Where has this week gone? Hope you’ve all had as good a one as possible, and if you do need cheering up, you might find something among the following to pick you up.
(NB As an Amazon Associate, Bookshop and Hive Affiliate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases)
The Perfect Liar by Beverley Harvey
‘Are you sure he’s someone you can trust? We know nothing at all about him. Who is he, really?’
Susanne and her two best friends have been dreaming of a holiday. All of them need an escape. Especially Susanne, who is reeling from the news that her ex is getting remarried. They need the warm Tuscan sun, delicious Italian food and wine, and – most of all – the time to unwind with each other. What they get is Harry.
Handsome, charming and great company, Harry soon sweeps Susanne off her feet for a holiday fling. And why not? Except that everything he’s told them is a lie.
Who is the man they’ve let into their house – who Susanne has let into her bed? They have no idea what Harry is capable of – what he’s done to get this far, and what he’s prepared to do to ensure he gets his way.
By the time they find out, it will be too late to stop their dream holiday becoming a nightmare.
The Ice Killer by Ross Greenwood
Once, her heart was empty. Now it’s filled with ice…
Ellen’s therapist told her to forget the past, but the life she’s left with is boring. All she wants is to be happy and normal, but the approaching long bleak nights of winter loom threateningly in front of her, especially as she’ll be alone.
When the secrets her mother put in place to protect her are uncovered, Ellen learns the frightening truth. Her history is darker than she imagined. She’s not who she thinks she is, and the real her is a very different person to the one that others have mistreated and exploited.
If she has any hope for a future, Ellen must find answers about the past. This winter, there will be vengeance on Ellen’s mind, and DI Barton will struggle in his hardest case to date.
How can he find the truth when all the victims and witnesses are dead?
The Searcher by Tana French
Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens.
But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can’t make himself walk away.
Soon Cal will discover that even in the most idyllic small town, secrets lie hidden, people aren’t always what they seem, and trouble can come calling at his door.
A Promise of Ankles by Alexander McCall Smith
The winds of change are blowing through Scotland Street. Though Bertie is getting older, he can’t resist an adventure to escape his domineering mother, and Bruce, ever the navel-gazer, will have to bring his best self to navigate the complexities of the pas de deux. While Alexander McCall Smith’s delightfully warm and witty comedy takes some surprising turns, the improbable adventures of this quirky cast of Scots will affirm the heart and joy in Edinburgh’s New Town.
The Hunting Season by Tom Benjamin
It’s truffle season and in the hills around Bologna the hunt is on for the legendary Boscuri White, the golden nugget of Italian gastronomy. But when an American truffle ‘supertaster’ goes missing, English detective Daniel Leicester discovers not all truffles are created equal. Did the missing supertaster bite off more than he could chew?
As he goes on the hunt for Ryan Lee, Daniel discovers the secrets behind ‘Food City’, from the immigrant kitchen staff to the full scale of a multi-million Euro business. After a key witness is found dead at the foot of one of Bologna’s famous towers, the stakes could not be higher. Daniel teams up with a glamorous TV reporter, but the deeper he goes into the disappearance of the supertaster the darker things become. Murder is once again on the menu, but this time Daniel himself stands accused. And the only way he can clear his name is by finding Ryan Lee…
Discover Bologna through the eyes of English detective Daniel Leicester as he walks the shadowy porticoes in search of the truth and, perhaps, even gets a little nearer to solving the mystery of Italy itself.
A Necessary Death by Anne Holt
The snow is falling
Selma Falck is living a nightmare. Trapped in a burning cabin on a freezing snow-covered mountain, she has no idea where she is or how she got there. Bruised, bleeding and naked, she barely makes it out in time as the flames engulf the cabin. With no signs of human habitation nearby, the temperature rapidly dropping, and a blizzard approaching, how will she survive?
She’s lost in the wilderness
As Selma fights the cold, the hunger and her own wounds, she eventually forms a frightening picture of the past six months. Not only does she have to find a way to stay alive, she needs to make it back to civilization, quickly. Murder has been committed, and a great injustice must be stopped. The very future of the nation itself is at stake…
If the cold doesn’t kill her, they will…
Mr Wilder & Me by Jonathan Coe
In the heady summer of 1977, a naïve young woman called Calista sets out from Athens to venture into the wider world. On a Greek island that has been turned into a film set, she finds herself working for the famed Hollywood director Billy Wilder, about whom she knows almost nothing. But the time she spends in this glamorous, unfamiliar new life will change her for good.
While Calista is thrilled with her new adventure, Wilder himself is living with the realisation that his star may be on the wane. Rebuffed by Hollywood, he has financed his new film with German money, and when Calista follows him to Munich for the shooting of further scenes, she finds herself joining him on a journey of memory into the dark heart of his family history.
In a novel that is at once a tender coming-of-age story and an intimate portrait of one of cinema’s most intriguing figures, Jonathan Coe turns his gaze on the nature of time and fame, of family and the treacherous lure of nostalgia. When the world is catapulting towards change, do you hold on for dear life or decide it’s time to let go?
Murder Among Friends by Janice Frost
Meet Jane Bell. After her husband dies she leaves her job as a teacher to volunteer as a special constable with the police.
On her very first shift Jane is called to the scene of a murder. A young man has dragged himself to the top of Greestone Stairs to die. Following her instincts, Jane finds herself becoming very involved in the case . . .
For Detective Steph Warwick, specials have no place in a murder investigation — and this upstart rookie is meddling where she doesn’t belong.
The victim ran a group at the university teaching men how to pick up women. Jane and Steph must venture into a dark and dangerous world of online misogyny.
Steph knows about abusive men. But can she work with Jane to put this killer behind bars?
Queens of the Crusade by Alison Weir
The Plantagenet queens of England played a role in some of the most dramatic events in our history. Crusading queens, queens in rebellion against their king, queen seductresses, learned queens, queens in battle, queens who enlivened England with the romantic culture of southern Europe – these determined women often broke through medieval constraints to exercise power and influence, for good and sometimes for ill.
Alison Weir’s ground-breaking history of the queens of medieval England now moves into a period of even higher drama, from 1154 to 1291: years of chivalry, dynastic ambition, conflict with the church, baronial wars, and the all-pervading bonds of feudalism. We see events such as the murder of Becket, Magna Carta and the birth of parliaments from a new perspective. Her narrative begins with the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Henry II establishes a dynasty which rules for over three hundred years and creates the most powerful empire in western Christendom – but also sows the seeds for some of the most destructive family conflicts in history and for the collapse, under her son King John, of England’s power in Europe. The lives of Eleanor’s successors were just as remarkable: Berengaria of Navarre, queen of Richard the Lionheart, Isabella of Angoulême, queen of John, and Alienor of Provence, queen of Henry III, and finally Eleanor of Castile, the grasping but beloved wife of Edward I.
Lost Hours by Alex Walters
A vicious murder is committed, but who has blood on their hands?
On a hot summer’s afternoon, Michelle Wentworth enjoys a rare few hours of relaxation. Sunning herself by her pool, she sends her lazy teenage son to fetch her a drink. But instead of a refreshment, Michelle is given a nasty shock when shortly after her child’s bludgeoned body is discovered on the doorstep.
DI Annie Delamere attends the scene, joined by DS Zoe Everett. There is nothing to suggest a motive or perpetrator. They dig into Michelle’s life and come to suspect she may have been the target. Her ruthless pursuit of profit has won her few friends, and relying on her lawyer’s questionable advice could mean she’s in over her head.
When another battered body is found, Annie realises that every clue leads back to a dispute at Michelle’s business. But with so many people with reason to seek revenge, will Annie and her team look in the right places – or will it be too late?
The Girl Who Never Came Home by Nicole Trope
They find her just as the sun is beginning to rise in the early morning mist. They had begun at dawn, the group of searchers keen to get going. A missing child spurred everyone on. In the end, it was a flash of colour, a bright neon pink that caught her eye. They had been looking for pink.
Nothing tests your faith like being a mother. The first time your children walk to school alone, their first sleepover, when they finally fly the nest. As a parent, you have to believe that everything will be OK.
It’s why, when Lydia’s sixteen-year-old daughter Zoe goes on a school camping trip, she has no idea of the horrors that will unfold. It’s why, when Lydia gets a call saying that her daughter has disappeared, she refuses to give up.
As she searches the mountains, her voice hoarse from calling Zoe’s name, she imagines finding her. She envisions being flooded with relief as she throws her arms around her child, saying, ‘you gave us such a scare’. She pictures her precious girl safely tucked in bed that evening.
It’s why, when they find Zoe’s body, Lydia can barely believe it. It is unthinkable. Her little girl has gone.
Something terrible happened, she is sure of it. Something made Zoe get out of her sleeping bag in the middle of the night, walk out of the warmth and safety of the cabin, into the darkness of the mountains. Driven by the memory of her youngest child, Lydia needs to find out the truth. What kind of mother would she be if she didn’t?
The House at Magpie Cove by Kennedy Kerr
The Cornish beach house creaked in the salty sea wind and, from the weathered wooden porch, Mara watched a lone magpie circle above. It was silly to think that her mother’s spirit was still with her, but Mara felt as if there was something keeping her here. A secret that needed to be told…
When Mara Hughes inherits her late mother’s tumbledown beach house overlooking the bright, sandy sweep of Magpie Cove, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. With her marriage on the rocks and her husband threatening to take the family home, the beach house – with all the bittersweet memories it holds – might be the thing that finally sends Mara’s world crashing down around her. She tells herself she’ll only spend a few days there: sell it and move on to rebuilding her life.
When Mara arrives, the house is in a worse state than she feared – holes in the bedroom ceiling, birds’ nests in the attic and the beautiful, wrap-around porch on the brink of collapse… but she loves it anyway. With all its history it feels like the last link to her late mother and, determined to do whatever it takes to keep it in the family, Mara strikes a deal with local handyman – and town heartthrob – Brian Oakley to save the crumbling cottage from ruin.
But when a box of unopened old letters arrives on her new doorstep – a bequest from her mother’s will – Mara’s resolve to save the beach house will be tested to the limit. Because Mara’s mother’s perfect childhood in Magpie Cove was forever spoiled by one haunting day in July, and the letters contain a secret about her family that Mara can scarcely believe to be true…
No Crime Forgotten by Valerie Keogh
Forgiveness isn’t an option…
Detective Garda Sergeant Mike West and his partner answer an emergency call from St Monica’s church and discover a dead body suspended from the beams in front of the altar.
The victim’s fingerprints show that the man is Ian Moore, recently released from prison after serving time for rape. Revenge seems like the obvious motive for his murder, but the list of suspects grows as the case takes an unexpected twist.
Is the killer someone who believes they are doing God’s work?
With pressure from archbishops, bishops, priests and Inspector Morrison to get the case solved quickly, West and his team have their work cut out…
From These Broken Streets by Roland Merullo
Italy, 1943. The Nazi occupation has cemented its grip on the devastated city of Naples.
Giuseppe DiPietra, a curator in the National Archives, has a subversive plan to aid the Allies. If he’s discovered, forced labor or swift execution. Lucia Pastone, secretary for the Italian Fascist government, is risking her own life in secret defiance of orders. And Lucia’s father, Aldo, is a black marketeer who draws Giuseppe and Lucia into the underworld—for their protection and to help plant the seeds of resistance. Their fates are soon intertwined with those of Aldo’s devoted lover and a boy of the streets who’ll do anything to live another day. And all of Naples is about to join forces to overcome impossible odds and repel the Nazi occupiers.
Inspired by a true historic uprising, From These Broken Streets is a richly layered novel of the extraordinary daring of ordinary people whose bonds of love, family, and unfaltering courage could not be broken.
Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza
When Kate Marshall finds the bloated body of a young man floating in the Shadow Sands reservoir, the authorities label it a tragic accident.
But the details don’t add up: why was he there, in the middle of the night? If he was such a strong swimmer, how did he drown? As Kate and her assistant Tristan Harper follow the evidence, they make a far darker discovery . . .
This is only the latest victim in a series of bloody murders dating back decades. A mythic serial killer is said to hide in the rolling fog, abducting his victims like a phantom. And when another woman is taken, Kate and Tristan have a matter of days to save her from meeting the same fate.
A Woman’s Courage by S Block
In the midst of World War II, the members of one village WI fight harder than ever to help the war effort . . .
But behind closed doors, each is fighting a more personal battle.
Pat Simms is reeling from her own role in her abusive husband’s death, and the new freedom before her is daunting. Sarah Collingborne is struggling with the absence of her husband, who is stranded in a POW camp abroad, and trying her best to fill his treasured place in the village.
Meanwhile, Teresa Lucas is anxious about her future as a parent, and her friend Alison Scotlock is on the verge of starting a new relationship. And Miriam Brindsley‘s good luck might be about to change . . .
Grieving for men already lost and anxious for those still away fighting, the women of Great Paxford must rely on each other. Amidst the complexities of broken relationships, loss and friendship, this group of very different women must work together to find a way through.
Force of Evil by Simon Michael
A seemingly simple case leads Charles to a shocking discovery…
After a series of successful cases, Charles Holborne’s reputation is on the rise.
He is asked to work pro bono to represent a widow in a recent accidental death case.
The deceased was a Sergeant Maynard, an RAF policeman who worked at the Cardington base in Bedfordshire.
It seems his death was the result of a tragic motorcycle collision, but Mrs Maynard insists her husband was murdered.
Though sceptical at first, Charles soon realises she could be right.
And as he delves further, he realises that the RAF base could be the centre of a much bigger criminal undertaking…
As rifts in the corrupt Metropolitan Police are revealed, and the threats to Charles and those he loves escalate, he begins to wonder — has he finally bitten off more than he can chew?
The Night Away by Jess Ryder
It was just one night away. I had no idea how devastating it would be…
My sister offered to babysit to give my husband and me a break. But while we’re away the phone rings. My sister is hysterical. Mabel’s cot is empty. My little girl is gone.
I race home with a horrible sick feeling flooding my stomach. The little sleepsuits still hang on the radiator but there is no gurgling or cooing on the baby monitor – just silence.
Now the police are questioning everyone. My sister, my husband, the new friends I’ve made.
I want my little girl back more than anything and I will do whatever it takes. But they can’t know I’m not like other mothers. I can’t let them recover the deleted texts on my phone. Because I have a secret… Could the darkness in my past have put my baby at risk?
The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster
Arabella Lane is found dead in the Thames on a frosty winter’s morning after the office Christmas party. No one is sure whether she jumped or was pushed. The one person who may know the truth is the office temp, Eleanor.
Having travelled to London to escape the repercussions of her traumatic childhood in Australia, tragedy seems to follow Eleanor wherever she goes. To her horror, she has no memory of the crucial hours leading up to Arabella’s death – memory that will either incriminate or absolve her.
Caught in a crossfire of accusations, Eleanor fears she can’t even trust herself, let alone the people around her. And soon, she’ll find herself in a race against time to find out just what happened that night – and discover just how deadly some secrets can be.
That’s it for another week folks.