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New Swedish mystery series

Here’s a new Swedish mystery series to try. Detective Inspector Joona Linna has been at the National CID in Stockholm for nine years and his record for solving homicides is unparalleled. Joona (Jonah in English) is 45 years old, tall, handsome and blond with gray eyes. He comes from Finnish stock—Swedes would recognize Linna as a Finnish name—and he swears in Finnish. A mysterious trauma in his past has left him subject to occasional debilitating migraines. The third book in the series, The Fire Witness, was published in July 2013 by Farrar, Strauss. It tells the story of Vicki Bennet who is suspected of killing two people at a home for troubled girls, leaving a bloody hammer behind. On the run, she steals a car with a four-year-old sleeping in the back seat. When the car is found in a river, both occupants are presumed dead. But Linna feels certain that they are both alive and continues his search. Lars Kepler is a pseudonym used by the Swedish husband and wife writing team of Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril.

–posted 7/28/2013

Posted July/27/2013

Those romantic Scots

So many romances are set in Scotland that they qualify as a popular subgenre: Highland romances. Modern or historical, their appeal is undeniable. Rough terrain, warring families, echoes of past heroes and tragedies—this is the perfect setting for stories of love and passion, lost and found. American author Monica McCarty has established herself as a staple of this subgenre. Her first two trilogies, The “MacLeod” and “Campbell” books, were published in 2007 & 2009. They are set in the years 1599-1608 and 1606-1609 respectively and can be read as a chronological series showing English King James’ long struggle to subdue the Highlanders. The “Highland Guard” books, McCarty’s third series, takes place much earlier—roughly from the crowning of Robert the Bruce in 1300. The fictional Highland Guard, ten warriors supposedly hand-picked by Robert the Bruce, have been compared to modern day Navy Seals by McCarty’s publisher, Ballantine. The Hunter, book seven in the series, was published in June 2013. Readers interested in the history of the period will enjoy delving into the timelines, photos and videos on McCarty’s website at Those who read for the swash and buckle won’t be bogged down by intrusive history.

–posted 7/21/2013

Posted July/20/2013

Hard-Boiled Eggheads by Keir Graff

As Editor of Booklist Online, Keir Graff reviews a zillion books and writes very clever articles about books and reviewing.  This one especially made me chuckle:  “Hard-Boiled Eggheads” is Keir’s annotated list of 16 literary authors who really want to play detective.

Click here to read Keir’s article in the May 1, 2013 Booklist Online.

–posted 7/18/2013

Posted July/18/2013

Booktown mysteries

When a local realtor persuaded several special and antiquarian bookstore owners to move to his sleepy little New Hampshire town, Stoneham became known as Booktown. Now with a cookery bookstore, a history bookstore and, of course, a mystery bookstore, the town is thriving. Tricia Miles runs the “Haven’t Got a Clue” bookstore with the help of young Ginny Wilson and Miss Marple, the cat. Though Stoneham is also the safest town in New Hampshire, it provides enough murders to keep Tricia busy sleuthing. Other characters who play a role are Angelica, Tricia’s overbearing sister and Deborah Black, her best friend. Not the Killing Type (Severn, July 2013) is the seventh book in the series. It concerns a contentious Chamber of Commerce presidential election. Author Lorna Barrett also writes the Jeff Resnick mysteries as L.L. Bartlett and the Victoria Square mysteries under her real name, Loraine Bartlett.

–posted 7/14/2013

Posted July/15/2013

Van de Wetering mysteries reissued

TumbleweedMost young librarians will not remember Janwillem van de Wetering’s mysteries starring the stolid, hen-pecked Adjutant Grijpstra of the Amsterdam police and his handsome and contemplative assistant, Sergeant de Gier. They report to the aged, arthritic, but wise “commissaria.” Outsider in Amsterdam, first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1975, is the first book in the series. It concerns a murder among the drug-ridden members of a commune. The second book, Tumbleweed (Houghton Mifflin, 1976) involves possible witchcraft in the murder of a young woman from Curacao. As you can see Van de Wetering’s plots sound pretty contemporary. Perhaps that’s why Juliet Grames, Senior Editor at Soho Press has decided to re-issue this series of fourteen novels. The Zen Buddhist ideas and perspective in these mysteries may also appeal to today’s readers. Van de Wetering spent a year in a Japanese monastery and five years with a Buddhist group in Maine, experiences which he described in three autobiographical volumes: The Empty Mirror (Houghton Mifflin, 1974); A Glimpse of Nothingness (Houghton Mifflin, 1975); and Afterzen (St. Martin’s, 1999). I enjoyed van de Wetering’s mysteries and included them in the very first edition of Sequels, published by ALA in 1982. I’m sure this re-introduction will win him a new generation of fans. Soho is calling the reissued series the “Amsterdam Cops,” and has given them a “gorgeous new packaging,” according to Ms Grames.

–posted revised 4/23/2015

Posted July/12/2013

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