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.