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Masons and murderers

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On the Radar — This week we’ve got a masonic mystery from France, the latest Bryant & May novel, some tasty morsels of historical crime fiction and plenty more. Read on and enrich your reading pile with this week’s On the Radar column…

bryantandmayburningman200Bryant & May – The Burning Man by Christopher Fowler
Britain’s oldest and quirkiest detectives return for another step through London byways and forgotten places. You may need to turn off your plausibility sensor, as the elderly gents have been solving crimes in the capital since the days of the Blitz. In their latest case they face a very modern problem – an angry and vengeful population taking to the streets in protest over the banking scandal. History is never far away from Bryant and May and they find links back to none other than the Jacobean ‘terrorist’, Guy Fawkes. Christopher Fowler spoke to us recently and the interview is here. The Burning Man is out on 26 March.
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shadow_ritualShadow Ritual by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne
Freemasons. They can always be trusted to hold a secret or two, particularly ones threatening life as we know it. The time bomb here is a mysterious dossier stolen from the masons by the SS in 1940. Then, despite being guarded night and day, it was captured by the Red Army at the end of World War II. Now it’s current guardianship is unclear, but it seems to be linked to murders in the holy cities of Rome and Jerusalem. Cop Antoine Marcas and Nazi hunter Jade Zewinski form a reluctant partnership to solve the ancient mystery. Shadow Ritual is out on 25 March.
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A Nose For TroubleA Nose for Trouble by Jonathan Kemp
Jonathan Kemp, AKA international photo journalist Hans Kemp, creates the scene with words here rather than via his lens. He brings us the first in a possible series featuring Chicago PI Scanner Grant, and the enigmatic Max Zwoelstra. The pair initially set off for China in search of Max’s adoptive father. While they are investigating his disappearance we meet the taxi driver Lobsang, who is Grant’s mentor. Things turn deadly serious however, as a young Tibetan girl is brutally murdered, and Grant and Zwoelstra find themselves up against conspiracies both ancient and modern. Available now in Kindle, and in print in April.
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The TapestryThe Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau
Amateur detectives can come from any walk of life and if a former novice nun has to solve crime rather than become a Sister of Christ, then who are we to argue? Set during the turbulent reign of Henry VIII, this is the third episode in the adventures of Joanna Stafford. Stafford is faced with little choice of vocation after the King lays waste to England’s monasteries. She is summoned to court to help weave a tapestry, but soon becomes entangled in a dangerous plot involving Catherine Howard, Thomas Cromwell, the Duke of Norfolk and Henry himself. Published on 24 March.
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The Ghost FieldsThe Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths
Rural Norfolk, a disinterred wartime Spitfire, a crime-solving archaeologist and haunted former WWII airfields – this book ticks so many boxes for lovers of British mysteries with a historical thread running through the narrative. Archaeologist Ruth Galloway quickly determines that the the body strapped into the buried Spitfire is not that of its original pilot, but when he is identified as a man believed to have been lost at sea, and human bones are discovered in the uneaten debris at a pig farm, Galloway faces her most challenging case yet. Our review of Dying Fall but the same author can be found here. The Ghost Fields is published on 26 March.
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A LIne Of BloodA Line of Blood by Ben McPherson
Former TV producer McPherson has lived and worked in Oslo since last year and there’s a touch of Nordic noir to his first novel. We have a family torn apart by lies and deceit. A man finds his neighbour dead in the bath. Later, he is puzzled as to why his wife’s bracelet has been found under the dead man’s bed. Throw into the mix a child subject to the intolerable pressures of watching his parents break apart. For good measure we have a man with all the motives and opportunity to commit murder, and a police investigation all too willing to put him in the frame. Available on 26 March.
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The Touch of a ShadowThe Touch of a Shadow by Chéri Vausé
Among her many accomplishments, Texan author Chéri Vausé is mother to two sets of twins, but still has time to write crime fiction. In her latest book, Esther Charlemagne and Aiden McManus have settled down into a quiet life in their upmarket New York brownstone. Their domestic bliss is disturbed when an old murder case in which they were both involved sparks back into life. The tale is set in the mid 1960s, and as the FBI relocates Esther to a safe house after threats from an old enemy, McManus travels to New York to track down the killer at the heart of the mystery. Published on 30 March.
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Into The NightInto the Night by Jake Woodhouse
We spoke to Jake Woodhouse about his debut, After The Silence, which is worth a look. Now, the Amsterdam detective Inspector Jaap Rykel returns, and his first task is to discover why the hands of a corpse have been blow-torched and the head removed. Clearly the killer is placing a premium on the dead man remaining unidentified. As a woman is thrown in front of a suburban train by a man dressed in police uniform, things go from bad to worse for Rykel. Then he finds his own image among the photos on dead man’s smartphone. Published on 26 March.
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In Heaven and In EarthIn Heaven and in Earth by David Foster
We reviewed David Foster’s debut crime novel Death Reveals All just recently but only one character from that story makes it into the second book. Sam Cooper has passed his inspector exams and he is now, proudly, DI Sam Cooper. His first case is that of a 40-year-old corpse found on Hampstead Heath in London. His investigations take him back to the 1968 riots in Paris. As Cooper links more unexplained deaths to the Hampstead Heath corpse, he finds he has made enemies in high places. Available now in paperback, the Kindle edition lands 27 March.
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