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Donna Leon

ON MY SHELF . . . February 2018

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I am writing this on a cold Friday evening in Fenland where hopes of a Spring just around the corner have been dashed by weather warnings of severe cold over the next few days. Despite this, publishers are coming out of their winter quarters to prepare for the Spring Offensive, and thus we have four tasty novels on offer here.

LOVE LIKE BLOOD by MARK BILLINGHAM

BillinghamThis is the paperback edition of the Tom Thorn novel which came out in June 2017 and was reviewed on Fully Booked here. Suffice to say that it tackles head on one of the most iniquitous so-called cultural practices prevalent in the diverse Britain of the Twenty First Century. It is hard to avoid using the grossly inappropriate term ‘honour killing’ but until someone comes up with something more fitting, it will have to do. Love Like Blood will be out on 8th March as a Sphere paperback, and will set you back £5.99. HOWEVER, we will be running a prize draw to win a copy, so watch out for alerts on Twitter and Facebook.

MUNICH (THE MAN WHO SAID NO)  by DAVID LAWS

David LawsIn this imaginative retelling of the now infamous events in the Bavarian capital in 1938, David Laws gives us a young present-day researcher trying to find out the truth about her grandfather’s part in a series of meetings which shaped history. What evidence did he have that Neville Chamberlain was being duped by Hitler? Why did he almost certainly give his life to prevent the deal going through? Emma Drake finds the answer not in dusty telegrams or carbon copied communiques, but in a present day forest just fifty miles from the site of the lasting testament to Nazi infamy – Oświęcim. Munich is published by Matador, is out now, and will cost you £8.99.

THE TEMPTATION OF FORGIVENESS  by DONNA LEON

DonnaLeonFrom the grim and silent testimony of a Polish forest to the bustling and utterly cosmopolitan world of Venice, courtesy of Donna Leon and her immensely popular Italian copper, Commissario Guido Brunetti. It seems barely credible that this is number twenty seven – no, that’s no misprint, 27 – in the series. While trying to discover the source of an information leak from within his own department, and investigating the savage attack on a family friend, Brunetti seeks solace – and a possible solution – from the pages of Sophocles’ Antigone. The Temptation of Forgiveness will be out on 5 April from William Heinemann/Cornerstone in Kindle and hardback. The paperback edition will be out in the autumn of 2018.

AMERICAN BY DAY by DEREK B MILLER

Derek B MillerMiller created quite a stir with his debut novel, Norwegian By Night, and now he aims to repeat the  achievement with the story of Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård who has to leave her native Norway and travel to America to find the truth behind her brother’s disappearance. In addition to apparently disappearing off the face of the earth, he is implicated in the death of a prominent African-American academic. And this is 2008, election year, nerves are in shreds, and across the political world innocent mistakes are treated as mortal insults. In addition to plying her police officer skills, Sigrid Ødegård needs to learn a whole new set of behavioural responses if she is to get the the bottom of her brother’s disappearance. American By Day is published by Transworld/Doubleday and will be available on 19 April.

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COMPETITION … Win a copy of Earthly Remains by Donna Leon

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Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti  has become a firm favourite with crime fiction readers the world over, and now you have the chance to win a hardback copy of his latest adventure, worth £18.99, just days after its UK release.

Donna Leon 2Brunetti is feeling his age, and the constant pressure of the expectations of his bosses in La Questura has led to him making an error of judgment which threatens to derail his career. Rather like the football manager who substitutes a player before he can collect the second Yellow card, Brunetti’s wife insists he takes leave of absence, and packs him off to stay with a relative on the quiet and thinly populated island of Sant’Erasmo. But this, of course, is a crime thriller, and we all know that recuperating detectives always attract dark deeds. In this case it is the disappearance of Davide Casati, the caretaker of the house. Brunetti is drawn reluctantly but inevitably in the search for the man, and it soon becomes apparent that he would have had more rest if he’d stayed at home.


All you have to do
to be in with a chance of winning this book, is to email Fully Booked at the address below, and put the word Brunetti as the email subject.

fullybooked2016@yahoo.com

Your name will go into the hat, and a winner will be drawn in the usual way. The competition closes at 10.00pm GMT on Sunday 9th April. Due to postage costs, the competition is restricted to residents of Great Britain and the Irish Republic.

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ON MY SHELF 2017 … Leon, Fowler & Lovesey

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The good books come thick and fast at this time of year, and this week we have three very well known and justifiably popular authors. Each of the three has a long running series, each with its own passionate readership. The three authors between them have notched up an astonishing 57 novels featuring their lead characters. The three series have another common factor in that they are set in three of the world’s most beautiful cities – Venice, London and Bath.

Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti returns for another intriguing mystery set in his native Venice. Brunetti is feeling his age, and the constant pressure of the expectations of his bosses in La Questura has led to him making an error of judgment which threatens to derail his career. Rather like the football manager who substitutes a player before he can collect the second Yellow card, Brunetti’s wife insists he takes leave of absence, and packs him off to stay with a relative on the quiet and thinly populated island of Sant’Erasmo. But this, of course, is a crime thriller, and we all know that recuperating detectives always attract dark deeds. In this case it is the disappearance of Davide Casati, the caretaker of the house. Brunetti is drawn reluctantly but inevitably in the search for the man, and it soon becomes apparent that he would have had more rest if he’d stayed at home.

Earthly Remains is published by William Heinemann and will be available from 6th April.

OMS middleTo London, and most elderly pair of investigators currently still working. Existing fans of Arthur Bryant and John May have come to expect quirky humour, clever wordplay, an unrivaled knowledge of the topography and history of London, and a Betjeman-esque poetry of description which sometimes appears humdrum, but is often very profound.  Christopher Fowler loves jokes that involve popular culture and brand names, and readers of a certain age will know that even the naming of the two elderly investigators is a little gem of a joke. The cobwebby pair work for the Peculiar Crimes Unit, an esoteric (and purely fictional) branch of the Metropolitan Police. They are constantly under threat of being pensioned off, but their investigations always take them to  mysterious parts of London (usually entirely factual).  Arthur Bryant – as usual – baffles and exasperates  his colleagues, but in this tale his arcane knowledge of London helps the Unit solve the open air version of The Locked Room Mystery. The title? This is from Fowler’s erudite and entertaining website.

“London’s greenery is absurdly generous. There’s no way of avoiding it wherever you walk. London’s parks, woodlands, ancient forests, secret gardens, informal community parks, tended meadows, play areas, crescents, allotments, polygons, circuses, heaths and commons each have a different character. Add to these our obsession with back gardens (not places to be kept beautiful but somewhere messy to escape to) and you start to think that these ‘wild chambers’ are there to stop families from going mad.”

Wild Chambers is published by Bantam Press, and is out in hardback on 23rd March.

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Peter-LoveseyThis week’s award for the most menacing title must go to Peter Lovesey (right) and his Somerset and Avon copper, Peter Diamond. More used to solving high profile murder cases, Diamond is not best pleased when he is called in to investigate an apparent motoring accident. Tragically, a police vehicle, speeding late at night to a possible crime scene, spins off the road, killing one of the officers. Hours later, Diamond discovers that the officer is not the only victim. On an adjacent embankment, undiscovered by the emergency teams, is the rider of a motorised trike. The man is close to death, but Diamond administers CPR successfully enough for the victim to be taken to hospital, where he remains in a critical condition. Diamond, however, is not able to sit back and bask in the warm knowledge that he has carried out a valuable public service. His bosses are desperate that the whole RTA  is not blamed on the police force, but what causes Diamond the most anxiety is the emerging likelihood that the man whose life he saved is almost certainly a serial killer.

Another One Dies Tonight came out in hardback in 2016, but will be available in paperback for the first time on 6th April.

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