Bestseller Lists for January 2019 - The Missing Clue - February 2019

Want to know what other Whodunit customers are enjoying? Here are our bestselling titles for January 2019.

Mass Market

1.      Paige Shelton, Lost Books and Old Bones

2.      Steve Berry, The Bishop’s Pawn

3.      J.C. Eaton, Botched 4 Murder

4.      Anne Hillerman, Cave Of Bones

5.      Sue Grafton, Y is for Yesterday

6.      Ellie Alexander, Live and Let Pie

7.      Stephanie Blackmoore, Gown with Wind

8.      Joanne Fluke, Raspberry Danish Murder

9.      Robert Crais, The Wanted

10.    Margaret Truman, Allied in Danger

Trade Paper

1.      Quintin Jardine, Cold Case

2.      Alan Bradley, The Grave’s a Fine & Private Place

3.      Charles Finch, The Woman in the Water

4.      Jonas Ragnasson, Rupture

5.      Ellen Wilkinson, The Division Bell Mystery

6.      Peter May, Snakehead

7.      Bernard Cornwell, War of the Wolf

8.      Khurrum Rahman, Homegrown Hero

9.      Charles Todd, The Gate Keeper

10.   Jim Kelly, The Great Darkness

Hard Cover

1.      Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Headlong

2.      James Lee Burke, New Iberia Blues

3.      Megan Cox Gurdon, The Enchanted Hour

4.      Val McDermid, Broken Ground

5.      Michael Connelly, Dark Sacred Night

Mystery Reading Club - The Missing Clue - February 2019

While we were sorry to have to delay January's meeting, the good news is that there will still be lots of opportunity for people to join us for the Winter Sessions!

Tuesday, February 26th – Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

Tuesday, March 26th – New England White by Stephen L. Carter

Tuesday, April 30th – Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

By the February meeting we will have the books for May & June in stock.

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). New members are always welcome.

What Penelope’s Reading by Sian - The Missing Clue - February 2019

The tyranny of life with a toddler is reading the same book over and over again, and I’m not above hiding a book I’m tired of reading (or having thrown at me and board books are HEAVY).

I struggle a bit with books without a narrative, but Penny really enjoys Numbers by John J. Reiss. It’s very colourfully illustrated and is an attractive counting book.

Robert Munsch obviously played a huge role in my childhood so I was thrilled that many of his books are now available in board book format. We started with The Paper Bag Princess and Penny is a huge fan, plus I love the messaging that you don’t have to change yourself for a handsome prince, even if he does have good hair.

Although we predominantly read board books, we don’t generally restrict Penny access to paper books and that does mean they do get a bit of (mostly unintentional) abuse. I had kept back Nicky Mehta’s Away But Never Gone on account of the fact that it is such a lovely package, but Penny dug it out and we’ve been reading it. I think the messaging is lost on her so far but I’m happy for it to become familiar to her should we need to have any conversations about grief in the future.

We have some friends who have slightly older kids and they have gifted us a lot of the books that have become Penny’s favorites. Despite the fact that it is not a board book, The Philharmonic Gets Dressed is always at the top of her To Read pile. This is a book from 1986 that was featured on ‘Reading Rainbow’ (remember that?) and it does just what it says on the tin: describes how the New York Philharmonic gets dressed for a concert. The first line, “It is almost Friday night. Outside, the dark is getting darker and the cold is getting colder,” feels very appropriate for winter reading.

What I’m Reading by Sian - The Missing Clue - February 2019

I must first start with my now bi-monthly confession that I haven’t been reading as much as I ought, particularly mysteries. I have a two word explanation: daycare germs. The good news is though that my ‘To Read’ pile is particularly juicy and there is a lot that is coming in the next few months that I am looking forward to.

Anna Lee Huber joined the trend of female wartime spies with her new ‘Verity Kent’ series, set in London after WWII. Treacherous is the Night is the second book in that series. It’s hard to say too much without giving away the plot twist of the first book, This Side of Murder, but this new book features Verity struggling to find her place after losing her wartime assignment (like many women of the period). It also introduced me to the concept of battlefield tourism, where families visited the sites of their loved ones deaths. We’ve got Treacherous is the Night in new (and used, at time of printing) in trade paperback. I’m also excited for book #7 in Huber’s ‘Lady Darby Mystery’ series An Artless Demise, coming in trade paperback in April.

Genevieve Cogman’s ‘Invisible Library’ series is a great example of a crossover between mystery and fantasy. Book #5, The Mortal Word, is set in a version of 1890s Paris and features a clash between Librarians, Dragons, and the Fae and our fearless librarian Irene trying to negotiate peace. I will confess that this is a series that one should start from the beginning, but it is well worth it. Think of it like a more serious ‘Thursday Next’.

I will admit that I get nervous when a book starts alternating chapters from the ‘present’ to the ‘past’, but I should have known that Tasha Alexander could pull it off. Uneasy Lies the Crown is book #13 in her excellent ‘Lady Emily’ series. This is a point in a series where things can get boring or jump the shark, but I think Alexander continues to produce page-turning adventures for Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves. This book features the death of Queen Victoria and a possible threat to the new King. It is still in hardcover, but the trade paperback is coming in July and a new hardcover is planned for the fall. This is a series you could dip your toe into at any point without much trouble, as the back story is not a huge feature, although certainly worth going back for.

As to what I’m looking forward to adding to my pile (but hopefully for not too long), the trade paperback of Why Kill the Innocent?, also book #13 in C.S. Harris’ excellent ‘Sebastian St. Cyr’ series is coming at the end of February with the new hardcover, Who Slays the Wicked?, will be released at the beginning of April. I can’t say enough good things about this series that features two compelling characters in Sebastian and his headstrong wife Hero, as well as their immediate circle of imperfect associates. This is maybe a tough series to jump into mid-series, but a number of books are available in mass market (we have some in used, even), so it’s a worthwhile project to undertake.

I still miss Deanna Raybourn’s ‘Lady Julia Grey’ series, but her new-ish ‘Veronica Speedwell’ series is also excellent and certainly more fun. Book #3, A Treacherous Curse, will be released in trade paperback n mid-February and book #4, A Dangerous Collaboration, will be available in hardcover in March. There is something of a ‘will they or won’t they’ romantic sub-plot that I am beginning to find tedious, but I’m still buying this one on release.

And finally, two long awaited releases. As longtime newsletter readers know, I am a huge fan of Jasper Fforde and I have liked everything he has written, no matter how different it was from my beloved ‘Thursday Next’ series. But it’s been five years since The Eye of Zoltar (book #3 in his YA series ‘The Chronicles of Kazam’) and I despaired of anything coming down the pipe. But now there is a stand alone novel called Early Riser coming out in hardcover later this month. It sounds weird. It is categorized as ‘Fantasy - Contemporary / Dystopian / Thrillers’. But like I said, I have loved everything that Jasper Fforde has ever written, so I am willing to give it a try.

I loved Zen Cho’s The Sorcerer to the Crown when it came out four years ago. It was such a unique combination of fantasy and regency romance and gender/race issues. But as sometimes happens with sparkling debuts, book #2 took awhile (this is why agents will tell you to write book #2 while you query book #1). Finally though, book #2 is announced and The True Queen will be released in trade paperback in March. I’ll admit, this is one where I’m going to have to go back and read book #1 before I read the new title.

Finally, I really enjoy Brittany Cavallaro’s ‘Charlotte Holmes’ series, although I will include a bit of a content warning here as teenage Charlotte has the same penchant for drug-related vice as her storied ancestor. Book #3, The Case for Jamie, was just released in trade paperback (at a very reasonable $12.50). The next book, A Question of Holmes, will be released in hardcover in March. You’ll want to read the backlist on this one to catch up, as it might be a bit disorienting to jump later into the series (the Holmes, Watson, and Moriarty families get up to A LOT of shenanigans).

Wendy’s Recent Reads - The Missing Clue - February 2019

The type of mystery that I enjoy most is the police procedural.  January was a good month for me as two of my favourite authors had new titles, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’ 21st Bill Slider mystery, Headlong, and Quintin Jardine’s Cold Case, the 30th Bob Skinner mystery.  These came hard on the heels of Susan Hill’s long awaited 9th Simon Serailler title, The Comforts of Home. I thought this might be a good time to introduce some of the newer writers of this genre.

Robert Bryndza, has a series which revolves around Det. Erika Forrester. Forrester has just been transferred back to London following a case which went disastrously wrong and resulted in the death of her husband who was also a member of the police force. The Girl in the Ice, is the first title in the series, the body of a young socialite has been discovered frozen in a pond in a park.  This is a challenging case exacerbated by the pressures of the well connected family of the victim.

M.J. Arlidge writes about Detective Inspector Helen Grace.  We are first introduced to the character in Eeny Meeny. The series is a little on the dark side for me but it has been a very well received.

The Deaths of December, is the first in D.C. Becky Greene series by Susi Holliday.  The plot revolves around an Advent Calendar which is dropped off at the police station. No one takes any notice of this until Becky takes a closer look at the calendar and realises that it is connected to a murder that has occurred and that also it may be a portent of murders to come.

Elly Griffiths has a new book coming out in March called the Stranger Diaries. While described by the publisher as a contemporary Gothic thriller it is also a police procedural.  The lead female detective is a strong and interesting character who struggles with balancing her professional life and her life as a daughter who lives with her more traditional East Indian parents.  I think that this is the most interesting character that I have read about in the last few months.

Upcoming (and Recent) Events - The Missing Clue - February 2019

Harry Potter Book Night

We are still overwhelmed by the level of interest that we have had in the Bloomsbury Publications "Harry Potter Book Night" that we will be hosting on Thursday, February 7th. Not only did we have to split it into two events, but the tickets for both of them were snapped up in just over an hour.

Stay tuned both in store, as well as on our social medias for some of the results of this event, and for others like it. In 2019, we are hoping that this will be just the first of a bumper of evening events that we can present to give all of you the chance to experience our new space in new ways!

Used Book Sale

Although there have been a number of changes at Whodunit? of late, in some cases, the more things change, the more they will stay the same. February, for example, will still feature our Used Book Sale, from Tuesday, February 19th to Sunday, February 24th. ALL our Used Books will be half price. So for those who have been waiting to come out of hibernation, and especially those of you who haven't come to visit us yet please be sure to come take advantage of this event!

Children’s Book Sale

Many of you have already noted our expanded children's section and have taken advantage of our new capability to stock classics like The Snowman (not to be confused with the Jo Nesbo title…) and new 'classics' like I Need a New Butt.  But in keeping with our desire to link to our own past, we will be carrying through a new tradition from 165 will be the return of our Children's Book Sale, offering 15% off all children's books from Friday, March 29th to Sunday, March 31st.  

We have no word yet whether we will be having any guest salespeople as we did last year, but we do know that we will be aiming to share our great new holdings for younger readers with people of all ages!

Terry O’Reilly

Part of the transition into our new space has been the opportunity to leave it.  Now that technology allows us to take card payments away from the shop without the need for carbon paper, we have been happy to do a number of off-site events.  Most recently, we were honoured to be asked to be the bookseller for CBC's Terry O'Reilly (Under the Influence) while he was speaking at the Winnipeg Convention Centre on January 25th.  Not only we were thrilled to hear Terry's talks on marketing and podcasting (and take a few hints home for ourselves), we are pleased to be able to meet with many of his fans, and let the larger Winnipeg world know about us, as we provided them with copies of both Mr. O'Reilly's works!  Thank you again to Terry, and to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce for having us!

Death (or not) of the Cosy Mass Market by Wendy - The Missing Clue - December 2018

Recently, there has been a definite reduction in the amount of mass market titles, particularly cosies available. There are a variety of reasons for this. A number of long time writers have finished off their series, for example Margaret Maron. Some authors like Joyce and Jim Lavene have died. As many authors like the Lavene’s have more than one series and write under a number of different names this has left a large gap. A number of authors, e.g. Nancy Atherton and Emily Brightwell no longer have mass market editions, they only appear in hard cover and trade paper editions. From what we hear Kensington, one of the biggest publishers of the cosy mass markets is making a concerted effort to find and publish new cosy writers. We have seen some evidence of this, for example, murder by the Lauren Elliott’s Murder By the Book (MM $8.99). We will continue to look for and stock new cosy writers. We do have a new British series by Julie Wassmer, which is set in Whitstable in the South East of England. As the series has been out for some time in the UK we have the first four titles in stock. Pearl Nolan owns a café which specializes in oysters. In the first book, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, the death of one of her friends brings Pearl into contact with Chief Inspector Mike McGuire and so it goes on in true cosy fashion. These books are published in the smaller trade paper size at $15.99.

Recommended by Jack and Wendy - The Missing Clue - December 2018

It is always nice at Christmas to buy a book just for one’s self. Here are some books that Jack and Wendy have enjoyed in the last little while. Jack could not put Anthony Horowitz’s The Word is Murder (TP $24.99). He is really pleased that there is going to be a second title with Detective Daniel Hawthorne in the spring. Jack also liked Peter James’ Absolute Proof (TP $26.99). This is not part of the Superintendent Grace series but is a standalone. Will the late night phone call that investigative reporter Ross Hunter nearly didn’t answer change not only his life but also the course of society?

Wendy was pleased that there was, at last, a new Susan Hill novel in her ‘Simon Serailler’ series. The Comforts of Home is the ninth in the series and well worth the wait (TP, $25.00). For some reason Christmas titles have been being released earlier and earlier in the year. One very enjoyable book, which we hope will be the basis of a new series was Susi Holliday’s The Deaths of December, (tp $15.99). A British police procedural, the plot revolves around an advent calendar and Christmas craft fairs.

Picture Books: Not just For Children Anymore - The Missing Clue - December 2018

One of the things that has changed the most in the last year in Whodunit? is the volume of children and young adult books that we have been able to stock, especially since our move into the new space. As a result, we have started to be made aware of a growing number of picture books that, while mostly acceptable for children, are really directed at the adult who is probably reading it. These are not to be mistaken for the illustrated editions of novels like the ‘Harry Potter’ series, or Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, nor are they the graphic novels like the critically acclaimed Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal or the posthumous release of Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts. Instead these are well designed, and often beautifully illustrated short texts for nearly everyone, but really directed at adults.

For many of you, the most familiar of these will be ones that have been written by the staff of American late night hosts. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo made waves in the summer when ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ launched it to compete with the Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President by Charlotte and Karen Pence, and was followed this autumn by Whose Boat is This Boat? released by Stephen Colbert's Late Show, and ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah's’ Donald J Trump Presidential Twitter Library.

However, while these have all taken advantage of the "laugh because it hurts" mentality brought on by 45, others take advantage of our nostalgia for the past. Die Hard Christmas, for example, is a re-writing of the Night Before Christmas poem that adds credence to the argument that the Bruce Willis film is, in fact, a Christmas movie. With a much more Canadian flavour is the The Log Driver's Waltz, beautifully illustrated version of the iconic Canadian cartoon, with illustrator Jennifer Phelan creating new images that still evoke the original National Film Board animation.

Finally, although they have not been released this year, we have taken advantage of the season to stock the absolutely gorgeous (albeit sizeable) Historium and Animalium. These fictional museum and zoo books collect together artefacts and animals that would otherwise be impossible to keep in one place, and carefully render and detail their origins, importance, and geographical home. While the publisher has also produced activity books that allow children to pursue the same lines of enquiry and lessons that they would get in a brick and mortar museum, the originals themselves make for wonderful adult reading, and coffee table conversation. (That is, if you coffee table is large enough).

With fresher examples appearing regularly, if none of these fit the needs of someone on your gift list, there are more that we can offer. These books are perfect for the readers and "non-readers" in your life alike, or as Secret Santa gifts.

October/November Bestsellers - The Missing Clue - December 2018

The following is a list of the twenty five books we have sold most copies of since October 1st. As I am writing this on November 26th, it does not include a title that will have undoubtedly rocketed up the list by the time you are reading this newsletter, the new Louise Penny, Kingdom of the Blind, hardcover $35.99.  I hope it might give you some ideas either for your own wish list or a gift for someone else.


1.                   C.C. Benison, Paul is Dead, TP $19.95

2.                   Ian Rankin, In A House of Lies, HC $34.99

3.                   Peter Robinson, Careless Love, HC $29.95

4.                   Craig Smith, The Wonky Donkey, $9.99

5.                   Anne Cleaves, Wild Fire, TP $25.99

6.                   Robert Galbraith, Lethal White, HC $38

7.                   Vicki Delany, The Cat of the Baskervilles, TP $23.95

8.                   Peter Robinson, Sleeping in the Ground, TP $21

9.                   Rhys Bowen, The Ghost of Christmas Past, TP $22.50

10.               Kate Carlisle, A Wrench in the Works, MM $10.99

11.               C.J. Sansom, Tombland, HC $39.95

12.               Anne Perry, A Christmas Revelation, HC $27

13.               Susanna Gregory, The Habit of Murder, TP $15.99

14.               Felix Francis, Crisis, TP $22

15.               Kate Ellis, The Mechanical Devil, TP $15.99

16.               Reed Farrel Coleman, Robert B Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet, MM $12.99

17.               John Sandford, Holy Ghost, HC $39

18.                H.B. Lyle, The Irregular, SPY $20.49

19.                Graham Reed, The Chairman’s Toys, TP $22.95

20.                Sophie Hannah, Mystery of the Three Quarters, TP

21.               Kate Atkinson, Transcription, HC $32.95

22.               Emily Brightwell, Mrs. Jefferies and the Three Wise Women, TP $22

23.               Janet Evanovich, Hardcore Twenty Four, MM $12.99

24.               Cleo Coyle, The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller, MM $10.99

25.               Sherry Thomas, The Hollow of Fear, TP $20

Bumsted Picks of 2018 - Laura's Pick - The Missing Clue - December 2018

In Valhalla’s Shadows by W.D. Valgardson, HC, $32.95

Although I only had half a year of working at the shop to judge from, my Book of the Year 2018 is W.D Valgardson's In Valhalla's Shadows. Valgardson paints a gritty and immersive portrait of rural Manitoba from the perspective of an outsider in a tight-knit community on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Valgardson's own experience growing up in Gimli is evident in his sense of place and his portrayal of the local community. His protagonist, Tom Parsons, is an ex-RCMP officer and recent divorcee, and has uprooted his life to find solace in the tiny lakeside community of Valhalla. Unfortunately, his discovery of the body of an indigenous teenage girl sets off a string of events in the town, after Tom refuses to see her death as an accident. He discovers the criminal underbelly of what may be seen by outsiders as an idyllic town. Valgardson sprinkles Viking legend throughout the book, making allusions in the place name, Valhalla; casting Tom Parson as the Norse god, Odin; his love interest named Freyja, reminiscent of the Norse goddess of the same name; and three fortune-telling sisters, as the Norns (the fates). I thought that it added much to the story, and while dealing with quite different events, did seem to fit the narrative (and length) of a Viking saga.

A sure sign of a good book, I found it difficult to put down, and even when absolutely necessary to do so, I still found myself thinking about the book. The pressures that the characters were dealing with are not simple, and I think that was what made it so engrossing - so many of the actions of the characters fell into a sort of grey area, people trying to make do with what they could in order to survive.

Bumsted Picks of 2018: Penelope's Pick - The Missing Clue - December 2018

At 19-months, Penelope has a good number of words, but is as yet unable to answer questions like “what was your favorite book of the year?” So I will have to allow her actions to speak louder than her words. We read Maisy Goes to the Local Bookstore at least three times a day. Penelope never tires of it. We have owned it for less than a year and it is already taped together on most pages from love and use. And we hope that you’ll bring your little ones to our local bookstore to visit us over the holidays!

Bumsted Picks of 2018: Michael's Pick - The Missing Clue - December 2018

The Irregular by HB Lyle, TP $20.49

The early twentieth century is not normally a setting that I am drawn to. Until I had chosen Joe Ide's book for my book of the year, Sherlock Holmes pastiche would not have been either. This year however, despite truly enjoying a number of novels that would have fit more into my choices of the past, it was HB Lyle's debut spy novel The Irregular that has created made me consider both the period and the Holmesian oeuvre as a whole. Lyle's protagonist, Wiggins is, one of the orphans trained by the Great Detective to be his Baker St Irregulars. Now an adult, and with the Empire facing new challenges, Wiggins is encouraged by Holmes to work for Vernon Kell's new 'Secret' Service: the first non-gentleman agent to become a member.

Well grounded in the history of London and (England) in the build-up to World War One, and framed within the canon of Sherlock, it is nonetheless a refreshing and finely crafted narrative with a refreshing villian and twist. Any fans of historical fiction would do well to pick this up, as would anyone with an interest in the development of modern spycraft, or just new stories with Holmes in mind.

Bumsted Picks of 2018: Sian's Pick - The Missing Clue - December 2018

When it comes time every year for me to pick my favourite book, I scroll my Goodreads records for books I’ve rated five stars. This year I rated 16 books with five stars: 11 romance novels, three mysteries, one fantasy, and one non-fiction. Of the three mysteries, the first was Laurie R. King’s Island of the Mad and the second was Vivian Shaw’s Dreadful Company. I adored both books, but I picked Vivian Shaw last year (and certain persons who shall remain nameless don’t like it when I do that). Island of the Mad was a strong contender, until I read Sherry Thomas’ The Hollow of Fear in October.

It is an extraordinary book. Despite being set in Victorian England it manages to address modern issues like gender equality in a way appropriate to the setting. Romance is featured but emphatically not the only element that drives the story. And I did not see the ending coming at all. This is an excellent mystery, a heart-tugging romance, but above all a story about the choices that women are forced to make in order to preserve their livelihoods and their sanity. Look, you absolutely must read the first two books (A Study in Scarlet Women and A Conspiracy in Belgravia) to enjoy this one, but I am so jealous because that means you get to read the three in quick succession and I could not think of a better way to read my way through the holidays.

Bumsted Picks of 2018: Wendy's Pick -

In a Cottage in a Wood by Cass Green, TP $21.99, (coming in mass market January 29th, $12.99)

Cass Green is a British writer whose first book, The Woman Next Door, was originally published as an e-book. It quickly became a number 1 best seller. In a Cottage in a Wood is her second novel. Although not a fan of ‘grip lit’ or ‘domestic noir’ as it is now often called, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the settings, London and Cornwall and I found the characters generally likeable and believable. The plot moved along at a good pace. It was everything a good mystery should be, engaging and not too long.

Bumsted Picks of 2018: Jack's Pick - The Missing Clue - December 2018

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith, HC $38

Lethal White is the fourth novel in the ‘Cormoran Strike' series written by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. I knew that it was a winner when I read the first book The Cuckoo’s Calling, when no one knew that Robert Galbraith was a nom-de-plume, for J.K. Rowling. I must admit to a few initial misgivings about Lethal White as the beginning of the book seemed a little heavy on romance, including a long sub plot involving Strike’s failed romantic relationships. However, as the book went on it returned to form. I really enjoyed all the details that were added to enhance the four interlocking storylines that make up this novel. Galbraith is a good enough writer that I really cared what was happening in all the storylines, all of which offered considerable scope for detail which the author took advantage of. Also the author handled with panache the flicking between the different storylines. A compelling and enjoyable read.

Mystery and Reality Collide: White House Edition - The Missing Clue - October 2018

After reading the article Wendy wrote for this edition of the newsletter, I realised that there is one more of these mystery-reality collisions which is very much in the forefront of our stock at the moment.  Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward, would not be something that we would normally have had in our old space, but the demand we had for it upon its release has meant we have kept a few copies to hand.  However, the realities of that book are being paralleled in a number of recent books, from the only recently announced The Kingfisher Secret by Anonymous to Jake Tapper's Hellfire Club this past spring.  While Bill Clinton and James Patterson wrote a relatively down the line thriller for The President is Missing, and Tapper, as well as Murder in the Lincoln White House author C.M. Gleason kept their works ensconced in the past, it is the anonymous author of The Kingfisher Secret that has really gone all in on what is happening down south.  Keeping their quiet to protect their identity, the author has written the "speculative" notion that perhaps some of the rumors surrounding the current White House are true...

Of course, if you are looking for a reprieve from the churning thriller plot lines of our southern neighbours, why not the nostaglia of the previous administration Hope Never Dies, the Joe Biden as detective novel by Andrew Shaffer, is light, fun and pleasant, if a little on the nose.

Mystery and Reality Collide by Wendy - The Missing Clue - October 2018

Last autumn I was reading Tasha Alexander’s  Death in St Petersburg, the twelfth title in the Lady Emily series. . In this book Lady Emily and her husband Colin Hargraves are visiting Russia.  After an evening at the ballet they come across the body of one of the prima ballerinas. This death leads them into the demi monde world of dancers and their royal and aristocratic lovers.  Just as I was finishing the book there was a story on BBC Newsworld about a new movie that was creating some controversy in Russia.  The movie which was called Matilda, described a relationship between Tsar Nicholas II and ballerina Matilda Kshesinkaya, which occurred before Nicholas was married to Princess Alix of Hesse.  As Nicholas and his family are, due to their murders, regarded as almost saint like by many Russians, the movie was seen as almost blasphemous. We’ve got Death in St.Petersburg, in stock in trade paperback at $22.50.

The eleventh installment of Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee series is being released in December.  A couple of weeks ago I was reading an advanced copy of the book which is called The Goddess of Yantai. Much of the plot centres around the problems that Ava’s friend Chinese film actress Pang Fai is having with the China Movie Syndicate. This body seems to control all aspects of film production e.g. which actors are given important roles, and distribution how, when and where films are released etc. Almost the next day there was a lot of coverage in various media outlets about the disappearance of Fan Bingbing, described as “China’s most famous actress”. She was one of China’s highest paid stars, having appeared in many Chinese and Western movies including the X Men franchise.  Fan has not been seen in public since early July and there were suggestions that she had been banned from acting. Much of the media commentary about this disappearance is eerily reminiscent of Hamilton’s novel. The Goddess of Yantai, is due to be released on December 4th in trade paperback at $19.95.

A customer who was in the store last week recounted a similar experience.  A long time fan of Gerald Seymour, who if you don’t know him is a British writer who writes stand alone military thrillers, she had on her previous visit bought a copy of Jericho’s War. But what had struck her while reading the novel, which is set in Yemen was how the fighting around Hodeidah which she saw on the television news echoed the book she was reading. We are sold out of Jericho’s War (mass market $10.99) and waiting for new copies to arrive but we do have a number of his other titles in stock, in both new and used.

One of the talking heads on television during the recent Supreme Court kerfuffle has been mystery writer Linda Fairstein. Fairstein is the author of twenty Alexandra Cooper novels. Alexandra Cooper like her creator is a senior sex crimes investigator in Manhattan. The twentieth novel, Blood Oath, is being released in March 2019. My favourite book in the series is Killer Look, published in 2016 and available in mass market. Please check out our stock of new and Linda Fairstein novels next time you are in the store. Killer Look (#18 in the series) is in stock in mass market for $10.99 and Deadfall #19 is in stock in mass market $12.99.

Classic Mystery Collections - The Missing Clue - October 2018

Those of you who have been visiting us over the last few years, then you have probably been made aware of the classic British mysteries that we have been getting through the British Library. I am quite certain that this series of late 19th-early 20th century works, with its attractive railway mural covers, will continue to be featured here in the new Whodunit?, and if you are interested in reading some of the lost classics of the genre, you should check the series out on the shelf we keep them all together on (or in the link above if you receive this by email).

This is not the only one of these collections that exist, although it has proven to be the most popular. The Detective Club Crime Classics, which actually contain a number of the same works as the British Library series, has not seemed to inspire the same level of devotion from our readers. A part of this may be that this series comes in the dreaded hardcover, even if it is a hardcover that is comparably priced to the British Library paper editions. Many of these authors and titles have also been released in previous, similar collections, and can also be found in their earlier formats in our used section. We do not have many of these in the shop at the time of this printing, but if you are looking for a starting point to build a mystery library of your own (or for someone else), we can order them for you.

While both of those series have a British focus, the god-father of American mystery bookshops, and, in some ways, American mysteries themselves, Otto Penzler has started a series of American Mystery Classics in response. Penzler, through Black Lizard/Vintage Crime has been re-releasing American mysteries for many years, and have also started to bring out compendium editions to look at some of the more famous works. This series is mostly going to be released in 2019, but they have bright attractive art, and are by some of the most notable names in the genre.

On the international scene, Pushkin Vertigo is also releasing some of the biggest names of Europe and Asia in another matching collection.  Masako Togawa's Japanese thrillers are already here, and Swiss master Friedrich Durrenmatt will be among the other authors who will feature in the first year of this imprint's releases.

Of course, if you are not familiar with any of these authors, or feel overwhelmed just by the idea of starting on something that could be considered a "Crime Classic", we are always ready to be of any extra help that you might need.