Nights get colder, crime gets cosier

On the Radar — Halloween is done and dusted and anyone involved in selling just about anything is now thinking Christmas. Including crime publishers. We start with a couple of harder edged offerings, but from then on it’s cosy all the way.

The PromiseThe Promise by Robert Crais
This is a welcome return for one of crime fiction’s most eccentric pairings, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. The duo first appeared in The Monkey’s Raincoat (1987) and have been carving their way through LA’s boulevards and alleys ever since. Now they face multiple dangers of the modern kind, like Afghan veterans gone bad and online seducers, in The Promise. From his book Suspect, Crais brings in Scott James and K9 operative Maggie to add to the intrigue. We also reviewed an earlier Crais novel about the drug wars straddling the Mexican border, Taken. The Promise is out on 10 November for Kindle with print editions to follow.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Woman With a Blue PencilWoman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine 
Also set in Los Angeles, Woman with a Blue Pencil takes us to pre-war California. Sam Sumida is a Japanese academic marooned in America in the days before the bombing of Pearl Harbour. His wife has been murdered, but the LAPD show no interest. What follows is a literary journey into surreal territory, where the bewildered Sumida tries to find his wife’s killer in the face. He’s not just up against indifference, because now that the US has entered the war Japanese people are faced with outright hostility. Published on 10 November. Read our interview with the author, under his pen name Owen Fitzstephen.
Pre-order now on Amazon

FirecatcherFire Catcher by CS Quinn
Had fictional London cops like Tom Thorne and John Carlyle been operating in the 17th century, they would have been known as ‘thief-takers’. That’s the profession of Charlie Tuesday in Fire Catcher. He is the scourge of the city’s ne’er-do-wells but instead of facing gritty drugs gangs he’s up against sorcery, witchcraft, and alchemy as well as cutpurses and footpads. Not the least of Charlie’s problems comes by way of a darkly powerful secret brotherhood, who are looking for the key to an old chest which contains vital papers. This drama plays out in front of a backdrop of a city which is a powderkeg of violence, corruption and larceny, just waiting for a spark to – literally – set it alight. Published on 10 November.
Pre-order now on Amazon

CherringhamCherringham – The Song Never Dies by Matthew Costello & Neil Richards
Costello and Richards are the perfect pairing to cater for cosy crime fans. One is UK-based while the other has his antennae tuned to the lucrative US market. Cherringham is one of the many fictional villages in England getting a disproportionate share of death and mayhem. Publisher Bastei Entertainment is releasing a Cherringham novella each month, rather after the fashion of Dickens. In this episode, a former rock legend hosts a band reunion with full entourage in his Cherringham mansion, but ends up floating in the luxury pool. Fear ye not, English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack are on the case! Available on 16 November.
Pre-order now on Amazon

A Christmas PartyA Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer
First published in 1941 as Envious Casca, this detective story by the creator of many a Regency romance is re-released in time for Christmas by Arrow. Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard travels down to Lexham Manor where the  seasonal tidings have been somewhat soured by the discovery of the curmudgeonly lord of the manor… with a substantial knife between his shoulder blades. Of course, each one of the guests has a motive for wanting the old buffer dead and, equally predictably, the room where the victim is found was securely locked. This tale, set on the eve of WWII is out now.
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Miss MarpleMiss Marple’s Final Cases by Agatha Christie
Audiobooks are something of a rarity in our weekly news feature, but we make an exception here with a delicious mingling of three National Treasures, one fictional, one deceased, but the third – happily – still with us. Miss Marple, Agatha Christie and the legendary June Whitfield give us what will seem like all their Christmases at once for lovers of Golden Age crime fiction. Miss Marple solves the cases of The Tape Measure Murder, The Case of the Perfect Maid and, finally, Sanctuary. Out now.
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Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 20.24.59Sanctuary by Celina Grace
DS Kate Redman returns for her eighth appearance in this popular series set in England’s West Country. Neighbouring police forces rub each other up the wrong way as they investigate why the body of a young African man washed up on Muddiford Beach. Kate Redman finds her opposite number abrasive, over-aggressive and thoroughly combative. Despite the negative personal chemistry, the two women have to reconcile their differences to get to the bottom of a complex mystery. Celina Grace lives in Bath – heart of the West Country – and her latest novel is out for Kindle on 15 November.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Murder For ChristmasMurder for Christmas by Francis Duncan
The author of this re-issue is, sadly, long forgotten, but publisher Vintage thinks Murder for Christmas will be a seasonal gem. The delightfully named Mordecai Tremaine is a former tobacconist and afficionado of romantic fiction. He finds himself spending his Christmas in the village of Sherbroome, a guest of the rich and enigmatic Benedict Grame. Then, a man resembling Father Christmas is found dead among the presents under the eponymous tree. With an eccentric collection of guests and likely suspects, Mordecai pulls all the stops out of his stocking to find the killer before they can strike again. First Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 20.23.23published in 1949, this new edition is out on 15 November.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Here’s our pre-Christmas bonus for loyal readers – the original cover for this novel.

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