Midsummer Mysteries by Agatha Christie (May 9, 2023)
Agatha Christie’s most famous characters—including Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple—solve even the most devilish of conundrums as the sun beats down in this all-new summer themed collection from the Queen of Mystery.
Summertime—as the temperature rises, so does the potential for evil. From Cornwall to the French Riviera, whether against a background of Delphic temples or English country houses, Agatha Christie’s most famous characters solve complicated puzzles as the stakes heat up. Pull up a deckchair and enjoy plot twists and red herrings galore from the bestselling fiction writer of all time.
Includes the stories:
- The Blood-Stained Pavement
- The Double Clue
- A Death on the Nile
- Harlequin’s Lane
- The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman
- Jane in Search of a Job
- The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim
- The Idol House of Astarte
- The Rajah’s Emerald
- The Oracle at Delphi
- The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger
- The Incredible Theft
Independence Square by Martin Cruz Smith (May 9, 2023)
Martin Cruz Smith has written nine previous novels featuring Arkady Renko, one of modern detective fiction’s most popular characters. These novels, beginning with 1981’s international sensation Gorky Park, have collectively traced Russia’s evolution over the last half-century. Now, with Independence Square, Smith focuses on the fraught and frenzied days leading up to Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.Amazon
It’s June 2021, and Arkady knows that Russia is preparing to invade and subsequently annex Ukraine as it did Crimea in 2014. He is, however, preoccupied with other grievances. His longtime lover, Tatiana Petrovna, has deserted him for her work as an investigative reporter. His corrupt boss has relegated him to a desk job. And he is having trouble with his dexterity and balance. A visit to his doctor reveals that these are symptoms for Parkinson’s Disease.
This is an ingenious autobiographical conceit, as Martin Cruz Smith has Parkinson’s, and is able through Arkady to movingly describe his own experience with the disease. Parkinson’s hasn’t stopped Smith from his work, and neither does it stop Arkady. Rather than dwell on his diagnosis, he throws himself into another case.
An acquaintance has asked him to find his daughter, Karina, an anti-Putin activist who has disappeared. In the course of the investigation, Arkady falls for Karina’s roommate, Elena, a Tatar from Ukraine. The search leads them to Kyiv, where rumblings of an armed conflict grow louder. Later, in Crimea, Tatiana reemerges to complicate Arkady’s new romance. And as he gets closer to locating Karina, Arkady discovers something that threatens his life as well as the lives of both Elena and Tatiana.
Few fiction writers have better captured contemporary Russia with more insight or authenticity than Martin Cruz Smith. He does the same here for Ukraine and the events that preceded Russia’s invasion. Independence Square is a timely and a uniquely personal mystery novel-meets-political thriller by a master of the form.
Fixit: An IQ Novel by Joe Ide (May 9, 2023)
In the latest installment in Joe Ide’s “superb” series (Washington Post), the relentless, hard-bitten PI, Isaiah Quintabe, is faced with a nightmarish scenario when the love of his life is kidnapped by a maniacal hitman who bears a grudge against him.Amazon
Danger has always followed IQ, a reality he’s keenly aware of as he’s laid up in a hospital bed, recovering from injuries sustained in his last case. Isaiah cannot help himself from being the hero, and any misery he’s suffered as a result—wounds from a knife fight, gnawing paranoia—he’s suffered alone. Yet as IQ recovers, five hundred miles from East Long Beach, he’s unaware that Grace has been abducted by his sworn enemy, the professional hitman Skip Hanson. Skip is savage and psychotic, determined to punish Isaiah for sending him to prison and destroying his life. Now, Isaiah and his sometimes partner, ex-hustler Juanell Dodson, must track scant clues through L.A.’s perilous landscape as Grace’s predicament grows more uncertain.
A complication arises in the form of Winnie Hando, a homicide detective with something to prove. Stubborn and effective, Winnie sees Isaiah’s efforts as an obstruction to the investigation and a possible embarrassment: an unlicensed PI can’t be seen doing the department’s job better than the department. Winnie tries to stop Isaiah while pursuing the case herself, their struggles clashing and slowing their progress. As the desperate hunt winds on, Isaiah fears that even if he can bring Grace home alive, things between them will never be the same. This latest series installment is an explosive collision of drug dealers, thieves, maniacs, shotguns, vicious dogs, stampeding horses, and Ide’s signature energy, grit, and profundity
Playing It Safe: An Electra McDonnell Novel by Ashley Weaver (May 9, 2023)
As the Blitz continues to ravage London, Ellie McDonnell—formerly a safecracking thief, but currently determined to stay on the straight and narrow to help her country—is approached by British Intelligence officer Major Ramsey with a new assignment. She is to travel under an assumed identity to the port city of Sunderland and there await further instructions. In his usual infuriating way, the Major has left her task as vague and mysterious as possible.
Ellie, ever-ready to aid her country, heads north, her safecracking tools in tow. But before she can rendezvous with the major, she witnesses an unnatural death. A man falls dead in the street in front of her, with a note clutched in his hand. Ellie’s instincts tell her that the man’s death is connected in some way to her mission.
Soon, Ellie and the major are locked in a battle of wits and a race against time with an unknown and deadly adversary, and a case that leads them to a possible Nazi counterfeiting operation. With bombs dropping on the city and a would-be assassin shadowing their every move, it will take all of Ellie’s resourcefulness and Major Ramsey’s fortitude to unmask the spymaster and avert disastrous consequences—for England and for their own lives.Amazon
The Nightingale Affair by Tim Mason (May 9, 2023)
In this twisty new Victorian detective thriller from the author of The Darwin Affair, Inspector Charles Field hunts a serial killer with a sinister signature targeting Florence Nightingale’s nurses in Crimea and women in London.Amazon
Who is stalking Florence Nightingale and her nurses? Is it the legendary Beast of the Crimean, or someone closer to home? In 1855, Britain and France are fighting to keep the Russians from snatching the Crimean Peninsula from the Ottoman Empire, and Nightingale, a wealthy young society woman, has made it her mission to improve the wretched conditions in the British military hospitals in Turkey—despite fierce objections from the male doctors around her. When young women start turning up dead, their mouths sewn shut with embroidered fabric roses, Inspector Charles Field (the real-life inspiration for Charles Dickens’s Inspector Bucket in Bleak House) is sent from England to find the killer among the doctors, military men, journalists, and others swarming Turkey’s famous Barrack Hospital. Here Field meets both the famous Nightingale as well as Nurse Jane Rolly, the woman who will become his wife, and as he races to protect them, the prime suspect takes his own life.
Case closed. Or is it?
Twelve years later, back in London, amid the turmoil surrounding the expansion of voting rights, women again start turning up dead, their mouths covered by that telltale embroidered rose. Did Field suspect the wrong man before, or is he dealing with a deviant copycat? Either way, he must race against time to stop the killer before more bodies are discovered, and before his own family gets pulled into danger. Populated by real figures of the day, from Benjamin Disraeli to novelist Wilkie Collins to, of course, Florence Nightingale herself, and steeped in historical details of 1860s London, The Nightingale Affair plays out against a backdrop of a rapidly changing society. Most of all, it is a pure reading delight, offering shocks, unforgettably vivid scenes, and surprising twists.
There are lots of good new releases this week. I have a review of Midsummer Mysteries up here. Do any new releases catch your eye? I am especially interested in the latest installment of the Arkady Renko Series: Independence Square and Playing it Safe by Ashley Weaver.