Mystery from Crombie, History from Dunmore, & a Steinbeck Anniversary Edition | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2014, Pt. 4

Crombie, Deborah. To Dwell in Darkness. Morrow. Apr. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780062271600. $25.99. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY
In the latest Duncan Kincaid–Gemma James outing, Duncan is investigating a lethal bombing in famed St. Pancras Station after having just been transferred to the London borough of Camden from Scotland Yard headquarters. Gemma’s assistant saw it all, but a crucial witness has vanished, and the victim was a protester who had intended to set off only a smoke bomb. Crombie, who’s been nominated for the Agatha, Macavity, and Edgar awards, is getting a 100,000-copy first printing for this one.

Dunmore, Helen. The Lie. Atlantic Monthly. Apr. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780802122544. $24. HISTORICAL
Dunmore’s Orange Prize winner, The Siege, was situated during World War II, and her recent The Greatcoat also drew on that war for its affecting little ghost story. Here she plays to the current interest in World War I with a book set partly afterward. It’s 1920, and Daniel Branwell has returned home safely to Cornwall. But a lie he told while deep in the trenches of France and a relationship he left behind continue to haunt him.

Francis-Sharma, Lauren.’Til the Well Runs Dry. Holt. Apr. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780805098037. $26. HISTORICAL
Lots of in-house enthusiasm for this debut, which opens in a seaside village in 1940s Trinidad. Only 16, gutsy seamstress Marcia Garcia is raising two boys on her own, but policeman Farouk Karam is so smitten with her that he gets an obeah woman to brew up something that will assure him of Marcia’s love. Thus opens a multigenerational saga that runs to the United States in the 1960s.

Grant, Katharine. Sedition. Holt. Apr. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780805099928. $26. HISTORICAL
British children’s book author Grant, best known for the prize-winning “DeGranville Trilogy,” breaks into the adult market with a sly frolic set in 1794 London. Four newly rich fathers determine to marry off their five daughters by having them give a concert for young English gents with titles but no money, but problems arise, from the ogling French piano teacher to one daughter’s alternate plans.

MacDonnell, Julia. Mimi Malloy, At Last! Picador. Apr. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781250041548. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781250041555. POP FICTION
Forced into early retirement but at least enjoying her True Blue cigarettes and evenings listening to Frank Sinatra recordings, Mimi Malloy must readjust her expectations when an MRI reveals little black spots in her brain as ubiquitous as a leopard’s. A chance discovery forces her to remember a painful childhood, but it also seems that Mimi could find love again. Lots of promotional passion for MacDonnell’s first book in two decades.

Neuman, Andrés. Talking to Ourselves. Farrar. Apr. 2104. 160p. tr. from Spanish by Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garcia. ISBN 9780374167530. $23; ebk. ISBN 9780374710309. LITERARY
With the English translation of his Alfaguara Prize–winning Traveler of the Century, Neuman proved his promise as one of Granta’s Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists. He’s back with a new novel featuring a road trip undertaken by ten-year-old Lito and his father, Mario, who’s not telling his son that he’s seriously ill. As they pass borders that improbably unite the world’s Spanish-speaking countries, Lito’s mother has an adventure of her own.

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath 75th Anniversary Edition. Viking. Apr. 2014. 496p. ISBN 9780670016907. $30. CLASSIC
First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s influential The Grapes of Wrath is getting a gorgeous 75th anniversary edition. This hardcover has some nice touches: a reproduction of the original Viking first edition cover illustration by Elmer Hader, printed endpapers with music and lyrics of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” (“he is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored”), foil stamping, and a decorative top stain. Think of it; most people have never seen this book in anything but paperback.

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.


  1. Sarah says:

    Um, would that be 1794 London?