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    Book Club in a Bag

    Library Staff Recommends: Pat's Picks

    by Jasna Tosic - 0 Comment(s)

    In this week’s staff reading recommendations, Pat’s Picks shines the spotlight on Mysteries. Pat is our resident mystery buff, and has come up with five of her favourites to introduce to you! If any of these books captures your interest, or if you’d like to hear more recommendations, feel free to drop by the Humanities department, on the 4th floor of Central library, for personalized help in choosing a great book.

    We’re always here to help you!

    THE LAUGHTER OF DEAD KINGS

    Elizabeth Peters

    Beautiful, brainy Vicky Bliss is back into the spotlight for one last investigation. This time the peerless art historian and sleuth will be detecting in Amelia Peabody territory, searching for solutions to more than one heinous offense in the ever-shifting sands of Egypt's mysterious Valley of the Kings.Who stole one of Egypt's most priceless treasures? That is the question that haunts the authorities after a distinguished British gentleman with an upper-crust accent cons his way past a security guard and escapes into the desert carrying a world-famous, one-of-a-kind historic relic. But the Egyptian authorities and Interpol believe they know the identity of the culprit. The brazen crime bears all the earmarks of the work of one Sir John Smythe, the suave and dangerously charming international art thief who is, in fact, John Tregarth, the longtime significant other of Vicky Bliss. But John swears he is retired-not to mention innocent-and he vows to clear his name by hunting down the true criminal.Vicky's faith in her man's integrity leaves her no choice but to take a hiatus from her position at a leading Munich museum and set out for the Middle East. Vicky's employer, the eminent Herr Doktor Anton Z. Schmidt, rotund gourmand and insatiable adventurer, decides to join the entourage. But dark days and myriad dangers await them in this land of intriguing antiquity. Each uncovered clue seems to raise even more questions for the intrepid Vicky, the most troubling being: where is John going during his increasingly frequent and unexplained absences? And the stakes are elevated considerably when a ransom note arrives accompanied by a grisly memento intended to speed up negotiations-because now it appears that murder most foul has been added to the equation.

    THE MONEYLENDER OF TOULOUSE

    Alan Gordon

    A wicked sense of humor lifts Gordon's seventh Fools' Guild mystery (after 2007's The Lark's Lament). The Fools' Guild, under threat by those in the church who oppose the organization, hopes to manipulate events so that one of its own can replace the bishop of Toulouse. Soon after Theophilos, one of the guild's most trusted agents, and his family arrive in Toulouse in 1204 on this delicate but vital mission, the body of local moneylender Milon Borsella turns up in a tanner's pit, the day after Borsella argued violently with Bishop Raimon de Rabastens, the man Theophilos is plotting against. When another murder occurs, Jordan, a local fool, is arrested. Convinced that the crimes are connected to his mission in Toulouse, Theophilos and his capable, independent wife, Claudia, follow the clues to a logical and satisfying conclusion. Fans of Sharon Kay Penman's Justin de Quincy series will enjoy Gordon's blend of action, detection and convincing historical detail. (Publishers Weekly)

    THE FYRE MIRROR

    Karen Harper

    Now in her early thirties, Elizabeth I wants to approve an "official" portrait for distribution in the realm. Three portrait contenders accompany Elizabeth and the court to the mythical Nonsuch Palace, where an arsonist's fire consumes an artist's tent and its two occupants. Elizabeth leaps into action, has the corpses and tents examined, prods her "privy plot council" into motion, and confronts further acts of the pyromaniac. A truly vibrant protagonist, thoroughly satisfying characterization, attention to detail, and credible plotting mark this as an outstanding historical. (Library Journal)

    A CUP OF JO

    Sandra Balzo

    In Balzo's delightful sixth Maggy Thorsen mystery (after March 2010's From the Grounds Up), Maggy, the co-owner of Uncommon Grounds, a gourmet coffeehouse, which was destroyed during a freak snowstorm, is planning to celebrate the opening of her rebuilt shop at the same time that the town of Brook-hills, Wis., dedicates the new Milwaukee commuter-train line. Maggie is pleased with the giant inflatable coffee cup she hired for the occasion, until it accidentally deflates and reveals the body of missing Brookhills event manager JoLynne Penn-Williams sprawled at the bottom. When amateur sleuth Maggy begins to investigate, she's dismayed that clues point to her boyfriend, county sheriff Jake Pavlik, as the killer. Devastating innuendos that Jake has been unfaithful shatter Maggy, but don't prevent her from seeking the truth. As ever, Maggy's wit and wisdom help keep the pages turning through this lighthearted cozy. (Publishers Weekly)

    EVANS TO BETSY

    Rhys Bowen

    The charming village of Llanfair, the setting for Rhys Bowen's beloved Constable Evans mysteries, sits amid lush, rolling Welsh meadows populated with quaint cottages and is considered by many of its colorful locals to be a kind of paradise. Unfortunately, there aren't many opportunities for young people in Llanfair, so when an exciting and glamorous American woman breezes into town talking of dormant psychic powers and important social research, barmaid Betsy Edwards is quick to take her up on an offer of employment at the recently opened Sacred Grove New Age center not far away. Of course the locals, including the village constable, Evan Evans, think Betsy has gone around the bend, not to mention the nutty American who dragged her off to be "tested." Betsy, though, is dazzled at the possibility of exploring her own sixth sense. And she's only a little surprised when her new powers are put to a real-life test; when the center's flamboyant director goes missing, clues to his fate mysteriously appear in Betsy's dreams. It's a tantalizing mystery for lonely Betsy, who can't help doing a little investigating on her own. But Constable Evans has been involved with Sacred Grove before-looking for a missing American college student who was lured there by Druid worship. As Betsy does her own sleuthing on the spot, Evan comes to realize that there is nothing straightforward about this case and that Betsy has no idea at all of the terrible danger she is in. (Provided by Syndetics)

    Library Staff Recommends: Julia's Picks

    by Jasna Tosic - 0 Comment(s)

    If you visit us in person on the 4th floor of Central library, you can browse our new staff picks displays of personal fiction recommendations. You can also browse them right here in the Readers' Nook, from the comfort of your own home: today we are featuring Julia's Picks - enjoy! And be sure to watch for our next installment.

    Glass of Time

    Michael Cox

    Set in 1876, Cox's gripping second gothic thriller (after The Meaning of Night) follows the fortunes of 19-year-old orphan Esperanza Gorst, whose guardian charges her to go undercover as a lady's maid. Without knowing precisely why she's doing so, Gorst insinuates herself into the inner circle of Baroness Tansor, the fiancee of the preceding volume's villain, Phoebus Daunt. The fake maid soon learns that her mistress has many secrets, and may, in fact, have been complicit in the death of a former servant. Cox excels at conveying his heroine's conflict over deceiving her employer, especially after learning the role the lady played in her own difficult personal history. While readers unfamiliar with the first book will find themselves deeply engaged by the elegant descriptive prose, those with the benefit of the full context and nuances of The Meaning of Night will better appreciate this sequel. (Publishers Weekly Review)

    Midnight Fugue

    Reginald Hill

    The highly anticipated return of Dalziel and Pascoe starts with a phone call to Superintendent Dalziel from an old friend asking for help. But where it ends is a very different story. Gina Wolfe has come to Mid-Yorkshire in search of her missing husband, believed dead. Her fiance, Commander Mick Purdy of the Met, thinks Dalziel should be able to take care of the job. What none of them realize is how events set in motion decades ago will come to a violent head on this otherwise ordinary summer's day. A Welsh tabloid journalist senses the story he's been chasing for years may have finally landed in his lap. A Tory MP's secretary suspects her boss's father has an unsavoury history that could taint his prime ministerial ambitions. The ruthless entrepreneur in question sends two henchmen out to make sure the past stays in the past. And the lethal pair dispatched have some awkward secrets of their own. Four stories, two mismatched detectives trying to figure it all out, and 24 hours in which to do it: Dalziel and Pascoe are about to learn the hard way exactly just how much difference a day makes. (Library Journal Review)

    High Fidelity

    Nick Hornby

    Rob Fleming is the kind of person whose mindset is clearly shown by his top two career choices: journalist for the New Musical Express, 1976-79, and producer for Atlantic Records, circa 1964-71. Owner of a small London record shop and musical snob of a high degree, Rob finds his life thrown into turmoil when live-in girlfriend Laura suddenly leaves. He embarks on a journey through the past, tracking down old lovers while finding solace with Marie, an American folk/country singer living in London, even as he yearns for Laura's return. Told in an engaging first-person voice that blends sarcasm with self-deprecating humor, High Fidelity presents a painfully funny take on love, music, and growing up. Already a best seller in Britain, this stunningly assured first novel should be a hit here as well. (Lawrence Rungren, Library Journals LLC

    The Late Nights on Air

    Elizabeth Hay

    Harry Boyd, a hard-bitten refugee from failure in Toronto television, has returned to a small radio station in the Canadian North. There, in Yellowknife, in the summer of 1975, he falls in love with a voice on air, though the real woman, Dido Paris, is both a surprise and even more than he imagined. Dido and Harry are part of the cast of eccentric, utterly loveable characters, all transplants from elsewhere, who form an unlikely group at the station. Their loves and longings, their rivalries and entanglements, the stories of their pasts and what brought each of them to the North, form the centre. One summer, on a canoe trip four of them make into the Arctic wilderness (following in the steps of the legendary Englishman John Hornby, who, along with his small party, starved to death in the barrens in 1927), they find the balance of love shifting, much as the balance of power in the North is being changed by the proposed Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline, which threatens to displace Native people from their land. (From Hardcover Edition)