Mystery, April 2013: Timothy Williams, Peter Lovesey, Anne Perry, and More

Award Winners
Winner of a Crime Writers’ Association award (CWA) for Black August, part of an Italy-set series starring Commissario Piero Trotti, and declared one of the “10 Best Modern European Crime Writers” by the Observer, Timothy Williams returns after a brief absence with Another Sun (Soho Crime. Apr. 2013. 350p. ISBN 9781616951566. $25). In 1980, French Algerian judge Anne Marie Laveaud is still adjusting after having moved to Guadeloupe when she is handed a case whose main suspect is, she believes, a political scapegoat. Too bad he won’t talk to her because she’s a woman.

Det. Supt. Peter Diamond, returning in Peter Lovesey’s The Tooth Tattoo (Soho Crime. Apr. 2013. NAp. ISBN 9781616952303. $25.95), investigates when a dead woman is fished from the canal, the only means of identity a musical note tattooed on one of her teeth. A CWA triple-threat author—he’s won Gold and Silver Daggers and the Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement—Lovesey should deliver.

Loren D. Estleman has won four Shamus Awards (plus a bunch in other genres) and has written nearly 70 books, including two starring L.A. film detective Valentino. In the third, Alive! (Forge: Tor. Apr. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9780765333315. $24.99), Valentino discovers the whereabouts of footage showing Bela Lugosi, the iconic screen Dracula, testing for Frankenstein (and it’s supposed to be bad, bad, bad). Alas, someone out there would kill for that footage.

In Linda Barnes’s The Perfect Ghost (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9781250023636. $24.99), painfully shy Em Moore mourns her ebullient biography-writing partner Teddy, killed in an accident, even as she continues the interviews for their next project that Teddy would have conducted. But something is not quite right between her subject—reclusive film director Garrett Malcolm—and a former star, and then Teddy’s accident starts looking suspicious. Barnes has grabbed Anthony and American Mystery Awards, plus Edgar and Shamus nominations, but the publisher still sees this as a breakout novel.

In Tony Hillerman Prize winner Christine Barber’s When the Devil Doesn’t Show (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9781250004727. $24.99), Det. Gil Montoya has work to do when an unidentified corpse is discovered in the ashes of a house fire, along with the remains of the owners. Barber is noted for her deft evocation of Santa Fe’s cultural legacy and surrounds.

Fourteenth in the coziest of cozy series, Ann B. Ross’s Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble (Viking. Apr. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780670026104. $25.95) has Miss Julia and her neighborhood friends pitching in to help (cooking lesson are paramount) when Hazel Marie’s housekeeper has a terrible tumble. But the appearance of Hazel Marie’s wastrel uncle spells trouble. A nice note: at the 2011 Kentucky Public Library Association conference, State Librarian Wayne Onkst presented Ross with a commission adding her to the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.

In A Bat in the Belfry (Bantam. Apr. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780345534996. $26), Sarah Graves’s 16th “Home Repair Is Homicide” series, Jacobia Tiptree is readying her house for a predicted monster nor’easter, even as the town shoos out tourists and secures the 200-year-old Seaman’s Church steeple. More trouble comes when the corpse of a local teen beauty queen is discovered in the belfry. In Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince (Viking. Apr. 2013. 240p. ISBN 9780670026685. $25.95), Lori Sheperd is dismayed when a silver sleigh figurine she recognizes from a museum exhibit shows up in her thrift shop. Aunt Dimity’s otherworldly guidance helps her track down the real owner, a quest that leads from posh English country estates all the way back to the Russian Revolution.

Called in to retrain an ornery African gray parrot after its owner’s demise, animal psychic Pru Marlowe is convinced that the bird’s angry cursing suggests a murder scene in Clea Simon’s Parrots Prove Deadly: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir (Poisoned Pen. Apr. 2013. 250p. ISBN 9781464201028. $24.95; pap. 9781464201042. $14.95). Brothers Reggie and Nigel Heath, who lease law offices at 221B Baker Street in London and answer letters to the famous Sherlock Holmes, have a mystery to solve in Michael Robertson’s The Baker Street Translation (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9781250016454. $24.99). To wit, Reggie’s rival for the love of actress Laura Rankin has vanished.

Mystery Debuts
Susanna Calkins’s doctorate in British history should serve her well as she crafts the story of Lucy Campion, a lowly chambermaid in plague-soaked 1600s London, who’s shocked out of her routine when her brother is accused of murdering one of her fellow servants in A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781250007902. $24.99). Native Angeleno Steph Cha reveals her city’s underbelly in Follow Her Home (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9781250009623. $24.99), in which noir-obsessed Juniper Song is only too happy to investigate the putative affair of a friend’s father—until she comes to after a hit on the head to find a corpse in her car trunk.

In Ewart Hutton’s Good People (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781250019615. $24.99), a finalist for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, half-Welsh, half-Italian cop Glyn Capaldi is sent in disgrace from Cardiff to the countryside. There he finds turmoil under a placid surface when a bunch of hard-partying friends disappear after a night of rugby. A scholar and editor of crime literature at Israel’s Keter Books, where he also handles international fiction, D.A. Mishani is well placed to write a mystery. His debut, The Missing File (Harper: HarperCollins. Mar. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780062195371. $25.95) features Det. Avraham Avraham, here hunting for a missing boy in Tel Aviv. This March publication is important to step back and cite; rights have been sold to 15 countries so far.

Two Big-Name Historicals
In Anne Perry’s Midnight at Marble Arch: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel (Ballantine. Apr. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780345536662. $27), Thomas Pitt has no jurisdiction over the rape and apparent suicide of Catherine Quixwood, wife of a rich, rich banker, but he steps in quietly to help and must cross swords with some powerful men. In Cora Harrison’s Chain of Evidence (Severn. Apr. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9780727882455. $28.95), another of the fine 16th-century Burren mysteries, clan leader Garrett MacNamara looks to have been trampled to death by cattle—except that someone saw some sort of chain on the body that’s now missing. Enter Mara, Brehon of the Burren, a female judge and lawgiver.

African Settings
Having gone to Africa when his wife, a human rights lawyer, was asked to help prosecute genocide in Rwanda, and finally settled in Nairobi, Kenya, former BBC journalist Richard Crompton should deliver a strong sense of place in his Kenya-set The Honey Guide (Farrar. Apr. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780374171995. $26). Detective Mollel, a former Maasai warrior (with the stretched earlobes and ritual scars to prove it), investigates a prostitute’s murder—which is nowhere near as straightforward as it first appeared. A debut, too, but I’m highlighting the backdrop.

In Jassy Mackenzie’s Pale Horses (Apr. 2013. Soho Crime. NAp. ISBN 9781616952211. $25.95), the fourth book in the South Africa–set PI Jade de Jong thriller series, Jade investigates the death of Sonet van Rensburg, whose parachute failed when she jumped from the 65-story Sandton skyscraper. Her jumping partner claims that it was no accident, and soon Jade is visiting a self-supporting farm community to which Sonet had connections. But it’s deserted—evidently, nearly everyone has been done in by a mysterious plague.

Gritty Contemporary
In Lisa Black’s Blunt Impact (Severn. Apr. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9780727882523. $28.95), forensic scientist Theresa MacLean finds that the only witness in the suspicious death of a female construction worker is a girl nicknamed Ghost, who claims that “the Shadow Man” did some pushing. Dek Elstrom, returning in Jack Fredrickson’s The Dead Caller from Chicago (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780312605278. $25.99), is understandably troubled by a phone call from a dead man and the subsequent disappearance of his near and dear. He follows clues to an icy Michigan island, then finds he must head back from whence he came. Fredrickson’s debut, A Safe Place for Dying, was a Shamus nominee and Pearl Pick.

Martin Edwards’s Frozen Shroud: A Lake District Mystery (Poisoned Pen. Apr. 2013. 250p. ISBN 9781464201059. $24.95; pap. 9781464201073. $14.95. CD: Blackstone) takes place in Ravenbank, a tiny Lake District community, where a murdered woman with a shroud frozen to her face was found on Halloween before World War I. Now history is repeating itself. In Tammy Kaehler’s Braking Points: A Kate Reilly Mystery. Poisoned Pen. Apr. 2013. 250p. ISBN 9781464200991; pap. ISBN 9781464201011. $14.95), racecar driver Kate Reilly not only cracks up her car at Road America in Wisconsin but discovers her boyfriend with one of her friends—who happens to be dead.








Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.