Mystery & Thrillers

Friday Book Flick: The Snowman by Jo Nesbø

The Snowman by Jo Nesbø

The mercury may be rising here in Virginia, but The Snowman, an eerie tale from hot Norwegian author Jo Nesbø about a serial killer who marks each death with a sinister snowman, is sure to send chills down your spine.

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Swing by Rupert Holmes

Swing, by Rupert Holmes

Rupert Holmes’ Swing has more than a touch of noir—and its own soundtrack. Set in San Francisco in 1940, vagabond jazz musician Ray Sherwood has been made a very interesting proposition. A beautiful, young Berkley music student wants him in a most peculiar way. She’s won an international contest for composers, and her piece needs to premiere at the Golden Gate Exposition in just a few weeks. What she needs from Ray are his talents to orchestrate her music for many instruments. Ray is enchanted by Gail’s breezy joie de vivre and her snappy patter even as his own troubled past makes him hesitate. But the tenor veers from sweet romance to dangerous liaison when a lovely woman plunges to her death mere feet from the happy couple, changing this composition’s theme from serenade to police siren.

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafòn

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafòn

David Martìn, a young writer living in 1920’s Barcelona, has a troubled past in The Angel's Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafòn. His mother deserted the family and his father came back from the war in the Philippines a changed man. After his father is murdered, Martìn must find his way in the world. Starting out working for a newspaper, he eventually begins writing sensational novels for a Barcelona publishing house. His novels attract the attention of a mysterious French publisher who offers Martìn the opportunity of a lifetime. If he writes the book the publisher requests, he will be a wealthy man. Who is this publisher and what ultimately are his plans for Martìn?

Blotto, Twinks and the ex-King's Daughter

Blotto, Twinks and the ex-King's Daughter

The other day, the puppy ran away with a pair of socks from the laundry basket and I thought “the wee bloke has scarpered." When he dropped them in my hand when I asked, I thought “oh, how spiffing!” I have fondly called my elderly jack russell terrier an “old trouser button” more than once.

 What could possibly have brought on these linguistic oddities?  Well, I have been reading Blotto, Twinks and the ex-King’s Daughter by Simon Brett.  This British cozy mystery, set in the time period between the world wars, is full of wonderful phrases and boffing lingo.

Funeral in Blue by Anne Perry

Cover to Funeral in Blue

Dr. Kristian Beck is known to be a man selflessly dedicated to the healing arts, so why is he being accused of murdering his very beautiful wife? Granted it was whispered that they lived separate lives, and she was so exquisite that men of all sorts were drawn to her side. To murder one’s wife in the throes of jealousy is considered a crime of passion, and the punishment for that might be less than for a straight-out, cold-blooded killing. As the woman featured in the haunting painting, A Funeral in Blue, Elissa Beck could have excited that kind of emotion.

But then there is the other murder victim to consider. An artist’s model, pretty Sarah Mackeson had been born into a hard life just as Mrs. Beck had enjoyed a privileged one. Yet different as their fortunes were, they shared the murder scene between them—an artist’s studio in the dead of night. Surely one was the intended victim, and the other was a victim of circumstance. For private investigator William Monk and his wife Hester, time is running out to discover who killed both women and why.

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny [Audiobook]

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny [Audiobook]

In Bury Your Dead, by Louise Penny, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is in Quebec on leave recovering from an investigation gone wrong. While there, he is recruited to assist in the investigation into the death of an obsessive historian who was searching for the remains of Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Quebec. The historian was murdered in the basement of the Literary and Historical Society, an English establishment, which raises a concern that his death will increase tensions between the English and French communities in the city.

While pursuing the murderer, Gamache reflects on his previous investigation that went horribly wrong. Is it possible that de Champlain was buried in the basement of the library? Will Gamache be able to deal with the ghosts of the prior investigation that continue to haunt him?

The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton

The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton

Australian author Kate Morton has made a study of Gothic fiction, and her book, The Distant Hours, is a "Gothic Delight." Her writing, a mixture of Gothic, romance and mystery genres, plus her addition of original fairy tales, has sold millions of novels all over the world.

"The ancient walls sing the distant hours..." at Milderhurst Castle in Kent, home of the literary Blythe family. Only the decaying castle--and the careful reader--know all the secrets hidden within its walls and moat. Kate Morton carefully paces her novel--you don't want to miss a page or you will miss out on the clues to piece together the secrets.

The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Dateline: Hampstead, London, 1851

Twenty-something drawing master William Hartright was passing a pleasant evening en route to his next assignment as a live-in tutor for two young ladies at Limmeridge House when he was accosted by a young woman oddly garbed all in white who begged for his help. She refused to tell him her name, from whence she came or to where she was going. Being a gentleman, he escorted her, as was her design, to the nearest cab stand. Along the way, they chatted—The Woman in White, oddly intense and excitable, and he, curious to find out what he could about this very determined lady in distress.
 
What he did discover was that she knew the family who had hired him but, warm as her feelings seemed to be to the Fairlies, she was sufficiently troubled by another horror to bolt into the procured cab and race off towards her unstated destination. A few minutes later, Mr. Hartright saw another carriage driving recklessly and pulling up short near a policeman. The men in the carriage shouted to the officer—had he seen a woman in white? She had just escaped from their private insane asylum.

Scott Turow to Speak at the Fredericksburg Forum

Attorney and author Scott Turow is the writer of eleven works of fiction and nonfiction, including the bestselling Presumed Innocent and its sequel, Innocent. Mr. Turow will be speaking at the Fredericksburg Forum at the University of Mary Washington on March 17, 2011. Read on for information about the author and an annotated list of selected readalikes you might enjoy. For more information on Fredericksburg Forum lecture, visit http://www.umw.edu/forum/.

Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire, by Ruth Downie

Gaius Petrius Ruso has just arrived for duty in the Britain, a far backwater of the Roman Empire. He’s been assigned to the Valeria Victrix Legion as Medicus, serving the legion and the natives living in the town surrounding the barracks. When the only other doctor on staff is poisoned by a plate of oysters at the local bar/bordello, Ruso works on alone. Tramping the town in an exhausted stupor, he encounters an odious merchant beating an unconscious slave girl—who clearly has a badly broken arm.

Ruso wants to forget he ever saw the girl. He doesn’t have the money to buy her. He has no use for her. But it’s clear that if she stays as she is, she’ll die. So Ruso does buy her, with the plan to heal her and put her to work.  But pretty and clever Tilla has other plans. As a point of honor, she wants to die, and there’s very little Ruso can do about it as she has no plans to tell him.