Private Investigators

The Mystery Writers of America have announced Max Allan Collins and Ellen Hart as the 2017 Grand Masters, an award that recognizes “the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality.” It is the highest honor the association bestows.

Better dead by Max Allan Collins

Better Dead: The latest Nathan Heller Thriller from Max Allan Collins! It's the early 1950's. Joe McCarthy is campaigning to rid America of the Red Menace. Nate Heller is doing legwork for the senator, though the Chicago detective is disheartened by McCarthy's witch-hunting tactics. He's made friends with a young staffer, Bobby Kennedy, while trading barbs with a potential enemy, the attorney Roy Cohn, who rubs Heller the wrong way. Not the least of which for successfully prosecuting the so-called Atomic Bomb spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. When famous mystery writer Dashiell Hammett comes to Heller representing a group of showbiz and literary leftists who are engaged in a last minute attempt to save the Rosenbergs, Heller decides to take on the case. Heller will have to play both sides to do this, and when McCarthy also tasks Heller to find out what the CIA has on him, Heller reluctantly agrees. His main lead is an army scientist working for the C.I.A. who admits to Heller that he's been having misgivings about the work he's doing and elliptically referring to the Cold War making World War II look like a tea party. And then the scientist goes missing.

Return to Perdition by Max Allan Collins
Also available in: video

In the 1970s, Michael Satariano, Jr., returns to the United States from a Laos prison camp and is told that his whole family has been killed by mobsters and that he was listed as a casualty of the Vietnam War. Sent by the Justice Department to infiltrate organized crime and assassinate certain people, Michael is set on a road that will lead him to love and to Perdition, Kansas, where his family legacy lies waiting for discovery.

James Goodenough, whose family had originally settled in Connecticut from England brings his family to Ohio to carve out a new life for them in the Black Swamp in 1838. As swamp fever gradually picks off their children and they wrestle daily with survival. This course will see their family engulfed in tragedy and fifteen years later we pick up with their youngest son, Robert who has been running west since the trying to escape his memories of what happened, taking solace in a very different kind of tree--the redwoods and sequoias of California. But Robert's past catches up with him and he's forced to confront what he's running from and work out for himself that you can't run for ever. .

Amory Ames is looking forward to a tranquil period of reconnecting with reformed playboy husband Milo after an unexpected reconciliation following the murderous events at the Brightwell Hotel. However, she is drawn into another investigation when Serena Barrington asks her to look into the disappearance of valuable jewelry snatched at a dinner party. Amory agrees to help lay a trap to catch the culprit at a lavish masked ball hosted by the notorious Viscount Dunmore. But when one of the illustrious party guests is murdered, she is pulled back into the world of detection. Rumors swirl about Milo and a French film star. Once again, Amory and Milo must work together to solve a mystery set in the heart of 1930s society London.

Sara Walker's DIETLAND is not for the faint hearted.  It's a challenging read, thought provoking.  Box office tickets to Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton" are sold out through January 2017; if you can't see the play, then read about the infamous Hamilton/Burr conflict. Fans of GRANTCHESTER, recently shown on local PBS Masterpiece Mystery, will want to read the James Runcie story collections featuring Canon Sidney Chambers and Inspector Geordie Keating. 

Dietland by Sarai Walker

"A fresh and provocative debut novel about a reclusive young woman saving up for weight loss surgery when she gets drawn into a shadowy feminist guerilla group called "Jennifer"--equal parts Bridget Jones's Diary and Fight Club"--.

When auctioneer Wren Morgan begins cataloging the contents of the Campbell mansion, she's unprepared to find something that can't be appraised--a dead man. After the body turns out to be a criminal with ties to a recent jewel heist, Wren comes face-to-face with Death Bogart. A private eye and part-time bounty hunter, Death is searching for the stolen jewels needed to convict a murderer. Death finds a friend and willing ally in Wren, but they aren't the only ones searching for treasure. Two ruthless men are also on the hunt, and they will do anything to eliminate the competition. To survive, Death and Wren must solve two mysteries spanning a century and a half and outwit a pair of cold-blooded killers. Praise: "Ross' thoroughly entertaining debut combines smart details about the auction business with two engaging mysteries and a uniformly appealing cast. Fans of small-town cozies, especially those by Denise Swanson, will love this, as will mystery readers who double as thrift-store aficionados and followers of auction reality shows.

I spy.  This month the focus is on espionage, real and fictional.

From the bestselling author of Istanbul Passage--called a "fast-moving thinking man's thriller" by The Wall Street Journal--comes a sweeping, atmospheric novel of postwar East Berlin, a city caught between political idealism and the harsh realities of Soviet occupation. Berlin 1948. Almost four years after the war's end, the city is still in ruins, a physical wasteland and a political symbol about to rupture. In the West, a defiant, blockaded city is barely surviving on airlifted supplies; in the East, the heady early days of political reconstruction are being undermined by the murky compromises of the Cold War. Espionage, like the black market, is a fact of life. Even culture has become a battleground, with German intellectuals being lured back from exile to add credibility to the competing sectors. Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment--to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved. Changing sides in Berlin is as easy as crossing a sector border. But where do we draw the lines of our moral boundaries? Betrayal? Survival? Murder? Filled with intrigue, and the moral ambiguity of conflicted loyalties, Joseph Kanon's new novel is a compelling thriller and a love story that brings a shadowy period of history vividly to life.

"Being a Berlin cop in 1942 was a little like putting down mousetraps in a cage full of tigers. The war is over. Bernie Gunther, our sardonic former Berlin homicide detective and unwilling SS officer, is now living on the French Riviera. It is 1956 and Bernie is the go-to guy at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, the man you turn to for touring tips or if you need a fourth for bridge. As it happens, a local writer needs just that, someone to fill the fourth seat in a regular game that is the usual evening diversion at the Villa Mauresque. Not just any writer. Perhaps the richest and most famous living writer in the world: W. Somerset Maugham. And it turns out it is not just a bridge partner that he needs; it's some professional advice. Maugham is being blackmailed--perhaps because of his unorthodox lifestyle. Or perhaps because of something in his past, because once upon a time, Maugham worked for the British secret service, and the people now blackmailing him are spies."--.

What We're Reading: August 2015

Murder Will Out: May 2015

May is Mystery Month and what better way to celebrate than with a good mystery?

 

The unquiet dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan

The kings of London by William Shaw

Mr. Monk and the new lieutenant by a novel by Hy Conrad ; based on the USA Network television series created by Andy Breckman

Too bad to die by Francine Mathews

Beyond limits by Laura Griffin

Murder on the Champ de Mars by Cara Black

What We're Reading August 2014

Reading suggestions from Canton Public Library staff.

The Mangle Street murders by M.R.C. Kasasian

Double agent: the first hero of World War II and how the FBI outwitted and destroyed a Nazi spy ring by Peter Duffy

The end of your life book club by Will Schwalbe

The Late Starters Orchestra by Ari L. Goldman

Far gone by Laura Griffin

Murder Will Out: June 2014

The Golden Calf by Helene Tursten ; Translation by Laura A. Wideburg

Good as gone by Douglas Corleone

Her brother's keeper: a Joan Spencer mystery by Sara Hoskinson Frommer

The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis

Illegally iced by Jessica Beck

Murder Will Out September, 2013

Lynn Raimondo and Seth Harwood make their Mystery Debut this month.

A fete worse than death by Claudia Bishop

Bad Little Falls by Paul Doiron

Dante's wood: a Mark Angelotti novel by Lynne Raimondo

Gun machine by Warren Ellis

In broad daylight: a Jess Harding novel by Seth Harwood

What We're Reading August 2013

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