Star of the East
By Tasha Alexander
From New York Times best-selling author Tasha Alexander comes Star of the East, a Lady Emily holiday story that will enchant readers and keep them guessing until the very last page... Emily and Colin Hargreaves make it a rule to spend as little time as possible with her parents in Kent, but are unable to refuse Lady Catherine Bromley's invitation to join them for a pre-Christmas party that includes the family of Ala Kapur Singh, a powerful Punjabi maharaja who has come to England after receiving the Order of the Star of India. Lady Bromley, quite taken with the exotic beauty and spectacular jewels of the maharani and her daughter, Sunita, throws herself with abandon into planning a spectacular feast. But when a priceless diamond maang tika and a simple gold bangle disappear from Sunita's room, a diplomatic incident seems imminent, particularly when the maang tika turns up in Emily's possession. Emily may have what appears to be the more valuable of the two pieces, but the maang tika cannot be worn without the bangle, upon which is engraved the words necessary to ward off a curse placed on the set 500 years ago by a princess forced to forsake the man she loved. Sunita must wear the maang tika at her wedding but cannot do so without the bangle. Can Emily convince the maharaja that she is not a thief? And, more important, can she and Colin find the bangle?'A holiday treat for Lady Emily fans' Library Journal
Agatha Raisin and the Witches' Tree
By M.C. Beaton
Toil and trouble in store for Agatha!Cotswolds inhabitants are used to bad weather, but the night sky is especially foggy as Rory and Molly Harris, the new vicar and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They struggle to see the road ahead - but then screech to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights of their car, a body hangs from a lightning-blasted tree at the edge of town. But it's not suicide; Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster of the parish, has been murdered - and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime, and why. Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion, delighted to have some excitement back in her life as if truth be told, she was getting bored of the long run of lost cats and divorces on the books. But Sumpton Harcourt is an isolated and unfriendly village, she finds a place that poses more questions than answers. And when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation - and her life. That the village has its own coven of witches certainly doesn't make her feel any better...
By Charlie Hart
'A love letter to English horticulture written by a passionate gardener. A must-read for anyone who has dreamt of cultivating their own patch of land' Jane Perrone'Skymeadow is a fascinating book . . . Every flower, every passing bud, every change in the season is described with rapture' Jilly CooperWhen Charlie Hart first visited Peverels, a small farmhouse that sits lazily on the lip of a hill running down into the Peb Valley, he was at breaking point, grieving the loss of his father and anxious about the impending death of his mother. He and his wife Sybilla felt that their London life had been steadily growing in noise: the noise of grief, the noise of busyness, the noise that comes from the expectations of others and, for Charlie, the constant clamour of dissatisfaction at work. At Peverels, Charlie found an expanse of untouched meadowland, the perfect setting for an audacious garden. Charlie felt an unquenchable urge to dig, to create something. The days he spent wrestling with the soil in the rose garden were the days in which he mourned the loss of his parents. Gardening has taught him that you can dig for victory, but you can also dig for mental health. As the garden formed around Charlie, he buried his fears and anxieties within it. A garden that is now known as Skymeadow and grows with a lusty, almost biblical vigour.In Skymeadow, Charlie seamlessly weaves together his own memoir with that of his garden. The result is a lyrical and incisive story of mental health at an all-time low, the healing powers of digging and, ultimately, a celebration of nature.
By Alan Kaufman
' "Matches" is the IDF code term for a soldier. Among the troops, it has come to mean someone who strikes, burns and dies.' Nathan Falk is an American Jew who leaves the relative comforts of New York City to serve in the Israel Defence Force. But unlike most Jewish Americans who serve in Israel, Falk fights in the Gaza Strip, where soldiers would rather commit suicide that fall into the clutches of their enemies. Patrolling the streets of Gaza in the dead of night, playing a high-stakes off-duty game of Risk with his fellow soldiers, making passionate love to the wife of his best friend, Nathan Falk lives each moment with an increasing awareness of the arbitrary boundary between life and death. Poet Alan Kaufman writes as only a former soldier could about life in the dark heart of one of the most controversial and unremitting conflicts in the world. In this short, brilliant novel he offers an intensely revealing portrait of the damage war does to the soul of a man.
In Prior's Wood
By G.M. Malliet
Newly returned from investigating a murder in Monkslip-super-Mare, handsome Max Tudor wants nothing more than to settle back into his predictable routine as vicar of St. Edwold's Church in the village of Nether Monkslip. But the flow of his sermon on Bathsheba is interrupted when the lady of the local manor house is found in a suicide pact with her young lover.Lady Duxter's husband rallies quickly from the double tragedy - too quickly, it is murmured in the village. Lord Duxter has already offered his manor house to a motley crew of writers, including Max's wife Awena, for his writers' retreat, and he insists the show must go on.But when a young girl goes missing and a crime writer becomes a target, DCI Cotton asks Max to lend his MI5 expertise to the investigation.Many suspects emerge as the scope of the investigation widens beyond the writers to villagers who had crossed swords with the insufferably smug crime author. But Max begins to wonder: was the attack on the writer only part of a broader conspiracy of silence?Praise for G. M. Malliet:'G.M. Malliet has brought the village cosy into the twenty first century.' Charles Todd'There are certain things you want in a village mystery: a pretty setting, a tasteful murder, an appealing sleuth... Malliet delivers all that.' New York Times Book Review'G. M. Malliet has crafted the English village of our dreams.' Charlaine Harris
Vengeance in Venice
By Philip Gwynne Jones
'An unputdownable thriller' Gregory Dowling'It is no surprise to find that Philip Gwynne Jones lives in Venice... art and architecture interweave into a story that builds to an almost surreal climax' Daily Mail*****Murder is the deadliest art . . . An invitation to an exclusive event during the Venetian Biennale gives Honorary Consul Nathan Sutherland the perfect chance to drink prosecco in the sunshine and meet some of the greats of the art world. And then a world-famous critic is decapitated by one of the installations in the British Pavilion. A terrible accident, it seems, until a postcard is discovered in the victim's pocket: an image of Judith beheading Holofernes.But this is not just a one-off. Before long, three more postcards have been sent out with deadly results. As the bodies pile up, Nathan finds himself getting closer and closer to the truth, but when he himself receives an image of Death bearing a scythe, it becomes a race against time to save his own life . . .*****Praise for Philip Gwynne Jones'Superb - always gripping, beautifully constructed and vivid' Stephen Glover'Sinister and shimmering, The Venetian Game is as haunting and darkly elegant as Venice itself' L.S. Hilton, bestselling author of Maestra'The Venetian setting is vividly described... good, fluid writing makes for easy reading' Literary Review'Un-put-downable . . . If you love Venice, you'll love this because you'll be transported there in an instant. If you've not been to Venice, read this book and then go. If you like intrigue, and a clever plot, you'll love this book' Amazon reviewer, 5*****
The Painted Queen
By Elizabeth Peters, Joan Hess
Egypt, 1912. Amelia Peabody and her dashing archaeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless, stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti...Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia is relaxing in her elegant hotel suite when a man with knife protruding from his back staggers into her chamber and utters a single word -'Murder' - before collapsing on the floor, dead. It soon becomes apparent that someone has saved Amelia from a would-be assassin-someone who is keeping a careful eye on the intrepid archaeologist. And there can be only one answer: the brilliant master of disguise, Sethos. For Amelia, this excavation season will prove to be unforgettable; one where a brilliant criminal will offer his final challenge . . . and perhaps be unmasked at last.'Think Miss Marple with early feminist gloss crossed with Indiana Jones' The Guardian
The Girl in the Green Dress
By Cath Staincliffe
'This is a wonderful novel, powerful, humane and moving. It's also one of the best police procedurals I've read this year' Ann Cleeves-----Can you really keep your child safe? What if who they are puts them at risk? And what if they have blood on their hands?Teenager Allie Kennaway heads off for prom night, cheered on by her dad Steve and little sister Teagan. But Allie never comes home, beaten to death in an apparent hate crime because of her transgender identity. As police investigate the brutal murder, a crime that has appalled the country, one parent is at her wit's end with her son's behaviour. Are his outbursts and silences hiding something much darker than adolescent mood swings? And if her suspicions are correct, then what does she do? Another parent fights tooth and nail to save his boy from the full force of the law. But if he succeeds then Allie and her family will never get the justice they deserve.A groundbreaking story of love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, in a world of change.------Praise for Cath Staincliffe'Harrowing and humane. A real knockout' Ian Rankin'It's always exciting to see a writer get better and better and Cath Staincliffe is doing just that' Val McDermid'Remarkable depth ... The most grown-up writer in British crime fiction' Telegraph'Complex and satisfying' Sunday Times'Her finest novel yet, emotionally unsparing, powerful, humane and moving . . . This is a timely, brave and brilliant book' Crime Review
By E. S. Thomson
Burke and Wills
By Peter FitzSimons
'They have left here today!' he calls to the others. When King puts his hand down above the ashes of the fire, it is to find it still hot. There is even a tiny flame flickering from the end of one log. They must have left just hours ago.'MELBOURNE, 20 AUGUST 1860. In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off, farewelled by 15,000 cheering well-wishers. Led by Robert O'Hara Burke, a brave man totally lacking in the bush skills necessary for his task; surveyor and meteorologist William Wills; and 17 others, the expedition took 20 tons of equipment carried on six wagons, 23 horses and 26camels.Almost immediately plagued by disputes and sackings, the expeditioners battled the extremes of the Australian landscape and weather: its deserts, the boggy mangrove swamps of the Gulf, the searing heat and flooding rains. Food ran short and, unable to live off the land, the men nevertheless mostly spurned the offers of help from the local Indigenous people.In desperation, leaving the rest of the party at the expedition's depot on Coopers Creek, Burke, Wills and John King made a dash for the Gulf in December 1860. Bad luck and bad management would see them miss by just hours a rendezvous back at Coopers Creek, leaving them stranded in the wilderness with practically no supplies. Only King survived to tell the tale.Yet, despite their tragic fates, the names of Burke and Wills have become synonymous with perseverance and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. They live on in Australia's history - and their story remains immediate and compelling.
The Well of Ice
By Andrea Carter
'I adored this traditional crime novel; it's modern day Agatha Christie with Ben as Miss Marple' Irish ExaminerDecember in Glendara, Inishowen, and solicitor Benedicta 'Ben' O'Keeffe is working flat out before the holidays. But on a trip to Dublin to visit her parents, she runs into Luke Kirby - the man who killed her sister - freshly released from jail. On the surface he appears remorseful, conciliatory even, but his comment as she walks away makes her realise he is as foul as ever. Back in Glendara, there is chaos. The Oak pub has burned down and Carole Kearney, the Oak's barmaid, has gone missing. And then, while walking the dog up Sliabh Sneacht, Ben and her partner, Sergeant Tom Molloy, make a gruesome discovery: a body lying face down in the snow.Who is behind this vicious attack on Glendara and its residents? Ben tries to find answers, but is she the one in danger?Praise for Andrea Carter:'A promising start' The Sunday Times Crime Club'The colourful cast of characters may be fictional, but the landscapes, towns and villages are instantly recognisable' Irish Daily Mail'A proper old-fashioned crime novel in the best sense of the word' Jane Casey
Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy
By Pat Morris
Walter Potter (1835-1918), a country taxidermist of no great expertise, became famous as an icon of Victorian whimsy. His tiny museum in Bramber, Sussex, was crammed full of multi-legged kittens, two-headed lambs and a bewildering assortment of curios. Closed in the '70s, the museum was variously re-established before being auctioned off in 2003. It was reported that a £1M bid by Damien Hirst to keep the collection intact was refused, but in 2010 many of Potter's key pieces were exhibited by the artist Sir Peter Blake at London's 'Museum of Everything', attracting over 30,000 visitors in 6 weeks. The subsequent dispersal of Potter's works has meant the loss of a truly unique Victorian legacy. Here, perhaps for the last time, the collection is preserved and celebrated with new photographs of Potter's best-loved works.
Murder in the Dark
By Kerry Greenwood
It's Christmas, and Phryne has an invitation to the Last Best party of 1928, a four-day extravaganza being held at Werribee Manor house and grounds by the Golden Twins, Isabella and Gerald Templar. She knew them in Paris, where they caused a sensation. Phryne is in two minds about going when she starts receiving anonymous threats warning her against attending. She promptly decides to accept the invitation - after all, no one tells Phryne what to do. At the Manor, she is accommodated in the Iris room, and at the party meets two polo-playing women, a Goat lady (and goat), a large number of glamorous young men and a very rude child called Tarquin. The acolytes of the golden twins are smoking hashish and dreaming, and Phryne finds that the jazz is as hot as the drinks are cold and indulges in flirtations, dancing, and mint juleps. Heaven.It all seems like good clean fun until three people are kidnapped, one of them the abominable child, and Phryne must puzzle her way through the cryptic clues of the scavenger hunt to retrieve the hostages and save the party from disaster.