Monday, November 28, 2011

{review} fowler & bryant & may and edwards & scarlett

Christopher Fowler Full Dark House (2004)
Martin Edwards The Coffin Trail (2004)

I recently mentioned second and third novels in a series, but there can be no greater delight than discovering that all important first novel which hooks you into continuing the journey onwards. I've recently read two 'firsts', both published in 2004, which I am sure are going to lead me to seconds, thirds... elevenths...

Full Dark House is No 1 in the 'Bryant and May' series by Christopher Fowler. Bryant and May have been partners in Scotland Yard's Peculiar Crimes Unit since the 1940s. Now in their 80s they are still operational, called in to investigate crimes that other, 'normal' police units cannot handle.

'How many other files have you got tucked away?'
'You'd be surprised. That business with the tontine and the Bengal tiger, all documented. The runic curses that brought London to a standstill. The corpse covered in butterflies. I've got all our best cases, and a register of every useful fringe group in the capital.'
'You should upgrade your database. You've still got members of the Camden Town Coven listed as reliable contacts. And do I need to mention the Leicester Square Vampire?'
'Anyone can make a mistake,' said Bryant.
I took a while to warm to this one as I was suspicious that it might suddenly submerge me in the supernatural. Also it jumped about a bit between past and present. It didn't like interruptions or lack of concentration and I kept tangling myself up by forgetting who belonged where. Perhaps I was meant to? I thought some of the witticisms somewhat forced (and the 'Bryant & May'/matches thing sort of irked). But, really, I was a goner from the first paragraph's ginger tom cat:
It really was a hell of a blast. The explosion occurred at daybreak on the second Tuesday morning of September, its shock waves rippling through the beer-stained streets of Mornington Crescent. It detonated car alarms, hurled house bricks across the street, blew a chimney stack forty feet into the sky, ruptured the eardrums of several tramps, denuded over two dozen pigeons, catapulted a surprised ginger tom through the window of a kebab shop and fired several roofing tiles into the forehead of the Pope, who was featuring on a poster for condoms opposite the tube station.
In this, Bryant & May's first outing, we travel from a modern day explosion back to their first case, in the early years of the Second World War, when death rained from the heavens courtesy of the Luftwaffe. Death is also stalking the artistic troupe trying to stage a risque version of 'Orpheus in the Underworld', with suspiciously mythological deaths cutting appropriate victims down before the coppers' eyes. Who, or what, is stalking the Palace Theatre?

Bryant is the termagant of the pair - bad-tempered, useless with the ladies; prone to major attacks of over-thinking and very, very receptive to the kookiest explanations. He combines intuitiveness with extreme clumsiness: "He had misplaced his regular pipe. May would spend the next sixty years locating lost objects for his partner." May is the better-looking ladies' man, active, interested in the modern world and resistant to his partner's liking for introducing fortune-tellers to their cases. I thought that this book packed in a hell of an amount, along with many, many teasers for what is to come. The scenes from WW2 were marvellously done as was the marking of contrasts with modern London.

Rating: liked a lot, didn't love, but want to read more, 7/10.

My second first (oh dear, this could get confusing) is No 1 in the 'Hannah Scarlett' (The Lake District Mysteries) series by Martin Edwards, The Coffin Trail.

This is old school crime. A lovely Lake District setting, plenty of juicy characters with mysteries in their pasts, a likeable cop and an interesting amateur from an academic background. For about half the book anyone could have done it, then the pool of suspects begins to narrow... I want to find out what happens to Hannah Scarlett and her team and I want to read another cosy and thoroughly English mystery like The Coffin Trail. BTW, these books are criminally cheap for the Kindle. I think this one was a lousy AUD$7 for some well-written, neatly plotted, high quality entertainment. Incredible.

Rating: just what I felt like, 8/10. 

If you liked this... Martin Edwards maintains a very interesting blog featuring lots of 'lost' crime books.

Monday, November 21, 2011

{review} the greengage summer

I am rather tied up this week, so this review of Rumer Godden's The Greengage Summer comes from the archives (June 2010).

Rumer Godden's (1958) The Greengage Summer is a book to which I return every couple of years. Each re-reading offers further rewards and I suspect that I enjoy it more each time, appreciating the excellent writing that enables it to function on both a teen and an adult level. 

It is a coming-of-age story: the Grey family (mother, Joss 16, Cecil 13, Hester 10, 'Willmouse' 7 and Vicky 4 - "Three years separated each of us children - Father's expeditions usually lasted three years") go on holiday to Vieux-Moutiers in the French Marne region in the late 1950s. Things do not go to plan: their mother is hospitalised, the eldest sister Joss becomes ill, and the younger children roam unsupervised about the hotel and its environs. They are unwelcome guests at the hotel, confined to the worst rooms and the dreaded lavatory "à la turque", but their behind-the-scenes status lets them observe that things are not what they seem at the Hotel Les Oeillets. This sense of wrongness is, on one level, overt, as the hotel specialises in entertaining char-à-bancs of visitors on pilgrimage to the battlefields of northern France, for whom the staff put on lunch and a macabre show:
The bullet-holes were real, but when the staircase was painted they were not closed up but picked out again; the stain in the cupboard was made freshly every now and then by Paul with blood from the kitchen; and one day... he beckoned me out into the garden and showed me what he had in its hand, the skull. It was gruesome, with its eye-sockets and long cheekbones... He had to shut Rita and Rex in the kennel or they would have dug it up at once; he buried it under the urn in the middle of the flowerbed and with it put a piece of raw liver. 'Le pourboire,' he said and laughed again.
The story is narrated by the thirteen year old girl Cecil, and Godden's characterisation of her naïveté yet concomitant loss of innocence is astonishingly good. It really is a remarkably candid book, with its references to menstruation, sexual awakening, homosexuality, illegitimacy, rape and murder - all seen from the teenager's point of view. Consider the characterisation of the hotel-boy Paul ("found in the American camp when it was broken up"):
One day Paul said, "J'avais une p'tite soeur."
"A little sister?" By then Hester was beginning to understand.
"Une mulâtre," said Paul carelessly, and, seeing we did not understand that either, he said "Une négresse," and showed half on his finger.
"Negro? But you are not mulat... what you called it," we said, puzzled, and asked, "Where is she, your sister?"
Paul shrugged.
"Don't you know?"
He shook his head. "Elle a disparu."
"Morte?" I asked sympathetically.
"Perdue," said Paul, "Pssts," and he made as if to throw something away.
"But you don't lose sisters." Paul's silence said clearly that you did. We felt dizzy.
The children are attracted by a mysterious Englishman, Eliot, who lives in the hotel and Eliot's shady enterprises are increasingly endangered by his contact with the idealistic English children and, in particular, by his infatuation with the ripe (yes, just like the greengages) Joss:
She [Joss] would not undress with me any more, and I was glad because my pinkness was still distressingly straight up and down while she had a waist now, slim and so supple I could not help watching it, and curves that tapered to long slim legs, while her breasts had swelled. I knew how soft these were and that they were tender, for once, out of curiosity, I touched them and she had jumped and sworn at me... "Is Joss beautiful?" I asked with a pang. "Just now," said Mother, "just now".
Eliot's decides to use the motherless children's presence to make his own residence in the hotel seem more innocent. Cecil overhears him explaining to his mistress, Mademoiselle Zizi, the patronne of the hotel, who dislikes his interest in them:
...there was the sound of a kiss; but Eliot said something else, something odd and . . . not pleasant, I thought, "Those children can be useful."
"How useful?"
"Stop people talking."
"Let them talk," said Mademoiselle Zizi.
"Don't be silly, Zizi. This is a little town and you have to live in it. The children will give me a reason for being here. After all, now I'm their guardian. They can be camouflage."
The book is filled with fascinating cross-currents: the ageing Mlle Zizi burning with jealousy over Eliot's infatuation with the young Joss; Mlle Zizi's protectress Mme Corbet loathing Eliot's attentions to Mlle Zizi ("Parce qu'elle en tient pour Mademoiselle Zizi" - "A lady loves a lady?") and writing "the figures into our account as if the pen could poison the paper"; the absent botanist father versus the vibrant neo-father Eliot ("He had a carnation in his buttonhole, a dark-red one, and it seemed to symbolise Eliot for us... Father brought flowers into the house but they were dried, pressed brown, the life gone out of them; with Eliot the flower was alive"); or the only boy in the family, 'Willmouse', crafting couture doll's clothes: at the Gare de l'Est, "Willmouse disappeared. 'Il est parti voir les locos,' said the attendant, but there was a new Vogue on a kiosk and he had gone to look at that."

One of the best-drawn relationships - also the most significant - and one constantly reassessed throughout the novel, is that between the narrator Cecil and the hotel boy Paul who bond, after coming to blows, over a Gauloise and the lees of the day's wine bottles. Paul is a lost boy, old beyond his years, dirty, overworked, amoral and violent:
I did not know about Paul in those days, but even then, in my carelessness and ignorance, I was worried by his face. We had come to see the battlefields and, though we did not know it, this face was a part of them.
Paul provides Cecil with an education of a sort:
He could not know that when he told me small prickles seemed to be breaking out all over me and the back of my knees felt hot. I had to persist. "You mean . . . you made love? When you were fourteen?"
But it is an education which Cecil herself sees as "a stain spreading through my bones": "I had become as stretched and as sensitive as an Indian with his ear to the ground, or as an insect's feeler or the needle in a compass to these doings". But how different is it to the education that her mother has decided to give her "abominably selfish" children?
"I shall take you to the battle-fields of France... So that you can see what other people have given," said Mother, "given for your sakes; and what other people will do in sacrifice. Perhaps that will make you ashamed and make you think... You need to learn . . . what I cannot teach you," said Mother, her voice quivering.
Of course, everything falls steadily apart as the children try to figure out the puzzle that is Eliot and his shadowy ventures:
"Were you ever a sailor? Joss asked...
"Probably," said Eliot.
"Don't you know?" asked Hester incredulous.
"I know I was a soldier," said Eliot. "Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, richman, poorman . . ."
Will Eliot ("I didn't ask to be a hero") redeem himself as the good Englishman?
Joss put her hand on Eliot's knee. "Eliot, what has made you so unhappy?"
He looked down at her hand and I shall always remember his answer. "What has made you so unhappy?" Joss asked, and he answered, "Being perfectly happy for two days."
For so many of the adult characters in this book it is too late for redemption or salvation. The narrative's growing 'feel' of wrongness moves relentlessly towards the brutal denouement that ends the children's stay in this lush Eden. As Joss says, "We never came back."

The awakening of the two older children from their childish selfishness and dependency to an acceptance of adult responsibility - and the realisation that the adults they admire do not necessarily share their uncompromising black-and-white moral outlook ("'Must you be so appallingly honest?' He said it so harshly that we stared.") - is deftly handled:
On and off, all that hot French August, we made ourselves ill from eating the greengages. Joss and I felt guilty; we were still at the age when we thought being greedy was a childish fault, and this gave our guilt a tinge of hopelessness because, up to then, we had believed that as we grew older our faults would disappear, and none of them did.
Obviously, I highly recommend this book and I plan to read as many more of Godden's books as I can (especially since many are being reprinted by Pan Macmillan).

Rating: 10/10

If you liked this... try Mabel Esther Allan's It Happened in Arles (1964; sadly out of print {REVIEW}).

BTW, the image at the top is of the wonderful cover of my 1959 copy (London: The Reprint Society).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

{weekend words}

Ashenden sighed, for the water was no longer quite so hot; he could not reach the tap with his hand nor could he turn it with his toes (as every properly regulated tap should turn) and if he got up enough to add more hot water he might just as well get out altogether. On the other hand he could not pull out the plug with his foot in order to empty the bath and so force himself to get out, nor could he find in himself the will-power to step out of it like a man. He had often heard people tell him that he possessed character and he reflected that people judge hastily in the affairs of life because they judge on insufficient evidence: they had never seen him in a hot, but diminishingly hot, bath.
W. Somerset Maugham (1928)
Ashenden, or The British Agent

I reviewed this back in July 2010.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

{review} island of bones

Imogen Robertson Island of Bones (2011)
Imogen Robertson Anatomy of Murder (2010)


What it is about Book No. 2? Sometimes there seems to be a little wobble. Or maybe it is just chance that of late I have read the second book in two series and have found myself thinking "not as good as the first". You know: not BAD, but just missing some of the spark of No. 1 that had made reaching for No 2. so automatic. 

I had this feeling with the second Flavia de Luce book about which I was a bit ho-hum (and then read the third one anyway and it blew my socks off with its brilliance).

Is it my expectations? Or is it (as I can only imagine!) a truly daunting task to provide the follow-up to an acclaimed debut?

I enjoyed Imogen Robertson's first book in the Harriet Westerman / Gabriel Crowther series, Instruments of Darkness (a few remarks here). The second one just seemed to have less of a natural rhythm about it: the cutting back and forth between the Westerman/Crowther narrative and the secondary narrative of the fortune-teller Jocasta Blair seemed a little forced. The background was fascinating and detailed - a spy story set against the naval struggles of the English and the French in 1781 and the visit of a famed castrato singer to London. But the plot just left me rather cold and I thought the characterisation of Harriet Westerman was going somewhat off the rails. As I said about Instruments of Darkness, the heroine was rather feisty for 1780, and there seemed to be a subplot of soul-searching going on in Anatomy of Murder about Mrs. Westerman's dubious reputation. I thought it rather bogged things down. Do we really care that she's too feisty?

But there was such a tantalising final sequence at the end of Anatomy of Murder that I had to read on to No. 3 - Island of Bones - straight away and, yes, again, No. 3 hit the spot perfectly.

Gabriel Crowther watched his brother hang for the murder of their father thirty years before. Now he is summoned back to his childhood home in the Lake District to examine a mysterious corpse found in a tomb on the decorative island, the Island of Bones, of the estate. Naturally, Mrs. Westerman must accompany him - [spoiler] as she tries to get over the untimely death of her husband - and together they set out to unravel a long-buried crime and a likely miscarriage of justice. There is a lot of unravelling of the mystery of Gabriel Crowther in this book, and a lot less dithering about Mrs Westerman's reputation. It is a well-plotted meaty crime novel with many interesting characters who flesh things out and provide some most agreeable byways to explore. 

So, I'm back being a Westerman/Crowther fan now (oh and am waiting to see what will happen - and how - now that Mrs. Westerman is a widow).

Rating: Anatomy of Murder 6/10; Island of Bones 8/10.

If you liked this... younger woman, older man - must be the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes books.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

{weekend words}

Dorothy B. Hughes In a Lonely Place (1947)
No one watching Sylvia replacing her lip rouge, smiling over the mirror of her bleached wooden compact, would know that fear was raveling her nerves. Even he, permitted as friend to know that there was fear in her veins, didn’t know whether the fear was for Brub’s safety or her own. Or an atavistic fear of reasonless death. The color under her sunbrown had returned as she did the little normal things of lipstick, cigarette. He could make it recede so easily, a word, or one more question on the subject. He could make her heart stop beating as easily. With a simple statement. His lips smiled. And his eyes again turned to the room. Away from temptation.

I loved this book - review here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

{review} the 19th wife

David Ebershoff The 19th Wife (2008)

According to the St. George Register, on a clear night last June, at some time between eleven and half-past, my mom -- who isn't anything like this -- tiptoed down to the basement of the house I grew up in with a Big Boy .44 Magnum in her hands… What happened next? Nearly everyone in southwest Utah can tell you. She nailed an ace shot and blew his heart clean from his chest. The paper says he was in his computer chair, and from the way the blood spattered the drywall they're pretty sure the blast spun him three times around.
At the time of his death my dad was online playing Texas hold em and chatting with three people, including someone named DesertMissy. He spent the final seconds of his life in this exchange:
Manofthehouse2004: hang on
DesertMissy: phone?
Manofthehouse2004: no my wife
DesertMissy: which one?
Manofthehouse2004: #19
This is a big book. 600 pages. It made my thumbs hurt. I nearly bought another copy for my Kindle but parsimony gave me a FFS!-kick in the head, so I didn't. I preferred this cover too.

A number of elements made this a good read. The first of these is the narrative itself, which blends a contemporary murder investigation in a breakaway polygamous Mormon sect in Utah with an historicizing narrative/mystery of the life of the so-called 19th wife of Brigham Young, Ann Eliza Young, who led the crusade to end polygamy. The historical element far outweighs the contemporary events (in size as well as interest, in my opinion) and is also crucial to making sense of the modern murder.

Second, the characters of the novel are well drawn and the interconnections that we discover between them make for a fascinating and puzzling read. The hero is the son of the alleged murderer (and the victim). He's also gay, which guarantees doubly that the sect won't warm to him again. Driven out of the sect as a teenager (indeed, dumped by his mother on a roadside to fend for himself), Jordan has survived by his wits and returns only with great reluctance to the scene of the world which so damaged his childhood. But the polygamous sect is reluctant to give up any secrets and quite content to allow his mother to face execution for murder.

Third, there is the murder. When the victim manages to type the identity of his murderer just before the Big Boy Magnum takes him out, it's sort of like a classic locked room puzzle, isn't it?

Four, the setting: the historical travels of the early Latter Day Saints as they made their way to Utah and the contemporary world of the polygamous sect (the logistics of being a polygamist are way beyond me. Nineteen wives, 100 kids, etc. Imagine doing the laundry...) in the red hot Utah sun. Fascinating and horrifying in equal measure.

Fifth, a big dose of easily digestible quasi-history.

And, finally, at the very end, a little surprise which shakes to the core one's implicit faith in the narrative. That was a master-stroke which elevated this book above being just a bit of crime fiction with some historical overlay.

My only quibble with this book was its bloated, thumb-aching size. It was too long for what it was attempting, I think - neither pure crime nor pure historical fiction - and perhaps the history could have been pruned a little. But, all in all, a fascinating setting and a strong and interesting narrative. 

Rating: 7/10.

If you liked this… I want to read his The Danish Girl, a fictional take on one of the first male to female gender reassignment surgery cases.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

{weekend words}

Knowing the past is as astonishing a performance as knowing the stars. Astronomers look only at old light. There is no other light for them to look at. This old light of dead or distant stars was emitted long ago and it reaches us only in the present… Hence astronomers and historians have this in common: both are concerned with appearances noted in the present but occurring in the past. The analogies between stars and works of art can profitably be pursued. However fragmentary its condition, any work of art is actually a portion of arrested happening, or an emanation of past time. It is a graph of an activity now stilled, but a graph made visible like an astronomical body, by a light that originated with the activity. When an important work of art has utterly disappeared by demolition and dispersal, we can still detect its perturbations upon other bodies in the field of influence.

George Kubler (1962)

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Some of the titles on (a great free source of older books in multiple e-formats including for Kindle) make me laugh so much. How about... 

 Sources: (1) (2)

One could so easily write one's own adventure using these titles.

And how did she feel? Apparently ""I feel just like bucking," the maiden replied."

Incidentally, has a useful RSS feed for tracking their latest additions.

{READ IN 2018}

  • 30.
  • 29.
  • 28.
  • 27.
  • 26. The Grave's a Fine & Private Place - Alan Bradley
  • 25. This is What Happened - Mick Herron
  • 24. London Rules - Mick Herron
  • 23. The Third Eye - Ethel Lina White
  • 22. Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mewed - Alan Bradley
  • 21. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust - Alan Bradley
  • 20. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches - Alan Bradley
  • 19. Speaking from Among the Bones - Alan Bradley
  • 18. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
  • 17. Miss Ranskill Comes Home - Barbara Euphan Todd
  • 16. The Long Arm of the Law - Martin Edwards (ed.)
  • 15. Nobody Walks - Mick Herron
  • 14. The Talented Mr Ripley - Patricia Highsmith
  • 13. Portrait of a Murderer - Anthony Gilbert
  • 12. Murder is a Waiting Game - Anthony Gilbert
  • 11. Tenant for the Tomb - Anthony Gilbert
  • 10. Death Wears a Mask - Anthony Gilbert
  • 9. Night Encounter - Anthony Gilbert
  • 8. The Visitor - Anthony Gilbert
  • 7. The Looking Glass Murder - Anthony Gilbert
  • 6. The Voice - Anthony Gilbert
  • 5. The Fingerprint - Anthony Gilbert
  • 4. Ring for a Noose - Anthony Gilbert
  • 3. No Dust in the Attic - Anthony Gilbert
  • 2. Uncertain Death - Anthony Gilbert
  • 1. She Shall Died - Anthony Gilbert

{READ IN 2017}

  • 134. Third Crime Lucky - Anthony Gilbert
  • 133. Death Takes a Wife - Anthony Gilbert
  • 132. Death Against the Clock - Anthony Gilbert
  • 131. Give Death a Name - Anthony Gilbert
  • 130. Riddle of a Lady - Anthony Gilbert
  • 129. And Death Came Too - Anthony Gilbert
  • 128. Snake in the Grass - Anthony Gilbert
  • 127. Footsteps Behind Me - Anthony Gilbert
  • 126. Miss Pinnegar Disappears - Anthony Gilbert
  • 125. Lady-Killer - Anthony Gilbert
  • 124. A Nice Cup of Tea - Anthony Gilbert
  • 123. Die in the Dark - Anthony Gilbert
  • 122. Death in the Wrong Room - Anthony Gilbert
  • 121. The Spinster's Secret - Anthony Gilbert
  • 120. Lift up the Lid - Anthony Gilbert
  • 119. Don't Open the Door - Anthony Gilbert
  • 118. The Black Stage - Anthony Gilbert
  • 117. A Spy for Mr Crook - Anthony Gilbert
  • 116. The Scarlet Button - Anthony Gilbert
  • 115. He Came by Night - Anthony Gilbert
  • 114. Something Nasty in the Woodshed - Anthony Gilbert
  • 113. Death in the Blackout - Anthony Gilbert
  • 112. The Woman in Red - Anthony Gilbert
  • 111. The Vanishing Corpse - Anthony Gilbert
  • 110. London Crimes - Martin Edwards (ed.)
  • 109. The Midnight Line - Anthony Gilbert
  • 108. The Clock in the Hatbox - Anthony Gilbert
  • 107. Dear Dead Woman - Anthony Gilbert
  • 106. The Bell of Death - Anthony Gilbert
  • 105. Treason in my Breast - Anthony Gilbert
  • 104. Murder has no Tongue - Anthony Gilbert
  • 103. The Man who Wasn't There - Anthony Gilbert
  • 102. Murder by Experts - Anthony Gilbert
  • 101. The Perfect Murder Case - Christopher Bush
  • 100. The Plumley Inheritance - Christopher Bush
  • 99. Spy - Bernard Newman
  • 98. Cargo of Eagles - Margery Allingham & Philip Youngman Carter
  • 97. The Mind Readers - Margery Allingham
  • 96. The China Governess - Margery Allingham
  • 95. Hide My Eyes - Margery Allingham
  • 94. The Beckoning Lady - Margery Allingham
  • 93. The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham
  • 92. More Work for the Undertaker - Margery Allingham
  • 91. Coroner's Pidgin - Margery Allingham
  • 90. Traitor's Purse - Margery Allingham
  • 89. The Fashion in Shrouds - Margery Allingham
  • 88. The Case of the Late Pig - Margery Allingham
  • 87. Dancers in Mourning - Margery Allingham
  • 86. Flowers for the Judge - Margery Allingham
  • 85. Death of a Ghost - Margery Allingham
  • 84. Sweet Danger - Margery Allingham
  • 83. Police at the Funeral - Margery Allingham
  • 82. Look to the Lady - Margery Allingham
  • 81. Mystery Mile - Margery Allingham
  • 80. The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham
  • 79. The White Cottage Mystery - Margery Allingham
  • 78. Murder Underground - Mavis Doriel Hay
  • 77. No Man's Land - David Baldacci
  • 76. The Escape - David Baldacci
  • 75. The Forgotten - David Baldacci
  • 74. Zero Day - David Baldacci
  • JULY
  • 73. Pilgrim's Rest - Patricia Wentworth
  • 72. The Case is Closed - Patricia Wentworth
  • 71. The Watersplash - Patricia Wentworth
  • 70. Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth
  • 69. The Listening Eye - Patricia Wentworth
  • 68. Through the Wall - Patricia Wentworth
  • 67. Out of the Past - Patricia Wentworth
  • 66. Mistress - Amanda Quick
  • 65. The Black Widow - Daniel Silva
  • 64. The Narrow - Michael Connelly
  • 63. The Poet - Michael Connelly
  • 62. The Visitor - Lee Child
  • 61. No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories - Lee Child
  • JUNE
  • 60. The Queen's Accomplice - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 59. Mrs Roosevelt's Confidante - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 58. The PM's Secret Agent - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 57. His Majesty's Hope - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 56. Princess Elizabeth's Spy - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 55. Mr Churchill's Secretary - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 54. A Lesson in Secrets - Jacqueline Winspear
  • 53. Hit & Run - Lawrence Block
  • 52. Hit Parade - Lawrence Block
  • 51. Hit List - Lawrence Block
  • 50. Six Were Present - E. R. Punshon
  • 49. Triple Quest - E. R. Punshon
  • MAY
  • 48. Dark is the Clue - E. R. Punshon
  • 47. Brought to Light - E. R. Punshon
  • 46. Strange Ending - E. R. Punshon
  • 45. The Attending Truth - E. R. Punshon
  • 44. The Golden Dagger - E. R. Punshon
  • 43. The Secret Search - E. R. Punshon
  • 42. Spook Street - Mick Herron
  • 41. Real Tigers - Mick Herron
  • 40. Dead Lions - Mick Herron
  • 39. Slow Horses - Mick Herron
  • 38. Everybody Always Tells - E. R. Punshon
  • 37. So Many Doors - E. R. Punshon
  • 36. The Girl with All the Gifts - M. R. Carey
  • 35. A Scream in Soho - John G. Brandon
  • 34. A Murder is Arranged - Basil Thomson
  • 33. The Milliner's Hat Mystery - Basil Thomson
  • 32. Who Killed Stella Pomeroy? - Basil Thomson
  • 31. The Dartmoor Enigma - Basil Thomson
  • 30. The Case of the Dead Diplomat - Basil Thomson
  • 29. The Case of Naomi Clynes - Basil Thomson
  • 28. Richardson Scores Again - Basil Thomson
  • 27. A Deadly Thaw - Sarah Ward
  • 26. The Spy Paramount - E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • 25. The Great Impersonation - E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • 24. Ragdoll - Daniel Cole
  • 23. The Case of Sir Adam Braid - Molly Thynne
  • 22. The Ministry of Fear - Graham Greene
  • 21. The Draycott Murder Mystery - Molly Thynne
  • 20. The Murder on the Enriqueta - Molly Thynne
  • 19. The Nowhere Man - Gregg Hurwitz
  • 18. He Dies and Makes No Sign - Molly Thynne
  • 17. Death in the Dentist's Chair - Molly Thynne
  • 16. The Crime at the 'Noah's Ark' - Molly Thynne
  • 15. Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh
  • 14. Night School - Lee Child
  • 13. The Dancing Bear - Frances Faviell
  • 12. The Reluctant Cannibals - Ian Flitcroft
  • 11. Fear Stalks the Village - Ethel Lina White
  • 10. The Plot - Irving Wallace
  • 9. Understood Betsy - Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • 8. Give the Devil his Due - Sulari Gentill
  • 7. A Murder Unmentioned - Sulari Gentill
  • 6. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
  • 5. Gentlemen Formerly Dressed - Sulari Gentill
  • 4. While She Sleeps - Ethel Lina White
  • 3. A Chelsea Concerto - Frances Faviell
  • 2. Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul - H. G. Wells
  • 1. Heft - Liz Moore
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