The Missing Clue - February 2017 - What I'm Reading by Sian

You’d know it if you saw me on my recent visit in January, but I’m expecting my first baby due in May. Needless to say, I’m trying to get in as much reading as possible before life is disrupted.

Our copies of The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch in mass market should be en route, but Mum surprised Michael and I with the UK hardcover edition, as she knows I like a good read on Boxing Day. I’m happy to say that I wasn’t in the least disappointed, although I did share some of Michael’s confusion about certain plot points mentioned. Turns out they were featured in the graphic novels, which have entirely original plotlines. We’ve got those in stock now though for anyone who needs to get caught up. I might recommend at least a reread of Foxglove Summer (book #6) as it was an awfully long time ago and took me awhile to get back up to speed.

It took us awhile, but we finally got our copies of Mary Russell’s War by Laurie R. King. This is a collection of short stories set in Mary Russell’s universe, some (2) of which have been published as e-originals and some (7) of which are new. They are by no means required reading if you read the series, but they do a nice job of filling in the blanks between books, in particularly Russell and Holmes actual wedding. There will be no new Mary Russell in 2017, so this is your shot at new content. You might read them as they belong in the series as part of a reread or all in one go. There should be a new Mary Russell in 2018 if King herself is to be believed. The Murder of Mary Russell is also coming in trade paperback in March. This wasn’t my favorite, but mostly because I don’t particularly care about Mrs. Hudson’s back story. If you do, you’ll certainly be pleased and intrigued.

I was on the hunt for new series to read as a distraction on Inauguration Day and found Design for Dying by Renee Patrick, a new series featuring the fictitious Lillian Frost and real-life costume designer Edith Head. This is a fun story set in 1930s Hollywood. We have it in stock in hardcover with the trade coming in May. Book #2, Dangerous to Know, is coming in hardcover in April. I was lucky enough to read an ARC but wasn’t quite as captivated due to the plotline surrounding Nazi sympathizers, which was suddenly a little too reminiscent of ongoing political issues for my liking.

We don’t generally like to recommend new series/authors in hardcover because we know it’s a big ask of you and your wallet, but I keep track of the ones that are worth it so I can call them out when they arrive in a more affordable trade paperback edition. A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain is one such title. Kendra Donovan is a hotshot FBI agent who somehow finds herself back in time in a 19th century English castle trying to solve a murder while pretending to be a lady’s maid. It took me a while to warm up to it, but by the end I was thoroughly enjoying myself. This book comes in trade paperback in April with a second book in hardcover A Twist in Time coming in April as well.

Kate Locke’s ‘The Immortal Empire’ is an odd little series that I read some years back in its original hardcover editions. We’ve got the first book God Save the Queen now in mass market with books 2 and 3 coming in February and March respectively. It’s a paranormal steampunk romance featuring humans, goblins, and British royalty. I would say it’s a bit grittier than Gail Carriger’s ‘Soulless’ series but well written and a fun read.

As to what I’m hoping to read before the baby’s born, I have book #5 in Gregory Harris’s ‘Colin Pendragon’ series The Endicott Evil in March. If you like Will Thomas or C.S. Harris, this series is very much in that vein. We’ve got books 2, 3, and 4 in stock in trade paperback. And speaking of C.S. Harris, book #12 in the ‘Sebastian St. Cyr’ series, Where the Dead Lie, is coming in hardcover in April. Sadly, book #11 When Falcons Fall is now coming in trade paperback rather than mass market. If you were holding out for a mass market, it doesn’t look like you’ll get one.

It’s a few years now since I judged the Arthur Ellis Award for best first novel, but I’m happy to say several books I enjoyed reading them have made it into series. Book #4 in Steve Burrows ‘Birder Murder Mystery’ series, A Shimmer of Hummingbirds, is coming in trade paperback in March and book #3 in Janet Brons ‘Forsyth and Hay’ series, Measured for Murder, is coming in trade paperback in April. The Burrows series features a Canadian DCI and is set in the UK while the Brons features an RCMP officer and a Scotland Yard DCI joining forces to solve crimes facing the Canadian community in London. That I can get beyond the birds in the Burrows is a miracle, although I am hoping that he applied the Bechdel test to this new book, as I found the really interesting female characters he has developed a little too focused on their menfolk.

Finally, I have to stop dragging it out and finish Elizabeth Peters ‘Amelia Peabody’ series. I’ve been savouring them and have four to go, but we just discovered that Joan Hess has completed the final book of the series, The Painted Queen, and it will be released in hardcover in July.