Ngaio Marsh Award 2020 longlist announced

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

— Ngaio Marsh

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

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

The longlisted titles are:


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

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

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

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

The wild card / Renée
“Ruby Palmer has been dealt a rough hand. She was left in a kete at the back door of the Porohiwi Home for Children when she was a baby, and then at seven she discovered that Betty who stopped the bad stuff happening to Ruby at the Home has drowned. Now in her thirties, Ruby suspects her friend was murdered, her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols on playing cards to tell a story she can’t understand, but there are other clues too: the man in the balaclava who attacks her when she starts to investigate, and break-ins at the local theatre where Ruby is playing Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A madness of sunshine / Singh, Nalini
“Golden Cove is a peaceful town. That is until one fateful summer, when tragedy shatters the trust holding the community together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships and a silent agreement to never look back. But they can’t run from the past forever. Eight years later, a young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape. The town’s dark past and haunted present are about to collide.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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

The shortlist will be announced later this year.

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)