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.
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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.
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)
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)
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)
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)