An Uncertain Place By Fred Vargas, translated by Sian Reynolds, Vintage, 408 pages, $18.95
Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg is in London attending a police conference when a particularly gruesome discovery is made: a pile of shoes outside the entrance to historic Highgate Cemetery, each shoe containing a severed foot. On his return to Paris, Adamsberg must deal with the death and dismemberment of an elderly wealthy man, and it eventually becomes clear that the two cases are related.
The Notting Hill Mystery By Charles Warren Adams, The British Library/University of Chicago Press, 284 pages, $15
Forget Wilkie Collins and Émile Gaboriau; the first writer of modern detective fiction was Charles Warren Adams who, under the nom de plume Charles Felix, wrote The Notting Hill Mystery as an eight-part serial in 1862 and then published it in 1863 in a single volume. In the novel, Baron R___’s wife dies after drinking acid, apparently while sleepwalking. But insurance investigator Ralph Henderson discovers that the Baron has taken out numerous life-insurance policies on his wife – and that she was not the first well-insured Baroness to die suspiciously.
Death Comes to Pemberley By P.D. James, Vintage Canada, 291 pages, $22
P.D. James captures the cadences and storytelling quirks of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813). James sketches the inhabitants of the legendary, enviably rich house, and the surrounding families and friends, all of whom are working toward the grand annual autumn ball at Pemberley. The tale begins to seem more Jamesian when a hysterical Lydia, Lizzy's sister, arrives at Pemberley in a lurching chaise, screaming that her husband has been murdered. Also newly available is James’s The Black Tower, in which Commander Adam Dalgliesh investigates the death of an elderly friend in a home for the disabled.
The Damsel By Richard Stark, University of Chicago Press, 184 pages, $14
Alan Grofield, an associate of Richard Stark’s more famous thief, Parker, wakes up in his Mexico City hotel room (following the events in The Handle, an earlier Parker novel) to see a girl crawling through the window. Together, Grofield and the girl, Elly, travel through Mexico as they become embroiled in a political plot. Other newly republished Grofield novels: The Dame and The Blackbird.
Fadeaway Girl By Martha Grimes, New American Library, 323 pages, $16
Twelve-year-old sleuth Emma Graham, waitress and cub reporter, who was nearly murdered in Martha Grimes’s previous Emma novel, Belle Ruin, decides to solve the 20-year-old disappearance of a four-month-old baby. Apart from the delightful Emma herself, the novel contains numerous eccentric and colourful characters, from her family and inhabiting her mother’s shabby-genteel hotel.
Trackers By Deon Meyer, translated by K.L. Seegers, Vintage Canada, 486 pages, $22
This riveting tale has everything from a pair of rhinos to a gang of spies, as well as the oldest type of African adventure tale, the hunt. Deon Meyer brings back two of his finest hunters, the bodyguard Lemmer from Blood Safari and Mat Joubert, now retired from the police force and facing his first case as a private investigator. There are an attractive woman escaping from an abusive marriage, two rare black rhinos escaping from Zimbabwe, a missing person and an international terrorist on the prowl. The cases seem unrelated, but they come together in a huge collision.
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