A Suite of Mystery Novels for a Cold Winter Night
On the menu a suite of four mystery novels, the most recent from some of our favourite writers – perfect for a cold winter night (or the Christmas stocking).
Begin with An Event in Autumn by Henning Mankell for the aperitif. When Henning Mankell ended his Kurt Wallander mystery series a few years ago many of us were dismayed to think we’d never have another book featuring a man to whom we’d become very much attached. We now have a “new” Wallander novel, a book that was published originally in Dutch as a promotional story and never released in English until now. It is a much simpler novel than all the others in the series, but it is a lovely little book. Wallander is tired of the job he has been doing for 30 years, he dreams of a beach in Mallorca – I completely understand! But, he carries on working, temporarily living with his daughter while looking for a house in the country. He finds what appears to be the perfect house – until he discovers the corpse in the back garden.
The main course novel would be The Reckoning by Rennie Airth. We’ve waited a long time for a new book from this author, and the fourth in the series again featuring John Madden was worth the wait. It is now 1947, the Second World War is over but not nearly forgotten, people are discouraged at the slow return to “normal”. The story begins with a fisherman shot dead. A long retired Scotland Yard Detective is drawn into the investigation when it is discovered that the murdered man had started to write a letter to Madden, perhaps remembering the “Melling Lodge business”. As other murders are discovered, it becomes obvious there must be a connection. Madden and the Scotland Yard detectives race to prevent further tragedy.
The Shroud Maker by Kate Ellis could be the salad course. A little lighter than the Rennie Airth, this novel features Wesley Peterson and is the 18th in the series. When the body of a young woman is found floating in a dinghy heading out to sea, Wesley and his boss DCI Gerry Heffernan begin a difficult investigation. With the usual red herrings and an archaeological connection provided by Wesley’s mate Neil there always seems to be too many possible criminals until the very end.
Of course no one makes a better dessert than M. C. Beaton and her most recent novel now in paperback Something Borrowed, Someone Dead is it. When an unpopular woman is found dead in a small village – the question is who didn’t do it as much as who did. With Agatha on the case as always there are lots of laughs as this cantankerous detective annoys and cajoles the suspects. Ex-husbands and boyfriends are drawn in and all in all this is a very typical, and sweet, little tale.