Monday, April 30, 2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Harold Fry, retired and grown distant from Maureen, his wife of many years, is moved when he receives a letter from former co-worker, Queenie Hennessy.  Queenie has cancer and has written Harold to say goodbye, even though they haven't talked in over twenty years.  Harold decides to write back, but as he's posting the letter feels that his response to her is so inadequate that he begins walking to see her, believing that this will make her live, despite the fact that the journey is almost the length of England, north to south.  On his sojourn, Harold reflects on his marriage, his failings as a father to his son, David, and his own childhood.  The story is enlivened by the variety of people he meets on his trip across England with whom he tells his story to.  A charming, heartwarming book in the tradition of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, The Guide to the Birds of East Africa, and Emily, Alone.  It will be published in July.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi

Clare Moorhouse lives with her husband, Edward, in Paris where he is the deputy head of the British Embassy. Clare is tasked with preparing a last-minute dinner party for someone who could be instrumental in appointing Edward as the new ambassador to Ireland.  The reader follows Clare around Paris on this day as she shops for food for the party and gets her home ready for the big night.  Clare also gets an unexpected visit from her teenage son, Jamie, who is in trouble at boarding school.  To make her day even more stressful, her past--including a secret she's kept from her husband--comes to the forefront on this day.  Will Clare succeed in creating the perfect evening?  An Unexpected Guest is a thoughtful novel about marriage and motherhood that provides an inside view of the life of a diplomat's wife.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder

Sisters Zoe and Sally Benedict have been estranged for over twenty years because of a childhood incident. When teenager Lorne Wood, who was a friend of Sally's daughter, Millie, is found murdered, their paths finally cross again. Zoe is a police detective and is helping investigate Lorne's death. Sally, meanwhile, is struggling financially because of a recent divorce and worries about Millie's well-being. So worried, in fact, that she agrees to work for wealthy David Goldrab despite feeling uneasy around him. Her new job leads her on a darker path than she could have ever imagined. In Hanging Hill, Hayder creates a disturbing novel about two sisters each with their own issues who come together amid a search for a killer. For readers who enjoy Nicci French and The Burning by Jane Casey.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

The latest cases of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency are more personal and dire than usual. Fanwell, one of J.L.B. Matekoni's apprentices, finds himself involved in an old friend's shady dealings and Mma Potokwane's job as the head of the orphan farm is in jeopardy because of Rra Ditso's place on the farm's board. However, all is not lost because Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi have the help of none other than Clovis Andersen, author of The Principles of Private Detection, the book that the agency has relied on to help them with their toughest cases. Mr Andersen is in Botswana on vacation and the help he provides is invaluable. Meanwhile, Mma Makutsi and her husband, Phuti, are settling into married life and are building a luxurious new home, despite the worry that their builder might not be on the up-and-up. As usual, it is the setting and catching-up with the personal lives of the characters that are the strengths of the series rather than the mystery.

Monday, April 9, 2012

No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie

DI Gemma James and DS Duncan Kincaid are just coming back to London after visiting their families in Somerset to celebrate their recent marriage when Kincaid is called to assist on a case that could end up ending his career. Veteran aspiring Olympic rower Rebecca Meredith is murdered one evening when she's out rowing. Rebecca was also a DCI with the London Metropolitan Police and she accused Deputy Assistant Commissioner Angus Craig of raping her a year ago. Craig denied the allegation and Rebecca's boss asked her to keep quiet and promised he would get Craig to retire. However, Craig didn't until two weeks ago. Kincaid feels he's being asked to only look at Rebecca's ex-husband, Freddy, as a suspect rather than Craig, but he pushes forward with his investigation--considering both Freddy and Craig as likely culprits. With some help from Gemma and his co-worker, Doug, he hopes to find justice for Rebecca. In this latest book in the long-running series, Crombie fills her book with a good mystery and also forwards Gemma's and Kincaid's lives, as well as their children's (Kit, Toby, and their foster daughter, Charlotte).