Crime and Mystery: Private Investigator / Amateur Detectives

Murder Under Her Skin

Murder Under Her Skin

Author: Stephen Spotswood Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/07/2022

The perfect murder mystery for fans of Richard Osman and Robert Thorogood. New York, 1946: The last time Will Parker let a case get personal, she walked away with a broken face, a bruised ego, and the solemn promise never again to let her heart get in the way of her job. But she called Hart and Halloway's Travelling Circus and Sideshow home for five years, and Ruby Donner, the circus's tattooed ingenue, was her friend. To make matters worse the prime suspect is Valentin Kalishenko, the man who taught Will everything she knows about putting a knife where it needs to go. To uncover the real killer and keep Kalishenko from a date with the electric chair, Will and Ms. Pentecost join the circus in sleepy Stoppard, Virginia, where the locals like their cocktails mild, the past buried, and big-city detectives not at all. The two swiftly find themselves lost in a funhouse of lies as Will begins to realize that her former circus compatriots aren't playing it straight, and that her murdered friend might have been hiding a lot of secrets beneath all that ink. Dodging fistfights, firebombs, and flying lead, Will puts a lot more than her heart on the line in the search of the truth. Can she find it before someone stops her ticker for good?

Star Books
Where Demons Hide

Where Demons Hide

Author: Douglas Skelton Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

Where Demons Hide is a beautifully written crime novel that weaves together several compelling strands. I was pulled into the story straightaway by the atmospheric first chapter, with its vivid descriptions and supernatural undertones. I'm new to Douglas Skelton's books, and Where Demons Hide is the fourth book in the Rebecca Connolly series. Fortunately, the author has included plenty of backstory, so it didn't long for me to feel as though I knew the main characters very well. I loved how the book focuses not just on the crime investigations, but on the characters' personal lives, creating multiple layers. I was rooting for Rebecca as I found myself immersed in the emotional rollercoaster of her day-to-day life. The dark humour, intelligent plot and fast pace kept me intrigued all the way through. A gritty pageturner that can easily be read as a standalone - though by the end, I felt compelled to buy the whole series.  

The Goldenacre

The Goldenacre

Author: Philip Miller Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/06/2022

Goldenacre is a gritty murder mystery focusing on Edinburgh's art world. It's twisty and sharp, with a steady pace from beginning to end, exposing treachery and deception. It features a whole host of unsavoury, ruthless characters motivated by wealth and desire. I could sense the passion driving both investigators, art expert Thomas Tallis and newspaper reporter Shona Sandison, as they linked the history of a legendary painting with a series of brutal murders. I could also sense the author's passion for Edinburgh as he brought the city to life with his vivid sense of place. I love learning something from the novels I read. Goldenacre is peppered with references to some famous artists and their works, and I found myself Googling several of them while I was reading. Some real life events are also mentioned, giving the book its contemporary feel. This book is a gripping exploration of the darker side of modern society.

The Man Who Died Twice

The Man Who Died Twice

Author: Richard Osman Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

It's the following Thursday. Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He's made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life. As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn't that be a bonus? But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn't bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

Audiobooks of the Month
Razorblade Tears

Razorblade Tears

Author: S. A. Cosby Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

Hitting with hammer hard precision, thrilling storytelling is balanced with pointed social commentary in this fabulous novel set in the USA. Two fathers, both ex-cons, seek revenge for the murder of their sons. One of my favourite books from last year was S. A. Cosby’s debut Blacktop Wasteland which I read for the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award judging, it spoke to us all and was a highly commended shortlisted title. So I came to this, his second book, with a huge sense of anticipation. The writing style is passionately and fiercely bold yet holds moments of quiet gentleness and real compassion. The characters rumble with authenticity and charged with emotion, I could see, hear, touch them. Delivering an all-consuming blast of violence, raw grief, and blistering regret, I was taken to an unknown place which made me feel the social issues on offer. The plot screams, really screams at the top of its voice as it races along and as with his first book I was left feeling stunned and emotionally drained after I had finished. This is a writer who is able to touch hearts and minds, all while offering an immensely entertaining read. Razorblade Tears is a provocative, powerful, beautiful novel that is both a LoveReading Star Book, and a Liz Pick of the Month.

Star Books
The Dark Hours

The Dark Hours

Author: Michael Connelly Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

A CRIME BURIED FOR YEARS. AND ONE THAT'S JUST BEGUN... 'An authentic, topical and terrifying thriller: one of Michael Connelly's very best' THE TIMES 'Yet another superb thriller from a writer at the top of his game' SUNDAY EXPRESS 'Consistently excellent' MAIL ON SUNDAY * * * * * A MURDER YEARS IN THE MAKING A murder in the middle of a street party seems a senseless tragedy. But the victim had a dark past which came back to haunt him. THE DEEPER YOU LOOK Detective Renee Ballard connects the killing to an unsolved case last worked by ex-LAPD legend Harry Bosch. But then a new crime shatters the night shift... THE DARKER IT GETS The Midnight Men are a deadly pair of predators who stalk the city during the dark hours and disappear without a trace. Ballard once believed her job was to bring the truth to light. In a police department shaken to the core by protests and pandemic, both cases have the power to save her - or end her... * * * * * CRIME DOESN'T COME BETTER THAN CONNELLY: 'One of the very best writers working today' Sunday Telegraph 'The pre-eminent detective novelist of his generation' Ian Rankin 'The best mystery writer in the world' GQ 'A superb natural storyteller' Lee Child 'A master' Stephen King 'Crime thriller writing of the highest order' Guardian 'America's greatest living crime writer' Daily Express 'A crime writing genius' Independent on Sunday

Not a Happy Family

Not a Happy Family

Author: Shari Lapena Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2022

The chilling Sunday Times bestseller perfect for fans of Knives Out. The new unputdownable thriller from the multi-million-copy bestselling author of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR. In this family, everyone is keeping secrets - even the dead. In the quiet, wealthy enclave of Brecken Hill, an older couple is brutally murdered hours after a tense Easter dinner with their three adult children. Who, of course, are devastated. Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you'd know. Wouldn't you? 

Better Off Dead

Better Off Dead

Author: Lee Child, Andrew Child Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/03/2022

Reacher never backs down from a problem. And he's about to find a big one, on a deserted Arizona road, where a Jeep has crashed into the only tree for miles around. Under the merciless desert sun, nothing is as it seems. Minutes later Reacher is heading into the nearby border town, a backwater that has seen better days. Next to him is Michaela Fenton, an army veteran turned FBI agent, who is trying to find her twin brother. He might have got mixed up with some dangerous people. And Reacher might just need to pay them a visit. Their leader has burrowed his influence deep into the town. Just to get in and meet the mysterious Dendoncker, Reacher is going to have to achieve the impossible. To get answers will be even harder. There are people in this hostile, empty place who would rather die than reveal their secrets. But then, if Reacher is coming after you, you might be better off dead.

A Spoonful of Murder

A Spoonful of Murder

Author: J.M. Hall Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/03/2022

Retirement can be murder... Once a week, three retired school teachers have their 'coffee o'clock' sessions at the Thirsk Garden Centre cafe. But one fateful Thursday morning, they bump into their ex-colleague, Topsy, during their weekly coffee and catch-up. By the next Thursday, Topsy's dead. The last thing Liz, Thelma and Pat imagined was that they would become embroiled in a murder. But they know there's more to Topsy's death than meets the eye - and it's down to them to prove it... Sit down with a cup of tea, a slice of cake and this perfectly witty, page-turning cosy crime novel. Fans of The Thursday Murder Club, Death in Paradise and Midsomer Murders will be hooked from the very first page.

The Last Supper

The Last Supper

Author: Rosemary Shrager Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/02/2022

The irresistible debut novel from celebrity TV chef Rosemary Shrager where cosy crime and cookery collide! When an old television rival, Deirdre Shaw, is found dead at the Cotswolds manor house where she was catering for a prestigious shooting weekend, Prudence is asked to step into the breach. Prudence is only too happy to take up the position and soon she is working in the kitchens of Farleigh Manor. But Farleigh Manor is the home to secrets, both old and new. The site of a famous unsolved murder from the nineteenth century, Farleigh Manor has never quite shaken off its sensationalist past. It's about to get a sensational present too. Because, the more she scratches beneath the surface of this manor and its guests, the more Prudence becomes certain that Deirdre Shaw's death was no accident. She's staring in the face of a very modern murder. . .

A Case of Royal Blackmail

A Case of Royal Blackmail

Author: Sherlock Holmes Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/07/2021

I never expected to ever be given the opportunity to read a book by consulting detective Sherlock Holmes(!). Until very recently, I didn't even know that he wrote any books! Yet here one is - A Case of Royal Blackmail. Written in 1881 when he was in his late 20s, the book features Sherlock Holmes's personal musings on several entertaining cases of his, including blackmail of the Prince of Wales in 1879. His narrative is filled with his trademark astute observations, unconventional humour and remarkable reasoning skills. None of the characters evade his intense scrutiny or suspicion, and his sharp attention to detail eventually solves several mysteries and discovers the culprits. The historical and forensic content within the book is enlightening, along with the insight into his personal life and eccentric behaviour. I loved the 'Finder's Notes' at the end too (revealing how his book came to exist). A fascinating – and slightly off-the-wall – read for Holmes fans and for anyone who loves authentic historical crime fiction. 

The Silent Listener

The Silent Listener

Author: Lyn Yeowart Format: Ebook Release Date: 24/06/2021

Set in rural Australia in the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s (the plot smartly slips between the decades), Lyn Yeowart’s The Silent Listener - her debut novel - is a dark and stormy psychological thriller focussed on family secrets and the search to fathom terrible truths. When Joy Henderson returns to her family’s farm to care for George, her dying dad, she’s confronted with a succession of horrendous events - both those that occur in her present, and traumatic experiences from her past. The very day after her father confesses to a horrific crime, he’s found dead with his own belt around his neck. As the narrative slips back to 1960, we learn how eleven-year-old Joy existed in utter fear of her father. An abusive bully who forced her to declare herself a “lazy, good-for-nothing sinner”. A brute who scarred her for life - psychologically and physically, for Joy has been left with “thick red strips of raised flesh creeping over the top of her shoulder and under her loose bra strap, wrapping themselves around the top of her arm like the tentacles of a red octopus.” This description is representative of the author’s taut, evocative style. Then there’s the Constable investigating George’s death - Alex Shepherd, a man still haunted by an unsolved case of a missing girl from 1960, and now deeply engrained in this new case, and the Henderson family’s secrets. As Joy and Shepherd talk, Joy is struck by a sickening thought: “The bastard killed himself so that you’d think I killed him. So I’d go to jail for murdering him. It was the ultimate punishment for disobeying him.” Shepherd isn’t sure what to believe, but his instincts lead him back to that unsolved case of the missing child. Exploring coercive control, violence, abuse and revenge with edgy levels of tension through potentially unreliable narrators, this is a satisfyingly suspenseful gothic thriller.

eBooks of the Month