As we approach Christmas the number of titles being published have started to peter out. So, instead of my regular weekly post, this will cover my handpicked titles until the end of December.
These are titles appearing in hardback/paperback for the first time. In some cases the ebook might already be available. All titles are based on the listings found in The Bookseller, so I’m not working from a list of all titles being published.
Just a reminder I don’t see any advance copies, my choices are based on the blurb, gut instinct and what takes my fancy at the time.
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Historical (I tend to take this as pre 1960’s ie not in my lifetime!)
Crime, Thriller & Mystery
Death in Heels by Kitty Murphy
When Fi went to support her best friend’s drag debut, she didn’t imagine a killer would be going to watch it too. And they’re waiting for their grand finale…
Fi McKinnery is full of nerves as the gorgeous Mae B (aka her best friend Robyn) takes to the stage for her debut at drag club TRASH, but Mae B is dazzling…that is until local queen Eve lampoons her performance and ruins the show. So when Eve turns up dead later that night, face down in the gutter of a rain-soaked Dublin street, the timing seems awfully suspicious…
The police are quick to rule Eve’s death an accident, but Fi is convinced it was foul play. When her ‘Hagatha Christie’ amateur sleuthing backfires, it drives a wedge between Fi and Robyn. But when another friend is targeted in a hit-and-run, she’s determined to get this twisted killer caught, no matter what the consequences.
Even as the rest of the gang start to distance themselves, Fi is certain that they’re all in terrible danger. Something dark is lurking beneath the feathers, glitter and sequins of Dublin’s drag scene. And it’s not just the sticky floor and cracked mirrors. Someone is targeting the queens. When another member of the group is gunned down, it’s clear the danger is coming ever closer. Can Fi stop the killer before any more of her friends are hurt?
Conspiracy of Blood by Katarzyna Bonda
A complex and absorbing crime novel which finds Sasza Zaluska, the profiler and former undercover cop first encountered in Girl at Midnight, plunged even deeper into the web of corruption and criminality that has engulfed all levels of Polish society since the fall of Communism.
Sasza decides to return to the police, but first she must ensure the safety of her daughter by putting to rest the demons evoked by terrifying ordeal which led her to leave Poland for seven years in England. No sooner has she begun the process, however, than she is drawn into the deeply disturbing case of a woman who has disappeared from a village – and she is not the first to do so. The roots of the crime seem to reach all the way back to the dark enmities of the second world war.
Dead Find by TF Muir
St. Andrews, Scotland: Renovation works on the famous Old Course golf course uncovers the remains of a body in a shallow grave – two bullet holes in the skull. DNA confirms the victim as Rab Shepherd, the missing brother of Scotland’s late crime patriarch, Jock Shepherd. But Rab pulled out of the family business over twenty years ago, and moved to Australia where he allegedly lived an honest and wealthy life. This body confirms otherwise.
Why was Rab killed? And who would risk killing him, knowing he was big Jock’s brother?
DCI Andy Gilchrist and his associate, DS Jessie Janes, are assigned the murder investigation, and soon uncover a trail of executions and torture, treachery and betrayal, and ultimately a gangland secret so powerful it could shake the UK government to its core…
Blood on the Siberian Snow by CJ Farrington
Winter has come early to the tiny Siberian village of Roslazny, but for Olga Pushkin, aspiring writer and Railway Engineer (Second Class), it only makes leaving the harder. Olga is being forced overseas by her jealous superior, and now faces two years in exile from her beloved rail-side hut, her white-breasted hedgehog Dmitri, and Vassily Marushkin, sergeant-in-charge at the tiny Roslazny police station.
Fate seems to intervene when Olga’s train crashes outside Roslazny, shutting the line and killing two on board – local celebrity Danyl Petrovich and his wife, Anoushka. But Vassily Marushkin soon discovers that the Trans-Siberian locomotive was derailed on purpose. As the weather closes in, trapping the villagers – and the suspects – inside, Vassily begins a murder investigation in which Olga and her long-lost friend, Nevena Komarov, soon become closely involved.
But murder and extreme weather isn’t all Olga has to deal with. Recalcitrant publishers, haunted police stations, and embarrassing online exposés combine to make this early winter a particularly challenging one – with the threat of a forced departure still looming as soon as the weather lifts. Can Olga find out who killed the Petroviches, secure the release of her book, exorcise the ghost, and save her job, all at the same time?
My Husband’s Killer by Laura Marshall
Three couples. One murder. A holiday to die for . . .
We arrived at a villa on the Amalfi Coast, ready to enjoy a sun-soaked weekend with our oldest friends – and one new face.
By the end of the weekend, my husband is found dead.
But how can I mourn him, when on the day of his funeral I discover he was having an affair?
The only suspects are the women we went on holiday with. My oldest, closest friends.
Do I really want to dig into my husband’s secret? Do I really want to know who betrayed me?
And as I start to unravel their secrets . . . do I really believe his death was an accident?
A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny
It’s spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should reemerge.
But something has.
As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.
But to what end?
Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother’s murder hurt them beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?
As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.
As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.
In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.
Traitor by Tom Wood
SOMEONE’S SET HIM UP
SOMEONE’S GOING TO DIE
When Victor is arrested for a murder that, for once, he didn’t commit, escape must surely be inevitable for a hitman of his ferocity.
Yet someone wants Victor put away, and he finds himself behind bars, incarcerated by police who have no idea of the monster they are dealing with and have, apparently, tamed.
Quickly, however, his fellow prisoners realise that he’s not trapped in there with them: they are in a cage, with the most dangerous of enemies. And Victor has a traitor to find.
When the Lights Go Out by Chris Curran
Who can you trust…
WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT
A group of new friends. But can she trust them?
For struggling actress Ava, landing a role with the Chimera Theatre Group could lead to her big break. And relocating to a remote country village means stepping out from the shadow of her boyfriend—despite his determination not to let her go.
Everyone in the group seems so welcoming, they’re one big happy family. But, like all families, they each have secrets. And someone in the group doesn’t want certain secrets to get out…
Fallen Butterfly by Anna Nicholas
With political tensions running high due to a controversial new motorway scheme, the chilling and ritualistic murder of a high-flying local government minister sends shockwaves through the island. When her home is ransacked and another brutal killing occurs, Isabel Flores Montserrat, unorthodox former detective, joins up once again with Mallorca’s police chief, Tolo Cabot, in a perilous race for answers. Meanwhile, fear and distrust grow in Isabel’s village as fake signs and cairn markers send disorientated hikers plunging off cliffs. Is this mountain mischief the work of environmentalists or is something far more sinister afoot.
This is the third book in a new crime series set in Mallorca, Spain.
Grave Intentions by RV Ramen
Seasoned detective Harith Athreya is back, this time to investigate suspicious incidences on a riverside dig in the heart of remote Bundelkhand.
In this place, rich in myth and history, the legend goes that anyone who sets foot on nearby island Naaz Tapu would be cursed forever.
When an archaeologist defies local folklore, the fallout is swift and deadly. Is the death a result of the ancient curse, or is it a more down-to-earth case of murder? Athreya needs to unravel the truth from legend before the curse strikes again…
The Camden Murder by Mike Hollow
As dawn breaks on a chilly morning in November 1940, a car is found ablaze in an abandoned builder’s yard a stone’s throw from the Regent’s Canal in Camden Town, north London. In the burnt-out vehicle police find the charred remains of a body. The victim is Les Latham, a commercial traveller for the Barings confectionery company. He liked to be known as Lucky Les, but it seems his luck has finally run out. DI John Jago discovers among Latham’s belongings a mysterious photograph and some suspicious-looking petrol ration books that set Jago off on a murky trail of deceit, corruption and murder.
Single in the Snow by Helen Whitaker
Jen is turning thirty and has spent her entire life jumping from man to man. So, when her latest relationship ends in disaster, she decides she needs to stop pleasing others and focus on herself. And where better to start afresh than the beautiful Canadian ski resort of Whistler?
Okay, she’s broke, unemployed, and has never so much as strapped on a pair of skis – but Jen is determined to make it on her own. She just has one rule: to stay single for the entire ski season.
When a new job forces Jen into contact with snowboarding instructor Art, the two of them are set on keeping their distance. It shouldn’t be hard, since they hate one another on sight – and Art knows better than anyone how to keep other people at arm’s length.
The problem is, the more time they are forced to spend together, the clearer it seems that Jen’s promise to stay single might not be quite so simple . . .
Animal Life by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
With just over a week until Christmas, Dómhildur delivers her one thousandth, nine hundred and ninety second baby. Beginnings and endings are her family trade; she is a midwife descended from a long line of midwives on her mother’s side and a long line of undertakers on her father’s.
There’s a terrible storm heading towards Reykjavík, and Dómhildur is feeling unsettled. In her apartment, she stumbles across decades’ worth of letters and manuscripts hidden amongst the clutter that belonged to her grandaunt- a legendary midwife with a reputation for unconventional methods. At the darkest point of the year, when the sun barely lifts above the horizon, Dómhildur discovers strange and beautiful new meanings in her grandaunt’s writings.
For even in the depths of an Icelandic winter, new life will find a way.
Chalk Hearts by Emma Whittaker
Amy escapes her violent boyfriend with a job at Woodbrook Primary School, the place of traumatic memories that still plague her twenty years on.
Secretly ashamed of her loser reputation, Amy hides her ex-pupil status from the staff, even pretending that she has never met Joel, the once-cherished teacher who unexpectedly becomes her colleague.
Under the guise of a confident woman, Amy is determined to eclipse her troubled past. But when she hooks Joel into a deep and passionate relationship, the fear of bursting his bubble with her true identity pushes her ever closer to being exposed.
The Second Chance Holiday Club by Kate Galley
It’s never too late to change the habits of a lifetime…
Evelyn Pringle isn’t the sort to make rash decisions. Or any decisions, really – she’s always left that sort of thing up to her husband. But he’s been found dead, wearing his best suit, with a diamond ring in his pocket that doesn’t fit her. When Evelyn finds a letter addressed to a woman on the Isle of Wight, she decides to deliver it. By hand.
So begins a very unusual holiday, and an adventure no one could have predicted – least of all Evelyn herself. With the help of some unexpected new friends, and a little effort on her part, Evelyn discovers that it’s never too late to have a second chance at life and forge friendships that are well-worth living for.
The Secret of Angel’s Cove by Sheila Norton
‘I’ve woken up early. I really didn’t want to – today of all days, the first day of the rest of my life.’
After years working all hours as a senior practice nurse, Joy has taken a well-earned retirement. She’d been looking forward to it, to leisure and time and no alarms, but now that it’s happened, she’s not sure what to do with herself. Her husband Terry is buried in his business, and seems to be talking to her less and less – at home she feels, increasingly, rather in the way.
But when a new neighbour, Sara, and her small son move into their remote Devon village, Joy befriends her, and inspired by Sara starts to look into the history of their beautiful Angel cove. Joy’s quest brings her to new friends, old secrets and eventually unearths a history that belies their sleepy village . . .
The Cottage in the Highlands by Julie Shackman
When Leonie Baxter finds herself out of a job and out of a relationship, she’s at her wits end. Her life has just been turned upside down and she needs a plan, fast.
By chance, on a walk with her rescue puppy, Leonie stumbles across a striking house in the woods; fully furnished but unoccupied. As a journalist, she is determined to find out more, after all, reporting is in her nature.
But her attempts are thwarted by Lily Cruickshank who lives in the cottage next door. Why won’t Lily help Leonie? And who is the mysterious Flynn Talbot, whose letter Leonie finds inside the house?
And in uncovering the secrets of the abandoned house, will Leonie open her own heart and let love back into her life?
When Franny Stands Up by Eden Robins
Franny Steinberg knows there’s powerful magic in laughter. She’s witnessed it. With the men of Chicago off fighting WWII on distant shores, Franny has watched the women of the city taking charge of the war effort. But amidst the war bond sales and factory shifts, something surprising has emerged, something Franny could never have expected. A new marvel that has women flocking to comedy clubs across the nation: the Showstopper.
When Franny steps into Chicago’s Blue Moon comedy club, she realizes the power of a Showstopper—that specific magic sparked when an audience laughs so hard, they are momentarily transformed. And while each comedian’s Showstopper is different, they all have one thing in common: they only work on women.
After a traumatic flashback propels her onstage in a torn bridesmaid dress, Franny discovers her own Showstopper is something new. And suddenly she has the power to change everything…for herself, for her audience, and for the people who may need it most.
The Orphan’s Letters by Glynis Peters
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but does nothing to heal the pain of spending every minute waiting to hear the worst…
As the Second World War rages on, nurse Kitty Pattison’s life takes a nomadic turn as her work with the Red Cross sees her traversing the country, moving from post to post.
With her best friends Jo and Trixie also scattered across the UK, and her soldier sweetheart Michael off on the continent undertaking medical missions he can’t discuss, the war takes its toll and long days are followed by sleepless nights interrupted only by nightmares of what she’s seen on the wards.
Now, Kitty’s hopes rise and fall with the arrival of the post – the only thing that keeps her connected to her aunt and uncle, her dear friends, and her Michael – and every moment spent with those she loves is held dear, because each one could be the last…
The Darlings of the Asylum by Noel O’Reilly
To marry is madness.
To escape is impossible.
I must pull myself together. I had to find Dr Rastrick and demand my immediate release. My stomach knotted at the prospect, but I knew I was perfectly sane and that he must see reason.
In 1886, a respectable young woman must acquire a husband. But Violet Pring does not want to marry. She longs to be a professional artist and live on her own terms.
When her scheming mother secures a desirable marriage proposal from an eligible Brighton gentleman for her, Violet protests. Her family believes she is deranged and deluded, so she is locked away in Hillwood Grange Lunatic Asylum against her will.
In her new cage, Violet faces an even greater challenge: she must escape the clutches of a sinister and formidable doctor and set herself free.
This tantalizing Gothic novel from Noel O’Reilly tells a thrilling story of duty and desire, madness and sanity, truth and delusion from within a Victorian asylum.
The Secrets of Rochester Place by Iris Costello
A LOST CHILD.
A LONG-KEPT SECRET.
THE HOUSE THAT HOLDS THE KEY
Spring 1937: Teresa is evacuated to London in the wake of the Guernica bombing. She thinks she’s found safety in the soothing arms of Mary Davidson and the lofty halls of Rochester Place, but trouble pursues her wherever she goes.
Autumn 2020: Corrine, an emergency dispatcher, receives a call from a distressed woman named Mary. But when the ambulance arrives at the address, Mary is nowhere to be found. Intrigued, Corinne investigates and, in doing so, disturbs secrets that have long-dwelt in Rochester Place’s crumbling walls. Secrets that, once revealed, will change her life for ever . . .
Who is Mary Davidson? And what happened at Rochester Place all those years ago?
Set between the dusty halls of Rochester Place and the bustling streets of modern-day Tooting, this emotive, intricately layered mystery tells the spellbinding story of two people, separated by time, yet mysteriously connected through an enchanting Georgian house and the secrets within its walls. For fans of Sally Page’s The Keeper of Stories.
So that’s all for this week.