New Mysteries for February

New mysteries for February include the latest entry in Alan Bradley’s popular series about 12 year old crime solver Flavia de Luce; the new Alex Delaware novel from Jonathan Kellerman; a continuation of Robert B. Parker’s ‘Spenser’ series by Ace Atkins; David Hewson’s adaptation of the second season of Danish TV crime series ‘The Killing’; & more cozy crime from Leslie Meier & Sharon Fiffer’s…

Syndetics book coverSpeaking from among the bones : a Flavia de Luce novel / Alan Bradley.
“Twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is inordinately interested in death and passionate about poisons. When she’s feeling blue, she thinks about cyanide, since its color reflects her mood. She also has a penchant for finding corpses and an extraordinary ability to ferret out the stories behind their untimely deaths. Here she is the first to espy the body of St. Tancred’s Church organist Crispin Collicutt during the excavation of the eponymous saint’s remains to mark his quincentennial, in 1951. Flavia also must deal with a crisis at home when her widowed father is forced to put the family estate, Buckshaw, up for sale. And while uncovering motives, Flavia also unearths a number of local families’ secrets, including some involving her late mother. Bradley’s Flavia cozies, set in the English countryside, have been a hit from the start, and this fifth in the series continues to charm and entertain…” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGuilt : an Alex Delaware novel / Jonathan Kellerman.
“A series of horrifying events occur in quick succession in the same upscale L.A. neighborhood. A backyard renovation unearths an infant’s body, buried sixty years ago. And soon thereafter in a nearby park, another disturbingly bizarre discovery is made not far from the body of a young woman shot in the head. Helping LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis to link these eerie incidents is brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. But even the good doctor’s vast experience with matters both clinical and criminal might not be enough to cut down to the bone of this chilling case – and draw out the disturbing truth. Backtracking six decades into the past stirs up tales of a beautiful nurse with a mystery lover, a handsome, wealthy doctor who seems too good to be true, and a hospital with a notorious reputation…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAlex Cross, run / James Patterson.
“Detective Alex Cross arrests renowned plastic surgeon Elijah Creem for sleeping with teenage girls. Now, his life ruined, Creem is out of jail, and he has made sure that no one will recognize him by giving himself a new face. A young woman is found hanging from a sixth floor window, and Alex is called to the scene. The victim recently gave birth, but the baby is nowhere to be found. Before Alex can begin searching for the missing newborn and killer, he is called to investigate a second crime. All of Washington, D.C. is in a panic, and when a third body is discovered, rumours of three serial killers send the city into an all out frenzy. Alex’s investigations are going nowhere, and he is too focused on the cases to notice that someone has been watching him and will stop at nothing until he is dead…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRobert B. Parker’s Lullaby / Ace Atkins.
“Picked by the Parker estate to continue the late author’s beloved Spenser series, Atkins (White Shadow; Wicked City) must have been well aware that fanatical fans would scrutinize every word to ensure that the new novel would be as good as the original. They won’t be disappointed in certain aspects as Atkins delivers the customary crisp, witty repartee between Spencer and the book’s other colorful characters. An abandoned teenager raising her younger sisters in South Boston’s seedy projects, Mattie Sullivan is convinced the Feds convicted an innocent man for killing her addict mother and coerces Spencer into investigating the cold case. Joined by Hawk, his uncompromising partner, Spenser relentlessly follows clues despite violent threats from Southie thugs. Verdict Atkins avoids the risk of doing anything different with Parker’s characters and maintains the rhythm and cadence of Parker’s pointed prose…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe killing. II / David Hewson ; based on the Bafta award-winning TV series writen by Soren Sveistrup.
“It is two years since the notorious Nanna Birk Larsen case. Two years since Detective Sarah Lund left Copenhagen in disgrace for a remote outpost in northern Denmark. When the body of a female lawyer is found in macabre circumstances in a military graveyard, there are elements of the crime scene that take Head of Homicide, Lennart Brix, back to an occupied wartime Denmark – a time its countrymen would wish to forget. Brix knows that Lund is the one person he can rely on to discover the truth. Reluctantly she returns to Copenhagen and becomes intrigued with the facts surrounding the case. As more bodies are found, Lund comes to see a pattern and she realises that the identity of the killer will be known once the truth behind a more recent wartime mission is finally revealed…” (Description from

Syndetics book coverGun machine / Warren Ellis.
“Detective John Tallow is a classic burnout, sleepwalking on the job until the day his supercop partner (and only friend) is killed by a shotgun-wielding lunatic. The incident was Tallow’s first on-the-job shooting, and he doesn’t disagree with the majority view that he shouldn’t have been the cop left standing. Then, when a shrine of ritualistically displayed firearms is found in the apartment building where his partner died, Tallow finds himself wanting answers. Analysis of the cache connects each weapon to a murder, and Tallow is assigned to work with two wildly eccentric geniuses on the crime-scene unit to try to end the killer’s decades-long killing spree. Gun Machine is built around a trio of intoxicating weirdos who twist the mold of the familiar detective-and-forensic-specialist combo. Strong interplay between historic Manahatta (think Native American) and technology’s future role in policing creates a big-picture backdrop for catch-the-crazy-killer thrills…” (Adapted from Syndetics sumamry)

Syndetics book coverThe Golden Calf / Helene Tursten ; translated by Laura A. Wideburg.
“The murder of Kjell B:son Ceder, the so-called restaurant king of Goteborg, kicks off Tursten’s complex and compelling fifth Det. Insp. Irene Huss investigation to be published in the U.S. (after 2012’s Night Rounds). Someone shot Ceder in the head twice at point-blank range. Suspicion initially focuses on his much younger wife, Sanna, who stands to inherit Ceder’s fortune, but subsequent events force Huss and her colleagues to reconsider. Two other men are found murdered in the exact same way shortly after the first killing, and all three deaths may have a connection with a three-year-old financial scandal. The press had dubbed one of the other victims, Philip Bergman, as “the Golden Calf” for his facility in attracting business investors. Once again, the doggedly effective Huss proves herself a capable and sympathetic lead in the service of yet another clever plot that effortlessly meshes police procedural and whodunit…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEaster bunny murder / Leslie Meier.
“At the start of Meier’s delightful 19th Lucy Stone mystery (after 2012’s Chocolate Covered Murder), the families gathered outside elderly Vivian Van Vorst’s mansion, Pine Point, in rural Tinker’s Cove, Maine, for VV’s annual Easter egg hunt are puzzled to find the gates closed. Then the Easter Bunny emerges from the house, runs clumsily toward the gates, and collapses on the ground. The Easter Bunny-VV’s grandson, Van Vorst Duff-dies on the way to the hospital. VV had always been generous with her wealth, but Lucy, part-time reporter for the local newspaper, learns that she has been reclusive recently and funds may have been tight. Did some envious family member off Duff because he was VV’s heir, or did he die of natural causes? If it’s murder, is money or revenge the motive? Cozy fans will enjoy Lucy’s hunt for the truth…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLucky stuff.
“In Fiffer’s charming if lightweight eighth Jane Wheel mystery (after 2011’s Backstage Stuff), antiques picker Jane decides it’s time for a new life, now that her son has gone to boarding school. After putting her Evanston, Ill., house on the market, Jane sends her treasured curios to her friend, Tim Lowry, for safe storage in her hometown, Kankakee, Ill., and heads there for a brief visit. She finds the town has been turned upside down by comedian Lucky Miller, there with a production crew to film a roast for his comeback. Jane’s mom and dad, who run the EZ Way Inn, are in the thick of all the hoopla. Then, Jane learns that Lucky is looking for much more than a comeback, and a death from peanuts casts a pall over the proceedings. Leave it to sleuth Jane to figure out what’s going on by the time of the climactic bowling tournament…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBabylon / Camilla Ceder ; translated by Marlaine Delargy.“Inspector Christian Tell and his team are called to the scene of a double murder. University lecturer Anne-Marie Karpov lies dead in her home, alongside her student and lover, Henrik. The crime appears straightforward: Henrik’s girlfriend Rebecca, a woman in therapy for her violent jealousy, had been spotted outside Karpov’s flat, and her fingerprints are found on the door. But shortly afterwards, when Rebecca’s flat is burgled in a seemingly unconnected attack, Tell begins to wonder whether she might be the victim in a larger game. It emerges that items on the Red List – artefacts raided from Iraqi museums – were found among Henrik’s possessions. As the truth behind Anne-Marie and Henrik’s past begins to emerge, the dead woman’s ex-husband, Danish gangsters and Turkish black marketeers all come into the frame. Tell must unravel a web of hidden motives that spans continents, all while trying to salvage his stormy relationship with Seja…” (Description from

Syndetics book coverLife and limb / Elsebeth Egholm.
“There is no beauty in death, thinks crime journalist Dicte Svendsen. And so it would appear as she arrives at her next murder scene. A young woman has been found in the carpark next to the sports stadium. Dressed in jeans and a pink T-shirt with I love U written on it, in she sits propped up against a car. The words rag doll come to mind as she seems to be held together by skin and hair alone; as if someone had removed the skeleton. Not only that, her eye sockets were empty.This was the work of a very particular killer…” (Sundetics sumamry)

New true crime books: art theft, Schapelle Corby, & South America’s deadliest jail

In our selection of the new crime books this month: stolen artworks and the detective story behind their recovery, books that look at the Casey Anthony and Schapelle Corby cases, a new title from Ian Wishart, and a story from inside Venezuela’s notorious Yare prison. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverArt theft and the case of the stolen Turners / Sandy Nairne.
“In 1994, two paintings by J.M.W. Turner were stolen from a German art gallery while on loan from Tate Britain. Both important paintings by one of Britain’s most famous artists, they were valued at £24 million. Nairne (former director, Tate Britain; current director, National Portrait Gallery, London) was directly involved in the search for the paintings and the negotiations for their ransom and return. With its cast of colorful characters and intrigue, this true-crime story should be riveting…” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverInside the mind of Casey Anthony : a psychological portrait / Keith Ablow.
“The trial of twenty-five year old Casey Anthony for the death of her daughter Caylee was the most sensational case in America since O.J. Simpson’s — with a verdict every bit as stunning. After being acquitted in July 2011, Ms. Anthony instantly became one of the most infamous women in the world. Dr. Keith Ablow distills tens of thousands of pages of documents he has obtained, his behind-the-camera, one-on one interviews, and his decades of experience in the world of forensic psychiatry to make sense of a woman whose defense attorney described as an innocent victim of childhood sexual abuse, but the state insisted was a cold-blooded murderer….” (Publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverSins of the father : the untold story behind Schapelle Corby’s ill-fated drug run / Eamonn Duff.
“A reckless father, his dark past, an Adelaide drug trafficker and the Gold Coast beauty school dropout who kept her mouth shut. This is the explosive untold story of Schapelle Corby and how she took the rap for her father’s drug syndicate. The result of a three year investigation, Sins of the Father returns to the beginning of Australia’s most famous drug case, to a time when nobody had ever heard the name Schapelle Corby. Finally, the missing pieces of the jigsaw fall into place as we are led, step by step, through the important weeks, days and hours leading up to her dramatic arrest. Shedding new light on her long-held claims of innocence, this is the book Schapelle’s army of supporters do not want you to read.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBanged up abroad : hellhole ; our fight to survive South America’s deadliest jail / James Miles and Paul Loseby.
“When James Miles and his best friend Paul Loseby were caught smuggling ten kilos of cocaine out of Caracas, Venezuela, they couldn’t deny their guilt. Young and naive, the lads had thought the one-off drug mule job would be a passport to a better life. But in reality it was a ticket to hell … They were sentenced to thirty years and flung into the world’s deadliest prison system, ending up in the notorious Yare. A place where drugs and weaponry are currency and the rules are: there are no rules.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOut of calamity : stories of trauma survivors / Roger Rees, preface by Norman Swan.
“All the people in these stories are unsung heroes. Their stories are true. To honour their privacy, most of the individuals profiled bear fictitious names; a few are composite characters. They have suffered severe trauma, the consequences of which have affected every aspect of their lives, as well as those of family and friends. They demonstrate great, if not superhuman, courage and resilience and never seek or expect applause…. ‘Out of Calamity’ stories and portraits are told in language that is realistic but also poetic, and demonstrate heroic dimensions even when people appear overwhelmed. Superbly crafted writing that is often raw but also eloquent, spare and affecting, these stories are gems replete with insight and compassion.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hunt : a Kiwi mum, her kidnapped babies and a 30 year worldwide search / Ian Wishart & George London.
“She was a former New Zealand fashion model and diplomat’s wife. He was the British WW2 fighter ace-turned-criminal who seduced her. She attended garden parties with the Queen. He got her pregnant, then kidnapped her children. It’s the case that made world headlines, that captured the attention of Sir Richard Branson, and which forced changes to child abduction laws in Britain.” (Book jacket)