“When Maggie Taylor accepts a new job in Manchester, she is sure it is the right move for her family. The children have settled well although her husband, Duncan, doesn’t appear to be so convinced. But nothing prepares her for the shock of coming home from work one night to find that Duncan has disappeared, leaving their young children alone. His phone is dead, and she has no idea where he has gone, or why. And then she discovers she’s not the only one looking for him.
“When a woman who looks just like Maggie is brutally murdered and DCI Tom Douglas is brought in to investigate, Maggie realises how little she knows about Duncan’s past. Is he the man she loves? Who is he running from? She doesn’t have long to decide whether to trust him or betray him. Because one thing has been made clear to Maggie - another woman will die soon, and it might be her.”
“1645. When Alice Hopkins’ husband dies in a tragic accident, she has no choice but to return to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives. But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witches, and of a great book, in which her brother is gathering women’s names. To what lengths will her brother’s obsession drive him? And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?”
“Henry VIII has ordered the dissolution of the monasteries. At the monastery of Scarnsea events have spiralled out of control with the murder of Commissioner Robin Singleton. Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer, and his assistant are sent to investigate.”
“A wealthy woman strangled 6 hours after she’s arranged her own funeral. A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own. A reluctant author drawn into a story he can’t control. What do they have in common? Unexpected death, an unsolved mystery and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of this thriller.”
“Simon Nye’s TV series The Durrells is based loosely on Gerald Durrell’s Corfu trilogy and in particular My Family and Other Animals. These books in turn are based somewhat loosely on actual events.
“Haag’s book covers the background to the Durrell family’s years in Corfu, including their time in India, where all the children were born, and where their father, a brilliant civil engineer, had died. Haag also tells the story of how the Durrells left Corfu, including Margo’s return intent on joining the Greek resistance, and Leslie’s romance in England with the family’s Corfite maid and friend, Maria Kondos.
“Further chapters cover what happened to the family in later life; here, Lawrence and Gerald Durrell’s biographies are well known, but little has previously been written of Margo, Leslie and Louisa. Haag has fascinating stories to tell of them all.”
A Perfect Spy, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Russia House by John le Carré, read by Michael Jayston
The recordings of these three spy novels, first published in 1974, 1986 and 1989 respectively, provide an ideal introduction to John le Carré’s impressive body of work.
“Introducing Luke Carlton - ex-Special Boat Service commando, and now under contract to MI6 for some of its most dangerous missions. Sent into the steaming Colombian jungle to investigate the murder of a British intelligence officer, Luke finds himself caught up in the coils of a plot that has terrifying international dimensions.
“Hunted down, captured, tortured and on the run from one of South America’s most powerful and ruthless drugs cartels and its psychotic leader thirsting for revenge, Luke is in a life-or-death race against time to prevent a disaster on a truly terrifying scale: London is the target, the weapon is diabolical and the means of delivery is ingenious.”
In The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:
“Discover Sherlock Holmes’s most memorable and intriguing cases, including adventures with mysterious masked strangers, ingenious heists, murderous plots, and hidden jewels.”
In The Sign of Four:
“The great detective’s melancholy mood is lifted by the arrival of attractive Mary Morstan. Her father vanished ten years ago but she has been receiving a large, lustrous pearl annually. She wants Holmes and Watson to accompany her to meet her benefactor.”
“Josephine Tey is in Cambridge, a town gripped by fear and suspicion as a serial rapist stalks the streets, and in the shadow of King’s College Chapel, Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose faces some of the most horrific and audacious murders of his career.”
“Southern fables usually go the other way around. A white woman is killed or harmed in some way, real or imagined, and then, like the moon follows the sun, a black man ends up dead.
“But when it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules - a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger working the backwoods towns of Highway 59, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about his home state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.
“So when allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he is drawn to a case in the small town of Lark, where two dead bodies washed up in the bayou. First a black lawyer from Chicago and then, three days later, a local white woman, and it’s stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes - and save himself in the process - before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.”
“Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.
“Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. As Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets - not all her own - that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances.”
“Set against the backdrop of New Orleans, Detective Dave Robicheaux is fighting his demons to overcome his toughest case yet. Powerful mob boss Tony Nemo has a Civil War sword he’d like to give to Levon Broussard, a popular local author whose books have been adapted into major Hollywood films. The sword’s history can be traced back to Broussard’s ancestors, and Tony figures it belongs to Levon.
“But Tony’s intentions aren’t so pure; he believes the gift will lead to a slice of Broussard’s lucrative film adaptations.”
“On the quayside next to the Endless Beach sits the Summer Seaside Kitchen. It’s a haven for tourists and locals alike. Flora, who runs the cafe, feels safe and content - unless she thinks too hard about her relationship with Joel, her gorgeous but emotionally (and physically) distant boyfriend.
“While Flora is in turmoil about her relationship, her best friend Lorna is pining after the local doctor. Saif came to the island as a refugee, having lost all of his family. But he’s about to get some shocking news which will change everything for him. As cold winter nights shift to long summer days, can Flora find her happy-ever-after with Joel?”
“Set over four days against the backdrop of the Munich Conference of September 1938, this story follows the fortunes of two men who were friends at Oxford together in the 1920s. Hugh Legat is a rising star of the British diplomatic service, serving in 10 Downing Street as a private secretary to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. Paul von Hartmann is on the staff of the German Foreign Office - and secretly a member of the anti-Hitler resistance.
“They have not been in contact for more than a decade. But when Hugh flies with Chamberlain from London to Munich, and Paul travels on Hitler’s train overnight from Berlin, their paths are set on a collision course - with dramatic results.”
“Cass Wheeler - a British singer-songwriter, hugely successful since the early 70s, whose sudden disappearance from the music world three decades later has been the subject of intense speculation among her fans - is in the studio that adjoins her home, taking a journey back into her past. Her task is to choose 16 from among the hundreds she has written since her early teens, for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits record, describing the arc of her life through song.”
“Vicky Lewis is a force to be reckoned with: not yet 30 and already crew manager in the London Fire Brigade, she’s destined for great things.
“But when she enters a burning building to save a man’s life and leaves it with catastrophic injuries, all that changes. She’s shunted over to the Fire Investigation Unit, where she’s forced to team up with cantankerous veteran Des Farmer, aka the Grouch.
“When Vicky stumbles across the Grouch’s off-the-books investigation into the fiery deaths of a series of young, blonde women, she decides to join him in his search for the truth. The answer is close - perhaps too close. Vicky’s already been burnt once, and now she’s playing with fire.”
“Los Angeles can be a dangerous city - never more so than in the dead of night. Detective Renee Ballard, once one of the department’s young hotshots, now works ‘The Late Show’, the notorious graveyard shift at the LAPD. It’s a thankless job keeping strange hours in a twilight world of tragedy and violence, handing over her investigations as the sun rises, never getting closure. Some nights are worse than others.
“And tonight is the worst yet. Two cases: a brutal assault, and a multiple murder with no suspect. Ballard knows it is always darkest before dawn. But what she doesn’t know is how deep her dual investigation will take her into the dark heart of her city, her department and her past.”
“In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs - a loving husband, a career, and a home - but the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much - raising two children in a tiny hut, she and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads - but she wants a better education for her gifted son.
“Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset - her womb - to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true. Together, the two women discover the best and the worst that India’s rising surrogacy industry has to offer, bridging continents and cultures to bring a new life into the world - and renewed hope to each other.”
“On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter - the one that only her best friend was meant to see - then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding.
“On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she never would have met Zillah and Conor - not to mention Lucas. And she’d never have found out just how much life there is to be lived.”
“Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, Colin Thatcher seems at first like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.
“Colin’s job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia’s mother, Eve, and Detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.”
“Ani FaNelli seems to have it all: a glamorous job at a glossy magazine; an enviable figure with the wardrobe to match; and a handsome fiancé from a distinguished blue blood family. But Ani FaNelli is an invention, that veneer of perfection carefully assembled in an attempt to distance herself from a shocking, sordid past.
“As her wedding draws near, a documentary producer invites Ani to speak about the chilling incident that took place when she was a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School. Determined once and for all to silence the whispers of suspicion and blame, Ani must weigh her options carefully, when telling the whole truth could destroy the picture-perfect life she’s worked so hard to create.”
“Iris and Will have been married for seven years, and their marriage is as close to perfect as it can be. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Florida, Iris’ happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and, according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers.
“Grief stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else had he lied about?
“As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.”
The third title in the popular Mithermages fantasy series.
“One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe, from his introduction in bestselling author Timothy Zahn’s classic Heir to the Empire through his continuing adventures in Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, and beyond. But Thrawn’s origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power — and infamy.”
“As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance — now a fledgling New Republic — presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but he’s taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.
“Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, former rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world—war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’s urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn’t know is just how close the enemy is — or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.
“Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on Norra and her newfound allies — her technical-genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector — who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire’s oppressive reign once and for all.”
“Not bored to death but murder most foul…
“Celebrated author John Heppel is known in Lochdubh as a self-important bore, prone to belittling the scribblings of the locals in his creative writing class. So when he’s found dead, his mouth oozing ink, it seems a fitting fate. But for PC Hamish Macbeth, the murder is more than a disruption of idyllic village life - especially when the media arrive, trailing in their wake DCI Heather Meikle, a maneater with a taste for bachelor police constables.
“Hamish must rekindle an old flame to escape her clutches and pull out all the stops to find the killer.”
“Amy thought she knew everything there was to know about her best friend Melissa. Then again, Amy also thought she was on the verge of the wedding of her dreams to her long-distance fiancé.
“Until she pays a surprise trip home to London. Jack is out, but it’s clear another woman has been making herself at home in their flat.
“There’s something about her stuff that feels oddly familiar … and then it hits Amy. The Other Woman is Melissa.
“Amy has lost her home, her fiancé and her best friend in one disastrous weekend – but instead of falling apart, she’s determined to get her own back.
“Piecing her life back together won’t be half as fun as dismantling theirs, after all.”
“Dead Woman’s Ditch. The site of a grisly 200-year-old murder – and a recent hit and run. When a young woman’s body is found at the macabre landmark in Somerset’s Quantock Hills, DI Mike Lockyer and Sergeant Jane Bennett are called in to investigate.
“They find a community gripped by fear and superstition. The locals won’t venture out at night, believing there’s a man stalking the hills; a phantom cloaked in folklore and legend, keeping the sinister legacy of Dead Woman’s Ditch alive.
“Confronted by a hostile CID team and a murder victim with close ties to their own squad, Lockyer and Bennett will have to accept what they can’t see before they can find what’s really there…”
“Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved.
“In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey – with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake – through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride.”
“In the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son’s red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year – a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river and drowned. His body was never recovered.
“Ten years later, Emma has finally rediscovered the joy in life. She’s married, pregnant and in control again … until Aiden returns. Too traumatised to speak, he raises endless questions and answers none. Only his body tells the story of his decade-long disappearance. The historic broken bones and injuries cast a mere glimpse into the horrors Aiden has experienced. Aiden never drowned. Aiden was taken. As Emma attempts to reconnect with her now teenage son, she must unmask the monster who took him away from her.
“But who, in their tiny village, could be capable of such a crime? It’s Aiden who has the answers, but he cannot tell the unspeakable.”
The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, read by Stephen Fry
More classic Sherlock Holmes tales brought to life by the iconic voice of Stephen Fry.
“It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
“But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.
“The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath …”
“A sweltering heat wave hits a tiny village in Southern Italy, sending the adults to seek shelter, while their children bicycle freely throughout the countryside, playing games and getting into trouble. When the gang find a dilapidated farmhouse, nine-year-old Michele Amitrano makes a discovery so momentous he dare not tell a soul. It is a secret that will force Michele to question everything and everyone around him.”