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August 25, 2021
Scorching July 2021 was the hottest month since dependable meteorological record-keeping began 142 years ago. Thank you, global warming. Several mysteries published this August courageously confront other contemporary horrors, as well as notable historical tragedies and their present-day reverberations.
One such book is Marcia Muller's ICE AND STONE: A SHARON MCCONE MYSTERY. Our new reviewer Alison Gates was won over by Shoshone detective McCone's latest adventure, which "shines a light upon quite a few under-reported crises within the Native American community without exploiting the victims." This summer, marred by the discovery at the sites of Residential Schools of the unmarked graves of hundreds of Indigenous children, ICE AND STONE is an essential read.
So is Naomi Hirohara's CLARK AND DIVISION. According to reviewer Tracy Fernandez-Rysavy, Hirohara's "lyrical writing, engrossing mystery, and emotion-driven scenes make CLARK AND DIVISION a deeply moving, unputdownable work." Alan Parks' THE APRIL DEAD, set in 1970s Glasgow, explores right-wing terrorism along with the Glaswegian world of organized crime. RTE Co-editor Yvonne Klein recommends it.
Gates also enjoyed Seraphina Nova Glass' SUCH A GOOD WIFE, with its focus on the "double-edged sword" of privilege. Not a return to Stepford, Glass' skewering of suburban American uxorial expectations is far more chilling.
Anne Corey finds Daniel Silva's THE CELLIST attuned to "the critical issues of the world political situation," especially terrorism, as does Ben Coes's newest, engrossing Dewey Andreas mystery THE ISLAND. Sharon Mensing is deeply impressed by Peter Heller's world-building in THE GUIDE.
Need some lighter material? Jim Napier approves mightily of Mike Ripley's MR CAMPION'S COVEN, a "madcap" adventure featuring Albert Campion, the Golden Age detective originally created by Margery Allingham. Carol J. Perry’s BE MY GHOST, the first of a new series, exudes cozy spectral humor; PJ Coldren looks forward to future outings.
Dianne Freeman gives Georgette Heyer some competition with A FIANCEE'S GUIDE TO FIRST WIVES AND MURDER, the latest in her Countess of Harleigh series. PJ Coldren greatly enjoyed this mock-historical romp of a murder mystery. She was less impressed by Sheila Connolly's THE SECRET STAIRCASE. There is some darker humor in Mark Billingham’s RABBIT HOLE, an experiment in unreliable narratordom reviewed by Yvonne Klein. Ruth Castleberry was fascinated by another iconic detective mystery, Lynda LaPlante's UNHOLY MURDER, featuring Jane Tennison.
Love cats? There’s a cat named Whiskers in Gabby Allan's MUCH ADO ABOUT NAUTICALING, a promising book according to Ruth Castleberry. More cat-centric is Cate Conte's CLAWS FOR ALARM, which takes place at a cat café—a public coffee shop where rescued cats hang out, angling for adoption. We ought to have more of these institutions and delightful media representations of them can only help to achieve that goal. (My two cats, both rescues, agree.) Ruth Castleberry finds CLAWS FOR ALARM "riveting."
Our guest in the Sixty Seconds With...spot this week is Amber Garza. Look over to your left to see what she has to say for herself.
Our friends across the sea have been busy keeping up with what is going on in British crime. You can find out what they thought of it at CRIMEREVIEW.
And that's about that for August. We will be back in September with more reports from the world of fictional crime, so please come back. In the meantime, please drop us a note if you have a comment or a question or anything you want us to know and email either Yvonne or me. We look forward to hearing from you.
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