Of course, if we do not have what you are looking for, we are also happy to order it for you. The last day for ordering (to guarantee in-store availability for Sunday, December 24th) is December 10. We can also ship wrapped books for you, in case you need to get it further afield. The last day for guaranteed shipping arrivals is December 20th.
We love a bit of sales analysis trivia! Here are the top selling authors at Whodunit. Did you rediscover Agatha Christie this year too?
Rank Author Change from 2016
1. Rankin, Ian =
2. Robinson, Peter =
3. Beaton, M.C. =
4. Christie, Agatha +4
5. Smith, Alexander McCall -1
6. Perry, Anne -1
7. Mankell, Henning -1
8. Penny, Louise +2
9. Connelly, Michael -2
10. Leon, Donna -1
11 . Bowen, Rhys =
12 . Childs, Laura =
13 . Evanovich, Janet +1
14 . Doherty, Paul -1
15 . Parker, Robert B -2
16 . James, P.D. =
17. Granger, Ann =
18 . George, Elizabeth =
19 . Marric, J.J. =
20 . Bowen, Gail +1
21 . Rendell, Ruth -1
22 . Grafton, Sue =
23 . Benison, C.C. =
24 . Crombie, Deborah +2
25 . Reichs, Kathy =
26 . Purser, Ann +2
27 . Albert, Susan Wittig -3
28 . Jardine, Quintin +3
29 . Braun, Lilian Jackson -2
30 . Tremayne, Peter -1
1. Louise Penny, Glass Houses
2. Jo Nesbo, The Thirst
3. Donna Leon, Earthly Remains
4. Peter Robinson, Sleeping in the Ground
5. Gail Bowen, The Winner’s Circle
6. Anne Perry, Christmas Return
7. John Le Carre, A Legacy of Spies
1. Michael Bussi, After the Crash
2. Jacqueline Winspear, In This Grave Hour
3. Deborah Crombie, Garden of Lamentations
4. Peter May, Blacklight Blue
5. Jana Rieger, A Course in Deception
6. Peter Robinson, When The Music’s Over
7. Peter May, Blowback
8. Ann Cleaves, The Seagull
9. Plum Sykes, Party Girls Die in Pearls
10. Anne Perry, Revenge in a Cold River
1. M.C.Beaton, Death of A Nurse
2. Victoria Thompson, Death in Morningside Heights
3. Louise Penny, A Great Reckoning
4. M.C. Beaton, Pushing Up Daisies
5. Lee Child, Night School
6. Lorna Barrett, Title Wave
7. John Grisham, The Whistler
8. Laura Childs, Devonshire Scream
9. Kate Carlisle, Books of A Feather
10. Ben Aaronovich, The Hanging Tree
The theme for Winter 2018 is Australia. Books are available now in store. New members are cordially invited to join the fun.
Tuesday, January 30th – Bad Debts by Peter Temple
Tuesday, February 27th – The Dry by Jane Harper (available January 2nd, 2018)
Tuesday, March 27th – Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
We know that some non-members of the group do read the assigned titles. If you would like to have the questions that Jack writes, please let Wendy know (via email, phone, or in person). Books will be available for purchase at the store and feature a 10% discount.
Over the past year or so we have expanded our children’s book section both physically and in the kinds of books that we have been selling. This came about partly because of our grandchildren. I would see books in catalogues that I thought they would like, and, after a number of them were bought by customers who saw them as we were first receiving them, I then started to order more than one copy of the books I was ordering for my own. In the fall of 2015 our Harper Collins rep, Terry Toews, told us about a book that Harper Collins were publishing which had local interest, which he thought it might be worth us ordering a few copies. The book was Finding Winnie, we ordered an initial five copies but of course that was just the beginning, it has been a consistent seller. The book went on to win the prestigious Caldecott Award. If you have children or grandchildren and have not seen this book, you really should check it out (in stock $19.99); our grandsons Henry and Bram (from Washington, D.C.) marked it as one of their favourites when they visited at Thanksgiving. More picture books began to arrive when one of Michael’s fellow Mount Allison alumni, Kate Beaton, released The Princess and the Pony, and then King Baby (both at $22.99), but gradually, we have also added books that are grandkids are telling us about.
Like their grandfather, Henry and Bram are great baseball fans so they have really enjoyed David A. Kelly’s Ballpark Mysteries, one of which even has a Christmas theme, Christmas In Cooperstown (in stock $ 7.99). Their mother has been a big proponent of Kate Milford, who has most recently released the second book in her ‘Greenglass House’ series Ghosts of Greenglass House, although she feels that they are for slightly older readers. Nor are our family the only sources of new information. One young reader from the neighbourhood visited us to order Jonathan Stroud’s ‘Lockwood and Co.’ series, which proved a great fit for our section, as did the Arthur Conan Doyle adaptations that the author wrote for younger readers.
When I was growing up Enid Blyton was probably the bestselling children’s author in the U.K. Many of her books have been recently repackaged. The characters from the Secret Seven and the Famous Five series are now available in books designed for starting readers with lots of integrated illustrations, as well as in more regular formats. We have had good reports of these books from our Vancouver grandchildren (Lily, Joenna and Oliver). Other extremely long running series Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are also now available in a number of different formats. We also have quite a collection of these two series in used, so if you had a favourite Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys title we might have a copy you could use to introduce your children or grandchildren to the series.
At the moment, probably because of the arrival of Penelope Eleanor, we have a number of Christmas themed board books, including Eric Carle’s Merry Christmas From the Very Hungary Caterpillar and Beatrix Potter’s A Christmas Wish, featuring Peter Rabbit. Talking about board books I must include Olivier Tallec’s Who Done It? and Who? What? Where? Who Done It? has been one of our family’s favourite gifts for baby gifts, early birthdays and holidays for some time.
You may have noticed that in the last couple of issues that at the end of each month’s book lists there has been a Juvenile and Young Adult section. I hope that this will be increasingly useful for readers to track series, and authors in this section as it is in the other sections. Colin Melloy’s Wildwood Chronicles, for example, was a very popular young adult series, and so you will see his new book Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid, listed there, as well as the mass market edition of Nicholas Gannon’s Doldrums, as well as its hardcover sequel Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse.
I’ve just finished reading Elizabeth Wilson’s She Died Young (TP, $20.50). Set in 1956 much of the plot revolves around Hungarian student refugees who were based in Oxford. Some of them were attending classes at Oxford while others were waiting to go on to universities in other countries, including Canada. Elizabeth Wilson has written other standalone novels but this one seems to be set up as the first in a series. The two main characters are policeman DCI Jack McGovern and journalist Gerry Blackstone. I really enjoyed this book.
Reading She Died Young, reminded me of a book that I read back in January, Sara Sheridan’s Brighton Belle (TP, $16.95). That novel was set in Brighton in 1951, the main character Mirabelle Bevan, had formerly been a member of the British secret service. The second title in the series, London Calling, is being published in January (TP, $17.95). This time Mirabelle and her friend Vesta investigate the disappearance of debutante Rose Bellamy Gore, from a seedy Soho night club.
Both these books presented a very realistic description of postwar England and seem well rooted in the period with references various political and news events.
Minette Walters has set her first novel in ten years in quite a different period. The plot of The Last Hours, revolves around the arrival of the Black Death in the Dorset village of Melcombe in 1348. This is quite a departure from the author of The Scold’s Bridle. It is being published in April of 2018 (TP, $24.99).
We have tried to bring in some interesting gift ideas to fit all appetites, even those who do not love mystery novels. New York Times Bestselling author Shea Serrano has two coffee table style books The Rap Yearbook and this years Basketball and Other Things. Both are great looking, humorous and colourful; perfect for anyone on your list whose typical reading stems from magazines or shorter works on popular culture, even if they are interested in neither basketball, nor hip-hop music.
For the Potter-heads, we have a wide range of options, including the newly released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as the British Library's Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic.
We also have a range of colouring books, cooking books, and travelogues that can appeal to a wide range of moods, types and styles. Len Deighton's Action Cookbook, for example, is a wonderful resource for the culinarily challenged, as it does not just include recipes, but instructions on how to stock a kitchen, directed especially at bachelors. Although the contents are more focused on the kitchens of London in the Swinging Sixties, and the majority of us are no longer using iceboxes, or unfamiliar with in house refrigerators, it also includes the cartoon strips that Deighton drew to accompany these tips to better illustrate the concepts he describes.
Righteous by Joe Ide
(HC, $34.00, order here)
Joe Ide has had quite enough acolades in 2017 for his first novel IQ, having been nominated for the Anthony, the Barry, the Edgar and the McAvity for Best Debut Novel.
His second book, Righteous, is better.
Untethered from the shackles of origin story and protagonist introduction, Ide is freed in his sophomore effort to expand his scope and paint a picture of Los Angeles as complex melange of cultures and classes. Ides’ obvious, and open adoration of Conan Doyle has allowed him to present a modern, African American hyper-intelligent character that evokes Holmes honestly and effectively, and surrounds him with characters that compliment him admirably.
For those who are reluctant to start with the second book, we do have the first in trade paperback ($20.99). However, it is in Righteous that Joe Ide has made a world I cannot wait to revisit.
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw
(TP, $19.49, order here)
I rated 12 books with 5 Stars last year and 6 of those are books we sell at Whodunit. Mum already picked Party Girls Die in Pearls, one was published in 2016, two were the second in a series, and one isn’t technically available in Canada yet. So I was feeling a little unsure about what to pick as my book of the year. But when I was in the store in November, a book kept catching my eye. I looked at it a few times. I started to read the first chapter, but with Bookstore Baby on the loose it was hard to get very far. Then, one day, Penelope was napping in the store and I remembered the book and…I couldn’t put it down. I even reported to Mum after the first chapter that I was pretty sure it was going to be my book of the year. And here we are.
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw is everything I want in a book. A strong female protagonist. A fantastical spin. A little bit of smouldering romance in the background. The first in a series. And, most importantly, spectacularly well-written. Dr. Greta Helsing is a London doctor who’s Harley Street practice specializes in the monstrous undead. Vampires, demons, mummies, and ghouls to name a few. But a serial killing sect of murderous monks has trained their mania on the monsters and Dr. Helsing and her friends (living and undead), must get to the bottom of it and keep London’s monstrous population safe (and healthy).
This is truly a special book that is not only unputdownable, but also makes you insanely jealous that you didn’t come up with the idea first. I cannot wait to see where she takes the story in the follow-up due in July of 2018 called Dreadful Company.
Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes
(TP, $22.99, order here)
My book of the year is Plum Sykes, Party Girls Die in Pearls. This is a fun read. Set in the 1980s the plot centres around a disparate pair of students Ursula Flowerbottom, a studious girl from rural England and Nancy Feingold, an American exchange student from Saddle River, New Jersey. Neither of whom are really au fait with the lifestyle and expectations of the group of wealthy and/or aristocratic students with whom they are mixing. Sykes adds a few footnotes to inform readers who do not remember that far back e.g. comparison of outfit to one Sue Ellen might wear, Sue Ellen Ewing from the prime-time soap Dallas, which was the epitome of 80s glamour.
The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore
(TP, $23.00, order here)
My choice for Book of the Year is a combination of two of my favourite genres: legal and historical thrillers. Curiously enough, this book, which has no violence in it, is really a lot more exciting than 99% of the books we carry at Whodunit. It is the story of the real-life struggle between two American geniuses for control of the light and power business throughout the world. I read this book in one sitting, being unable to put it down. The legal question is a fascinating one involving how much of the construction of an electric light bulb is generic and therefore protected under Thomas Edison’s patents. I’ll leave the rest for the reader to discover. I will say this though; The Last Days of Night is not just my favourite book of 2017 but one of the best books I’ve read.
Gifts From Us to You
Michael has spent several days wrapping books. As a result, just as we did last year, we have gifts for you, our customers, for shopping with us this Holiday season. If you spend $25 or more in the store this December, we will be happy to give you one of these mystery mystery books. They are colour coded by theme, but supplies are limited, so if you want to be sure to get an extra "Women Detective between the World War" mystery, be sure to visit us quickly this December. And if you loved a book you received last year and that helped you find a new series, make sure you tell us about it.
January Author Event – Michael Hartley
On Sunday, January 14th 2018 at 3pm we will be hosting a reading and signing with local author Michael Hartley in promotion of his latest book, Windfall. Come out in the cold of winter to hear Michael talk about his latest Ryan Moar book, and his adventures in tropical Zanzibar.
February Used Book Sale
We’ll be having our usual February book sale with exact dates to be announced. Check this space in February’s ‘The Missing Clue’ or look for announcements in store and on the website.
First off, many apologies for the delayed newsletter again. Turns out a teething baby who isn’t a good sleeper is not a recipe for a prompt newsletter. We’ll be in Winnipeg for a few weeks in November and December though, so I hope you’ll come by and say hi.
It was my intention to write a long meaty piece a la Jack about Sherlock Holmes pastiches featuring female protagonists, but please see aforementioned teething non-sleeping baby as well as the fact that one of the books that I want to feature is a front-runner for my Book of the Year (let that be a hint). So expect that from me in February.
We were on vacation for two weeks in August, so despite the fact that going on vacation with an infant is really just not sleeping in another place, I did manage to get quite a lot of reading done. A customer recommended Anne Perry’s ‘Charlotte and Thomas Pitt’ series to me and when I finally got around to reading the first in the series, The Cater Street Hangman (in stock, used mass market), I wondered why I hadn’t read this series yet, as it is just up my alley (thank you for the recommendation!). There’s little I enjoy more than a smart Victorian woman who does the unexpected and I’m delighted that I have another 31 books to look forward to. I sometimes struggle with books where the narration bounces around among characters, but so far I’m enjoying getting to know Charlotte and her loved ones. If you’ve been meaning to dip into Anne Perry, we’ve got lots of options in used (40 titles at time of printing). If you think you’ve read something that I would enjoy, please don’t hesitate to recommend it!
I was lucky enough to receive a box of books two days before Penelope was born and I’m ashamed to admit that I’m still working through it. I did however just manage to read several more from that To Be Read pile, including Measured for Murder (available to order, trade paperback) by Janet Brons. This is the third book in her ‘Forsyth and Hay’ series and I really enjoy them. They are fairly short books (this one was 192 pages) and somewhat sparsely written, but they are a quick read and maybe something worth recommending to someone who isn’t a very strong reader. There is murder (obviously) as well as romance, British police, and…Canadian diplomatic politics. Something for everyone, right?
In that same box was Benedict Jacka’s Bound (in stock, mass market $10.99), book #8 in his Alex Verus series. I’ll admit that I was putting off reading this one because the series was starting to take on a whiff of Jim Butcher’s ‘Dresden Files’ series where it just seemed like endless drama and bad news for our protagonist. That certainly continues to be the case, but I felt like this title finally started moving the story forward a bit more. I’m not sure if it’s this crazy political climate we’re in, but I’m enjoying stories featuring background political machinations, and Bound features those in spades. Book #9, Marked, is coming in June of 2018 in mass market (which is nice to see a series stay in the smaller size and not make the jump to a pricey hardcover).
Speaking of books moving to pricey hardcover…Caro Peacock’s ‘Liberty Lane’ series switched publishers to Severn House between book #3 and #4. This was good news, as there had been a two year break in the series and Severn House likely kept the series going. The bad news in Severn House titles are inconsistently scheduled and their hardcovers are extremely pricey. Please know that we do the same mental math that you do when your favorite series moves to hardcover, especially now that hardcovers have got more expensive again. The trouble with Severn House is that it’s not always just a question of waiting for the trade paperback or mass market, so sometimes you bite the bullet and pay the money. In Friends in High Places (in store, new and used trade paperback), Peacock had Liberty Lane finally resolving matters with her gentleman friend. Fool’s Gold (available to order, hardcover) begins with the couple on their honeymoon, but Peacock contrives to ship the husband out of the country (and away from the action) so as not to get in Lane’s crime solving way.
I have a nice stack of books waiting for me at the store including Tasha Alexander’s Death in St. Petersburg (Lady Emily #12, hardcover $36.99) and Will Thomas’ Old Scores (Barker & Llewelyn #9, hardcover $36.99) and by the time I arrive The Book of Dust (hardcover) by Philip Pullman will have arrived. The question in regards to the Pullman is whether I should re-read the His Dark Materials trilogy again before I read The Book of Dust. Pullman is not calling it a prequel or a sequel but rather an ‘equel’ set in the same world. I found the original series completely captivating and heartrending when I read them almost 20 years ago, so I suspect a reread is in order.
I have a shortlist of titles to consider for my 2017 Book of the Year, not to mention any of the above titles that could sneak their way into consideration. Any guesses on what any Bumsted’s might choose?
Wendy mentioned the slew of Christmas cozies we’ve already got on our shelves, which is just another reminder that the holiday season is barreling towards us. We’re grateful that so many of you make Whodunit a part of your holiday shopping. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1) We can order any book that is commercially available for you, regardless of whether or not it is a mystery. You’ll still get stamps too! Some books can be ordered and received within a few days, but some take longer, especially as we get into December. If you have special orders in mind, the earlier the better. You can check our webstore (https://bookmanager.com/117455x/) for title availability, but keep in mind prices and timing may be subject to change.
2) If there’s a title that you’ve got on your wishlist and you think someone might come shopping for you, don’t be afraid to let us know! We’re always happy to make recommendations, but we can point your Santa to exactly what you’re dying to read if you tell us.
3) We’ve got gift cards! Gift cards can be purchased in any denomination and we’ll be happy to tuck them in with a newsletter or a book.
4) Don’t forget the webstore! Your intrepid newsletter editor has lots of work on the website still to do, but our webstore shows our live inventory along with price and format. Find something you want? You can reserve a copy of a book we’ve got in store or that you would like to order without having to pay upfront. We’ll be happy to show you how the webstore works if you need help.
Hey there, I'm Sam. I'm the newest staff member at Whodunit? Mystery Book Store, so you've probably seen me hanging around on occasion if you've ever stopped by since I started. I've been pretty passionate about books since I was 12, and I find I just love working with them, and around them, as well as reading them. This being the case, managing to find myself a job at a bookstore just seemed perfect. The best thing about working in a bookstore is, to point out the obvious... books! Other than that, though, it's also really great to meet and talk to fellow book lovers, as well as to broaden my interests. I haven't actually read a lot of mystery books yet, so I haven't got a lot to recommend, but I'm starting to read more of them. I could probably recommend more books from the Kids/Teen/Young Adult section right now than I could the rest of the store.
For many years, I found trying to pick a favourite book impossible. It was like I was trying to pick a favourite child, I just couldn't; that was until a few years ago when I came across Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I never thought anyone could form such a deep, emotional connection to a book before I had read it, but it appears it is possible. I'm actually not sure which books I've re-read the most. I think it's a tie between a couple of series and Thirteen Reasons Why. The two series I've read more than once are ‘House of Night’ by P.C. and Kristen Cast, and ‘Morganville Vampires’ by Rachel Caine; both of which happen to be about vampires. Since working here, I've actually only finished one book, which is Sisters of the Night, edited by Barbara Hambly and Martin H. Greenberg (surprise, surprise, it's also about vampires! Us younger folks and our vampire books, yikes). However, I'm currently reading three books at the same time: Penance of the Damned by Peter Tremayne; Against A Darkening Sky by Lauren B. Davis; and I'm also re-reading Awakened (HoN book #8) by P.C. and Kristen Cast. If I'm honest, I'm struggling not to start yet another book. At this rate, I'll never finish them all.
While I was collecting books for this newsletter piece, I ended up picking up a couple of books that exemplify what is to me the most annoying current trend in publishing – the book that starts as if you have literally just turned the page on the last chapter of the previous book. I am actually a huge fan of the back story, in fact there are some series I continue to read just for the back story but this is ridiculous. I do not see how anyone can be expected to remember very precise details of a book that was probably read at least a year ago. I am grasping to find an explanation and frankly I have not found a feasible one.
I have not read any other titles by George Mann, and he has written a number of different series, some of which fall into our crossover category, but I thoroughly enjoyed Wychwood, (in stock, trade paper, $19.95) which is I hope the first in a new series. The main character, Elspeth Reeves has just lost her job as a reporter in London and simultaneously broken up with her boyfriend, as a result she is heading back to her mother’s house in the village of Wilsby -under- Wychwood. A traffic snarl up on the way home is the result of a body having been found in the woods behind her mother’s house, and needless to say this piques Elspeth’s attention.
I have been a fan of James Craig, ever since his Inspector Carlyle series started appearing in print as opposed to being ebooks. The latest title, number ten in the series is Acts of Violence, (in stock, trade paper, $15.99). The plot like the previous titles always appears very current this time it involves uber wealthy Chinese who live in Chelsea and yet seem very separate from the milieu. As I have said before, I like Carlyle because he is relatable. He has a normal, happy life, a wife, who works for a charity, a teenage daughter, he goes to the pub but does not drink to excess. Life is not picture book perfect he has grumbles about his job, his bosses, worries about his father’s health but it always feels real. This series is worth a try if you have not read it before and while the back story moves on in each book it is not a barrier to enjoying the story.
Harry Bingham’s ‘Fiona Griffiths’ is another series I really enjoy. The main character is a detective constable in the South Wales police force based in Cardiff. In the latest title, The Deepest Grave, (in stock, trade paper, $24.99) an archaeologist is found dead, decapitated by an antique sword at an iron age fort site she is in charge of excavating. Griffiths is a complex character who has her own demons most of which revolve around the origins of her birth. This is another good contemporary series with believable characters.
Peter May’s ‘Enzo Macleod’ series published between 2006 and 2011, was originally five books long. The series has been re-issued in trade paper over the last eighteen months. The fifth book Blowback, was published at the beginning of September. May has now extended the series with the publication of a sixth novel, Cast Iron, (in stock, hardcover, $32.49). May’s very first series set in China is being re-released and The Firemaker will be available in North America in January (on order, trade paper, $19.49).
Anna Lee Huber author of the very popular ‘Lady Darby’ mysteries has a new series. In 1919, Verity Kent, thought that no one knew that she had been part of Britain’s Secret Service during the hostilities but someone knows. While grieving for her husband Sidney killed in action, Verity is faced with the fact that nothing is as it seems and maybe her husband was not the honorable man she believed him to be, This Side of Murder (in stock, trade paper, $16.95)
One of my longtime favorite authors is Michael Pearce. I think I have read every one of the ‘Mamur Zapt’ books, now numbering nineteen, set in Egypt at the beginning of the twentieth century. He has a couple of other shorter series and one of them ‘Seymour of Special Branch’ is in the process of being re-released. The period is roughly the same as the ‘Mamur Zapt’ books. The first title A Dead Man in Trieste, (in stock tp $15.99) is set in 1906, and the British counsel has gone missing. The Foreign Office send Seymour, a member of the Special Branch, who has by his talents rather than birth risen up through the ranks of the Metropolitan Police, to find out what is going on, The Foreign Office pooh bahs look down on Seymour as not being one of us. Pearce writes with a light touch and the series is very entertaining but also like the Mamur Zapt books a lot can be learned about the political situation in Eastern Europe and the Middle East in the decade before WWI. Titles will be released over the next two months in trade paper at $15.99.
The end of September brought us a number of Christmas themed books! Frankly, I think this is way too early but if you like to have a Christmas cosy at Christmas you might like to check them out. Leslie Meier’s Holiday Murder, (in stock, mass market, $10.95) this volume contains two of Leslie Meier’s earlier Christmas titles Mistletoe Murder and Christmas Cooke Murder. There will be a new Lucy Stone title for Christmas: Eggnog Murder (on order, mass market, $8.99) will be released at the beginning of November. Hannah Swensen is still busy baking in Joanne Fluke’s Christmas Caramel Murder (in stock, mass market, $8.99) and there are a dozen recipes for you to try. Alex Erickson’s Bookstore Café is serving Death By Eggnog, (in stock, mass market, $8.99) the fifth title in this engaging series and Jennifer David Hesse is promising Yuletide Homicide (in stock, mass market, $8.99) in the third Wiccan Wheel Mystery.
Check the October and November Book lists for more Christmas specific titles.
TV Alert: I have seen some of the trailers for the British TV series ‘Strike’ which is based on the first two Robert Galbraith novels, The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. It was shown in the UK last month, so hopefully we will see it here soon.
This autumn, we have been very happy to welcome two different authors. First, we had a drop-in visit with Gail Bowen, who was, as always, a wonderful guest. She was happy to talk about her books, the latest of which The Winner’s Circle (in stock $32) is in hardcover. She also let us know that she will be releasing a new book called Sleuth, which is a reflection on her experience writing crime fiction.
Our launch event with Jana Rieger for A Course in Deception (in stock, trade paperback $20) followed shortly after, and was a wonderful chance for us to introduce customers to a new Canadian author. Along with her collaborator Toviyah John, Jana entertained a full house with a reading and with an open willingness to answer questions, not just about her book, but also about the process of transitioning a book into other mediums. We look forward to seeing what she has to offer us next.
And I’m back! Thank you all for your patience with our abbreviated newsletter last month. My to-read list grows ever taller, but I’m happy to say I’ve made something of a dent in it.
First up was Plum Sykes Party Girls Die in Pearls (in store in trade paperback), the first book I read after my daughter Penelope was born. I needed something light but smart and witty and it fit the bill beautifully. I’ve said this before in this space, I really like books where there’s a romantic element but it isn’t something that drives the plot. Ursula Flowerbutton is like my beloved Flora Poste of Cold Comfort Farm and I can’t wait to read more about her adventures at Oxford. You’ll hear it here first when the next one is scheduled.
I had been looking forward to Darcie Wilde’s A Purely Private Matter (in store in trade paperback) and it didn’t disappoint. It was a worthy sequel to A Useful Woman (in store in trade paperback), although it did end with a continuing romantic loose end which I find a little tedious. No third book scheduled, so hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.
Julie McElwain’s A Murder in Time (in store) finally came out in trade paperback so I will continue to wholeheartedly recommend that title as well as the sequel, A Twist in Time (available to order), available so far in hardcover. Both books are lovely and long, which makes them perfect summer reads. Don’t let the time travel element put you off, while it’s a central plot point it’s not at all sci fi like.
David Morrell’s ‘Thomas De Quincey Mystery’ series gets better and better with book #3, Ruler of the Night (available to order), an excellent addition. This is not a light series, there is violence, but it’s so interesting. Thomas De Quincey has many flaws, but Morell paints him with such humanity and compassion, not to mention his brilliant and devoted daughter Emily. This is a series to have at the ready on a dark and gloomy weekend. The first two books, Murder as a Fine Art (in store) and Inspector of the Dead (available to order) are available in trade paperback while Ruler of the Night is still just in hardcover (the trade paperback is coming in November).
Every member of the Bumsted family has their strengths in the store and mine is tidying the used shelves (so you’ll have noticed if you’ve been in the last few weeks how tidy they are!). One of the reasons I love that task is that I always find a new series or two while I’m moving books around as it encourages me to look at titles I don’t normally notice. Last time I visited I picked up the first book in Sujata Massey’s ‘Rei Shimura’ series. Sometimes books from the 90s can feel dated because of the transition to technology (it seems odd not to have a smart phone, for example), but because The Salaryman’s Wife (available to order in mass market) is set in Japan, I was distracted enough by the setting not to notice. Rei is a stubborn and independent young woman trying to make her way in Japan, where her Japanase American parentage makes her not sufficiently Japanese for many people. I’m on book #4, The Floating Girl (available in store in used mass market), and I’m learning a ton about Japanese culture. There are 11 books in the series. Massey has a new series launching in January featuring Perveen Mistry, a young female lawyer in 1920s Bombay. The first book is called The Widows of Malabar Hill and I’ve already got my copy reserved!
Speaking of books I’ve reserved, I’m also looking forward to Anna Lee Huber’s (of the ‘Lady Darby Mystery’ series) new series featuring Verity Kent called This Side of Murder, set in post WWI England coming in trade paperback in September. Then in October in hardcover is Death in St. Petersburg, book #12 in Tasha Alexander’s ‘Lady Emily’ series. Also in October, although I sense this may be my Boxing Day read, is the new book in the ‘His Dark Materials’ universe, Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust.
While Sian and her wonderful new daughter Penelope have been visiting, Sian introduced me to a British quiz show called Pointless. Don’t ask me what the app is that gets this because, honestly, I have no idea (editors note: it’s called Filmon Television). I mention Pointless because last week’s celebrity round featured some mystery writers, Mark Billingham, Val McDermid and Tony Parsons. This gave me a hook for this month’s piece.
Mark Billingham was wearing a very country and western outfit and it seems that he is part of a country and western group, as well as being a standup comic in his spare time. His main series is the Tom Thorne series, the 14th title in the series Love Like Blood (trade paper $22.99) will be in the store on August 15th. We also have a spin off from the main series, featuring D.I. Tanner, Die of Shame, (trade paper $15.99).
Val McDermid is a major force in the British crime fiction scene, in addition to her own writing she was the founder of the Harrogate Mystery Conference, which has become one of the pre-eminent conferences in the United Kingdom. The conference has a number of awards including the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award. The winner receives £3000 and a small hand-carved oak beer cask carved by one of Britain's last surviving coopers. Old Peculiar is Theakstons most popular beer. McDermid’s next new title to be published in Canada is Insidious Intent, the 10th Carol Jordan and Tony Hill title which the will be published in December in hard cover. December also sees the publication of the trade paper of the 4th Karen Pirie title Out of Bounds ($24.95) She does have two anthologies coming this fall, Bloody Scotland, is a collection of stories by major Scotish crime writers; the stories are set between the Iron Age and the present day. Murder on Christmas Eve, is a collection of Christmas stories by writers from the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, we have not yet found a North American distributor for either of these titles but we are working on it.
Tony Parsons writes the Max Wolfe series this is a newer much shorter series. The main character Max Wolfe is a London police detective and as a single father adds a different dimension to the stories. The first novel in the series was The Murder Bag, published in 2014. The fourth title Die Last is arriving imminently. It is based on a relevant topic of people smuggling.
A few other new books which are good summer reads, Connie Willis, Crosstalk, (tp $24), M.C. Beaton’s latest Agatha Raisin, Pushing Up Daisies (mm $10.99) Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies (mm$12.99) which was recently a TV series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, we also have Moriarty’s newest title The Husband’s Secret (mm$12.99). This is also a good time to check out our used section as we have some great used titles at the moment. A good way of finding a new author or filling in gaps in existing series. Feel free to ask for recommendations based on what we have in stock.
2017, for many notable writers, seems to be the year to try something fresh. For some, it is a new character in a familiar setting. Most of you will already be aware of Arnauldur Indridason’s new novel The Shadow District (in stock in trade paperback), if mostly because the mystery set in wartime Rekjavik is known originally by the more local friendly title Man from Manitoba. Regardless of its title, Indridason is setting up these characters to be part of what is described as a “major new series”.
Kathy Reichs Two Nights (in stock in hardcover) is an even greater departure from her comfort zone as it marks her first novel solo effort that does not involve Temperance Brennan and the “Bones” franchise. Whether this marks the end of that series, or whether new heroine Sunday Night will be a recurring character remains to be seen.
Renee Ballard is the heroine of a police procedural set in Michael Connelly’s Hollywood in The Late Show (in stock in hardcover). Like the Indridason, this too is set up to be a regular character, although it remains to be seen whether she will be interacting with his more established characters.
Up and coming British author Gilly Macmillan will be switching from standalones to a police procedural with a new character entitled Odd Child Out (in stock in trade paperback).
One of the more notable changes takes place with Canadian author Linwood Barclay as he makes his children’s series with Chase (in stock in hardcover), a book, quite traditionally, about a boy and his dog. Fellow Canadian, Jenny Nimmo, best known for her Charlie Bone series is starting anew with Henry and the Guardians of the Lost, also for the younger reader.
Finally, further down the road in 2018, we will be seeing one of the more notable shifts, with Anne Perry not only starting a new series, but doing so with a twentieth century (albeit the early portion). She will be introducing Daniel Pitt, son of Thomas and Charlotte in Twenty One Days (April 2018 in hardcover) .