31 January 2012

Review: BLOOD MOON, Garry Disher

  • published by Text Publishing 2009
  • ISBN 978-1-921351-87-7
  • 314 pages
  • Source: my local library
  • #5 in the Challis & Destry series
Synopsis (Amazon)

When hordes of eighteen-year-olds descend on the Peninsula to celebrate the end of exams, the overstretched police of Waterloo know they can expect party drugs and public drunkenness.

What they don't count on is a brutal bashing that turns political. The victim is connected. And for Detective Inspector Hal Challis, newly embarked on a relationship with his sergeant, Ellen Destry, this is not the best time to have the brass on his back. Especially when a bludgeoned corpse is found outside town and it becomes clear something much darker than adolescent craziness is going down.

My take

When I recently read WHISPERING DEATH (#6 in the Challis & Destry series) I realised that I had somehow missed reading #5, BLOOD MOON.

The setting of BLOOD MOON is Schoolies Week, a week at the end of the school year when those finishing their schooling cut loose in various resorts all over Australia. There is an unbelievable level of tension as local residents hold their breath, waiting to see what damage the teenagers cause, how many of them are charged with drug abuse or drunkenness, how many clashes there are with the authorities. The events in BLOOD MOON align well with what the public "knows" can happen in Schoolies Week.

BLOOD MOON is a very authentic feeling police procedural with a number of concurrent investigations balanced against the personal relationships of the members of Hal Challis' team, including his own with Ellen Destry. The investigation into the bashing of a school chaplain moves into the background with the murder of a female worker in the Planning Office whom we already know quite a bit about: that she is constantly stalked and watched by her husband, that she has been a leading participant in an attempt to preserve an old beach front house against demolition.The reader already feels well equipped to leap into this new investigation.

Domestic happenings and small town politics in an Australian setting make for an excellent crime fiction outing.

My rating: 4.7

Other reviews to check:
Other reviews of Garry Disher titles on MiP
4.7, WYATT

The Challis & Destry novels
The Dragon Man (1999)
Kittyhawk Down (2003)
Snapshot (2005)
Chain of Evidence (2007)
Blood Moon (2009)
Whispering Death (2011)

29 January 2012

Review: THE VAULT, Ruth Rendell

  • published by Hutchinson 2011
  • ISBN 978-0-0919-3710-2
  • 266 pages
  • Source: my local library
  • #23 in the Wexford series
Synopsis (Random House Australia)

‘Don’t forget,’ Wexford said, ‘I’ve lived in a world where the improbable happens all the time.’

However, the impossible has happened. Chief Inspector Reg Wexford has retired. He and his wife, Dora, now divide their time between Kingsmarkham and a coachhouse in Hampstead, belonging to their actress daughter, Sheila.
Wexford takes great pleasure in his books, but, for all the benefits of a more relaxed lifestyle, he misses being the law.

But a chance meeting in a London street, with someone he had known briefly as a very young police constable, changes everything. Tom Ede is now a Detective Superintendent, and is very keen to recruit Wexford as an adviser on a difficult case.The bodies of two women and a man have been discovered in the old coal hole of an attractive house in St John’s Wood. None carries identification. But the man’s jacket pockets contain a string of pearls, a diamond and a sapphire necklace as well as other jewellery valued in the region of £40,000.It is not a hard decision for Wexford. He is intrigued and excited by the challenge, and, in the early stages, not really anticipating that this new investigative role will bring him into physical danger.

My take

When Wexford decides to take up Detective Superintendent Tom Ede's offer of being an unpaid serious crimes adviser to him at Cricklewood he really doesn't understand what that will mean. What he does think is that this will put some meaning back into his life. He is not yet ready for the scrapheap of retirement and there is only so much reading and walking that he can do.

What he doesn't immediately see is that he is in essence powerless. He is no longer a policeman and really can't do anything like interview people without permission and without a police officer with him. What Tom Ede seems to need is another pair of eyes, and someone else to take on a little bit of the hack work, and to come up with some ideas of new directions to take. So in many senses Reg is not working with Tom, and add to that the fact that Tom's attention is divided by other cases under his supervision, and he doesn't seem to have the sense of urgency that Wexford expects.

And then family life, problems for their daughter Sylvia, intervene into the Wexfords' retirement and life becomes a bit complicated. This sub-plot adds substance to the book and puts the main plot in perspective.

For a while there, I thought Reg would never get it all sorted out, but in the long run serendipity, itself the result of Reg Wexford's urge to tie up loose ends, reveals the eventual answer.

From what I have read, THE VAULT appears to be an extension of the plot of a stand alone A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES which Rendell published in 1998. I don't remember reading that book, although I probably did a decade or so ago. But I'm going to correct that soon, because I'm intrigued. It doesn't mean however that you can't read THE VAULT independently.

Having retired myself less than a year ago, I was interested to see how Reg felt about it. I felt throughout the novel that Rendell is trying out a new role for Reg. I'm not sure that unpaid adviser to the police force is really for him.

Not Rendell's best book, but fans will enjoy it.

My rating: 4.6

Other reviews to check
Other Ruth Rendell titles reviewed on MiP

27 January 2012


  • published by Orion Books 2011
  • ISBN 978-0-7528-9715-8
  • 389 pages
  • Source: my local library
  • #3 in the Flavia de Luce series
Book Description (Amazon)

Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey—mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia’s own backyard.

Flavia had asked the old Gypsy woman to tell her fortune, but never expected to stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer had abducted a local child years ago? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how could this crime be connected to the missing baby? Had it something to do with the weird sect who met at the river to practice their secret rites? While still pondering the possibilities, Flavia stumbles upon another corpse—that of a notorious layabout who had been caught prowling about the de Luce’s drawing room.

Pedaling Gladys, her faithful bicycle, across the countryside in search of clues to both crimes, Flavia uncovers some odd new twists. Most intriguing is her introduction to an elegant artist with a very special object in her possession—a portrait that sheds light on the biggest mystery of all: Who is Flavia?

As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets.

My take

I discovered today on Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce website that there are another three titles planned for this series, and I'm delighted.
I think it isn't just Flavia that I like but also the cast of characters that populate the novels. Even her bicycle Gladys is imbued with character. There are some people like Mrs Mullet, Dogger, the vicar, and the police inspector who persist from novel to novel, and then new characters that are very creatively draw.

There are those such as her older sisters who treat her appallingly, but perhaps little different to the way adolescent girls treat their younger sisters. Flavia is precocious at the same time as being ingenuous and incorrigible. She knows how to wheedle information out of older people, and even from members of the household and the family. And from title to title Flavia learns a little more about her dead mother and her own place in the little community of Bishop's Lacey.

The plot of A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD in a way seems a bit more complex than those of the earlier two titles, but the plotting is tight, and there are enough puzzles to keep the reader thinking.

These are cozies worth reading in order, in fact, make sure that you read them in order.

My rating: 4.5

Other reviews to check
My reviews of earlier novels:

26 January 2012

Forgotten Book: COLOUR SCHEME, Ngaio Marsh

For my contribution this year to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books I am going to focus on the books I read 30 years ago in 1992. By then my reading diet was almost exclusively crime fiction.

COLOUR SCHEME was the first book on my list in 1992 . 

The synopsis from Fantastic Fiction:

Often regarded as her most interesting book and set on New Zealand's North Island, Ngaio Marsh herself considered this to be her best-written novel. 

It was a horrible death -- Maurice Questing was lured into a pool of boiling mud and left there to die. Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn, far from home on a wartime quest for German agents, knew that any number of people could have killed him: the English exiles he'd hated, the New Zealanders he'd despised or the Maoris he'd insulted. Even the spies he'd thwarted -- if he wasn't a spy himself...

Published in 1943 this was #12 in Ngaio Marsh's already very successful Roderick Alleyn series.

More recently the Ngaio Marsh award, established in 2010 for the best in New Zealand crime fiction, has ensured her name will be perpetuated.

Review: THE MISSING, Jane Casey

  • Published by Ebury Press (Random House) 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-09193-599-3
  • 485 pages
  • Source: My local library
Synopsis (Random House Australia)

Jenny Shepherd is twelve years old and missing…Her teacher, Sarah Finch, knows better than most that the chances of finding her alive are diminishing with every day she is gone. As a little girl her older brother had gone out to play one day and never returned. The strain of never knowing what has happened to Charlie had ripped Sarah’s family apart.

Now in her early twenties, she is back living at home, trapped with a mother who drinks too much and keeps her brother’s bedroom as a shrine to his memory. Then, horrifically, it is Sarah who finds Jenny’s body, beaten and abandoned in the woods near her home. As she’s drawn into the police investigation and the heart of a media storm, Sarah’s presence arouses suspicion too. But it not just the police who are watching her...

My take

As if losing her twelve year old brother when he went missing 16 years before wasn't enough, life deals Sarah Finch a cruel blow when one of her twelve year old female pupils goes missing. And then Sarah discovers the body when she is running in the woods.

From that point the novel takes on an interesting structure. Chapters about the modern day investigation are interspersed with ones beginning 16 years before. Through those interspersed chapters we learn what happened to Sarah and her family as a result of Charlie's disappearance; how the police failed to discover what happened to Charlie; how having attempted to lead an independent life Sarah is drawn back home to teach at a local school and to look after her mother.

Just as Sarah is drawn inexorably  into the investigation into Jenny's murder, so she also wants to know more about Charlie and what happened to him. These double strands give the plot a really satisfying complexity, although the final denouement seemed rather gruesome, even unlikely, and a little out of character for Sarah. It also allows the author to explore issues such as the impact of the disappearance or murder of a child on those family members left behind.

THE MISSING was Jane Casey's debut novel, perhaps just a little too long, but well told.

My rating: 4.6

Reviews to check
My review of THE BURNING

Review: Some Agatha Christie short stories

I recently discovered that Amazon had 14 Agatha Christie short stories available free here, so I "bought" them, but when I checked yesterday they had gone up to $6.14 each which is pretty pricey for 40 pages!

Then of course, when I checked them against the 131 stories I have listed at Agatha Christie Short Stories I discovered there were only 4 that I hadn't read, and even 1 of them was a re-written version of an earlier published story.
The four all feature Hercule Poirot, and in a sense each focusses on a murder committed in the name of love. In two at least there is a siren, a femme fatale.

Here they are:

The Dream
First published in October 1937.

Hercule Poirot is summoned to Northway House, residence of eccentric Benedict Farley who tells HP that he is worried by a recurrent dream in which he kills himself at a particular time in the afternoon. Poirot is disappointed - he thinks he is going to meet a great man but his impression is of a mountebank. A few weeks later Poirot is contacted by the police. It appears that Farley has indeed killed himself, at the the time his dream predicted, but on closer investigation, Poirot finds out he is the only one who knows about the dream.

The Mystery of the Spanish Chest
Originally published as the Mystery of the Baghdad Chest in 1932, and then expanded and republished as The Mystery of the Spanish Chest also in 1932.

What I really liked about this one was not the plot (in which the body of a superfluous husband is discovered in a wooden chest the morning after a supper party) but the description of Miss Lemon, Poirot's assistant.
    But Miss Lemon he had never considered as a woman. She was a human machine - an instrument of precision. Her efficiency was terrific. She was forty-eighty years of age, and was fortunate enough to have no imagination whatever.
Poirot points out that it is Miss Lemon's job to deal with files, telephone calls, and letters while he deals not only with documents but human beings.

Triangle at Rhodes
Published in USA 1936, and then in UK later in 1936 as Poirot and the Triangle at Rhodes.

Hercule Poirot is holidaying on the island of Rhodes and is watching a woman, recently married for the fifth time to a rather taciturn naval type, work her charms on another's husband. When murder happens Poirot reveals he has had his eye on another eternal triangle all together.

Four-And-Twenty Blackbirds
First published in the USA in 1940 as Four and Twenty Blackbirds and then in the UK in 1941 as Poirot and the Regular Customer.

Although this was the shortest of all the stories, it also felt to me the most muddled, as if it really needed more text.
Hercule Poirot is dining with an old friend Henry Bonnington who trumpets that he prefers plain English food, "not a lot of made up messes". The conversation gets around to cases of accidental death in men over the age of sixty. Bonnington says he thinks Poirot is beginning to see crime where there is none, he is looking for it rather than waiting for crime to come to him.

The waitress is of the opinion that men nearly always choose the same item from a menu, whereas the ladies like variety. But then she points out the case of a customer nicknamed Old Father Time who always comes in on Tuesdays and Thursday nights and has the same food. But last week he came in on Monday and chose entirely different items from the menu.

Three weeks later Poirot and Bonnington meet by accident on the Underground (I found that rather strange, the idea of HP travelling by Tube) and Bonnington reports that Old Father Time has not been putting in an appearance at all. Of course it turns out that the old man has died and that's when the plot of this story very nearly unravels itself. I think Christie must have been struggling for a title, wanted to make the nursery rhyme connection work, but in my opinion Poirot and the Regular Customer was probably much better.

These four stories are all quite entertaining, and certainly quick, reads.
I haven't discovered yet whether they were published in collections or not.
I am maintaining a list of the stories I've read on Agatha Christie Short Stories
These four bring my count to 135.

Celebrating Australia Day, 26 January 2012

Nice and hot here today in Adelaide.
Staying inside in the cool..
Watching the tennis, the cricket, and reading crime fiction.

Fair Dinkum Crime is celebrating Australia Day with a competition to win a book by an Australian crime fiction author - a warning - you'll have to do some research for it!

Here are the Australian crime fiction titles I read in 2011
  1. 4.6, WATCH THE WORLD BURN, Leah Giarratano
  2. 4.8, WHISPERING DEATH, Garry Disher
  3. 4.3, RING OF FIRE, Peter Klein
  4. 4.8, VIOLENT EXPOSURE, Katherine Howell
  5. 4.4, BEREFT, Chris Womersley
  6. 4.8, THE DIGGERS REST HOTEL, Geoffrey McGeachin
  7. 5.0, THE WRECKAGE, Michael Robotham
  8. 3.9, DIAMOND EYES, A. A. Bell
  9. 4.8, COLD JUSTICE, Katherine Howell
  10. 4.3, THE SERPENT AND THE SCORPION, Clare Langley-Hawthorne
  11. 4.2, DARK WATER, Georgia Blain
  12. 4.7, WYATT, Garry Disher
  13. 4.4, D-E-D DEAD! Geoffrey McGeachin
  14. 4.4, THE PERICLES COMMISSION, Gary Corby 
  15. 4.7, PRIME CUT, Alan Carter 
  16. 4.5, THE HALF-CHILD, Angela Savage
Why don't you join the Aussie author challenge for 2012 and try some Aussie authors for yourself?
Click on the image to the right to be transported to the challenge site.

Today's Google logo

    24 January 2012

    Agatha Christie Blog Carnival January 2012

    The first Agatha Christie Blog Carnival for 2012 is now posted.
    There are 10 contributions from 8 participants.

    The Blog Carnival now has over 60 people signed up, some who have pledged themselves to reading titles in order of publication (as I do) and others reading books as they come to hand.

    I recently discovered that Amazon had 14 Agatha Christie short stories available free here, so I "bought" them, but when I checked today they had gone up to $6.14 each which is pretty pricey for 40 pages!

    23 January 2012

    Review: THE BROTHERHOOD, Y.A. Erskine

    • Published Bantam, Random House 2011
    • ISBN 978-1-74275-015-6
    • 379 pages
    • source: my local library
    Synopsis (Booktopia)

    One dead cop, one small island and an impact that will last a lifetime.

    When Sergeant John White, mentor, saviour and all-round good guy, is murdered during a routine call-out, the tight-knit world of Tasmania Police is rocked to the core.

    An already difficult investigation into the death of one of their own becomes steeped in political complexities when the main suspect is identified as Aboriginal and the case, courtesy of the ever-hostile local media, looks set to make Palm Island resemble a Sunday afternoon picnic in comparison. And as the investigation unfolds through the eyes of the sergeant's colleagues, friends, family, enemies and the suspect himself, it becomes clear that there was a great deal more to John White - and the squeaky-clean reputation of the nation's smallest state police service - than ever met the eye.

    The Brotherhood is a novel about violence, preconceptions, loyalties, corruption, betrayal and the question a copper should never need to ask: just who can you trust?

    About the Author

    Y.A. Erskine spent eleven years in the Tasmania Police Service. She was active in front-line policing and served as a detective in the CIB. She is also an historian with an honours degree in early modern history. Y.A. Erskine lives in Melbourne and is happily married with two dogs. 

    My take

    Hobart, small city, big town, capital of Tasmania. TASPol, a small police force where everyone knows everyone else personally, working out of Hobart, in a state where about a third of the population gets some sort of government assistance, and another quarter works for the government.

    I loved the innovative structure of this book. It reminded me of clock solitaire. The story is carefully layered. We start with a hook. The officer in charge of the investigation into the death of a fellow police officer is going through the deceased's possessions and finds some items that puzzle the reader but for the investigator seem to have only one interpretation.

    And then the reader is dealt a series of "cards", the story as seen by a range of connected participants. We learn who the police officer was and how he was killed and through each chapter we see him through the eyes of another. Each chapter adds a layer to our knowledge until eventually we come back to where the book started.

    And interlaced into the story are various strands: an Aboriginal population, the remnants of Australia's original inhabitants, now welfare dependent, and in some cases only too willing to cry victimisation and brutality; an under resourced police force with more than usual difficulties in recruiting and retaining good officers; corruption in all professions, even among those responsible for managing the legal system; and an island state with significant social prejudices. It's a heady mix.

    THE BROTHERHOOD is certainly an Australian police procedural with a difference and worthy of attention.

    My rating: 5.0

    Places you might like to visit

    20 January 2012

    Review: STEPS TO HEAVEN, Wendy Cartmell

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 400 KB
    • Print Length: 200 pages
    • Publisher: Wendy Cartmell (October 9, 2011)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B005U9T20A
    • Source: I bought it
    Synopsis (Amazon)

    Sergeant Major Crane, a Special Investigations Branch Investigator, in the Armed Forces, is a proud, dedicated and experienced soldier, constrained by the Army structure, but adept at manipulating the system.  He and his young team of Staff Sergeant Billy Williams and Sergeant Kim Weston, based at Aldershot Garrison, have to investigate one of the most horrific cases they have ever taken on.  A soldier who has deliberately murdered his wife and 6 year old son and then committed suicide.  

    Crane wants to know what is behind this horrific act, but has to battle against cynical opposition from his Officer Commanding, Captain James Edwards who makes him investigate a different crime.  But Crane is vindicated when a second copy cat murder suicide by a soldier in Colchester is followed by a third in Catterick.  Paralleling these investigations, Crane's wife Tina wants a decision on whether they should start a family.  A decision Crane is unable to make, haunted as he is by the deaths of three young boys.

    [there was more on the Amazon page, but I felt it gave too much away]

    My take

    The reader is quickly introduced to the case that will be central to this book. A prologue gives us a birds-eye view of the events immediately before the first murder/suicide so that we have an inkling of what Sergeant Major Tom Crane from the Armed Forces Special Investigations Branch at Aldershot Garrison will see when he arrives on the crime scene.

    Just as the reader know things about this incident and similar ones that occur later, because we are there, that Tom Crane doesn't know, so there are occasionally events that Tom Crane takes part in that he only relates to us, even though for the most part we are right at his shoulder. We piece together the evidence just as he does, although there are a couple of surprises at the end.

    STEPS TO HEAVEN raises interesting questions about the mental vulnerability of soldiers who have returned from tough conditions in Afghanistan and are expected to just pick up "normal" life. We are given insights of what life is like on the army bases for them and their families.

    The author has chosen to write this e-novel entirely in the present tense and it took me time to get used to that. While this does give the action a sense of immediacy it does cause its own problems with establishing chronology. For example the events actually take place over a period of August to November, but I didn't really get that sense of the passage of time. There's a rather complex relationship between the dates too that left me a bit cold.

    STEPS TO HEAVEN is a self-published e-book, the debut title in a series that already has a second title. In some ways it is a classic police procedural in a modern setting, although set in the British Army rather than the police force. I liked Tom Crane's focus on why, what has led these soldiers to these abnormal acts. The author also establishes a personal background for us about Tom Crane which gives room for later development.

    This was a nice solid relatively quick read and I'll certainly read the next, 40 DAYS 40 NIGHTS set in the leadup to the 2012 Olympics.

    My rating: 4.2

    About the author
    Wendy Cartmell is a former teacher, PR Manager and Editor of a large corporate Newspaper, who has always written either for her work or stories for her children. She turned her hand to crime writing in 2010 resulting in a new crime series featuring Sgt Major Crane of the Special Investigations Branch, drawing on her husband's 22 years service in the British Army.

    19 January 2012

    Forgotten Book: A BOX OF TRICKS, Simon Brett

    This is my contribution this week to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books

    My delight in the novels of began early and in particular I have enjoyed the Charles Paris and Fethering series. The record for A BOX OF TRICKS appears in my little green book  early in 1994.

    As the cover says, this was Brett's first collection of short stories,  published in 1985.

    12 stories including one featuring the boozy actor-detective Charles Paris, have the common theme of murder in its many guises, from the simply bizarre to the downright nasty.
    Listen to a short excerpt here.

    18 January 2012

    Review: THE ANATOMY OF GHOSTS, Andrew Taylor

    • published by Penguin 2010
    • 469 pages
    • ISBN 978-0-718-15659-6
    • source: local library
    Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

    1786, Jerusalem College Cambridge. The ghost of Sylvia Whichcote is rumoured to be haunting Jerusalem since disturbed fellow-commoner, Frank Oldershaw, claims to have seen the dead woman prowling the grounds. Desperate to salvage her son's reputation, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs John Holdsworth to investigate.

    Subtitled: An Inquiry into the distressing circumstances surrounding an alleged apparition lately recorded in Cambridge. Set Down for the Curious in the Form of a Novel.

    My take:

    The novel is set against background of a fictional college, the Jerusalem College, in Cambridge. In an author's note Andrew Taylor admits "remarkable similarities [that extend only to its layout and aspects of its early history] between the fictional Jerusalem College and the entirely real Emmanuel College".

    The novel opens with a meeting of the Holy Ghost Club in Jerusalem College. The club is part of the social fabric of the college, designed to introduce a group of select members to the rather more dissolute habits. The club is a focal point in John Holdsworth's investigation into the derangement of College fellow Frank Oldershaw.

    The original The Anatomy of Ghosts is a pamphlet that Holdsworth wrote to help him come to terms with the deaths of his son and then his wife by drowning and his feeling that they are haunting him. While she was still alive his wife had been preyed upon by some unscrupulous people. Holdsworth was keen to show that they had been instrumental in bringing about the suicide of his wife who had been convinced she was being visited by their son's ghost. His book brings him to the notice of Lady Anne Oldershaw who commissions him to investigate the madness of her son which has apparently been caused by the appearance of a ghost.

    Jerusalem College is a close knit and closed community with the usual power rivalries at the top and distinct social strata. Lady Anne Oldershaw is a patron of the college and so Holdsworth will be staying in the Master's house under the pretext of organising the college library. He is also charged with trying to bring Frank Oldershaw back to health.

    At the same time as being a detective story that follows a trail of clues to a final denouement THE ANATOMY OF GHOSTS provides an interesting insight into academic and social life in a Cambridge university college in the late eighteenth century. The novel won't be everybody's cup of tea, but it has the feeling of a scholarly work, with attention to authentic historical detail.

    My rating: 4.2

    Other reviews to check:
    Other reviews of Andrew Taylor titles on MiP:

    16 January 2012

    Crime Fiction Pick of the Month 2012 - a meme

    Many crime fiction bloggers write a summary post at the end of each month listing what they've read, and some, like me, even go as far as naming their pick of the month.

    This meme is an attempt to aggregate those summary posts.
    It is an invitation to you to write your own summary post at the end of the month, identify your crime fiction best read of the month, and then visit MYSTERIES in PARADISE on the first day of the next month and add your post's URL to the Mr Linky that will be provided.

    You can list all the books you've read in the past month on your post, even if some of them are not crime fiction, but I'd like you to nominate your crime fiction pick of the month.

    That will be what you will list in Mr Linky too -
    e.g. if we had run the meme last month my entry would look like this
    ROSEANNA, Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo - MiP (or Kerrie)

    There is no need to sign up, but you might like to let me know in a comment whether you think you will participate.
    You are welcome to use the image on your post and it would be great if you could link your post back to the post on MYSTERIES in PARADISE.

    15 January 2012

    So much choice....

    I was struck this week at the amount of crime fiction there is to choose from.
    In the Best Crime Fiction Reads of 2011, 35 contributors mainly suggesting their best 10 reads suggested 364 titles.

    Some focussed on books published in 2010 and 2011, some mentioned books published earlier than that.
    In any case the 10 books from each is just the tip of the iceberg.
    And yet many of us can agree on what is "quality". Titles that will make it into other people's top 10 will be near the top of my list and in the top 20 or so.

    Last year I read 160 crime fiction titles, which is quite a lot by most readers' standards. And yet I was nowhere near the number of "best reads" individual titles suggested by just 35 contributors.

    That's what makes these reading lists so valuable. Find reviewers whose judgement you trust, whose crime fiction tastes coincide with yours, read their reviews carefully, and then decide whether you will put that book on your lists.
    I do know some people won't read the reviews before they read the book - sometimes the fact that a title is getting mentioned by a number of reviewers is enough to have you put it on your list.

    If you look at my reading lists for the past 4 years (see the links in the header to this page), you will see that the vast majority have got a rating from me of 4 and above. What is happening is that my choices have already been through a sort of pre-selection process. Even though a number of the titles are the work of new-to-me authors (last year 60 of the 160 were written by new-to-me authors), I still think about whether I am likely to like the book or not.

    My overall impression is that while many of the authors I enjoy have become quite prolific, many of them producing a new title annually, so there are new writers joining those ranks, as well as translations of work by international writers already popular in their own country. The end result is an ever expanding  smorgasbord which ensures that I am never lost for something to read.

    If you are looking for some bloggers who write about crime fiction check out Crime Fiction Journeys which features the home pages of about 100 crime fiction readers.

    14 January 2012

    Best Crime Fiction Reads 2008 -2011

    I have collected best crime fiction reads for the past 4 years now from a range of participants.
    In that time  154 contributors have suggested 1521 titles

    2008, 40 contributors 396 titles
    2009, 56 contributors 541 titles
    2010, 23 contributors 220 titles
    2011, 35 contributors 364 titles

    If you'd like to check previous years, here they are. Just click on the image.


    I've chosen the top reads from each year and aggregated them. There are 24 books on the list.
    The number at the end of the line is the number of votes the book got.
    Stieg Larsson was not mentioned by 2011 contributors, there is no doubt in my mind he would still be there if he was alive and writing.
    I'm pleased to see some Australian authors making it into this list too. ***
    Interesting too to see some names other than Larsson repeated: Johan Theorin, Megan Abbott, Arnaldur Indridason.
    Translated titles abound too ++ (nearly half the list)

    So what have you missed out on reading? - as you can see I have 3 to go.

    THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson    16 ++
    THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE by Stieg Larsson    15 ++
    GUNSHOT ROAD by Adrian Hyland    9 ***
    HYPOTHERMIA by Arnaldur Indridason    9 ++
    SHATTER by Michael Robotham    7 ***
    KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES  (aka MERCY) by Jussi Adler-Olsen    7 ++
    THE DARKEST ROOM  by Johan Theorin    6 ++
    THE END OF EVERYTHING  by Megan Abbott    6
    WHERE WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS? by Kate Atkinson    6
    A TRICK OF THE LIGHT by Louise Penny    5
    BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by    S.J. Watson    5
    FIELD GRAY by Philip Kerr    5
    THE COLD DISH by Craig Johnson    5
    THE END OF THE WASP SEASON  by Denise Mina    5
    A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE by Malla Nunn     4 ***
    ARCTIC CHILL by Arnaldur Indridason     4 ++
    BURY ME DEEP by Megan Abbott     4
    ECHOES FROM THE DEAD by Johann Theorin     4 ++
    SILENT IN THE GRAVE by Deanna Raybourn     4
    SKELETON HILL by Peter Lovesey     4
    TRUTH by Peter Temple    4 ***
    THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST by Stieg Larsson    3 ++
    THIRTEEN HOURS by Deon Meyer    3 ++

    13 January 2012

    Review: TOWARDS ZERO, Agatha Christie

    • This edition part of the Hamlyn Agatha Christie Crime Collection
    • dedicated to Robert Graves
    • 144 pages
    • first published in 1944
    • Superintendent Battle
    Synopsis (from Christie.com)

    What is the connection between a failed suicide attempt, a wrongful accusation of theft against a schoolgirl, and the romantic life of a tennis player?  To the casual observer, apparently nothing. When a houseparty gathers at Gull's Point, the seaside home of an elderly widow, earlier events come to a dramatic head.
    Robert Graves, author of I Claudius, was a neighbour of Agatha Christie’s in Devon during the Second World War and the two became friends.  Christie dedicated this book to Graves.

    My take

    The last time Superintendent Battle made an appearance was in 1939 in MURDER IS EASY (aka EASY TO KILL).

    TOWARDS ZERO opens with a Prologue which introduces the concept of characters converging towards Zero Hour.

    The book is broken up into sections, a feature that the reader barely notices.
    'OPEN THE DOOR AND HERE ARE THE PEOPLE'  introduces the cast of characters: Angus MacWhirter in hospital after attempting to throw himself off a cliff and failing; an unknown person plotting a murder; Superintendent Battle called to his daughter's school because she has admitted to pilfering, Nevile Strange, his wife Kay and his ex-wife Audrey; Lady Tressilian and Mary Aldin at Gull's Point which all the Stranges will visit for two weeks in September; Thomas Royde returning home to Gull's Point from Malaya; Mr Treves (whom we met in the Prologue) looking for somewhere to spend his holidays; and Ted Latimer, a friend of the Kay Strange.

    The novel progresses, bringing the characters together at Salt Creek, closer and closer to Zero Hour.
    And then two murders take place and Superintendent Battle staying with his nephew Jim Leach is pulled into the investigation.

    Superintendent Battle comes over as a pretty stodgy sort of policeman who does things by the book. In fact I think Agatha Christie fans may well have been disappointed that the author didn't choose one of her other sleuths for the role. (The Agatha Christie site reveals that it was adapted for TV in 2007 with Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple.)
    Battle's plodding methods and determination to get irrefutable evidence win the day and eventually the right person is apprehended.

    For much of the book TOWARDS ZERO feels rather like a romance, with eternal triangles, jealousies, and thwarted desires. And then it gathers pace, with only twenty or so pages to go, and we hear a point made before, by Treves and then by Battle, who makes a statement worthy of Poirot himself:
      When you read the account of a murder - or say, a fiction story based on murder, you usually begin with the murder itself. That's all wrong. The murder begins a long time beforehand. A murder is the culmination of a lot of different circumstances, all converging into it from different parts of the globe and unforeseen reasons..... The murder itself is the end of the story. It's Zero Hour.
    And then Battle goes on to nail the murderer and prevent another murder. The plot of the book is quite a clever one, but there were a couple of things that hung: Angus MacWhirter's role for instance: it almost felt as if Christie wanted to include another element of romance. Mr Treves' story of a child who kills another with an bow and arrow is never fully explained which was frustrating. The murder that takes place at Gull's Point has a clumsy explanation depending on the difference in left and right hand swings and I had great difficulty in imagining the murder weapon.

    This is the last novel in which Superintendent Battle makes an appearance. With Inspector Japp as a foil in many of the Poirot titles Superintendent Battle outlived his usefulness.

    He appeared in
    My rating: 4.2

      Review: THE HANGMAN, Louise Penny

      • Format: Kindle Edition
      • File Size: 208 KB
      • Publisher: Grass Roots Press (October 24, 2011)
      • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
      • Language: English
      • ASIN: B005ZI33HE
      • Source: I bought it ($2.99)
      Synopsis (Amazon)

      On a cold November morning, a jogger runs through the woods in the peaceful Quebec village of Three Pines. On his run, he finds a dead man hanging from a tree.
      The dead man was a guest at the local Inn and Spa. He might have been looking for peace and quiet, but something else found him. Something horrible.
      Did the man take his own life? Or was he murdered? Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to the crime scene. As Gamache follows the trail of clues, he opens a door into the past. And he learns the true reason why the man came to Three Pines.
      This book is a quick and easy read for people on the go.

      My take

      The (Good Reads) label was the clue that this novella was written as part of the Canadian Government's Literacy Project.

      Louise Penny says
      It's written as part of a programme called GoodReads Canada, which was created by national literacy organizations to publish books aimed at emerging adult readers. THE HANGMAN is written at a grade 3 level, for adults. Very clear, very simple. Not really the most complex plot or style, for obvious reasons. 

      Nevertheless, despite the lack of detail and the limited vocabulary level of the book, it was a quick and  enjoyable read. There was nothing wrong with the plot construction. It is still a mystery with red herrings and a trail of clues.
      It really only featured 3 of the usual residents of Three Pines, one of whom is a suspect for the murder.
      It really didn't add to my knowledge of the village, and it did feel different to Penny's usual well thought out writing style.

      But there's some humour for those of us who are regular crime fiction readers. Watch out for Arthur Ellis!

      I like to see authors involved in literacy projects. It shows me that they are in touch with the real world.

      My rating: 4.5

      My other Louise Penny reviews:
      5.0, BURY YOUR DEAD
      5.0, A TRICK OF THE LIGHT 

      Best crime fiction reads 2011 - all the authors

      I have been collecting lists of best crime fiction reads for 2011 for a couple of weeks now. You will see the majority of the links in my post here but they also came in as comments on posts and by emails. In the long run there were 35 contributors and 364 titles.

      Note that they are a mixture of mysteries and thrillers, and also include titles that have been published pre-2011: some in fact would qualify as vintage publications.

      So far I have listed
      Today my post lists all the authors. (there are nearly 230 of them)

      Ace Atkins
      Adrian Hyland
      Adrian Magson
      Adrian McKinty
      Agatha Christie
      Alan Bradley
      Alan Glynn
      Alan Hunter
      Alice LaPlante
      Aly Monroe
      Amanda Kyle Williams
      Andrea Camilleri
      Andrew Gross
      Ann Cleeves
      Ann Holt
      Anna Katherine Green
      Anthony Horowitz
      Ariana Franklin
      Arnaldur Indridason
      Arne Dahl
      Arthur Upfield
      Asa Larsson
      Barry Grant
      Belinda Bauer
      Benjamin Black
      Blaize Clement
      C.J. Box
      C.J. Sansom
      C.S. Challinor
      C.S. Forester
      Camilla Lackberg
      Cara Black
      Cara Hoffmann
      Carlo Lucarelli
      Carol K. Carr
      Carolyn Morwood
      Carston Morton
      Carter Dickson
      Catherine O'Flynn
      Catriona McPherson
      Charles Cumming
      Charlie Huston
      Chevy Stevens
      Chris Bohjalian
      Chris Brookmyre
      Chris Nickson
      Colin Cotterill
      Colin Dexter
      Conor Fitzgerald
      Craig Johnson
      Craig MacDonald
      Craig Smith
      Daniel Stashower
      Danny Miller
      David Downing
      David Hosp

      David Ignatius
      Deborah Lawrenson
      Declan Burke
      Denise Mina
      Deon Meyer
      Domenic Stansberry
      Domingo Vilar
      Don Winslow
      Donna Leon
      Dorothy L. Sayers
      Duane Swierczynski
      E.C.R. Lorac
      Ed McBain
      Edward Conlon
      Elizabeth Haines
      Elizabeth Ironside
      Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
      Ellery Queen
      Elly Griffiths
      Elmore Leonard
      Emlyn Rees
      Eric Keith
      Erle Stanley Gardner
      Esi Edugyan
      Frances Fyfield
      Frank Bill
      Fred Vargas
      G.M. Malliet
      Garry Disher
      George Pelecanos
      Gianrico Carofiglio
      Graham Moore
      Hakan Nesser
      Harlen Coben
      Heather Gudenkauf
      Helen FitzGerald
      Henning Mankell
      Henry Chang
      Honey Brown
      Ian Rankin
      Inge Ash Wolfe
      J.A. Jance
      J.D. Robb
      James Anderson
      James Patterson
      James Sallis
      James Thompson
      Jane Adams
      Jane Casey
      Janet Evanovich
      Jassy Mackenzie
      Jeanne Dams
      Jeff Lindsay
      Jeffery Deaver
      Jo Nesbo
      Johan Theorin
      Johan Theorin

      John Ajvide Lindqvist
      John Hart
      John Lawton
      John Sandford
      John Verdon
      Julia Crouch
      Jussi Adler-Olsen
      Karen E. Olsen
      Karin Fossum
      Karin Slaughter
      Kate Atkinson
      Katherine Howell
      Kathryn Fox
      Kelli Stanley
      Kim Westwood
      L.B. Greenwood
      L.C. Tyler
      Larry Millett
      Laura Lippman
      Laurie R. King
      Lawrence Block
      Layton Green
      Lee Child
      Lee Vance
      Leigh Russell
      Leighton Gage
      Lena Kaaberol & Agnete Friis
      Lin Anderson
      Linda Castillo
      Lindsay Ashford
      Lisa Gardner
      Lori Roy
      Lou Manfredo
      Louise Penny
      M.J. McGrath
      M.M. Kaye
      Maj Sjowal & Per Wahloo
      Malla Nunn
      Marcia Clark
      Margaret Cole
      Margaret Yorke
      Margery Allingham
      Margie Orford
      Martin Edwards
      Matthew Dunn
      Megan Abbott
      Michael Connelly
      Michael Koryta
      Michael Robotham
      Michael Stanley
      Neal Stephenson
      Neil White
      Nick Quantrill
      Nicola Upson
      Nicole Watson
      P.D. Jamees
      Pamela Beason
      Paula Morantz Cohen
      Peter Corris

      Peter James
      Peter Lovesey
      Peter Robinson
      Peter Spiegelman
      Peter Temple
      Philip Kerr
      R.J. Ellory
      Ray Banks
      Reavis Z. Wortham
      Reed Farrell Coleman
      Reginald Hill
      Rex Stout
      Ricardo Piglia
      Richard Castle
      Richard Stark
      Rob Kitchin
      Robert Rotenberg
      Roger Smith
      Ron Hansen
      Rory Clements
      Rosamund Lupton
      Roslund & Hellstrom
      Russel McLean
      Ruth Rendell
      S.J. Bolton
      S.J. Watson
      Sally Spencer
      Sam Hayes
      Sara Gran
      Sarah Caudwell
      Scott Phillips
      Sebastian Rotella
      Simon Beckett
      Simon Brett
      Simon Lelic
      Simon Tolkien
      Sophie Hanna
      Spencer Quinn
      Stephen King
      Steve Mosby
      Sue Grafton
      Sulari Gentil
      Sylvia Johnson
      Tana French
      Tess Gerritsen
      Thomas Perry
      Todd Borg
      Tom Bale
      Tom Franklin
      Val McDermid
      Victor Gischler
      W.J. Burley
      Wallace Stroby
      William Ryan
      Y.A. Erskine
      Zoe Sharp

      12 January 2012

      Best crime fiction reads 2011 - authors with multiple mentions

      I have been collecting lists of best crime fiction reads for 2011 for a couple of weeks now. You will see the majority of the links in my post here but they also came in as comments on posts and by emails. In the long run there were 35 contributors and 364 titles.

      Note that they are a mixture of mysteries and thrillers, and also include titles that have been published pre-2011: some in fact would qualify as vintage publications.

      Two days ago I listed the titles that were mentioned more than once, and yesterday the remainder of the titles.

      One of the interesting features of creating these lists is always to see which authors get more than one mention, that is, more than one title.
      There were 27 altogether and I have listed them in alphabetical order, together with the titles that were listed.
      Tomorrow I will list all the authors.

      Agatha Christie   
          DUMB WITNESS

      Ann Cleeves   
          RAVEN BLACK

      Arnaldur Indridason   

      Camilla Lackberg   

      Domingo Vilar   

      Duane Swierczynski   
          FUN & GAMES
          HELL & GONE

      Elly Griffiths   

      Fred Vargas   

      Hakan Nesser   
          THE RETURN

      Jo Nesbo   
          THE LEOPARD
          THE SNOWMAN

      Johan Theorin   
          THE QUARRY

      John Sandford   
          BURIED PREY

      John Verdon   

      Laura Lippman   

      Lee Child   
          61 HOURS
          THE AFFAIR

      Linda Castillo   

      Louise Penny   
          BURY YOUR DEAD

      Maj Sjowal & Per Wahloo

      Michael Connelly   
          THE DROP

      Michael Koryta   
          THE RIDGE

      Peter Robinson   
          IN A DRY SEASON

      Philip Kerr   
          FIELD GRAY

      Reginald Hill   
          EXIT LINES

      Rex Stout   

      Roslund & Hellstrom   
          BOX 21
          THE VAULT

      S.J. Bolton   
          NOW YOU SEE ME

      Sally Spencer   

      11 January 2012

      Review: MURDER AT THE SAVOY, Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö - audio

      • audio book available from Audible.com
      • length 6 hrs 32 mins
      • Narrated by Tom Weiner 
      • #6 in the Martin Beck series
      • first published in 2970
      • source: I bought it
      Synopsis (from Audible)

      When Viktor Palmgren, a powerful Swedish industrialist, is shot during his after-dinner speech in the luxurious Hotel Savoy, it sends a shiver down the spine of the international money markets and puts the tiny town of Malmö on edge.
      No one can identify the gunman when Martin Beck takes over the scene and finds a web so despicable that it's hard to imagine who wouldn't want Palmgren dead.

      My take

      The introduction to this audio book (and the Kindle version) was written by Michael Carlson, book reviewer and film critic. In it he talks about what ground breakers Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö were, how they paved the way not only for today's Scandinavian writers but how they changed the conventions and direction of crime fiction forever, particularly that of the police procedural.

      The thing that strikes you about MURDER AT THE SAVOY is how much detail there is, whether it is description of the main players, police procedures, settings, and interview transcripts.

      In the introduction Carlson alerts you to look out for reflection of the authors' socialist views as well as how Sweden's economy is being manipulated by industrialists and magnates. Martin Beck is told to tread carefully in this case because Viktor Palmgren is so powerful, influential with members of the government. There is pressure on Beck and his team to not only catch the murderer quickly but also to avoid releasing any details that might reflect badly on the Swedish government.

      In the long run, when the murderer is charged Beck feels that while justice appears to have been served the real criminals have remained free.

      My rating: 4.5

      Other reviews on this blog

      4.7, ROSEANNA

       The Martin Beck series (courtesy Fantastic Fiction)
      I have now read *
      1. Roseanna (1965) *
      2. The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (1966) *
      3. The Man on the Balcony (1967) *
      4. The Laughing Policeman (1968) *
           aka Investigation of Murder
      5. The Fire Engine That Disappeared (1969) *
      6. Murder at the Savoy (1970) *
      7. The Abominable Man (1971)
      8. The Locked Room (1972)
      9. The Cop Killer (1974)
      10. The Terrorists (1975)

      Review: A TRICK OF THE LIGHT, Louise Penny

      • Published by Sphere 2011
      • 404 pages
      • ISBN 978-1-84744-426-4
      • source: my local library
      • #7 in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series
      Synopsis (author's site)

      “Hearts are broken,” Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. “Sweet relationships are dead.”
      But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow's garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara's solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light. Where nothing is as it seems. Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart. And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they've found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light.

      My take

      The tranquillity of the little Canadian village of Three Pines is again shattered by murder. The artist Clara Morrow is celebrating her successful art exhibition with a party but others in the village and the investigative team are recovering from cataclysmic events, detailed in earlier books, that have changed their relationships forever. The threads of continuity that come from earlier titles in the series do mean that, if you are new to the series, you should read them in order. But if someone gave you A TRICK OF THE LIGHT for Christmas do read it now. But I guarantee you'll want to go looking for the first in the series and then read them in order.

      What I love about the Penny books is the way that while the murder mystery central to the story is being explored and investigated, background material and evidence researched and assembled, other questions are posed for us to think about. There is the meaning of the title for example, but I won't discuss that here because it is introduced quite early in the book. Another question is whether someone can change in character or is a nasty vindictive person always nasty and vindictive?

      The brilliantly drawn characters are part of what attracts me to this series too, and the nature of the relationships between them. As you read the series different characters are explored and embellished novel by novel. Six months have elapsed since BURY YOUR DEAD in which both Armand Gamache and his assistant Jean Guy Beauvoir were critically wounded and lost four young colleagues. Gamache appears to have made a complete recovery but Jean Guy is not doing so well.  The relationships between Gamache and his team and the residents of Three Pines provide great tension points in the novels too. Gamache has visited the village of Three Pines so often that he regards most of them as friends, and they him, and so when another murder occurs the issue of whether friendship will obscure good judgement in a police investigation comes to the surface again.

      You can probably gather that I really enjoyed A TRICK OF THE LIGHT.
      My rating 5.0

      Other reviews to follow up:
      A TRICK OF THE LIGHT was recently shortlisted in the Mystery category of the Indie Literary Awards.

      Other reviews on MiP of Louise Penny books
      5.0, BURY YOUR DEAD 

      Chief Inspector Gamache (list per Fantastic Fiction)
      1. Still Life (2005)
      2. Dead Cold (2006)
           aka A Fatal Grace
      3. The Cruellest Month (2007)
      4. The Murder Stone (2008)
           aka A Rule Against Murder
      5. The Brutal Telling (2009)
      6. Bury Your Dead (2010)
      7. A Trick of the Light (2011)
      The Hangman (2011) 

      Louise Penny's blog 

      Best crime fiction reads for 2011 - titles mentioned once

      I have been collecting lists of best crime fiction reads for 2011 for a couple of weeks now. You will see the majority of the links in my post here but they also came in as comments on posts and by emails. In the long run there were 35 contributors and 364 titles.

      Note that they are a mixture of mysteries and thrillers, and also include titles that have been published pre-2011: some in fact would qualify as vintage publications.

      Yesterday I published a list of titles with multiple mentions.
      Here are those that got just one mention.

      11/22/63 by Stephen King
      61 HOURS by Lee Child
      A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE by Malla Nunn
      A BRUTAL TELLING by Louise Penny
      A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT by Jeanne Dams
      A DEATH IN SUMMER by Benjamin Black
      A DECLINE IN PROPHETS by Sulari Gentil
      A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF by Lawrence Block
      A GRAVEYARD TO LET by Carter Dickson
      A VINE IN THE BLOOD by Leighton Gage
      ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL by Declan Burke
      ALMOST BLUE by Carlo Lucarelli
      AN AUTHOR BITES THE DUST by Arthur Upfield
      AN UNCERTAIN PLACE by Fred Vargas
      AWAKENING by S.J. Bolton
      BACK OF BEYOND by C.J. Box
      BACKLASH by Sally Spencer
      BAD INTENTIONS by Karin Fossum
      BEFORE THE POISON by Peter Robinson
      BENT ROAD by Lori Roy
      BETRAYAL OF TRUST by J.A. Jance
      BLACK FLOWERS by Steve Mosby
      BLOOD FALLS by Tom Bale
      BLOOD HARVEST by S.J. Bolton
      BLOODMONEY by David Ignatius
      BLUE LIGHTNING by Ann Cleeves
      BOX 21 by Roslund & Hellstrom
      BREAKING SILENCE by Linda Castillo
      BROKEN DREAMS by Nick Quantrill
      BURIED PREY by John Sandford
      BUTCHER'S MOON by Richard Stark
      CAT SITTER AMONG THE PIGEONS by Blaize Clement
      CAUGHT STEALING by Charlie Huston
      CHRISTMAS IS MURDER by C.S. Challinor
      COLD CRUEL WINTER by Chris Nickson
      COLD KILL by Neil White
      COLD RAIN by Craig Smith
      COLD SHOT TO THE HEART by Wallace Stroby
      COP HATER by Ed McBain
      CUCKOO by Julia Crouch
      DAED END by Leigh Russell
      DANCERS IN THE MORNING by Margery Allingham
      DEAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
      DEAD MONEY by Ray Banks
      DEATH AND THE SPANISH LADY by Carolyn Morwood
      DEATH IN KASHMIR by M.M. Kaye
      DEATH IN THE GARDEN by Elizabeth Ironside
      DEATH MASK by Kathryn Fox
      DEATH OF THE MANTIS by Michael Stanley
      DEATH ON THE MARAIS by Adrian Magson
      DIAMOND DOVE (aka MOONLIGHT DOWNS) by Adrian Hyland
      DJIBOUTI by Elmore Leonard
      DOUBLE DEXTER by Jeff Lindsay
      DUMB WITNESS by Agatha Christie
      ECHOES FROM THE DEAD by Johan Theorin
      ECHOES OF THE DEAD by Sally Spencer
      ENDANGERED by Pamela Beason
      EXCURSION TO TINDARI by Andrea Camilleri
      EXIT LINES by Reginald Hill
      EYES WIDE OPEN by Andrew Gross
      FAITHFUL PLACE by Tana French
      FALLING GLASS by Adrian McKinty
      FEAR NOT by Ann Holt
      FEAST DAY OF FOOLS by James Lee Burke
      FIFTH VICTIM by Zoe Sharp
      FIFTH WITNESS by Michael Connelly
      FUN & GAMES by Duane Swierczynski
      GAUDY NIGHT by Dorothy L. Sayers
      GENTLY DOES IT by Alan Hunter
      GUILT BY ASSOCIATION by Marcia Clark
      HALF BLOOD BLUES by Esi Edugyan
      HARBOUR  by John Ajvide Lindqvist
      HEARTSTONE by C.J. Sansom
      HEAT RISES by Richard Castle
      HELL & GONE by Duane Swierczynski
      HELL IS EMPTY by Craig Johnson
      HELL IS EMPTY by Craig Johnson
      HERCULE POIROT'S CHRISTMAS by Agatha Christie
      HIDDEN DEPTHS by Ann Cleeves
      HUNTED by Emlyn Rees
      HYPOTHERMIA by Arnaldur Indridason
      ICELIGHT by Aly Monroe
      IN A DRY SEASON by Peter Robinson
      INK FLAMINGOS by Karen E. Olsen
      INTIMATE KILL by Margaret Yorke
      INTO THE DARKEST CORNER by Elizabeth Haines
      IRON HOUSE by John Hart
      IRON HOUSE by John Hart
      KILLED AT THE WHIM OF A HAT by Colin Cotterill
      KISS ME QUICK by Danny Miller
      LASTING DAMAGE by Sophie Hanna
      LIVEWIRE by Harlen Coben
      LOVE YOU MORE by Lisa Gardner
      LUCIFER'S TEARS by James Thompson
      MANIFESTO OF THE DEAD by Domenic Stansberry
      MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH by Ariana Franklin
      MIXED BLOOD by Roger Smith
      MURDER IN PASSY by Cara Black
      MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Agatha Christie
      NEMESIS by Jo Nesbo
      NEVER KNOWING by Chevy Steevens
      NEW YORK TO DALLAS by J.D. Robb
      NEXT OF KIN by David Hosp
      NINE MAN'S MURDER by Eric Keith
      NOCTURNAL TARGET by Ricardo Piglia
      NOW YOU SEE HER by James Patterson
      OLD CITY HALL by Robert Rotenberg
      ONE TRUE SENTENCE by Craig MacDonald
      OUTRAGE by Arnaldur Indridason
      PANDEMONIUM by Chris Brookmyre
      PICTURE HER DEAD by Lin Anderson
      POTSDAM STATION by David Downing
      PRAY FOR SILENCE by Linda Castillo
      RAVEN BLACK by Ann Cleeves
      RED JADE by Henry Chang
      RED ON RED by Edward Conlon
      REVENGER by Rory Clements
      RIZZO'S FIRE by Lou Manfredo
      ROSEANNA by Maj Sjowal & Per Wahloo
      SECRET DEAD MEN by Duane Swierczynski
      SHOCKWAVE by John Sandford
      SHROUD OF DARKNESS by E.C.R. Lorac
      SHUT YOUR EYES TIGHT by John Verdon
      SISTER by Rosamund Lupton
      SMOKIN' SEVENTEEN by Janet Evanovich
      SO MUCH PRETTY by Cara Hoffmann
      SOMEONE ELSE'S SON by Sam Hayes
      SPYCATCHER by Matthew Dunn
      STOLEN LIVES by Jassy Mackenzie
      SWORN TO SILENCE by Linda Castillo
      TAHOE HIJACK by Todd Borg
      TEMPORARY PERFECTIONS by Gianrico Carofiglio
      THE ADJUSTMENT by Scott Phillips
      THE ART OF DROWNING by Frances Fyfield
      THE BOUNDARY by Nicole Watson
      THE BRUTAL TELLING by Louise Penny
      THE BURNING by Jane Casey
      THE BURNING WIRE by Jeffery Deaver
      THE CALLING by Inge Ash Wolfe
      THE CASE OF THE LAME CANARY by Erle Stanley Gardner
      THE CHALK CIRCLE MAN by Fred Vargas
      THE COMPLAINTS by Ian Rankin
      THE COURIER'S NEW BICYCLE by Kim Westwood
      THE CROSSING PLACES by Elly Griffiths
      THE CYPRESS HOUSE by Michael Koryta
      THE DARK SIDE by Belinda Bauer
      THE DARKEST ROOM by Johan Theorin
      THE DEAD OF WINTER by Jane Adams
      THE DEPUTY by Victor Gischler
      THE DIME MUSEUM MURDERS by Daniel Stashower
      THE DOG WHO KNEW TOO MUCH by Spencer Quinn
      THE DONOR by Helen FitzGerald
      THE DOORBELL RANG by Rex Stout
      THE DROP by Michael Connelly
      THE DYING TRADE by Peter Corris
      THE FATAL TOUCH by Conor Fitzgerald
      THE GENTLEMEN’S HOUR by Don Winslow
      THE GOOD DAUGHTER by Honey Brown
      THE HANGING WOOD by Martin Edwards
      THE HOLY THIEF by William Ryan
      THE ICE PRINCESS by Camilla Lackberg
      THE INFORMANT by Thomas Perry
      THE INFORMANT by Thomas Perry
      THE JANUS STONE by Elly Griffiths
      THE JANUS STONE by Elly Griffiths
      THE KILLER IS DYING by James Sallis
      THE KILLER IS DYING by James Sallis
      THE KING OF DIAMONDS by Simon Tolkien
      THE LANTERN by Deborah Lawrenson
      THE LEAVENWORTH CASE by Anna Katherine Green
      THE LOCKED ROOM by Maj Sjowal & Per Wahloo
      THE LOST SISTER by Russel McLean
      THE MAGIC BULLET by Larry Millett
      THE MAN ON THE BALCONY by Maj Sjowal & Per Wahloo
      THE MAN WHO WENT UP IN SMOKE by Maj Sjowal & Per Wahloo
      THE NIGHT STRANGERS by Chris Bohjalian
      THE ONE FROM THE OTHER by Philip Kerr
      THE PERFECT SUSPECT by Margaret Cole
      THE PURSUED by C.S. Forester
      THE RANGER by Ace Atkins
      THE RETRIBUTION by Val McDermid
      THE RETURN by Hakan Nesser
      THE ROCK HOLE by Reavis Z. Wortham
      THE RULE BOOK by Rob Kitchin
      THE SHORTEST WAY TO HADES by Sarah Caudwell
      THE SILENT GIRL by Tess Gerritsen
      THE STONE CUTTER by Camilla Lackberg
      THE STRANGER YOU SEEK by Amanda Kyle Williams
      THE SUMMONER by Layton Green
      THE TRINITY SIX by Charles Cumming
      THE UNLUCKY LOTTERY by Hakan Nesser
      THE VAULT by Ruth Rendell
      THE VAULT by Roslund & Hellstrom
      THE WOODCUTTER by Reginald Hill
      THESE HIDDEN THINGS by Heather Gudenkauf
      THINK OF A NUMBER by John Verdon
      THREE SECONDS by Roslund & Hellstrom
      TRACKERS by Deon Meyer
      TRACKERS by Deon Meyer
      TWO FOR SORROW by Nicola Upson
      V is for VENGEANCE by Sue Grafton
      VIOLENT EXPOSURE by Katherine Howell
      VOICES by Arnaldur Indridason
      WATCH OUT FOR ME by Sylvia Johnson
      WATER-BLUE EYES by Domingo Vilar
      WHAT WAS LOST by Catherine O'Flynn
      WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED by Chris Brookmyre
      WHITE DOG by Peter Temple
      WICKED AUTUMN by G.M. Malliet
      WINTERLAND by Alan Glynn
      WRITTEN IN BONE by Simon Beckett
      WYATT by Garry Disher


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