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Suggestions June 2014: Crime, Thrillers, & Mystery

Polly Parrot

Staff member
Sorry for getting the thread up late. Uni has kept me rather busy as of late. :oops:

Anyway, let's have your suggestions. I'll keep the thread open until the end of April or when there are ten suggestions, whichever comes first.

Maine Colonial

Staff member
Nick Harkaway: Angelmaker

Adding a description:

Angelmaker flits between old-fashioned villains in London's East End and covert action in 1940s south Asia, arranging its whistlestop plot around the modern-day discovery of a weapon of mass destruction in the unlikely form of a skepful of clockwork bees. It's an ambitious, crowded, restless caper, cleverly told and utterly immune to précis.

The novel's rather disheveled hero is Joshua Joseph Spork, son and reluctant heir of the late Matthew Spork, formerly the dandified king of the London underworld. In search of a quieter life, Joe has left his father's gangster circles behind to take up his grandfather's trade, crafting and repairing clocks and automata in a dilapidated warehouse on the Thames. Now, though, Joe has run into the usual dissatisfactions of a single Londoner in his mid-30s, and––through a mixture of genetic predisposition and sheer bad luck––has unwittingly entangled himself in the quest for an apian super-weapon.
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Active Member
I would like to nominate

Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis.


The story begins in Rome during late spring, AD 71. Marcus Didius falco and a group of the Praetorian Guard under the captaincy of Julius Frontinus are disposing of a decomposing corpse. Secrecy is paramount decause he was the victim of a discreet execution, having been guilty of treason against the Emperor.

And A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peter


The monks of Shrewsbury Abbey seek the relics of a saint for their chapel, in Wales. The locals object to this translation of the relics, and a local leader is found murdered. Brother Cadfael is challenged to bring right endings to all parties, in Wales and in the Abbey.


Well-Known Member
Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Summary from back of the book:
"When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister Tess is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. but as she learns about the circumstances surrounding Tess's disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister's life - and unprepared for the terrifying truths she must now face.

The police, Beatrice's fiancé and even their mother accept that they have lost Tess, but Beatrice refuses to give upon her. So she embarks on a dangerous journey to discover the truth, no matter the cost."

Quote from Daily Mail:
"Written with the power and panache of a young Daphne du Maurier, it's devastatingly good, and announces the arrival of a truly original talent."


Well-Known Member
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight by Vladimir Nabokov.

Yes, Nabokov can write mysteries also.

"Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." -- John Updike

"The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a perversely magical literary detective story -- subtle, intricate, leading to a tantalizing climax -- about the mysterious life of a famous writer. Many people knew things about Sebastian Knight as a distinguished novelist, but probably fewer than a dozen knew of the two love affairs that so profoundly influenced his career, the second one in such a disastrous way. After Knight's death, his half brother sets out to penetrate the enigma of his life, starting with a few scanty clues in the novelist's private papers. His search proves to be a story as intriguing as any of his subject's own novels, as baffling, and, in the end, as uniquely rewarding." - Amazon​

Loved it. Glorious. Beautiful, any way you look at it. :D

A Listener

THE SHADOW OF THE SHADOW, by Paco Ignacio Taibo II

This is a terrific book. It is a very different mystery set in Mexico in 1922, during the Obregon regime, after ten years of chaos and revolution.

The protagonists are four friends who meet nightly at a bar in the Majestic Hotel in Mexico City to play dominoes. At the outset, two of the friends are separately witnesses to murders.

The first witness was the poet, Fermin Valencia, who was "just over thirty and just under five feet tall", and who rode as a cavalryman with General Villa in the charge at Zacatecas. He was idly watching a free concert given by a military band in a park, when a man climbed up from the back onto the bandstand, put a pistol to the temple of the trombonist, fired, then escaped.

The second witness was Pioquinto Manterola, ace crime reporter for the daily newspaper, El Democrata. He looked down from a third floor office window of the paper and saw a beautiful woman getting out of a car. He eye-balled her as she crossed the street. Not long after, he was startled when a window shattered on the third floor of the building directly across the street, and a screaming man plummeted to the sidewalk. Manterola was perhaps even more startled to see the woman he had been admiring looking at him out of the broken window.

After that, bad things started happening to the friends. The "shadow of the shadow" is the description the poet gave of the friends as they began to track the unknown forces attacking them.

This book is more than a mystery. It is also a meditation on the hijacking of the Mexican revolution, governmental corruption, oil politics, and international intrigue, all fueled by good old-fashioned greed.

Taibo has supplied a several page end note which differentiates between the fictional and historical characters and events, and recounts the changes since 1922: the loss of El Democrata and some of the restaurants and dives patronized by the friends, the nationalization of the Mexican oil fields, etc.
At the end he summarized:

"Times pass and things change. The authoritarianism of the Obregon regime at the start of Mexico’s stolen revolution gradually turned itself into the shamelessness and corrupt arrogance of the PRI, the political party that controls the country to this day (1990).
"Fortunately, dominoes continues to be the great national pastime, and somehow, miraculously, it has yet to fall into the claws of the mass media."