This one needs no introduction. It is the fifth novel in the Da Vinci Code series. There will be science, codes, religion, history and art, and it will be a huge bestseller. We’re buying plenty of copies but I would advise you to get your reservation in quickly.
“P.D. James was often commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a special short story for Christmas. As the six tales presented here unfold, the dark motive of revenge is revealed at the heart of each. Bullying schoolmasters receive their comeuppance, unhappy marriages and childhoods are avenged, a murder in the small hours of Christmas Day puts an end to the vicious new lord of the manor, and, from the safety of his nursing home, an octogenarian exerts exquisite retribution.”
This is a must for Ruth Rendell fans. This is the first time these stories have been collected together under Rendell’s name and seven out of the nine have never been published in book form:
“A businessman boasts about cheating on his wife, only to find his own back to the wall. A beautiful country rectory reverberates to the echo of a historical murder. A compulsive liar finds herself caught out by an act of impulsive revenge. Atmospheric, mysterious and never predictable, these are among the nine short stories of dark deeds and heart-stopping suspense collected here for the first time.”
Edward St Aubyn, who laid bare the cruelties of his own father in his autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels, gives his take on another tyrannical patriarch, King Lear, in the latest of the Hogarth Shakespeare series:
“Henry Dunbar, the once all-powerful head of a global corporation, is not having a good day. In his dotage he handed over care of the family firm to his two eldest daughters, Abby and Megan. But relations quickly soured, leaving him doubting the wisdom of past decisions. Now imprisoned in a care home in the Lake District with only a demented alcoholic comedian as company, Dunbar starts planning his escape.
“As he flees into the hills, his family is hot on his heels. But who will find him first, his beloved youngest daughter, Florence, or the tigresses Abby and Megan, so keen to divest him of his estate?”
Diane Chamberlain is hugely popular here in Suffolk, so we are expecting a long waiting list for this one:
“In 1944, 23-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina. Hickory is a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love.
“Tess quickly realises she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out. The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed for the death. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not?”
Henning Mankell’s last novel, published after his death, deals with love, loss and loneliness:
“Fredrik Welin is a 70-year-old retired doctor. Years ago he retreated to the Swedish archipelago, where he lives alone on an island. He swims in the sea every day, cutting a hole in the ice if necessary. He lives a quiet life. Until he wakes up one night to find his house on fire.
“Fredrik escapes just in time, wearing two left-footed wellies, as neighbouring islanders arrive to help douse the flames. All that remains in the morning is a stinking ruin and evidence of arson. The house that has been in his family for generations and all his worldly belongings are gone. He cannot think who would do such a thing, or why. Without a suspect, the police begin to think he started the fire himself.”
John Banville channels Henry James in this sequel to James’ masterpiece The Portrait of a Lady:
“Having fled Rome and a stultifying marriage, Isabel Osmond is in London, brooding on the recent disclosure of her husband’s shocking, years-long betrayal of her. What should she do now, and which way should she turn, in the emotional labyrinth where she has been trapped for so long? Reawakened by grief and the knowledge of having been grievously wronged, she determines to resume her youthful quest for freedom and independence. Soon Isabel must return to Italy and confront her husband, and seek to break his powerful hold on her. But will she succeed in outwitting him, and securing her revenge?”
“Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl. Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.”
Based on the poem The Child Ballads, this is a lovely poetic piece of writing weaving folklore and nature.
The 28th title in Jardine’s bestselling crime series:
“Former Chief Constable Bob Skinner is long out of the police force but trouble has a habit of following him around. So it is that he finds himself in the Palace of Westminster as a shocking act befalls the nation. Hours before the Prime Minister is due to make a controversial statement, she is discovered in her office with a letter opener driven through her skull. Is the act political? Personal? Or even one of terror?
“Skinner is swiftly enlisted by the Security Service to lead the investigation. Reunited with Met Police Commander Neil McIlhenney, he has 48 hours to crack the case - before the press unleash their wrath. There are many in the tangled web of government with cause to act. But the outcome will be one that not even Skinner himself could predict.”