July 2013 - Five more Saint reissues from Mulholland and a spiffing murder mystery set in and around Blakeney on the North Norfolk Coast...


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Ian Sansom: The Norfolk Mystery

[4th Estate HB]


Love Miss Marple? Adore Holmes and Watson? Professor Morley’s guide to Norfolk is a story of bygone England; quaint villages, eccentric locals – and murder! It is 1937 and disillusioned Spanish Civil War veteran Stephen Sefton is stony broke. So when he sees a mysterious advertisement for a job where ‘intelligence is essential’, he applies. Thus begins Sefton’s association with Professor Swanton Morley, an omnivorous intellect. Morley’s latest project is a history of traditional England, with a guide to every county. They start in Norfolk, but when the vicar of Blakeney is found hanging from his church’s bellrope, Morley and Sefton find themselves drawn into a rather more fiendish plot. Did the Reverend really take his own life, or was it – murder? Beginning a thrilling new detective series, ‘The Norfolk Mystery’ is the first of The County Guides. A must-read for fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, every county is a crime scene, and with 39 counties in store there’ll be plenty of murder, mystery and mayhem to confound and entertain you for years to come.


I'm finding it difficult getting my head round the fact that Ian Sansom intends to write thirty-eight more Prof. Swanton Morley adventures in the coming years, but if he manages it, I' hope to be in the privileged position of reading every one of them. Having said that, his coverage of Norfolk is, shall we say, a little incomplete - the action is set in and around Blakeney, and there is mention of Bodham and various villages on the way to where the murder takes place. There is mention, too, of Norwich, but only a mention, and if this were indeed a gazeteer, it would be sadly lacking. However, a gazeteer it is not, a murder mystery it is, and a fine one at that! Thoroughly enjoyable in an Agatha Christie type of way, and the addition of some rather strange photographs is a touch of genius.



Alison Bruce: The Silence

[Constable & Robinson PB]


Joey McCarthy is stabbed to death in a pub car park in a random act of violence. Shortly afterwards Charlotte Stone's terminally ill mother dies and then, within weeks, two of her teenage friends commit suicide. With her home life disintegrating and both her father and brother racing towards self-destruction Charlotte realises that her own personal nightmare may not be over yet.When DC Gary Goodhew finds the body of another suicide victim he is forced to recall some deeply buried memories of an earlier death; memories which lead him to Charlotte Stone and the events in her life.From their individual points of view they both begin to wonder whether all these tragedies are somehow linked to a bigger picture.And if they are right, then who will be the next victim? Praise for Cambridge Blue:'You are pulled in relentlessly as Bruce racks up the tension. Menacing and insidious, this is a great novel'. R. J. Ellory 'An exciting debut from a very promising new talent.'. Paul Johnstone


Fourth in Alison's terrific Gary Goodhew series - this time he's faced with a group of students at Anglia Ruskin University. The setting is brilliant, the disparate group of students is also brilliant, each with their own point of view and characters, each with their own secrets. Told from multiple viewpoints but never confusing, this is a superb whodunnit/what happened of the very highest order. Full marks, Alison!


Elizabeth Hand: Generation Loss

[Constable & Robinson PB]


The secrets of small-town life can be more deadly than fist fights and dead junkies . . . Cass Neary is not afraid of living on the edge. A photographer whose shots of New York's punk scene in the seventies earned her fame, caché, and a cultish kind of cool, Cass has spent much of her life in the dark, watching and waiting. But thirty years later she is alone, adrift and falling rapidly into oblivion. So when an old acquaintance asks her to interview a fellow photographer - a notorious recluse who lives on an island off the Maine coast - she accepts. There, she learns about a decades-old crime that is still claiming new victims - and comes to realise that her days of living dangerously are not over yet: amid this inhospitable hinterland, Cass comes to realise that her final shot might also be a shot at redemption.Patricia Highsmith meets Patti Smith in this mesmerizing literary thriller.


Small town Maine has always been the province of Stephen King and I think after reading this that it should probably remain so. Too much ugliness and fetishism for my taste, the violence is overdone just a little, and the whole thing has a nastiness about it that I simply couldn't get on with.




Leslie Charteris: The Brighter Buccaneer

[Mulholland PB]


THE BRIGHTER BUCCANEER: Curious events almost seem to cry out for the Saint's intervention, and in these stories he is faced with enough peculiar crimes to keep him well occupied. The various adventures he gets himself into lead him to kiss a policewoman, buy a racehorse, invest in bootlegging, dabble in antiques, rent a flat, recover a treaty, get arrested, demonstrate an invention - and always come out on top.








Leslie Charteris: The Saint in London

[Mulholland PB]


Three more stories of Saintly adventure show Simon Templar interpreting the law to his own advantage. In The Simon Templar Foundation, a poisonous legacy from his enemy Rayt Marius gives him the opportunity to make a great deal of money - if he can survive equally great danger. The Higher Finance puts him up against the police, a reclusive millionaire, and the wild beast that roams his mansion at night. And in The Art of Alibi, he faces the most impudent opponent of all: someone who is stealing his symbol, and committing crimes in his name.








Leslie Charteris: The Saint Intervenes

[Mulholland PB]


In this collection of short stories, the Saint intervenes to teach a motley bag of criminals the error of their ways. Crooked financiers, bookies, fake inventors, dodgy bankers, dealers in pornography, unethical businessmen, murderers, thieves and liars - all will come to regret the day their actions caught the Saint's attention.







Leslie Charteris: The Saint Goes On

[Mulholland PB]


In these three classic stories, the Saint investigates crimes that have left the police confounded. In The High Fence, he hunts down a villain who somehow manages to kill people just before they can reveal his identity; The Elusive Ellshaw sees him on the track of a man meant to have died a year before; and a letter calling for help sends him to a sleepy seaside pub disturbed by mysterious underground rumblings in The Case of the Frightened Innkeeper. One thing is sure: despite death threats, gunfire and kidnapping, the Saint will go on until his curiosity is satisfied.





Leslie Charteris: The Saint in New York

[Mulholland PB]


In Prohibition-era New York, criminals rule the city: the gangsters do what they like, and pay the judges for the privilege; the few honest cops are helpless; and above them all the Big Fellow pulls the strings. With that many sinners, cleaning up the town will take a Saint... Simon Templar is a long way from home, and facing great danger from directions both expected and entirely unforeseen. But he promised to do the job; and a saint never goes back on his word.








Louise Voss & Mark Edwards: Forward Slash

[HarperFiction PB]


A terrifying novel about internet dating, secret desires and a chilling serial killer. From bestselling authors Mark Edwards and Louise Voss. He's posted on your wall. He's following you on Twitter. He knows where you are right now… When Amy receives an email from her older sister, Becky, announcing that she's off travelling and "don't try to find me", she is worried. Becky would never do such a thing on a whim. Amy – who is recovering from an abusive relationship that has left her terrified of love – soon finds that Becky had started using online dating sites. Aided by Becky's neighbour, Gary, Amy sets about tracking down the men her sister had dated, following a trail that leads her into the darkly seductive world of internet hook-ups. But Amy is unaware that a sadistic killer is watching – a killer who’s been using the internet to stalk, torture and kill. Now he’s got something very special planned for Amy and she is about to find out that romance really is dead.


Told from half a dozen different perspectives, the tension simply keeps rising and rising, interspersed with the murderer's sick and twisted reminiscences and aspirations. Brilliant.



Paul Kane & Charles Prepolec: Beyond Rue Morgue

[Titan Books PB]


Edgar Allan Poes 1841 short story The Murders in the Rue Morgue introduced the world to the its first literary detective, Le Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin, and established many literary devices which would be used in future fictional detectives, including Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. Beyond Rue Morgue invites its authors to continue the exploits of Dupin, while retaining that touch of the strange and macabre for which Poes work is so well known.








G M Malliet: Wicked Autumn

[Constable & Robinson PB]


Max Tudor has adapted well to his post as vicar of St Edwold's in the idyllic village of Nether Monkslip. The quiet village seems the perfect home for Max, who has fled a harrowing past as an MI5 agent. Now he has sound a measure of peace among urban escapees and yoga practitioners, artists and crafters and New Agers. But this new-found serenity is quickly shattered when the highly vocal and unpopular president of the Women's Institute turns up dead at the Harvest Fayre. The death looks like an accident but Max's training as a former agent kicks in, and before long he suspects foul play...In Wicked Autumn, G M Malliet serves up an irresistible English village - deliciously skewered - a flawed but engaging protagonist and a brilliantly modern version of the traditional locked room mystery.Praise for G.M.Maillet's Max Tudor series:'G M Malliet has brought the village cosy into the twenty first century... Wicked Autumn is a refreshing read for everyone who loves a really good murder.'Charles Todd.


Absolutely hilarious, a mix of Jam and Jerusalem and the Vicar of Dibley, in the finest traditions of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers, a magnificent throwback to when murder mysteries were concentrated almost exclusively in little English villages. Superb.