What we're reading in May 2008
Ever wonder what the folks who work at a mystery bookstore like to read? Well, here's your answer. Each month we ask everyone here to pick a book, current or older, that they truly enjoyed and are enthusiastic about. Of course, if you visited the store, we'd tell you directly what we like but for those of you who can't come see us, this is the next best thing. Our special thanks to Judi for pulling this feature together and to all the staff who contributed their picks.
Presented here are the picks for this month, an archive of earlier months is available from the menu at the left.
What Margo is reading
Congrats to Louise Penny for her stunning mystery, Fatal Grace which recently won the Agatha for Best Novel! Set in the small sleepy village of Three Pines, Quebec, the book reintroduces Chief Inspector Armand Gamache who is called in when an unpopular villager is electrocuted during the annual Boxing Day Curling Match. Gamache who has an uncanny ability to get to the heart of small town shenanigans, soon uncovers hidden secrets in the victim’s past. But, he must also deal with demons of his own, involving the top brass of the Surete. Ya gotta love the quirky villagers (several based on Penny’s own friends), and Gamache is a delight – reminiscent of Maigret (I like that French connection). Penny paints a colorful picture of small town life in rural Quebec and delivers a very compelling mystery. Still Life is the first in the series and The Cruelest Month follows Fatal Grace.
What Richard is reading
The rather odd title refers to the Berlin U Bahn station and that is the setting for this absorbing novel of Germany on the eve of WW II. John Russell is an English journalist who has a German ex-wife and a young boy from that marriage. All of this will come into play as Russell finds himself enmeshed in plots and counterplots that force him to decide where his loyalties lie between his country, his family and the woman he loves. Expertly crafted, this low-key thriller is perfect for fans of Alan Furst.
What Kathy is reading
I love this series! This is the 7th adventure of Helen Hawthorne and her dead end jobs. Whether you start with this book, somewhere in the middle, or with the very first, Shop 'Til You Drop, you'll be happy. Elaine Viets' terrific sense of humor is all over this book, set in a ritzy country club in South Florida. 'Members Only' may work to keep out the riff raff, but it doesn't guarantee there won't be a crime! A wonderfully entertaining read for any one.
What Mary Alice is reading
The Price of Silence by Camilla Trinchieri (known to mystery lovers as Camilla Crespi) is a riveting summer read for the top of your list. In a tightly plotted and spare style that will remind you of Chinese brush paintings, she brings you the death of a young Chinese artist and the trial of a woman accused of her murder. It is in the telling that the artistry shines. A must.
What Judi is reading
Young Adam Banting, a Cambridge architecture student, goes to post-World War II Tuscany to research a famous Renaissance garden. His research leads him to believe that the garden is not a loving memorial to the original owner’s beloved wife but a diagram of how the man murdered her. Thrown into the mix is the unrelated killing of the oldest son of the current owner. Secrets, allusions and illusions abound in this literary and literate novel.