takes place at Burns House itself, a tiny cottage not far from the Cracked Spine bookshop but well hidden. There, it becomes clear that Delaney and Hamlet were summoned in an attempt to make amends between Edwin, Delaney’s boss, and one of the other invitees, who suspected Edwin for burning down his own bookshop twenty years ago after a professional disagreement. But after the dinner, there’s another fire.  When Hamlet is accused of the crime, Delaney rushes to prove his innocence, only to discover that he might actually have a plausible motive.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

A death in Tokyo : a mystery / Higashino, Keigo
” In the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo an unusual statue of a Japanese mythic beast – a kirin – stands guard over the district from the classic Nihonbashi bridge. In the evening, a man who appears to be very drunk staggers onto the bridge and collapses right under the statue of the winged beast. The patrolman who sees this scene unfold, goes to rouse the man, only to discover that the man was not passed out, he was dead; that he was not drunk, he was stabbed in the chest. However, where he died was not where the crime was committed – the key to solving the crime is to find out where he was attacked and why he made such a super human effort to carry himself to the Nihonbashi Bridge….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Pudding Lane plot / Gregory, Susanna
“As the people and businesses of London are quickly recovering from the ravages of the plague, in Westminster, plans are afoot for a grandiose ball in honour of a long-dead but English-born Pope. Meanwhile, the markets and coffee houses in the city are awash with rumours of war and portents of a coming disaster. Mysterious killings at both ends of the capital have been caused by an unusually long, slender blade, and Thomas Chaloner is ordered to investigate. This leads him into a tapestry of conspiracy, outlandish claims of the Second Coming, the reappearance of a number of regicides and ever more brazen killings. As the date of the great ball looms closer, Chaloner fears that there is a dangerously credible conspiracy against the throne, and he has very little time to prevent history from repeating itself.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

The mysterious case of the Alperton Angels / Hallett, Janice
“Open the safe deposit box. Inside you will find research material for a true crime book. You must read the documents, then make a decision. Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police? Everyone knows the story of the Alperton Angels: the cult-like group who were convinced one of their member’s babies was the anti-Christ, and they had a divine mission to kill it – until the baby’s mother, Holly, came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than go to prison, and Holly – and the baby – disappeared into the care system. Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels.  This story is far from over – and it won’t have a happy ending.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The white lady : a novel / Winspear, Jacqueline
” Elinor White–veteran of two wars, trained killer, protective of her anonymity–is drawn back into the world of menace she has been desperate to leave behind. A reluctant ex-spy with demons of her own, Elinor finds herself facing down one of the most dangerous organized crime gangs in London, ultimately exposing corruption from Scotland Yard to the highest levels of government.Yet in her quest to uncover the truth behind the family’s pursuit of Jim, Elinor unwittingly sets out on a treacherous path–yet it is one that leads to her freedom.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The London Séance Society / Penner, Sarah
“1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike. Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

DCI Vera Stanhope: New crime & thriller titles


British Tv Police GIF by Acorn TV

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One of the books in our recently acquired crime and thriller novels selection is The Rising Tide by the hugely popular and talented Ann Cleeves. So, we thought it was long overdue that we take a peek into the writer’s life of Ann Cleeves so far, and her creation Inspector Vera Stanhope.

Ann Cleeves is known as the doyen of village noir, an author whose much loved crime books often show a keen interest in, or are rooted in, community. Brought up in north Devon, as a writer Ann initially struggled to find publishers interested in her work. Out of necessity she did various jobs: such as being a cook at the Fair Isle bird observatory, an auxiliary coastguard and as a library outreach worker, all jobs that have informed her writing in one way or another.

Ann and her family moved to Northumberland 1987, and the northeast provided fertile inspiration for many of her books. Ann is a writer who famously doesn’t plot in advance, instead starting with a scene and seeing where the events lead her. Since becoming a full-time writer her books have become international bestsellers: especially in the UK, USA, Scandinavia and Germany. Her literary creations include: Vera Stanhope, Jimmy Perez and Matthew Venn, all of whom have made it into highly popular TV shows. In 2017 she won the highest award in the crime writing world, the Crime Writers’ Association’s Cartier Diamond Dagger for “sustained excellence” in crime fiction. A huge and vocal supporter of libraries, she was awarded an OBE in the 2022 New Year Honours List “for services to Reading and Libraries”.

Her latest book features the indomitable Inspector Vera Stanhope. Vera is a wonderful creation, not your usual detective. Instead, Vera is a dishevelled, near retirement, member of the fictitious ‘Northumberland & City Police’ who, despite her irritable character, cares deeply about what she does and indeed her work colleagues. An inspector who uses her superior sleuthing skills to unpick knotty cases, in The Rising Tide she is asked to solve a mystery on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, off the northeast coast of England.

The rising tide / Cleeves, Ann
“Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion. Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now . . . But with the tide rising, secrets long-hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The whole truth / Hunter, Cara
“She has everything at stake; he has everything to lose. But one of them is lying, all the same. When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong. Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player. Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching. And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The cliff house / Brookmyre, Christopher
“Jen’s hen party is going to be out of control. She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone… They think. As well as Jen, there’s the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law. It’s a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed. Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Echo of the dead / Gray, Alex
“After a stressful winter, DSI William Lorimer is enjoying some time away from Glasgow. He and his new friend, Daniel Kohi, have retreated to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands to unwind. But what awaits them is far from a holiday. Despite its troubled history, the mountain village of Glencoe is now a popular resort, famed for its close-knit community, its breath-taking scenery and the warm welcome it offers weary travellers. So it’s particularly shocking when two bodies are discovered in quick succession on the nearby peaks. With a potential serial killer on the loose, Lorimer’s Major Incidents Team are drafted in from Glasgow. It’s clear that a dark secret lurks beneath the wild beauty of this place. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The trees : a novel / Everett, Percival
“After a series of brutal murders in a rural Mississippi town, investigators arrive and discover a large number of similar cases that all have roots in the past. When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive to investigate a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, they meet expected resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till. The detectives suspect that these are killings of retribution, but discover that eerily similar murders are taking place all over the country. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

1989 / McDermid, Val
“There’s nothing like a killer story… 1989. The world is changing, and Allie Burns is still on the front line, overing the stories that count. Although Allie is no longer an investigative journalist, her instincts are sharper than ever. When she discovers a lead about the exploitation of society’s most vulnerable, Allie is determined to give a voice to those who have been silenced. As Allie edges closer to exposing the truth, she travels behind the Iron Curtain to East Berlin on the brink of the revolution. The dark heart of the story is more shocking than she ever imagined. And to tell it, Allie must risk her freedom and her life…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The three Dahlias / Watson, Katy
“Three rival actresses team up to solve a murder at the stately home of Lettice Davenport, the author whose sleuthing creation of the 1930s, Dahlia Lively, had made each of them famous to a new generation. In attendance at Aldermere: the VIP fans, staying at house; the fan club president turned convention organiser; the team behind the newest movie adaptation of Davenport’s books; the Davenport family themselves; and the three actresses famous for portraying Dahlia Lively through the decade. Each actress has her own interpretation of the character and her own secrets to hide – but this English summer weekend they will have to put aside their differences as the crimes at Aldermere turn anything but cosy. When fictional death turns into real bodies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The deathwatch beetle : a mystery / Eriksson, Kjell
“Four years have passed since Cecilia Karlsson disappeared from the island of Gräsö in Roslagen. When Ann Lindell receives a tip that she has been seen alive she cannot help getting involved, even though she is no longer with the police. The black sheep of the island, Nils Lindberg, has never forgotten Cecilia Karlsson, with whom he was in love as a teenager. And he carries a secret. He may not be completely sober all the time, but he has no doubt of what he saw out on the bay just before Cecilia disappeared. Cecilia’s parents are desperate, not knowing what happened to their daughter. Yet their silent house contains many things that have been left unsaid…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A Double Win for Jacqueline Bublitz at the 2022 Ngaio Marsh Awards

The Ngaio Marsh Awards celebrate literary excellence in crime, mystery, and thriller writing. This year’s winners for 2022 were announced last month and the big surprise of this year’s awards was that one book won both the Best Crime Novel and the Best First Novel.

Huge congratulations to Taranaki author Jacqueline Bublitz whose novel Before You Knew My Name won both the Best Crime Novel and the Best First Novel categories. She is the first author to do so for the same book in the same year. And whilst the competition was fierce with many great books in the shortlist, regular readers of this blog will know what big fans of this novel we are, so we were delighted to see it win .

This is the  twelfth year for The Ngaio Marsh Awards and, as always, they were a terrific showcase of exciting and innovative Aotearoa New Zealand storytelling that is truly world class. Congratulations to all the short and longlisted authors.

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’. 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. 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…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.