by Connie Berry
Here is the latest installment of our new column, Top 5 Mysteries I Have Read During the Pandemic, this one from mystery author Connie Berry. As we continue to spend most of our time at home, we are all looking for book suggestions so we asked mystery authors and reviewers to share the top 5 mysteries they have read during this pandemic.
Thank goodness for books.
During this strange, disjointed time, we’ve cancelled commitments, postponed family get-togethers, and abandoned our travel dreams. The one thing we haven’t lost is reading. Through words on a page—or on a screen—we’ve roamed far and wide in our imaginations.
As Roald Dahl wrote of Matilda, his precocious five-and-a-half-year-old protagonist:
…books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.
Five books that have sustained me these past months are:
1. The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths
Forensic pathologist Ruth Galloway has a new home, a new job, and a new love, but will a convicted serial killer with four unfound victims draw her back to the salt marsh on the north Norfolk coast and the detective inspector she left behind? This series is amazing.
2. Mortmain Hall by Martin Edwards
It’s 1930 in England, and journalist Jacob Flint joins a house party at Mortmain Hall in Yorkshire, hosted by an eccentric female criminologist. When a body is found beneath the crumbling cliffs, Jacob joins forces with the enigmatic heiress and amateur sleuth Rachel Savernake to foil an ingenious plot to get away with murder.
3. The Second-Worst Restaurant in France by Alexander McCall Smith
Food writer Paul Stewart has just six months to complete his book, The Philosophy of Food in Six Easy Chapters, but when his domestic situation becomes intolerable, he escapes to a village near Poitiers, France, only to find himself tangled up with the fate of the one restaurant in the village—the infamous Second-Worst Restaurant in France.
4. The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen
When WW2 bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted into German-occupied Tuscany, he found shelter in a ruined monastery and the arms of Sofia Bartoli. Thirty years later, as Langley’s estranged daughter, Joanna, plans his funeral, she finds among his effects an unopened letter to Sofia, containing a startling revelation. Joanna returns to Tuscany, hoping to understand her father’s history, but she soon discovers some would rather leave the past undisturbed.
5. The Benefit of Hindsight by Susan Hill
After the violent incident that cost him his arm, and nearly his life, DCS Simon Serrailler has returned to work, insisting he’s fully recovered, physically and psychologically. Soon even he must admit that isn’t so. With crime rates down, Lafferton has been quiet until one night when two men open their front door to a distressing scene. While handling the incident, Serrailler makes a serious error of judgment, an error that leads to a shocking death. As Serrallier struggles with guilt, he must find the killer or killers before they strike again.
In my own latest mystery, A Legacy of Murder, American antiques dealer Kate arrives in the Suffolk village of Long Barston, dreaming of falling snow, log fires, and Tom Mallory, the detective inspector she met in Scotland. She also looks forward to spending time with her daughter, an intern at Finchley Hall, famous for the discovery in 1818 of an Anglo-Saxon treasure trove. But when a body turns up, romance takes a back seat. Long Barston is Tom’s patch, and the clues to the killer’s identity point backward more than 400 years to a legacy of murder and a blood-red ring. The Art of Betrayal, third in the series, will be released on June 2, 2021.
You can listen to the first chapter of A Legacy of Murder on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast!
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