Well this came round quickly. I hope you all had a great Christmas and are now looking towards the new year with hopeful optimism (anything else doesn’t bear thinking about). I’m sure you all got plenty of reading material from Santa, but just in case you’ve also got spare Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket there’s a whole year of new releases to look forward to, starting with these.
(NB As an Amazon Associate, Bookshop and Hive Affiliate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases)
Rush to Judgement by John Carson
A woman is found hanging in the woods in a small Highland town.
A hearse crashes into an old church and is abandoned. The police find a coffin inside but the body isn’t a recent death. It’s the badly decomposed body of a girl who went missing thirty years ago.
DCI Harry McNeil is sent north to co-ordinate the hunt for a killer, along with colleagues from Glasgow.
The town plays host to the annual Christmas Land festival, and this year marks the thirtieth anniversary. With the festivities in full swing, it seems that somebody wants to draw attention to the town for a different reason.
With hundreds of tourists flocking to the area and only a few days left before Hogmanay, can Harry McNeil and Jimmy Dunbar capture a killer who is not only intent on bringing back the dead but adding fresh kills to his tally?
They’re going to have to move fast. The clock is ticking and a New Year is fast approaching. Then everybody goes home. Including the killer…
The Mystery of Mrs Christie by Marie Benedict
In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car — strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.
The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.
What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?
Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie’s masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.
When the Apricots Bloom by Gina Wilkinson
At night, in Huda’s fragrant garden of apricot trees, a breeze sweeps in from the desert, carrying warning of visitors at her gate . . .
Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, has been ordered by the mukhabarat – the secret police – to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador’s wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but she fears for her teenage son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Little does she know, Ally has dangerous secrets of her own.
Meanwhile, Huda’s former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family’s wealth is gone, and Rania, too, is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads.
As the women’s lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.
Becoming Inspector Chen by Qiu Xiaolong
Inspector Chen is excluded from a poetry case as he awaits possible disciplinary action, leaving him to reflect on his career . . . but does his past hold a clue to the poetry case?
After a number of grueling cases Chief Inspector Chen is facing mounting pressure from his superiors, many of whom are concerned with where his loyalties lie. What’s more, he is excluded from an investigation into an incendiary poem posted on an online forum.
Wracked with self-doubt and facing an anxious wait to discover the fate of his career, Chen is left to reflect on the events that have led to where he is now – from his amateur investigations as a child during the Cultural Revolution, to his very first case on the Shanghai Police Force.
Has fighting for the Chinese people and the morals he believes in put him in conflict with the Party? Why is he being kept away from the new case? As well as his career, is his life now also at risk?
A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance
A mesmerizing novel of dark family secrets and a young woman’s rise and revenge set against the backdrop of the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
The eve of destruction. After her mother’s death, penniless May Kimble lives a lonely life until an aunt she didn’t know existed summons her to San Francisco. There she’s welcomed into the wealthy Sullivan family and their social circle.
Initially overwhelmed by the opulence of her new life, May soon senses that dark mysteries lurk in the shadows of the Sullivan mansion. Her glamorous cousin often disappears in the night. Her aunt wanders about in a laudanum fog. And a maid keeps hinting that May is in danger. Trapped by betrayal, madness, and murder, May stands to lose everything, including her freedom, at the hands of those she trusts most.
Then, on an early April morning, San Francisco comes tumbling down. Out of the smoldering ruins, May embarks on a harrowing road to reclaim what is hers. This tragic twist of fate, along with the help of an intrepid and charismatic journalist, puts vengeance within May’s reach. But will she take it?
Old Sins by Jane A. Adams
Old sins have a nasty way of catching up with you, as Detective Chief Inspector Henry Johnstone discovers in this gripping historical mystery, which takes him back to a difficult case in his early days as a police officer. Full of unexpected twists, this is a must-read for fans of Downton Abbey and Jacqueline Winspear.
1929. The discovery of the bodies of two retired policemen, Walter Cole and Hayden Paul, sounds warning bells to DCI Henry Johnstone. Both men were experiencing financial difficulties, and their deaths were staged to look like suicides. Hayden left a note containing two words: old sins. And when Henry attends his sister’s Halloween party, he is approached by a flamenco dancer who leaves a note with the name of another man. Could this be a grim warning?
Henry is forced on a painful journey back to an old case he worked on with Cole and Paul. Is someone playing a deadly game with Henry, and is he about to pay for his past mistakes? With Detective Sergeant Mickey Hitchens by his side and his family at risk, Henry must catch a dangerous killer bent on revenge – before the killer catches him . . .
The Guest Book by C L Pattison
WELCOME TO THE ANCHORAGE, FOR A HONEYMOON YOU’LL NEVER FORGET . . .
Charles and Grace wanted a quiet staycation honeymoon, but when their train terminates early due to a storm up ahead, they wonder if they made the wrong decision. Forced to take shelter in the nearest seaside town, Saltwater, they discover that there is only one guesthouse left. Unlike the rest of Saltwater, The Anchorage is entirely deserted.
That night, with the storm howling relentlessly, Grace is woken by a child crying. She is haunted by the sound, until Charles convinces her it was only her imagination. But the next day, she finds a warning scrawled in the guest book: Leave now. Do not trust them.
As the storm rages on, phone lines are down, transport links cut off. Grace is desperate to leave, but Charles remains unaffected by the eerie stillness of the house. Is it just Grace’s imagination or do the owners, and Charles, have something to hide?
THANK YOU FOR STAYING AT THE ANCHORAGE. WE HOPE YOU’LL BE BACK SOON…
Stay Home by Ava Pierce
LOCK YOUR DOORS
Caitlin has been having an affair for nearly a year when the country enters lock down. Suddenly, seeing her lover, Daniel, without alerting her husband becomes almost impossible. When she does manage to sneak to his home, she finds him lying in a pool of his own blood, dead.
Ali is a just-about-functioning alcoholic, recently let go, and feeling rather lonely. Each day she goes to her local shop to buy her permitted two bottles of wine, leaving food parcels for neighbours on her way home. While keeping an eye on what they are up to, of course.
Caitlin can’t tell a soul about what she has discovered for risk of losing her family. Little does she know that Ali has noticed her coming and going, and that she will be drawing her own conclusions.
As Caitlin delves into the life of the man who said he loved her, she finds that maybe she didn’t really know him at all. But if she wants to avoid suspicion, she needs to keep digging until they find Daniel’s killer. Because the doors may be locked, but everyone’s secrets are starting to leak out . . .
The Lake House by Christie Barlow
Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what
There’s a newcomer to the village of Heartcross and she’s never been more in need of a friend.
As the new manager of local bistro, The Lake House, Ella is ready to start afresh ––and that could mean there’s love on the horizon in the form of the gorgeous Roman, the local water taxi driver. Every day Roman is there to ferry Ella to the restaurant on the other side of the lake and every night he makes sure she gets home safe. But Roman has secrets of his own…
Can the Love Heart Lane community offer Ella a chance of a new life? Or will the ghosts of her past catch up with her?
Have you ever been wrong about someone?
Juno was wrong about Winnie Crouch.
Before moving in with the Crouch family, Juno thought Winnie and her husband, Nigel, had the perfect marriage, the perfect son—the perfect life. Only now that she’s living in their beautiful house, she sees the cracks in the crumbling facade are too deep to ignore.
Still, she isn’t one to judge. After her grim diagnosis, the retired therapist simply wants a place to live out the rest of her days in peace. But that peace is shattered the day Juno overhears a chilling conversation between Winnie and Nigel…
She shouldn’t get involved.
She really shouldn’t.
But this could be her chance to make a few things right.
Because if you thought Juno didn’t have a secret of her own, then you were wrong about her, too.
That’s all for this week folks. I’m easing you into the new buying year gently.