“Manjunath Kumar is fourteen. He knows he is good at cricket – if not as good as his elder brother Radha. He knows that he fears and resents his domineering and cricket-obsessed father, admires his brilliantly talented sibling and is fascinated by the world of CSI and by curious and interesting scientific facts. But there are many things, about himself and about the world, that he doesn’t know . . . Sometimes it seems as though everyone around him has a clear idea of who Manju should be, except Manju himself. When Manju begins to get to know Radha’s great rival, a boy as privileged and confident as Manju is not, everything in Manju’s world begins to change and he is faced with decisions that will challenge both his sense of self and of the world around him . . . “
As part of our tie-in to the detective-themed Summer Reading Challenge, it’s time to recommend a few excellent detective series. If you’re looking for a new series to get your teeth into, here are the first books of three fabulous mysteries:
Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley mysteries. Glossing over the rather unsympathetic blurb for book one (Never nice to read a woman being described as “fat and unlovely”, even if she is the prime suspect at a murder scene.), this is where we start Elizabeth George’s dark and suspenseful series. Book one.
Peter May’s trilogy set on the Isle of Lewis. With a wonderful sense of place, this trilogy will transport you to the Scottish Isles as you follow Detective Inspector Fin Macleod’s attempts to get to the bottom of the captivating and sinister mysteries. Book one.
“Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before. Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners. But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters. With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, ‘The Keeper of Lost Things‘ is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.”
Newly appointed police inspector Domenic Jejeune doesn’t mind ruffling a few feathers. Indeed his success has elevated him into a poster boy for the police. The problem is Jejeune doesn’t really want to be a detective at all; he much prefers watching birds. Recently reassigned to the small Norfolk town of Saltmarsh, located in the heart of Britain’s premier birding country, Jejeune’s two worlds soon collide with the grisly murder of a prominent ecological activist. Jejeune must call on all his birding know-how to solve the mystery and deal with unwelcome public acclaim, the mistrust of colleagues and his own insecurities.
“Week after week, the postcards arrive, addressed to a name Ellie does not know, with no return address, each signed with an initial: A. With their bright skies, blue seas and alluring images of Greece, these cartes postales brighten her life. After six months, to her disappointment, they cease. But the montage she has created on the wall of her flat has cast a spell. She must see this country for herself. On the morning Ellie leaves for Athens, a notebook arrives. Its pages tell the story of a man’s odyssey through Greece. Moving, surprising and sometimes dark, A’s tale unfolds with the discovery not only of a culture but also of a desire to live life to the full once more. Beloved, bestselling author Victoria Hislop’s ‘Cartes Postales from Greece‘ is fiction illustrated with photographs that make this journey around Greece, already alive in the imagination, linger forever in the mind.”
Sail away with a copy from the library
The theme of this year’s children’s summer reading challenge is Animal Agents: a mash up of appealing animal characters and detective stories. To make sure us adults aren’t left out, once a week here on the blog over the summer holidays we’re going to be featuring detective mysteries, brilliant books with animals in, and even some intriguing books which manage to combine the two!
We’ll begin with the thoroughly charming The Cat Who series. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards is the first in a wonderful series featuring our reluctant hero Jim Qwilleran. Having inherited more money than he knows what to do with, and finding himself divorced and in his forties, Jim must build a new life for himself. This he does with the help of two charming Siamese cats and a budding friendship with the town librarian. Inevitably, events intervene in the shape of a murder – and Jim’s beloved cats reveal hitherto unexpected detective skills! A really easy read, these books have an appeal all their own – don’t be surprised if you get hooked!
Find a copy of book one.
Summer 1881: the streets of Limehouse are thick with opium… and menace. At eighteen Kitty Peck has inherited Paradise, a sprawling criminal empire on the banks of the Thames. Determined to do things differently to her fearsome grandmother, she now realises that the past casts a long and treacherous shadow. Haunted by a terrible secret and stalked by a criminal cabal intent on humiliation and destruction, Kitty must fight for the future of everyone she cares for…
Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed. Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers. But one day her not–so–perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. Forced to move back home to Somerset, Katie has to restart from square one. But when fate gifts her the chance to take revenge on Demeter, should Katie get medieval on the woman who ruined her dreams?
Out today in shiny new paperback: Elly Griffith’s latest Norwich and Kings Lynn-set mystery.
“Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich’s web of underground tunnels. When Dr Ruth Galloway discovers they were recently buried, DCI Nelson has a murder enquiry on his hands. The boiling might have been just a medieval curiosity – now it suggests a much more sinister purpose. Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she’s gone ‘underground’. This might be a figure of speech, but with the discovery of the bones and the rumours both Ruth and the police have heard that the network of old chalk-mining tunnels under Norwich is home to a vast community of rough sleepers, the clues point in only one direction. Local academic Martin Kellerman knows all about the tunnels and their history – but can his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing possibly be true? As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise.”
Suspicious deaths are not usually the concern of PC Peter Grant or the Folly, even when they happen at an exclusive party in one of the most expensive apartment blocks in London. But Lady Ty’s daughter was there, and Peter owes Lady Ty a favour. Plunged into the alien world of the super-rich, where the basements are bigger than the house and dangerous, arcane items are bought and sold on the open market, a sensible young copper would keep his head down and his nose clean. But this is Peter Grant we’re talking about. He’s been given an unparalleled opportunity to alienate old friends and create new enemies at the point where the world of magic and that of privilege intersect. Assuming he survives the week . . .