The final fire

4 Mins read

On the Radar — It’s a poignant time for fans of Scandinavian crime fiction as, two years to the day after Henning Mankell’s death, his final book will see print in an English translation on 5 October. We lead off with After the Fire, also bringing you tales of private detectives, serial killers, psychological thrillers and more. And, adding to that poignancy, we have short story compilations from two of Britain’s biggest female crime writing who have died in recent years – Ruth Randell and PD James. Read on and pick your next crime read.

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After the Fire by Henning Mankell
Wallander creator Henning Mankell passed away in 2015, and this is his final novel. It doesn’t feature Wallander, instead focusing on an elderly doctor called Frederik who has retreated to live on a small Swedish island in his grandparents house. The story opens with the house in flames and Frederik rushing out to save his life. Things get even worse for him when the accident investigators find evidence of accelerants in the burned ruins and the 70-year-old feels he is under suspicion. It loosely follows on from the author’s 2009 book Italian Shoes. It is a mystery and a meditation on ageing, memories and death – watch for our review. On sale 5 October.
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And So It Began by Owen Mullen
In New Orleans private investigator Vincent Delaney is after a child murderer. A serial killer has been snatching kids from pageants in the South. Delaney is asked to go undercover to find the killer but his own family could be at risk. To add to that he has the deadly complication of a violent criminal from Baton Rouge hellbent on revenge for the brother Delaney shot. Scottish writer Owen Mullen already has a successful Glasgow-based series with PI Charlie Cameron. He now turns to the USA and this opener in a new series was longlisted for the 2017 McIllvaney Prize. Out 5 October.
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Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales by PD James
This queen of crime played the long game so well, but her short stories are also little gems of criminal brilliance. Several appeared in The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories and this companion volume contains a further six, published here together for the first time on 5 October. A feast for readers who enjoy Golden Age crime writing served up with a tasty side dish of psychological suspense – and if you haven’t sampled this writer before, it is a great introduction to her work.
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A Spot of Folly by Ruth Rendell
Short story fans are being thoroughly spoilt on 5 October, with a collection of the work of another crime writing doyenne arriving on the bookshelves in time for those lengthening autumn nights. They are published in the UK for the first time after being unearthed in the archives of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, in America. With a strapline promising Ten and a Quarter New Tales of Murder and Mayhem, expect all of the trademark deviousness from an author renowned for her masterly plotting – and there’s the added bonus of an introduction penned by Sophie Hannah.
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Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech
There’s a compelling mystery at the heart of this crime writing debut from Louise Beech. It’s 2007 and Hull is recovering from a monumental flood. People are living in caravans in their front gardens while their homes dry out – and some are at the end of their tether. Which is where Catherine Hope steps in. She’s a volunteer at a local Flood Crisis line and prepared to face whatever is thrown at her. Or is she? When memories of a long-forgotten childhood year begin flooding back, is Catherine really ready to face her demons? Out now for Kindle and on 30 September as a paperback.
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The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
It is 1866 and Elsie Bainbridge is pregnant and newly widowed. She strikes out for The Bridge, her late husband’s country estate where she finds a locked room with a diary that is two centuries old and a house that is populated with creepy painted wooden figures. These menacing ‘companions’ seem to move about and one looks uncannily like her. Hallucinations and haunting noises in the night combine in a Victorian tale of horror and tragedy stocked with trauma and sinister tones. Madness is never far away. This Gothic ghost story promises an atmospheric and spooky read. Released 5 October.
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The Plumley Inheritance by Christopher Bush
This is one of 17 classic crime books by Christopher Bush reprinted during September and October this year, and is the first in the Ludovic Travers series which spanned 42 years and 61 books. Written in 1926, it has been out of print ever since that first publication, but is now available through Dean Street Press. The wealthy eccentric Henry Plumley has dropped dead, and his secretary Ludovic decides to investigate along with Geoffrey Wrentham. Mystery and mischief in a long-lost classic. Out now.
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Bolt Action Remedy by JJ Hensley
Trevor Galloway is the private investigator tasked with a rapidly cooling murder case in Pennsylvania. It has been a year since Peter Lanskard, a controversial land developer, was found dead on his property. Galloway, although a talented detective, was dismissed from the police in the fallout from his capture and torture by a criminal gang. The murderer must be able to ski and shoot, but there is no shortage of those skills in the neighbouring biathlon training camp. Hensley was a former detective and we expect an authentic tone in this thriller due out 2 October.
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The Anthill Murders by Hans Olav Lahlum
The K2 book series is becoming a bit of a mountain with this, the fifth instalment to feature Detective Inspector Kolbjorn Kristiansen and his assistant, Patricia. The year is 1972 and a serial killer is hunting young women in Oslo. He, or she, strangles each victim and leaves behind a cutout paper and on their bodies. A theology student, a jazz singer, an heiress… K2 is baffled as to their connection in this mystery, which also boasts a stunning cover. Out 28 September.
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Click here to read about last week’s new crime releases.

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