Since I was writing specifically about ‘Lady Sherlocks’ for the last two volumes of the newsletter, I haven’t had the opportunity to talk about what else I’ve been reading. And since I headed back to work a month ago, it’s been quite a lot, since I now have huge swaths of child-free time to read.
One day in the spring, I stuck my hand out for a book to read and at the top of the pile was Ann A. McDonald’s The Oxford Inheritance, which tempted me especially since I enjoyed Plum Syke’s Party Girls Die in Pearls (also set at Oxford) so much. This one has a more serious tone and a supernatural bent, but I couldn’t put it down and found myself wishing for a sequel (there isn’t one). Cassandra Blackwell made it her life’s work to get to Oxford to discover more about her mother’s secret past and, of course, learns more than she bargained for. Available in store in trade paperback.
Speaking of the travel books Michael referenced in his “beach reads” piece, Tasha Alexander is quickly turning into such an author. She’s had books set in Turkey, France, Italy, Greece, and now Russia. Reading about St. Petersburg in the winter when it’s 30 degrees might not be quite as atmospheric, but it may cool you down this summer. Death in St. Petersburg is the 12th addition to the ‘Lady Emily’ series and just as good as its predecessors. Lady Emily finds herself investigating the death of a prima ballerina, as well as crossing paths with her husband’s own secret assignment. This will be available in trade paperback on July 24th, with book #13 Uneasy Lies the Crown in hardcover in October, as usual.
I had been sitting on #9 in Will Thomas’ ‘Barker & Llewelyn’ series since the fall, but as soon as I picked it up I remember why I like this series so much. As the series moves along we are finding out more and more about Cyrus Barker’s enigmatic past and in Old Scores there are some big reveals. It’s still only available in hardcover, but the trade paperback is coming in October alongside Blood is Blood a few weeks later in November.
Genevieve Cogman’s ‘Invisible Library’ is such a wonderful combination of mystery and fantasy with a premise that allows our heroine, Irene, to explore different cities in different eras. The Lost Plot is set in 1920s(ish) New York City with all the gangsters and prohibition shenanigans that period entails. I really can’t recommend this series enough, especially to people who enjoyed Jasper Fforde’s ‘Thursday Next’ series. The Lost Plot is available in trade paperback to order and book #5, The Mortal Word, is coming in trade paperback in November.
I was sad when Deanna Raybourn wrapped up her ‘Lady Julia Grey’ series after 5 books, especially since I didn’t enjoy the standalone novels she wrote in the meantime, but her new ‘Veronica Speedwell’ series is a worthy replacement. My only complaints thus far are that the will they/won’t they nature of Veronica and Stoker’s relationship and the fact that there is no paperback nor book #4 scheduled yet. Still, A Treacherous Curse, is worth a read in hardcover and we’ve got it in stock.
Anna Lee Huber has joined the “women detectives of the interwar period” that Michael referenced in his Beach Reads piece with her new series featuring Verity Kent, a war widow who herself was a spy during the war. I can’t say too much about Where the Dead Lie without spoiling it, but it’s an excellent beginning to a series and reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s seminal And Then There Were None. We’ve got book #1 in store in trade paperback and book #2, Treacherous is the Night is coming in September, also in trade paperback. A Brush With Shadows is book #6 in Huber’s ‘Lady Darby’ series, and here we’re learning more about the tragedies of Sebastian Gage’s past. This is a great series for lovers of Tasha Alexander and Deanna Raybourn. We’ve got it in stock in trade paperback.
Book #12 in C.S. Harris’s excellent ‘Sebastian St. Cyr’ series, Where the Dead Lie, arrived a few days before my daughter was born, but the topic of murdered and abused children made it impossible for me to read in that haze of new motherhood. I’m glad I circled back around to
it this spring, although the subject was no easier to read. The same could be said for book #13, Why Kill the Innocent. Sebastian’s wife Hero is a social justice crusader, despite her elevated rank in society, and this series is a truly heartbreaking look into the plight of the poor in 19th century London, especially in direct opposition to the excesses of the Prince Regent. As the series goes on, the uneasy relationship between Hero and her father becomes more and more untenable and I am on the edge of my seat as to where it goes next. Where the Dead Lie is available in trade paperback with Why Kill the Innocent in hardcover.
I’m looking forward to A Tiding of Magpies by Steve Burrows (book #5 in the ‘Birder Mystery’ series, TP) and Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King (book #11 in the ‘Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes’ series, HC) in June. July is an even bigger month with European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss (book #2 in ‘The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club’, HC), Caught in Time (book #3 in the ‘Kendra Donovan Myseries’ series, HC), Competence by Gail Carriger (book #3 in the ‘Custard Protocol’ series) and Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw (book #2 in the ‘Dr. Greta Helsing’ series.