Final collection of stories from the much missed Helen Dunmore, published a year after her death:
“In this remarkable, innovative and moving final collection of stories, Helen Dunmore explores the fragile ties between familial love, motherhood, friendship and grief. Capturing the passion, joy, loss, longing and loneliness we encounter as we navigate our way through life, each story sets out on a journey, of adventure, new beginnings, reflection and contemplation.”
This standalone novel is more of a psychological thriller than we are used to from Mick Herron and there is plenty of heart-stopping suspense. It should keep his readers happy until the next Slough House book comes out.
“26-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in the huge city of London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in the way of friends, Maggie is just the kind of person who could vanish from the face of the earth without anyone taking notice. Or just the kind of person MI5 needs to infiltrate the establishment and thwart an international plot that puts all of Britain at risk.
“Now one young woman has the chance to be a hero - if she can think quickly enough to stay alive.”
One of DI Tom Thorne’s most harrowing cases begins with evidence that someone has been slaughtering cats. ‘Operation Felix’ is not seen as a high priority by Thorne’s boss but what if, instead of working up to homicide, the cat killer is actually cooling down in between human murders?
Tracy Borman has long been a Suffolk Libraries favourite and we interviewed her for Meet the Author last July. This is her first novel in a projected trilogy. As you would expect there is an absorbing plot and plenty of historical detail for anyone who enjoys reading about the post-Tudor period.
“As she helps to nurse the dying Queen Elizabeth, Frances Gorges longs for the fields and ancient woods of her parents’ Hampshire estate, where she has learned to use the flowers and herbs to become a much-loved healer. Frances is happy to stay in her beloved countryside when the new King arrives from Scotland, bringing change, fear and suspicion. His court may be shockingly decadent, but James’s religion is Puritan, intolerant of all the old ways; he has already put to death many men for treason and women for witchcraft.
“So when her ambitious uncle forcibly brings Frances to court, she is trapped in a claustrophobic world of intrigue and betrayal - and a ready target for the twisted scheming of Lord Cecil, the King’s first minister.”
Cat Person was the New Yorker short story that went viral. It became the most read online story the magazine had ever published. It explores how badly people can misread each other, and also how frightening and difficult sexual encounters can be for women in particular.
“It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be?
“A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, and it is this journey - through reality, recollection, and imagination - that is told in this magnificent novel.”
Strictly speaking this is a May title but it would have been a shame to miss it. Warlight is Michael Ondaatje’s first novel since 2012’s The Cat’s Table.
This is a novel that is likely to split the jury. On the one hand it is beautifully written, as you would expect from the author of The English Patient, but you may need to suspend your disbelief in places.
“When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark and the threats are getting increasingly aggressive: she needs to get her hands on some cash fast.
“There’s just one problem - Hal’s real grandparents died more than twenty years ago. The letter has been sent to the wrong person. But Hal knows that the cold-reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. If anyone has the skills to turn up at a stranger’s funeral and claim a bequest they’re not entitled to, it’s her.
“Hal makes a choice that will change her life for ever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life…”
Family secrets, fortune telling and intrigue set in a gothic mansion. This is as twisty and dark as we have come to expect from Ruth and it will keep you jumping until the last page.
“Bruno, now Chief of Police for the whole Vézère Valley, has an unusual challenge to rise to: teaching at his friend Pamela’s new cookery school. It is a daunting prospect - the disappearance of one of the school’s pupils almost serves as a welcome distraction.
“When the woman’s body is discovered in one half of a double homicide, the evidence points to something far out of the ordinary. The other murder victim is a man, covered in combat scars and with a false passport. Investigations reveal a list of enemies as long as Bruno’s arm. Any one of them would have had good reason to kill him - but which group managed it? And how did they find him?
“As more of their mystery man’s previous life is revealed, Bruno realises that there may be more intended victims in the vicinity. Now he must conduct the biggest manhunt in St Denis’ history to find the killers before they strike again.”