International crime inc. New Mystery fiction

Law and justice are not the same.”
― John Connolly.

The wide range and diversity of genres and writing styles to be found under the umbrella term of mysteries is amply demonstrated in this month’s new acquisitions list. We have a Ngaio Marsh shortlisted title from Renée. A couple of Scandinavian noir inflected tales from the dark north. Some more gentle entertaining crime tales from Rita Mae Brown and Mario Giordano. A new work from the perennially popular John Connolly and to wrap our selection up a sensational new Japanese crime voice Riku Onda whose book has gathered ecstatic reviews from his home country. Enjoy!

This is just a highlighted selection of our new acquisitions, to see this month’s the full list, and previous months, click here.

The dirty south / Connolly, John
“It is 1997, and someone is slaughtering young black women in Burdon County, Arkansas.But no one wants to admit it, not in the Dirty South. In an Arkansas jail cell sits a former NYPD detective, stricken by grief. He is mourning the death of his wife and child, and searching in vain for their killer. He cares only for his own lost family.But that is about to change . . . Witness the becoming of Charlie Parker.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Furmidable foes / Brown, Rita Mae
” Harry, Susan Tucker, and their friends are busy planting flowers and trimming hedges to get the church grounds in shape for the big day. But a note of a menace mars the beautiful spring: The brewery owned by Janice Childs and Mags Nielsen,  gets robbed, is this the work of a random thief? Or is something more sinister afoot? When Jeannie Cordle drops dead at a charity auction, poisoned by a fatal weed, Harry’s worst suspicions are confirmed: a killer lurks in their midst. Although she can’t yet prove it. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Auntie Poldi and the handsome Antonio / Giordano, Mario
All the beloved, irascible Auntie Poldi wanted from her Sicilian retirement was time to enjoy the sunshine, a free-flowing supply of wine, and a sultry romance with Chief Inspector Vito Montana. But then her idyll is rudely disrupted by the last person she wants to see on her doorstep: John Owenya, detective inspector with the Tanzanian Ministry of Home Affairs, who is also her estranged lying cheat of a husband. Not only is John’s sudden reappearance putting a kink in Poldi’s dreamy love affair with Montana, but his presence also comes with a plea for help–and unwanted clashes with the Mafia.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Death deserved / Horst, Jørn Lier
“Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrom never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrom’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation.Traces of Nordstrom soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing… (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Aosawa murders / Onda, Riku
“On a stormy summer day in the 1970s the Aosawas, owners of a prominent local hospital, host a large birthday party in their villa on the Sea of Japan. The occasion turns into tragedy when 17 people die from cyanide in their drinks. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer’s, and the physician’s bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only family member spared death. The youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October, effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery.” (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  in The Importance of Being Earnest. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Gallows Rock / Yrsa Sigurdardottir
On a jagged, bleak lava field just outside Reykjavik stands the Gallows Rock. Once a place of execution, it is now a tourist attraction. Until this morning, when a man was found hanging from it…The nail embedded in his chest proves it wasn’t suicide. But when the police go to his flat, a further puzzle awaits: a four-year-old boy has been left there. He doesn’t seem to have any link with the victim, his parents cannot be found, and his drawings show he witnessed something terrible.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A private cathedral / Burke, James Lee
“After finding himself caught up in one of Louisiana’s oldest and bloodiest family rivalries, Detective Dave Robicheaux must battle the most terrifying adversary he has ever encountered: a time-traveling superhuman assassin.  In order to defeat him and rescue Johnny and Isolde, Robicheaux will have to overcome the demons that have tormented him throughout his adult life–alcoholism, specters from combat in Vietnam, and painful memories of women to whom he opened his heart only to see killed. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Zealand’s new publishing sensation, Rose Carlyle

I feel like everybody else is an author, and I’m just an ordinary person who wrote a book. And my book’s kind of about that impostor syndrome, of feeling like you’re not really the real thing.

Rose Carlyle, 2020.

Debut New Zealand author Rose Carlyle is living every budding writer’s dream — her first novel, The girl in the mirror, has had book publishers competing and major Hollywood studios vying to snap up the film rights. A lawyer who lives in Auckland with her three children, she wrote her debut novel early in the morning before work and family life.

Several commentators have already said she looks set to be the next big thing in New Zealand publishing. Be one of the first to read what the fuss is about by reserving a copy!

The girl in the mirror / Carlyle, Rose
“Identical twins only look the same … Beautiful twin sisters Iris and Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical and insecure, Iris has long been envious of open-hearted Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam. Called to Thailand to help sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Small Island, Big Mystery: New Crime Fiction

How do you find a murderer on an island of just 80 people when everyone’s a potential suspect? That’s the challenge for Deputy Chief of Police Ben Kitto in Burnt Island, the latest work from the award-winning writer Kate Rhodes.

Also new to the shelves: the supernatural detective novel Night Train to Murder by Simon R. Green. With its alien secret agent and Psychic Weapons Division, Night Train to Murder is perfect for those who like their mystery-sci-fi crossovers. Enjoy!

Burnt Island / Rhodes, Kate
“As the sun sets on a cold November evening, the tiny community of St Agnes prepares for their annual Fifth-of-November festivities. Moments before the fireworks are scheduled to commence, an islander discovers a charred body, and quickly it becomes clear that a killer is at large. Ben Kitto is the Deputy Chief of Police for the Scilly Isles, and with a killer on the loose, he has no choice but to forbid all residents from leaving the island. With a population of just eighty people, everyone is a suspect and no one is safe.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The girl in Kellers Way / Goldin, Megan
“When a body is found buried near Kellers Way, Detective Melanie Carter must identify the victim if she is to have any chance of finding the killer. That’s no easy task with fragmentary evidence from a crime committed years earlier and a conspiracy of silence. The one person who may be able to help is Julie West. In a troubled marriage, Julie often jogs along Kellers Way to clear her mind and escape the confines of her suffocating suburban life. Until one day, something happens there that shakes Julie to the core.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Perish / Black, Lisa
“The scene of the crime is lavish but gruesome. In a luxurious mansion on the outskirts of Cleveland, a woman’s body lies gutted in a pool of blood on the marble floor. The victim is Joanna Moorehouse, founder of Sterling Financial. The killer could be any one of her associates. Maggie knows that to crack the case, she and Jack will have to infiltrate the cutthroat world of high-stakes finance. But the offices of Sterling Financial seethe with potential suspects, every employee hellbent on making a killing.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sorry for the dead / Upson, Nicola
“In the summer of 1915, the sudden death of a young girl brings grief and notoriety to Charleston Farmhouse on the Sussex Downs. Years later, Josephine Tey returns to the same house–now much changed–and remembers the two women with whom she once lodged as a young teacher during the Great War. As past and present collide, with murders decades apart, Josephine is forced to face the possibility that the scandal which threatened to destroy those women’s lives hid a much darker secret.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Night train to murder / Green, Simon R.
“When Ishmael Jones is asked to escort a VIP on the late-night train to Bath, it would appear to be a routine case. Ishmael’s mission is to ensure that he arrives safely. But when a body is discovered in a locked toilet cubicle, Ishmael Jones has just 56 minutes to solve a seemingly impossible crime before the train reaches its destination. How could anyone orchestrate a murder in a crowded railway carriage without being noticed–and with no obvious means of escape?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The man that got away / Truss, Lynne
“1957: In the beach town of Brighton, music is playing and guests are sunning themselves, when a young man is found dead, dripping blood, in a deck chair. Constable Twitten has a hunch that the fiendish murder may be connected to a notorious nightspot, but his colleagues are-as ever-busy with other more important issues. As the case twists and turns, Constable Twitten must find the murderer and convince his colleagues that there’s an evil mastermind behind Brighton’s climbing crime rate.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A death at the Hotel Mondrian / Jager, Anja de
“When Lotte Meerman is faced with the choice of interviewing the latest victim in a string of assaults or talking to a man who claims he really isn’t dead, she picks the interview. After all, the man cannot possibly be who he claims he is: Andre Nieuwkamp was murdered as a teenager over thirty years ago. Yet concerned about this encounter, Lotte goes to the Hotel Mondrian the next day to talk to the man, but what she finds instead is his corpse . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Mysteries: Danse macabre

This month the holiday titles are already rolling in, so if you want to start on your holiday reading list we have some great new crime titles for you. James Patterson’s The Women’s Murder club’s 19th edition is focused on the Christmas holidays where a lull in crime is a misleading start to season, a roller coaster ride is about to begin as a formidable criminal sets a plan into action that will culminate on Christmas day! David Rosenfelt brings levity to the season with a fun cozy mystery where canine companions are the way into solving human problems. Daschshund through the snow brings out the skills of Andy and Laurie as the reticent and enthusiastic try to bring hope and resolution to those around them despite the odds.

Susanna Gregory and Paul Doherty conjour up the social and political realities British history for the medieval and Stuart eras where church and royalty governed the pattern of people’s lives. Gregory writes as the aftermath of the plague has hollowed out 1666 London and Thomas Chalinor feels the city is in a precarious situation. Facing social unrest and political intrigue he attempts to unravel three seemingly unrelated crimes. Paul Doherty has richly illustrated the medieval era in this novel of dark suspense. The tensions in the Welsh Holyrood Abbey run high where Edward I’s body guards are conducting themselves as monks. Murderous events begin to play out and Sir Hugh Corbett, Keeper of the Secret Seal is detailed to seek out answers.

Other crime titles lead readers through unlawful acts as personal tensions and past grievances are played out in the countryside and inside city limits.  From scrapbook murder sleuths to experienced police investigators this selection of crime novels has something for all readers to enjoy.

The 19th Christmas / Patterson, James
“As the holidays approach, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends in the Women’s Murder Club have much to celebrate. Even the courts are showing some Christmas spirit. Then a fearsome criminal known only as “Loman” seizes control of the headlines. He is planning a deadly surprise for Christmas morning. Solving crimes never happens on schedule, but as this criminal mastermind unleashes credible threats by the hour, the month of December is upended for the Women’s Murder Club. Avoiding tragedy is the only holiday miracle they seek.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Intrigue in Covent Garden / Gregory, Susanna
“By January 1666, the plague has almost disappeared from London, leaving its surviving population diminished and in poverty. Thomas Chalinor is investigating several unrelated crimes at he behest of his employer. Common threads in all the cases, which seem linked to those planning to set a match to the powder keg of rebellion in the city. Chalinor is in a race against time to prevent the weakened city from utter destruction.”  (Adapted from catalogue)

Dachshund through the snow / Rosenfelt, David (print), (eAudiobook)
“Lawyer Andy Carpenter and his wife, Laurie, generously give back year-round, but they always try to do a little something extra around the holidays. Andy’s local pet store has a Christmas tree, where instead of ornaments there are wishes from those in need. This leads Andy to six-year-old Adam, whose selfless plea strikes a chord with Andy and Laurie. With his trademark humor and larger-than-life characters, Rosenfelt never fails to deliver as Andy and his eccentric crew dash to reunite a family in time for Christmas.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Syndetics book coverMumbo gumbo murder / Laura Childs, with Terrie Farley Moran.
“It’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and giant puppets are parading through the French Quarter. As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling’s antiques shop. After the police examine Devon’s body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but how long do they have before they find themselves on the killer’s list?” (Adapted from catalogue)

Death’s dark valley / Doherty, P. C
“At Holyrood Abbey, the old king’s former bodyguards watch over a mysterious prisoner who is kept in the abbey’s dungeon. But their peaceful existence is shattered when Abbot Henry is poisoned. Summoned to Holyrood, Sir Hugh Corbett finds the fortress in chaos. As more mysterious deaths occur, and a violent snow storm sweeps through the valley, Corbett must act quickly to identify the malevolent demon who has risen from hell to turn the abbey into a house of murder.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A bitter feast : a novel / Crombie, Deborah
“Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James and their children are guests at the country estate belonging to the family of Melody Talbot. A centerpiece of this getaway is a charity luncheon catered by up-and-coming chef Viv Holland. But a tragic car accident followed by a series of mysterious deaths could ruin her ascent. Each piece of information that surfaces makes it clear that the killer had a connection with Viv’s pub, and perhaps with Beck House itself.  With so much at stake both personally and professionally, especially for Melody Talbot, finding the killer becomes one of the team’s most crucial cases.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Murder in the corn maze / McKevett, G. A
“After joining the other townspeople for trick-or-treating and the annual parade, Granny Reid and the kids head to Judge Patterson’s mansion, where a corn maze awaits. Most of the youngsters are too terrified to make it all the way to the middle. When Savannah and Granny get there, it proves to be even scarier than they expected–half buried in the mud at the center of the maze lies a human skull. It’ll be up to Granny to dig into this Southern town’s history and a mess of old family secrets.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Stone cold heart : a novel / Frear, Caz (print), (eBook)
“A young Australian woman turns up dead after a party thrown by her new boss. The initial investigation points to Joseph Madden, the owner of a coffee shop around the corner from police headquarters. Madden insists he’s innocent, that he was home with his wife Rachel at the time of the murder. But Rachel contradicts his alibi, swearing that she was home alone. As she tries to balance the demands of the investigation with a budding romance and unresolved family drama, Cat has to decide how far she’ll go to keep her own past mistakes buried.” (Adapted from catalogue)

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)

Top 10 for Spring: most borrowed fiction

Wellington readers love a good thriller! Topping our most popular reads Good Girl, Bad Girl launches a new series for Michael Robotham, introducing criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven in this compulsive page turner. There’s thrilling writing from Kate Atkinson, she features twice in our popularity list, with Transcription, where truth and invention catch up with an intelligence retiree, and Big Sky, with Jackson Brodie settling in to a new home, juggling parenting dog and humans as complex mysteries unfold. Character development drives Jo Nesbo’s Knife, this intricate procedural crime novel is driven through a set of grueling investigations, but as the plot twists, feints and reveals readers will be propelled through this gritty piece of writing.

The Rosie Result is still a clear favourite, so popular we’ve given you three different ways to access it! So if you’re downloading it to listen or read, or picking up a paper copy, the final installation of this quirky trilogy will warm your heart. Inspired by her Italian heritage Pellegrino addresses rural-urban drift with a life changing opportunity for her characters and a town in need of new people. Delicious food and delightful setting has clearly charmed Wellington library users.

Is your favourite in the list?


1. Good girl bad girl / Robotham, Michael
“A girl is found hiding in a secret room in a house being renovated after a terrible crime. Six years later, the same girl is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. She initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult and psychologist Cyrus Haven is sent to interview Evie. She’s damaged and destructive, yet possessed of a gift, or a curse, that makes her both fascinating and dangerous to be with, the ability to tell when someone is lying. Soon he is embroiled in her unique and dangerous world, his life in utmost peril.” (Catalogue)

2. Syndetics book coverA dream of Italy / Nicky Pellegrino.
“Here is your chance to buy your own home in southern Italy for less than the price of a cup of coffee. The picturesque mountain town of Montenello is selling off some of its historic buildings for just one euro each. Elise is in her twenties and desperate to get on the property ladder. Edward wants to escape a life he finds stifling. Mimi is divorced and starting afresh. And there is one person whose true motivation won’t be clear for some time. These four people all have a dream of Italy. And it’s going to change their lives.” (Syndetics summary)

3. Syndetics book coverBig sky / Kate Atkinson.
“Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village in North Yorkshire. It’s a picturesque setting, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes. Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, seems straightforward, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network. Old secrets and new lies intersect in this breathtaking new novel, both sharply funny and achingly sad, by one of the most dazzling and surprising writers at work today.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

4. Machines like me and people like you / McEwan, Ian (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever – a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma.” (Catalogue)

5. Knife / Nesbø, Jo
“A man like Harry had better watch his back…Following the dramatic conclusion of number one bestseller The Thirst, Knife sees Harry Hole waking up with a ferocious hangover, his hands and clothes covered in blood. Not only is Harry about to come face to face with an old, deadly foe, but with his darkest personal challenge yet. The twelfth instalment in Jo Nesbo’s internationally bestselling crime fiction series.” (Catalogue)

6. The Rosie result / Simsion, Graeme C (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“Don and Rosie are back in Melbourne after a decade in New York, and they’re about to face their most important project. Their son, Hudson, is having trouble at school. Rosie is battling Judas at work, and Don is in hot water after the Genetics Lecture Outrage. The life-contentment graph, recently at its highest point, is curving downwards. For Don Tillman, geneticist and World’s Best Problem-Solver, learning to be a good parent as well as a good partner will require the help of friends old and new. It will mean letting Hudson make his way in the world, and grappling with awkward truths about his own identity.” (Catalogue)

7. Past tense / Child, Lee (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“Jack Reacher has extended his thumb and hit the pavement. His plan is to follow the autumn sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. On a country road in rural New Hampshire, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, ‘What’s one extra day?’ and takes the detour. As Reacher explores his father’s life, and strands of different stories begin to merge, he makes a shocking discovery: the present can be tough, but the past can be tense… and deadly.” (Catalogue)

8. Milkman / Burns, Anna (print), (eBook)
Written in a perfectly-rendered Irish vernacular… Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. Middle sister is our protagonist. She is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her nearly-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with milkman. But when first brother-in-law, who of course had sniffed it out, told his wife, her first sister, to tell her mother to come and have a talk with her, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous…” (Catalogue)

9. Transcription / Atkinson, Kate (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever. Ten years later, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.” (Catalogue)

10. Normal people : a novel / Rooney, Sally (print), (eBook)
“At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s the star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.” (Catalogue)

Agatha Christie meets the Tour de France in our latest fiction mysteries showcase

“It’s incredible… Many Colombians have tried before, we’ve had great cyclists in the past. But I’m the first one to win the Tour! Colombia deserves it.” – Egan Bernal 2019 Tour de France winner.

With the 2019 Tour de France over and the first ever Colombian rider Egan Bernal winning the race, it is very timely that Mexican author Jorge Zepeda Patterson has just released an Agatha Christiesque murder mystery, where riding for the coveted yellow jersey takes a deadly turn. Other intriguing new acquisitions in this month’s showcase include The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes – a compendium of tales of fictional detectives that were written during the same era as the deer stalker-topped sleuth. We also have a new novel by top Scottish crime writer Alex Grey as well as new works by R.J. Ellory and Katherine Hall Page.

The black jersey : a novel / Zepeda Patterson, Jorge
“Marc Moreau, a professional cyclist with a military past, is part of a top Tour de France team led by his best friend, an American star favored to win this year’s Tour. But the competition takes a dark turn when racers begin to drop out in a series of violent accidents: But as the victim count rises, the number of potential murderers–and potential champions–dwindles.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rivals of Sherlock Holmes : the greatest detective stories: 1837-1914
“If “Rue Morgue” was the first true detective story in English, the title of the first full-length detective novel is more hotly contested. Two books by Wilkie Collins–The Woman in White (1859) and The Moonstone (1868)–are often given that honor, with the latter showing many of the features that came to identify the genre: a locked-room murder in an English country house; bungling local detectives outmatched by a brilliant amateur detective; a large cast of suspects and a plethora of red herrings; and a final twist before the truth is revealed.” (Catalogue)

The darkest goodbye / Gray, Alex
“When newly fledged DC Kirsty Wilson is called to the house of an elderly woman, what appears to be a death by natural causes soon takes a sinister turn when it is revealed that the woman had a mysterious visitor in the early hours of that morning – someone dressed as a community nurse, but with much darker intentions. As Kirsty is called to another murder she finds herself pulled into a complex case involving vulnerable people and a sinister service that offers them and their loved ones a ‘release’.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Three bullets / Ellory, Roger Jon
“It was the shot heard around the world. On 22nd November 1963, John F. Kennedy’s presidential motorcade rode through Dealey Plaza. But what if it missed? Mitch Newman is a photojournalist based out of Washington, D.C. His phone never rings. When it does, a voice he hasn’t heard in years will tell him his former fiancée Jean has taken her own life. Jean was an investigative reporter working the case of a lifetime. Somewhere in the shreds of her investigation is the truth behind her murder.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The body in the wake / Page, Katherine Hall (print) (eBook)
“For the first time in years, Faith Fairchild has time for herself. Her friend Sophie Maxwell is also spending the summer on Sanpere Island, hoping for distractions from her worries that she isn’t yet pregnant.  Faith has her hands full. And that’s before a body with a mysterious tattoo and connections far away from small Sanpere Island appears in the Lily Pond. Once again, Faith will get to the bottom of this strange case–and whip up a delicious blueberry buckle on the side.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Girls like us / Alger, Cristina
“FBI Agent Nell Flynn hasn’t been home in ten years. When Martin Flynn dies in a motorcycle accident, Nell returns to the house she grew up to spread her father’s ashes and close his estate. At the behest of her father’s partner, Detective Lee Davis, Nell becomes involved in an investigation into the murders of two young Latina women in Suffolk County. The further Nell digs, the more likely it seems to her that her father should be the prime suspect.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A summer of murder / Bottini, Oliver
“When the local fire brigade is called to a burning farm shed, a volunteer is killed as a weapons cache beneath it explodes. Louise Bonì, back with Freiburg Kripo after a period of withdrawal, is assigned to the task force dealing with the case. The meagre evidence they gather points to a possible connection with German neo-Nazis or illegal arms dealers from the former Yugoslavia, but the appearance of secret service agents marking out the forest suggests more is at stake.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The roadhouse / McGinnis, Kerry
“When aspiring actress Charlie Carver learns that her cousin Annabelle has died, she immediately leaves Melbourne to fly home. The reunion, however, is interrupted when Molly suffers a heart attack. With her mother airlifted out for life-saving surgery, Charlie is left to take the reins of the struggling family business. The authorities declare Annabelle to have taken her own life, but when a woman’s body turns up at an abandoned mine site, Charlie begins to wonder what else is being covered up, and why.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Corpses, Castles, Cannibals: New Mystery Fiction

This month’s new mystery titles feature the work of Japanese writer Keigo Higashino. Winner of the Edogawa Rampo Prize for his debut novel After School, Higashino’s body of work has grown to include several award-winning detective series and short story collections (as well as a picture book!). His latest work, Newcomer, weaves together nine self-contained stories, and has been called “a genre-splicing masterclass in crime fiction.”

We’ve also got a range of other great works, from Peter James’ Dead at First Sight to Simon Beaufort’s Watchers of the Dead. And for some extra insight into David Hewson’s new mystery set on the remote Faroe Islands, check out this excellent Behind the Book feature. Enjoy!

Newcomer / Higashino, Keigo
“Detective Kyoichiro Kaga has just been transferred to a new precinct in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. Newly arrived, but with a great deal of experience, Kaga is promptly assigned to the team investigating the murder of a woman. But the more he investigates, the greater number of potential suspects emerges. Buried somewhere in the woman’s past, in her family history, and the last few days of her life is the clue that will lead to the murderer.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Dead at first sight / James, Peter (print), (eBook)
“Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to investigate the suicide of a woman in Brighton, that is clearly not what it seems. As his investigations continue, a handsome Brighton motivational speaker comes forward. He’d discovered his identity is being used to scam 11 different women, online. Roy Grace realizes he is looking at the tip of an iceberg. A global empire built on clever, cruel internet scams and the murder of anyone who threatens to expose them.” (Catalogue)

The body in the castle well / Walker, Martin
“A rich American art student, Claudia, is found dead at the bottom of a deep well in an ancient hilltop castle. Claudia’s grieving mother arrives, her family’s White House connections get the US Embassy and the FBI involved. Bruno tries to trace the people and events that led to her death. This takes Bruno down a trail that leads him from the ruins of Berlin in 1945, to France’s colonial war in Algeria. The long arm of French history has reached out to find a new victim.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Women of the dunes / Maine, Sarah
“In AD 800 there is Ulla, lost in a foreign country after her lover is brutally killed. Ellen, a servant-girl in the 1800s, catches the unwanted attentions of the master of the house’s lascivious son. And, in the present day, there is Libby – an archaeologist who is determined to uncover an age-old mystery. The fates of these three women become ever more tightly bound around the legend of Ulla.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

 Devil’s Fjord / Hewson, David (print), (eBook)
“Newly-appointed District Sheriff Tristan Haraldsen and his wife Elsebeth are looking forward to a peaceful semi-retirement in the remote fishing village of Djevulsfjord on the stunningly beautiful island of Vagar. But when two boys go missing during the first whale hunt of the season, the repercussions strike at the heart of the isolated coastal community. As he pursues his investigations, Tristan discovers that the Mikkelsen brothers aren’t the first young men to have vanished on Vagar. . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Watchers of the dead / Beaufort, Simon
“December 1882. Attending the opening of the new Natural History Museum, reporter Alec Lonsdale and his colleague Hulda Friederichs are shocked to discover a body in the basement, hacked to death. Suspicion immediately falls on a trio of cannibals, brought over from the Congo as museum exhibits. Alec however has his doubts–especially when he discovers that three other influential London men have been similarly murdered.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Cruel acts / Casey, Jane (print), (eBook)
“How can you spot a murderer? Leo Stone is a ruthless killer–or the victim of a miscarriage of justice. A year ago, he was convicted of the murder of two women and sentenced to life in prison. But now he’s free, and according to him, he’s innocent. DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent are determined to put Stone back behind bars where he belongs, but the more Maeve finds out, the less convinced she is of his guilt. Have they been wrong about Stone from the start?” (Adapted from the catalogue)

A beautiful corpse / Daugherty, Christi (print), (eBook)
“With its antebellum houses and ancient oak trees draped in a veil of Spanish moss, Savannah’s graceful downtown is famous around the world. When a woman is killed in the heart of that affluent district, the shock is felt throughout the city. Only twenty-four years old, Naomi Scott was just getting started. There are no witnesses to the crime. The police have three suspects. All three men claim to love her. Could one of them be her killer?” (Adapted from the catalogue)

New Mysteries

Nefarious business tactics, buried secrets and deadly coincidences are woven through our latest selection of fiction mysteries. The imaginations of these talented authors deal with the machinations of the darker side of human nature.  The landscapes, cities and villages that host these tales feature as essential characters in these tales. Our  selection includes Donna Leon’s new Venetian novel, awash with her fascination for minor vices and drastic consequences. A new northern European detective hero is revealed in shape of Embla Nystrom, a welter weight prize-winner, hunter and female detective inspector whose talents and skills are about to be tested to the limit in Helene Tursten’s Hunting Game.

Accessing new titles has become easier with the removal of reserve fees. As before you can can choose any location to collect your chosen books.  Some of our new titles can be found through Overdrive as eBooks or eAudiobooks. This post highlights the library online access where possible.  All the titles in this new Mystery fiction selection are available in print form also.

Overdrive cover The Scholar, Dervla McTiernan (ebook) (eAudiobook) (print)
“When DS Cormac Reilly’s girlfriend, Emma, stumbles across the victim of a hit and run early one morning outside the laboratory at Galway University, he is first on the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID, that of Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company. Darcy Therapeutics has a finger in every pie, it has funded Emma’s own ground-breaking research. As Cormac investigates, evidence mounts that the death is linked to a Darcy laboratory and increasingly, to Emma herself. Cormac is sure she couldn’t be involved, but how well does he really know her?” (Catalogue)

Murder at the British Museum / Eldridge, Jim
“1894. A well-respected academic is found dead in a gentlemen’s convenience cubicle at the British Museum, the stall locked from the inside. Professor Pickering had been due to give a talk promoting the museum’s new ‘Age of King Arthur’ exhibition when he was stabbed repeatedly in the chest. Daniel Wilson is called in to solve the mystery of the locked cubicle murder, and he brings his expertise and archaeologist Abigail Fenton with him. But  the museum becomes the site of another fatality and the pair face mounting pressure to deliver results. With persistent journalists, local vandals and a fanatical society, Wilson and Fenton face a race against time to salvage the reputation of the museum and catch a murderer desperate for revenge.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Hunting Game, Helene Tursten (ebook) (print)
 “Helene Tursten’s explosive new series features Detective Inspector Embla Nyström, a sharp, unforgiving woman working in a man’s world. From a young age, 28-year-old Embla Nystrom has been plagued by chronic nightmares and racing thoughts. She has learned to channel most of her anxious energy into her position as Detective Inspector in the mobile unit in Gothenburg, Sweden. When one of her peers is murdered during a routine hunting trip, Embla must track down the killer while confronting a dark incident from her past.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Hallowdene / Mann, George
“Former London journalist Elspeth Reeves is trying to carve a new life for herself in the sleepy Oxfordshire countryside, until she’s sent to cover the excavation of a notorious local witch’s grave. Three hundred years ago, her name mixed up with murder and black magic, Agnes Levett was hanged and then buried under an immense stone, to prevent her spirit from ever rising again. Elspeth investigates, but soon finds there is far more to the old tale than meets the eye, as the surrounding area is rocked by a series of mysterious and brutal murders, all of people somehow connected with the dig. She and her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw race to uncover the truth, but secrets lain buried for centuries are not easily discovered.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverUnto us a son is given / Donna Leon.
“The latest of Donna Leon’s bestselling Venice crime novels. As a favour to his wealthy father-in-law, Commissario Guido Brunetti agrees to investigate the seemingly innocent wish of the Count’s best friend, the elderly and childless Gonzalo, to adopt a younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws, this man would become the sole heir to Gonzalo’s substantial fortune, something which Gonzalo’s friends,  find appalling. For his part, Brunetti wonders why they’re so intent on meddling in the old man’s business. Not long after Brunetti meets with Gonzalo, the elderly man unexpectedly passes away from natural causes. Old and frail, Gonzalo’s death goes unquestioned. But when Berta, one of Gonzalo’s closest confidantes, is strangled in her hotel room, Brunetti is drawn into long-buried secrets from Gonzalo’s past. What did Berta know? And who would go to such lengths to ensure it would remain hidden?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFalse account / Veronica Heley.
“The mysterious deaths of two adored cats plunges Bea into the disturbing goings-on of the Tredgold family in the latest Abbot Agency mystery. Wealthy Marcia Tredgold and her daughter, Charlotte, want Bea Abbot to find them replacements for staff who have left under a cloud. Bea discovers that all those dismissed were close to Marcia Tredgold, and senses that something is not right. Were they framed, and if so by whom and why? In her quest to uncover the truth, Bea’s own safety is put at risk.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The godless / Doherty, Paul
“A number of prostitutes in 14th century London are brutally murdered, with blood-red wigs placed upon their heads; at the same time a war cog ship bound for Calais is destroyed: is there a connection, and are the rumours true that the mysterious Oriflamme is responsible? Brother Athelstan returns to uncover the truth, and of who – or what – he is.” (Catalogue)

 

Syndetics book coverNever tell / Lisa Gardner.
“One death might be an accident.
Two deaths looks like murder.
A man is shot dead in his own home, and his pregnant wife, Evie, is found with the gun in her hands. Detective D.D. Warren instantly recognises her. Sixteen years ago, Evie also shot her own father. That killing was ruled an accident. D.D. doesn’t believe in coincidences. But this case isn’t as open and shut as it first appears, and her job is to discover the truth. Evie might be a victim. Or she might be about to get away with murder again.” (Catalogue)

Our latest mysteries

What I feel is that if one has got to have a murder actually happening in one’s house, one might as well enjoy it, if you know what I mean.”

― Agatha Christie, The Body in the Library

Libraries are very safe places (unless of course you are Agatha Christie). However they are also a veritable treasure trove of fabulous murder mysteries. Wellington Central Library contains murder mystery novels of every genre, shape and size. Which ranges from a new Sherlock Holmes tale by James Lovegrove called Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils to a novel by The Killing’s multiple award winning Screenwriter Søren Sveistrup called The chestnut man and also features a fantastic mystery novel translated from Brazilian Portuguese called Bellini and the sphinx by Tony Bellotto. Enjoy.

Bellini and the sphinx : a novel / Bellotto, Tony
” Who is the missing dancer Ana Cíntia Lopes? Why did her coworkers, Camila and Dinéia, disappear? What does the voluptuous prostitute Fatima want? Who killed renowned surgeon Dr. Samuel Rafidjian? And what is the role of the hulking live-sex performer known as the Indian? To confront the puzzle of several sphinxes, most of them female, private detective Remo Bellini plunges into the underworld of S o Paulo. Little by little, the mysteries unravel in a surprising fashion, until the solving of the final enigma leaves Bellini perplexed, with a bitter taste in his mouth.” (Catalogue)

 

A time to scatter stones : a Matthew Scudder novella / Block, Lawrence
“Well past retirement age and feeling his years–but still staying sober one day at a time–Matthew Scudder learns that alcoholics aren’t the only ones who count the days since their last slip. Matt’s longtime partner, Elaine, tells him of a group of former sex workers who do something similar, helping each other stay out of the life. But when one young woman describes an abusive client who’s refusing to let her quit, Elaine encourages her to get help of a different sort. The sort only Scudder can deliver.” (Catalogue)

Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils / Lovegrove, James
” Now retired from detective work, Sherlock Holmes is called on once again to do battle with occult forces. Members of the Dagon Club, the secretive inner circle of the Diogenes Club, are being killed systematically, among them Holmes’s own brother Mycroft. Meanwhile, unrest in Europe is threatening to turn into all-out war, and London is riddled with German spies whose machinations could have far-reaching, apocalyptic consequences. New enemies and old are conspiring against the great detective, and the stakes have never been higher. With trusty Watson once more at his side, Holmes sallies forth one last time to defy the nameless, unspeakable entities from beyond who would wish to conquer the earth and make every human their slave.” (Catalogue)

A fatal obsession / Martin, Faith
” There’s a murderer on the loose and two unlikely heroes are poised to solve the case. Meet Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday – smart, enthusiastic and always underestimated. In the hope of getting her out of the way, Trudy’s senior officer assigns her to help coroner Clement Ryder as he re-opens the case of a young woman’s death. She can’t believe her luck – she is actually going to be working on a real murder case. Meanwhile, the rest of the police force are busy investigating a series of threats and murders in the local community, and Clement can’t help but feel it’s all linked. As Trudy and Clement form an unlikely partnership, are they going to be the ones to solve these crimes before the murderer strikes again?” (Catalogue)

Slow motion ghosts / Noon, Jeff
” It is 1981. London is bruised by austerity, social unrest and racial tension, and the police are at war. Anger has erupted in the Brixton Riots and is finding expression in protest, anarchy and punk. For Detective Inspector Hobbes, the battle lines are being redrawn within his own ranks as right and wrong are clouded by prejudice. Into this mess comes a murder. A promising young singer has been maimed and killed and the artistry of the crime is disturbing. On the hunt for the killer, Hobbes begins an investigation that will lead him deep into a subculture hidden beneath the everyday. A cult of personality that hides from the problems of the city and escapes to a world of its own, a world that is at once seductive and devastating. ” (Catalogue)

Hearts of the missing / Potenza, Carol
” When a young woman linked to a list of missing Fire-Sky tribal members commits suicide, Pueblo Police Sergeant Nicky Matthews is assigned to the case. As the investigation unfolds, she uncovers a threat that strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Fire-Sky Native: victims chosen and murdered because of their genetic makeup. But these deaths are not just about a life taken. In a vengeful twist, the killer ensures the spirits of those targeted will wander forever, lost to their family, their People, and their ancestors. When those closest to Nicky are put in jeopardy, she must be willing to sacrifice everything–her career, her life, even her soul–to save the people she is sworn to protect.” (Catalogue)

Death & the viking’s daughter / Ross, Loretta
” While Death and Wren are helping prepare auction items at an old supper club, a Viking reenactor nearly dies at the historical settlement next door. The cause? Seeing the ghost of his daughter, who went missing twenty years ago. As Wren looks into what happened to the Viking’s daughter, Death is hired to investigate the theft of historical items that have high sentimental value. When their respective investigations turn out to be connected, the couple gets caught in a deadly conflict.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe chestnut man / Søren Sveistrup ; translated by Caroline Waight.
“In a playground just outside Copenhagen a woman is found dead with one hand cut off. A small chestnut figure hangs over her. Naia Thulin and Mark Hess are sent to investigate but they soon discover another woman has been brutally murdered. This time both her hands have been cut off.  And the chestnut figure is back. Thulin and Hess soon suspect that these murdered women are connected to the missing daughter of Rosa Hartung, the Minister for Social Affairs, and work against the clock to stop the killer from striking again.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverDeath on a Shetland isle / Marsali Taylor.
“Readying her Norwegian sail-training ship, Sorlandet, for a fresh voyage through the Shetland Islands, Cass Lynch has the shock of her life when the new third officer is a ghost from her past – the man she thought she’d left to drown in the Atlantic eleven years before. Readying her Norwegian sail-training ship, Sorlandet, for a fresh voyage through the Shetland Islands, Cass Lynch has the shock of her life when the new third officer is a ghost from her past – the man she thought she’d left to drown in the Atlantic eleven years before. Cass has an odd feeling about some of the new trainees: a slick city-boy, and a brother and sister. As her distrust of the newcomers deepens, two people go missing and a third is found dead. Struggling to confront the ghosts of her past, the deceased of her present, and the man of her future, Cass must out-manoeuvre the killer before she too becomes one of the victims.” (Catalogue)

Crime du jour: The latest mysteries at Wellington City Libraries

Into The Night book cover

“It’s in the best tradition of detective fiction, I understand,” said Allyen with a smile.”
― Ngaio Marsh, Death and the Dancing Footman

Our final 2018 intake of newly acquired Mystery titles is an absolute cracker with new works from Elly Griffiths, Håkan Nesser, Karin Fossum, Anthony Horowitz and Quintin Hardine to name but a few. So why not take the load off your feet sit back and enjoy a jolly good murder mystery this festive season.

Syndetics book coverDown to the woods / M. J. Arlidge.
“There is a sickness in the forest. First, it was the wild horses. Now it’s innocent men and women, hunted down and murdered by a faceless figure. Lost in the darkness, they try to flee, they try to hide. In desperation, they call out for help. But there is no-one to hear their cries here… The arrow-ridden victims hang from the New Forest’s ancient oaks, like pieces of strange fruit. Why are helpless holidaymakers being targeted in peak camping season? Is a psychopath stalking the forest? Could the murders even be an offering to the Forest itself?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInto the night / Sarah Bailey.
“The riveting follow-up to The Dark Lake , acclaimed debut novel and international bestseller. The murder of homeless Walter Miller has priority with Melbourne police until another case takes precedence. Actor Sterling Wade, known for his television work, is killed during the filming of a crowd scene while being mobbed by actors costumed as zombies in what was to be his breakthrough movie role. Detectives Gemma Woodstock and Nick Fleet, assigned to the Wade case, are soon frustrated by a wealth of information but no leads. Only when Woodstock notices that the stab wounds on Miller and Wade seem identical do the two cases take a different turn.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe whisperer / Karin Fossum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.
“Ragna Riegel works in a supermarket and still lives in her childhood home. Ragna lives her life within strict self-imposed limits: she sits in the same seat on the bus every day, on her way to her predictable job. On her way home she always visits the same local shop. She feels safe in her routine, until one day she receives a letter with a threatening message scrawled in capital letters. An unknown enemy has entered her world and she must use all her means to defend herself. When the worst happens, Inspector Konrad Sejer is called in to interrogate Ragna. Is this unassuming woman out of her depth, or is she hiding a dark secret?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe stranger diaries / Elly Griffiths.
“Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case. Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe root of evil / Håkan Nesser.
“July 2007. A letter arrives on Inspector Barbarotti’s doorstep detailing a murder that is about to take place in his own quiet Swedish town. By the time the police track down the subject of the letter, he is already dead. So when a second letter arrives, then a third, and a fourth, it’s a game of cat and mouse to stop the killer before he can make good on all of his promises. Meanwhile, an anonymous diary is unearthed depicting the incidents of a two week holiday in France five years earlier, and it doesn’t take Barbarotti long to realise the people populating the diary are the ones whose lives are now in the balance.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCold case / Quintin Jardine.
“Is a killer still on the loose? The story of the Body in the Quarry was well-known around Edinburgh all those years ago: a popular priest found dead in a frozen quarry; a suspect with a clear motive charged; a guilty verdict. But with a journalist uncovering new evidence, the cold case has come back to haunt Skinner’s old mentor Jimmy Proud – and only one man can help him.
Skinner is long out of the police force, but he can’t say no. With the clock ticking, and his friend’s reputation at stake, he must uncover the truth to find out if an innocent man was convicted for murder. And if a killer is still on the loose.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiss Blaine’s prefect and the golden samovar / Olga Wojtas.
“Never underestimate a librarian. Comfortably padded and in her middle years, Shona McMonagle may look bookish and harmless, but her education at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls has left her with a deadly expertise in everything from martial arts to quantum physics. It has also left her with a bone-deep loathing for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, that scurrilous novel that spread scandalous untruths about the finest educational institution in Edinburgh. Her skills, her deceptively mild appearance, and her passionate loyalty make Shona the perfect recruit for a new and interesting project: Time-travel to Tzarist Russia, prevent a gross miscarriage of romance, and to see to it that only the right people get murdered. It’s a big job, but no task is too daunting for a Head Girl from Miss Blaine’s.” (Syndetics summary)

“Okay Marlowe,” I said to myself, ‘You’re a tough guy.” – Our choice of December’s mystery showcase books.

“Okay Marlowe,” I said to myself, ‘You’re a tough guy. You’ve been sapped twice, choked, beaten silly with a gun, shot in the arm until you’re crazy as a couple of waltzing mice. Now let’s see you do something really tough—like putting your pants on.” Philip Marlowe in Murder My Sweet (1944).

Whether your taste in mystery novels is for the grimy rain-washed streets of downtown American cities or the more genteel settings of rose-covered cottages in the idyllic British countryside, there’s murder afoot in this month’s mysteries showcase. There’s a new book by Janet Evanovich called Look Alive Twenty-Five as well as other gems including the latest V.I. Warshawski novel from Sara Paretsky called Shell Game. So why not settle into a comfortable Chesterfield chair (or its equivalent) and indulge yourself in a fine mystery read!

Syndetics book coverAgatha Raisin and the dead ringer / M. C. Beaton.
The team of bells at St. Ethelred church is the pride and glory of the idyllic Cotswolds village of Thirk Magna, together with the most dedicated bell ringers in the whole of England: the twins Mavis and Millicent Dupin. As the village gets ready for the Bishop’s visit, the twins get overly-excited at the prospect of ringing the special peal of bells created for the occasion and start bullying the other bell ringers, forcing them to rehearse and rehearse . When the twins’ home is broken into one night and Millicent is found dead, struck from a hammer blow, suspicion falls onto the lawyer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Snapshot of Murder (Kate Shackleton Mysterie) [paperback]
“Yorkshire, 1928. Indomitable sleuth Kate Shackleton is taking a well-deserved break from her detective work and indulging in her other passion: photography. When her local Photographic Society proposes an outing, Kate jumps at the chance to visit Haworth and Stanbury, in the heart of Brontë country, the setting for Wuthering Heights. But when an obnoxious member of their party is murdered, the group is thrown into disarray. Is the murderer amongst them, or did the loud-mouthed Tobias have more enemies than they might have imagined?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark sacred night / Michael Connelly.
“Detective Renée Ballard is working the night beat and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard can’t let him go through department records, but when he leaves, she looks into the case herself and feels a deep tug of empathy and anger. She has never been the kind of cop who leaves the job behind at the end of her shift — and she wants in. The murder, unsolved, was of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally killed, her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy, and to finally bring her killer to justice. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLook alive twenty-five / Janet Evanovich.
“There’s nothing like a good deli, and the Red River Deli in Trenton is one of the best. World-famous for its pastrami, cole slaw, and for its disappearing managers. Over the last month, three have vanished from the face of the earth, and the only clue in each case is one shoe that’s been left behind. The police are baffled. Lula is convinced that it’s a case of alien abduction. Whatever it is, they’d better figure out what’s going on before they lose their new manager, Ms. Stephanie Plum.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sentence is death / Anthony Horowitz.
“‘You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…’ These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer Richard Pryce , found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite, to be precise. Odd, considering he didn’t drink. And why those words? And, most importantly, which of the mans many, many enemies did the deed? Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Katharina code / Jørn Lier Horst ; translated by Anne Bruce.
“Twenty-four years ago Katharina Haugen went missing. All she left behind was her husband Martin and a mysterious string of numbers scribbled on a piece of paper. Every year on October 9th Chief Inspector William Wisting takes out the files to the case he was never able to solve. But now Martin Haugen is missing too. As Wisting prepares to investigate another missing persons case he’s visited by a detective from Oslo. Adrian Stiller is convinced Martin’s involved in another disappearance of a young woman and asks Wisting to close the net around Martin. But is Wisting playing cat and mouse with a dangerous killer or a grief-stricken husband who cannot lay the past to rest?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA missed murder / Michael Jecks.
“London, 1555. Queen Mary is newly married to Philip II of Spain – and not everyone is happy about the alliance. The kingdom is divided between those loyal to Catholic Mary and those who support her half-sister, Lady Elizabeth. Former cutpurse turned paid assassin Jack Blackjack has more immediate matters to worry about. Having been ordered to kill a man, he determines to save him instead. But Jack defies his spymaster at his peril.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShell game : a V.I. Warshawski novel / Sara Paretsky.
When V. I Warshawski gets word that her closest friend and mentor Lotty Herschel’s nephew has become a suspect in a murder, the legendary detective will do everything she can to save him. The cops found Felix Herschel’s name and phone number on the unknown victim’s remains, but Felix insists he doesn’t know why. As Vic digs deeper, she discovers that the dead man was obsessed with Middle Eastern archeology. The first clue in a bewildering case that leads to a stolen artifact and a shadowy network of international criminals.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Christmas revelation : a novel / Anne Perry.
Christmas is coming and the streets of London are full of festive cheer. As young Worm returns to his home at the Portpool Lane clinic, he encounters the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and, spellbound, he follows her until she is dragged away by two evil-looking men. Convinced that she is in grave danger, Worm begs Squeaky Robinson to help him track her down. But Elouise is embroiled with dangerous criminals who want information that only she can tell. They will stop at nothing to get what they want and, with Christmas day fast approaching, Worm and Squeaky must conjure up a daring plan to help Elouise before it is too late.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaigret and the Saturday caller / Georges Simenon ; translated by Siân Reynolds.
“When Maigret returns home at the end of a long day, he is surprised to find a tense man named Léonard Planchon waiting on his doorstep with an unusual problem. Planchon wants to kill his wife, or perhaps his wife and her lover, who for two years have been making him sleep on a cot in the dining room. He has even worked out a plan to hide their bodies in concrete. Uneasy and hoping to stop the man before he goes too far, Maigret must investigate a murder that has not yet been committed and uncover the truth behind this peculiar ménage à trois.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A measure of darkness – new Mysteries

“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

This month’s selection of new mystery novels features several detectives with very different investigating techniques — from a septuagenarian version of classic hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe (from author Lawrence Osborne), to a another remote Shetland investigation for Ann Cleeve’s much loved detective DI Jimmy Perez. Also included is the internationally critically acclaimed novel Stick together — by Sophie Hénaff —  about corruption at the very highest levels of the Parisian police force and the oddball team of misfits that set out to clean this mess up. All this makes for what we feel is a very satisfying alternative to the more usual police procedural mystery! Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverOnly to sleep : a Philip Marlowe novel / Lawrence Osborne.
“The year is 1988. The place, Baja California. And Philip Marlowe – now in his seventy-second year – is living out his retirement in the terrace bar of the La Fonda hotel. Sipping margaritas, playing cards, his silver-tipped cane at the ready. When in saunter two men dressed like undertakers, with a case that has his name written all over it. For Marlowe, this is his last roll of the dice, his swan song. His mission is to investigate the death of Donald Zinn – supposedly drowned off his yacht, and leaving behind a much younger and now very rich wife. But is Zinn actually alive? Are the pair living off the spoils?” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWild fire / Ann Cleeves.
“Welcoming. Wild. Remote. Drawn in by the reputation of the islands, an English family move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life. But when a young nanny’s body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire. With suspicion raining down on the family, DI Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate, knowing that it will mean the return to the islands of his on-off lover and boss Willow Reeves, who will run the case. Perez is facing the most disturbing investigation of his career. Is he ready for what is to come?” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverStick together / Sophie Hénaff ; translated from the French by Sam Gordon.
“After their successful solving of three cold cases and exposing corruption at the very highest level of the Paris police force, Anne Capestan’s squad of misfits and no-hopers should be in a celebratory mood. However, now despised by their colleagues at 36 quai des Orfèvres and worried for their future, morale has never been lower among the members of the Awkward Squad. Capestan does her best to motivate her troops, but even she cannot maintain a cheerful façade when she has to investigate the murder of Commissaire Serge Rufus, the father of her ex-husband. Worse, it soon appears that his murder is linked to two other victims, both of whom were warned by the killer before they struck…” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBetty Church and the Suffolk vampire / M.R.C. Kasasian.
“Inspector Betty Church — one of the few female officers on the force — has arrived from London to fill a vacancy at Sackwater police station. But Betty isn’t new here — this is the place she grew up.  Time ticks slowly in Sackwater, and crime is of a decidedly lighter shade. Having solved the case of the missing buttons, Betty is called to the train station to investigate a missing bench. But though there’s no bench, there is a body. A smartly dressed man, murdered in broad daylight, with two distinctive puncture wounds in his throat…” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverToucan keep a secret / Donna Andrews.
“Meg Langslow is at Trinity Episcopal locking up after an event and checking on the toucan Meg’s friend Reverend Robyn Smith is fostering in her office. After hearing a hammering in the columbarium, Meg finds an elderly parishioner lying dead on the floor of the crypt. Several niches have been chiseled open; several urns knocked out; and amid the spilled ashes is a gold ring with a huge red stone. Toucan Keep a Secret is the latest book in author Donna Andrews’ hilarious Mag Langslow mystery series.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAunt Dimity and the King’s Ransom / Nancy Atherton.Aunt Dimity and the King’s Ransom
“On a dull and dreary October day, Lori Shepherd and her husband Bill set off for the historic town of Rye, on the southeast coast of England, for a quiet weekend together without the kids. Bill must first pay a visit to a reclusive client–but after Lori drops him off, a powerful storm drives her off course and leaves her stranded in an ancient, rambling inn called The King’s Ransom. When Lori is spooked by ghostly noises in the night, Aunt Dimity reminds her rather tartly that not all ghosts intend to harm the living.”  (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAn unfinished murder / Ann Granger.
“As young children, Josh Browning and his sister, Dilys, stumbled across a dead body while playing on the outskirts of their Cotswold village. Terrified by what they’d seen, neither of them told a soul. Now, twenty years later, Josh finds the dead woman’s charm bracelet among his sister’s possessions. Who better to tell than his trusted friend, the man he gardens for, retired Superintendent Alan Markby? As Markby listens to Josh’s confession, alarm bells start to ring. The dates and details tie in with a missing person case that was never solved.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverA measure of darkness : a novel / Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman.
“Former star basketball player Clay Edison is busy. He’s solved a decades-old crime and redeemed an innocent man, earning himself a suspension in the process. Things are getting serious with his girlfriend. Plus his brother’s fresh out of prison, bringing with him a whole new set of complications. Then the phone rings in the dead of night. A wild party in a gentrifying East Bay neighborhood. A heated argument that spills into the street. Gunshots. Chaos. For Clay and his fellow coroners, it’s the start of a long night and the first of many to come. The victims keep piling up. What begins as a community tragedy soon becomes lurid fodder for social media.”  (Adapted from Syndetics)

Continue reading “A measure of darkness – new Mysteries”

Take a look at our Tartan Noir

Scottish crime novels cover a wide diversity of styles and themes. Ranging from gritty neo-realistic urban crime novels, exemplified by writers like Stuart McBride, to a much more genteel pastoral style from M. C. Beaton and Joyce Holm. There are also mavericks in the genre, people like Christopher Brookmyre, who taps into a rich and deep vein of black Scottish satirical humour in his thrilling works. Another person who explores different aspects of the genre is Paul Johnson, whose body politic merges the genres of crime and science fiction in a peculiarly Scottish fashion. Perhaps one of the best indicators for the popularity is the large variety of works translated into film and television series, such as M. C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth. 

If you’d like to give these authors a try, check out our Tartan Noir display in the Fiction area at Central Library on the ground floor. Our displays change around frequently, so now is the perfect time to come and browse these Scottish crime authors all in one place.

Keen to try some of these authors online? Wellington City Libraries’ collection on Overdrive has a Tartan Noir list with audiobooks and eBooks free to download or listen to online.

Wellington is welcoming Scottish crime author Denise Minain a LitCrawl event in early September. This will be a chance to hear one of Scotland’s great contemporary writers, don’t miss out!


Bloody Scotland
“A collection of crime stories set in iconic Scottish structures.” (Catalogue)
From Edinburgh Castle to the Fourth Bridge these short stories from a range of authors will introduce you to well known Scottish places through the voices of Scottish crime writers including Val McDermid, Doug Johnstone, Stuart MacBride and more.

Death of a nurse / Beaton, M. C
“James Harrison has recently moved to a restored hunting lodge in Sutherland with his gorgeous private nurse Gloria Dainty. When Hamish visits Mr Harrison to welcome him to the neighbourhood, the old man treats him very rudely. Gloria apologises for her employer’s behaviour, and Hamish invites her out for dinner. Hamish waits for Gloria at the appointed restaurant. And waits. But Gloria never shows up. Four days later, her body washes up on the beach near Braikie. Hamish must find out who killed the beautiful new resident of Sutherland, and why, before the murderer strikes again.” (Catalogue)

Want you gone / Brookmyre, Christopher
“What if all your secrets were put online? Sam Morpeth is growing up way too fast, left to fend for a younger sister with learning difficulties when their mother goes to prison. But Sam learns what it is to be truly powerless when a stranger begins to blackmail her online. Meanwhile, reporter Jack Parlabane has finally got his career back on track, but his success has left him indebted to a volatile source on the wrong side of the law. Thrown together by a mutual enemy, Sam and Jack are about to discover they have more in common than they realise – and might be each other’s only hope.” (Catalogue)

Missing link / Holms, Joyce
“A puzzling new case for sparkling detective duo Fizz and Buchanan. Always in search of a good story, Fizz Fitzgerald finds it hard to hide her impatience when elderly Mrs. Sullivan is shown into her office. Genteel and motherly, Mrs. Sullivan can only spell one thing: boredom. Fizz is more than shocked, therefore, when Mrs. Sullivan asks Fizz to help prove her guilty of murder. Could this story be too good to be true? Fizz is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery and ropes in long-suffering partner-in-crime, Tam Buchanan.” (Catalogue)

Skeleton blues : a Quint Dalrymple mystery / Johnston, Paul
“Independent Edinburgh, spring 2034. The weather’s balmy, there’s a referendum on whether to join a reconstituted Scotland coming up — and a tourist is found garotted. As usual, maverick detective Quint Dalrymple is called in to do the Council of City Guardians’ dirty work. For the first time in his career, Quint is stumped by the complexity of the case. An explosion at the City Zoo is followed by the discovery of another body, and the prime suspect is nowhere to be found.” (Catalogue)

The long drop : a novel / Mina, Denise
“William Watt’s wife, daughter, and sister-in-law are dead, slaughtered in their own home in a brutal crime that scandalized Glasgow. Despite an ironclad alibi, police zero in on Watt as the primary suspect, but he maintains his innocence. Distraught and desperate to clear his name, Watt puts out a bounty for information that will lead him to the real killer. Based on true events, The long drop is an explosive, unsettling novel about guilt, innocence and the power of a good story to hide the difference.” (Catalogue)

Recent Mystery picks

American By Day book cover

The sleuthing world of fiction is well represented this month with a superb crime “line up” of books. The golden age of British crime is wonderfully evoked In Andrew Wilsons A Different Kind Of Evil which has crime writer Agatha Christie herself as the detective in this fourth wall breaking tome. Whilst on a different crime track, the wonderful Rita Mae Brown and her cat Sneaky Pie Brown solve another fur lined mystery in Probable Claws. So put on your deerstalker, unravel a yarn and settle into a great mystery read.

Syndetics book coverProbable claws / Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown ; illustrated by Michael Gellatly.
“With the New Year just around the corner, winter has transformed the cozy Blue Ridge Mountain community of Crozet, Virginia, into a living snow globe. It’s the perfect setting for Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen to build a new work shed designed by her dear friend, local architect Gary Gardner. But the natural serenity is shattered when out of the blue, right in front of Harry and Deputy Cynthia Cooper, and in broad daylight, Gary is shot to death by a masked motorcyclist. Outraged by the brazen murder, Harry begins to burrow into her friend’s past–and unearths a pattern of destructive greed reaching far back into Virginia’s post-Revolutionary history. When Harry finds incriminating evidence, the killer strikes again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMurder at the Grand Raj Palace / Vaseem Khan.
“For a century the iconic Grand Raj Palace Hotel has welcomed the world’s elite. From film stars to foreign dignitaries, anyone who is anyone stays at the Grand Raj. The last thing the venerable old hotel needs is a murder… When American billionaire Hollis Burbank is found dead – the day after buying India’s most expensive painting – the authorities are keen to label it a suicide. But the man in charge of the investigation is not so sure. Inspector Chopra is called in – and discovers a hotel full of people with a reason to want Burbank dead.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAmerican by day / Derek B. Miller.
“She knew it was a weird place. She’d heard the stories, seen the movies, read the books. But now police Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård has to leave her native Norway and actually go there; to that land across the Atlantic where her missing brother is implicated in the mysterious death of a prominent African-American academic. Sigrid is plunged into a United States where race and identity, politics and promise, reverberate in every aspect of daily life. Working with–or, if necessary, against–the police, she must negotiate the local political minefields and navigate the backwoods of the Adirondacks to uncover the truth before events escalate further.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRage / Zygmunt Miłoszewski ; translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
“All eyes are on famous prosecutor Teodor Szacki when he investigates a skeleton discovered at a construction site in the idyllic Polish city of Olsztyn. Old bones come as no shock to anyone in this part of Poland, but it turns out these remains are fresh, the flesh chemically removed. Szacki questions the dead man’s wife, only to be left with a suspicion she’s hiding something. Then another victim surfaces–a violent husband, alive but maimed–giving rise to a theory: someone’s targeting domestic abusers. And as new clues bring the murderer closer to those Szacki holds dear, he begins to understand the terrible rage that drives people to murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIncorruptible / Barbara Nadel.
“In the backstreets of Istanbul, a young woman’s body is found. Dumped in a dustbin and covered in cut flowers, she is the victim of a frenzied and vicious stabbing. Inspector Ikmen discovers that the woman was well known in Istanbul. Newspapers had been calling her the blessed woman; cured of cancer in a Christian miracle and a proclaimed messenger of the Virgin Mary. These controversial claims had made her fierce enemies in the predominantly Islamic community and she had unwittingly stirred up divisions amongst the Christians of the city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrisis in the Cotswolds / Rebecca Tope.
“Thea and Drew have been married for a year and are settled in the village of Broad Campden, but Thea is chafing at the domestic routines she is expected to devote herself to, missing the novelty and adventure that house-sitting used to bring. When a routine burial exposes the secrets of the deceased, Drew finds himself caught in the middle of a family feud, in which he feels he is on the wrong side, and Thea’s inquisitiveness and penchant for solving crimes draws her in too. With another crisis at Drew’s other business leaving him with a profound dilemma and Thea struggling against the charismatic charms of a new man, can their marriage survive this latest Cotswold drama?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGhosts of the past / Marco Vichi ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli and Oonagh Stransky.
“Florence, 1967. It is winter, and one year has passed since the historic and devastating flood of the Arno, though the memories of that day still linger with the stains on the city walls. The anniversary of the flood brings with it a new case for Inspector Bordelli. A local wealthy industrialist – fiercely loved and respected by everyone he knew – has been found murdered in his grand villa in the Fiesole hills, and the killer has left no trace. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A different kind of evil / Wilson, Andrew
In January 1927 – and still recovering from the harrowing circumstances surrounding her disappearance a month earlier – Agatha Christie sets sail on an ocean liner bound for the Canary Islands. She has been sent there by the British Secret Intelligence Service to investigate the death of one of its agents, whose partly mummified body has been found in a cave. Early one morning, on the passage to Tenerife, Agatha witnesses a woman throw herself from the ship into the sea. At first, nobody connects the murder of the young man on Tenerife with the suicide of a mentally unstable heiress. Yet, soon after she checks into the glamorous Taoro Hotel situated in the lush Orotava Valley, Agatha uncovers a series of dark secrets. The famous writer has to use her novelist’s talent for plotting to outwit an enemy who possesses a very different kind of evil.” (Catalogue)

Fiction to film: #NZIFF 2018

Disobedience book cover

The New Zealand International Film Festival 2018 is nearly here! Tickets are booked, cinemas mapped out and movies selected and re-selected! The festival has such a range of fantastic movies that you wonder where all the ideas come from! Some can be found between the covers of some popular, and some more obscure literary works.  If you really enjoy something at the festival and want to read the inspiration source, some of them can be found here in our libraries.


Disobedience, directed by Sebastián Lelio, based on:
Disobedience / Alderman, Naomi
Disobedience is a novel that illuminates a culture that has existed in Britain for centuries, yet remains almost entirely hidden. Naomi Alderman offers a contemporary take on the search for love, faith and understanding in a world filled with conflicting moral and sexual ideals.” (Catalogue)

Border, directed by Ali Abbasi, based on:
Let the old dreams die / Ajvide Lindqvist, John
This short story collection includes Burning adapted and expanded by Iranian-born Swedish filmmaker Ali Abbasi.
“A classic short story collection from the writer called Sweden’s Stephen King that continues the breathtaking story begun in the internationally acclaimed classic Let the Right One In, also in “Final Processing,” Lindqvist reveals the next chapter in the lives of the characters he created in Handling the Undead.” (Catalogue)

Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders, directed by Joe Berlinger, based on:
In cold blood / Capote, Truman
“Truman Capote’s masterpiece, In Cold Blood, created a sensation when it was first published, serially, in The New Yorker in 1965. The intensively researched, atmospheric narrative of the lives of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, and of the two men, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, who brutally killed them on the night of November 15, 1959, is the seminal work of the “new journalism.” Capote’s account is so detailed that the reader comes to feel almost like a participant in the events.” (Catalogue)

Piercing, directed by Nicolas Pesce, based on:
Piercing / Murakami, Ryū
“The follow up to In the Miso Soup, Piercing confirms Ryu Murakami as the master of the psycho-thriller.” (Catalogue)

Wildlife, directed by Paul Dano, based on:
Wildlife / Ford, Richard
“Ford’s fourth novel is set in the same Western landscape that so distinguished his acclaimed collection Rock Springs, and with it he extends his reputation as one of the most compelling and eloquent storytellers of his generation, providing us with both the pleasures of narrative and the sad wisdom of art. Wildlife is the story of coming out into the world as it resolutely is, never the world we hope it is.” (Catalogue)

Juliet, Naked, directed by Jesse Peretz, based on:
Juliet, naked / Hornby, Nick
“This novel is about the nature of creativity and obsession, and how two lonely people can gradually find each other.” (Catalogue)

Burning, directed by Lee Chang-dong, based on:
The Elephant vanishes / Murakami, Haruki
This collection includes Barn Burning which has been translated into the film Burning by Korean director Lee Chang-dong.
“By turns haunting and hilarious, The Elephant Vanishes is further proof of Murakami’s ability to cross the border between separate realities — and to come back bearing treasure.” (Catalogue)

No Shame, directed by Brendan Donovan, based on:
The lazy boys : a novel / Shuker, R. Carl
The film No Shame by directed by Brendan Donovan is one of the New Zealand’s Best short film finalists of 2018.
“Like a punch in the stomach or a sustained cry, Carl Shuker’s risky and harrowing first person narrative is as visceral as Fight Club and as brutal as A Clockwork Orange. On the surface Richey’s actions are unforgivable, but his unformed and distorted world is immediate and recognizable to a generation brought up in a society indifferent to its own nihilism.” (Catalogue)

Lean on Pete, directed by Andrew Haigh, based on:
Lean on Pete : a novel / Vlautin, Willy
“Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson wants a home; food on the table; a high school he can attend for more than part of a year; and some structure to his life. But as the son of a single father working at warehouses across the Pacific Northwest, he’s been pretty much on his own for some time. Lean on Pete opens as he and his father arrive in Portland, Oregon and Charley takes a stables job, illegally, at the local race track. It’s there that Charley meets Pete, an old horse who becomes his companion as he’s forced to try to make his own way in the world. A portrait of a journey, Lean on Pete is also the unforgettable story of a friendship and of hope in dark times.” (Adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Breath, directed by Simon Baker, based on:
Breath / Winton, Tim
“Bruce Pike, or ‘Pikelet’, has lived all his short life in a tiny sawmilling town from where the thundering sea can be heard at night. He longs to be down there on the beach, amidst the pounding waves, but for some reason his parents forbid him. It’s only when he befriends Loonie, the local wild boy, that he finally defies them. Intoxicated by the treacherous power of the sea and by their own youthful endurance, the two boys spurn all limits and rules, and fall into the company of adult mentors whose own addictions to risk take them to places they could never have imagined.” (Catalogue)

We also have to mention a documentary we’re very excited about seeing: Ex Libris: The New York Public Library. “Standing in for libraries everywhere, the magnificent New York Public Library is explored and extolled in the great Frederick Wiseman’s latest ode to the importance of essential institutions in politically tumultuous times.” We can’t wait! In the meantime, you might enjoy this book, featuring NYPL in its pages:

The public library : a photographic essay / Dawson, Robert
“Many of us have vivid recollections of childhood visits to a public library: the unmistakable musty scent, the excitement of checking out a stack of newly discovered books. Over the last eighteen years, photographer Robert Dawson has crisscrossed the country documenting hundreds of these endangered institutions. The Public Library presents a wide selection of Dawson’s photographs from the majestic reading room at the New York Public Library to Allensworth, California’s one-room Tulare County Free Library built by former slaves. Accompanying Dawson’s revealing photographs are essays, letters, and poetry by some of America’s most celebrated writers. A foreword by Bill Moyers and an afterword by Ann Patchett bookend this important survey of a treasured American institution.” (Catalogue)

Twisty-turny new Mystery novels

Wolf on a String book cover

The new additions to the mysteries collection offers readers a chance to explore the convoluted tales that authors have woven to intrigue their audience. Author Alexander McCall Smith continues investigating in Edinburgh with Isabel Delhousie. Northern and Southern European detectives, professional and otherwise feature in translated works from Norway and Sicily. Historical settings as historical links weave their way through some of these mysteries. With plenty to enjoy from the new mystery additions, just a few of them are highlighted below.

Auntie Poldi and the fruits of the Lord / Giordano, Mario
“Wine and murder – nothing is more likely to rouse Auntie Poldi’s love of the chase. Still relishing the notoriety from her spectacular resolution of the Candela case, Poldi is alive to the faintest whiff of criminality.What to others might seem a series of misfortunes – the water supply cut off, a poisoned dog – is clearly, to Poldi, an escalation: the Mafia have had her in their sights ever since she solved Valentino’s murder. Poldi has tasted blood. No one is above suspicion. And trouble will surely follow…” (Catalogue)

The ice swimmer / Dahl, Kjell Ola
“When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated… With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side… Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir.” (Catalogue)

The quiet side of passion / McCall Smith, Alexander
“It is summer in Edinburgh and Isabel Dalhousie is once again caught between ‘gossip’ and significant rumour. It is none of her business that Patricia, the mother of her son Charlie’s little friend Basil, is estranged from Basil’s father, or that the woman has a somewhat brazen attitude to childcare. And yet, it is curious. Isabel, however, has much else on her mind as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics… What’s more, her instinct to help others may have put her in real danger. In her desire to run both a smooth household and working life, has she simply created more chaos? Perhaps the quiet side of passion is, after all, the best side on which to be?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wolf on a string : a novel / Black, Benjamin
“As Benjamin Black, John Banville… writes impeccable crime novels starring Dublin-based pathologist Quirke. Here he assumes his Black persona but travels back to 1599 Prague. Young Christian Stern, who arrives there with the winter snows to seek his fortune, finds a well-born woman with her throat cut in Golden Lane, next to the castle of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II. Soon, at the behest of Rudolf himself, our stalwart hero is investigating the murder, which leads him to intrigue surrounding the throne.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Queen’s progress : a Kit Marlowe mystery / Trow, M. J
“1591. The Queen is embarking on a Royal Progress, visiting some of the grandest homes in England, and Kit Marlowe has been sent on ahead to ensure all goes smoothly. When his reconnaissance mission is derailed by a series of alarming and tragic incidents, Marlowe suspects there’s a conspiracy to sabotage the Progress. Who is pulling the strings – and why?” (Catalogue)

Dead if you don’t / James, Peter
“Shortly after Kipp Brown and his teenage son, Mungo, arrive at the stadium for their team’s biggest-ever football game, Mungo disappears. A short while later Kipp receives a text with a ransom demand and a warning not to go to the police if he and his wife want to see their son alive again. But as a massive, covert manhunt for the boy and his kidnappers begins, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace starts to realize that not all is what it seems.” (Catalogue)

Evelyn Crowley / Reid, Gordon
“After being compromised by involvement in a web of police corruption, Harry Becker is discharged from the New South Wales police force. Weighed down by regret, he commits to doing things right. Taking on what seems to be a simple investigative job, he discovers his client, Evelyn Crowley, has links to the underworld. The escalating drama develops into a dangerous love story that tests his character and new resolve… Is it possible for Harry to act honourably and survive the menace of the Mafia?” (Catalogue)

The deepest grave / Bingham, Harry
“DS Fiona Griffiths is bored. It’s been months since she had a good corpse. Then she gets news; not just of a murder, but of a decapitation, and one committed with an antique sword no less. All that, and, a murder scene laid out like a gruesome crossword clue… As Fiona starts to investigate, she finds evidence of a crime that seems to have its origins in King Arthur’s greatest battle.” (Catalogue)

The killing habit / Billingham, Mark
We all know the signs. Cruelty, lack of empathy, the killing of animals. Now, pets on suburban London streets are being stalked by a shadow, and it could just be the start. DI Tom Thorne knows the psychological profile of such offenders all too well, so when he is tasked with catching a notorious killer of domestic cats, he sees the chance to stop a series of homicides before they happen.” (Catalogue)

Death around the bend / Kinsey, T. E.
“September 1909, and Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, have been invited to Lord Riddlethorpe’s country estate for a week of motor racing and parties. They both agree that it sounds like a perfectly charming holiday. But when one of the drivers dies in a crash during the very first race, they discover that what seemed like an uncharacteristic error in judgement may have a more sinister explanation.” (Catalogue)

Short stories at Central are on the move

Bibliomysteries book cover

Short stories at Wellington Central Library are being integrated into the general fiction collection. Authors’ short stories collections have always been a part of the browsing experience amidst the author’s other books on the fiction shelves; the anthologies and compilations are found by their title.

Here are some interesting fiction short story compilations, new and not so new, spanning a variety of subjects, themes, collections, countries and continents.  Closer to home, this year’s Matariki theme Te Ahi Ka – The Home Fires, relates to the title of our first anthology Te Korero Ahi Kā: To speak of the home fires burning. Great for the long winter evenings, these compilations will give readers something new to explore.

Te korero ahi kā : To speak of the home fires burning
Te Korero Ahi Kā: To speak of the home fires burning is an anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, showcasing work from award-winning and emerging members Aotearoa/New Zealand authors, poets, artists of speculative fiction. Here, between the realms of the Sky Father and Earth Mother, hellhounds race, ghosts drift and the taniwha stalks. Home fires drive them back, sparking stories and poems that traverse seconds, eons, and parsecs.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bloody Scotland
“A collection of crime stories set in iconic Scottish structures.” (Catalogue)
Bloody Scotland is Scotland’s international crime writing festival. This year New Zealand writers Fiona Sussman and Paul Cleave distinguished in the Ngaio Marsh awards are taking part.

Cli-fi : Canadian tales of climate change
“With the world facing the greatest global crisis of all time – climate change – personal and political indifference has wrought a series of unfolding complications that are altering our planet, and threatening our very existence. These stories of Climate Fiction (Cli-fi) feature perspectives by culturally diverse Canadian writers of short fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and futurist works, and transcend traditional doomsday stories by inspiring us to overcome the bleak forecasted results of our current indifference.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Best British short stories
Best British Short Stories invites you to judge a book by its cover – or more accurately, by its title. This new series aims to reprint the best short stories published in the previous calendar year by British writers, whether based in the UK or elsewhere.” (Catalogue)

Australian short stories. No 66.
“After 65 issues of Australian Short Stories from 1982-2000 we are back with a sparkling new collection of stories. In this collection we feature Gillian Mears’ last story. We published Gillian’s first story when she was 23 and followed up with examples of her work for 16 years. There are also new stories by old favourites, Kim Scott, Carmel Bird and Barry Dickins plus a series of stories from writers in the early stages of their careers. Open at the first page and savour Australia.” (Catalogue)

Robots vs fairies
“It’s the ultimate death match between the mechanical and the magical! When the lasers cease firing and the fairy dust settles, who will triumph in these epic battles between the artificial and the supernatural? Choose a side…” (Catalogue)

Bibliomysteries : crime in the world of books and bookstores
“An anthology of specially commissioned stories set in literary venues includes contributions by such writers as Loren D. Estleman, Anne Perry, and Laura Lippman.” (Catalogue)

PEN America best debut short stories. 2017
Poets, Essayists and Novelists America promote literature and freedom of expression.  This collection features twelve authors from publications around the Unites States of America.  An interesting mix, with selection discussed by the editors behind their handpicked choices.

Wintery crime: Nordic Noir

The Man Who Died book cover

Exposing the shadowy side of Scandinavian life, these dark tales are gritty and unpredictable. This selection of recent titles from Scandinavia has authors from: Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.  Some are translated from the original, a couple feature writing partnerships that have created award winning television series, authors who have inspired movies and adaptations of classics in a modern setting.


The scarred woman / Jussi Adler-Olsen (from Denmark)
“The body of an elderly woman is found in a Copenhagen park, and since this book features Detective Carl Morck of Department Q, Copenhagen’s cold cases division, you can bet the case bears resemblance to an unsolved murder dating back a decade. The race is on, and if Morck doesn’t win this one, Department Q will be closed.” (Catalogue)

The silent girl : a Sebastian Bergman thriller /Michael Hjorth (from Sweden)
“An idyllic white, two-storey, beautiful house in Sweden. Inside, a family has been brutally murdered – mother, father and two young children all shot in broad daylight. And the killer has got away. Sebastian Bergman is at a dead end until he discovers a young girl saw it all happen has disappeared.  Bergman has to track the young girl down before it’s too late. But the killer is chasing her too – and he is determined to finish what he started.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The reckoning / Yrsa Sigurdardottir (from Iceland)
“In 2016 the following people are going to die: K, S, BT, JJ, OV and I. Nobody will miss them. Least of all me. I can’t wait. This is the chilling message found in a school’s time capsule, ten years after it was buried. But surely, if a thirteen-year-old wrote it, it can’t be a real threat… Huldar suspects he’s been given the investigation simply to keep him busy and away from real police work. He turns to Freyja to help with the psychology of the child who hid the note. Soon, however, they find themselves at the heart of another shocking case.” (Catalogue)

Three minutes / Anders Roslund  (from Sweden)
Roslund & Hellstrom are a writing team consisting of Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom. Follow the link to discover Roslund’s links to Aotearoa/ New Zealand.
“One-time Swedish government agent Piet Hoffmann is on the run: both from the life prison sentence, and from the Polish mafia. In order to survive, he ends up as bodyguard and hit man for the Colombian mafia, and is approached by the US DEA to infiltrate the same cartel.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The man who died / Antti Tuomainen  (Finland)
“A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, markinng a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Macbeth / Nesbø, Jo (from Norway)
Adapted from the classic as part of the Hogarth Press Shakespeare series.  This grim retelling uses place as well as character to evoke the struggle of flawed individuals under the influence of the headiest of drugs, power. Macbeth is cast as an inspector unexpectedly finding himself in a place foretold by potion brewing sisters. ‘The Lady’ has her own designs on power both have laid out a path of disastrous consequences.

The girl in the woods / Camilla Läckberg  (from Sweden)
Popular author Camilla Lackberg has a series of books based in Fjllbacka as one of her creative pursuits.
“When a four-year-old girl disappears in the woods just outside Fjllbacka, the community is horror-struck. Thirty years ago, a young girl went missing from the exact same spot, and was later discovered, murdered. Detective Patrik Hedstrm starts investigating, with his wife, bestselling crime writer Erica Falck, by his side.” (Catalogue)

The ice swimmer / Kjell Ola Dahl  (from Norway)
“When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated.  Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir.” (Catalogue)

The shadow district / Arnaldur Indriðason (from Iceland)
“A 90-year-old man is found dead in his bed, smothered with his own pillow. On his desk the police find newspaper cuttings about a murder case dating from the Second World War, when a young woman was found strangled behind Reykjavik’s National Theatre. Konrad, a former detective, is bored with retirement, he grew up in “the shadow district” and remembers the crime. Why would someone be interested in that crime now? He starts his own unofficial enquiry.” (Catalogue)

Readers Choice fiction selections

Reviews from library patrons are a great way to find out what people have loved reading from the new additions to the fiction collection. These selections are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that others can find great reading material.  You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

Here are some recent reviews featuring an interesting mix of subjects and genres: mysteries, historical novels, science fiction, humour, psychological fiction, thrillers and New Zealand environmental activism.

The changeling : a novel / LaValle, Victor D.Book Jacket for: The changeling : a novel
“This captivating retelling of a classic fairy tale imaginatively explores parental obsession, spousal love, and the secrets that make strangers out of the people we love the most. It’s a thrilling and emotionally devastating journey through the gruesome legacies that threaten to devour us and the homely, messy magic that saves us, if we’re lucky.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Excellent. An unusual voice, but marvellous blend of modernity and fairy-tale, with powerful themes and insight.  Very Satisfying.” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: Stranded

Stranded / MacLeod, Bracken
“Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was suspenseful, gripping and well researched. Doesn’t lean on the numerous clichés of the horror genre which makes it so engaging.  A great read!” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: Hanna who fell from the skyHanna who fell from the sky / Meades, Christopher
“With lush, evocative prose, award-winning author Christopher Meades takes readers on an emotional journey into a fascinating, unknown world–and, along the way, brilliantly illuminates complexities of faith, identity and how our origins shape who we are.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “What a well written novel, thoroughly enjoyed it, well worth reading. Never read any of Meades novels before would love to read more of his material.” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: The last hoursThe last hours / Walters, Minette
“When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Well written, engaging, couldn’t put down – read all night. Can’t wait for the sequel this year.” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: EurekaEureka / Quinn, Anthony
“Summer, 1967. As London shimmers in a heat haze and swoons to the sound of Sergeant Pepper, a mystery film – Eureka – is being shot by German wunderkind Reiner Kloss. The screenwriter, Nat Fane, would do anything for a hit but can’t see straight for all the acid he’s dropping.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Was an enjoyable read, especially in it’s evocation of London in the ‘swinging sixties’.” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: KrusoKruso / Seiler, Lutz
“It is 1989, and a young literature student named Ed, fleeing unspeakable tragedy, travels to the Baltic island of Hiddensee. Long shrouded in myth, the island is a notorious destination for hippies, idealists, and those at odds with the East German state.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was compelling.  Via fantasy and fact Seiler deftly weaves a story about East German idealists, refugees and escapists told through the perspective of a challenged young man” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Eye of the songbird / Munro, Michael
“What happens when a New Zealand team of scientists find one of the world’s largest flawless diamonds on the last piece of sovereign-less land, Antarctica?” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “A highly relevant New Zealand thriller with it’s plot centred on one of the big issues of the day; climate change.  Highly recommended” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The miranda : a novel / Nicholson, G. J.
“The Miranda is at turns a biting satire about the secrets we keep from our neighbors, and about the invisible and unceasing state of war in which most Westerners unconsciously live.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was like a Coen Brothers movie: darkly satirical. The detachment of the protagonist is key to this novel – he was a psychologist turned government agent training operatives to withstand torture. He is not disaffected, quite the reverse, but he is clinical , perceptive and interesting. A good dark read.” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐