This week’s Friday read recommendation comes from Constable’s publishing director, Krystyna Green:
‘This year is the year of M. C. Beaton as in October we publish her 30th Agatha Raisin mystery, so get your appetite whetted now by reading her 29th! We’re back in Carsely where murdered bell ringers and glamorous – yet deadly – bishops abound while Agatha flounders with her usual man lusts and dilemmas, all the time while smoking, drinking too many G&Ts and microwaving instant meals for one. Oh, and she’s sleuthing too – investigating the mysterious disappearance of the bishop’s one-time fiancée… Could this man of the cloth also be a murderer? Anything is possible in the Cotswolds!
The publishing of this paperback is just the start of our M. C. Beaton festivities – later on in July Marion is a special guest at Harrogate on the evening of Friday 19th, Agatha Raisin is coming back for a second series on Sky One with Ashley Jensen as Agatha while in October there will be newspaper and radio interviews aplenty with Marion. So get started with the Agathafest now – and if you are new to the delights of this PR-guru-turned-bucolic-PI then I suggest you go right back to the very beginning and pick up a copy of Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death today!’
This week’s Friday Read comes from Krystyna Green, Publishing Director of Constable:
Dead Catch is the latest thriller from T F Muir featuring DCI Andy Gilchrist and set in the picturesque town of St Andrews . . . only there’s nothing picturesque about the bloody events going down there. When a mutilated corpse is discovered on Tentsmuir beach with a £5 note stuffed down its throat, DCI Andy Gilchrist is called in to investigate. But his murder investigation deepens when he learns that the victim and his boat have been missing for three years.
The dead man is found to have been on the payroll of big Jock Shepherd, Scotland’s premier crime patriarch, and when three more of Shepherd’s men turn up brutally murdered, Gilchrist fears a tectonic shift in the criminal underworld.
Gilchrist and his partner, DS Jessie Janes, set off along a murderous trail where they uncover a plot involving drug shipments and police corruption, and come face to face with a man for whom human life means nothing.
This is yet another winner from our chief proponent of Tartan Noir, described as ‘a truly gripping read’ by Mick Herron and ‘gripping and grisly’ by Craig Robertson. And if you’re new to DCI Andy Gilchrist from St Andrews, I recommend you start off with Eye for an Eye, which will give you a memorable introduction!
This week’s Friday read comes from Hannah, Assistant Editor for Constable and Piatkus:
Dead Man’s Lane is the brand new novel in Kate Ellis’s beloved crime series featuring DI Wesley Peterson. Wesley and his team are called to Strangefields Farm, the site of a new property development in Tradmouth, after a skull is discovered in the grounds. Strangefields Farm is notorious for its sinister history ever since serial killer Jackson Temples lured young women there decades ago to model for disturbing works of art – and some never left alive. The discovery of human remains on the site reopens the gruesome case and, when a local woman is found murdered in an echo of Temples’ crimes, Wesley fears a copy-cat killer could be at large.
Alongside Wesley’s police investigation, a chilling historical mystery is told through a set of ancient diaries found at Strangefields and, with the help of his good friend, archaeologist Dr Neil Watson, Wesley must uncover buried secrets from the 17th century as well as the present day.
Kate Ellis is a master at writing intricately plotted police procedurals which weave a fascinating historical narrative into the contemporary mystery – and she will keep you glued to the pages throughout this novel, as there are so many possible suspects in the investigation that it’s impossible to predict where the mystery will take you. The ending delivers a fantastic twist – one I defy anyone to guess! Whether you’re a loyal Wesley Peterson fan or completely new to the series, this is a crime novel you won’t regret reading.
This week, Sphere Commissioning Editor Viola Hayden recommends a gripping gangland crime novel from an author who knows her stuff:
Judith Jonson has been a widow for five years. Then one day she sees a picture in the paper – the aftermath of a dramatic robbery in London’s West End – and Judith can’t believe her eyes. It’s Dan, her husband.
Judith begins a hunt for the man she thought she married, and in amongst the lowlifes of 1950s East End gangland she finds more than she bargained for. But Judith had better be careful; the rule of law doesn’t apply in Kellston. She’s been deceived, but she doesn’t want to end up dead . . .
Through her marriage to Reggie Kray, Roberta Kray has a unique and authentic insight into London’s East End. This is a fantastically satisfying story about a betrayed woman avenging herself and taking on the East End’s most vicious and cunning criminal gangs.
This week, Ed Wood recommends gripping thriller master, Mark Greaney:
Mark Greaney is one of the best writers in the world at the relentlessly gripping thriller – his Tom Clancy novels were as well received by fans as those by the great man himself – and he’s found a deep seam of action and mystery with the Gray Man novels. Set in Syria, Agent in Place sees hero Court Gentry, now a gun for hire, striving to take down a murderous dictator, kidnap his mistress and rescue their young son. This is one of the best in a now mature series: Greaney shows not just the viciousness of the Syrian regime but also the mercenaries who feed upon it, setting Gentry in a more clearly morally good role than usual and giving the reader plenty to get behind. And as usual, it’s the set pieces and the ever-more-tense lead-up to them that readers will enjoy devouring the most. Terrific.
This week, Olivia Hutchings and James Gurbutt from Corsair recommend their literary hit:
For years, rumors of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand.
This breathtaking book was a #1 New York Times bestseller and has been #1 Audible audio in the UK, and Reese Witherspoon, who we all know has taste, picked it for her book club. With the compelling drive of To Kill a Mockingbird, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of a mysterious death.
To kick off the new year, Constable’s Publishing Director Krystyna Green strongly recommends you get stuck into something strong and Scottish to blow away the post-New Year’s Day blues . . .
Hania Allen is bang on the money here with her Polish detective. Clearing the Dark is set in the city of Dundee – home to the new V&A, Ninewells, the most advanced teaching hospital in Europe and of course it’s the birthplace of Grand Theft Auto. It’s a fine place to launch a new crime series from, and this is the second outing for DI Dania Gorska – seconded from the Met, but originally from Poland.
In this instance Dania is called in to investigate the shooting of a young man on a Dundee street, the nail hammered into his forehead suggesting the local gangster, Archie McLellan, has left his calling card. But that’s only the start of a case which leads Dania to a stone manse out in the Fife countryside whose grounds act as a graveyard for other unidentified victims, linked by the same MO . . . and as Dania moves closer to discovering the secrets of Breek House, she disturbs dangerous secrets from the past which now threaten the lives of those in the present.
There is a terrific sense of place here and as well as a cracking crime story you get to go beneath the skin of a city that is both sophisticated and violent, modern and forward looking yet grimy and deeply embedded in its dark and unrefined past. But best of all, we’ve got a page-turning thriller which will absorb you during those long January nights where it’s always winter but never Christmas . . .
Hope you had a grand holiday of choice!
It’s our annual recommend of this marvellous forties country house classic, which we reissued to great acclaim a couple of years ago. It’s such a fun locked-room-murder tale, in which our excellent protagonist Dilys gets stranded in the snow in her car in Yorkshire and has no choice but to follow her handsome rescuer Inigo to his uncle’s large country house, where his new young aunt is not the most welcoming, where there is a suspicious death, and where people keep turning up to add to the suspects…
With its gorgeous wintry cover, this book is a perfect way to while away the time until everything gets going again in the New Year.
This week’s Friday Read comes from Krystyna Green, Publishing Director of Constable:
This is the fifth outing for lawyer John Grey, set in the seventeenth century. This historical series from Len is an absolute and utter delight, and juggles crime and humour with perfect balance and aplomb. The dialogue sparkles and the action rattles along at a frenetic pace, and we are fast drawn into the events unfolding in this Essex village just before Christmas, much as the hapless protagonist John is.
The year is 1668 and witchcraft is abroad in the village where John is now Justice of the Peace. And when a horribly disfigured corpse is found in the woods, rumours that it is the work of the Devil spreads like wildfire and old Alice Mardike is held accountable for the death. The villagers are determined to try her for witchcraft, and Alice doesn’t help herself as she agrees that she is indeed a witch. Meantime, the snow comes down and the village is soon cut off from the rest of the world . . . and in such isolation, the villagers decide to take matters into their own hands. So it is up to John to save the witch and restore order to his village before Christmas Day dawns . . .
As you can tell from the above, this is a fantastically festive read: we have Christmas, we have snow, we have warming mulled wine in the local pub . . . and we have mayhem and murder! And of course, L.C. Tyler is never going to spoil the magic of Christmas so rest assured a fine resolution will be found in time for the big day. We have a fantastic final denoument to this tale too which does rather suggest that magic can be passed down through the ages . . .
Hopefully this has now whetted your appetite for a thoroughly festive read!
This week’s Friday read comes from Simon Osunsade, Editorial Assistant for Sphere and Dialogue Books.
Rebecca Griffiths’ A Place To Lie is littered with all the great tropes I’ve come to expect from domestic noirs – compelling characters, beautifully paced suspense and an enigmatic, chilling atmosphere. By alternating between the story in the nineties and the modern day, Rebecca slowly unearths the trauma that splits two sisters, Caroline and Joanna, apart and what brings them closer together again. For this reason, the novel had me hooked just as much for its twists and turns as its nosedive into the protagonist’s psyche.
Barry Forshaw, writing for The Guardian, recently praised Rebecca for her ‘incredibly tense narrative with stylish writing that keeps her a cut above most of her rivals’. Give it a try today!