Historical Fiction

Canton Seniors Book Discussion: May 26, 2016

Canton Seniors Book Group will meet on Thursday, May 26 from 2:00 PM-3:00 PM in Canton Public Library's Group Study Room A. We will be discussing KILLING PATTON by Bill O'Reilly.  Request a copy from the librarian at the Information Desk.

Upcoming sessions

There are no upcoming sessions available.

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."--.

On Wednesday, May 4 at 7:00PM, Allison Leotta and Con (Cornelius) Lehane will visit Aunt Agatha's Bookstore in Ann Arbor to sign their new books,  Allison's new legal thriller, The Last Good Girl is set in a thinly disguised Ann Arbor; Con's Murder at the 42nd Street Library .  On Sunday, May 15, History Mystery returns to Aunt Agatha's for an Open House at 1:00PM.  Visiting us will be Susanna Calkins, Sharan Newman, Candace Robb & Sam Thomas.  All except Sharan have new books out. Special guest will be Darcie Wilde, known to some of you as Sarah Zettel, who has a new Regency era mystery.  Steve Hamilton returns on Tuesday, May 17, 7:00PM.  to sign his new book, The Second Life of Nick Mason at the Ann Arbor District Library-Downtown.  

"Sabina Carpenter and John Quinncannon are no stranger to mysteries. In the five years since they opened Carpenter and Quinncannon, Professional Detective Services, they have solved dozens, but one mystery has eluded even them: Sherlock Holmes or, rather, the madman claiming his identity, who keeps showing up with a frustrating (though admittedly useful) knack for solving difficult cases. Roland W. Fairchild, recently arrived from Chicago, claims Holmes is his first cousin, Charles P. Fairchild the Third. Now, with his father dead, Charles stands to inherit an estate of over three million dollars--if Sabina can find him, and if he can be proved sane. Sabina is uncertain of Roland's motives (he will inherit if Charles can't), but agrees to take the case. John, meanwhile, has been hired by the owner of the Golden State brewery to investigate the "accidental" death of the head brew-master, who fell into a vat of his own beer, and drowned. When a second murder occurs, and the murderer escapes from under his nose, John finds himself on the trail not just of the criminals, but of his reputation for catching them. But while John is certain he can catch his quarry, Sabina is less certain she wants to catch hers. Holmes has been frustrating, but useful, even kind. She is quite certain he is mad, and quite uncertain what will happen when he is confronted with the truth. Does every mystery need to be solved?"--.

The language of secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan

"Detective Esa Khattak heads up Canada's Community Policing Section, which handles minority-sensitive cases across all levels of law enforcement. Khattak is still under scrutiny for his last case, so he's surprised when INSET, Canada's federal intelligence agency, calls him in on another potentially hot button issue. For months, INSET has been investigating a local terrorist cell which is planning an attack on New Year's Day. INSET had an informant, Mohsin Dar, undercover inside the cell. But now, just weeks before the attack, Mohsin has been murdered at the group's training camp deep in the woods. INSET wants Khattak to give the appearance of investigating Mohsin's death, and then to bury the lead. They can't risk exposing their operation, or Mohsin's role in it. But Khattak used to know Mohsin, and he knows he can't just let this murder slide. So Khattak sends his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, undercover into the small-town mosque which houses the terrorist cell. As Rachel tentatively reaches out into the unfamiliar world of Islam, and begins developing relationships with the people of the mosque and the terrorist cell within it, the potential reasons for Mohsin's murder only seem to multiply, from the political and ideological to the intensely personal. The Unquiet Dead author Ausma Zehanat Khan once again dazzles with a brilliant mystery carefully woven into a profound and intimate story of humanity"--.

Introducing new mysteries by new authors...

Speakers of the dead by J. Aaron Sanders

The year is 1843, the place, New York City. When reporter Walt Whitman's friend is hanged for the murder of her husband - a crime she did not commit - Walt vows to exonerate her. With the help of her estranged boyfriend, the two men uncover a link between body-snatching and the murder: a man called Samuel Clement. To get to Clement, Walt and Henry descend into a dangerous underworld where men steal the bodies of the recently deceased and sell them to medical colleges. A vibrant re-imagining of one of America's most beloved literary figures.
 

Dig two graves by Kim Powers

Ethan Holt won the decathlon at the Olympics and was jokingly nicknamed "Hercules"; now, in his late thirties, he's returned to his ivy-covered alma mater to teach, and to raise his young daughter Skip as a single father. After a hushed-up scandal over his Olympics win and the death of his wife in a car accident five years ago, Ethan wants nothing more than to forget his past. Skip is not only the light of Ethan's life--she is his life. Then, Skip is kidnapped. A series of bizarre ransom demands start coming in that stretch Ethan's athletic prowess to its limits, and he realizes with growing horror that they are modern versions of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, demanded in tricky, rhyming clues by someone who seems to have followed every step of Ethan's career.

 According to the latest Nielsen stats, the average American adult spends 11 hours per day with electronic media. Digital eye strain occurs after two or more hours of digital device use. Tech addicts would be well-served to give their eyes a rest with the easy-reading large print format.  Check out the newest releases now available in Large Print.

Channeling his inner Easy Rider, Serge Storms saddles up for his most epic, lethal, and hilarious road trip ever as he revvs off to find the lost American Dream . . . starting in the Florida Panhandle. Obsessed with the iconic Sixties classic Easy Rider, encyclopedic Floridaphile, lovable serial killer, and movie buff extraordinaire Serge A. Storms devises his wildest plan yet: finish the journey begun by his freewheeling heroes, Captain America and Billy, tragically cut short by some shotgun-wielding rednecks. Setting a course for the Florida panhandle, Captain Serge--with Coleman literally riding shotgun--mounts his classic motorcycle and hits the highway in search of the real America: the apple-pie-eating, freedom-swilling moms and pops of Main Street USA. But the America he finds in the rural burgs dotting the neck of the peninsula is a little bit different . . . and a whole lot weirder than anything Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper encountered. In a state where criminal politicians are more common than gators, Serge and Coleman discover one particular speed-trap locale so aggressively inept at corruption that investigators are baffled where to start. Expect nothing less than madness, mayhem, ingenious homicides, and mind-altering pharmaceuticals when Serge and Coleman's path intersects with the Sunshine State's hyper-dysfunctional rusticity. Where's Jack Nicholson when you need him?
 

"Brilliant, irascible and frequently frustrating to both his friends and his long-suffering bosses, John Rebus has made the dark places of Edinburgh his home for over two decades. The Beat Goes On collects all of Ian Rankin's Rebus short stories for the first time, including two never-before published tales written specifically for this collection. From his beginnings as a young Detective Constable in "Dead and Buried," right up to his dramatic, but not quite final, retirement in "The Very Last Drop," Rebus shines in these stories, confirming his status as one of crime fiction's most compelling, brilliant, and unforgettable characters. In these gripping, fast-paced tales, the legendary Scottish detective investigates the sinister cases that are his specialty, including a gruesome student death, the brutal murder of a woman at the crux of a love triangle, an audacious jewel heist, suspicious happenings at a nursing home, and an ominous email that brings a family's darkest secrets to light" -- provided by publisher.

Michigan native, author, and poet Jim Harrison passed on this weekend. Harrison's body of work included, "...21 volumes of fiction, including 'Legends of the Fall', a collection of three novellas whose title piece, about a Montana family ravaged by World War I, became a 1994 film starring Brad Pitt; 14 books of poetry; two books of essays; a memoir; and a children’s book." (New York Times) He was known for tales of outdoors and rural life in the U.P. and his rugged, masculine characters were often compared to those of Hemingway. Below we offer a selection of his works, many available on audio Book CD, in honor of his career. His 2016 release, The ancient minstrel : novellas, can be found on the New Book Shelf.

An epic Western saga about a woman and the three sons of a Montana rancher who love her, told against the backdrop of World War I.

Legends of the fall by Jim Harrison

International Women's Day is a worldwide celebration created in the nineteen-teens to recognize the equal rights of women specifically in labor and suffrage. Today, this celebration takes many forms in different countries. In honor of this day which also takes place during Women's History Month, we offer the following list of historical dramas on these themes of labor, suffrage, and equal rights.

A semi-documentary of the year-long struggle by Chicano zinc miners in New Mexico striking against unsafe working conditions. When an injunction is issued against the workers from picketing, the wives take up battle with a fury, leaving the husbands to care for home and children. They finally overcome the forces of the mine owner and the law that backs them up.

Inspired by true events, a moving drama exploring the passion and heartbreak of the women who risked everything in their fight for equality in early 20th century Britain. The story centers on Maud, a working wife and mother whose life is forever changed when she is secretly recruited to join the U.K.'s growing suffragette movement. Galvanized by the outlaw fugitive Emmeline Pankhurst, Maud becomes an activist for the cause alongside women from all walks of life..

The  Agatha Christie Awards nominees for best mysteries published in 2015 reflect a wide range of authors, publishers, styles, and themes. In the contemporary category, award-winning favorites Margaret Maron, Louise Penny, and Hank Phillipi Ryan share the honoree podium with newcomer Annette Dashofy and Catriona McPherson. The winners will be announced at Malice Domestic 28, which will be held April 29-May 1, 2016.  Check out what is available at Canton Public Library.

Best Contemporary Novel

Long upon the land by Margaret Maron
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | large print

On a quiet August morning, Judge Deborah Knott's father Kezzie makes a shocking discovery on a remote corner of his farm: the body of a man bludgeoned to death. Investigating this crime, Deborah's husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, soon uncovers a long-simmering hostility between Kezzie and the slain man over a land dispute. The local newspaper implies that Deborah's family may have had something to do with the murder-and that Dwight is dragging his feet on the case. Meanwhile, Deborah is given a cigarette lighter that once belonged to her mother. The cryptic inscription inside rekindles Deborah's curiosity about her parents' past, and how they met. For years she has wondered how the daughter of a wealthy attorney could have married a widowed, semi-illiterate bootlegger, and this time she's determined to find the answer. But why are Deborah's brothers so reluctant to talk about the dead man? Is the murder linked to Kezzie's illegal whiskey business? And could his courtship of Deborah's mother have something to do with the bad blood between the two families? Despite Deborah's promise not to interfere in Dwight's work, she cannot stop herself from doing everything she can to help clear her brothers and her father from suspicion.

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