This will be Auntie M’s last post for 2014. She’ll be back on January 4th in 2015 with a whole new slew of great books for your reading pleasure.
But before the year ends, consider this: Many of Auntie M’s readers enjoy their mysteries set in England and here are a few of the best. Last minute shopperlooking for gifts for readers? Or just in the mood for a darn good mystery for yourself? Don’t forget to gift yourself this year! Enjoy your holidays and all the new books waiting to be read~ Happy New Year!
Award-winning writer Sophie Hannah was chosen by Agatha Christie’s estate to write a new Hercule Poirot mystery. The Monogram Murders is a glorious legacy to the Poirot stories, with the Belgian detective in fine form as he investigates the murders of three people at a fashionable London hotel. All have had a cufflink placed in their mouths. What is their connection to the young woman who has interrupted his meal at a local coffee house he’s been frequenting? For she has told him she is about to be murdered and that this will service justice.
1920’s London is accurately represented here, and Hannah gets Poirot’s dialogue just right. Fans will picture David Suchet, the very embodiment of Poirot, mincing his way through the locked room mystery with the aid of Edward Catchpool, a young Scotland Yard policeman sharing a lodging house with Poirot. It is Catchpool who has decided to write down what the calls “the Jennie story” and who learns quickly from the great detective, as the two visit the countryside to unravel the tendrils of this murder plot that has its beginnings in machinations from long ago.
An interesting gift would be this volume and Willam Morrow’s 75th Anniversary Edition of Chrisit’es timeless murder And Then There Were None, which The York Times has called ” …the most baffling mystery Agatha Christie has ever written.” And The New Statesman chimes in with: ” …The most colossal achievement of a colossal career.” Forget the movie; read the original!
Susan Hill returns with the eighth Simon Serrailler case in The Soul of Discretion.
One of there reasons Auntie M enjoys this series so much is the risks Hill takes with her plots and action. There are unexpected and haunting consequences for her characters that follow real life, which sometimes hits us with unexpected happenings, and this is certainly true of Serrailler and his family.
In this outing, Serrailler’s family, who readers of the series have come to know and follow, will be shocked by events that envelop his father, just his sister, Cat, a widow with three young children to raise, is facing her own choices about work. Cat will be left to pick up the pieces as Simon accepts his most difficult case yet: he must leave town to go undercover without disclosing the details to anyone in his family, or to his love, Rachel, who has just moved in with him.
The case will lead him into a prison to befriend to the son of a lord, there because of his involvement with a ring who film children in the throes of sexual abuse. It is Serrailler’s brief to find the head behind the ring to bring it to a close. What he finds will do more than disgust him; it will almost cost him his life.
Hill knows how to wring emotion and capture reader’s attention and bring them to the brink of tears. Highly recommended.
Stephen Booth’s fourteenth in his Ben Cooper/Diane Fry series holds up well to longevity in The Corpse Bridge. Still grieving over the losses from a horrific previous case, Cooper is back at work and finding it difficult to concentrate on what is real and what is an overlay from his grief.
The one thing he knows clearly is the local history and that included the route taken by mourners for centuries to bury their dead across the River Dove, crossing by the old Corpse Bridge, to a cemetery on land now part of the stately home of Earl Manby.
When bodies start to appear on the road to the Corpse Bridge, the case will fall to Cooper, and to a reluctant Fry, helping him to sort out what is the death’s connection to the Earl’s plans to deconsecrate the burial ground for planned holiday cottages whose income will preserve his home, the majestic Knowle Abbey. As Cooper uses the resources of his team, combined with his local knowledge, he will learn that not everyone who offers information is telling the truth. A few surprising twists along the way add interest for readers of the series.
Leigh Russell’s second Ian Peterson mystery, Race To Death, follows the newly-promoted Detective Inspector on his move to York. With his new female DCI seeming to disapprove of most of his decisions, he’s facing pressure on the home front from his wife, Bev, bored and at odds. She finally agrees to take pressure off Peterson and find herself a job, and even though it seems to be beneath her qualifications, it gets her out of the house where Peterson hopes she will make new friends.
And it’s none too soon, as Peterson finds himself saddled with an unusual case with shades of Dick Francis: a young man falls to his death at the races off a balcony. Was it suicide or an accident? There with is brother and his attractive wife, both ideas are disproved by the pathologist, who finds the man was injected prior to his death with a paralyzing agent that would make it impossible to hurl himself over the barrier and off the balcony.
False witnesses abound, as the deaths start to mount up using the same method and Peterson races to find the link between the victims before there can be another death.
A British friend recommended Hilary Bonner and I’ve started with her newest, Friends to Die For. What starts as a fairly simple premise soon turns quite complicates: A group of friends meet on Sunday evenings for diner at a Covent Garden restaurant. The Sunday Club group spans varied members: there is the gay club bouncer, Tim and his partner, city lawyer, Billy; the actor, George; a married couple, Greg and Karen; senior waiter at a tony restaurant, Alfonso; Ari, a wealthy entrepreneur; Marlena, an older, highly made-up woman with a mysterious past; and even a policewoman, Michelle.
What do these have in common that would lead to them suddenly being picked on as a series of pranks and tricks occur? But when these incidents escalate to murder, it soon becomes clear that one of the group who is privy to the secrets of the others is the culprit.
The group starts to turn on each other as the fear increases–but will they find out who the murderer is before another has to die?
In northeast Fife, an influential politician kills his wife and two young daughters before turning the gun on himself. Why would prompt Andrew Weatherly to commit such an horrendous act?
It’s bitterly cold in Scotland, and McLean isn’t dressed warmly enough when he’s called to the site of a man’s body found in the River North. That the man was naked isn’t the most surprising thing noted when his corpse is brought to the shore. His body is covered head to foot, extremities and even genitals, in tattoos, some of them very recent.
This will be a strange case for McLean and his team. Is Super. Duguid starting to thaw towards McLean? With Gumpy Bob Laird as his DS and DC Stuart MacBride on board, McLean must sort through the evidence even as DS Ritchie falls ill to a serious ailment that seems to infect others who come into contact with one of their witnesses.
There will be evidence and clues from a variety of sources, including homeless Gordy and even the wealthy, influential and undeniably sexy Mrs. Saifre before McLean is able to unravel a mystery reaching back decades that will have Special Branch breaking into his house to leave him clues and photographs that spur on is investigation.
With its usual hint of otherworldliness, this complex mystery writer manages to enthrall readers once again. Discover this series if you haven’t yet, or better yet, turn a reader friend on to Oswald and his detective.
** New in Paperback:
Michael Robertson’s Baker Street series’ fourth installment, Moriarty Returns a Letter, is now available in paperback from Minotaur. Enjoy the Heath brothers as they sift through the mail that arrives at their law offices at 221B Baker Street addressed to Sherlock Holmes. Enchanting with deadpan comedic touches and that host of Sherlockian influences.