a couple of months ago

A worthy murder mystery set in the court of Queen Elizabeth I

Nearly a quarter-century ago, an English technical journalist and industrial editor named Valerie Anand (1937-) sat down to write a series of mystery novels set in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. To Shield the Queen, published in 1997 under the pen name Fiona Buckley, was the first of what to date is a series […]

Continue Reading...
a couple of months ago

Down the rabbit hole of Nordic noir

Wendy Lesser reads more Nordic noir than I do, and that says a lot. As she notes in her charming new book, Scandinavian Noir, she’s been addicted to the stuff for nearly forty years. It all started for her when someone (she can’t remember who) recommended the ten-book Martin Beck series of police procedurals by […]

Continue Reading...
a couple of months ago

Multiple personalities, neo-Nazis, and a psychopathic arms dealer

Now, we’ve known all along that IQ, more formally known as Isaiah Quintabe, is supremely talented at making trouble for himself and practically everyone around him. But in Hi Five, the fourth of the novels in the series, he outdoes himself. In the space of 352 pages, Isaiah manages to infuriate a psychopathic arms dealer, […]

Continue Reading...
a few months ago

A diabolically clever thriller about corporate espionage

In the early days of detective fiction, investigators such as Poe’s Auguste Dupin and Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes solved cases through sheer deductive brilliance. Later came the tough guys of the hardboiled school of detective fiction (Hammett’s Sam Spade, Chandler’s Philip Marlow, more recently Child’s Jack Reacher). They were all more inclined to use their […]

Continue Reading...
a few months ago

British spies and the Nazi V-2 rocket

Alex Gerlis is the author of four outstanding standalone World War II spy novels (The Best of Our Spies, The Swiss Spy, Vienna Spies, and The Berlin Spies), all of which I enjoyed enormously. I can’t quite say the same about his most recent novel of espionage in that era, Prince of Spies—a tale about […]

Continue Reading...
a few months ago

The latest from David Ignatius is a little hard to believe

The antihero has been a fixture in literature since Homer, although the term was first used in France only in the eighteenth century. In our time, the antihero has become a familiar figure through the writing of Dostoevsky, Kafka, Sartre, Camus, Kerouac, and Mailer and has entered popular culture through comic books, film, and television. […]

Continue Reading...
a few months ago

Nordic Noir at its best

If you’re a fan of Nordic Noir and enjoy the likes of Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, and Jo Nesbø, you’re certain to love the Joona Linna series of detective novels from Lars Kepler. That’s the pseudonym of the Swedish husband-and-wife team of Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril. Both are successful novelists in their own […]

Continue Reading...
a few months ago

A mystery set in a remote corner of Siberia

I’ll say this about Disappearing Earth: I have never before read a novel set in Kamchatka. I doubt you have either. And I suspect you might be having trouble even locating Kamchatka on the globe. It’s not exactly a popular destination for Europeans or Americans (or anyone else, for that matter). Yet, for some unstated […]

Continue Reading...