Robbie Parsons is one of London's finest, a black cab driver who knows every street, every theater, every landmark in the city by heart. In his backseat is a man with a gun in his hand--a man who brazenly committed a crime in front of the Artemis Club, a rarefied art gallery-cum-casino, then jumped in and ordered Parsons to drive. As the criminal eventually escapes to Nairobi, Detective Superintendent Richard Jury comes across the case in the Saturday paper.
Two days previously, Jury had met and instantly connected with one of the victims of the crime, a professor of astrophysics at Columbia and an expert gambler. Feeling personally affronted, Jury soon enlists Melrose Plant, Marshall Trueblood, and his whole gang of merry characters to contend with a case that takes unexpected turns into Tanzanian gem mines, a closed casino in Reno, Nevada, and a pub that only London's black cabbies, those who have "the knowledge," can find. The Knowledge is prime fare from "one of the most fascinating mystery writers today" (Houston Chronicle).
- ISBN-13: 9780802128010
- ISBN-10: 0802128017
- Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
- Publish Date: April 2018
- Page Count: 368
- Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds
Whodunit: Rest in peace? Not in Hillerman's desert
After Tony Hillerman’s daughter, Anne, inherited the Leaphorn-Chee franchise, she managed an impressive feat: She brought female characters to the forefront while keeping the stories true to Tony’s vision of Navajo-influenced mysteries steeped in the lore of the Old West. As her latest novel, Cave of Bones, opens, tribal police officer Bernadette (Bernie) Manuelito is supposed to give a speech to a group of troubled girls. Upon arriving at the site, however, she becomes drawn into a search-and-rescue operation for a missing girl and a male counselor. When the girl turns up, she is visibly traumatized, so Bernie goes on a walkabout in the desert to see what’s what. She discovers a cave containing a human skeleton and tribal artifacts, exactly as the girl said. What Bernie could not anticipate is the connection between this ancient burial site and a modern-day series of crimes, including murder. Cave of Bones has a terrific storyline that’s suspenseful and atmospheric, with strands of Navajo folklore woven into every page. I grow more impressed with each installment of this series.
SCANDI COMES STATESIDE
American by Day, Derek B. Miller’s follow-up (but not in any sense a sequel) to his bestselling Norwegian by Night, is the story of Oslo police inspector Sigrid Ødegård, who was involved in the questionable shooting of a suspect, something that happens less often in Norway than, for example, in America. Acquitted of all wrongdoing, she is still uneasy about her actions and decides to take a leave of absence. This dovetails neatly with her father’s plan: He has booked her a flight to America to launch a search for her brother, who has apparently gone missing. Upon her arrival, she is dismayed to discover that her brother is a prime suspect in the slaying of a prominent African-American professor. The American cops have a different way of handling investigations than Norwegians, and Sigrid quickly finds herself at odds with many aspects of American life, particularly race relations with regard to police work. A canny and often wry look at the differences between Europe an and American perceptions, American by Day should be on your short list for entertaining reading.
The title of Martha Grimes’ latest Richard Jury novel, The Knowledge, refers to two separate but connected entities: The first “knowledge” is the commitment to memory of every London address and landmark, some 30,000 of them, in order to pass the test to become one of London’s famous black taxicab drivers; the second is a pub of the same name, known only to London taxi drivers, its location so secret it rivals Camelot. As the book opens, Scotland Yard detective Jury learns of the murders of a married couple, the husband of which he had quite liked. Jury takes the killings personally and enlists the help of his street urchin contacts, a sort of updated version of the Baker Street Irregulars. The killer makes good his escape to East Africa, but not as cleanly as he thinks, for one of the “irregulars” is in his company. By turns witty, irreverent and intriguing, The Knowledge—number 24 in the series—is sure to entertain new fans and those of long standing as well.
TOP PICK IN MYSTERY
Picture Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe’s wisecracking and nose-thumbing sidekick, plucked from his New York brownstone and transplanted to 1920s Calcutta, and you’ll have a pretty good image of Captain Sam Wyndham, a former Scotland Yard officer whose first-person perspective offers a noir voiceover to Abir Mukherjee’s brilliant new novel, A Necessary Evil. At the sunset of the Raj, the many small kingdoms of post-British India are vying for dominance. Intrigues abound, and Wyndham is on hand for one of the most egregious—the murder of the crown prince of Sambalpore, the first in a series of slayings that threaten to tear the small kingdom apart. The key to the solution lies within the zenana, the area where the king’s wives and concubines live and gossip, and where the only men allowed are eunuchs (a sacrifice Wyndham is not prepared to make to solve the case, at least not yet). Riddled with jealousy and a regular user of opium, Wyndham is an intriguing protagonist, offering crisp narration that’s sometimes slightly arrogant, sometimes amusingly self-effacing. Add in clever dialogue that’s laden with double entendre, and what more can a hardcore whodunit fan ask for?