Six very different crime novels, from a present-day psychological suspense to a murder mystery set in Victorian London.

The selection of books we discussed at our last meeting bears out the fact that we all enjoy very different elements of the crime fiction genre. We hope you find something here that you’d like to read.

The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly
The latest book in the Lincoln Lawyer series featuring Mickey Haller. When the police discover the dead body of one of his clients in the boot of his car, Haller finds himself on trial for murder. Arrested and sent to remand prison, he elects to defend himself with the help of his team. But proving his innocence won’t be enough on its own. He also needs to find the real killer to clear his name and reputation. This story is set during the winter of 2019/2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with all its panic buying and fights in the supermarkets. Freyja says this is the first book she’s read that mentions Covid-19 and incorporates the pandemic into the story. She says this is an interesting courtroom drama and gives it 4-Stars.

A Cold Death in Amsterdam by Anja de Jager
Book 1 in the Lotte Meerman series which Freyja tracked down at Rushden Library. Lotte is an experienced cold case detective who’s just finished a harrowing investigation into the murder of a young girl. Almost immediately she’s involved in another cold case, the killing of a financial fraudster on the day he was released from prison ten years earlier. Lotte’s own estranged father had been in charge of the original investigation and there are irregularities and missing case files to contend with, so it’s a complicated and slightly confusing case. What sets this apart is the portrayal of Lotte, a traumatised woman struggling with depression and PTSD. This doesn’t make it grim reading. Far from it because Lotte is entirely human but with a core of steel. In fact, most of the characters in this novel are very well described, as is Amsterdam in the grip of the coldest winter in decades. Both Freyja and Cornish Eskimo give this 4-Stars.

Oranges & Lemons by Christopher Fowler (a Bryant & May novel)
Book 18 in this classic crime series. Very well written, sometimes serious, sometimes funny, and a fascinating cast of characters. Arthur Bryant is the senior detective of the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU), based in London and he and John May are really getting a bit old to be police officers. At the start of this book the PCU has been disbanded and the team is waiting to be reassigned. Then an attack on the Speaker of the House of Commons requires their unique skills so they are hastily reassembled in temporary offices. More crimes follow and a murder hunt is under way for a killer who is following the old rhyme of “Oranges and Lemons”. Eve says this is a great read, quite moving in places and with laugh aloud moments. She rates it 4.5 Stars.

Who did you tell? by Lesley Kara
Astrid, a recovering alcoholic who is trying to turn her life around, returns home to live with her mother in a quiet seaside town, far away from the temptations of her previous life. But then she starts getting letters from someone who obviously knows what she’s running from. Feebs says that although she didn’t much like Astrid as a character this is a gripping psychological thriller. There are two twists in the story, one that Feebs saw coming and the other that was much more surprising! 4-Stars.

The Scorpion’s Tail by Preston & Child
Newbie FBI agent, Corrie Swanson, is given a case involving a 50-year-old mummified corpse that’s been discovered in a New Mexico ghost town. With the help of an archaeologist friend she determines the man died in 1945, caught in the detonation of the first atomic bomb in the New Mexican desert. “This tale of lost treasure is made more interesting because of the New Mexican setting, and even though the story is a bit lightweight it’s very readable.” 3 Stars from Cornish Eskimo.

Devil’s Garden by Aline Templeton
DC Livvy Murray is sent to work undercover in a small town in the Scottish Borders, after there have been reports of corruption at the local police station. Matters are complicated by a mystery involving a local best-selling author and her writer’s retreat. It’s also the dead of winter, just as the ‘Beast from the East’ storms arrive. This was the first book by Aline Templeton that Cornish Eskimo had read and it was an enjoyable whodunnit, so it won’t be the last. 4 Stars.

Hurrah! Oundle Crime has started meeting again. So if you’d like to attend our next get-together, drop an email to join@friendsofoundlelibrary.org.uk and we’ll send you the details. Everyone welcome.