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New fiction for September 2021

by Brandon King

Take a look at our latest fiction titles for September 2021.

The man who died twice by Richard Osman

It's the following Thursday. Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He's made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life. As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn't that be a bonus? But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn't bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

Beautiful world, where are you by Sally Rooney

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a distribution warehouse, and asks him if he'd like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young - but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

The midnight hour by Elly Griffiths

Brighton, 1965. When theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his retirement home, no one suspects foul play. But when the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, eccentric ex-Music Hall star Verity Malone. Frustrated by the police response to Bert's death and determined to prove her innocence, Verity calls in private detective duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins. This is their first real case, but as luck would have it they have a friend on the inside: Max Mephisto is filming a remake of 'Dracula', starring Seth Billington, Bert's son. But when they question Max, they feel he isn't telling them the whole story. Emma and Sam must vie with the police to untangle the case and bring the killer to justice.

The dark remains by William McIlvanney

Lawyer Bobby Carter did a lot of work for the wrong type of people. Now he's dead and it was no accident. Besides a distraught family and a heap of powerful friends, Carter's left behind his share of enemies. So, who dealt the fatal blow?DC Jack Laidlaw's reputation precedes him. He's not a team player, but he's got a sixth sense for what's happening on the streets. His boss chalks the violence up to the usual rivalries, but is it that simple? As two Glasgow gangs go to war, Laidlaw needs to find out who got Carter before the whole city explodes. William McIlvanney's Laidlaw books changed the face of crime fiction. When he died in 2015, he left half a handwritten manuscript of Laidlaw's first case. Now, Ian Rankin is back to finish what McIlvanney started.

The heron's cry by Ann Cleeves

North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder - Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed. His daughter Eve is a glassblower, and the murder weapon is a shard of one of her broken vases.Dr Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He's a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved, though, to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband. Then another body is found - killed in a similar way. Matthew finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home.

The magician by Colm Tóibín

'The Magician' tells the story of Thomas Mann, whose life was filled with great acclaim and contradiction. He would find himself on the wrong side of history in the First World War, cheerleading the German army, but have a clear vision of the future in the second, anticipating the horrors of Nazism. He would have six children and keep his homosexuality hidden; he was a man forever connected to his family and yet bore witness to the ravages of suicide. He would write some of the greatest works of European literature, and win the Nobel Prize, but would never return to the country that inspired his creativity.

Snow country by Sebastian Faulks

1914: Young Anton Heideck has arrived in Vienna, eager to make his name as a journalist. While working part-time as a private tutor, he encounters Delphine, a woman who mixes startling candour with deep reserve. Entranced by the light of first love, Anton feels himself blessed. Until his country declares war on hers. 1927: For Lena, life with a drunken mother in a small town has been impoverished and cold. She is convinced she can amount to nothing until a young lawyer, Rudolf Plischke, spirits her away to Vienna. But the capital proves unforgiving. Lena leaves her metropolitan dream behind to take a menial job at the snow-bound sanatorium, the Schloss Seeblick. 1933: Still struggling to come terms with the loss of so many friends on the Eastern Front, Anton, now an established writer, is commissioned by a magazine to visit the mysterious Schloss Seeblick.

The unheard by Nicci French

Tess's number one priority has always been her three-year-old daughter Poppy. But splitting up with Poppy's father Jason means that she cannot always be there to keep her daughter safe. When she finds a disturbing drawing, dark and menacing, among her daughter's brightly coloured paintings, Tess is convinced that Poppy has witnessed something terrible. Something that her young mind is struggling to put into words. But no one will listen. It's only a child's drawing, isn't it? Tess will protect Poppy, whatever the price. But when she doesn't know what, or who, she is protecting her from, how can she possibly know who to trust?

Cloud Cuckoo land by Anthony Doerr

'Cloud Cuckoo Land' follows three storylines: Anna and Omeir, on opposite sides of the formidable city wall during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour and gentle octogenarian Zeno, in an attack on a public library in present day Idaho; and Konstance, on an interstellar ship bound for a distant exoplanet, decades from now. A single copy of an ancient text - the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to the paradise of Cloud Cuckoo Land - provides solace, mystery and the most profound human connection to these five unforgettable characters.

Harlem shuffle by Colson Whitehead

To his customers and neighbours on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably-priced furniture, making a life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents don't approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it's still home. Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time. Cash is tight, especially with all those instalment plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace at the furniture store, Ray doesn't see the need to ask where it comes from. He knows a jeweller downtown who also doesn't ask questions. Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa and volunteers Ray's services as the fence.

The last library by Freya Sampson

Library assistant June knows a lot about the regulars at Chalcot Library, yet they know very little about her. When her mum - the beloved local librarian - passed away eight years ago, June stepped into her shoes. But despite their shared love of books, shy June has never felt she can live up to the village's memory of her mum. Instead, she's retreated into herself and her memories, surviving on Chinese takeaways-for-one and rereading their favourite books at home. When the library is threatened with closure, a ragtag band of eccentric locals establish the Friends of Chalcot Library campaign. There's gentlemanly pensioner Stanley, who visits the library for the computers and the crosswords, cantankerous Mrs B, who is yet to find a book she approves of, and teenager Chantal, who just wants a quiet place to study away from home. But can they compel reclusive June to join their cause?

Apples never fall by Liane Moriarty

Joy Delaney and husband Stan have done well. Four wonderful grown-up children. A family business to envy. The golden years of retirement ahead of them. So when Joy Delaney vanishes - no note, no calls, her bike missing - it's natural that tongues will wag. How did Stan scratch his face? Why no answers from the police? And who was the stranger who entered and suddenly left their lives? What are they all hiding? But for the Delaney children there is a much more terrifying question: did they ever know their parents at all? Because the closer the family, the bigger the lie.

The late train to Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson

Gary Nelson has a routine for the commute to his rather dull job in the city. Each day, he watches as a woman on the train applies her make up in a ritual he now knows by heart. He's never dared to strike up a conversation - but maybe one day. Then one evening, on the late train to Gipsy Hill, the woman invites him to take the empty seat beside her. Fiddling with her mascara, she holds up her mirror and Gary reads the words 'HELP ME' scrawled in sticky black letters on the glass. From that moment, Gary's life is turned on its head. He finds himself on the run from the Russian mafia, the FSB and even the Metropolitan Police - all because of what this mysterious young woman may have witnessed. In the race to find out the truth, Gary discovers that there is a lot more to her than meets the eye.

The whistleblower by Robert Peston

In 1997, a desperate government clings to power; a hungry opposition will do anything to win. And journalist Gil Peck watches from the sidelines, a respected commentator on the sport of power politics. He thinks he knows how things work. He thinks he knows the rules. But when Gil's estranged sister Clare dies in a hit-and-run, he begins to believe it was no accident. Clare knew some of the most sensitive secrets in government. One of them might have got her killed. As election day approaches, Gil follows the story into the dark web of interests that link politics, finance and the media. And the deeper he goes, the more he realises how wrong he has been. Power isn't sport: it's war. And if Gil doesn't stop digging, he might be the next casualty.