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2010-2011 Book Club Reads

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2011 Selections

Dec 2011

Medicus - Ruth Downie
(Gaius Petreius Ruso Series, No 1)
Divorced and down on his luck, Gaius Petreius Ruso has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. In a moment of weakness, after a straight thirtysix- hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to compassion and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner.

Now he has a new problem: a slave who won’t talk and can’t cook, and drags trouble in her wake. Before he knows it, Ruso is caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar. Now Ruso must summon all his forensic knowledge to find a killer who may be after him next. AMAZON -- Downie's CTT booklist

Nov 2011

City of Dragons - Kelli Stanley
(Miranda Corbie #1) A Japanese man should not find himself in San Francisco's Chinatown of 1940, especially not at the end of a Rice Bowl festival designed to raise relief funds for the victims of Japan's imperial ambitions in China. Unfortunately, that's precisely where Eddie Takahashi, a small-time hood, falls murdered at Miranda Corbie's feet. Corbie, a hard-living, foul-mouthed female PI with a deeply troubled past, finds the police department's swift dismissal of the case a spur for her own investigation. The more she delves into the case, the more dangerous it becomes for her. Winner of the Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award, this novel is a dark, gritty, noir inhabited by bigots, smugglers, gangsters, corrupt cops, hard-drinking reporters, prostitutes, and murderers united by two things--greed and fear.AMAZON -- Stanley's CTT booklist

(Warning: explicit language.)

Oct 2011

Murder in Burnt Orange - Jeanne M. Dams
(Hilda Johansson No 7) In the summer of 1905, South Bend, Indiana swelters under a terrible heat wave. Hilda, who has moved into the middle classes from the ranks of servants by her marriage to Patrick Cavanaugh, is expecting her first child. She is also bored witless. To take her mind off her limitations, not all of them physical, her family asks her to undertake the investigation of certain local crimes, including a train jumping from the tracks. When the men behind the crimes threaten her family, solving the mystery becomes imperative for Hilda. AMAZON -- Dams' CTT booklist

Sept 2011

The Winter Queeen - Boris Akunin
(Erast Fandorin, No 1) We meet Erast Fandorin for the first time in Moscow in 1876. He is a low level clerk (collegiate registrar) in police service, and he thinks there is something wrong with a clearly observed, totally public act of suicide committed by a university student in the Alexander Gardens. Like the deceased, Fandorin is a noble; unlike the deceased, he has got no money. He has to use his quick wits and wild leaps of imagination to chase down the inamorata, a Cleopatra-like beauty, of the deceased. The hunt introduces him to bored nobles who play decadent, daredevil games of chance and leads him across Europe to England then back to Russia. In the process, he unravels a fantastical international conspiracy. AMAZON

Aug 2011

Execution Dock - Anne Perry
(Monk Series, No 16) "Set in 1864, bestseller Perry's outstanding 16th novel to feature William Monk (after Dark Assassin) finds Monk suffering from a series of hard knocks, including memory loss. Now superintendent of the Thames River Police Force, Monk is on the verge of closing the books on Jericho Phillips, a particularly nasty villain who specializes in child pornography. Monk and his team catch Phillips, but what appears to be an airtight murder case springs leaks and ends with the accused's acquittal. Many in authority view the judgment as a rebuke to the river police, whose existence as a separate force is threatened. Convinced that he got the right man, despite the jury's verdict, Monk devotes himself to setting the record straight. Monk's wife, Hester, who works with London's downtrodden, provides support. Rich in plot development, believable characters and period detail, this entry will only add to Anne Perry's fans. AMAZON

July 2011

Buckingham Palace Gardens - Anne Perry
(Thomas Pitt, No 25) The detecting and diplomatic skills of Thomas Pitt, now assigned to the Special Branch, are tested as never before in bestseller Perry's solid 25th novel to feature the Victorian sleuth (after 2005's Long Spoon Lane). In 1893, the discovery of a prostitute's mutilated corpse in a Buckingham Palace cupboard after a stag party presided over by the prince of Wales could spell political disaster for the monarchy. Pitt soon eliminates the members of the sizable household staff as suspects, narrowing his focus to the prince himself and his close friends, who, it turns out, have been planning a major construction project in Africa—a railway that would run from South Africa to Egypt. Though the sensitive nature of Pitt's assignment precludes any active involvement by Charlotte, his wife and partner in earlier cases, he's able to place her maid, Gracie Phipps, on the palace staff to assist him. Perry does a nice job with some plot twists, even if most readers will quickly discount the heir to the throne of England as a viable suspect AMAZON

June 2011

The Rhetoric of Death by Judith Rock
(Charles du Luc #1) In 1686, Maître Charles du Luc comes to Paris to take up his duties at the Jesuit school Louis le Grand. Part of those duties includes helping to produce the annual ballet, a production of enormous importance to the school. He knows nothing of Paris, little of court politics, but more than enough about forcible conversion of Huguenots in the wake of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. No sooner has du Luc arrived than one of the senior students and a principal dancer in the ballet is murdered. Almost immediately thereafter, the deceased young man’s little brother is almost killed. Driven by curiosity and desire to find the killer and protect the little boy, Maître du Luc becomes embroiled in the investigation. He breaks his vow of obedience, questions his vocation, and imperils both his life and his soul. AMAZON

May 2011

The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas
(stand alone) Barbara of Austria comes to Ferrara as the bride of Alfonso II d'Este. She has not entered the city itself before the whispers drip into her ears like Medici or Borgia poison--Duke Alfonso murdered his first duchess, Lucrezia de Medici. Barbara is intelligent, curious, and devout--these characteristics pull her in different directions--with the hauteur (and the jaw) of the imperial Habsburg family. Determined for her own peace of mind in her marriage, Barbara seeks the truth. It leads her amongst many dangerous, secretive people, through some complicated Renaissance politics, and into fraught, perilous situations. AMAZON

(Title listed as Historical at Amazon; but those who've read it on CTT say it's a HM title... )

April 2011

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd
(Bess Crawford series, No 1; 1916; British) The winning first in a new WWI series from the bestselling mother-son Todds introduces Bess Crawford, a resourceful British army nurse who's injured when her ship is sunk in 1916. While convalescing in England, Bess is tormented because she's put off delivering a message from Arthur Graham, a dying soldier under her care for whom she'd developed strong feelings, to his family. Her own brush with death prompts her to travel to Kent and transmit Arthur's cryptic last words to one of his three brothers. Bess becomes further enmeshed in the family's affairs after she learns the obscure message may relate to Graham's half-brother, Peregrine, who was committed to a local asylum for a girl's murder years before. The more Bess seeks to sate her curiosity, the more she suspects that the truth about the murder was suppressed. AMAZON

March 2011

A Monstrous Regiment of Women - Laurie R. King
(Russell/Holmes #2) It is now 1920, and Mary Russell, Oxford scholar of theology and chemistry, attains her majority and rekindles a friendship. After Oxford, Veronica Beaconsfield has devoted herself to good works and to the New Temple to God--a religious center founded by Margery Childe, a feminist mystic. The Temple is a center of women for women by women. Yet, someone finds it necessary to smuggle and sell drugs and to kill women--all of whom have strong connections to the Temple. Mary Russell takes the case, and using many of Sherlock Holmes's own methods, she makes some startling discoveries, both criminal and personal. Of course, she does periodically seek the counsel and comfort of Sherlock Holmes . . . AMAZON

February 2011

Evil for Evil - James R. Benn
(Billy Boyle series, No 4) A twisting, turning plot drives Benn's gripping fourth WWII mystery to feature Lt. Billy Boyle (after 2008's Blood Alone). Billy, a former Boston cop and a nephew by marriage to General Eisenhower, on whose staff he serves, receives orders in late 1943 to look into a raid on a U.S. Army depot in Northern Ireland. The thieves took 50 new Browning automatic rifles plus 200,000 rounds of ammunition. A few miles from the depot, the body of a known IRA man was found shot in the back of the head with a pound note in his hand—the mark of an informer. Billy's military superiors suspect the Germans are supporting an IRA uprising. As an Irish-American whose family is sympathetic to the Republican cause, Billy struggles to remain impartial as he investigates the various factions on both sides of the Catholic-Protestant divide. Benn offers no easy answers in this rich mix of Irish history and wartime intrigue.    AMAZON

January 2011

Jade Lady Burning - Martin Limon
(Sueño and Bascom #1) In this debut novel, Limon presents us with Seoul, South Korea during the early 1970s. The Vietnam War is still on, and there are lots of military troops in South Korea. The US Army has its own investigators to deal with crimes committed by military personnel. Enter George Sueño (the more thoughtful of the two) and Ernie Bascom. They have to determine if an American GI really did kill a local "business girl". Nobody, including the Korean National Police, are much interested in solving the case, and Sueño and Bascom have to fight a conspiracy of official indifference as much as they must navigate their sordid surroundings and manipulate their underworld contacts. The investigators have much more sympathy for and understanding of "the business girls" than they do for either their military superiors or the GIs. AMAZON

  (Jady Lady Burning takes place during the1970s and is not considered an Historical Mystery by CTT definition: 50 yrs/publishing date)   

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2010 Selections

Dec 2010 --- not avail on Yahoo calendar

Nov 2010

Last Seen in Massilia - Steven Saylor
(Gordianus the Finder #7) Civil war rages as the Republic nears its end. The city of Massilia, Greek in origin yet Roman in allegiance, holds out for Pompey against Julius Caesar's siege. Into this maelstrom of war, passion, and betrayal rides Gordianus the Finder. He seeks the truth about his son Meto: Is he alive or dead? Is or was he a spy for or a traitor to Caesar? In order to obtain answers, Gordianus sneaks into the besieged city, falls into the hands of the Scapegoat, and watches a woman be pushed to her death from Sacrifice Rock--both a murder and an impiety. Gordianus launches his own investigation into that death only to find old enemies and hard, unpalatable truths that force him to a shocking decision.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

Oct 2010 --- Read not avail on Yahoo calendar

Sept 2010

Mad Hatter's Holiday by Peter Lovesey
(4th in series) Brighton in 1882 is the setting of this novel of crime and tangled emotions. Albert Moscrop, a visitor whose holiday is dedicated to peering through a telescope at the seaside scene, marches down Queen’s Road to the beach and draws us through a sequence of disarmingly trivial observations into a compelling drama, played in the fashionable haunts of the nineteenth-century resort: beach, piers, promenade, swimming bath, aquarium, and Devil’s Dyke.

A keen student of human nature, Moscrop concentrates his interest on one particular family of holidaymakers—the Protheros, and especially the beautiful Zena Prothero, whose husband appears to take her excessively for granted. Gradually Moscrop moves into the circle of the Prothero family, only to become involved in a sensational murder. All Brighton is horrified by the gruesome crime. The local police seek the help of Scotland Yard, which is provided in the persons of Sergeant Cribb and Constable Thackeray. These indomitable detectives soon find themselves challenged by the strangest case of their careers, one that is as mystifying as it is macabre.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

Aug 2010

The Black Tower - Louis Bayard
(stand alone) It is 1818 in the France of the Restoration, yet the horrors, excesses, and secrets of Revolution abound. Keeping these secrets means inevitable murder. Young Dr. Hector Carpentier is feckless, timid, unprepossessing, and broke. He's barely a medical student, let alone a physician. Yet, a murdered man carried his name and address on a slip of paper in his pocket. It makes no sense to the shocked Carpentier. From this point, Eugene Francois Vidocq unravels the tangled threads of conspiracy and murder that could upset the fragile French monarchy.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

July 2010

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
(stand alone) In Barcelona, Spain, 1945, the young hero, motherless and grieving Daniel finds solace in a magical and mysterious book, THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, by Julian Carax. Enchanted by the book, Daniel, who is the son of an antiquarian book dealer, begins looking for Julian Carax and all his other books--only to discover they have been destroyed. In fact, he possesses the only copy of any of Carax's books, and that possession puts him, and those close to him, in mortal danger. Daniel's quest to keep his book and his life and to learn the story of Julian Carax leads him into the story of a different, darker Barcelona--a Barcelona of murder, madness, and doomed love.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

June 2010

Fire Kimono - Laura Joh Rowland
(13th in series) Sano Ichiro is the central character in this series set in 1700s Japan. Sano is chamberlain and second in command to the Shogun. He is constantly fighting his rival Lord Matsudaira for power and the Shogun's favor. The Shogun if weak and rules ineffectually with these two constantly fighting behind his back. At this time a skeleton is unearthed and is turns out to be the cousin of the Shogun, murdered 40 yrs. ago. Sano begins to investigate and soon finds his mother accused of the crime. He must save her and find the real killer. He must also come to terms with secrets his mother has kept all his life. All of this provides fodder for Lord Matsudaira who sees a chance to oust his rival. This plot is complicated and has many auxiliary stories taking place alongside the main thread of murder.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

May 2010

Night Soldiers - Alan Furst
(stand alone) The story opens in Bulgaria in 1934 when Khristo Stoianev watches a man die at the hands of the local fascists. It becomes a poignant catalyst for his recruitment into the NKVD, the Soviet Union's spy network. After training, Khristo is then sent to Spain to support the Communist cause. Disillusionment and fear of falling to Stalin's purges, Khristo flees to Paris only to return to his profession--this time against the Nazis, this time all over Europe, this time to discover himself and, in time, haven.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

April 2010

The Convict's Sword - I. J. Parker
(5th in Sugawara Akitada series.) Lord Akitada made a vow to find the killer of his friend Haseo. Haseo was condemned to die in exile for a crime he did not commit. Now Lord Akitada is haunted by his vow and abandons his post temporarily so he can fulfill his vow. The only clue to his friend's past is the sword he left behind. Meanwhile Akitada's retainer, Tora, is investigating the violent death of a street singer and a smallpox outbreak that threatens the whole city. How these all weave together in a story of passion and redemption bring Japan of the 11th century vividly to life.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

March 2010

City of Silver - Annamaria Alfieri
(Standalone) Potosi, Peru, 1650 is not the Potosi of 1550. Oh, the Altiplano is still cold and barren, those from Spain still look down upon those who are Criollo (born in the New World), both of those groups despise the Mestizo, and the Indians are despised and abused by all. But the silver that made Potosi so fabulously wealthy and world-renowned is almost played out. Added to this disaster is the problem of corrupted currency and corrupted souls. So who killed Inez Rojas de la Morada inside the convent where she'd fled from her father, the Alcalde? More importantly, how did they do it? And how is it connected to the murder of Santiago Yana, an Indian miner? Mother Maria Santa Hilda must find out before she herself becomes a victim of the Inquisition.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

February 2010

The September Society - Charles Finch
(Charles Lenox, book #2) This is the 2nd in the Charles Lenox series. Lady Annabelle comes to Charles Lenox in the early morning of a fall day in 1866 because her son, George, has disappeared from his room at Oxford. Oxford is Lenox's alma mater and so he returns there to investigate. He discovers a bizarre series of clues, including a murdered cat and a criptic card which refers to "The September Society". Lenox begins to feel the case is much deeper than it appears, when a student dies, a victim of foul play. Does The September Society have anything to do with it? Is there a spector from the past haunting gentle Oxford? Lenox must race to discover the truth before it comes searching for him. He is lucky to have the support of his devoted friends in London's upper crust, but will they also be in danger from this "spector"?

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

January 2010

The Westminster Poisoner - Susanna Gregory
(Thomas Chaloner #4) In this latest adventure, Thomas Chaloner is set by his employer, the fussy, prim Earl of Clarendon, to find the truth of who has murdered three clerks in the Painted Chamber, all by poison. Besides the manner of death, what do the victims have in common? Corruption? Blackmail? Regicide connections? And how does a disappeared Bernini bust play into the equation? Chaloner has to unravel the connections and discover the truth whilst dodging the results of Clarendon's poor judgment. That, in itself, is not an easy task, and Chaloner's life hangs in the balance in a London that is both a physical and a moral cesspool. It almost makes one long for the days of Oliver Cromwell.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA



1999-2001 Book Club Titles


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