The kind people at Minotaur (St. Martin’s) sent Biblioklept a hefty little stack of new titles in several of the genres the press specializes in. (The box arrived yesterday but I didn’t have the time to put this post together until today). The first is a mystery, Mignon F. Ballard’s Miss Dimple Disappears—
It is 1942, and most of the men in the town of Elderberry, Georgia, have gone to war. One frosty morning just before Thanksgiving, young schoolmistress Charlie Carr and her fellow teachers are startled to find that the school custodian, Wilson “Christmas” Malone, has neglected to stoke the furnace or empty the wastebaskets—and then is found dead in a broom closet, the apparent victim of a heart attack. But when Miss Dimple Kilpatrick, who is as dependable as gravity and has taught Elderberry first graders—including Charlie—for nearly forty years, disappears the following day, town residents are shaken down to their worn, rationed shoes. Knowing that Miss Dimple would never willingly abandon her students, Charlie and her friend Annie begin sleuthing—and uncover danger surprisingly close to home.
Okay, I’m not crazy about the cover for Jeri Westerson’s medieval noir The Demon’s Parchment, I dipped into it this morning (the genre seemed intriguing) and the writing is sharp and precise. Publisher’s description—
In fourteenth century London, Crispin Guest is a disgraced knight convicted of treason and stripped of his land, title and his honor. He has become known as the “Tracker”—a man who can find anything, can solve any puzzle and, with the help of his apprentice, Jack Tucker, an orphaned street urchin with a thief ’s touch—will do so for a price. But this time, even Crispin is wary of taking on his most recent client. Jacob of Provencal is a Jewish physician at the King’s court, even though all Jews were expelled from England nearly a century before. Jacob wants Crispin to find stolen parchments that might be behind the recent, ongoing, gruesome murders of young boys, parchments that someone might have used to bring forth a demon which now stalks the streets and alleys of London.
Tasha Alexander’s Dangerous to Know looks to be somewhere between a bodice-ripper and a body ripper. Not really my thing, but I’m sure the book will find an audience interested in historical fiction that mixes romance and suspense. The title band reminds me of a candy wrapper. Publisher’s description—
Set in the lush countryside of Normandy, France, this new novel of suspense featuring Lady Emily Hargreaves is filled with intrigue, romance, mysterious deaths, and madness.
Returning from her honeymoon with Colin Hargreaves and a near brush with death in Constantinople, Lady Emily convalesces at her mother-in-law’s beautiful estate in Normandy. But the calm she so desperately seeks is shattered when, out riding a horse, she comes upon the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. The girl’s wounds are identical to those inflicted on the victims of Jack the Ripper, who has wreaked havoc across the channel in London. Emily feels a connection to the young woman and is determined to bring the killer to justice.
Pursuing a trail of clues and victims to the beautiful medieval city of Rouen and a crumbling château in the country, Emily begins to worry about her own sanity: She hears the cries of a little girl she cannot find and discovers blue ribbons left in the child’s wake. As Emily is forced to match wits with a brilliant and manipulative killer, only her courage, keen instincts, and formidable will to win can help her escape becoming his next victim.
Peter Tremayne’s The Dove of Death (“A Mystery of Ancient Ireland”) was the title in these four that I found most intriguing. Again, I dipped into it this morning, and Tremayne’s prose is tight, precise, and propelled by dialogue—just what you might look for in a page-turner. Description—
In A.D. 670, an Irish merchant ship is attacked by a pirate vessel off the southern coast of the Breton peninsula. Merchad, the ship’s captain, and Bressal, a prince from the Irish kingdom of Muman, are killed in cold blood after they have surrendered. Among the other passengers who manage to escape the slaughter are Fidelma of Cashel and her faithful companion, Brother Eadulf.Once safely ashore, Fidelma—sister to the King of Muman and an advocate of the Brehon law courts—is determined to bring the killers to justice, not only because her training demands it but also because one of the victims was her cousin. The only clue to the killer’s identity is the symbol of the dove on the attacking ship’s sails, a clue that leads her on a dangerous quest to confront the man known as The Dove of Death.