30.8.15

PERFECT SINS, by Jo Bannister

Gabriel Ash lost his family to Somali pirates. Four years later, after a complete emotional collapse, he's putting his life back together, but still searching for his wife and two young sons. He's been given renewed hope by a criminal who says they are alive. Hazel Best, a young police officer, takes Ash to her family home, where an unexpected happening at an archeological dig unearths a modern grave. Click below for more...

19.8.15

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENTS by Boris Akunin

5/series of the adventures of Erast Fandorin, agent to the Russian Imperial Police. Translated from the Russian. Fandorin and his Japanese manservant go up against a master swindler who makes off with large sums of rubles from wealthy but credulous victims. The Jack of Spades is a master at disguise, and Fandorin's vast powers of ratiocination are severely stressed. He even takes on a spotty, timid, under-achieving messenger boy, Anisii, as his assistant. Click below for more...

12.8.15

THE DEVIL'S MAKING, by Sean Haldane

Nineteenth-century Victoria, in Canada's western British Columbia, rarely figures in a novel, but this award-winning tale will keep you pinned to your seat. Young Chad Hobbes, newly-arrived in the struggling town from England and forced to become a policeman rather than the barrister he had envisioned, investigates the grisly murder of an American alienist. Dr. McCrory was flamboyant in the American style, and practiced a rather peculiar method of calming his patients. Accused of the murder is an indian, prince of a little tribe, and he is clapped in jail without much regard for truth. Click below for more...

TO DARKNESS AND TO DEATH, by Julia Spencer-Fleming

4/series by a multi-award-winning author of mystery and  suspense. In the New York Adirondacks town of Millers Kill, a quarter-million-acre estate is to be sold to a Malaysian lumber consortium and then donated to an environmental group to protect it from logging. The three owners, heirs to the many-hundred years-old estate, will sign off on the deal at a gala banquet attended by all the local movers and shakers. Then one of the three heirs, young Millie van der Hoeven, vanishes into thin air. Click below for more...

9.8.15

HERBIE'S GAME, by Timothy Hallinan

4/series starring Junior Bender, burglar and sleuth for criminals. For years, Herbie was Junior's mentor and father-figure. Now retired, the never-arrested master burglar still hold a special place in Junior's heart. When a major crime figure is burgled, all clues lead to either Herbie - who from time to time liked to leave a stylistic calling card - or his protoge. Wattles, the "executive crook", specializes in setting up hits. No longer trusting his memory for the long list of cutouts he uses, he had scribbled them on a piece of paper...and that's what's missing. Click below for more...

THE GOLDEN MILE TO MURDER, by Sally Spencer

7/series starring Chief Inspector Charlie Woodend. Finally trying the last of official Scotland Yard's patience, Woodend has been posted to his home town and the highly autocratic and supposedly modern rule of Chief Superintendent Ainsworth, whose approach to policing is at odds with Charlie's more intuitive methods. Saddles with a resentful but attractive female "bagman" (sidekick for us Yanks), Charlie's sent to investigate the murder of another cop. It's soon apparent to the sleuth that he's being fed a load of codswallop. Why do the local cops not want him to find the causes of their colleague's death? Enthusiasts of going-against-the-tide inspectors will find this entertaining, and Charlie's methods spot on. It's a 3.5. The book is so old no cover remains for me to include.
But the author as a website, found under his real name www.alanrustage.com
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MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH, by Ariana Franklin

1/series. 1174 England. Adelia Aguilar, a full-fledged anatomist and doctor from Sicily, is sent (by mistake; everyone had expected a male) to medieval England at the request of King Henry II to defuse the grim situation in Cambridge, where Jews are accused of murdering four Christian children. Having imposed the rule of law throughout his new kingdom, Henry not only wants the laws to hold but sorely misses the revenue his Jews provide. As long as they're holed up in Cambridge's castle, there is no revenue. Adelia walks a fine line in the superstitious country: females cannot practice medicine lest they are accused of being a witch and burned. Click below for more...

A FINE SUMMER'S DAY, by Charles Todd

17?/series starring Scotland Yard's Ian Rutledge. Part of the big appeal of this novel is how the days leading to the start of the Great War - World War One - are so skilfully woven into the narrative. Rutledge, newly engaged, is sent north of York to investigate a hanging. Suicide or murder? The victim's family insists it could not be suicide. Returned to London, after a tense meeting with his irascible supervisor, he's sent west, to Bristol.  Click below for more...

4.8.15

SALMAGUNDI, by Sally Butcher

Oddball cookbooks abound these days, many of them with limited audiences. Not so this thick, beautifully-illustrated guide to using mideast ingredients in everyday cooking. Concentrating on salads, author Sally Butcher (of Persepolis, a south London Persian food heaven), you'll add ingredients to your pantry that you might never have considered. This book isn't really for the newbie, although adventurous new cooks will get a lot out of it. The accomplished or at least confident cook will enjoy the twists on salads and their ingredients, used or combined in new ways, some of them super-healthy. For American cooks, sourcing some of the ingredients will be the problem (lupini beans? freekeh?), but most mideast groceries should suffice.The bulgar salad recipe on page 135 ought to reward you enough to consider the book a bargain purchase. It's a 5.
Butcher's Persia in Peckham tweets are fun, too. You may find her at www.veggiestan.com, also the title of another Butcher cookbook. But finding a cover to put in here was impossible.
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REDEPLOYMENT, by Phil Klay

Winner of multiple book awards, this collection of essays and remembrances from American soldiers deployed in the Iraq war will touch you deeply. Along with Love My Rifle More Than You, it gives a non-military reader a fuller sense of the day-to-day experiences of our troops. It is fatally easy to fall for the spoutings of politicians and senior military, who appear to inhabit a world that has no relevance for these writers. The first piece, Redeployment, only hints at what awaits you. Click below for more...