Ann Cleeves: The Heron’s Cry

This novel will be published on September 7.

The second in Ann Cleeves’ Detective Mathew Venn series finds Matthew investigating a case on the grounds of an artist’s colony and farm.  The book opens with a party attended by a very drunk Detective Jen Rafferty, who meets the victim at the party, but didn’t talk to him for long because of her condition – something she comes to regret.

The dead man, Nigel Yeo, was a doctor who worked with people who had complaints about National Health.  He is discovered with a huge shard of glass in his neck, glass created by his glassblower daughter, Eve.  This incredibly fabulist method of death is carried forward. Ann Cleeves, the most careful and meticulous of writers, nevertheless includes this almost gothic flight of fancy as a murder method.  It suits her updated golden age style of storytelling. read more

SJ Bennett: The Windsor Knot

This book is adorable in the best possible way.  I usually hate it when real people are used as the detective, and in the case of this novel “the detective” is one of the most famous people on the planet, Queen Elizabeth II.  But SJ Bennett has real affection and reverence – in the nicest way – for her majesty and the actual detecting is mostly done by the Queen’s Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie Oshodi, a British Nigerian who shares the Queen’s affection for horses and would do anything for the “boss.” read more

Anthony Horowitz: Moonflower Murders

This book will be published on November 10, 2020.

This is every bit as delicious a reading experience as Magpie Murders (2018).  I really wasn’t sure how Horowitz was going to manage a second book, as several of the main characters in the first one are dead or heading that way at the end of the novel.  But Anthony Horowitz is one of the smartest writers working right now, and this sequel to his (in my opinion) classic Magpie Murders is every bit as good as the first one.

The main character is editor Susan Ryeland, who has given up her successful career to head to Crete and help her partner run a small hotel there.  It’s not going well.  The hotel is having trouble and it’s a mountain of work, so when Pauline and Lawrence Treherne appear asking for Susan’s help in locating their missing daughter back in England, she readily agrees, especially when they sweeten the pot by offering her £10,000.  She’s tired of Crete, she needs the money, and she takes the offer. read more