By Sara Sheridan
Brighton 1956When Mirabelle's on-off boyfriend, Superintendent Alan McGregor, is taken off a gruesome murder case because the key suspect is an old school friend, Mirabelle steps in to unravel the tangle of poisoned gin, call girls and high stakes gambling that surrounds the death. It isn't long before McGregor's integrity is called into question and Mirabelle finds herself doubting him. So when a wartime hero's body turns up on the Sussex Downs, she is glad that McGregor is caught up in a mystery of his own as Brighton's establishment closes ranks. Mirabelle is in a dangerous situation though and she doesn't have McGregor watching her back on this one. And when the dead man on the Downs turns out to have been a member of a deadly thrillseekers club, related to the earlier murder, Mirabelle is determined to uncover the truth and free the innocent people who are bearing the brunt of the cover up. As her relationship with McGregor reaches breaking point, she has to draw on all her wartime experience to stand up for what she believes in - even if it means their relationship may not survive.'With sharp blows delivered for gender and racial equality, Sheridan's story builds to a chilling climax' Daily Mail'This consistently impressive series is a kind of "hard-boiled cosy", combining an emphasis on atmosphere and the lives of the recurring characters with a stern eye for post-war strugges against inequality and deference' Morning Star
By David Rodigan
'THE BOOK THAT EVERY REGGAE FAN SHOULD READ' John Masouri, Echoes'Rodigan can still claim a currency few presenters of his vintage can match. Perhaps it's because while his wider musical and professional milieu has been in constant change, his boundless enthusiasm has been constant. Reggae's been lucky to have him' Ian Harrison, MOJO'Rodigan was a major part of my childhood, he played the hottest tunes and in a style that just resonated with me and millions like me. Being able to contribute anything to a man that filled my life with such joy is an honour, respect, David Rodigan' Ian Wright'David is a pioneer in Reggae music. As a selector and radio personality, his vast knowledge of Jamaican music and its culture has helped to educate and fascinate music lovers around the world; he's an amazing son of the music, and an icon. We couldn't have made it this far without him' ShaggyThis is the unlikely story of David Rodigan: an Army sergeant's son from the English countryside who has become the man who has taught the world about Reggae. As the sound of Jamaica has morphed over five decades through a succession of different genres - from Ska and Rock Steady, to Dub, Roots and Dancehall - Rodigan has remained its constant champion, winning the respect of generation after generation of Reggae followers across the globe.Today, at the age of 63, he is a headline performer at almost all the UK's big music festivals, as well as events across the world. Young people revere him and he is a leading presenter on the BBC's youth network 1Xtra as well as a regular fixture at leading nightclubs such as London's Fabric and at student unions throughout the land. And he continues to go into the heartlands of Reggae, to the downtown dancehalls of Kingston and Montego Bay in Jamaica to compete in tournaments against the greatest sound systems. And yet, for all of this, David Rodigan is the antithesis of the stereotype of an international dance music DJ. 'I look like an accountant or a dentist,' he admitted to The Independent a decade ago. A man of impeccable manners, Rodigan prepares for a big sound clash by retiring to his hotel bed with a Thomas Hardy novel before taking a nap and then a cup of espresso before heading to the club. Rodigan is the inside story of this apparent paradox. It tells how a boy from Kidlington has become an admired international ambassador for a music form that remains as proud as ever of its African roots, a sound that emanates from and fiercely represents the ghetto poor. He now reaches across the age groups, from teens through to those of his own vintage. At the pinnacle of his career, Rodigan has become the DJ for all generations.'David Rodigan is a force of nature. His spirit and passion are a rare and wonderful thing. He has dedicated his life to carrying the torch for Reggae music and is hugely respected all over the world for his knowledge and talent as a broadcaster and a DJ. Long may he reign on our stages and on our airwaves' Annie Mac
By Chris Paling
'Paling's deftly drawn vignettes are frequently funny, sometimes sad and occasionally troubling . . . Borrow a copy from your local library, if you still have one. Better yet, buy it' Neil Armstrong, Mail on Sunday'Not only was I captivated by Paling's lovingly wrought series of pen portraits, I was amused, moved and - perhaps most surprising of all - uplifted' John Preston, Daily Mail'There are many detractors who question whether libraries are still relevant in the digital age. Paling's keenly and kindly observed account of his encounters offers a gentle insight as to why they still are' Helen Davies, Sunday TimesChris works as a librarian in a small-town library in the south of England. This is the story of the library, its staff, and the fascinating group of people who use the library on a regular basis. We'll meet characters like the street-sleepers Brewer, Wolf and Spencer, who are always the first through the doors. The Mad Hatter, an elderly man who scurries around manically, searching for books. Sons of Anarchy Alan, a young Down's Syndrome man addicted to the American TV drama series. Startled Stewart, a gay man with a spray-on tan who pops in most days for a nice chat, sharking for good-looking foreign language students. And Trish, who is relentlessly cheerful and always dressed in pink - she has never married, but the marital status of everybody she meets is of huge interest to her.Some of the characters' stories are tragic, some are amusing, some are genuinely surreal, but together they will paint a bigger picture of the world we live in today, and of a library's hugely important place within it. Yes, of course, people come in to borrow books, but the library is also the equivalent of the village pump. It's one of the few places left where anyone, regardless of age or income or background, can wander in and find somebody to listen to their concerns, to share the time of day. Reading Allowed will provide us with a fascinating portrait of a place that we all value and cherish, but which few of us truly know very much about ...
By Barney Hoskyns
Joni Mitchell has only visited the U.S. Top 40 singles chart four times in her long recording career - and the Top 20 just once. So much for "stoking the starmaker machinery behind the popular song", as she sang in her 1974 song 'Free Man in Paris'.What Joni has done, on the other hand, is record a handful of masterful albums - Blue, Court And Spark, The Hissing Of Summer Lawns for starters - that prove she is right up there with the big boys: with Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson and Stevie Wonder. Few women can hold a candle to her oeuvre: maybe Aretha Franklin, maybe Kate Bush, Bjork, Joanna Newsom. Airs and graces she may have, but airs and graces backed up by 'Woodstock', 'The Arrangement', 'A Case Of You', 'Help Me', 'Dog Eat Dog' and 'The Magdalene Laundries' are forgivable. Some of Mitchell's songs are great art. Almost all are emotionally complex and musically gripping.Reckless Daughter collects some of the most incisive commentary on Joni's music - and some of the most candid conversations she has had with journalists through her long career. From a review of her first performance at L.A.'s legendary Troubadour in 1968 to a career-sweeping 1998 interview by MOJO's Dave DiMartino, this anthology of almost 60 articles charts every stage of Joni's extraordinary journey as a singer, songwriter and artist.
Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms
By Paul Willetts
Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms provides the first comprehensive account of what was once hailed by a leading American newspaper as the greatest spy story of World War II. This dramatic yet little-known saga, replete with telephone taps, kidnappings, and police surveillance, centres on the furtive escapades of Tyler Kent, a handsome, womanising 28-year-old Ivy League graduate, who doubles as a US Embassy code clerk and Soviet agent. Against the backdrop of London high society during the so-called Phoney War, Kent's life intersects with the lives of the book's two other memorably flamboyant protagonists. One of those is Maxwell Knight, an urbane, endearingly eccentric MI5 spyhunter. The other is Anna Wolkoff, a White Russian fashion designer and Nazi spy whose outfits are worn by the Duchess of Windsor and whose parents are friends of the British royal family. Wolkoff belongs to a fascist secret society called the Right Club, which aims to overthrow the British government. Her romantic entanglement with Tyler Kent gives her access to a secret correspondence between President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, a correspondence that has the potential to transform the outcome of the war.
By Rhys Bowen
Thirty-fourth in line to the throne - and England's poorest heiress - Lady Georgiana finds herself in a truly draining state of affairs . . . With my hateful brother Binky in town, I've been desperately seeking an escape. To my delight, it comes in the form of an invitation from the Queen to represent the royals at a wedding in Transylvania-legendary home of vampires. I soon realise why I was the one honoured with such an invitation. The bride, Princess Maria Theresa, happens to be my old school chum, Matty. But my stay in her macabre-looking castle turns unnerving when I find dear Matty with blood running down her chin. Then, during the ceremony, a prominent wedding guest is poisoned. Something must be done lest the nuptial festivities go to ruin, or, worse yet, the couple's vows become: to love and to cherish, till undeath do us part . . .
The Renaissance Popes: Culture, Power, and the Making of the Borgia Myth
By Gerard Noel
Between the years of 1447 (Nicholas V) and 1572 (Pius V) Rome was transformed from a ruined Medieval city. The Vatican became the official home of the church and the worlds largest bureaucracy, a spectacular new Basilica of St Peters took 100 years to build and Michelangelo changed the course of art history with his Sistine Chapel. So vast and expensive was this cultural explosion that a new fundraising initiative was launched: the sale of indulgences. The Renaissance Popes were statesmen, warriors, patrons of the arts as well as churchmen. These were earthly times and the reputations of popes like Alexander VI, the infamous Borgia patriarch, and Julius 'Il Terrible' II for murder, poison, sodomy and simony vary only in degree. Meanwhile, the sin of heresy, which threatens the very core of the Catholic soul, was tirelessly targeted by two other lasting innovations of the period: the Inquisition and witch-hunts. Alexander VI, father of the ruthless Cesare and jezebel Lucrezia, is seen to this day as the embodiment of this iniquity. But Gerard Noel shows this is unjust, and based on false confessions and historical myth. What's more, Alexander created the blueprint for reform -- the first of its kind -- that would eventually lead to the Counter-Reformation. In his survey of the colourful reigns of the seventeen Renaissance Popes and his examination of the great Borgia myth Noel brings to light the true legacy -- political, artistic, religious -- of an extraordinary time.
By Rhys Bowen
1930's London: Poor Lady Georgiana - thirty-fourth in line to the throne - has been sent home due to a little scandal. Now she must keep the entirely unsuitable Mrs. Simpson from seducing the Prince of Wales - and help Scotland Yard by preventing someone from shooting the Prince of Wales instead of quails.
A Royal Pain
By Rhys Bowen
1930s London. Poor Lady Georgiana - thirty-fourth in line to the throne - has nothing to serve her Bavarian princess houseguest, even though the Queen of England has requested that she entertain her. Then there's the matter of the body in the bookshop and the princess's unwitting involvement with the Communist party. It's enough to drive a girl mad.
By Kerry Greenwood
Running late to the Hinkler gala performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore, she meets some thugs in a dark alley and handles them convincingly before they can ruin her silver dress. Phryne then finds that she has rescued a gorgeous Chinese man, Lin Chung, and his grandmother, and is briefly mistaken for a deity. Denying divinity but accepting cognac, she later continues safely to the theater. But it's an unexpected evening as her night is again interrupted by a most bizarre death onstage.What links can Phryne possibly find between the ridiculously entertaining plot of Ruddigore, the city's Chinese community, and the actors treading the boards of His Majesty's Theatre? Drawn backstage and onstage, Phryne must solve an old murder and find a new murderer, and, of course, banish the theater's ghost, who seems likely to kill again.
Raiders Of The Nile
By Steven Saylor
Gordianus is now twenty-two years old and living in Alexandria with Bethesda, scraping by in modest and haphazard fashion. But then Bethesda is kidnapped by mistake. With few resources available to him, Gordianus has to find the people who kidnapped her and get her back - before they realise they have the wrong woman and dispose of her for good.A raid on the golden tomb of Alexander the Great, a semi-shady troupe of travelling performers, highwaymen, amorous innkeepers, the politics of the pharaohs, smugglers, camels and an adventure up the Nile all combine to make this a rescue mission neither Gordianus - or Bethesda - will ever forget.Praise for Steven Saylor:'The Saylor hallmarks are meticulous recreation of Rome's grimy bustling streets and a brilliantly drawn cast of minor characters.' The Sunday Times 'A compelling storyteller, with a striking talent for historical reconstruction.' Times Literary Supplement
Raisins and Almonds
By Kerry Greenwood
Super-sleuth Phryne Fisher steps, like an elegant cat, through this, her eighth adventure In investigating the poisoning of a young man in a bookshop at the Eastern Market, and the wrongful arrest of one Miss Sylvia Lee, Phryne is plunged into a world of politics, alchemy, poison and chicken soup. Stopping only for a brief, but intensely erotic, dalliance with the beautiful Simon Abrahams, Phryne pikc her way through the mystery with help from the old faithfuls - Bert, Cec, Dot and Detective Inspector 'Call Me Jack' Robinson. But ultimately it is her stealth and wit which solve the crime - and all for the price of a song. . .
By Anne Randall
A gripping debut psychological novel you won't want to put down.'Assured and clever' The SunFirst he kills.A psychologist is found brutally murdered, an addict jumps to his death and a student is found dead. These are the facts. And they are all that DIs Wheeler and Ross have.He waits.As Wheeler and Ross weave through the layers of Glasgow's underbelly they find a subculture where truth and lies are interchangeable commodities and violence is the favoured currency.He watches.The killer stays one step ahead of them as Wheeler uncovers a web of deceit in which her own nephew is entangled.He leaves his legacy...And as the case draws to a close, Wheeler has to confront her own integrity and face the dilemma: is justice always served by the truth?Praise for Anne Randall'Brilliant' The Sun'For fans of Stuart MacBride, this is a delight to read. Anne Randall is a welcome addition to the Scottish crime scene. Glasgow is in very dangerous hands' Crimesquad'As assured and clever a novel of "tartan noir" as you could hope to find' Daily Mail
Ragtime in Simla
By Barbara Cleverly
Simla 1922. The summer capital of the British Raj is fizzing with the energy of the jazz age. Commander Joe Sandilands is looking forward to spending a month here in the cool of the Himalayan hills as the guest of Sir George Jardine, the Governor of Bengal. When Joe's travelling companion, a Russian opera singer, is shot dead at his side in the back of the Governor's car on the road up to Simla, he finds himself plunged into a murder investigation.Confronted by the mystery of an identical unsolved killing a year before, Joe realizes that Sir George's hospitality comes at a price. Behind the sparkling façade of social life in Simla he finds a trail of murder, vice and blackmail. Someone in this close-knit community has a secret and the nearer Joe comes to uncovering it, the nearer he comes to his own death.
By Brian Clegg
Back in thirteenth-century Europe, in the early years of the great universities, learning was spiced with the danger of mob violence and a terrifyingly repressive religious censorship. Roger Bacon, a humble and devout English friar, seems an unlikely figure to challenge the orthodoxy of his day - yet he risked his life to establish the basis for true knowledge.Born c.1220, Bacon was passionately interested in the natural world and how things worked. Such dangerous topics were vetoed by his Order, and it was only when a new Pope proved sympathetic that he began compiling his encyclopaedia on everything from optics to alchemy - the synopsis took a year and ran to 800,000 words and he was never to complete the work itself. Sadly, the enlightened Pope died, and Bacon was tried as a magician and incarcerated for ten years. Legend transformed Bacon into a sorcerer, 'Doctor Mirabilis', yet he taught that all magic was based on fraud, and his books were the first flowering of the scientific thinking that would transform our world. He advanced the understanding of optics, made geographical breakthroughs later used by Columbus, predicted everything from horseless carriages to the telescope, and stressed the importance of mathematics to science, a significance ignored for 400 years. His biggest contribution was to insist that a study of the natural world by observation and exact measurement was the surest foundation for truth. Clegg uncovers the realities of life in a medieval university and friary, setting out the shadowy facts of Bacon's life alongside his writings. The result is both a fascinating biography and a picture of the age.
By Garry Douglas Kilworth
This is the new 'Fancy Jack' Crossman novel. The Indian Mutiny has almost run its course, but there are still battles to be fought before the uprising is finally put down. Lieutenant Jack Crossman, posted to India from his adventures in the Crimea, finds himself plagued by one Captain Deighnton, who seems determined to duel with him to the death. The reason for Deighnton's animosity appears to run deeper than a simple exchange of insults. When Jack is abducted following the Battle of Bareilly, and accused in his absence of desertion, he has to fight to clear his name - only to find Deighnton waiting for yet another, perhaps final duel...
By M.C. Beaton
The fourth book in M.C. Beaton's charming A House for the Season series. He's just not the marrying kind...Lord Guy Carlton, late of His Majesty's Regiment and weary from the war in France, has only wine, women and song in mind when he rents No. 67 Clarges Street for the season. He certainly has no desire for a serious attachment - and as for marriage: never! But Lord Guy Carlton didn't factor in the lovely but very proper Miss Esther Jones. Although one of the richest women in England she is also one of the most innocent, which could make her an unwilling victim of the philandering lord... and so, once again, it is up to the downstairs staff at Clarges Street to devise a campaign to reform the rake who is laying siege to her heart!'Romance fans are in for a treat' - Booklist'[M. C. Beaton] is the best of the Regency writers' - Kirkus Reviews
By Melissa Kite
Does an exciting weekend for you mean scrubbing all the grouting in your bathroom with a toothbrush? Have you ever felt the urge to kidnap the cable guy and tie him to the bed like Kathy Bates in Misery because you are terrified the TV will stop working once he's gone? Do you ponder marrying the Albanian builder who has just fitted alcove shelving because he's brought you more happiness in three days than your useless ex-boyfriend brought you in three years? Are you engaged in endless rows with call centre staff called Keeley who hang up on you because you are 'shouting and hysterical'? Are you convinced the entire world is engaged in a conspiracy to drive you insane, especially the automated phone system that generates ten text messages whenever you try to book a minicab?Do you write to-do lists that need paginating, and include items such as 're-mortgage house, get pregnant, climb Kilimanjaro'?Welcome to Melissa Kite's life. If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, clearly you too are a desperate single woman trying to survive in the modern world. If not, congratulations: you will have a good laugh reading this book.
The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited
By Stephen Armstrong
You think that the recession isn't biting? Look again. You think that the riots in August 2011 were unpredicted? Think again. 75 years after George Orwell's classic expose on life in the North, Stephen Armstrong returns to find that many things have changed, but not always for the better. Here he finds how young girls go missing because of the intransigence of the benefits systems, how fragile hope can be in the face of poverty and why the government stands in the way of a community helping itself. In his journey, taking in Bradford, Sheffield, Liverpool and Wigan, Armstrong reveals a society at the end of its tether, abandoned by all those who speak in its name.
By Steven Saylor
Roma is the story of the ancient city of Rome, from its mythic beginnings as a campsite along a trade route to its emergence as the centre of the most extensive, powerful empire in the ancient world.Beginning with the prehistory days when Roma was a way station among seven hills for traders and merchants and the founding of the city itself by Romulus and Remus, critically acclaimed historical novelist Steven Saylor tells the epic saga of a city and its people, its rise to prominence among the city-states of the area, and, ultimately, dominance over the entire ancient Western world.From the tragedy of Coriolanus, to the Punic Wars and the invasion by Hannibal, the triumph and murder of Julius Caesar, and the rise and decline of the Roman Republic and the beginnings of Imperial Rome, Saylor's breathtaking novel brings to vivid life the most famous city of the ancient world.Roma is Saylor's finest achievement, an epic in the truest sense of the word.