Bestsellers, Crime & Mystery: March 2018


The Pit-Prop Syndicate (Detective Club)
Freeman Wills Crofts
Seymour Merriman’s holiday in France comes to an abrupt halt, when his motorcycle starts leaking petrol. Following a lorry to find fuel, he discovers that it belongs to an English company making timber pit-props for coal mines back home. His suspicions of illegal activity are aroused when he sees the exact same lorry with a different number plate – and confirmed later with the shocking discovery of a body. What began as amateur detective work ends up as a job for Inspector Willis of Scotland Yard, a job requiring tenacity, ingenuity and guile… Freeman Wills Crofts’ transition from civil engineer on the Irish railways to world-renowned master of the detective mystery began with The Cask when he was fully 40 years old; but it was his third novel, the baffling The Pit-Prop Syndicate, that was singled out by his editors, in 1930, as the first for inclusion in Collins’ prestigious new series of reprints ‘for crime connoisseurs’. This Detective Club classic is introduced by John Curran, author of The Hooded Gunman, and includes the bonus of an exclusive short story by Crofts, ‘Danger in Shroude Valley’.
Classic mystery | HC | $24.99


Mr Bowling Buys a Newspaper (Detective Club)
Donald Henderson
Mr Bowling is getting away with murder. On each occasion, he buys a newspaper to see whether anyone suspects him. But there is a war on, and the clues he leaves are going unnoticed. Which is a shame, because Mr Bowling is not a conventional serial killer: he wants to get caught so that his torment can end. How many more newspapers must he buy, before the police finally catch up with him? Donald Henderson was an actor and playwright who had also written novels as D H Landels, but with little success. While working for the BBC in London, during the Second World War, his fortunes finally changed with Mr Bowling Buys a Newspaper, a darkly-satirical portrayal of a murderer that was to be promoted enthusiastically by Raymond Chandler, as his favourite detective novel. But even the author of The Big Sleep could not save it from oblivion: it has remained out of print for more than 60 years. This Detective Club classic is introduced by award-winning novelist Martin Edwards, who reveals new information about Henderson’s often troubled life and writing career.
Classic mystery | HC | $24.99


When It Grows Dark (William Wisting 06)
Jørn Lier Horst
A letter from the dead could solve Wisting’s coldest case. Stavern 1983: Christmas is approaching and an ambitious young policeman named William Wisting has just become the father of twins. Edged off a robbery investigation by more experienced officers, he is soon on a less prestigious case. In a dilapidated barn stands a forgotten, bullet-riddled car. How long has it been there and what happened to the driver? This is the case that shaped William Wisting as a policeman, with a resolution thirty-three years in the future… Not so much Scandi noir, as a police procedural. Great characters – and a functional, realistic cop (who bucks the trend and isn’t an alcoholic – reformed, or otherwise!) The series begins with Dregs (PBK, $19.99).
Mystery | PBK | $19.99


The Rúin (Cormac Reilly 01)
Dervla McTiernan
Galway 1993: Young Garda Cormac Reilly is called to a scene he will never forget. Two silent, neglected children – fifteen-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack – are waiting for him at a crumbling country house. Upstairs, their mother lies dead. Twenty years later, a body surfaces in the icy black waters of the River Corrib. At first, it looks like an open-and-shut case, but then doubt is cast on the investigation’s findings – and the integrity of the police. Cormac is thrown back into the cold case that has haunted him his entire career – what links the two deaths, two decades apart? As he navigates his way through police politics and the ghosts of the past, Detective Reilly uncovers shocking secrets and finds himself questioning who among his colleagues he can trust. What really did happen in that house, where he first met Maude and Jack? The first novel of an Irish-Australian author, now living in Perth. Recommended. (Great customer reviews, too!)
Mystery/suspense | TP | $32.99


The Last Chance Olive Ranch (China Bayles mysteries 25)
Susan Albert Wittig
A killer, McQuaid put away years ago, has busted out of Huntsville Prison and appears to be headed for Pecan Springs. China wants to stay by her husband’s side and keep him from harm, but McQuaid insists that she get out of town and go to the Last Chance Olive Ranch, where she’s agreed to teach a workshop on herbs. The owner, Maddie Haskell, has her own troubles. She inherited the ranch and olive oil business from the late matriarch, Eliza Butler, but Eliza’s nephew is contesting the will. While China throws herself into helping Maddie, McQuaid’s plan to stop the convict backfires. And, now, McQuaid’s life is not the only one at stake – and this time may really be his last chance…
Mystery | PBK | $19.95


The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place (Flavia de Luce mysteries 09)
Alan Bradley
Flavia is enjoying the summer, spending her days punting along the river with her reluctant family. Languishing in boredom, she drags a slack hand in the water – and catches her fingers in the open mouth of a drowned corpse. She needs to put her super-sleuthing skills to the test to investigate the murder of three gossips in the local church – and to keep her sisters out of danger. Latest in the tales of the quirky, eccentric de Luce clan in post-WWII Britain. Imagine if one of the Mitfords had become a sleuth…
Historical mystery | HC | $35.00


Foreign Bodies (British Library Crime Classics)
edited by Martin Edwards
Today, translated crime fiction is in vogue – but this was not always the case. A century before Scandi noir, writers across Europe and beyond were publishing detective stories of high quality. Often these did not appear in English and they have been known only by a small number of experts. This is the first-ever collection of classic crime in translation, from the golden age of the genre in the 20th century. Many of these stories are exceptionally rare, and several have been translated – for the first time – to appear in this volume.
Classic mystery | TP | $27.95


Nucleus (Tom Wilde 02)
Rory Clements
June 1939. England is partying like there is no tomorrow, gas masks at the ready. In Cambridge, the May Balls are played out with a frantic intensity – but the good times won’t last… In Europe, the Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, and in Germany the persecution of the Jews is now so widespread that desperate Jewish parents send their children to safety in Britain aboard the Kindertransport. Closer to home, the IRA’s S-Plan bombing campaign has resulted in more than 100 terrorist outrages around England. But, perhaps, the most far-reaching event of all goes largely unreported: in Germany, Otto Hahn has produced the first man-made fission and an atomic device is now a very real possibility. The Nazis set up the Uranverein group of physicists: its task is to build a super-bomb. The German High Command is aware that British and US scientists are working on similar lines. Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory is where the atom was split, in 1932. Might the Cambridge men now win the race for a nuclear bomb? Hitler’s generals need to be sure they know all the Cavendish’s secrets. Only then, will it be safe for Germany to wage war. When one of the Cavendish’s finest brains is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde is once more drawn into an intrigue from which there seems no escape. In a conspiracy that stretches from Cambridge to Berlin and from Washington DC to the west coast of Ireland, he faces deadly forces that threaten the fate of the world. A sequel to the hugely-recommended, award-winning Corpus (PBK, $19.99)
Suspense | TP | $29.99


Mystery at Olympia (Crime Club)
John Rhode
The next time you visit Olympia, take a good look around and see if you think it would be possible to murder someone in the middle of the crowd there without being seen… The new Comet was fully expected to be the sensation of the annual Motor Show at Olympia. Suddenly, in the middle of the dense crowd of eager spectators, an elderly man lurched forward and collapsed – in a dead faint. But Nahum Pershore had not fainted. He was dead, and it was his death that was to provide the real sensation of the show. A post-mortem revealed no visible wound, no serious organic disorder, no evidence of poison. Doctors and detectives were equally baffled, and the more they investigated, the more insoluble the puzzle became. Even Dr Lancelot Priestley’s unrivalled powers of deduction were struggling to solve this case.
Classic mystery | PBK | $19.99


Invisible Weapons (Crime Club)
John Rhode
The murder of old Mr Fransham while washing his hands in his niece’s cloakroom was one of the most astounding problems that ever confronted Scotland Yard. Not only was there a policeman in the house at the time, but there was an ugly wound in the victim’s forehead and nothing in the locked room that could have inflicted it. The combined efforts of Superintendent Hanslet and Inspector Waghorn brought no answer and the case was dropped. It was only after another equally baffling murder had been committed that Dr Lancelot Priestley’s orderly and imaginative deductions began to make the connections that would solve this extraordinary case. A classic crime novel by one of the most highly-regarded exponents of the genre.
Classic mystery | PBK | $19.99