A gentleman’s murder

Christopher Huang
2018
FICTION H874g

The year is 1924. The cobblestoned streets of St. James ring with jazz as Britain races forward into an age of peace and prosperity. London’s back alleys, however, are filled with broken soldiers and still enshadowed by the lingering horrors of the Great War. Only a few years removed from the trenches of Flanders himself, Lieutenant Eric Peterkin has just been granted membership in the most prestigious soldiers-only club in London: The Britannia. But when a gentleman’s wager ends with a member stabbed to death, the victim’s last words echo in the Lieutenant’s head: that he would « soon right a great wrong from the past. » Eric is certain that one of his fellow members is the murderer: but who? Eric’s investigation will draw him far from the marbled halls of the Britannia, to the shadowy remains of a dilapidated war hospital and the heroin dens of Limehouse. And as the facade of gentlemenhood cracks, Eric faces a Matryoshka doll of murder, vice, and secrets pointing not only to the officers of his own club but the very investigator assigned by Scotland Yard.

This is a wonderful whodunnit in the style of Agatha Christie with a cast of well-drawn characters that leap off the page. Chistopher Huang, who lives in Montreal, plunges us into 1924 London amongst the gentlemen set of a private club. This finely plotted novel is tremendously satisfying with its plot twists and its underlying social commentary about the deep and personal effect of the war on individuals. A stellar mystery!

Bruno, chief of police

Martin Walker
2010
FICTION W182b

Set in the street markets, cobbled squares, vineyards and farmland of the Dordogne area of France, Bruno, Chief of Police features Captain Bruno Courrèges, a man as charming and eccentric as he is wise. A formidable investigator, Bruno must rise to the challenge when the head of an Algerian family is murdered and the peace of Bruno’s beloved village of St. Denis is shattered. Racism is the obvious conclusion, and the son of a local doctor who is caught playing sex games surrounded by Nazi paraphernalia is the immediate suspect. But Bruno knows his people well and sees a more complex explanation lurking in the memories and unsettled feuds of the German occupation.

 

IQ

Joe Ide
2016
FICTION I19i

IQ stands for Isaiah Quintabe, a young man who solves mysteries in the style of Sherlock Holmes, by using his intelligence and deductive powers. However the book is set in modern day Los Angeles in the crime  and drug infested poor neighborhoods surrounding the golden city. Isaiah is a great new character in the detective genre and the book is full of humour and colourful characters. Isaiah has to cope with the loss of his brother and fend for himself. He also seeks redemption for a terrible tragedy for which he is partly responsible.

By Gaslight

by_gaslightSteven Price
2016
FICTION P946b

London, 1885. In a city of fog and darkness, the notorious thief Edward Shade exists only as a ghost, a fabled con, a thief of other men’s futures — a man of smoke. William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of a brutal detective, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead. His father died without ever tracing Shade; William, still reeling from his loss, is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows. Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London in search of her; what he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried. What follows is a fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and seance halls. Above all, it is the story of the most unlikely of bonds: between William Pinkerton, the greatest detective of his age, and Adam Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.
Epic in scope, brilliantly conceived, and stunningly written, Steven Price’s By Gaslight is a riveting, atmospheric portrait of two men on the brink. Moving from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, the novel is a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.

The Water Rat of Wanchai

water_ratIan Hamilton
2011
FICTION H218w

First in a series of books featuring Ava Lee, a Chinese-Canadian beautiful gay woman in her early thirties whose job it is to retrieve money stolen from her clients. She practices a rare form of Martial arts which ensuresher protection in a vicious world of greed and corruption. In this first installment, Ava must find the 5 million dollars that was stolen and she travels to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Guyana, and the British Virgin Islands.
Very good plot twists and interesting heroine.

White Heat

white_heatM. J. McGrath
2011
FICTION M147w

I really enjoyed this book because of its Arctic setting and its depiction of Inuit and their vanishing way of life. There is always something poignant and sad about native peoples and their struggle to cope with their reality. The heroine, Edie Kiglatuk, is a strong yet vulnerable protagonist who uncovers a series of deaths and with the help of Derek Palliser, the local policemen, she investigates and gets to the truth.

Niceville

nicevilleCarsten Stroud
2012
FICTION S925n

If you like very suspenseful books with a lot of action, you will love this book set in the fictional small town of Niceville where people are disappearing at an alarming rate and evil lurks at every corner. This book is a mystery with a bit of fantastic in the mix and continues in book two: The Homecoming.

Gone Girl

gone_girlGillian Flynn
2012
FICTION F648g

Great psychological thriller. Nick and Amy are married but their relationship could be better. On the day of their 5th anniversary, Amy disappears. Did she leave on her own or was it a kidnapping or a murder? And if so who did it? Each chapter alternates between Nick giving us a first hand account of the day that has passed since Amy disappeared, and Amy’s diary entries which go back in time to when she and Nick first met and continues to the day of the anniversary. But then comes part two of the book…

The Debba

debba_novelAvner Mandelman
2010
M271d

Sharp, biting prose distinguishes this first novel from Israeli author Mandelman (Talking to the Enemy, a story collection). In 1977, David Starkman returns from selfimposed exile in Canada to his native Israel after learning of the murder of his warhero father, Isser, the owner of a shoe shore. The killer stabbed Isser in the heart with one of Isser’s own knives, then mutilated his body. Isser’s will includes an unusual provision–that within 45 days, a controversial play he’d written, TheDebba, whose title refers to « an enigmatic Arab hyena that can walk like a man » and which had only been performed once, three decades earlier, be staged. David, who once belonged to an elite Israeli army unit responsible for carrying out targeted assassinations in « times of non-war, » decides to stick around to fulfill his father’s request, despite opposition from those who believe the play is subversive. The author deftly blends a murder mystery with a nuanced examination of the intransigent Israeli-Arab conflict. (Publishers Weekly)

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Sweetness Bottom PieAlan C. Bradley
2009
FICTION B811s

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is propelled into a mystery when a man is found murdered on the grounds of her family’s decaying English mansion and Flavia’s father becomes the main suspect. [NoveList]