Bestsellers, Crime & Mystery: May 2018
Corpus (Tom Wilde 01)
1936. Europe is in turmoil. The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland. In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror. Spain has erupted in civil war. In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks she is found dead, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers. In an exclusive London club, a conspiracy is launched that threatens the very heart of government. When a renowned society couple with fascist leanings are found brutally murdered, a maverick Cambridge professor is drawn into a world of espionage he knows only from history books. The deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he finds to link the murders with the girl with the silver syringe – and, even more worryingly, to the scandal surrounding the Abdication… Now in paperback. Recommended!
Mystery/suspense | PBK | $19.99
Greeks Bearing Gifts (Bernie Gunther 13)
We love this hugely-entertaining series, which begins with the omnibus Berlin Noir (PBK, $39.99). As the title indicates – Bernie goes to Greece in the mid-fifties – and as always – discovers unfinished business… We thought this may have been the last of Bernie Gunther – as, sadly, Kerr died in March. But his publisher has said there’s another last manuscript that was being copy edited still to come. A truly brilliant series and protagonist – and we’re devastated by Kerr’s unexpected demise.
Noir | TP | $32.99
Pandora’s Boy (Flavia Albia 06)
Flavia Albia is a private investigator, always drawn to an intriguing puzzle – even if it is put to her by her new husband’s hostile ex-wife. On the Quirinal Hill, Clodia Volumnia, a very young girl with stars in her eyes, has died, amid suggestions that she was poisoned by a love potion. It will have been supplied by a local witch, who goes by the name of Pandora, though Albia learns that Pandora carries on a trade in herbal beauty products while hiding much more dangerous connections. Pandora’s beloved grandson, a trainee hack lawyer, is one of the dead girl’s empty-headed friends; can this be relevant? As she homes in on the truth, Albia has to contend with the occult, organised crime, an unusual fertility symbol, and celebrity dining. The supposedly sweet air of the Quirinal hides the smells of loose morality, casual betrayal and even gangland conflict. When a friend of her own is murdered, Albia determines to expose as much of this local sickness as she can – beginning with the truth about the death of little Clodia. From the creator of Falco comes Falco: The New Generation, featuring her unforgettable heroine, Flavia Albia, in her sixth novel.
Historical mystery | TP | $32.99
The Temptation of Forgiveness (Commissario Brunetti 27)
A suspicious accident draws Brunetti into Venice’s underworld – with unintended, disturbing consequences… When important information is leaked from inside the Venetian Questura, Commissario Guido Brunetti is entrusted with the task of uncovering which of his colleagues is responsible… Why spend a motza going to Venice? – it’s overcrowded and expensive – and as a tourist, you’ll get charged a ridiculous amount for very ordinary food and accommodation. Blah! Instead you can visit Brunetti’s Venice – and explore with the knowledge of a local. You’ll eat the best the place has to offer – and feel like you’re breathing Venetian air – all in the comfort of your favourite chair. Oh, how we love the annual Donna Leon release!
Mystery | TP | $29.99
Fire in the Thatch (British Library Crime Classics)
E C R Lorac
The Second World War is drawing to a close. Nicholas Vaughan, released from the army after an accident, takes refuge in Devon renting a thatched cottage in the beautiful countryside at Mallory Fitzjohn. Vaughan sets to work farming the land, rearing geese and renovating the cottage. Hard work and rural peace seem to make this a happy bachelor life. On a nearby farm lives the bored, flirtatious June St Cyres, an exile from London while her husband is a Japanese POW. June’s presence attracts fashionable visitors of dubious character, and threatens to spoil Vaughan’s prized seclusion. When Little Thatch is destroyed in a blaze, all Vaughan’s work goes up in smoke and Inspector Macdonald is drafted in – to uncover a motive for murder. Another fantastic addition to the British Library Crime Classic series, originally published in 1946.
Classic mystery | TP | $27.95
In Prior’s Wood (Max Tudor 07)
G M Malliet
Newly returned from investigating a murder in Monkslip-super-Mare, former M15 agent Max Tudor wants nothing more than to settle back into his predictable routine as vicar of St Edwold’s Church in the village of Nether Monkslip. But the flow of his sermon on Bathsheba is interrupted when Lady Duxter is found dead after having made a suicide pact with her lover. Lady Duxter’s husband rallies quickly from the double tragedy – too quickly, it is murmured in the village. Having already planned a writer’s retreat at his manor house, he insists the show must go on. But when a young girl goes missing and a crime writer becomes a target, DCI Cotton asks Max to lend his MI5 expertise to the investigation… Really nicely-done British village mystery – lots of fans among the regular crew – recommended!
Mystery | PBK | $19.99
Below the Clock (Detective Club)
J V Turner
A HarperCollins Detective Club reissue of a classic Golden Age detective novel set at the heart of Westminster, when the murder of the Chancellor of the Exchequer threatens to topple the whole House of Cards… Many highly-dramatic and historic scenes have been enacted below the clock of Big Ben, but none more sensational than on that April afternoon – when, before the eyes of a chamber crowded to capacity for the Budget Speech, the Chancellor fell headlong to the floor with a resounding crash. For the first time, a murder had been committed in the House of Commons itself – and Amos Petrie faced the toughest case of his career. In Below the Clock, John Victor Turner – a journalist who, as David Hume, had become known as ‘the new Edgar Wallace’ for creating Britain’s first hardboiled detective series – returned to classic Golden Age writing with an ingenious whodunit set at the heart of the establishment; a novel that did the unthinkable, by turning Parliament into a crime scene and all its Members into murder suspects.
Classic mystery | HC | $19.99
To Die But Once (Maisie Dobbs 14)
During the months following Britain’s declaration of war on Germany, Maisie Dobbs investigates the disappearance of a young apprentice working on a hush-hush government contract. Her investigation leads her from the countryside of rural Hampshire to the web of wartime opportunism exploited by one of the London underworld’s most powerful men, in a case that serves as a reminder of the inextricable link between money and war. Yet when a final confrontation approaches, she must acknowledge the potential cost to her future – and the risk of destroying a dream she wants very much to become reality. Lots of customers love these. Must say – that Maisie Dobbs has certainly come up in the world – what a life! From a humble servant girl in the twenties, to a private investigator in the thirties – to a spy in the ’40s? – and an investigator again. Imagine the memoir! :-)
Mystery | TP | $29.99
The Rogue’s Syndicate (Detective Club)
This exciting thriller by the late Frank Froëst, himself a detective of international fame, will satisfy the most exacting of detective story connoisseurs. Against a familiar London background, we have here a tale of breathtaking adventure – knifing, arson, racing taxicabs, and shooting to kill… Lost in a London fog, young Jimmie Hallett is accosted by a frightened woman who hands him a package and flees. Within hours, he is being questioned about the murder of the girl’s father and a dangerous international conspiracy. Can genial detective Weir Menzies, even with all the resources of Scotland Yard behind him, succeed in outwitting a faceless gang of organised thieves and killers? Frank Froëst, the highly decorated Superintendent of Scotland Yard’s CID, began his retirement from the Metropolitan Police by writing The Grell Mystery, acclaimed as the first crime novel to incorporate authentic police procedures. With George Dilnot, co-author of the story collection The Crime Club, Froëst wrote one more novel, the ambitious and thrilling The Rogues’ Syndicate, published in 1916 and also released as a silent movie, Millionaire Hallet’s Adventure. The book was republished in April 1930 by the Detective Story Club, but was inadvertently sourced from an abridged, Americanised version called The Maelstrom. This Detective Club classic restores the full text of the British first edition; and includes an introduction by the Detective Story Club’s original series editor, F T Smith. (Jolly good show, Detective Club!)
Classic mystery | HC | $22.99
Maigret Travels (Maigret 51)
The attempted suicide of a countess and the death of a billionaire in the same luxury Paris hotel send Maigret to the Riviera and then to Switzerland, as he searches for the truth amid the glittering world of the super-rich. Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels in new translations. This novel has been published in a previous translation as Maigret and the Millionaires. ‘One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century… Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories.’ – The Guardian.
Maigret | PBK | $16.99