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New fiction for Sept 2020

Book covers side-by-side: House of Correction by Nicci French, The Ghost Tree by M.R.C. Kasasian and Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Take a look at our latest fiction titles for September.

Giovanna's pretty face has changed: it's turning into the face of an ugly, spiteful adolescent. But is she seeing things as they really are? Into which mirror must she look to find herself and save herself? She is searching for a new face in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: the Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and the Naples of the depths, which professes to be a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between these two cities, disoriented by the fact that, whether high or low, the city seems to offer no answer and no escape.

Cormoran Strike returns with a new adventure.

It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages, and England faces attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Life is hard, and those with power wield it harshly, bending justice according to their will - often in conflict with the king. With his grip on the country fragile and with no clear rule of law, chaos and bloodshed reign.

Into this uncertain world three people come to the fore: a young boatbuilder, who dreams of a better future when a devastating Viking raid shatters the life that he and the woman he loves hoped for; a Norman noblewoman, who follows her beloved husband across the sea to a new land only to find her life there shockingly different; and a capable monk at Shiring Abbey, who dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a centre of learning admired throughout Europe.

  • V2 by Robert Harris

On the brink of defeat, Hitler commissioned 10,000 V2s - ballistic rockets that carried a one-ton warhead at three times the speed of sound, which he believed would win the war. Dr Rudi Graf who, along with his friend Werner von Braun, had once dreamt of sending a rocket to the moon, now finds himself in November 1944 in a bleak seaside town in Occupied Holland, launching V2s against London. No one understands the volatile, deadly machine better than Graf, but his disillusionment with the war leads to him being investigated for sabotage. Kay Caton-Walsh, an officer in the WAAF, has experienced first-hand the horror of a V2 strike. When 160 Londoners, mostly women and children, are killed by a single missile, the government decides to send a team of WAAFs to newly-liberated Belgium in the hope of discovering the location of the launch sites.

Meet Lana, Judith and Catrin. Best friends since primary school when they swore an oath on a Curly Wurly wrapper that they would always be there for each other, come what may. After the trip of a lifetime, the three girls are closer than ever. But an unexpected turn of events shakes the foundation of their friendship to its core, leaving their future in doubt - there's simply too much to forgive, let alone forget. An innocent childhood promise they once made now seems impossible to keep.

Driving home during a swirling blizzard, Vera Stanhope's only thought is to get there quickly. But the snow is so heavy, she becomes disoriented and loses her way. Ploughing on, she sees a car slewed off the road ahead of her. With the driver's door open, Vera assumes the driver has sought shelter but when she inspects the car she is shocked to find a young toddler strapped in the back seat. Afraid they will freeze, Vera takes the child and drives on, arriving at Brockburn, a run-down stately home she immediately recognizes as the house her father Hector grew up in. Inside Brockburn a party is in full swing, with music and laughter to herald the coming Christmas. But outside in the snow, a young woman lies dead and Vera knows immediately she has a new case. Could this woman be the child's mother, and if so, what happened to her?

Tabitha is accused of murder. She is in prison awaiting trial. There is a strong case against her, and she can't remember what happened on December 21st. She is alone, frightened and confused. But somehow, from the confines of her cell, she needs to prove everyone wrong.

In the mountains of Norway a man lives a peaceful existence. However one day his younger brother, always the more successful and charming of the two, turns up to visit, accompanied by his new wife. It soon turns out that the little brother is not quite as angelic as he seems.

Much awaited new book from the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

The person you are with is just like you: same background, same age, same interests. The perfect match. And it is a disaster. Then, when and where you least expect it, you meet someone new. You seem to have nothing in common and yet, somehow, it feels totally right. Nick Hornby's brilliantly observed, tender but also brutally funny new novel gets to the heart of what it means to fall surprisingly and headlong in love with the best possible person - someone who is not just like you at all.

Unusual requests are commonplace at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, but so are very ordinary ones, such as a plea for money: when a distant cousin calls on Mma Ramotswe to ask for help with another relative's hip operation, tricky questions arise in regard to family responsibility. Mma Makutsi and Mr J.L.B. Matekoni are far from convinced of the merits of the request, but it is hard for Mma Ramotswe, with a heart her size, to turn people away. Meanwhile, Charlie has become involved in a mysterious transaction that involves an attractive but rather large animal. If it takes a village to raise a child, what does it take to raise a baby elephant?

She was 'The Angel of the Baths', the one woman whose touch everybody yearned for. Yet she would do more. She was certain of that. In the city of Bath, in the year 1865, an extraordinary young woman renowned for her nursing skills is convinced that some other destiny will one day show itself to her. But when she finds herself torn between a dangerous affair with a female lover and the promise of a conventional marriage to an apparently respectable doctor, her desires begin to lead her towards a future she had never imagined.

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders. But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing 80 but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it's too late?

1914: Sixteen-year-old Etterly, running from something, hides inside the trunk of a tree and disappears. The police search but find no trace. Her family and friends wrack their brains, but come up with nothing. And so slowly life returns to normal. The hole in the tree is boarded up and the village of Sackwater moves on. Only Etterly's best friend, Betty, clings to hope, insisting she can hear her friend calling for help. 1940: A skeleton is discovered buried in the woods. Though most clues have long since decayed, it is wearing the necklace Etterly had on the day she went missing. Long haunted by her friend's fate, Detective Betty Church is determined to solve the case once and for all.