Monday, February 27, 2012

What's Aunt Agatha Reading?

I've been enjoying a frenzy of reading in the past couple of weeks (although my "to read" pile never seems to diminish!). I highly recommend these three novels, they are all great reads.

Arnaldur Indriason's international thriller, Operation Napoleon, has been compared to the blockbusters by Clive Cussler and Alistair MacLean.  From Nazi Germany to modern Iceland, this action-filled page-turner could keep you up late into the night.  In 1945, as World War II was drawing to a close, a German bomber with both American and German officers aboard crash lands on an Icelandic glacier in the middle of blizzard.  Then in present day, the US Army is conducting a clandestine operation on the glacier.  How are these two incidents connected with the disappearance of young Icelander?  His sister Kristin risks her own life trying to find the answers.  As an interesting note, seeing Americans through the lenses of another culture can certainly be an eye-opening experience!

From Iceland, I escaped to the wilds of Norfolk, England with the third installment in the Ruth Galloway mysteries.  Elly Griffith's The House at Sea's End also deals with the present day ramifications of a crime committed during World War II.  Forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is just returning from maternity leave and is finding it hard to juggle motherhood and the job she loves.  She's called out to a mass grave on the Norfolk beach with six skeletons dating back seventy years.  Long-held secrets explode into violence and Ruth finds herself in another dangerous situation.  I really enjoy this atmospheric series. 

Deborah Crombie is an American who writes like a Brit. Her Duncan Kincaid/Gemma Jones mystery novels each seem to be better than the last.  Her richly, textured storytelling combines the British procedural with characters who continue to change and grow.  Their relationships, back stories, interactions with friends, family, and co-workers are all beautifully developed and are all every bit as compelling as the mystery.

No Mark Upon Her is the 14th in the series.  The drowning of a Met detective -- an accoplished woman rower, on the verge of an Olympic comeback -- opens a Pandora box of lies, betrayals and deadly secrets.  When Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid is asked to head up the investigation, he finds himself treading on a minefield of ethical and political issues.  A separtate investigation by Detective Inspector Gemma Jones, Duncan's wife, is beginning to uncover a series of disturbing crimes that may very well be related to Duncan's case.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hopefully, you'll be spending Valentine's Day with your sweetie, but if you don't have any big plans, snuggle up with a good crime of the heart instead.  Here is a nice selection to choose from:
  • Love Lies Bleeding by Susan Wittig Albert
  • Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton
  • The Broken Hearts Club by Ethan Black
  • Claws and Effect by Rita Mae Brown
  • How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams by Dorothy Cannell
  • The Saint Valentine's Day Murders by Ruth Dudley Edwards
  • Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
  • St. Valentine's Night by Andrew M. Greeley
  • Caveman's Valentine by George Dawes Green
  • Bleeding Hearts by Jane Haddam
  • Deadly Valentine by Carolyn G. Hart
  • Cold in Hand by John Harvey
  • Sugar and Spite by G.A. McKevaett
  • Valentine Murder by Leslie Meier
  • Cat Playing Cupid: a Joe Grey Mystery by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
  • The Body in the Attic by Katherine Hall Page
  • A Judgment in Stone by Ruth Rendell
  • Valentine by Tom Savage
  • Daughter of the Stars by Phyllis A. Whitney

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Crime Drama Coming to BBC America

Production has started in Toronto on Copper, BBC America's first original drama.  This gripping crime series is set in 1860s New York Cityand  centers on Kevin Corcoran, an intense, rugged Irish-American cop working the city's notorious Five Points neighborhood. Struggling to maintain his moral compass in a turbulent world, Corcoran is on a relentless quest to learn the truth about the disappearance of his wife and the death of his daughter.  His friendship with two Civil War compatriouts -- the wayward son of a wealthy industrialist and an African American physician who secretly assists Corcoran with his work -- takes Corcoran to the contrasting worlds of elegant Fifth Avenue and an emerging African-American community in rural northern Manhattan.

Tom Weston-Jones (MI-5, aka Spooks) stars as Corcoran; Franka Potente (Bourne Identity) as Eva Heissen, a shrewd businesswoman; Kyle Schmid (Blood Ties, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) as Corcoran's aristocratic Manhattan friend; and Ato Essandoh (Damages) as Dr. Matthew Freeman, who secretly assists Corcoran with his work.

Copper debuts on BBC America in the summer of 2012 and in Canada on Shaw Media's Showcase in Fall 2012.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New for February

Nothing brightens my day quite as much as finding out my favorite author has a new book out.  Some writers deliver a book each year like clockwork; for others, the wait can be long and tortuous.

Here is a selection to brighten your day:
  • Death of a Kingfisher (Hamish MacBeth) by M.C. Beaton
  • The Shadow Patrol by Alex Berenson
  • Guns in the Gallery by Simon Brett
  • A Parliament of Spies (14th century England) by Cassandra Clark
  • A Catered St. Patrick's Day (mystery with recipes) by Isis Crawford
  • No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie
  • The Next One to Fall by Hilary Davidson
  • Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke
  • Kill Shot by Vince Flynn
  • The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher
  • Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
  • Robert Ludlum's The Janson Command by Paul Garrison
  • The Fear Index by Robert Harris
  • $10,000 in Small, Unmarked Puzzles by Parnell Hall
  • Kill My Darling by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
  • Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder
  • Poison at the Pueblo by Tim Heald
  • Deader Homes and Gardens by Joan Hess
  • Left for Dead by J.A. Jance
  • Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones
  • The Lost Goddess by Tom Knox
  • Act of Love by Joe R. Lansdale
  • Blues in the Night by Dick Lochte
  • Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
  • Oath of Office by Michael Palmer
  • Private Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
  • The Technologists by Matthew Pearl
  • Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
  • Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb
  • Anatomy of Murder by Imogen Robertson
  • Before the Poison by Peter Robinson
  • Heart of a Killer by David Rosenfelt
  • Timebomb by Gerald Seymour
  • Restless in the Grave by Dana Stabenow
  • The Comedy is Finished by Donald E. Westlake

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

RIP Dorothy Gilman

It is with much sadness to learn of the passing of Dorothy Gilman.  She died in her home on February 2 at 88; the cause was complications of Alzheimer's Disease.  The creator of the delightful CIA operative, Mrs. Pollifax, Gilman produced a series of 14 books from the 1960s onward.  Read the New York Times obit here.

Mrs. Emily Pollifax was a 60-ish New Jersey, bored and looking for excitement. So she offers her services to the CIA.  The character was portrayed by Rosalind Russell in a 1971 film, Mrs. Pollifax--Spy, and by Angela Lansbury in a 1999 TV movie, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Woman in Black

Over the weekend I went to see the film, The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe.  While I was curious to see the post-Potter Radcliffe in a film, I was equally intrigued by both the atmospheric Victorian setting and that it was based on a book by Susan Hill.

I have to say I wasn't disappointed.  The film was produced by Hammer Film Productions, and being of a certain age, I remember the shivery delight in watching all those Dracula and Frankenstein films starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing during the 1960s. 

Daniel Radcliffe plays a young lawyer who travels to a remote village to close up the affairs of a deceased client.  There is a dark, decaying mansion, an angry ghost haunting it, and terrorized villagers who share an unspeakable secret.  Flickering candle light, strange noises, and flashes of something in the dark build the suspense to a horrifying conclusion -- all without buckets of blood and gore.