“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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The Tattoo Murder in translation: Our picks of new crime and thriller novels

One of the most taboo of all tattoos is the Three Curses.

Akimitsu Takagi, Tattoo Murder Case

One of our newly acquired crime and thriller titles this month has an interesting back story — it was originally released in Japan in 1948 and has in that country gone on to be regarded as a classic of the crime genre. The tattoo murder is an acclaimed Japanese locked-room whodunit set in Tokyo in 1947 that revolves around a series of murders linked to the theft of exquisite body tattoos.

Tattoos, or irezumi, hold a special place in Japanese society and culture. Tattooing for decorative and spiritual purposes in Japan is believed  to extend back to at least the palaeolithic period and was sometimes used as a form of punishment. Their popularity fluctuated in Japanese society until the Edo period (1603–1867), by which point in time it had evolved into the established art form it is now. This development was pushed forward by two things — the development and refinement of Japanese Edo period woodblock printing, and the popularity of a Chinese novel called Shui Hu Zhuan (‘Water margin‘), or Suikoden in the Japanese translation (1757), in which lavish illustrations showed heavily tattooed heroes doing daring deeds of bravery. These tattoo images were often heavily stylised images of mythical creatures such as dragons or ferocious tigers. Of course, tattoos in Japan are also associated with the Yakuza, Japan’s notorious mafia — with many public places such as hot springs and public baths banning customers with tattoos for that reason.

Two other crime and thriller books this month that especially caught our eye have a distinctively Scottish flavour, although they are very different books. These are: The bookseller of Inverness by Shona MacLean, and Meantime by Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle. This last is a wickedly funny, mega-dark modern Glaswegian take on Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye.

Have a browse!

The tattoo murder : translated and adapted by Deborah Boehm / Takagi, Akimitsu
“Miss Kinue Nomura survived World War II only to be murdered in Tokyo, her severed limbs left behind. Gone is that part of her that bore one of the most beautiful full-body tattoos ever rendered by her late father. Kenzo Matsushita, a young doctor, must assist his detective brother who is in charge of the case, because he was Kinue’s secret lover and the first person on the murder scene.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bookseller of Inverness / MacLean, Shona
“After Culloden, Iain MacGillivray was left for dead on Drumossie Moor. Wounded, his face brutally slashed, he survived only by pretending to be dead as the Redcoats patrolled the corpses of his Jacobite comrades. Six years later, with the clan chiefs routed and the Highlands subsumed into the British state, Iain lives a quiet life, working as a bookseller in Inverness. One day, after helping several of his regular customers, he notices a stranger lurking in the upper gallery of his shop, poring over his collection. But the man refuses to say what he’s searching for and only leaves when Iain closes for the night…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Meantime / Boyle, Frankie
“Glasgow, 2015. When valium addict Felix McAveety’s best friend Marina is found murdered in the local park, he goes looking for answers to questions that he quickly forgets. In a haze of uppers, hallucinogens, and diazepam, Felix enlists the help of a brilliant but mercurial GP; a bright young trade unionist; a failing screenwriter; semi-celebrity crime novelist Jane Pickford; and his crisis fuelled downstairs neighbour Donnie. Their investigation sends them on a bewildering expedition that takes in Scottish radical politics, Artificial Intelligence, cults, secret agents, smugglers and vegan record shops.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The girl in the photo / Amsinck, Heidi
“When two more victims are attacked, the police lament a rise in violence against the elderly, but who is the young girl in the photo found by DI Henrik Jungersen on the scenes of crime? Impatient to claim her inheritance, Irene’s daughter hires former Dagbladet reporter Jensen and her teenage apprentice Gustav to find the necklace. Questioning his own sanity, while trying to fix his marriage, Henrik finds himself once more pitched in a quest for the truth against Jensen – the one woman in Copenhagen he is desperate to avoid.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The blue bar / Biswas, Damyanti
“On the dark streets of Mumbai, the paths of a missing dancer, a serial killer, and an inspector with a haunted past converge in an evocative thriller about lost love and murderous obsession. After years of dancing in Mumbai’s bars, Tara Mondal was desperate for a new start. So when a client offered her a life-changing payout to indulge a harmless, if odd, fantasy, she accepted. The setup was simple: wear a blue-sequined saree, enter a crowded railway station, and escape from view in less than three minutes. It was the last time anyone saw Tara. Thirteen years later, Tara’s lover, Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput, is still grappling with her disappearance as he faces a horrifying new crisis…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder at Claridge’s / Eldridge, Jim
“One of the Claridge’s kitchen porters is found dead – strangled. He was a recent employee who claimed to be Romanian, but evidence suggests he may have been German. Detective Chief Inspector Coburg has to find out exactly who he was, and what he was doing at Claridge’s under a false identity. Once he has established those facts, he might get an insight into why he was killed, and who by. Coburg’s job is complicated by the fact that so many of the hotel’s residents are exiled European royalty. King George of Greece is registered as ‘Mr Brown’ and even the Duke of Windsor is staying, though without Wallis Simpson.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lady Joker. Volume two / Takamura, Kaoru
” Inspired by the real-life Glico-Morinaga kidnapping, an unsolved case that terrorized Japan for two years, Lady Joker reimagines the circumstances of this watershed episode in modern Japanese history and brings into riveting focus the lives and motivations of the victims, the perpetrators, the heroes, and the villains. As the shady networks linking corporations to syndicates are brought to light, the stakes rise, and some of the investigators, journalists, and other professionals fighting to manage this crisis will lose everything. Some even their lives. Will the culprits ever be brought to justice?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The things we do to our friends : a novel / Darwent, Heather
“Edinburgh, Scotland: a moody city of labyrinthine alleyways, oppressive fog, and buried history; the ultimate destination for someone with something to hide. Perfect for Clare, then, who arrives utterly alone and yearning to reinvent herself. And what better place to conceal the dark secrets in her past than at the university in the heart of the fabled, cobblestoned Old Town? When Clare meets Tabitha, a charismatic, beautiful, and intimidatingly rich girl from her art history class, she knows she’s destined to be friends with her and her exclusive circle: raffish Samuel; shrewd Ava; and pragmatic Imogen. Clare is immediately drawn into their libertine world of sophisticated dinner parties and summers in France, but what is the cost of an extraordinary life if others have to pay?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bingo Lingo: Our newly acquired crime and mystery titles.

Vintage bingo cards and markers

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

“I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way”: new mysteries

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

It is December and time for our last selection of recently acquired crime and fiction titles for 2022. And as it’s time for Christmas sales, some of the biggest names in the crime writing community have titles out, including T.V personality turned mega huge bestselling crime writing sensation Richard Osman; not to mention fabulous new titles by both Ian Rankin and Elly Griffiths, all of whom have featured heavily in many of the best of the year lists already.

And a very special mention goes Dark Deeds Down Under, a compendium of new crime stories  featuring some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s finest modern crime and mystery writers and compiled by no other than Ngaio Marsh Awards supremo Craig Sisterson. 

If you’re looking for something very different, one title that caught our attention was Light on Bone by  Kathryn Lasky; the latest celebrity detective novel to join an ever-growing genre. This time the internationally acclaimed American painter Georgia O’Keefe does the sleuthing; the tale is set in the semi desert landscape of New Mexico – the landscape that inspired so many of her wonderful and  famous paintings.

Light on bone / Lasky, Kathryn
“Kathryn Lasky has written a new adult amateur sleuth mystery set in New Mexico in the 1930s. The sleuth is Georgia O’Keefe. It begins when  she discovers the slain body of a priest in the desert. The plot includes several other murders,  an international espionage plot involving Charles Lindbergh, and lots of intricate twists and turns leading to a thoroughly unforeseen denouement. The strength of this story is how Lasky’s elegant writing captures the emotional depth of this artist’s turmoil and so stunningly reveals O’Keeffe’s perception of the landscape that moves her to paint. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bullet that missed / Osman, Richard
“It is an ordinary Thursday, and things should finally be returning to normal. Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case–their favorite kind–leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers. Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill or be killed. Suddenly the cold case has become red hot. While Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim chase down the clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

A heart full of headstones / Rankin, Ian
“John Rebus stands accused: on trial for a crime that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life. Although it’s not the first time the legendary detective has taken the law into his own hands, it might be the last. What drove a good man to cross the line? Or have times changed, and the rules with them? Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke faces Edinburgh’s most explosive case in years, as a corrupt cop goes missing after claiming to harbour secrets that could sink the city’s police force. But in this investigation, it seems all roads lead to Rebus–and Clarke’s twin loyalties to the public and the police will be tested to their limit. A reckoning is coming–and John Rebus may be hearing the call for last orders…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Bleeding heart yard / Griffiths, Elly
“DS Cassie Fitzgerald has a secret but it’s one she’s deleted from her memory. In the 1990s when she was at school, she and her friends killed a fellow pupil. Thirty years later, Cassie is happily married and loves her job as a police officer. One day her husband persuades her to go to a school reunion and another ex-pupil, Garfield Rice, is found dead, supposedly from a drug overdose. As Garfield was an eminent MP and the investigation is high profile, it’s headed by Cassie’s new boss, DI Harbinder Kaur. The trouble is, Cassie can’t shake the feeling that one of her old friends has killed again. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dark deeds down under
“This crime and thriller anthology, from Clan Destine Press, showcases the breadth and depth of modern Australian and New Zealand crime writing in a collection of brand-new short stories from some of our brightest storytelling talents: international bestsellers, award winners, and fresh voices. Dark Deeds Down Under features some of crime fiction’s most beloved ‘characters’, including Garry Disher’s Hirsch, Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman, Vanda Symon’s Sam Shephard.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The long knives / Welsh, Irvine
“Ritchie Gulliver MP is dead. Left to bleed in an empty Leith warehouse. Vicious, racist and corrupt, many thought he had it coming. But nobody could have predicted this. After the life Gulliver has led, the suspects are many: corporate rivals, political opponents, the countless groups he’s offended. And the vulnerable and marginalised, who bore the brunt of his cruelty – those without a voice, without a choice, without a chance. As Detective Ray Lennox unravels the truth, and the list of brutal attacks grows, he must put his personal feelings aside. But one question refuses to go away… Who are the real victims here?”  (Adapted from Catalogue)
Marple : twelve new stories
“A brand-new collection of short stories featuring the Queen of Mystery’s legendary detective Jane Marple, penned by 12 remarkable best-selling and acclaimed authors. This collection of 12 original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery … ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The King Arthur case : a Brittany mystery / Bannalec, Jean-Luc
“The forest of Broceliande, with its picturesque lakes and castles, is the last remnant of the fairy kingdom, if Breton lore is to be believed. Innumerable legends spanning thousands of years are set here, including the tale of King Arthur and the Round Table. It seems to be an appropriate destination for Commissaire Dupin and his team to take a late summer field trip. But when the body of a historian turns up, Dupin is called upon to investigate the brutal murder case. Before too long, there are more victims…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

DCI Vera Stanhope: New crime & thriller titles


British Tv Police GIF by Acorn TV

Image via Giphy

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)

Read your way around the world: New mystery and crime novels

Three world mysteries set against a backdrop of the Venice canals

If I were not King of France, I would choose to be a citizen of Venice.

Henry III of France

Location is of the utmost importance to many crime and thriller novels, and this month’s selection is no exception. Many authors in the genre treat a novel’s location almost like an extra character — think of Rebus’s Edinburgh or Inspector Morse’s Oxford, or even Inspector Montalbano‘s setting of a fictitious Sicilian town (heavily based on the author’s own hometown of Porto Empedocle).

The atmospheric labyrinthine city of Venice and its canals are at the core of one such pick this month — The angels of Venice, by Philip Gwynne Jones. Jones is actually a resident of the city, and he has weaved his knowledge of its architecture, art, politics and rich history into a haunting thriller set in modern times. The background for the mystery is the devastating floods of 2019 — which flooded nearly 85% of the city, causing death and millions of euros worth of damage. It is into these real-life events that Philip Gwynne Jones places his fictional victim, a dead art historian floating in an antiquarian bookshop. Mystery and intrigue follows.

Also in this month’s selection is another new translation of Seishi Yokomizo’s famous crime novel Death on Gokumon Island, regarded by many as the pinnacle of his work. The novel is a locked room mystery, and is said to be loosely based on And then there were none by Agatha Christie. Also keep a look out below for two new Aotearoa / New Zealand crime novels — Surveillance by Riley Chance (set in suburban New Zealand), and One heart one spade by Alistair Luke (set in our very own Wellington). Lastly, see if you can spot a mystery novel below set in ancient Ireland circa AD 672.

The angels of Venice / Jones, Philip Gwynne
“It’s the night of 12 November 2019. The worst flooding in 50 years hits the city of Venice. And the body of Dr Jennifer Whiteread – a British art historian, specialising in the depiction of angels in Venetian painting – is found floating in a flooded antique bookshop. As the local police struggle to restore order to the city, Nathan Sutherland sets out to discover the truth behind Whiteread’s death. The trail leads to the ‘Markham Foundation’, a charity working to preserve the ancient city. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Death on Gokumon Island / Yokomizo, Seishi
” Detective Kosuke Kindaichi arrives on the remote Gokumon Island bearing tragic news–the son of one of the island’s most important families has died on a troop transport ship bringing him back home after the Second World War. But Kindaichi has not come merely as a messenger–with his last words, the dying man warned that his three step-sisters’ lives would now be in danger. The scruffy detective is determined to get to the bottom of this mysterious prophesy, and to protect the three women if he can. As Kindaichi attempts to unravel the island’s secrets, a series of gruesome murders begins. He investigates, but soon finds himself in mortal danger .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Surveillance / Chance, Riley
“Journalist Grace Marks, needing a story to boost her career and finances, is intrigued by a surge in minor crime in New Zealand suburbs. She discovers it’s organised, but why? Her investigations lead her to Will Manilow, CEO of Erebus Optics, whose security company uses innovative technology from America. Manilow’s business is booming but he’s suspicious of his American owner’s motives. While searching through their internal website he stumbles over a document that outlines what they are planning, and what’s at stake.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

One heart one spade / Luke, Alistair
“Wellington, December 1977. Felicity Daniels is missing, and a murdered drug dealer has complicated things for Detective Lucas Cole. Around him the Criminal Investigation Branch starts to unravel. As the questions surface, Cole starts to wonder if one of their own is responsible. New bonds form, and old ones wilt under the pressure. Facts become fictions and fictions become facts, the most trusted becoming the most likely. With his own relationship on the rocks, Lucas is led down a path he might regret as he negotiates the personal and the professional to find both Felicity and his own soul. One Heart, One Spade is a compelling crime story about family, love and loss in 1970s New Zealand.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Death of a heretic : a mystery of ancient Ireland / Tremayne, Peter
“Ireland. AD 672. The abbey of Muman at Imleach Iubhair is being renovated when its guest house burns to the ground. There is one fatality: Bishop Brodulf of Luxovium. Sister Fidelma is asked by Abbot Cuán to investigate the unfortunate incident and soon finds that the bishop had been stabbed to death before the fire had even started. Thrown into a world of treachery and jealousy, where religious beliefs are vehemently disputed, Fidelma and her companions, Eadulf and Enda, face a barrier of deceit…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dear little corpses / Upson, Nicola
September, 1939. As the mass evacuation takes place across Britain, thousands of children leave London for the countryside, but when a little girl vanishes without trace, the reality of separation becomes more desperate and more deadly for those who love her. In the chaos and uncertainty of war, Josephine struggles with the prospect of change. As a cloud of suspicion falls across the small Suffolk village she has come to love, the conflict becomes personal, and events take a dark and sinister turn..” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

A botanist’s guide to parties and poisons / Khavari, Kate
“Newly minted research assistant Saffron Everleigh attends a dinner party for the University College of London. While she expects to engage in conversations about the university’s large expedition to the Amazon, she doesn’t expect Mrs. Henry, one of the professors’ wives to drop to the floor, poisoned by an unknown toxin. Dr. Maxwell, Saffron’s mentor, is the main suspect, having had an explosive argument with Dr. Henry a few days prior. As evidence mounts against Dr. Maxwell and the expedition’s departure draws nearer, Saffron realizes if she wants her mentor’s name cleared, she’ll have to do it herself. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The fall / Blok, Rachael
“On Good Friday, the verger of St Albans cathedral was supposed to be preparing the Easter service. Instead he discovers a man lying dead, fallen from the famous fifty-foot-high spire. Did he jump, or was he pushed? For DCI Maarten Jansen, it’s a simple case of suspected suicide. Until a stranger, Willow, who witnessed the jump, prompts a deeper investigation into a long-buried past, involving a mental hospital, a pregnant woman, and fifty years of silence. As Willow’s own family history entwines with the case, Jaansen starts to wonder how everything is connected.” (Adapted from Catalogue)