Monday, November 25, 2013

Lydia's Party by Margaret Hawkins

It's January in Chicago and Lydia is having her annual party for her friends, which she's hosted for almost twenty years.  But this year, Lydia is filled with apprehension, knowing that she only has a couple of months to live and wondering how she'll tell her closest friends.  With most of the book taking place over one day, Lydia's regrets and the longings for things she wished she'd done differently are laid bare. Lydia's Party explores the issues of friendship and loss.  For readers who enjoy Stewart O'Nan. It will be published in January.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pagan Spring by G.M. Malliet

In this third mystery set in the village of Nether Monkslip, vicar Max Tudor is asked to assist the authorities with the investigation into the murder of Thaddeus Bottle, an actor/playwright who had recently moved back to the area.  Bottle, pompous and unfriendly, had made several enemies since his arrival.  His wife, Melinda, also has not been secretive that their marriage was an unhappy one.  Will Max's likable nature (and his MI5 background) help him find the killer? An enjoyable, leisurely-paced cozy. Perfect for readers who enjoy the Penny Brannigan series by Elizabeth J. Duncan and Caroline Graham's Chief Inspector Barnaby mysteries.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith

Change, though extremely positive, is afoot at the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Mma Ramotswe wonders how she can broach the subject of maternity leave with Mma Makutsi--even though Mma Makutsi has not revealed that she's pregnant. Once Mma Makutsi gives birth, Mma Ramotswe realizes how much she misses her and how integral Mma Makutsi is to the success of the agency. Despite being preoccupied with personal matters, Mma Ramotswe has two cases to solve. She's hired by a lawyer to figure out if the young man who says he's the nephew set to inherit local farm is an impostor or the rightful heir. The other case involves a beauty salon that someone is trying to slander. Can Mma Ramotswe find the culprit before the place goes out of business? With McCall Smith's trademark coziness and light touch, he creates another winner.

Monday, November 11, 2013

What We've Lost is Nothing by Rachel Louise Snyder

When the homes in a suburban Oak Park, Illinois cul-de-sac are burgled in the middle of the afternoon, all the residents' lives are thrown off-kilter. Teenager Mary Elizabeth starts hanging out with bad boy Caz. Her mother, Susan, who works at the Oak Park Community Housing Office, has her faith in racial unity questioned. Michael, her father, becomes angry and is sure that the cousins of the Cambodian family in the neighborhood are involved in the crime. Arthur Gardenia, a victim of day blindness, is reminded again of how his illness has isolated him. Sary and Dara, the Cambodians, become convinced that they were robbed because they have ignored their ancestors since they've come to the United States. Taking place over three days, the reader sees the characters' lives spin slowly out of control. Dealing with issues of race, class, and crime, What We've Lost is Nothing would make a good book discussion title.  It will be published in January.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson

DCI Alan Banks and his team are investigating the death of Gavin Miller. Down on his luck after being let go for sexual harassment from his professorial post at a local university, Miller is found with 5,000 pounds in his pocket. As the case proceeds, Banks learns that the claims against Miller were false and that Miller was very politically active during college in the early 1970's.  Banks is especially suspicious about a seven minute phone call between Miller and Lady Veronica Chalmers a week before he died.  Lady Chalmers denies knowing Miller, even though someone on Bank's team discovers that they went to university together.  Is there a connection between Miller and Lady Chalmers or is Miller's death related to the erroneous statements made about him?  In Children of the Revolution, Robinson fills his mystery with the step-by-step investigation undertaken by Banks and his team and the interpersonal relationships between them.  It will be published in March.